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Candyfloss
05-13-2010, 03:52 AM
I've waited all day for this to come up, but it hasn't so here goes.

This is all I ever wanted, and yes, I am satisfied.


From Times Online

May 12, 2010
Pope warns against weakening ideals as he blames Church for sex scandal

Richard Owen in Lisbon

The Pope today warned priests against “activities which do not fully accord with the ministry of Christ” after he arrived at Fátima, one of Christianity’s most popular shrines, on the second day of his four-day visit to Portugal.
The Pope did not refer specifically to the clerical sex abuse crisis engulfing the Church, as he had on the plane to Lisbon from Rome. However, he warned the clergy to pay “particular attention to a certain weakening of priestly ideals”.
On the plane to Lisbon the Pope admitted that “sins inside” the Catholic Church were entirely responsible for the child abuse scandal that has spread across Europe.
In his most strongly worded condemnation of the priests involved in paedophile cases the pontiff said: “Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the Church.



My apologies to anyone I may have offended.

Larks
05-13-2010, 06:38 AM
My apologies to anyone I may have offended.


I don't know how anyone could be offended by the post Graham, it seems like something we've all been wanting, us cattleticks included.

elf
05-13-2010, 06:54 AM
Kinda measely. And no, that's not a w.

Hwyl
05-13-2010, 07:26 AM
Redefines "Too little, too late"

George Jung
05-13-2010, 07:40 AM
Too little, too late?

Interesting take on that one. So what's the end game?

TerryLL
05-13-2010, 07:49 AM
This is a big change of direction for the Vatican. Just a bit ago the Church played the victim, claiming they were being attacked by forces inimical to the very existence of the RCC.

And to admit now, at long last, that the Church is the bad actor, that the Church has done wrong, that evil exists within the Church, that is a change of mind-set worthy of praise.

Now the world waits for positive corrective measures.

Hwyl
05-13-2010, 07:51 AM
Too little, too late?

Interesting take on that one. So what's the end game?

How about "we will wholeheartedly assist in the prosecution of these criminals" "use the funds of the Catholic church to compensate the victims and disenfranchise any church that declares bankruptcy to avoid this debt"
for a start

Ian McColgin
05-13-2010, 08:13 AM
For a slightly longer version of the story, see http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?t=114427

Peter Malcolm Jardine
05-13-2010, 10:55 AM
Catholicism Ltd. I used to call it Catholicism Inc, but the Ltd is more accurate since everybody in the church scrambles to limit their liability, or claim their immunity. Whoever Christ was, these people don't vaguely represent his historical values.

peb
05-13-2010, 10:58 AM
One of benedict's milder statments on the issue, but at least someone is finally paying attention.

B_B
05-13-2010, 12:13 PM
Too little, too late?
Interesting take on that one. So what's the end game?
Full co-operation from the Church in criminal and civil proceedings against the Church, its Parishes, its Diocese, its employees, its adherents.

Full responsibility, financially, on the entire organization, not just the parishes and diocese found liable in civil proceedings - i.e. no having one diocese declare bankruptcy as a way to get out of paying civil judgments - the Church in Rome has lead the fight against co-operation with authorities in civil and criminal proceedings so it must bear the burden of making victims whole.

Osborne Russell
05-13-2010, 12:31 PM
“Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the Church.

These people love persecution, period. They do it to themselves! A fixation.

John Smith
05-13-2010, 12:37 PM
These people love persecution, period. They do it to themselves! A fixation.

What I don't understand is GOD tolerating his "salesman" behaving so. If ever a smite was called for.......

elf
05-13-2010, 12:39 PM
One of benedict's milder statments on the issue, but at least someone is finally paying attention.

It makes me wonder whether perhaps Benedict is finally actually the one paying attention.

George Jung
05-13-2010, 01:03 PM
It sounds likeep pockets' rather than an interest in justice. I wonder... what kind of end game does that suggest?

Anyone got a link (or quote) from previous Pope proclamations?

John P Lebens
05-13-2010, 01:07 PM
The Pope should have 1) been much more explicit in taking responsibility, and 2) should have acted on this MUCH earlier. He needs to say what he is doing to change the Church.

I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic high school and college. There are plenty of very fine people involved with the Church. However, many in the Church place a very high value on the concept of a victim or martyr. The Pope was recently in the mode of being a victim of the media, the abused accusers, etc. In my opinion this aspect of the Catholic church is not a healthy one.

Taking responsibility is an important step, but I am skeptical that the responsibility idea will really permeate the Catholic culture. I suspect this less than explicit apology made while on a trip to Portugal, was a carefully calibrated communication coordinated by the Vatican PR staff.

I would have preferred he speak out from a place of authority at the Vatican. He needs to be explicit about what he is apologizing for. He needs to take some time to summarize what has happened over the years and the adverse effects it has had on individuals and the Church. He needs to talk about specific actions he will take and has taken to correct this internal problem. His apology needs to be directed to the victims, their families, church members and others who have been affected.

His statement falls far short of showing authority, passion, contrition and commitment to change.

Larks
05-13-2010, 05:11 PM
These people love persecution, period. They do it to themselves! A fixation.

Who are "these people"? The Catholic Church isn't just made up of its Priests, Bishops etc, it includes all followers of the Catholic faith, of which I am happy to be one. So don't be such a clown mate.

Nicholas Scheuer
05-13-2010, 05:54 PM
One question that never gets asked here is, how does the "Church" know what it knoiws?

If a priest "confesses" misstreatment of youth, or any other "sin", then that information cannot be disclosed to another party. Capiche?

Hey, I din't make the rules, and neither did y'awl.

Moby Nick

Captain Blight
05-13-2010, 06:04 PM
What I don't understand is GOD tolerating his "salesman" behaving so. If ever a smite was called for.......There is no God, so no 'smiting' will occur. Throw the lot of 'em in prison. If there's a God, and she gives a rip, she'll find a way to bust 'em out. Maybe she'll send a she-bear.

John Smith
05-13-2010, 06:25 PM
There is no God, so no 'smiting' will occur. Throw the lot of 'em in prison. If there's a God, and she gives a rip, she'll find a way to bust 'em out. Maybe she'll send a she-bear.
That was my point, kind of.

If God can't control his own sales people, why does his existence matter?

That is why I consider myself an "Irrelevantist"

elf
05-13-2010, 07:12 PM
I've always maintained that the purpose of a church was to let you off the hook for not taking responsibility for yourself, your behavior and your growth into humanity. I learned that from my RC father, who declined to take advantage of the asset, and instead simply lived an honorable and ethical life.

SamSam
05-13-2010, 07:21 PM
Maybe she'll send a she-bear.
God is apparently more inclined towards his prophets and priests than children. First a she-bear then a pile of pedophiles.

Candyfloss
05-13-2010, 07:39 PM
We don't need a Church to do that for us Elf. We do it for ourselves all the time. I'm frequently astonished by how easily people forgive themselves for their sins. Other peoples sins, not so much.

Candyfloss
05-13-2010, 07:45 PM
I would have thought that this admission of failure by the Pope would have opened the door to a class action on a scale that could bankrupt the Church, but I don't see that coming up on this thread. Have I got it wrong, or do we just not care?

Cuyahoga Chuck
05-13-2010, 07:51 PM
As a Catholic anything the Church hierarchy does today is an hour late and a dollar short. The priestly molestations were known in the US long ago and some of the countermeasures dreamed up by the various diocese bordered on felonies.
I'm sure that if various priest-molesters had suffered retribution, like having their teeth knocked out, the diocese would certainly have been much quicker to notify the police.

T. Traddles
05-13-2010, 08:48 PM
"Atheism

The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense."

George Jung
05-13-2010, 09:04 PM
agreed, Brad - just so off-the-mark, elf. I'm trying to decide if you're really that angry a person, or if you're just not good at expressing yourself, based on this, and countless other comments you've made.

paladin
05-13-2010, 09:16 PM
Do they no longer condone burning at the stake?

SamSam
05-13-2010, 10:32 PM
"Atheism

The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense."Your post leads me to believe you are as ignorant as whomever you are quoting. Learn to use a dictionary, not necessarily for the spelling, but to get a general idea of what words mean.


a·the·ism

  http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/g/d/speaker.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/audio.html/lunaWAV/A07/A0777900) /ˈeɪhttp://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngθiˌɪzhttp://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngəm/ http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/g/d/dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/help/luna/IPA_pron_key.html) Show Spelled[ey-thee-iz-uhhttp://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngm] http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/g/d/dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/help/luna/Spell_pron_key.html) Show IPA
–noun1.the doctrine or belief that there is no god (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/god).

2.disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.The second explanation is the best, as far as I can tell. Do you see how incorrect your quote is? It's not that we know or even don't know how things came to be, it's that we don't believe in a supernatural explanation. It's an off the wall theory that makes no sense.

Glen Longino
05-13-2010, 11:27 PM
Thank you, SamSam!:)

Glen Longino
05-14-2010, 12:20 AM
Brad, just for you I'll risk coming off as a "wanton fool...trying to be cantankeous".:)
I'm sure you travel in sophisticated circles where everybody believes dinosaurs were REAL and that they lived Millions of years ago.
But here in Texas there are people who believe dinosaurs are quasi-mythological critters created by God 7,000 years ago along with the rest of the entire universe.
You might say, well heck, those are lunatic fringe people of no consequence.
But here in Texas we had such a believer as Chairman of Texas State Commission of Education for several years recently, an educated man, a dentist.
It is a problem when such a really "wanton fool" is appointed to such a position by another "wanton fool" like our governor, Rick Perry.
Rant over! Best to you!

PIguy
05-14-2010, 12:22 AM
How about ...use the funds of the Catholic church to compensate the victims...for a start

Typical western value - throw money; everything will be just fine.

It galls me how some people get all distressed about some issue until after the first check arrives, as though cash were a medicinal ointment. Of course, thats exactly the example the government leads the people with; Its called extortion...!

We the people are me...me...me-ing ourselves right out of a nation. Personal responsibility is supplanted by aggressive bad law which is administered unequally. Give me morays, or give me death....I don't want more LAW or civil liberty unions.

Where in the H*** were all these parents when the atrocities took place? They are as culpable in my opinion; perhaps they should pay reparations as well. Im sure there are some parents who hushed their knowledge to save church-face. Of course their silence will not be questioned.

I believe society is to the point now where folks actually pray for something bad to happen so as to gain advantage. Havent you heard the offers from all of those structured settlement companies? What need do you think they are trying to fulfill?

It's no use. The American Aliance of the European Union is well on its way to dependance on foreign will. Arbitration will soon be conducted not in civil or criminal court, but in EU tribunals. Justice will soon be less just and more swift. Greece has failed, and in so doing has strengthened the EU. The US will follow suit and give the world one government Obama voters were so desprite to ratify.

What does this have to do with the Catholic church? Half of Everything!

jonboy
05-14-2010, 03:48 AM
[QUOTE=PIguy;2593236]

Where in the H*** were all these parents when the atrocities took place? They are as culpable in my opinion; QUOTE]

Well, as most of these events seem to have taken place and are taking place now as we breathe, in orphanages of one description or another.....
And that comment in another thread about 'no reports of abuse in Portugal' ....google the Santa Casa de Misericordia children's homes scandal that's rumbled on since 2004.
Gullible ignorant people keep fairytales alive...in my village twenty kms from Fatima whatever Pope could slaughter a child in the square and they would all still adore him, because of indoctrination and the catholic belief in papal infallibility, God's chosen representative on earth etc.
If the pope is guilty, ergo so is god.

Why are the vast majority of pilgrims swarming to Fatima, past my door almost, women of a certain age and a certain, um, level of education? In my village of 150, the church congregation is about twenty old women, with maybe two men....why is that...?

Hwyl
05-14-2010, 04:00 AM
Typical western value - throw money; everything will be just fine.


Where in the H*** were all these parents when the atrocities took place? They are as culpable in my opinion; perhaps they should pay reparations as well. Im sure there are some parents who hushed their knowledge to save church-face. Of course their silence will not be questioned.



I heard an interview with a victim on the Boston radio, he talked about being raped by a priest when he was a child, he was supposedly doing some volunteer work, when he was attacked. Clergy were trusted in those days

The interviewer asked him "why didn't you tell your father" the response was: "well that would have elicited one of two results, either my father would not believe me and would have beaten me for lying about the priest, or less likely, my father would have believed me and killed the priest and gone to jail" It struck home for me.

As to the financial compensation, of course it does not even begin to be adequate, but what else is there.

Paul G.
05-14-2010, 05:20 AM
Who are "these people"? The Catholic Church isn't just made up of its Priests, Bishops etc, it includes all followers of the Catholic faith, of which I am happy to be one. So don't be such a clown mate.

While I respect your sincerity, you are a totally deluded human being. Why dont you believe in the muslim god as millions do, or the roman gods or the hindu gods? Surely millions upon millions cant be wrong- well yes they can! It is supremely arrogant to presume you are the only one who is correct, likewise for me as well. However, conviction is not the same as evidence and despite the erudite protestations of countless religious believers, there is not one single shred of evidence to support the existance of god. Moreover, its not for the lack of trying. But we digress...

The main issue here is child abuse by those entrusted to positions of power, I would also include parents as well as the clergy. Brainwashing of children into the parents religious belief systems is cruel.

A lame apology from the head of the beagle boys is not good enough.

Osborne Russell
05-14-2010, 03:50 PM
Who are "these people"? The Catholic Church isn't just made up of its Priests, Bishops etc, it includes all followers of the Catholic faith, of which I am happy to be one. So don't be such a clown mate.

The Pope said it. Some priest buggers a little boy and His Eminence calls it persecution of the church. Wow.

B_B
05-14-2010, 05:37 PM
The Pope said it. Some priests bugger[s a] little boys , the Church covers up this buggery, threatens to excommunicate priests and bishops who co-operate with law enforcement, call victims of rape by priests liars and gold diggers (causing at least one to commit suicide as a direct result of their slander, their lying, their attacks on his character), shuffle pedophile priests from church jurisdiction to another where they, unsurprisingly, rape more kids, hide priests who have been charged with sexual exploitation in the Vatican, argue that civil judgments against one diocese are not payable by "The Church" and His Eminence calls it persecution of the church. Wow.
Fixed that for you.

elf
05-14-2010, 06:12 PM
agreed, Brad - just so off-the-mark, elf. I'm trying to decide if you're really that angry a person, or if you're just not good at expressing yourself, based on this, and countless other comments you've made.

Nup, George. You've got me wrong.

If confession is not for the forgiveness of sins, what is it for? If sins are not forgiven by the power of penances imposed by the priest, then what's the point of confessing?

There is a quid pro quo between confession and forgiveness. You confess, you get forgiven. You never have to pay.

Just look at the child abuse scandal - the process within the church is the personification of the confession/forgiveness paradigm.

There's no price, no growth, no expectation from the community that you understand and have learned. You pass the buck to god through confession and you're off the hook. Someone else has the burden of the sin once you give it away to the priest and there's no penalty to you except confessing. You don't even have to realize that what you sinned was bad, you can go right out and sin over and over.

Pass the buck and never grow up.

Ian McColgin
05-14-2010, 06:45 PM
It is distressingly easy for Roman Catholics to in practice trivialize the rite of confession, and certainly the sale of indulgences and natural human sense of barter - it's Old Testiment also, the bargin with God - makes it easy to miss the point, but confession is part of a very full spiritual process that include contritions - the deep soul sorrow for the sin(s) - and atonement. These are not bargining chips that force God to mete out forgiveness, but rather are steps to take to be open to foregiveness.

We can even reconcile the more severely protestant salvation by faith alone by noting that these steps are the steps of a full and authentic faith.

Anyway, like Protestants feeling good in a comfortably calvinist church that notes the sign of the elect in wealth, or other protestants who'd rather take the rapture, or Unitarians who sit around chanting Kum Baya, there are Roman Catholics who think as shallowly as Emily portrays, but that's not what the teaching was meant to foster.

elf
05-14-2010, 07:24 PM
I can certainly accept your interpretation, Ian, and in fact I deeply hope that confession is intended to be the process to growth and maturity.

But look at the priest scandal. It contradicts the entire paradigm. And look at the concept which permeates most christianity, which came into all the "protestant" churches from the mother church - the concept of man being sinful as a default condition. If one is born sinful and dies sinful what good does it do to get all involved with trying to stop being sinful? If you're stuck in sin who cares about the the 7 deadlies? The priest will give out penances and you can do them, but they won't make any difference.

The entire process of sin and forgiveness lacks a basic condition for growth - the premise that better is possible.

Cuyahoga Chuck
05-14-2010, 07:54 PM
"Atheism

The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense."

Atheism is a belief system and, as such, has no scientific connection to evolution which is a science based theory.
And your characterization of evolution as a system where things are generated from nothing is so simplistic that not even 6th graders would buy into it.
But you are entitled to concoct whatever alternate universe makes you happy.

George Jung
05-14-2010, 10:27 PM
Finding myself in full agreement with Ian is a rare occurence; but by jove, I do believe you hit that one out of the park!

Contrition is part and parcel with forgiveness. It's supposed to be a growth experience, not a matter of getting your card punched as you repeat the same mistakes endlessly. The priests committing those atrocities have failed in all respects.

Candyfloss
05-15-2010, 03:24 AM
I have never been to an RC Church, so I ask this question in all innocence. Is there no expectation on a priest, who having heard the same confession of the same sins every Sunday since whenever, to do something about it?

TerryLL
05-15-2010, 06:48 AM
I have never been to an RC Church, so I ask this question in all innocence. Is there no expectation on a priest, who having heard the same confession of the same sins every Sunday since whenever, to do something about it?


I think not. The expectation is that all that is said within the confessional is absolutely confidential and is not to be discussed outside that hallowed booth. In my own experience, the same old sins I confessed when in Catholic grade school were routinely absolved with nothing more than a perfunctory admonition to go and sin no more.

But what might happen when a penitent whispers through the screen that he plans to kill his neighbor? Does not the priest have a moral obligation to intercede, to take that knowledge to the authorities, or at least warn the neighbor? Or must the priest remain forever silent as the neighbor is killed and the murderer walks freely among the congregation?

John Smith
05-15-2010, 07:29 AM
I have never been to an RC Church, so I ask this question in all innocence. Is there no expectation on a priest, who having heard the same confession of the same sins every Sunday since whenever, to do something about it?
He does do something. Tells the sinner to say a bunch of Hail Mary's, and he'll be forgiven. The the sin doesnt' matter.

TerryLL
05-15-2010, 07:47 AM
He does do something. Tells the sinner to say a bunch of Hail Mary's, and he'll be forgiven. The the sin doesnt' matter.

One of the great benefits of growing up Catholic is the sure knowledge than no matter the severity of your transgressions, a quick stop at the confessional and all is forgiven. I tended to be particularly evil on Friday nights, doing my best to get all my mortal sinning done for the week, knowing a Saturday morning confession would set me right with the Lord.

George Jung
05-15-2010, 08:31 AM
One of the great benefits of growing up Catholic is the sure knowledge than no matter the severity of your transgressions, a quick stop at the confessional and all is forgiven. I tended to be particularly evil on Friday nights, doing my best to get all my mortal sinning done for the week, knowing a Saturday morning confession would set me right with the Lord.


Finding myself in full agreement with Ian is a rare occurence; but by jove, I do believe you hit that one out of the park!

Contrition is part and parcel with forgiveness. It's supposed to be a growth experience, not a matter of getting your card punched as you repeat the same mistakes endlessly. The priests committing those atrocities have failed in all respects.

Maybe you missed the 'contrition' part, Terry. Must've slept through that part of your instruction, eh? Personal responsibility still plays a big part, despite what the RCC critics like to portray.

TerryLL
05-15-2010, 08:35 AM
Maybe you missed the 'contrition' part, Terry. Must've slept through that part of your instruction, eh? Personal responsibility still plays a big part, despite what the RCC critics like to portray.

Oh I was contrite. Totally contrite. And I took personal responsibility for my evil doings. But boys will be boys, and it was always nice to start the week with a clean slate.

George Jung
05-15-2010, 08:49 AM
Hehe

One of us is missing something.....

elf
05-15-2010, 11:35 AM
It surely would be interesting to determine how broadly my impression of Confession coincides with common practice among Catholics.

SamSam
05-15-2010, 11:45 AM
"Atheism

The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense."
I'm assuming T. Traddles is a religious person and posted this to ridicule atheism. It's been shown to have nothing to do with atheism and the original quote is a product of either ignorance or duplicity.

But doesn't the originator of the quote (not T. Traddles), in his attempt to ridicule, actually highlight his own nitwittedness? Aqain assuming the originator of the quote is a believer, is not the quote a very good synopses of Genesis?




"and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything" "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."


"and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever""And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so."



"into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.""And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth."

Maybe I'm too serious, maybe the guy was just being a buffoon and I didn't get it.

TerryLL
05-15-2010, 12:08 PM
It's so easy to ridicule evolution when no attempt has been made to understand the process, and so easy to ridicule religious conviction when you have none.

I suspect in most discussions such as this there is no possibility for a meeting of the minds. The best we can hope for is a continued effort to educate our children, and a willingness to tolerate the opinions of others, however strange they may seem.

John Smith
05-15-2010, 01:26 PM
Oh I was contrite. Totally contrite. And I took personal responsibility for my evil doings. But boys will be boys, and it was always nice to start the week with a clean slate.

Kind of like Wall Street execs. They sin, pay no price, and go on sinning.

Sam F
05-15-2010, 03:07 PM
Atheism is a belief system and, as such, has no scientific connection to evolution which is a science based theory.

There were Atheists prior to Darwin, but I'd dearly love for you to show me one today who did not fervently believe in Evolution:


An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: "I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one." I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. (Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, page 6)

Are there any out there? Maybe - it's a big world after all. But they're as common as hen's teeth.



And your characterization of evolution as a system where things are generated from nothing is so simplistic that not even 6th graders would buy into it.

Mr. Traddles put it in the simplest of terms minus all the bells and whistles, nevertheless it is entirely accurate.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 03:27 PM
"Mr. Traddles put is in the simplest of terms minus all the bells and whistles, nevertheless it is entirely accurate."

Don't you mean put "it" in the simplest of terms? Just sayin!
Regardless, what T.Traddles posted is pure BS and you know it.
Are you saying that you can believe an Infinite, Eternal God with no Beginning and No End can create life but Natural Forces cannot? I don't believe you!

TerryLL
05-15-2010, 03:36 PM
"Atheism

The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense."

If this is indeed what T. Traddles understands to be the mechanisms responsible for the process of evolution, then is it any wonder that Divine Creation would be his dogma of choice?

George Jung
05-15-2010, 06:20 PM
I can't tell if John Smith and elf really believe the bunk they're passing, or simply looking to chum the waters.

I'm for giving them the benefit of the doubt, and that they're just trolling.

SamSam
05-15-2010, 06:58 PM
There were Atheists prior to Darwin, but I'd dearly love for you to show me one today who did not fervently believe in Evolution:

Are there any out there? Maybe - it's a big world after all. But they're as common as hen's teeth.

Mr. Traddles put is in the simplest of terms minus all the bells and whistles, nevertheless it is entirely accurate.

T. Traddles has been shown to be entirely wrong.

Atheism has nothing to do with how everything started. Atheism has nothing to do with evolution.

Evolution has nothing to do with how everything started. Evolution has nothing to do with atheism.

You know all that and yet you post it anyways.

Oh Oh Lucy, time for confession, you gotta lotta splainin to do.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 07:10 PM
So true, SamSam!
Elf and John Smith are merely examples of mature humans with mentally healthy perceptions of reality.
They are adults who left home and accepted the responsibilities of their own actions without further need for a Father Figure, God, or Priest.
Since there are no gods, there are likewise no sins against gods that must be forgiven. There are only sins against oneself which only the sinner can forgive and move on.
We don't need no stinking confessions and no stinking priests.
We are our own masters and our own servants. Get over it!

George Jung
05-15-2010, 07:14 PM
Glen, ol' son, you're always entertaining, but....

sometimes yer just FOS.

(thought you'd want to hear that from your friends...)

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 07:19 PM
If you think I'm FOS, just sit down and read Genesis!:D

jbelow
05-15-2010, 07:21 PM
"Mr. Traddles put is in the simplest of terms minus all the bells and whistles, nevertheless it is entirely accurate."

Don't you mean put "it" in the simplest of terms? Just sayin!
Regardless, what T.Traddles posted is pure BS and you know it.
Are you saying that you can believe an Infinite, Eternal God with no Beginning and No End can create life but Natural Forces cannot? I don't believe you!

Glen, you must be one relaxed cool dude without a care in the world. I bet Christian Theology and Science is not your strong suit. You got that live and let live attitude. That would be liberating but it is not for me.

George Jung
05-15-2010, 07:27 PM
.... and use lil' words, Glen.

And type slow.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 07:31 PM
Glen, you must be one relaxed cool dude without a care in the world. I bet Christian Theology and Science is not your strong suit. You got that live and let live attitude. That would be liberating but it is not for me.

Actually, Jay, I likely have pretty much the same worldy cares you have. I've been a living creature in this world for almost 69 years and I trust my general grasp of life more than I trust Supernatural Studies and Supernatural Beings.
I'm happy that we can live together in the same world without wishing one another any harm.

Sam F
05-15-2010, 07:41 PM
"Mr. Traddles put is in the simplest of terms minus all the bells and whistles, nevertheless it is entirely accurate."

Don't you mean put "it" in the simplest of terms?

I sure did. Thanks for the correction!


Regardless, what T.Traddles posted is pure BS and you know it.
Absolutely not. Maybe the term "magic" bothers you, but it's just another way of saying "we haven't a clue."
The term "magic" is more than close enough - it's a bull's eye hit.


Are you saying that you can believe an Infinite, Eternal God with no Beginning and No End can create life but Natural Forces cannot? I don't believe you!

I didn't say that at all.
I merely agree that ya'll ain't got a ghost of a reason for all that magic. :D

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 08:01 PM
Actually, Glen ... explain to us your interpretation of Genesis ...

This way, we will quickly know whether or not you are a cop-out atheist or a TRUE atheist.

Seriously ... 'splain it to us stupid religious fools!

:)

First, let me assure you I don't think of anybody here as "stupid religious fools!" Surely you must know that?

But, to the task at hand!:) (this may take awhile, maybe YEARS!):D
Genesis 1
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Okay, I call BS on the first verse!

2 "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
Oooops, gotta call BS again! Everybody knows there were No Waters on earth billions of years ago. And the earth was not "without form". It was and still is a sphere. Of course the old boys who wrote that did not know that when they wrote it. Nor did they know as much about the world as any fifth grade kid today.

That's enough for now. I'll do more later!
Are the words slow and small enough for you, George?;)

George Jung
05-15-2010, 08:04 PM
Yes.

Thank you.

But I'm still waiting for you to make sense!

And I'm wearing my chestwaders now.

Feel free to carry on!

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 08:15 PM
I can't make sense of those verses either, George.
Don't you see, that's the point?
There is no sense there to make!

jbelow
05-15-2010, 08:26 PM
Glen , you have 17 years on me . Every man has a different walk in life and takes a different path. I understand the trust you have in your general grasp of life than the studies of the supernatural. I must also live in this world but desire a better ending than a long dirt nap. I hope for a better ending. It is that hope that inspires my faith building through studies in the Christian Bible.
I'm also happy that we can live together in the same world without wishing one another any harm. I hope you live another 69yrs.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 08:30 PM
As far as I know, Nobody Knows, Brad.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 08:35 PM
..."ya'll ain't got a ghost of a reason for all that magic."

Sam, you don't believe that Natural Order or Natural Chaos are "magic", do you?

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 08:36 PM
PERFECTLY said, jbelow!!!

:)

I agree!
It's about the best post he's ever made here, IMO.

jbelow
05-15-2010, 09:25 PM
Actually, Glen ... explain to us your interpretation of Genesis ...

This way, we will quickly know whether or not you are a cop-out atheist or a TRUE atheist.

Seriously ... 'splain it to us stupid religious fools!

:)

I bet Glen is a cop-out atheist. He will run away. It would be easier for him if he said he was an agnostic. That way he could take the fith and plead ignorant.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 09:26 PM
So we do agree about certain things! Right, Glen? :)

You bet, Brad!:)

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 09:30 PM
I bet Glen is a cop-out atheist. He will run away. It would be easier for him if he said he was an agnostic. That way he could take the fith and plead ignorant.

Easier for me if I said I was agnostic?
Are you kidding?
Just look at the treatment poor ole Norm B gets around here for being agnostic.:D

Bob Cleek
05-15-2010, 09:49 PM
It surely would be interesting to determine how broadly my impression of Confession coincides with common practice among Catholics.

Would it still interest you if the answer were "not at all."

Bob Cleek
05-15-2010, 09:58 PM
First, let me assure you I don't think of anybody here as "stupid religious fools!" Surely you must know that?

But, to the task at hand!:) (this may take awhile, maybe YEARS!):D
Genesis 1
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Okay, I call BS on the first verse!

2 "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
Oooops, gotta call BS again! Everybody knows there were No Waters on earth billions of years ago. And the earth was not "without form". It was and still is a sphere. Of course the old boys who wrote that did not know that when they wrote it. Nor did they know as much about the world as any fifth grade kid today.

That's enough for now. I'll do more later!
Are the words slow and small enough for you, George?;)

Nor, apparently, like a fifth grade kid, do you know anything about literary techniques like allegory, hyperbole, metaphor or parable. Google "exegesis" and quit acting like a fifth grader.

Bob Cleek
05-15-2010, 10:09 PM
I think not. The expectation is that all that is said within the confessional is absolutely confidential and is not to be discussed outside that hallowed booth. In my own experience, the same old sins I confessed when in Catholic grade school were routinely absolved with nothing more than a perfunctory admonition to go and sin no more.

But what might happen when a penitent whispers through the screen that he plans to kill his neighbor? Does not the priest have a moral obligation to intercede, to take that knowledge to the authorities, or at least warn the neighbor? Or must the priest remain forever silent as the neighbor is killed and the murderer walks freely among the congregation?

Don't be silly.

When you were a child, you sinned as a child (if a child really sins at all) and the counsel you received was "age-appropriate."

Now, if someone tells a priest he intends to kill someone, they aren't seeking forgiveness with a contrite heart, are they? So, they aren't seeking reconciliation, and it's no confession at all.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 10:17 PM
Nor, apparently, like a fifth grade kid, do you know anything about literary techniques like allegory, hyperbole, metaphor or parable. Google "exegesis" and quit acting like a fifth grader.

So you agree with me that verse 1 is Untrue BS?
Good!

Bob Cleek
05-15-2010, 10:25 PM
So you agree with me that verse 1 is Untrue BS?
Good!

Everything in the Bible is "True." Some of it may actually have happened.

Glen, your assertion is puerile. Go to your room for a time out.

B_B
05-15-2010, 10:39 PM
Nor, apparently, like a fifth grade kid, do you know anything about literary techniques like allegory, hyperbole, metaphor or parable. Google "exegesis" and quit acting like a fifth grader.
everybody knows it - the problem is:
a) that EVERY self-identified Christian gets to call whichever part of the Bible whatever they want - i.e. allegory, truth, Truth, hyperbole etc. - with whatever consistency there is between them being purely coincidental
b) that all organized religion has CHANGED that which its dogma considers allegory, truth, Truth, etc. over time.

I wish, really wish, Christians would just have a definitive answer to every question, an answer which has stayed the same throughout time - but "they" don't. Each and every single one of them has a different answer, for each and every single question, and each and every religion has changed its answers over time.

It's all, sadly, relativistic. Which makes the supposition that NONE of them have a frickin clue the only honest conclusion one can draw.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 10:39 PM
Do you think "some of" verse 1 actually happened?
Of course not, don't be childish!

B_B
05-15-2010, 10:46 PM
Everything in the Bible is "True." Some of it may actually have happened.

Glen, your assertion is puerile. Go to your room for a time out.
"True" - Love it! You are a relativistic bunch of twits.

Bob Cleek
05-15-2010, 10:50 PM
everybody knows it - the problem is:
a) that EVERY self-identified Christian gets to call whichever part of the Bible whatever they want - i.e. allegory, truth, Truth, hyperbole etc. - with whatever consistency there is between them being purely coincidental
b) that all organized religion has CHANGED that which its dogma considers allegory, truth, Truth, etc. over time.

I wish, really wish, Christians would just have a definitive answer to every question, an answer which has stayed the same throughout time - but "they" don't. Each and every single one of them has a different answer, for each and every single question, and each and every religion has changed its answers over time.

It's all, sadly, relativistic. Which makes the supposition that NONE of them have a frickin clue the only honest conclusion one can draw.

There are some fairly standard rules of interpretation which define general areas of interpretative agreement. There are, of course, those out on the fringes. Fact is, the same literary forms found in scripture are found in secular literature. Those who have a basic liberal arts education have little trouble recognizing and understanding them.

Sorry, but there aren't "definitive answers for everything." Religion is the process of man's relationship with God over all time and as such, it is always changing as our understanding of God and ourselves in relation to God grows and develops. That's what makes it alive and fun, dontcha see?

WX
05-15-2010, 10:56 PM
Religion is for people who can't handle reality.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 10:58 PM
Whose days?:)
Brad, if I believed there was a God and believed He wrote verse 1, of course I would believe He created the earth and us.
As it is, I simply don't believe it.
I do believe that thousands of years ago some old men sitting around campfires out in the desert thought this stuff up. Simple as that.
I certainly don't expect you and others to give up your beliefs and accept mine, but I can't simply believe what I can't believe.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 11:02 PM
Religion is for people who can't handle reality.

Oooops, now you've fueled another ten pages!:eek::)

George Jung
05-15-2010, 11:02 PM
your oversimplification of 'historical Jesus' suggests, to me, a less-than thorough reading of the information - IOW, you made up your mind without really doing any kind of intellectual evaluation of 'facts'.

Interesting, that.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 11:04 PM
Which "facts" George?

WX
05-15-2010, 11:14 PM
Whose days?:)
Brad, if I believed there was a God and believed He wrote verse 1, of course I would believe He created the earth and us.
As it is, I simply don't believe it.
I do believe that thousands of years ago some old men sitting around campfires out in the desert thought this stuff up. Simple as that.
I certainly don't expect you and others to give up your beliefs and accept mine, but I can't simply believe what I can't believe.
We interpret what is happening around with the tools we have at the time. A few thousand years ago it was natural to associate natural events with supernatural forces and to believe the heavens rotated around us. The Greeks were on the right track but they were conquered by the non curious Romans. As our tools such as mathematics and optics became more refined we realised that we were governed more by the laws of physics than by angry Gods.
Sadly, religion, like the qwerty keyboard still dominates much of our lives.

B_B
05-15-2010, 11:22 PM
There are some fairly standard rules of interpretation which define general areas of interpretative agreement. There are, of course, those out on the fringes. Fact is, the same literary forms found in scripture are found in secular literature. Those who have a basic liberal arts education have little trouble recognizing and understanding them.

Sorry, but there aren't "definitive answers for everything." Religion is the process of man's relationship with God over all time and as such, it is always changing as our understanding of God and ourselves in relation to God grows and develops. That's what makes it alive and fun, dontcha see?
Oh, I totally get the allegory thing - I like literary things and have a "basic liberal arts education" and have little trouble understanding them.

I do have a serious issue with the fact that people have been put to death based on one generations interpretation of "truth", a "truth" which nowadays no-one cares about (basic example - apostasy).

The point, one that anyone with a "basic liberal arts education" gets, is that these markers of religious "absolutes" have changed dramatically, oh, ever since they were first invented.

To me that means they are all relativistic and therefore a product of man's time and place and have nothing to do with "god" and everything to do with man (yes, MAN, no woman need apply, right?).

Don'tcha see? If your Church changes what it says God says, then to me God didn't "say" any of it - the old stuff, the new stuff, the consistent stuff. If your "right hand of God on earth" can't get the basics right, what can he get right?

It's not your understanding of God, it's your projection towards "god" which you then see reflected back upon your which you take as 'the word of God'.

elf
05-15-2010, 11:28 PM
Originally Posted by elf
It surely would be interesting to determine how broadly my impression of Confession coincides with common practice among Catholics.
Would it still interest you if the answer were "not at all."

Of course. I'd then be curious about what most Catholics do understand about Confession.

Keep in mind that I have no evidence that any of the people on the forum who self-identify as Roman Catholics are normative for the adherents. A sample of, say, 45,000 opinions, each generated by an essay question on the matter, might be an indicator of normative understanding.

Fewer than 15,000 and I wouldn't be able to control for religious professionals, post secondary education, gender and Northern European extraction.

B_B
05-15-2010, 11:33 PM
your oversimplification of 'historical Jesus' suggests, to me, a less-than thorough reading of the information - IOW, you made up your mind without really doing any kind of intellectual evaluation of 'facts'.
Interesting, that.


Which "facts" George?

A better question would be "Which Jesus"?
There is remarkably little consistency between the Gospels and their portrayal of this 'Jesus' character. (http://www.cheathouse.com/essay/portrayal-jesus-christ-four-gospels-new-testement)
There is remarkably little consistency between "church" teaching and this 'Jesus' character. i.e. Christians don't usually follow the example of 'Christ' (after whom they're named) partly because the record of 'Christ' varies, and partly because it doesn't fit the corporatist agenda of organized religion.


One for Brad:

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (http://www.ensignmessage.com/archives/needle.html)

TerryLL
05-15-2010, 11:45 PM
Don't be silly.

When you were a child, you sinned as a child (if a child really sins at all) and the counsel you received was "age-appropriate."

Now, if someone tells a priest he intends to kill someone, they aren't seeking forgiveness with a contrite heart, are they? So, they aren't seeking reconciliation, and it's no confession at all.

Bob,
I agree, it's hard to take seriously the confession for a crime not yet committed. But my question was whether or not a priest could divulge the content of the confessional if he heard evidence of a future crime. And this goes back to the question Candyfloss posed, namely, how inviolate is the confessional? Are there circumstances, perhaps sanctioned under canonical law, that permit a priest to divulge the words spoken within confession? I don't know the answer.

elf
05-15-2010, 11:47 PM
I'm not embarassed. Why do you think I should be?

If you want to know how people understand something as essential to your religion as Confession, you really need to ask them. And if you ask only religious professionals, you'll get an answer that may not apply to poor non-white people in sub-Saharan Africa. Similarly if you ask women you may not get the same answer from men. Etc.

elf
05-15-2010, 11:49 PM
Bob,
And this goes back to the question Candyfloss posed, namely, how inviolate is the confessional? Are there circumstances, perhaps sanctioned under canonical law, that permit a priest to divulge the words spoken within confession? I don't know the answer.

Apparently not, since Ratzinger preferred to protect his staff over letting the various civil governments know that crimes were being committed.

I suppose that depends on how you define Confession. Perhaps Papal memos and reports aren't the same.

Glen Longino
05-15-2010, 11:56 PM
Elf, any answers you get to your question about confession from this crowd are likely to be hyperbole, allegory, metaphor, or lie.
Might as well make up your own answer!;)

TerryLL
05-15-2010, 11:56 PM
Apparently not, since Ratzinger preferred to protect his staff over letting the various civil governments know that crimes were being committed.

I suppose that depends on how you define Confession. Perhaps Papal memos and reports aren't the same.

Not the answer I was looking for Em, but feel free to vent if it brings you some solace.

B_B
05-16-2010, 12:25 AM
Apparently not, since Ratzinger preferred to protect his staff over letting the various civil governments know that crimes were being committed.
This is completely misleading. The church hierarchy not only did "protect" their pedophile staff - they authored a missive which made it an ex-communicable offence (!) to co-operate with law enforcement.

Note: this has nothing do with protecting the relationship between confessor and confessee - it has to do with ANY investigation which the "Church" undertakes:


Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases 'in the most secretive way... restrained by a perpetual silence... and everyone... is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office... under the penalty of excommunication'. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/aug/17/religion.childprotection)

Ratzinger was one of the worst for cover-up.
Scum.


In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church's interests ahead of child safety.
The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it. And, to keep victims quiet, it threatened that if they repeat the allegations they would be excommunicated. (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23369148-pope-led-cover-up-of-child-abuse-by-priests.do)

The Popes own frickin brother is accused:

Pope Benedict's older brother has been linked to a sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church in Germany. Allegations of abuse at a boarding school whose choir Georg Ratzinger ran for 30 years have surfaced, although he has denied any knowledge of abuse and has agreed to testify in any prosecutions (http://www.newser.com/story/82767/popes-brother-embroiled-in-abuse-scandal.html)
will he be 'ex-communicated' for 'agreeing to testify'?

Where the hell is "god" in all of this, Bob?

elf
05-16-2010, 12:28 AM
Not the answer I was looking for Em, but feel free to vent if it brings you some solace.

Huh?

TerryLL
05-16-2010, 12:42 AM
Huh?

I am looking for the answer to a very specific question regarding the secrecy of the confessional as defined in Catholic doctrine. I was hoping one of our Catholic scholars could enlighten me on that bit of canonical law. You took the opportunity of my question to rail against the Pope. Warranted perhaps, but my question remains unanswered.

downthecreek
05-16-2010, 03:34 AM
Ignore, Braam ... he is a silly goofball ... whether he is talking about cars or God ... some folks just do not understand!!!

BELIEVE me, Braam, I pray for you daily!!!

Gosh! Prayer as an attack weapon. That's a bit novel. :D

Captain Intrepid
05-16-2010, 03:53 AM
One of the great benefits of growing up Catholic is the sure knowledge than no matter the severity of your transgressions, a quick stop at the confessional and all is forgiven. I tended to be particularly evil on Friday nights, doing my best to get all my mortal sinning done for the week, knowing a Saturday morning confession would set me right with the Lord.

Not exactly. To confess your sins and receive absolution from God you have to be in a state of humility and genuinely mean and intend to no longer commit the sins your are confessing. Going and sinning because you think you can wipe the slate clean with a simple confession, is worse than sinning and not confessing at all.

downthecreek
05-16-2010, 04:27 AM
I am looking for the answer to a very specific question regarding the secrecy of the confessional as defined in Catholic doctrine.

Out of interest, I took a little google around. Not easy to find a definitive answer, but as far as I can see, the "seal of the confessional" can only be broken with the express permission of the penitent. This even appears to be true in the case of a person confessing to planning, or having comitted, serious crime - or in order for the priest to save his own skin. The penalty for breaking this trust is excommunication.

As we have seen before, there are obviously differences of opinion amongst different wings of the church (I recall seeing the Catholic Encyclopaedia decried as an unreliable source, for example) but no doubt someone "of the faith" will confirm or correct as appropriate.

Bob Cleek
05-16-2010, 04:37 AM
I am looking for the answer to a very specific question regarding the secrecy of the confessional as defined in Catholic doctrine. I was hoping one of our Catholic scholars could enlighten me on that bit of canonical law. You took the opportunity of my question to rail against the Pope. Warranted perhaps, but my question remains unanswered.

Here's a detailed explanation that should answer your question.

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=1385&CFID=24138931&CFTOKEN=52938148

To flesh it out a bit, the "seal of confession" only applies to the individual priest hearing the confession. So, you could be a priest who molested a child and confessed it and your confessor couldn't say a thing about it. That would not, however, prevent Church authorities other than your confessor from taking action against you if the crime was discovered.

As a practical matter, I'd expect most confessors wouldn't let somebody off on a child molesting "rap" for "three Hail Marys and two Our Fathers." The "penance" for sins against others always involves making amends to the person you've wronged in some way or another. I'd guess the "seal of confession" would apply to prevent a priest from requiring the penitant to disclose what he'd confessed by turning himself in to the police. Beyond what acts were specifically confessed, though, I'd expect the penitent would be told to stay away from children and seek psychiatric counseling.

And, it isn't called "confession" anymore, really. It's called "reconciliation" which better emphasizes its purpose: to reconcile one with God, themself and others when by some bad act or omission you've put themselves "on the outs" with God, yourself, or others. While "confessionals" remain available in many older churches, few use them anymore. Most Catholics participate in the sacrament of reconciliation "face to face" with a priest in a "reconciliation room" or office that looks a lot more like a psychiatrist's office than anything else and would look more like a counseling session than the old fashioned closet with a screen that TV and movies can't seem to let go of.

Bob Cleek
05-16-2010, 04:42 AM
This is completely misleading. The church hierarchy not only did "protect" their pedophile staff - they authored a missive which made it an ex-communicable offence (!) to co-operate with law enforcement.

Note: this has nothing do with protecting the relationship between confessor and confessee - it has to do with ANY investigation which the "Church" undertakes:



Ratzinger was one of the worst for cover-up.
Scum.



The Popes own frickin brother is accused:

will he be 'ex-communicated' for 'agreeing to testify'?

Where the hell is "god" in all of this, Bob?

Well, I'd hardly call month-old tripe from the British tabloids an authoritative source. The next thing we know, you'll be quoting from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion!

Oh, and God? He's everywhere.

Bob Cleek
05-16-2010, 04:47 AM
Apparently not, since Ratzinger preferred to protect his staff over letting the various civil governments know that crimes were being committed.

Could you maybe give us a citation to authority on this statement... or did you take Glenn's advice and just make it up? I'd really like to hear the details.

elf
05-16-2010, 07:13 AM
If you need to hear the details from me, you must be only listening to Catholic news sources.

John Smith
05-16-2010, 08:03 AM
I can't tell if John Smith and elf really believe the bunk they're passing, or simply looking to chum the waters.

I'm for giving them the benefit of the doubt, and that they're just trolling.
I stand by everything I post here.

I don't see as a God existing makes any difference to our lives. I believe God is simply an answer to a question people can't answer.

And, I've been consistant. When there was the big uproar a few years back about prayer before school football games, my question was, "Is there any evidence to show praying leads to more wins or fewer injuries?" If not, what's the point.

I've asked why God would allow priests to molest children, and I am told "free will". Stupid response. The victims weren't exercising free will.

I worked with an extremely religious gentleman who told me there is NO evidence to support evolution. I asked him to explain how the mosquito became immune to DDT.

John Smith
05-16-2010, 08:04 AM
Elf is not trolling ...

Perhaps John is stirring it up a bit ...

:)

I don't know. I think it's a pretty basic question: why does it matter if a God exists?

Show me how/if/when He actually does anything that shows concern for human lives/life.

If the proper prayer is "Thy will be done," what's the point of praying. Won't His will be done anyway?

John Smith
05-16-2010, 08:08 AM
So true, SamSam!
Elf and John Smith are merely examples of mature humans with mentally healthy perceptions of reality.
They are adults who left home and accepted the responsibilities of their own actions without further need for a Father Figure, God, or Priest.
Since there are no gods, there are likewise no sins against gods that must be forgiven. There are only sins against oneself which only the sinner can forgive and move on.
We don't need no stinking confessions and no stinking priests.
We are our own masters and our own servants. Get over it!
Thank you for those kind words. You are correct. My actions in life are not blamed on the Devil or God.

I have often reached out to help my fellow man, simply because if I were in need of similar help, I'd hope someone would reach out and help me.

John Smith
05-16-2010, 08:12 AM
First, let me assure you I don't think of anybody here as "stupid religious fools!" Surely you must know that?

But, to the task at hand!:) (this may take awhile, maybe YEARS!):D
Genesis 1
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Okay, I call BS on the first verse!

2 "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
Oooops, gotta call BS again! Everybody knows there were No Waters on earth billions of years ago. And the earth was not "without form". It was and still is a sphere. Of course the old boys who wrote that did not know that when they wrote it. Nor did they know as much about the world as any fifth grade kid today.

That's enough for now. I'll do more later!
Are the words slow and small enough for you, George?;)

When I was in school, I wrote a story about creation. About how/why God created all the animals and man.

In a nutshell, He first created the omeba. Didn't like the way it acted, so he went back to the drawing board and created another form. Didn't like the way it acted; back to the drawing board.

He doesn't like the way we're acting, so He's back at that drawing board again.

John Smith
05-16-2010, 08:15 AM
As far as I know, Nobody Knows, Brad.
Actually, I don't think many really give much thought to what an afterlife would be like.

In order for it to be eternal bliss, they'd have to be total memory erasing. Certainly couldn't live in heaven blissfully knowing your loved one went to hell, or being aware of the heartache your family still on earth is undergoing.

I'm not so sure that eternal awaredness is not more frightening than a sudden end.

John Smith
05-16-2010, 08:21 AM
This is completely misleading. The church hierarchy not only did "protect" their pedophile staff - they authored a missive which made it an ex-communicable offence (!) to co-operate with law enforcement.

Note: this has nothing do with protecting the relationship between confessor and confessee - it has to do with ANY investigation which the "Church" undertakes:



Ratzinger was one of the worst for cover-up.
Scum.



The Popes own frickin brother is accused:

will he be 'ex-communicated' for 'agreeing to testify'?

Where the hell is "god" in all of this, Bob?

If the president (priest) does it, it is not illegal (a sin). Just substitute the words.

Bob Cleek
05-16-2010, 11:48 AM
If you need to hear the details from me, you must be only listening to Catholic news sources.

It was a desire to better inform myself that prompted my request that you share your sources. I read many news sources, some reliable and some not. You made a statement of fact that I've never seen authoritatively stated before. Perhaps there's a specific source that I've missed. I'd certainly like to add it to my reading list. If you can't do better than your response above, you're just another ignorant bigot who isn't worth taking at all seriously. Put your money where you mouth is.

George Jung
05-16-2010, 02:13 PM
Bob, you sweet talker!

Must be part of your new campaign - "Winning converts, one elf at a time"

Bob Cleek
05-16-2010, 02:37 PM
Yea, I ought to know better than to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

B_B
05-16-2010, 04:33 PM
Well, I'd hardly call month-old tripe from the British tabloids an authoritative source. The next thing we know, you'll be quoting from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion!
Oh, and God? He's everywhere.
"Vatican told bishops to cover up sex abuse" is not month old tripe at all. It comes from, according to you, a very credible source - the Vatican.
Read it from the original (http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Observer/documents/2003/08/16/Criminales.pdf) if you'd like. It was written in 1962.

So in 1962 the Church recognized that Sexual Abuse of parishioners was an issue, an issue important enough to muzzle through the threat of ex-communication any church member who co-operates with law-enforcement? So any member who co-operates with law-enforcement in the investigation of priestly pedophilia is damned for eternity? For trying to protect children?

God is everywhere indeed.

B_B
05-16-2010, 05:16 PM
Apparently not, since Ratzinger preferred to protect his staff over letting the various civil governments know that crimes were being committed.


Could you maybe give us a citation to authority on this statement... or did you take Glenn's advice and just make it up? I'd really like to hear the details.


TThe internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/world/europe/25vatican.html) the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

...

In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.

But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy [the Pedophile Priest in question] personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.


Rome was so soft on Sexual Abuse that one of its leading legal beagles, Fr. Tom Doyle, openly questioned the Church's policy and was fired for his efforts to protect children from pedophile priests:

What you have here is an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy and to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen.

When abusive priests are discovered, the response has been not to investigate and prosecute but to move them from one place to another. So there's total disregard for the victims and for the fact that you are going to have a whole new crop of victims in the next place. This is happening all over the world.

John Smith
05-16-2010, 05:59 PM
Rome was so soft on Sexual Abuse that one of its leading legal beagles, Fr. Tom Doyle, openly questioned the Church's policy and was fired for his efforts to protect children from pedophile priests:



you have the class and intelligence of Bill Donohue (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKLlxAgMO-w)


I find all this silly. One of the believers here might make an effort to explain why God would let his salesmen abuse children. If He exists, and won't interfere under those circumstances, when will he?

Bob Cleek
05-16-2010, 11:52 PM
This is completely misleading. The church hierarchy not only did "protect" their pedophile staff - they authored a missive which made it an ex-communicable offence (!) to co-operate with law enforcement.

Note: this has nothing do with protecting the relationship between confessor and confessee - it has to do with ANY investigation which the "Church" undertakes:



Ratzinger was one of the worst for cover-up.
Scum.



The Popes own frickin brother is accused:

will he be 'ex-communicated' for 'agreeing to testify'?

Where the hell is "god" in all of this, Bob?


The information upon which you have formed your opinion is really illustrative of the sort of tabloid journalism that is designed to dupe people who lack the intelligence to think critically. The British press is famous for it. We have our own version in the National Enquirer and other "authoritative sources" you will find at any supermarket checkout stand. I'm sure you've seen the headlines, "Pregnant mom abducted by space aliens! Gives birth to three-eyed baby after alien anal probe!" Do your believe those headlines, too? If not, why are you such a sucker for the ones you've cited.

First, the document in question was written in 1962, nearly fifty years ago. Any such document promulgated to bishops throughout the world would have been written in Latin, the language used to address the world-wide Church, since many languages are spoken all over. The "find" is obviously someone's typewritten translation. It is, however, by the Vatican's confirmation, entirely accurate.

Now, there are a few lawyers in the US who, faced with the fact that the windows lifting the usual statutes of limitation (time periods within which one has to file suit) have now closed, are still looking for some way to collect money on child abuse allegations. One angle they have set upon is a provision in British law which might permit a suit to be filed in England against the Vatican, in their minds, the deepest pocket of all. So far, while they have garnered a fair bit of press in the last few months, every "explosive leak" they've made to the press has ultimately proven a dud. This letter was the biggest egg they've laid to date.

This policy letter has nothing to do with child sexual abuse per se in the context you and the lawyers whose kool aid you swallowed are talking about. The letter addresses what bishops are supposed to due PROCEDURALLY UNDER CANON LAW (not the civil law of the nations in which they live) when they become aware that the "crime of solicitation" may have occurred.

"Solicitation" is a very serious crime under Canon Law, the Church's own internal justice system. It involves a misuse of the sacrament of reconciliation ("confession") by a priest for the purpose of securing sexual favors. That includes ANY sexual gratification whatsoever, whether with a child or an adult. At one time in the distant past, like in the Middle Ages, when sexual mores were far looser, this was a very serious problem which gave rise to an entire body of Canon Law addressing how it was to be handled. The letter essentially restates and updates those procedures, but was never issued in response to, nor with any awareness of a "clergy child abuse scandal" as that issue is recognized today.

The seriousness of "solicitation" isn't the sexual nature of the activity, but rather the misuse of the SACRAMENTAL character of the relationship between the priest and penitant. That is a much graver sin in the Church's eyes than a priest merely having sex. The contents of the letter must be read and understood in that context. The proscriptions about "avoiding scandal" and "keeping it strictly confidential" are designed to protect the integrity of the sacrament of reconciliation, not to conceal a crime from civil authorities. Those who touted it as proof of some "cover up policy" for child abuse conveniently confused apples and oranges. The provisions dealing with keeping such proceedings strictly confidential address the manner in which the tribunal proceedings (Church trials under Canon Law) to try priests who may have violated this law are to be conducted while maintaining the absolute confidentiality of the priest and penitant's communication in the confessional. As with the confidentiality of any priest/penitant communications, under Church law, a disclosure of confidential communications warrants excommunication and always has. This has NOTHING to do with "concealing child abuse under pain of excommunication."

As for Ratzinger's involvement, he was hardly "in the loop" fifty years ago when the policy was promulgated. He apparently did indeed ratify these Canon Law trial procedures while he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). That would be entirely appropriate while he was the head of the CDF because the CDF is the office in charge of matters relating to the proper enforcement of SACRAMENTAL rules, including the prohibition of "solicitation" of sexual favors of any kind by priests from penitents. The CDF did not have any administrative authority over clerical child abuse matters until around 2002, at Ratzinger's insistence, when he was its head. He was quite adamant that the clergy abuse problem should be addressed by central authority, rather than the local bishops, and is recognized as one of the first to urge the Vatican to address it directly.

Perhaps the best example of how low some in the media will stoop to sell papers is the headline, "Pope's Brother Embroiled in Abuse Scandal," published by "Newser," whose byline is, rather appropriately, "Read less. Know more." Now, that headline certainly will slow traffic in front of the newstands, but when one reads the article, it becomes apparent that it's pure horse****:

Here's the whole article, all two paragraphs of it, from the URL you gave us:

"Pope Benedict's older brother has been linked to a sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church in Germany. Allegations of abuse at a boarding school whose choir Georg Ratzinger ran for 30 years have surfaced, although he has denied any knowledge of abuse and has agreed to testify in any prosecutions, the Independent reports.

Ratzinger, 86, says that the cases of abuse being investigated date to before he took command of the famous Regensburger boys' choir in 1964. German composer Franz Wittenbrink, however, who was a student at the boarding school until 1967, told Der Speigel that the priest-run school had "an elaborate system of sadistic punishments combined with sexual lust," during his time there. Wittenbrink says it is "inexplicable" that Ratzinger knew nothing of what was happening."

Mmmmm... he's been "...linked to a sex abuse scandal rocking the Catholic Church in Germany." Sounds serious, don't it?

Okay, what's the link? Well, there have been allegations that abuse occurred at a boarding school where he was the choir director for thirty years.

But wait, there's more! The allegations are that the abuse occurred before he ever worked there! So, pray tell, how does that "link" the Pope's 86 year old brother to a "sex abuse scandal?" Nevertheless, although he has no information about the allegations, he's agreed to testify if called as a witness in any prosecution, as is the Church's policy in such matters, by the way.

Well, our intrepid reporter apparently found somebody who attended the school during the first three years the Pope's brother was the chior director who says the school had "an elaborate system of sadistic punishments combined with sexual lust," during his time there and it's "inexplicable" that the Pope's brother knew nothing of what was happening. Any first year law student can tell you that this is "opinion" and "speculation" and utterly "inadmissible" as proof of anything at all. It does, I suppose, tie up this "news story" neatly with the innuendo that the Pope's brother is "hiding something."

Bram, have you ever heard of "critical thinking?" Do you evaluate the merits of what you read or do you just soak up as "fact" anything that you think validates your own biases?

You know, when we look at the sorry state of affairs our government has gotten us all into in the last couple of decades, it seems pretty clear that the clowns running the store got elected by a nation full of idiots who don't know how to think critically, whether Democrats or Republicans. I suppose in a country where people actually voted for Palin for Vice President and even now support her candidacy for President, we have gotten what we deserved.

Stupid is as stupid does.

B_B
05-17-2010, 12:28 AM
Bram, [sic] have you ever heard of "critical thinking?" Do you evaluate the merits of what you read or do you just soak up as "fact" anything that you think validates your own biases?

...

Stupid is as stupid does.
It may surprise you, but yes; I believe I can sometimes think critically...

Like when I look at institutions, any institution. I can see, historically, those that don't defend their own interests whither away and die. The Catholic Church, or The Church, or the church, has been around (according to them at least) since the Apostles. So, using deductive reasoning and critical thinking one can come to the conclusion that the institution itself is interested in itself.

Like when they burned apostates at the stake, or declared war (Holy and otherwise) on Protestants. Had little to do with dogma and belief, had everything to do with Church power.

So when a Catholic like Father Doyle says:

What you have here is an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy and to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen.
I tend to believe him. Not just because he was THERE. Not just because he was an investigator FOR the Church, but because he came to the conclusion that The Church was more interested in "The Church" than in 'the church' - the congregants, the victims.

Ratzinger's primary role as a Cardinal was to be John Paul II's consigliere (http://www.natcath.com/NCR_Online/archives/041699/041699a.htm) - as described by National Catholic Reporter in 1999. In this capacity, you admit, he not only re-issued the directive that anyone who co-operated with law-enforcement wrt to sexual abuse by clergy could be ex-communicated, but he removed ALL investigation of sexual abuse out of the hands of local authorities and into the Vatican where Diplomatic Immunity afforded protection for the institution. Low and behold when Ratzinger was sued for covering up sexual abuse he plead Diplomatic Immunity and thus escaped having to answer questions as to his role (google it yourself: texas ratzinger immunity).

Stupid is as stupid does. I totally agree. I think we disagree (except for Palin!) about what's stupid.

elf
05-17-2010, 04:55 AM
They really don't get it, eh Braam.

Paul G.
05-17-2010, 06:25 AM
\Oh, and God? He's everywhere.


Assertions and credulousness are not proof, neither is conviction.

There is no evidence for god despite thousands of years to come up with some.

Sam F
05-17-2010, 07:09 AM
I've always maintained that the purpose of a church was to let you off the hook for not taking responsibility for yourself, your behavior and your growth into humanity. ..
“let you off the hook for not taking responsibility”… Kinda strange that attitude.
We hear over and over how the Church is all about blame – never hear of Garrison Keillor’s “Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility”?
Oh I can’t believe you don’t listen to NPR!

Speaking of blame, it seems that no matter what one’s stereotype of the Church is, too lenient or too harsh, She is always to blame anyway.

I wonder if they gave the penitent a caning after confession... would that please folk better that how it's done now?


… I learned that from my RC father, who declined to take advantage of the asset, and instead simply lived an honorable and ethical life.
You know what? My cat has persistently declined to avail himself of confession too. But I don’t claim he’s Catholic.

… If confession is not for the forgiveness of sins, what is it for?
I think it’s pretty clear that is the purpose of confession.

… There is a quid pro quo between confession and forgiveness. You confess, you get forgiven. You never have to pay.
I take it you have no experience with confession. Perchance did you ever wonder why, if it were so free and easy, that your father avoided it like the plague?
I'll tell you - 'cause its not easy, it's not fun and you pay a price for it.


… There's no price, no growth, no expectation from the community that you understand and have learned. You pass the buck to god through confession and you're off the hook… Pass the buck and never grow up.
The confusion and error this statement reveals is hard to counter short of writing a book on the subject. No doubt that was the reason for Mr. Cleek’s abrupt dismissal. Let me put this in a way that the audience here can understand, or ought to:

“Them wooden boats is jus’ plain dangerous. Look at all them things a sinkin’. Ever time ya listen to the radio some wooden boats done gone down with a bunch of Haitians. They don’t never figure it out neither. Down they go and more’s waitin’ on the beach ready to hop inta another of them death traps.”

Does that sound amazingly ignorant?
Yes it does.
Unfortunately it's a pretty good analogy for the secular view on confession.

Sam F
05-17-2010, 07:32 AM
The Popes own frickin brother is accused...

Please get back to us when he's convicted.

Though what a person's sibling has to do with anything, I can't imagine.
God help me if I am ever held accountable for my sister's actions!

Sam F
05-17-2010, 07:36 AM
...Stupid is as stupid does.

Very sad and perfectly true.
It doesn't take a great deal of analysis and experience to narrow it down to that statement.
You can write as clear, accurate, and informative a statement as possible - and you did - but it still makes no impression.

There is very little other explanation for the reception you received other than "stupid".

By that I, and I presume you also, are not saying these folk are fundamentally stupid - just being stupid about this particular issue.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 08:33 AM
“let you off the hook for not taking responsibility”… Kinda strange that attitude.
We hear over and over how the Church is all about blame – never hear of Garrison Keillor’s “Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility”?
Oh I can’t believe you don’t listen to NPR!

Speaking of blame, it seems that no matter what one’s stereotype of the Church is, too lenient or too harsh, She is always to blame anyway.

I wonder if they gave the penitent a caning after confession... would that please folk better that how it's done now?


You know what? My cat has persistently declined to avail himself of confession too. But I don’t claim he’s Catholic.

I think it’s pretty clear that is the purpose of confession.

I take it you have no experience with confession. Perchance did you ever wonder why, if it were so free and easy, that your father avoided it like the plague?
I'll tell you - 'cause its not easy, it's not fun and you pay a price for it.


The confusion and error this statement reveals is hard to counter short of writing a book on the subject. No doubt that was the reason for Mr. Cleek’s abrupt dismissal. Let me put this in a way that the audience here can understand, or ought to:

“Them wooden boats is jus’ plain dangerous. Look at all them things a sinkin’. Ever time ya listen to the radio some wooden boats done gone down with a bunch of Haitians. They don’t never figure it out neither. Down they go and more’s waitin’ on the beach ready to hop inta another of them death traps.”

Does that sound amazingly ignorant?
Yes it does.
Unfortunately it's a pretty good analogy for the secular view on confession.
Got any evidence that people who confess their sins, or their crimes, stop committing either?

John Smith
05-17-2010, 08:34 AM
Please get back to us when he's convicted.

Though what a person's sibling has to do with anything, I can't imagine.
God help me if I am ever held accountable for my sister's actions!
I'm not sure why the POPE would be responsible for his brother by blood. Only his brothers by choice.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 08:47 AM
food for thought:


Last Updated May 16th, 2010
http://www.modelmayhem.com/ArtisticTransitions (http://www.modelmayhem.com/ArtisticTransitions)
Christianity is based on the unique belief that Jesus was God's Son, born of a virgin, sacrificed for the Salvation of man. In reality, as sacrificed virgin-born Savior Son of God, Jesus was not unique. Not even close.
The Jesus myth simply followed the traditional model of the ancient pagan savior-gods.
At the time of Jesus of Nazareth, as for centuries before, the Mediterranean world roiled with a happy diversity of creeds and rituals. Details varied according to location and culture, but the general outlines of these faiths were astonishingly similar. Roughly speaking the ancients' gods:

Were born on or very near our Christmas Day

Were born of a Virgin-Mother

Were born in a Cave or Underground Chamber

Led a life of toil for Mankind

Were called by the names of Light-bringer, Healer, Mediator, Savior, Deliverer

Were however vanquished by the Powers of Darkness

And descended into Hell or the Underworld

Rose again from the dead, and became the pioneers of mankind to the Heavenly world

Founded Communions of Saints, and Churches into which disciples were received by Baptism

Were commemorated by Eucharistic meals.

Krishna was born of the virgin Devaki; the Savior Dionysus was born of the virgin Semele. Buddha too was born of a virgin, as were the Egyptian Horus and Osiris. The old Teutonic goddess Hertha was a virgin impregnated by the heavenly Spirit and bore a son. Scandinavian Frigga was impregnated by the All-Father Odin and bore Balder, the healer and savior of mankind.

Mithras was born in a cave, on December 25th, of a virgin mother. He came from heaven to be born as a man, to redeem men from their sin. He was know as "Savior," "Son of God," "Redeemer," and "Lamb of God." With twelve disciples he traveled far and wide as a teacher and illuminator of men. He was buried in a tomb from which he rose again from the dead -- an event celebrated yearly with much rejoicing. His followers kept the Sabbath holy, holding sacramental feasts in remembrance of Him. The sacred meal of bread and water, or bread and wine, was symbolic of the body and blood of the sacred bull.

The celebration of Christmas on December 25 was originally the pagan birthday of Mithras, the sun god, whose day of the week is still known as "Sunday." The halo of light which is usually shown surrounding the face of Jesus and Christian saints, is another concept taken from the sun god. The theme of temptation by a devil-like creature was also found in pagan mythology. In particular, the story of Jesus's temptation by Satan resembles the temptation of Osiris by the devil-god Set in Egyptian mythology.

So why is there a thing known as Christianity?

More than likely because of one man, more than any other. His was known by the name Constantine, He was a Roman Emperor and He invented Roman Catholicism.
In 325 C.E. the Roman Emperor Constantine I, convened what is now called the ‘Nicene Council’.. Gathering 300 elder/Bishops together, in order to unify basic doctrines, and establish common practices.
(Constantine knew that that religion would play a Important role in Unifying his kingdom, but first he had to unify Religion in order to unify his kingdom.)

One of the most OVER LOOKED FACTS about this Council is this: This * universalizing * produced the *ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH *.

The Latin word *CATHOLIC *
means * UNIVERSAL *.,and there was NO Catholic on this planet prior to this Council.
(Constantine held the pagan title * Pontifex Maximus* as head and protector of the Pagan Worship and later Popes of the Roman Catholic Church took this title for themselves.) It can be safely stated that Constantine himself was a worshiper of Mithras and Sol Deus Invictus. Would it not be possible to gather all the different nationalities around his altars? Could not Sol Deus Invictus, to whom even Constantine dedicated his coins for a Long time, or Sol Mithras Deus Invictus, venerated by Diocletian and Galerius, become the supreme god of the empire? Constantine may have pondered over this. Nor had he absolutely rejected the thought even after a miraculous event had strongly influenced him in favour of the God of the so-called Christians.
Eusebius (Vita Const., I, xxvi-xxxi). (As the story goes) He saw, according to the one in a dream, according to the other in a vision, a heavenly manifestation, a brilliant light in which he believed he descried the cross or the monogram of Christ. Strengthened by this apparition, he advanced courageously to battle, defeated his rival and won the supreme power. It was the result that gave to this vision its full importance, for when the emperor afterwards reflected on the event it was clear to him that the cross bore the inscription: HOC VINCES (in this sign wilt thou conquer).

A monogram combining the first letters, X and P, of the name of Christ (CHRISTOS), a form that cannot be proved to have been used by Christians before, was made one of the tokens of the standard and placed upon the Labarum (q. v.). In addition, this ensign was placed in the hand of a statue of the emperor at Rome, the pedestal of which bore the inscription:

"By the aid of this salutary token of strength I have freed my city from the yoke of
tyranny and restored to the Roman Senate and People the ancient splendour and glory." Directly after his victory Constantine granted tolerance to the so-called Christians and next year (313) took a further step in their favour. In 313 Licinius and he issued at Milan the famous joint edict of tolerance.

For a time it seemed as if merely tolerance and equality were to prevail. Constantine showed equal favour to both religious. As pontifex maximus he watched over the heathen worship and protected its rights. It is true that the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas. (long before the Catholic's did) Constantine moreover placed Sunday under the protection of the State. Consequently Constantine speaks not of the day of the Lord, but of the everlasting day of the sun. According to Eusebius, the Sun worshipers also were obliged on this day to go out into the open
country and together raise their hands and repeat the prayer already mentioned, a prayer without any marked Christian character (Vita Const., IV, xx)


* Nicene Council*(that’s to say) was the blending of all these pagan sects into one UNIVERSAL/Catholic religion with all their holey days, their rituals, and doctrines.



All written word is "The Opinion" of Thomas A. unless otherwise noted...

Sam F
05-17-2010, 08:54 AM
Got any evidence that people who confess their sins, or their crimes, stop committing either?

Sure do!

Me

Got any other "reasoning" you want to try?

peb
05-17-2010, 09:10 AM
John, That whole thing about the Nicene Coucil inventing the Catholic Church is historically absurd. Even without looking at other sources, the write up itself is contradictory. First of all, the document states that it defined catholocsism, but in fact, the document must be read such that it defined christianity, since the council "was the blending of all these pagan sects ..". Secondly, if there was nothing more than a bunch of pagan sects with similiar god-incarnate beliefs, where in the hell did all of these bishops come from.
In addition if you use other source, you will find masses amount of writings from church fathers, way prior to the nicene council, that which will show you the orthodox faith was alive and well. The council itself addressed an issue of Arianism. That was a big deal, but certainly was not a blending of a bunch of pagan sects.

Bob Cleek is correct. You guys are completely void of critical thinking abilitiy.

Sam F
05-17-2010, 09:16 AM
The Mithras cult grew out of Parthia and arrived in Rome about about the same time as Christianity. It achieved its widest popularity in the 2nd century. Like most pagan religions, it was loosely defined and syncretistic*.

This may come as a shock to your particular orthodoxy, but it is quite probable that the influences went the other way, that is, Christianity influenced Mithraic thought.
Never imagined that, did you?


food for thought:...

Mithras was born in a cave,...

Tertiary sources are hardly the best. Please cite the appropriate Mithraic text. ;)



*look it up if you don't know what that means.

Sam F
05-17-2010, 09:19 AM
John, That whole thing about the Nicene Coucil inventing the Catholic Church is historically absurd.

Illegitimate is another term that comes to mind... and ignorant.
This old history major knows exactly what sort of grade one would receive in class for that sort of invented nonsense.


where in the hell did all of these bishops come from?

Now peb, that's perfectly simple. Those bishops created themselves prior to their existence. Got it? :D

peb
05-17-2010, 09:26 AM
Got any evidence that people who confess their sins, or their crimes, stop committing either?

I have a hard time understanding why any non-catholic is critical of confession. When talking to a protestant who says always says "I can just confess to Jesus Christ directly, I don't need a priest", my response is: or really, and how often do you do that.
For you secularist blockheads, I will try to explain this without any religious wording. Confession is about a conversion to leading a good life. It does not work by going one time. How many of you ever sit down and really try to list all of the times in the last month or so when you were at fault or did something wrong? And then, on top of that, go and sit down with another person and tell him all of those times you were in the wrong, harmed others, lied, gossipped, etc? The honest answer is almost always, I don't. Any priest will tell you that a person who is going to confession for the first time in years can almost never think of their sins. Why? Because they are not aware of them, block them out, or these sins are habitual and they don't even realize they are doing wrong. But someone who goes to confession on a regular and frequent basis, becomes very aware of their faults. Any priest will tell you that as a person starts going to confession on a regular basis, over time, it is always apparent that the person starts leading a better life. This is simply common sense if you think about it. It is what we catholics call "an examination of conscience". If one, on a regular basis, sits back and truly recalls all of the times he was in the wrong, it is bound to have a positive effect on his behavior.
I don't know why I waste my time explaining it, you guys can just continue with your caricatures of our religion.

Sam F
05-17-2010, 09:34 AM
...Any priest will tell you that as a person starts going to confession on a regular basis, over time, it is always apparent that the person starts leading a better life. This is simply common sense if you think about it.

It's also the point of psychological therapy - only that's vastly more expensive.
For some reason we don't see lots of objections to that though. I wonder why?
Maybe because it is so expensive.


...It is what we catholics call "an examination of conscience". If one, on a regular basis, sits back and truly recalls all of the times he was in the wrong, it is bound to have a positive effect on his behavior.

But that examination comes at a real cost. In doing so one has to face the reality of one's rottenness. People don't like it. They don't like it at all. They don't like it so much that people will do almost anything to avoid it. That includes rationalizations about growing up and facing responsibility - when they are doing no such thing. Like personal moral improvement is supposed to happen by magic!


...I don't know why I waste my time explaining it, you guys can just continue with your caricatures of our religion.

Well it's no worse a time waster than watching TV. :)

TomF
05-17-2010, 09:45 AM
I have a hard time understanding why any non-catholic is critical of confession. When talking to a protestant who says always says "I can just confess to Jesus Christ directly, I don't need a priest", my response is: or really, and how often do you do that.
For you secularist blockheads, I will try to explain this without any religious wording. Confession is about a conversion to leading a good life. It does not work by going one time. How many of you ever sit down and really try to list all of the times in the last month or so when you were at fault or did something wrong? And then, on top of that, go and sit down with another person and tell him all of those times you were in the wrong, harmed others, lied, gossipped, etc? The honest answer is almost always, I don't. Any priest will tell you that a person who is going to confession for the first time in years can almost never think of their sins. Why? Because they are not aware of them, block them out, or these sins are habitual and they don't even realize they are doing wrong. But someone who goes to confession on a regular and frequent basis, becomes very aware of their faults. Any priest will tell you that as a person starts going to confession on a regular basis, over time, it is always apparent that the person starts leading a better life. This is simply common sense if you think about it. It is what we catholics call "an examination of conscience". If one, on a regular basis, sits back and truly recalls all of the times he was in the wrong, it is bound to have a positive effect on his behavior.
I don't know why I waste my time explaining it, you guys can just continue with your caricatures of our religion.That's a well considered post, peb. Thanks.

I agree entirely that an examination of conscience is necessary to lead a better life - for pretty much the reasons you've given. Awareness.

It's hardly a unique concept - nor does it need to be. Buddhists would consider this an aspect of mindfulness; Socrates felt that an unexamined life wasn't worth living some thousands of years ago.

Christianity pairs "mindfulness" or "self-examination" with awareness of the Grace of God. That pairing is incredibly helpful in removing stumbling blocks to making the change one wants, so the next examination of conscience might go a bit better. After all, getting a really solid grip on just how hurtful your living has been can shock people into immobility; understanding that God's forgiveness is there can help prevent that slide into despair and cynicism.

The practice of talking it through with a Priest can also be hugely helpful - if the Priest's any good. First, it's harder to hide your crap when someone else is asking pointed questions to help you stay accountable. Second, it's very useful to have someone talk you through reconciliation with yourself, the people you've hurt, and in the relationship you have with God ... when that person's had a whole lot of experience helping other folks do the same thing. Not so much a guide, as a fellow-walker.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 11:04 AM
John, That whole thing about the Nicene Coucil inventing the Catholic Church is historically absurd. Even without looking at other sources, the write up itself is contradictory. First of all, the document states that it defined catholocsism, but in fact, the document must be read such that it defined christianity, since the council "was the blending of all these pagan sects ..". Secondly, if there was nothing more than a bunch of pagan sects with similiar god-incarnate beliefs, where in the hell did all of these bishops come from.
In addition if you use other source, you will find masses amount of writings from church fathers, way prior to the nicene council, that which will show you the orthodox faith was alive and well. The council itself addressed an issue of Arianism. That was a big deal, but certainly was not a blending of a bunch of pagan sects.

Bob Cleek is correct. You guys are completely void of critical thinking abilitiy.
I neither wrote it or subscribe to it. Just thought I'd see what response it gets. Bob Cleek has not been correct yet.

My critical thinking skills are fine, thank you. I was one of those who was quite sure Saddam had no WMD's, because of my critical thinking skills.

peb
05-17-2010, 11:09 AM
TomF, thanks.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 11:09 AM
I have a hard time understanding why any non-catholic is critical of confession. When talking to a protestant who says always says "I can just confess to Jesus Christ directly, I don't need a priest", my response is: or really, and how often do you do that.
For you secularist blockheads, I will try to explain this without any religious wording. Confession is about a conversion to leading a good life. It does not work by going one time. How many of you ever sit down and really try to list all of the times in the last month or so when you were at fault or did something wrong? And then, on top of that, go and sit down with another person and tell him all of those times you were in the wrong, harmed others, lied, gossipped, etc? The honest answer is almost always, I don't. Any priest will tell you that a person who is going to confession for the first time in years can almost never think of their sins. Why? Because they are not aware of them, block them out, or these sins are habitual and they don't even realize they are doing wrong. But someone who goes to confession on a regular and frequent basis, becomes very aware of their faults. Any priest will tell you that as a person starts going to confession on a regular basis, over time, it is always apparent that the person starts leading a better life. This is simply common sense if you think about it. It is what we catholics call "an examination of conscience". If one, on a regular basis, sits back and truly recalls all of the times he was in the wrong, it is bound to have a positive effect on his behavior. One would hope, but how can one be sure? I've known many Catholics, and I can't see as confessing their sins, assuming they really did, made them behave any better. Some got caught for their "positive" behavior and spent some years in prison.
I don't know why I waste my time explaining it, you guys can just continue with your caricatures of our religion.

Seems to me it would be a lot easier to confess directly than physically got to a church at a scheduled time to confess to a middle man, so confessing to the middle man would make one less prone to confess.

Either way, I've seen no evidence of confessing sins/crimes preventing people from doing more of the same.

peb
05-17-2010, 11:11 AM
I neither wrote it or subscribe to it. Just thought I'd see what response it gets. Bob Cleek has not been correct yet.

My critical thinking skills are fine, thank you. I was one of those who was quite sure Saddam had no WMD's, because of my critical thinking skills.

What a load of crap. You post something like that with no critical comment to go along with it, you are attempting to do one thing, and one thing only: discredit the church. Period, end of story.

Backing off it now by simply saying "I neither wrote it or subscribe to it" is chickent-s*&t.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 11:15 AM
That's a well considered post, peb. Thanks.

I agree entirely that an examination of conscience is necessary to lead a better life - for pretty much the reasons you've given. Awareness.

It's hardly a unique concept - nor does it need to be. Buddhists would consider this an aspect of mindfulness; Socrates felt that an unexamined life wasn't worth living some thousands of years ago.

Christianity pairs "mindfulness" or "self-examination" with awareness of the Grace of God. That pairing is incredibly helpful in removing stumbling blocks to making the change one wants, so the next examination of conscience might go a bit better. After all, getting a really solid grip on just how hurtful your living has been can shock people into immobility; understanding that God's forgiveness is there can help prevent that slide into despair and cynicism.

The practice of talking it through with a Priest can also be hugely helpful - if the Priest's any good. First, it's harder to hide your crap when someone else is asking pointed questions to help you stay accountable. Second, it's very useful to have someone talk you through reconciliation with yourself, the people you've hurt, and in the relationship you have with God ... when that person's had a whole lot of experience helping other folks do the same thing. Not so much a guide, as a fellow-walker.

Does this not boil down to: does one need a God to understand right vs wrong? I say he does not. I hold no religious beliefs, other than to question why God would matter, as I see no evidence of him ever showing concern as to what we do to ourselves and each other AND VICTIMS DON'T EXERCISE FREE WILL

I figure if I don't want someone to do it to me, I don't do it to them. If it's not mine I don't take it.

In fact, more often than not, I see the belief in God as an authority to do His work and impose His will on others. I haven't seen all KKK rallies, but I've seen some. At all the ones I've seen, the leaders were quoting the bible.

peb
05-17-2010, 11:16 AM
But that examination comes at a real cost. In doing so one has to face the reality of one's rottenness. People don't like it. They don't like it at all. They don't like it so much that people will do almost anything to avoid it. That includes rationalizations about growing up and facing responsibility - when they are doing no such thing. Like personal moral improvement is supposed to happen by magic!


Excellant addition. The idea, which has been posted on this thread that confession is simply an easy way out for catholics, is complete ignorance. Regular confession is a discipline that is difficult for anyone.
I can abide by ignorance of our faith by our secularist friends. But I cannot abide by ignorant criticism. If elf et. al. are going to be so critical, the least they can do is a little bit of research. But these people are not interested in understanding, they are interested only in tearing down.

peb
05-17-2010, 11:18 AM
I figure if I don't want someone to do it to me, I don't do it to them. If it's not mine I don't take it.
Thats fine. How often do you sit back and spend 15-30 minutes thinking about all of the times you failed to live up to this ideal?

John Smith
05-17-2010, 11:21 AM
What a load of crap. You post something like that with no critical comment to go along with it, you are attempting to do one thing, and one thing only: discredit the church. Period, end of story.

Backing off it now by simply saying "I neither wrote it or subscribe to it" is chickent-s*&t.

What makes you believe that. I just found it and posted it.

How would I comment on it, as I don't believe any of the fairy tales, and this is just another fairy tale, supposedly from another time frame.

If I were to comment, I'd have to say you have no more proof of what you believe than do the people who believed what was in the post.

I'm still where I was: show me where any of it matters. Why is the existance of God important?

Don't be angry with me if my questions are difficult to answer, and don't be angry with me if I post something pertinent to the conversation that you don't like.

If it offends you, I'm sorry. I sincerely am. That was not my intent. I just wanted to see how people who believe in today's Christianity feel about this.

TomF
05-17-2010, 11:25 AM
... I've seen no evidence of confessing sins/crimes preventing people from doing more of the same.How many smokers kick the habit, without acknowledging to themselves that they have a habit? How about quality improvement processes - ever see them work .. either in production, or in an individual's own worklife habits? Ever see a major quality improvement initiative produce zero results? Absolutely. That doesn't invalidate the concept. A performance appraisal's only a tool, not a magic wand.

Confession isn't a sufficient step to ensure life-change either, but IMO it's a necessary step. Whether you use the Catholic approach, or some other. You haven't got the option to change what you haven't realized is broken.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 11:31 AM
Thats fine. How often do you sit back and spend 15-30 minutes thinking about all of the times you failed to live up to this ideal?
Daily.

Usually I ask myself BEFORE I do something whether or not it lives up to the standard I would like to maintain.

A lot of this comes in the form of small decisions, like taking into account my wife's disability and the weather when I park our car.

If I'm alone, coming home from the market or whatever, and it is threatening to rain, I'll park on the street so when my daughter comes home, when it will be raining, she can park by the house door.

If I know my wife will be going out, I'll park up the driveway, as she has trouble getting down the hill.

The other day I moved our self standing basketball net to make a little wider path to get my boat in the back yard. I put it in a bad place visavi my daughter's strawberry bush, and had to move it again.

I try diligently, however, to take all things into account before acting.

Kaa
05-17-2010, 11:32 AM
If one, on a regular basis, sits back and truly recalls all of the times he was in the wrong, it is bound to have a positive effect on his behavior.

Let's assume that this is true.

In thus case a sociological study should show great differences between Catholics and non-Catholics with regard to many aspects of "leading a good life" -- from crime rates to participation in charity to child upbringing, etc. etc.

That does not seem to be so.

Kaa

TomF
05-17-2010, 11:37 AM
Does this not boil down to: does one need a God to understand right vs wrong? I say he does not. I hold no religious beliefs, other than to question why God would matter, as I see no evidence of him ever showing concern as to what we do to ourselves and each other AND VICTIMS DON'T EXERCISE FREE WILL

I figure if I don't want someone to do it to me, I don't do it to them. If it's not mine I don't take it.

In fact, more often than not, I see the belief in God as an authority to do His work and impose His will on others. I haven't seen all KKK rallies, but I've seen some. At all the ones I've seen, the leaders were quoting the bible.John, I'm trying not to sound patronizing - because I know that personal experience really isn't transferrable.

But perhaps you see no evidence that God shows any concern about us etc., while I see evidence all over the place ... because we each have "confirmation bias." We interpret what we see, through the context of our pre-existing beliefs and experiences.

I won't dispute that a whole whack of extremists - KKK and others - quote the Bible. Others quote the Koran, or Sikh texts, etc. But then others quote Ayn Rand, or Nietzche, Mao or Lenin. Hate-filled people will look for a convenient handle, whether that's God or something else.

Confession is about self-examination, to enable taking the steps to effect personal change. It doesn't work, if we don't.

TomF
05-17-2010, 11:38 AM
Let's assume that this is true.

In thus case a sociological study should show great differences between Catholics and non-Catholics with regard to many aspects of "leading a good life" -- from crime rates to participation in charity to child upbringing, etc. etc.

That does not seem to be so.

KaaNo, perhaps a sociological study would show great differences between people who mindfully examined their own lives with a commitment to change, and those who didn't.

Would you expect personal change to occur without self-examination?

peb
05-17-2010, 11:39 AM
Let's assume that this is true.

In thus case a sociological study should show great differences between Catholics and non-Catholics with regard to many aspects of "leading a good life" -- from crime rates to participation in charity to child upbringing, etc. etc.

That does not seem to be so.

Kaa

Unless a study took into account how often one used the confessional, it would be quite worthless. The majority of Catholics don't go to confession much at all. I can tell you from my own experience, that it needs to be at least once a month to really start having a lasting impact.
I can tell you this, the people I know who go to confession very regularly (say every two weeks or so), are very, very good people. Almost without fail.

Kaa
05-17-2010, 11:40 AM
No, perhaps a sociological study would show great differences between people who mindfully examined their own lives with a commitment to change, and those who didn't.

Peb doesn't talk about mindfulness. Peb talks specifically about the Catholic practice of confession.


Would you expect personal change to occur without self-examination?

Yes, I would expect personal change to occur without going to confession or deliberate periods of "mindfulness". Self-examination is a normal human trait -- people lacking it are clinically mentally ill.

Kaa

John Smith
05-17-2010, 11:40 AM
How many smokers kick the habit, without acknowledging to themselves that they have a habit? How about quality improvement processes - ever see them work .. either in production, or in an individual's own worklife habits? Ever see a major quality improvement initiative produce zero results? Absolutely. That doesn't invalidate the concept. A performance appraisal's only a tool, not a magic wand.

Confession isn't a sufficient step to ensure life-change either, but IMO it's a necessary step. Whether you use the Catholic approach, or some other. You haven't got the option to change what you haven't realized is broken.

Ah, but does one need religious faith to realize it is broken. Strange thing here is the conservatives are always preaching personal responsibility, but seldom take any, and most are religious, where a lot of what people do is the work of God or the devil

I'm reminded of a breakfast a bunch of us went to. Maybe ten of us. One got the bill and found it was $10 too little; the waitress had made an error.

I'm the only non religious person there. THEY are going to keep the $10. I said, "Once you find a mistake, isn't it dishonest to take advantage of it? If you found we had been overcharged $10 you'd point it out." They agreed.

I don't think this as complex as addictions to substances. I've lived my life always willing to stop a moment and give a hand to someone who needs it. While walking in NYC (back in my high school days) there was a guy and a truck and a large box he was stuggling to get on it. My friends and I stopped and added a little muscle. Took us all of 30 seconds, and he had the box on the truck.

Kaa
05-17-2010, 11:44 AM
Unless a study took into account how often one used the confessional, it would be quite worthless.

I don't see how so. On the one hand you have Catholics, who as a group, go to confession with different frequencies and with different results. Still, if confession is that useful, one should be able to see the difference from the non-Catholic group who never goes to confession.


I can tell you this, the people I know who go to confession very regularly (say every two weeks or so), are very, very good people. Almost without fail.

Shall we review again the difference between correlation and causation..? :-)

Kaa

Tom Montgomery
05-17-2010, 11:44 AM
It should certainly now be clear to all what Father Gabriele Amorth was talking about earlier this year.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 11:47 AM
John, I'm trying not to sound patronizing - because I know that personal experience really isn't transferrable.

But perhaps you see no evidence that God shows any concern about us etc., while I see evidence all over the place ... because we each have "confirmation bias." We interpret what we see, through the context of our pre-existing beliefs and experiences.

I won't dispute that a whole whack of extremists - KKK and others - quote the Bible. Others quote the Koran, or Sikh texts, etc. But then others quote Ayn Rand, or Nietzche, Mao or Lenin. Hate-filled people will look for a convenient handle, whether that's God or something else.

Confession is about self-examination, to enable taking the steps to effect personal change. It doesn't work, if we don't.
There is a distinction between God existing vs people believing God exists. A lot of beautiful music ( which I listen to frequently) has come from the beliefs. Much lovely architecture, also. Many things much more ugly have come from these beliefs.

My [critical] thinking tells me that a God who allows priests (his representatives) to abuse innocent children is simply either non existant, or totally not concerned with our doings.

Therefore, I ask, why does God existing matter. In all walks of life we act according to our true beliefs, spiritual or otherwise. Many people believe that we had no terrorist attacks while G.W. was president. Many believe Obama wasn't born in Hawaii.

Or, based solely on faith, he's coming for their guns.

What people believe can determine the outcome of elections, whether what they believe is true or not.

TomF
05-17-2010, 11:50 AM
Peb doesn't talk about mindfulness. Peb talks specifically about the Catholic practice of confession.



Yes, I would expect personal change to occur without going to confession or deliberate periods of "mindfulness". Self-examination is a normal human trait -- people lacking it are clinically mentally ill.

KaaPeb may be talking specifically about the Catholic sacrament, but I'm not - not solely. For all that I think the sacrament can be incredibly powerful, for those who expect to find the presence of God mediated by such things.

Self-examination is frankly quite uncommon, at least in any depth. Trivial amounts are fairly commonplace, but examination such that it potentially can shake one's foundations, challenge a view of oneself? You truly see that as a normal human trait?

Can I live where you do?

Cripes. Self-examination is often terribly painful, uncovering all sorts of motivations about which we've comfortably lied to ourselves. From where I sit, I see it as pretty roundly avoided, rather than welcomed - they did kill Socrates essentially for advocating it.

Can one get "better" at self-examination without formal periods of reflection or mindfulness? Sure. I can get better at playing piano by just blindly stumbling through repertoire too ... to a point. To get really good though, I need to identify my weaknesses and work on them intelligently. Structure helps most of us do that, though there are some prodigies who can do without.

SamSam
05-17-2010, 12:10 PM
Confession isn't a sufficient step to ensure life-change either, but IMO it's a necessary step. Whether you use the Catholic approach, or some other. You haven't got the option to change what you haven't realized is broken.

I thought the above post had brought the thread full circle and brought us back to the beginning post.


On the plane to Lisbon the Pope admitted that “sins inside” the Catholic Church were entirely responsible for the child abuse scandal that has spread across Europe.
In his most strongly worded condemnation of the priests involved in paedophile cases the pontiff said: “Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the Church. But then the post below opens it back up for a few more questions besides "What took so long?"....


The majority of Catholics don't go to confession much at all. I can tell you from my own experience, that it needs to be at least once a month to really start having a lasting impact.
I can tell you this, the people I know who go to confession very regularly (say every two weeks or so), are very, very good people. Almost without fail.

Kaa
05-17-2010, 12:19 PM
Self-examination is frankly quite uncommon, at least in any depth. Trivial amounts are fairly commonplace, but examination such that it potentially can shake one's foundations, challenge a view of oneself? You truly see that as a normal human trait?

Let's define self-examination. I get a feeling we are talking about somewhat different things.


Self-examination is often terribly painful, uncovering all sorts of motivations about which we've comfortably lied to ourselves.

Looks like you're assuming a typical Christian approach where you have an unattainable ideal and corrupt, rotten, worthless but for the grace of God, humans.

If you see life as an eternal struggle against your own sinful self, well, yes, self-examination is likely to be painful -- always.


Can one get "better" at self-examination without formal periods of reflection or mindfulness? Sure. I can get better at playing piano by just blindly stumbling through repertoire too ... to a point. To get really good though, I need to identify my weaknesses and work on them intelligently. Structure helps most of us do that, though there are some prodigies who can do without.

There are uncountable business and (non-religious) self-help books which claim they help people "identify ... weaknesses and work on them intelligently." There's nothing particularly religious about the practice.

Kaa

Glen Longino
05-17-2010, 12:35 PM
..."where you have an unattainable ideal and corrupt, rotten, worthless but for the grace of God, humans."Kaa

It's staggering to witness the low self-esteem displayed in some of peb's and Sam F's posts.
Their utter contempt for humanity is astonishing.

TomF
05-17-2010, 01:12 PM
Let's define self-examination. I get a feeling we are talking about somewhat different things.

Looks like you're assuming a typical Christian approach where you have an unattainable ideal and corrupt, rotten, worthless but for the grace of God, humans.

If you see life as an eternal struggle against your own sinful self, well, yes, self-examination is likely to be painful -- always.Who said I have such an approach? Or that such is "typical"? Even the most orthodox Christian perspectives on sin recognize that we were created good, that God considers us to be of incredible, inestimable value (i.e. NOT "corrupt, rotten, worthless ...") ... eminently worth intervening for. It's true that orthodoxy takes the rather empirical view that by ourselves, we are unable to eliminate all our failings; you disagree? Attained some objective level of perfection yet?

My less orthodox view is a bit more charitable yet - and builds on such notable heretics as Julian of Norwich. Sin is unavoidable, but "all shall be well."

IMO, most of us would find it tol be "well" sooner if we applied a bit of system and discipline to uncovering where we screw up, without which it's rather difficult to get very productive about the change process ...or goals.


There are uncountable business and (non-religious) self-help books which claim they help people "identify ... weaknesses and work on them intelligently." There's nothing particularly religious about the practice.No, there's not. Socrates didn't practice self-examination as part of his religion, but of his philosophy. I'll leave the Buddha's mindfulness to your own definition. But the business books typically look at rather different subject matter 'round which people are to "improve" than religion usually addresses.

What non-religious people don't understand, is that those of us taking a really serious interest in our Faith don't really have a way to partition. I am a vocal and passionate advocate of using Science to explore and describe empirical phenomena ... rather than using a set of religious or philosophic beliefs to rule on what a physical law or a piece of history is. I think that pragmatically, that's how we have shown we can best learn how such things work.

But this doesn't mean that God's disproven, because God isn't negating the laws he imagined so we get some certainty. The miracle of their existence and continuity is enough; I need no miracle of God negating God's own rules to prove he exists.

Besides, the whole purpose of sin is IMO to provide a venue for choice, and thereby, for our growth. But I've been through that countless times here - I won't bore you with it again today unless asked.

Kaa
05-17-2010, 01:25 PM
Who said I have such an approach?

You personally? I don't know who claimed anything about your approach. :-)


Or that such is "typical"?

Ah. That was me :-)


Even the most orthodox Christian perspectives on sin recognize that we were created good, that God considers us to be of incredible, inestimable value (i.e. NOT "corrupt, rotten, worthless ...") ... eminently worth intervening for. It's true that orthodoxy takes the rather empirical view that by ourselves, we are unable to eliminate all our failings; you disagree? Attained some objective level of perfection yet?

Oh, please. Man was *created* good, but then there came that little issue of the Fall which, as far as I understand Christian theology, irrevocably corrupted and tainted the nature of man. And in practice, Christianity does stress quite noticeably the sinfulness of man -- and even greater sinfulness of woman.

As to the value that God puts upon humans, may I suggest that you have no idea and, actually, no way to find out. At least at one point God was pissed off enough to kill off the entire humanity but a few that he liked...

"Eliminate all our failings" by ourselves -- go talk to a Zen master ;-)

As to an "objective level of perfection", what in the nine worlds is that?


Sin is unavoidable, but "all shall be well."

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."


What non-religious people don't understand, is that those of us taking a really serious interest in our Faith don't really have a way to partition.

What do you mean, "partition"? I am not suggesting you become a schizophrenic :-)

Kaa

peb
05-17-2010, 01:27 PM
Peb may be talking specifically about the Catholic sacrament, but I'm not - not solely. For all that I think the sacrament can be incredibly powerful, for those who expect to find the presence of God mediated by such things.



Actually, TomF's comments are right in-line with mine. In order to bring some level understanding to the non-religious in the discussion, I was explicitly leaving out the supernatural aspects of the sacrament of confession and focusing solely on the more tangible aspects of the confession. And for his additions to the discussion, I am truly thankful.



Let's define self-examination. I get a feeling we are talking about somewhat different things.

Based on recent posts, I think that is true. It is exceedly easy to focus on what we do right in this world. Everyone is pretty good at patting themselves on the back. It is our faults that we do not sit back and think about, especially in any type of structured, repetitious way. In a somewhat interesting coincidence, I have been taking a weekly adult faith formation class on the sacraments taught by our pastor. Two weeks ago, we focued on confession. One of the things he mentioned about people who go to confession on a very regular basis vs. those who go semi-regularly or seldomly is that the predominance on sins confessed become sins of omission. No one ever sits back and thinks about when they failed because they chose not to do some good. But for those people who are truly advancing upon the path to holiness, this is what moves to the forefront in their lives.

Kaa
05-17-2010, 01:38 PM
I was explicitly leaving out the supernatural aspects of the sacrament of confession and focusing solely on the more tangible aspects of the confession.

Confession is a Sacrament -- as such I would expect its "supernatural aspects" to be predominantly important for Catholics. I am not sure that putting forward confession as umm... social policy tool? self-improvement technique? is all that useful.

Imagine a thoroughly secular confession equivalent -- what would be your reaction to it?


One of the things he mentioned about people who go to confession on a very regular basis vs. those who go semi-regularly or seldomly is that the predominance on sins confessed become sins of omission.

Interesting. Though you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that I interpret this differently :-)

Kaa

TomF
05-17-2010, 01:41 PM
... One of the things he mentioned about people who go to confession on a very regular basis vs. those who go semi-regularly or seldomly is that the predominance on sins confessed become sins of omission. .... for those people who are truly advancing upon the path to holiness, this is what moves to the forefront in their lives.That's a very interesting, compelling observation.

peb
05-17-2010, 01:42 PM
..."where you have an unattainable ideal and corrupt, rotten, worthless but for the grace of God, humans."Kaa

It's staggering to witness the low self-esteem displayed in some of peb's and Sam F's posts.
Their utter contempt for humanity is astonishing.

Examples please. I have no utter contempt for humanity. I would say that TomF's paragraph:



Who said I have such an approach? Or that such is "typical"? Even the most orthodox Christian perspectives on sin recognize that we were created good, that God considers us to be of incredible, inestimable value (i.e. NOT "corrupt, rotten, worthless ...") ... eminently worth intervening for. It's true that orthodoxy takes the rather empirical view that by ourselves, we are unable to eliminate all our failings; you disagree? Attained some objective level of perfection yet?



matches my thoughts on the value of mankind very nicely.
I have no utter contempt for humanity. Quite the opposite. I consider humanity the pinnacle of God's creation in the universe. That belief would be considered extraordinarily arrogant by you guys. I simply acknowledge that we have a lot of "progress" yet to make and that progress won't occur without some outside help.


PS. Tom, don't let all this agreement go to your head. Just consider yourself lucky for the time being that you don't have to put up with my typical behavior. :)

peb
05-17-2010, 01:44 PM
That's a very interesting, compelling observation.

A thoughtful person would find a lot of what my pastor says to be interesting and compelling. Our parish is blessed to have a really top-notch guy for a pastor. Extremely intelligent and well educated, the best homilist I have ever heard, and a truly good heart and means of relating to people.

TomF
05-17-2010, 01:46 PM
Imagine a thoroughly secular confession equivalent -- what would be your reaction to it?KaaMy reaction would be that I'm all for it. A daily examination of conscience is hugely useful.

If first reveals what your actual values and priorities are, and gives you an opportunity to reflect on whether those are what you'd want them to be. It then gives you a daily data-point to see if you're able to grow into consistency with what you think morality requires.

Periodic check-ins with another person build accountability too - like having a workout partner builds consistency in actually getting to the gym.

It's an axiom that what gets measured gets managed ... as true in one's moral life as anywhere else.

peb
05-17-2010, 01:47 PM
Confession is a Sacrament -- as such I would expect its "supernatural aspects" to be predominantly important for Catholics. I am not sure that putting forward confession as umm... social policy tool? self-improvement technique? is all that useful.

Imagine a thoroughly secular confession equivalent -- what would be your reaction to it?

Actually, as I think Bob Cleek pointed out fairly early one, a "self-improvement" tool is what it is all about. What I have been leaving out is that a large part of this self-improvement does come from the supernatural graces on receives as part of the sacrament. But it should be easy to see, that it is a worthwhile practise even without that.

TomF
05-17-2010, 01:48 PM
PS. Tom, don't let all this agreement go to your head. Just consider yourself lucky for the time being that you don't have to put up with my typical behavior. :)Tomorrow will bring another day, I'm sure. ;)

TomF
05-17-2010, 01:50 PM
Actually, as I think Bob Cleek pointed out fairly early one, a "self-improvement" tool is what it is all about. What I have been leaving out is that a large part of this self-improvement does come from the supernatural graces on receives as part of the sacrament. But it should be easy to see, that it is a worthwhile practise even without that.Besides - God's devious and underhanded enough to sometimes slip a grace in when you're not looking.

SamSam
05-17-2010, 02:04 PM
So if you only go once in awhile, it's sins of commission, if you go a lot, it's sins of omission.

You all are just too hard on yourselves.

So, does anyone ever reach a point where confession isn't required?

TomF
05-17-2010, 02:16 PM
So if you only go once in awhile, it's sins of commission, if you go a lot, it's sins of omission.

You all are just too hard on yourselves.

So, does anyone ever reach a point where confession isn't required?You're really missing the point. The point isn't self-flagellation and misery, or grovelling. The point is moving forwards, and sorting out how to do that.

Couple of years back, I had to drop out of a local gym - the monthly fees were simply too high for me to carry on, even though with the quality of the coaching, it was a bargain. My training's been patchy since, and a bunch of previously weak and slow people have left me well behind. 'Cause they were consistent, had solid coaching and support, and a clear view of and path towards their goals.

Those people are still there - even the ones who've now set Provincial and National records - because staying with it is still the best way to move towards their goals. Are they strong? Sure - a bunch of guys my size are now squatting over #400 for reps, with no lifting gear other than a belt. But are they "strong enough" to stop going to the gym? Not in their eyes.

Why should it be different in moral life? We've got such a puny view of what can be achieved - in what arguably is the most central aspect of what makes us human.

peb
05-17-2010, 02:16 PM
Besides - God's devious and underhanded enough to sometimes slip a grace in when you're not looking.
And for that we should all be thankful.



So if you only go once in awhile, it's sins of commission, if you go a lot, it's sins of omission.

You all are just too hard on yourselves.

So, does anyone ever reach a point where confession isn't required?

Its not a matter of being too hard on ourselve, its a matter of a continual improvement. Not required? I don't know.

B_B
05-17-2010, 02:26 PM
I can tell you this, the people I know who go to confession very regularly (say every two weeks or so), are very, very good people. Almost without fail.
Chicken and the egg - what came first - the goodness (or wanting to be good) or the confessions?

TomF
05-17-2010, 02:42 PM
Chicken and the egg - what came first - the goodness (or wanting to be good) or the confessions?Could have been either, and after the improvement cycle's started, it really doesn't matter. At that point, egg follows chicken follows egg follows chicken follows ....

It's a common theme that one of God's graces is the grace even to be able to start. Even that doesn't start with us.

Kaa
05-17-2010, 02:46 PM
Re a fully secular confession:


My reaction would be that I'm all for it.


...a "self-improvement" tool is what it is all about.

So, if confession is such a wonderful tool, socially valuable too, shouldn't communities try to encourage it? make it more widespread?

I mean, it makes people better member of a community, right? So shouldn't the community promote it?

Kaa

TomF
05-17-2010, 03:05 PM
So, if confession is such a wonderful tool, socially valuable too, shouldn't communities try to encourage it? make it more widespread?

I mean, it makes people better member of a community, right? So shouldn't the community promote it?

KaaWhat did you have in mind - wearing a sandwich board while taking a walk? Marketing "I Confess" T-shirts to obvious sinners? :D

Realistically, conversations like this one are pretty fair means of promotion. People can be encouraged to take up the practice, but nobody can be forced, eh? When its successful use depends on the individual's own motivation to actually want to use the tool, and engage...

There is renewed interest in many Faith communities in formal confession, just as there is in re-discovering various prayer traditions. I think you can describe the practice, its workings, and hope that incremental changes in your own behaviour might ultimately become rather noticeable ... though the person themselves will have long since stopped caring about how holy they were perceived to be...

John Smith
05-17-2010, 06:15 PM
Who said I have such an approach? Or that such is "typical"? Even the most orthodox Christian perspectives on sin recognize that we were created good, that God considers us to be of incredible, inestimable value (i.e. NOT "corrupt, rotten, worthless ...") ... eminently worth intervening for. It's true that orthodoxy takes the rather empirical view that by ourselves, we are unable to eliminate all our failings; you disagree? Attained some objective level of perfection yet?

My less orthodox view is a bit more charitable yet - and builds on such notable heretics as Julian of Norwich. Sin is unavoidable, but "all shall be well."

IMO, most of us would find it tol be "well" sooner if we applied a bit of system and discipline to uncovering where we screw up, without which it's rather difficult to get very productive about the change process ...or goals.

No, there's not. Socrates didn't practice self-examination as part of his religion, but of his philosophy. I'll leave the Buddha's mindfulness to your own definition. But the business books typically look at rather different subject matter 'round which people are to "improve" than religion usually addresses.

What non-religious people don't understand, is that those of us taking a really serious interest in our Faith don't really have a way to partition. I am a vocal and passionate advocate of using Science to explore and describe empirical phenomena ... rather than using a set of religious or philosophic beliefs to rule on what a physical law or a piece of history is. I think that pragmatically, that's how we have shown we can best learn how such things work.

But this doesn't mean that God's disproven, because God isn't negating the laws he imagined so we get some certainty. The miracle of their existence and continuity is enough; I need no miracle of God negating God's own rules to prove he exists.

Besides, the whole purpose of sin is IMO to provide a venue for choice, and thereby, for our growth. But I've been through that countless times here - I won't bore you with it again today unless asked.
Maybe I should try another approach.

Our court system has testimony given by people who swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them God.

Does this prevent any of them from lying?

Again, I would think God would be very unhappy when people who swear in his name to tell the truth, don't.

There is merit in asking oneself if one is pleased with one's own actions as the first step in possibly altering one's behavior for the better, but I see no reason why it must be done via a God or his representative. It needs only be done within oneself.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 06:19 PM
My reaction would be that I'm all for it. A daily examination of conscience is hugely useful.

If first reveals what your actual values and priorities are, and gives you an opportunity to reflect on whether those are what you'd want them to be. It then gives you a daily data-point to see if you're able to grow into consistency with what you think morality requires.

Periodic check-ins with another person build accountability too - like having a workout partner builds consistency in actually getting to the gym.

It's an axiom that what gets measured gets managed ... as true in one's moral life as anywhere else.

Seems to me, if I do something wrong, I need to forgive myself, and I need forgiveness from whomever my wrong doing has hurt; physically or emotionally.

Why I'd need forgiveness from some third party diety escapes me.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 06:22 PM
Re a fully secular confession:





So, if confession is such a wonderful tool, socially valuable too, shouldn't communities try to encourage it? make it more widespread?

I mean, it makes people better member of a community, right? So shouldn't the community promote it?

Kaa
Don't give them the idea to mandate we all visit the local priest weekly.

John Smith
05-17-2010, 06:23 PM
Could have been either, and after the improvement cycle's started, it really doesn't matter. At that point, egg follows chicken follows egg follows chicken follows ....

It's a common theme that one of God's graces is the grace even to be able to start. Even that doesn't start with us.


Isn't the concept of confession being an improvement tool one need accept on faith? I'm not sure if there's any way to verify it.

Bob Cleek
05-17-2010, 07:14 PM
Very sad and perfectly true.
By that I, and I presume you also, are not saying these folk are fundamentally stupid - just being stupid about this particular issue.

Nope, Sam. I'm afraid beauty is only skin deep, but stupid is to the bone.

What is mystifying, though, is the passion with which they cling to their ignorance. By "they," I am referring to those who are obsessed with proving a negative. Notice that there is a loud chorus decrying others' belief in God, whatever stripe that may take, yet few, if any, voices arguing in the same vein that those who don't should believe.

There are, I am told, those who adamantly assert that the world is actually flat. I don't believe the earth is flat and I think I could probably make a pretty good argument in defense of my position. I'd have to say that those who believe the earth is flat are pretty nutty. Nevertheless, the fact that there are those who believe the earth is flat bothers me not a wit. On the other hand, there are those who don't share my beliefs about God and think my belief makes me kind of nutty. They certainly don't seem to have the same attitude about the existence of God that I do about the earth being flat. They have some desparate need to bring it up over and over again and argue and argue and argue. Why? What difference does it make to them? What is it inside of them that drives them to so rabidly defend a position which, by its very nature, should absolve them entirely from giving a **** one way or the other? What is it about our belief in the Divine that pushes their buttons so much?

Sam F
05-17-2010, 07:17 PM
Re a fully secular confession...

That's pretty much pointless. It it is confidential, there's nobody to forgive you - but you. If it's not confidential, you'd have to be an idiot.


So, if confession is such a wonderful tool, socially valuable too, shouldn't communities try to encourage it? make it more widespread?
Amazingly there are such communities - Catholic communities.

Sam F
05-17-2010, 07:21 PM
Nope, Sam. I'm afraid beauty is only skin deep, but stupid is to the bone.
:D

I know... but sometimes people learn.
Unfortunately, that learning is often through what I call trauma therapy.
It's a not very pleasant process.

Sam F
05-17-2010, 07:25 PM
Imagine a thoroughly secular confession equivalent -- what would be your reaction to it?


http://www.mccamley.org/resources/priest%20confession%20media.jpg

Bob Cleek
05-17-2010, 07:30 PM
I have a hard time understanding why any non-catholic is critical of confession. When talking to a protestant who says always says "I can just confess to Jesus Christ directly, I don't need a priest", my response is: or really, and how often do you do that.
For you secularist blockheads, I will try to explain this without any religious wording. Confession is about a conversion to leading a good life. It does not work by going one time. How many of you ever sit down and really try to list all of the times in the last month or so when you were at fault or did something wrong? And then, on top of that, go and sit down with another person and tell him all of those times you were in the wrong, harmed others, lied, gossipped, etc? The honest answer is almost always, I don't. Any priest will tell you that a person who is going to confession for the first time in years can almost never think of their sins. Why? Because they are not aware of them, block them out, or these sins are habitual and they don't even realize they are doing wrong. But someone who goes to confession on a regular and frequent basis, becomes very aware of their faults. Any priest will tell you that as a person starts going to confession on a regular basis, over time, it is always apparent that the person starts leading a better life. This is simply common sense if you think about it. It is what we catholics call "an examination of conscience". If one, on a regular basis, sits back and truly recalls all of the times he was in the wrong, it is bound to have a positive effect on his behavior.
I don't know why I waste my time explaining it, you guys can just continue with your caricatures of our religion.

Very well put, PEB. And I'll add, having tried both from time to time, confession is a hell of a lot cheaper than doing the same thing with a shrink!

elf
05-17-2010, 08:02 PM
Very well put, PEB. And I'll add, having tried both from time to time, confession is a hell of a lot cheaper than doing the same thing with a shrink!

And, looking at the history of the church, possibly a lot less effective.

elf
05-17-2010, 09:11 PM
Just leave me out of your prayers, Brad.

elf
05-17-2010, 09:21 PM
Let me count the ways:

I need an arborist for a couple years to help the apple tree recover from the winter moths.

I need someone to take out about 6 50' Norway maples, stumps and all.

I need someone to figure out how to repair a very unusual wind chime of copper tubing hanging from a brass right angle plumbing pipe joint.

I need someone to take my back porch apart and reset the boards so there's space between them and they drain, and to reconstruct the railing.

I'd love someone to take my front porch apart and reset the boards so they butt exactly and the mosquitoes can't get up between them, and to enclose the porch in perfectly fitting screens.

Finally, I need a crew to grade an area in the back of my yard and pour a concrete slab on it and then roll my garage back onto the slab when it's ready.

Or an angel to produce the funds for same.

elf
05-17-2010, 10:16 PM
Yup. You aren't able to get it. You think there's a thing that you call God that everyone else has to accept in their worlds as you do. Until you accept that many simply have no need or desire in their worlds for this thing you call God, you won't get it.

Keith Wilson
05-17-2010, 10:47 PM
Brad, it obviously doesn't bother her; why should it bother you? I expect God can probably get along fine without one more worshiper.

TomF
05-18-2010, 07:10 AM
Isn't the concept of confession being an improvement tool one need accept on faith? I'm not sure if there's any way to verify it.Plenty of literature describing the positive effect of accountability and external social support when a person wants behaviour change. It's not 100% effective by any stretch, but among motivated populations there are real successes ... in sectors as broadly different as the prison system, addictions counseling, relationship counseling, health and lifestyle change, chronic disease management, etc. etc. To say nothing of human resources work, and performance management. The notion works even quite devoid of God, with certain populations motivated to change their behaviour.

Of course, none of these have the gold-standard of a double-blind study behind them. We could do one....

We'll take two groups of people, the first a bunch of thieves and gangsta boys, and the second a bunch of people so thoroughly befuddled that they think they're thieves/gangstas, but aren't really. Then we'll get a corresponding bunch of Priests, and delusional folks who just think they're Priests. Distribute the real/fake sinners among the real/fake Priests for confession, and then track all the confess-ees on 24/7 video surveillance for the next 20 years. I'm sure we can publish our results in some prestigious journal; the ethical issues would be tiny compared with our great contributions to knowledge.

TomF
05-18-2010, 08:37 AM
You think there's a thing that you call God that everyone else has to accept in their worlds as you do. Until you accept that many simply have no need or desire in their worlds for this thing you call God, you won't get it.Elf,

Though whatever posts which prompted this response are now gone, it is evocative nonetheless.

I do understand that there are many who "simply have no need or desire for this thing you call God." I've similarly got little need or desire for what a whole lot of folks call God - the Big Brother in the Sky, the glorified Santa Claus favour-giver, the monstrous Eternal Schizophrenic Sadist, etc.

That's not God.

You take astonishing photos; where does your innate sense of "eye" come from? The "eye" you developed through much love and hard work? When everything lines up as it should, and you're in a "flow" state doing that art ... what is it that's flowing?

SamSam
05-18-2010, 10:37 AM
Nope, Sam. I'm afraid beauty is only skin deep, but stupid is to the bone.

What is it about our belief in the Divine that pushes their buttons so much?
Whose buttons are pushed? You're the one selling the used car.

Look up 'reality, religion, faith, supernatural, superstition' and then come back and talk about 'divine' and 'stupid'.

John Smith
05-18-2010, 10:49 AM
Elf,

Though whatever posts which prompted this response are now gone, it is evocative nonetheless.

I do understand that there are many who "simply have no need or desire for this thing you call God." I've similarly got little need or desire for what a whole lot of folks call God - the Big Brother in the Sky, the glorified Santa Claus favour-giver, the monstrous Eternal Schizophrenic Sadist, etc.

That's not God.

You take astonishing photos; where does your innate sense of "eye" come from? The "eye" you developed through much love and hard work? When everything lines up as it should, and you're in a "flow" state doing that art ... what is it that's flowing?

I can't speak for Elf, but my view is that I don't know where it/we or anything else came from. We frequently visit our nearby aquarium. The vast types of marine life boggle the mind. I can understand people wondering how this all came to be.

What I can't understand is anyone believing they know the answer.

I'm content with, "I don't know." It's honest. Simply put, the fact that all of this is here does not prove how it got here.

elf
05-18-2010, 10:51 AM
Syed, I have no recollection of ever thinking there was a "god". I was taught that there were many religions and they worshipped "god" in their own ways. The church I attended through high school was thoroughly committed to service to humans and living an ethical life, but made no particular requirements about belief in a "christian" mythology. It offered the standard one, but never queried the extent of the belief of those who attended.

My mother was deeply involved in that church - but I never recall her speaking of belief in "god". Through her actions I know she believed strongly in a loving approach to other humans, and service to her community both secular and "religious".

Part of this was because my father and mother did not share the same religion - my father being deeply involved through his work as a musician in his Roman Catholic church. And for many, many years my father's birth into that church was a central part of his life, until the church retired him from his lifetime's work there when he reached 65. But because their religious committments diverged so substantially, we never discussed religion at home.

But interesting things happened along the way. My father's sister-in-law was deeply devout and their house suffered all the usual tacky ornaments of that about which my mother occasionally made not-so-generous comments. They were more from sadness at the delusional aspects of it, than critiques of the tackyness of it.

When my female cousin declared at age 16 that she was entering the church and intending to become a nun, I heard her father (my father's brother) declare his deep disappointment with her retreat from the world. Her mother, of course, murmured(sp?) her usual peacemaking-in-the-home noises and Virgina went to the church.

40 years later, when Virginia emerged from the church and returned to civil life there was a big, joyous splash when she married. Her father loved her spouse and her mother murmured her usual peacemaking-in-the-home noises.

I remember, also, a trip across the country to the landmark sites of the western mountains and becoming attracted to Mormonism when we visited Salt Lake City. At one point my mother pointed out to me that women were not treated as equals in that system, and I might want to think about that.

At another point in my early teens we studied all the local religions in Sunday school and I found the Society of Friends extremely attractive. For a year I stopped going to church and got on my bike and went to meeting instead. The meeting did not quite know what to do with me. It was a family place, and I was still defined as a kid and they made me leave meeting with the kids after the first 15 minutes. I did not have the skills to make them not do that, and did not like being pushed out of the silence and important ministry that happened once the kids were gone. So I returned to church.

As for me, when I got to college I sought social resources in the local Channing Murray house on campus. It was 8 miles or so from the Frank Lloyd Wright church and there was no organized effort to carpool to church on Sundays. We had a lot of fun, I learned not to drink to excess there, and at the end of my freshman year I realized that church played no part in my connection to the people there. But I also learned that the people there were unified by an enthusiasm for progressive politics and working towards socially equalizing goals. In fact, two people in that social group went into government and one of them is retiring this year, after nearly a lifetime of service to the state and progressive causes.

At the end of that year my need for the social resource ended and I struck out on my own without benefit of organized religion. The experience brought home to me the enormous importance of the social aspect of church to, at least, American society. There is no other institution in our society which binds people into communities for their entire lifetimes.

I regard that fact as a deep flaw in our culture.

In my opinion belief in a fantasy myth is a poor basis for social cohesion.

I've had a wide range of "religious" experiences since than. I am a devout lover of Bach, especially his choral music which is nearly entirely strongly religious. My major professor in college was head of the music in the local Roman Catholic cathedral and I sang in his choir for 3 years. We sang Byrd, Victoria, Palestria - all extremely devout and thrillingly beautiful music.

I spent 12 years involved with the Quaker meeting here in my town and ultimately left because I could not imagine making the committment to membership which would have involved believing in "god". My calling to the Meeting was not entirely social, although a big part of it was. There was a strong attraction to the social beliefs and to the sense of communing with a spiritual force through the silence. I just could never identify that force as "god".

As for my experience of creativity - it comes to me from that spiritual force, not from some intellectual process. All humans may be able to experience the calling of that spirit, but probably most don't. To experience it one must be able to go inside oneself into a quiet place and be available. Few are called there, and fewer can afford the time and effort to answer. Most are terrified of that place, and so they demean it and fill the moments with racket - television, sports, video games, yammering, anger, hobbies, rock music - noise.

To me, religion is just another piece of that noise, and in so many cases a demeaning one filled with power struggles and restrictions of role and enquiry.

Worship, to me, is among the most demeaning concepts in society. The act, itself, implies that I am not enough - not good enough, not "worthy" enough. I prefer to think of myself as growing and capable.

Glen Longino
05-18-2010, 10:53 AM
Religion is like a boxing match with no referee, but the combatants and the fans pretend there is one, though none have seen Him.

TomF
05-18-2010, 11:01 AM
I can't speak for Elf, but my view is that I don't know where it/we or anything else came from. We frequently visit our nearby aquarium. The vast types of marine life boggle the mind. I can understand people wondering how this all came to be.

What I can't understand is anyone believing they know the answer.

I'm content with, "I don't know." It's honest. Simply put, the fact that all of this is here does not prove how it got here.I agree - the fact that something's here doesn't describe how it got here.

I was talking about "flow" though. The experience many athletes, artists, writers etc. describe, in which they really don't know where the ideas are coming from. My old cello teacher talked about becoming a conduit which let the music go through ... and how things inevitably messed up when he tried to exert more conscious control.

Mr. Hunter wasn't trying to convert me, or even to mention God; I dunno what he thought about that. But I do know that he was very clear that cooperating with the flow, rather than somehow generating it, made a much better musical performance. Though an oddly less fulfilling one for the performer sometimes, who didn't feel that they'd put as much of "themselves" into the interpretation, standing back that way to let the other come through.

Syed
05-18-2010, 11:04 AM
Thank you elf, for responding to my (now withdrawn) post.

I shall try to reproduce;


elf,
At what stage in the life you realized that there was no god? (Apparently you seem to be from Christian background like many here.)

TomF
05-18-2010, 11:04 AM
Thanks for your very thoughtful post, Elf.

Kaa
05-18-2010, 11:06 AM
I was talking about "flow" though.

Flow is a very interesting (and nice) psychological state, but what does it have to do with God..?

Kaa

TomF
05-18-2010, 11:09 AM
Flow is a very interesting (and nice) psychological state, but what does it have to do with God..?

KaaI experience it as a form of prayer.

elf
05-18-2010, 11:11 AM
Flow is a very interesting (and nice) psychological state, but what does it have to do with God..?

Kaa

Flow is very important, but something precedes it.

For some creators, like Bach, both that which preceded flow and flow itself came from the God in which he believed.

Personally, I don't care where it comes from. And I agree with Kaa that it's very nice, too!

Kaa
05-18-2010, 11:12 AM
I experience it as a form of prayer.

Do you mean you interpret it as a form of prayer?

Flow is not an uncommon state and it's not that difficult to get into -- but what's the religious/spiritual connection? I can easily see how people while praying can get into flow -- but the reverse doesn't work, flow doesn't constitute prayer.

Kaa

B_B
05-18-2010, 11:17 AM
Religion is like a boxing match with no referee, but the combatants and the fans pretend there is one, though none have seen Him.
Although this is the only ref which (who?) the fans think is biased in their favour :p

B_B
05-18-2010, 11:18 AM
Thanks for your very thoughtful post, Elf.
+1 :)

TomF
05-18-2010, 11:21 AM
Do you mean you interpret it as a form of prayer?

Flow is not an uncommon state and it's not that difficult to get into -- but what's the religious/spiritual connection? I can easily see how people while praying can get into flow -- but the reverse doesn't work, flow doesn't constitute prayer.

KaaHmm, this is difficult.

Sometimes while praying, I'll get a strong sense of the presence of God. Real joy, that's not related especially to the thoughts I'm having, or what I've had for lunch, etc. Or what may be going on in the rest of my life. But a real sense of being with someone, and it's the being with someone that brings the joy. Similar to what can happen sometimes when I'm just sitting with someone in my family, whether we're talking or not.

When flow's working for me - whether doing music, or writing, or whatever... I have the same feelings. I experience it the same way, as being part of the same thing. And I interpret that the source of the flow - the whatever it is that's making the music etc., is God. Not me.

Kaa
05-18-2010, 11:26 AM
Sometimes while praying, I'll get a strong sense of the presence of God. Real joy, that's not related especially to the thoughts I'm having, or what I've had for lunch, etc. Or what may be going on in the rest of my life. But a real sense of being with someone, and it's the being with someone that brings the joy.

When flow's working for me - whether doing music, or writing, or whatever... I have the same feelings. I experience it the same way, as being part of the same thing. And I interpret that the source of the flow - the whatever it is that's making the music etc., is God. Not me.

So, whenever you find yourself in flow, you "get a strong sense of the presence of God"? Interesting.

Unsurprisingly, I don't -- I generally don't find flow by itself to be spiritual at all and certainly don't get feelings of... let's say access to some higher plane from it. From what I've read of the flow, it seems the experience is not spiritual or religious for most people.

Kaa

elf
05-18-2010, 11:59 AM
Kaa, some people need to account for that part of human-ness - and you have to admit it's mysterious.

Some people, probably like you and me, don't . We're happy to enjoy it and accept it without needing to credit it to something.

TomF
05-18-2010, 12:46 PM
Kaa, some people need to account for that part of human-ness - and you have to admit it's mysterious.

Some people, probably like you and me, don't . We're happy to enjoy it and accept it without needing to credit it to something.Is the capacity for "flow" part of our human-ness? Absolutely. Sounds like it's a fairly common experience, after all.

We are living in perhaps only the 3rd or 4th generation that's had a seriously large proportion of the population which would entertain the thought that it's probably solely human, though. Instead, people would have (and did) describe the "flow" experience as one of relationship with the other, of inspiration. The dominant educated worldview now can't conceive of such a thing, the dominant worldview then had a hard time conceiving otherwise.

The fact that the experience is common doesn't argue that it is human-generated ... only that it's common. And the fact that many then couldn't imagine as you do ... while many now can't imagine as I do ... only indicates that each view is somewhat anachronistic. Not that either is valid or invalid.

Kaa
05-18-2010, 01:13 PM
Is the capacity for "flow" part of our human-ness? Absolutely. Sounds like it's a fairly common experience, after all.

Yep, I think so.


We are living in perhaps only the 3rd or 4th generation that's had a seriously large proportion of the population which would entertain the thought that it's probably solely human, though. Instead, people would have (and did) describe the "flow" experience as one of relationship with the other, of inspiration.

Nope, I don't think so :-)

First, take a wider view. In Asia the concept of flow was well-known for a very long time (e.g. in fighting arts) and it wasn't necessarily linked to gods or other kinds of spirituality. It was just a state of consciousness that had certain desirable properties. Of course it was also used in meditation and such.

Second, even in Christian Europe I bet I could find plenty of descriptions of non-religious flow. You can achieve it in most mundane activities -- the key is concentration, a certain degree of challenge, and a certain rhythm.

Third, inspiration is a very different concept from flow. I would describe being inspired and being in the flow as two quite different experiences.


The fact that the experience is common doesn't argue that it is human-generated ... only that it's common.

Technically, that's true :-) But then, flow is just a state of human consciousness. Why would you argue that this particular state of consciousness -- as opposed to all others -- is NOT "human-generated"?

Kaa

George Jung
05-18-2010, 01:25 PM
Kaa, don't you think it's a certain arrogance to insist 'getting into the flow' can only occur in one manner?

elf, interesting post, provides some real insights into how you tick. I was puzzled by your perception of worship as 'demeaning'. Not sure how you got to that conclusion, but it's instructive. thanks.

TomF
05-18-2010, 01:29 PM
...But then, flow is just a state of human consciousness. Why would you argue that this particular state of consciousness -- as opposed to all others -- is NOT "human-generated"?

KaaThat's precisely the issue under discussion, Kaa. You've not at all established that flow is "just a state of human consciousness," only that it's a common human experience. I think it's common for humans to have experiences of God - and in previous centuries, many many cultures expressly helped people train and prepare to make them more likely, and more fulfilling. The varied and often very demanding disciplines of prayer and meditation 'round the world were expressly about that - and yeah, positive outcomes in a person's spiritual life were fairly common. Still are, frankly.

I think that we are well able to engage in relationship with God, and that the capacity is precisely a human characteristic. Folks who train it, will experience it more frequently and more deeply ... whatever they name it. God doesn't really much care to not get the credit, I suspect.

Kaa
05-18-2010, 01:37 PM
Kaa, don't you think it's a certain arrogance to insist 'getting into the flow' can only occur in one manner?

Um... I don't insist on it. E.g.


I can easily see how people while praying can get into flow -- but the reverse doesn't work, flow doesn't constitute prayer.

I am pointing out a way to get into flow -- this does not imply there are no other ways...

Kaa

Kaa
05-18-2010, 01:44 PM
That's precisely the issue under discussion, Kaa. You've not at all established that flow is "just a state of human consciousness," only that it's a common human experience.

Well, yeah, but it's a manageable experience. We have a pretty good idea under which conditions it arises and I would be surprised if you couldn't train people to enter flow more or less at will (given appropriate conditions). As such, it seems to me very much "human-generated".

You are not trying to imply that flow is a state of grace, are you?


I think it's common for humans to have experiences of God - and in previous centuries, many many cultures expressly helped people train and prepare to make them more likely, and more fulfilling.

Well, kinda :-) It's common for Europeans to have experiences of God -- and very uncommon for e.g. the Chinese to have experiences of God.

I would find such striking cultural dependency... troubling.


I think that we are well able to engage in relationship with God, and that the capacity is precisely a human characteristic. Folks who train it, will experience it more frequently and more deeply ... whatever they name it.

Sure -- but we're speaking about a relationship with God.

The issue is whether flow is that. I submit that it is not.

Kaa

TomF
05-18-2010, 01:45 PM
Reinhold Niebuhr talked about God as the "Ground of Being." In my view, when flow occurs - whatever we call it, and however it is initiated - we're somehow connecting more directly with that Ground. That is the thing which is then expressed, for which we become conduits.

As I've said before on other threads, I see no reason at all why God's actions should be conceived so narrowly that he only talks to/works through people who think he exists. I can be blissfully unaware of higher linguistics - or argue that they're all bosh. While implicitly reflecting them in my speech. To think that God didn't somehow have access to Socrates, or Confucius, etc. is rather ... odd.

elf
05-18-2010, 01:47 PM
elf, interesting post, provides some real insights into how you tick. I was puzzled by your perception of worship as 'demeaning'. Not sure how you got to that conclusion, but it's instructive. thanks.

Kneeling and bowing one's head seem to be postures of obedience to me. The Muslim posture on your knees with your rump up in the air and your face down on the ground seems downright demeaning. To submit to a society in which one must rush to a specific location when called by gongs 5 times a day, no matter what you're doing, in order to assume such a posture, seems beyond disrespectful to me.

Even the person training a dog to sit and lie when commanded, does not ask that animal to bow it's head.

TomF
05-18-2010, 01:54 PM
Kneeling and bowing one's head seem to be postures of obedience to me. The Muslim posture on your knees with your rump up in the air and your face down on the ground seems downright demeaning. To submit to a society in which one must rush to a specific location when called by gongs 5 times a day, no matter what you're doing, in order to assume such a posture, seems beyond disrespectful to me.

Even the person training a dog to sit and lie when commanded, does not ask that animal to bow it's head.Yes. And in the early Church, the physical attitude of prayer was most commonly standing up, arms outstretched in welcome.

People will interpret God through their own cultural contexts - a warrior or otherwise heavily patriarchal culture will view God through the lens of submission and obedience. Others, not so much. There are a variety of perspectives even in Hebrew scripture - a very big range leading from the tribal war-God through to the suffering servant. To say nothing of the almost too numerous to count manifestations of God in the Hindu system.

Kaa
05-18-2010, 01:54 PM
Reinhold Niebuhr talked about God as the "Ground of Being." In my view, when flow occurs - whatever we call it, and however it is initiated - we're somehow connecting more directly with that Ground. That is the thing which is then expressed, for which we become conduits.

We maybe having some communication issues. You (implicitly, at least) define "flow" as feeling a connection with God. Accordingly, the idea of flow is inextricably linked to God for you -- because you defined it that way.

I define flow as a specific state of consciousness more or less along the lines of, say,

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41LDXwmSGNL._SS500_.jpg


or see the wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29) for a synopsis.

Kaa

TomF
05-18-2010, 01:58 PM
I'm familiar with some of the literature about "flow," though I haven't read that book. Yes, I interpret flow through my context - because I experience flow as a form of prayer.

Those who don't pray, or who think of prayer in terms of "God, gimme this" or "God, save me from that" haven't got that heuristic hook. IMO, that reflects a certain impoverishment, much like I think that my friends who don't have the background to appreciate Bach or Brahms have heuristic limits.

I've got my own set of impoverishments (;))

Kaa
05-18-2010, 02:13 PM
Yes, I interpret flow through my context - because I experience flow as a form of prayer.

That's perfectly fine -- but if you want to usefully talk to other people, for example, me, we need to agree on the meaning of the important terms we use. At this point it's even not an issue of which definition is "correct" or "better", but just an attempt to make sure we mean the same thing when we use the same word.

Kaa

TomF
05-18-2010, 02:19 PM
I think we're both talking about an experience in which, for instance, a musician interprets a line in a novel, very sensitive, and at the time "perfect" way, and is completely unaware of how and where the idea to do so came from. They're in a real way, not in "control" of it.

We both think it happens during a psychological state, and that it's a not uncommon human experience.

We seem to disagree on what's actually occurring during the "flow," or what's flowing. I think that the performer is, to use my cello teacher's phrase, "becoming a conduit" for the music. It's going through him, not being generated from him. In my context, that replicates what I experience in prayer.

I am not at all sure what you think is "flowing" when flow states occur, but you appear to think they start and stop with human consciousness.

fair?

Kaa
05-18-2010, 02:28 PM
I think we're both talking about an experience in which, for instance, a musician interprets a line in a novel, very sensitive, and at the time "perfect" way, and is completely unaware of how and where the idea to do so came from. They're in a real way, not in "control" of it.

Nope. I would call that "inspiration".


I think that the performer is, to use my cello teacher's phrase, "becoming a conduit" for the music. It's going through him, not being generated from him. In my context, that replicates what I experience in prayer.

Sure, that's a common perception/feeling/emotion.


I am not at all sure what you think is "flowing" when flow states occur...

You might have glanced at my wikipedia link :-) To save you the trouble, I'll quote from there


Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. ...

According to Csíkszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task.[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29#cite_note-1)
Colloquial terms for this or similar mental states include: to be on the ball, in the zone, in the groove, or keeping your head in the game. ...

There are three conditions that are necessary to achieve the flow state.


One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals. This adds direction and structure to the task.[10] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29#cite_note-9)
One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and his or her own perceived skills. One must have confidence that he or she is capable to do the task at hand.[11] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29#cite_note-10)
The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows him or her to adjust his or her performance to maintain the flow state. [12] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29#cite_note-11)

In 1997, Csíkszentmihályi published the graph to the right. This graph depicts the relationship between the perceived challenges of a task and one's perceived skills. This graph illustrates one further aspect of flow: it can only occur when the activity at hand is a higher-than-average challenge (above the center point) and requires above average skills (to the right of the center point). [13] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29#cite_note-12) The center of this graph (where the sectors meet) represents one's average levels of challenge and skill. The further from the center an experience is, the greater the intensity of that state of being (whether it is flow or anxiety or boredom or relaxation). [14] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29#cite_note-13)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f6/Challenge_vs_skill.svg/472px-Challenge_vs_skill.svg.png

Kaa

TomF
05-18-2010, 02:44 PM
Kaa, forgive me ... but it does seem like you're working awfully hard to find a way to differentiate. Someone playing the Dvorak cello concerto utterly brilliantly will be doing so in a state of flow ... though they may also have bits of inspiration, I suppose.

If we define flow as explicitly and solely a brain-generated psychological state, then we've expressly defined God out of it. If we define flow as a psychological state in which high performance is achieved, and typically individuals talk about not knowing where the ideas come from ... of relinquishing control and riding the experience ... then the nature of what's happening during the flow state's a bit more open for discussion, eh?

I'm not about to define "flow" in such a way that it precludes my experience, but neither am I going to define it in such a way that it negates yours.

Kaa
05-18-2010, 02:59 PM
Kaa, forgive me ... but it does seem like you're working awfully hard to find a way to differentiate.

I am trying to delineate where we agree and where we don't. And then figure out why we don't agree in the areas where we don't.


If we define flow as explicitly and solely a brain-generated psychological state, then we've expressly defined God out of it.

I didn't see in my quote anything about "solely brain-generated". I think you're working too hard, too :-P

Essentially the difference is this. For me, flow is a psychological state (and I don't specify generated by who or what) that arises in certain conditions, namely when you have a high level of concentration and a very good match of challenge to skills. The task being done doesn't even need to be particularly creative. The "flow" is the feeling of being carried by the flow of water.

For you flow is much more like inspiration, it's when the self submerges and not-consciously-controlled thoughts and emotions go through your mind. The "flow" is the feeling of something other than you flowing through you.

Your flow I think of as something close to the Zen state of no-mind.


I'm not about to define "flow" in such a way that it precludes my experience, but neither am I going to define it in such a way that it negates yours.

I am not trying to define you out of your rightful experiences :D I am trying to find common terminology.

Kaa

John Smith
05-18-2010, 04:19 PM
Flow is very important, but something precedes it.

For some creators, like Bach, both that which preceded flow and flow itself came from the God in which he believed.

Personally, I don't care where it comes from. And I agree with Kaa that it's very nice, too!
DNA. Some people pick up instruments and make music; others make noise. Some people can run quite fast with little apparent effort; others cannot.

Seems to run in families.

John Smith
05-18-2010, 04:22 PM
Hmm, this is difficult.

Sometimes while praying, I'll get a strong sense of the presence of God. Real joy, that's not related especially to the thoughts I'm having, or what I've had for lunch, etc. Or what may be going on in the rest of my life. But a real sense of being with someone, and it's the being with someone that brings the joy. Similar to what can happen sometimes when I'm just sitting with someone in my family, whether we're talking or not.

When flow's working for me - whether doing music, or writing, or whatever... I have the same feelings. I experience it the same way, as being part of the same thing. And I interpret that the source of the flow - the whatever it is that's making the music etc., is God. Not me.
So, if you write something someone doesn't like, he should be angry with God, not you?:confused:

John Smith
05-18-2010, 04:26 PM
Is the capacity for "flow" part of our human-ness? Absolutely. Sounds like it's a fairly common experience, after all.

We are living in perhaps only the 3rd or 4th generation that's had a seriously large proportion of the population which would entertain the thought that it's probably solely human, though. Instead, people would have (and did) describe the "flow" experience as one of relationship with the other, of inspiration. The dominant educated worldview now can't conceive of such a thing, the dominant worldview then had a hard time conceiving otherwise.

The fact that the experience is common doesn't argue that it is human-generated ... only that it's common. And the fact that many then couldn't imagine as you do ... while many now can't imagine as I do ... only indicates that each view is somewhat anachronistic. Not that either is valid or invalid.

I don't know if I'd call it "flow", but moods, energy level, and/or other factors that allow one to be more creative at some times than at other times. When I wait for my grandchild after school, I spend my time working on a variety of word puzzles. Somedays I can't solve any. Other days I solve two or three.

Why it varies? Who knows?

George Jung
05-18-2010, 10:33 PM
Kneeling and bowing one's head seem to be postures of obedience to me. The Muslim posture on your knees with your rump up in the air and your face down on the ground seems downright demeaning. To submit to a society in which one must rush to a specific location when called by gongs 5 times a day, no matter what you're doing, in order to assume such a posture, seems beyond disrespectful to me.

Even the person training a dog to sit and lie when commanded, does not ask that animal to bow it's head.

I see your dilemma, and also, your solution.

Turns out - yer a Lutheran.:D

elf
05-18-2010, 10:53 PM
Not on your life, man. Luther was a virulent anti-Semite, and even a superficial examination of the pietistic poetry so important to the evangelische Kirche from the 17-19c would reveal that the church kept the serious bigotry and misogyny of its source until after the Second World War.

Look. It's a tribal ecosystem - churches are tribes.

We can look at the middle East today and see how ill those societies are because of their inability to move away from their tribalism, and this includes the Jewish state. We can look around ourselves here in this country and see how the new channels of communication are reinforcing a similar tribalism - Arizona, the Tea Party, Evangelical religion. These things are all signs of retrogression in the willingness of the human race to coexist despite differences. Even the US, under the leadership of the Cheney/Bush regime, sank into a level of barbarism which one would have expected to be beyond unlikely if one were up on history.

Now I have many theories about why this is happening and one of them concerns the rise of religion in my society. But there are other factors - population pressure, the abject failure of any government since WWII to carve a path of genuine enlightenment through the problems since then, global climate change and its anticipated impact on standard of living, unsatisfactory work options, ever lowering standards of public education.

Americans have been told they're under siege since 1945 and noone can convince them that they're spoilt rotten, selfish and generally unambitious.

WX
05-18-2010, 11:02 PM
Looks like the Catholic church here is about to suffer some casualties over child sex abuse.

Mark 10:14 Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God
Seems the priest missed the meaning of that one.

skuthorp
05-19-2010, 02:53 AM
Look. It's a tribal ecosystem - churches are tribes.

We can look at the middle East today and see how ill those societies are because of their inability to move away from their tribalism, and this includes the Jewish state. We can look around ourselves here in this country and see how the new channels of communication are reinforcing a similar tribalism - Arizona, the Tea Party, Evangelical religion. These things are all signs of retrogression in the willingness of the human race to coexist despite differences. Even the US, under the leadership of the Cheney/Bush regime, sank into a level of barbarism which one would have expected to be beyond unlikely if one were up on history.

Now I have many theories about why this is happening and one of them concerns the rise of religion in my society. But there are other factors - population pressure, the abject failure of any government since WWII to carve a path of genuine enlightenment through the problems since then, global climate change and its anticipated impact on standard of living, unsatisfactory work options, ever lowering standards of public education.

As to your last point, it's the immigrants, legal or not, that will be the next generation of entrepeneurs, their children the lawyers, professors, engineers etc. Politicians too, the ones that abandon home and risk all in a new place are the brave, motivated ones and the ones that ensure future American prosperity. Those assuming privelige may well be left behind.

Americans have been told they're under siege since 1945 and noone can convince them that they're spoilt rotten, selfish and generally unambitious.

We're all still tribal, religion, football, even that much abused term "race". We seem to want to naturally divide ourselves into groups claiming special privelige. Need another few millenia of 'civilisation' to reinforce the present veneer I'd say. Wonder if we'll get the chance. Of course for politicians of every ilk 'divide and rule' is essential to achieving power so don't expect anything but rhetoric on that front. BTW, regarding religion Elf, here it seems that the vast majority is going the other way and a present flurry of activity from the churches seems to reinforce tis view. I think the recent Atheists Conference really spooked them as the average age for their small congregations is well over 60.

George Jung
05-19-2010, 07:55 AM
Obviously, elf has given a lot of study and thought on this subject, more than, say, 99% of the population has. And I'd agree on 'tribalism', though that's going to happen with or without 'religion'.

The Lutheran reference was intended as humor, something Emily sorely lacks a sense of. That's a pity.

elf
05-19-2010, 09:36 AM
Yes. I tend to be serious, and literal minded. That's why I'm a photographer! (Aside from the fact that I can't draw a crooked line on purpose...)

Bob Cleek
05-19-2010, 07:14 PM
Look. It's a tribal ecosystem - churches are tribes.

We can look at the middle East today and see how ill those societies are because of their inability to move away from their tribalism, and this includes the Jewish state. We can look around ourselves here in this country and see how the new channels of communication are reinforcing a similar tribalism - Arizona, the Tea Party, Evangelical religion. These things are all signs of retrogression in the willingness of the human race to coexist despite differences. Even the US, under the leadership of the Cheney/Bush regime, sank into a level of barbarism which one would have expected to be beyond unlikely if one were up on history.



Man's apparent instinctual ethnocentricism can, I suppose, be seen that way. "That other tribe on the far side of our mountain that always comes over and steals our women" is perhaps essential to maintaining the coherence and unity of purpose necessary for human society to exist. Maybe now that our consciousness is evolving beyond "the other side of the mountain" (a process that perhaps was jumpstarted by that famous photo of the entire earth from outer space) our "tribalism" may assume a somewhat more universal perspective.

Actually, it is its distinct lack of tribalism that is one of the greater unique strengths of the Catholic Church. "Catholic" means "universal." As James Joyce wrote in Finnegan’s Wake, “catholic means ‘here comes everybody.” I can go into a Catholic church anywhere in the world, no matter how remote, and know that while the language may be different, the culture different, the clothing, food and everything else different, church will be exactly the same and I am united with the people there in a manner that transcends all our differences.

You mention an unwillingness to "coexist despite differences" as if it were undesireable. It is, rather, a manifestation of the inherent tendency of all mankind to seek homogeneity, to "exist without differences." That instinctual desire is mankind's "pack instinct" which serves to bind us all together for the greater common good. "Diversity," at best, offers nothing other than an uncomfortable compromise for the sake of "keeping the peace," an artificial stasis that only stalls out mankind at "top dead center." The existence of a society comprised of competing "diverse" interests, to the extent such diverse interests exist, is always threatened by them. (e.g.: The cost of race based slavery to America) Common goals and values are necessary prerequistes to a society which prospers. For example, the United States, and indeed all the Allies in WWII, would not have prevailed as they did had they not been galvanized by shared threats and united by common goals and values. The America that "celebrates diversity" can't even effectively address a threat to its own security from an impoverished Third World adversary (pick any one, starting with Vietnam and running through Afghanistan) and I wonder if that cannot be blamed in large measure on how much we value "diversity."

"Diversity" is just the current code word for laissez fair narcissism. People who are primarily motivated by their own interests do poorly working with others to accomplish any task and, at the same time, are easily manipulated. It used to be called "Balkanization," now, it's called "diversity."

Kaa
05-19-2010, 07:28 PM
Actually, it is its distinct lack of tribalism that is one of the somewhat unique strengths of the Catholic Church. "Catholic" means "universal." As James Joyce wrote in Finnegan’s Wake, “catholic means ‘here comes everybody.” I can go into a Catholic church anywhere in the world, no matter how remote, and know that while the language may be different, the culture different, the clothing, food and everything else different, church will be exactly the same.

Ah. Just like McDonalds.


You mention an unwillingness to "coexist despite differences" as if it were undesireable. It is, rather, a manifestation of the inherent tendency of all mankind to seek homogeneity, to "exist without differences."

"Inherent tendency"..? Ain't no such thing.


That instinctual desire is mankind's "pack instinct" which serves to bind us all together for the greater good of all.

Ain't no such thing either. Your batting average is sinking fast...


"Diversity" offers nothing other than an uncomfortable compromise for the sake of "keeping the peace." The existence of a society comprised of competing "diverse" interests, to those extent diverse interests exist, is challenged by them. A society with common goals and values is a society with the necessary prerequistes to prosper.

LOL. Oh, you white-bread male :D


"Diversity" is just the current code word for laissez fair narcissism.

"Diversity" is a code word for "I'm not like you and I do NOT want to be like you" :D

Kaa

Glen Longino
05-19-2010, 10:28 PM
Obviously, elf has given a lot of study and thought on this subject, more than, say, 99% of the population has. And I'd agree on 'tribalism', though that's going to happen with or without 'religion'.

The Lutheran reference was intended as humor, something Emily sorely lacks a sense of. That's a pity.

Aw, George, of course Emily has a sense of humor.
Maybe her humor is more sophisticated than yours...or mine.
Just because she did not respond with guffaws to your Lutheran reference (as I did:)) does not mean she has no sense of humor.
I agree with you, Emily is probably more thoughtful than 99% of us.
No need to hold that against her.
She did not become thoughtful by being a slapstick comedy artist like you or me!;):rolleyes::eek:

ChaseKenyon
05-19-2010, 11:14 PM
An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: "I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one." I

AS a descendant without preposition to ihis works I will say that Hume in all of his studies and writings is well worth reading.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hume

Glen Longino
05-19-2010, 11:36 PM
"Kaa, don't you think it's a certain arrogance to insist 'getting into the flow' can only occur in one manner?"

Lordy, George, Kaa never said that.
Kaa lknows better.
If you'll take a look at your Bible or the Koran or go listen to a priest, you'll quickly see that it is THEY who say there is only one way.
Not only that, they will also tell you that if you don't persue "the flow" in their prescribed manner you will suffer eternal damnation.
I know, I know, you're putting on your waders!;)

ChaseKenyon
05-20-2010, 01:00 AM
most is summed up with one phrase:

Good Thoughts; Good Words; Good Deeds.

Syed is familiar with the Parsees of India and Pakistan.

Note they are a group of somewhat isolationist to an extent Zoroastrians. They had to be 1000+ years ago just to survive in the Migration to India and Pakistan from the Persian homelands.

They were the storekeepers of the British Empire as they were noted for their business acumen, honesty and in India and Pakistan for their endless philanthropy.

Those in the USA and even in Iran and other remnants of the Persian Empire might be considered more open to new members.

BTW Today is:

30 Ardibehesht 3748 ZRE = 20May 2010 CE

61st Day of Spring - 61st Day of 3748 & the Solar Year



The religion known in the west as Zoroastrianism, and by its founder as the 'Religion of Good Conscience', has laid claim to being the first Monotheist religion, the first Universal religion and the root of much of Jewish, Christian and Islamic doctrine and belief.
Over the millenia, the words and compositions of its founder, one Zarathushtra Spitaman, (known to us by the Greek alliteration of his name - Zoroaster), were lost due to passage of time and the obsolescence of its language. Its original message was lost because of accidents of history, as libraries and books were burned again and again by invaders and its wise men were either killed, enslaved, deported or went into hiding.
However, thanks to the long, arduous and painstaking work of literally hundreds of scholars in the last 200 or so years, the original message of Zoroastrianism, the mess19 age of its "Manthran" (Thought-provoker) Zarathustra, Zoroastrianism has surfaced once again, revealing it as ever-relevant, unique and inspiring.
Zarathushtra's is a message about a spirituality that progresses towards self-realization, fulfillment and completeness, as a good creation of a totally good God. It is a message of freedom - freedom to choose, freedom from fear, freedom from guilt, freedom from sin, freedom from stultifying rituals, superstitious practices, fake spirituality and ceremonials. The God of Zarathustra, is not a God of "Thou shalt" and "Thou shall not". God in Zoroastrianism does not care what you wear, what and when you eat or where and when you worship. God instead cares how righteous, progressive and good you are.

1. God is not about fear guilt and Condemnation.
2. God is Wisdom Love and Logic.
3. God does not have favorites and does not discriminate on the basis of nationality, gender, race or class.
4. God treats humans with dignity and respect.
5. God is not a slave master, or despot, among his serfs.
6. God is man's Soul Mate and Partner.
7. God is not Jealous, Wrathful or Vengeful.
8. Man is not sinful, fallen or depraved.
9. God has no opponent and heaven and hell are states of mind and being.
10. Man was created to progress to likeness and eliminate wrong from the Cosmos in partnership with God.

Preserve our environmentpreserve our worldThe Zoroastrian Religion pictures humanity as the growing and evolving creation of a God that respects it, and wants it to collaborate in the task of preserving, nourishing, fostering and refreshing this Living World of ours. A Zoroastrian is supposed to progress towards God (Ahura Mazda) by his own choices. Choosing to do good, and to avoid choosing to do wrong or evil. Zoroastrianism is thus the first truly ethical religion of mankind and teaches that mortals achieve their goal of god-likeness and spiritual completeness by fighting evil through good thoughts, words and deeds.
Mazdayasna (The Worship of the Wise), another name for Zoroastrianism, teaches the equality of all mortals before their Wise creator God; who only sees a difference in righteousness among mortals. Thus there is equality of race, nation, gender and social position.

In its most sacred prayer the Ahunavar (Choice of the Lord), Zoroastrians are taught that their Lord and leader are to be chosen, through a Good Mind - a mind that is a well-informed and benevolent - and only on account of their individual righteousness. This sets the basis for a spiritual and political democracy as far back as around 4000 years ago! Only an informed and unbiased mind is capable of making a truly righteous choice and this is precisely, the invitation of Zarathustra, the great Aryan teacher of righteousness, when he tells us:

"Listen to the best things with your ears, reflect upon them with an unbiased mind. Then let each man and women for him or her self choose between the two ways thinking. Awaken to my doctrine, before this great event of choice comes upon you"
[Avesta: The Gathas: Song 3:2 (Free Translation)]
Click here to join the Zoroastrian Acceptance Group. Zoroastrians by choice, new Initiates, seekers and those who are interested in learning about the original teachings of Zoroaster in the Gathas, are welcome.

I invite you to a journey through time, a journey of spiritual discovery. Come discover the first Universal and Monotheist faith of humanity, come and listen to its ever-relevant message.

Learn about its history and the influence Zoroastrianism has had on the major world religions.


:D



a start:
http://www.zoroastrianism.cc/universal_religion.html

Paul G.
05-20-2010, 01:05 AM
Hmm, this is difficult.

Sometimes while praying, I'll get a strong sense of the presence of God. Real joy, that's not related especially to the thoughts I'm having, or what I've had for lunch, etc. Or what may be going on in the rest of my life. But a real sense of being with someone, and it's the being with someone that brings the joy. Similar to what can happen sometimes when I'm just sitting with someone in my family, whether we're talking or not.

When flow's working for me - whether doing music, or writing, or whatever... I have the same feelings. I experience it the same way, as being part of the same thing. And I interpret that the source of the flow - the whatever it is that's making the music etc., is God. Not me.

Self delusion, its nothing to ashamed of :D
We all experience it!

Paul G.
05-20-2010, 01:16 AM
if you think religion including the Catholic faith is actually good for societies as a whole, this study makes an interesting read (http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v12n03_are_religious_societies_healthier.html)


In this article, we report the results of a study examining the relationship between a nation’s religiosity and its “moral health.” The received wisdom would lead one to predict a positive correlation between national religiosity and national moral health — as one goes up the other goes up. In fact, that appears not to be the case, and the example of the United States is most striking; Americans are among the most religious people in the Western world, and yet we have among the highest rates of homicide, abortion, and teen pregnancies. To the extent that these measures are related to something that might be called “national moral health,” the intuitive thesis that links religiosity to morality would seem to be gainsaid

elf
05-20-2010, 05:47 AM
Well that is the problem with religiosity. But religiosity is not religion - and, in fact, it's self-righteousness which is why it does not produce "moral health". It's a charade, it's for show.

So sad. Especially when it grips entire populations, as we're seeing around the world right now. And especially when the people using it are making such profits that they don't even see what they're doing - as in the history of the Catholic Church.

Bread and circuses.

TomF
05-20-2010, 06:57 AM
Bob Cleek? I'm rather surprised at your comments about diversity ... and the lack of it within the Catholic church. I've far more frequently heard Catholicism described as a very large umbrella than as something homogenous. While there is commonality among things like Sacraments, there's not so much in various other respects - except when homogeneity is dictated by Rome. I don't see silencing alternate views (e.g. about Liberation theology, women's ordination etc.) as evidence of an innate commonality - I see it as an enforced commonality. I don't think it counts as not "diversity" when the diversity's simply papered over.

And I disagree rather profoundly that diversity is somehow bad. But that's more of a discussion than I have time for just now.

Emily, I couldn't agree more that religiosity and religion are rather different things. The heart of the matter ought to be one's relationship with God, which is essentially private, though personally transformative.

elf
05-20-2010, 07:07 AM
Of course, if you believe everyone has to be like you then you definitely want to wear your "religion" on your sleeve.

I suspect people of that convincement would deeply disagree with your final comment there.

TomF
05-20-2010, 07:19 AM
You're likely right. And after a lot of thought and a certain amount of embarassment, you've noticed that I've decided to be very open about my beliefs in places like this one. It can seem quite a contradiction to some, I'm sure, when paired with what I said above about religiosity. And it's scary enough to discuss one's spiritual life with people who essentially support the notion ... it is a bit much at times to do so within this community.

I take comfort in some of Jesus' thoughts on the subject - making fun of the ultra-religious Jews of his day who made sure everyone could see just how religious they were ... by their loud public prayers, their oh-so-ostentatious religious dress, etc. Jesus had a whole lot of time for people taking God seriously, and taking themselves significantly less so.

elf
05-20-2010, 07:32 AM
Check out my posting from the New Yorker.

TomF
05-20-2010, 07:36 AM
Check out my posting from the New Yorker.I did ... or at least, the first 2 1/2 installments so far; it's neat stuff. I've been a fan of Crossan's work for some time, though I like Marcus Borg better.

The article's right - Jesus' moral teachings are still very startling, very unlike what many think they are. Certainly unlike a whole lot of conventional morality, whoever's trying to sell it.

Paul G.
05-20-2010, 07:54 AM
The problem is that religion starts with an answer and works backwards.