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Old 05-03-2006, 12:14 AM   #241
sleeper
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looks kind of shit, if you dont mind my saying. mediocre at best. how can you even bring that up as a rebutal to that one watch with the big 6? impossible

but honestly, that actually doesnt look so bad, i do kind of like it. i like that kind of strap. that watch is also tastefully hobo. or tastefully cheap. but is it russian? i only tolerate the highest quality workmanship. workmanship only a slav can deliver

 
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Old 05-03-2006, 12:17 AM   #242
RopeyLopey
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as I said, those are made in ontario.

I can buy them for you and then they would be even delivered by a slav

 
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Old 05-03-2006, 09:59 PM   #243
Lie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeper
whyd you have to go and shatter the peace? i knew i shouldnt have mentioned how peaceful it was, that was sure to induce your destructive side. im being honest. whyd you go and soil things? youre pretty evil. ive noticed this malevolent streak in you. i hope i dont ever meet you in real life. i can see it now: you smile warmly and shake my hand one second, only to knee me in the groin and claw my eyes out with foam in mouth a second later without provocation.
Is this not customary greeting behavior in your country? Sorry, I'll have to check my tourist handbook. Damn that homeless guy.

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youre a savage at core. is there like a "cool down" cage at home that shparticus has to lock you in for a few hours whenever you get into this state?
Nah, he likes it.

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i can imagine him like having to devise new tricks to get you in the cage, only to always leap out and shut the door apologetically, saying its for your own good, while you rave and climb up the walls screaming how youre going to eat him alive, that hes a motherfucker who youve always hated and whatever. then you throw your own feces at him the next time he walks and burst out cackling like a witch. thats how i see things here
Well, I'm flattered by your impression of me, but sometimes I even have trouble turning the key the right way in the door when I get home.

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im not very absolutist. fuck, thats one of the main strains to religion that ive been criticizing so much. i can say that im not as relativist as you, but that doesnt mean im positively absolutist.
Okay, I guess it was my mistake throwing that into the mix without explaining in more detail what I meant. What I should have said is that you display what I see as certain absolutist tendencies in practice, and it wasn't even so much a direct criticism of you as an attempt to make a point about the nature of the kind of things we're talking about. I'm going to try to address this as I work my way down, though, so for now I'll just assure you that I don't think you are actually an absolutist.

If it helps clarify, though this is unrelated, I'm probably more of a pragmatist than a relativist. I think most truths are (god substitute help me) self-evident, not in the sense that "if you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm not explaining it and fuck you," but that things which are morally wrong usually carry an obvious consequence, both to the person who commits the wrong and any victims of it. Basically, I think it is morally wrong for people to deliberately or knowingly hurt others or themselves.

If you argued that religion in itself causes some inherent harm to a person and therefore it is wrong to accept it, I could easily jive with that reasoning, it's just not something I could be sure about myself enough to state as fact, mainly because I think it's more complicated. If you are, I want to know how, and if you want, I could explain in more detail exactly why it is something I feel I cannot be sure about and have serious doubts as to the ability of yourself or anyone else to do so. I'm going to italicize that because I think it's important. I wouldn't be surprised if it needs go no further than that. Then again, that could go pretty far. But just to get rid of some of the mess, for the sake of housecleaning, feel free to zone in on that or anything if you think it's the only real issue.

[quote]i am to the extent that i do believe in (as in i belive in the existence of) such things as progress, right and wrong, truth, etc. but not at all in a way comparable to someone who truly is religious and not at all to the extent that would merit being described as "very absolutist." and this is where religion comes in. i dont think its just bad, in a subjective sense, i think its objectively wrong.[quote]

Okay, so if you do think it's morally wrong, may I ask where those morals are derived from and what they represent? I'm going to assume that you would then be willing to make a direct statement saying that accepting religion into your life is morally wrong. Can you explain why that action by itself is fundamentally wrong? I'm not trying to harrass you with preacher-speak to then turn it around and make and "ironic" statement at your expense, I'm just wondering if you can explain how , for example, going into church and saying the Lord's Prayer, that action in itself, which is not harming anyone or getting in anyone's way, is morally, objectively wrong.

In this case we can simplify that argument a lot by not even talking about the bad things religion can (apparently) drive people to.

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mind you, i wouldnt dare think that i know what is right, but its always much more basic determining what is simply wrong. and thats were, with this absolutist thing, i would differ from a religious person and why it would be unfair to characterize my logic as religious for, if not other reasons, its supposedly absolutist character. i dont make any claims to knowing this truth, to knowing definitively what is right and wrong, like truly religious people do. but knowing what is wrong is another matter, and is something one can be comfortable putting stock into.
I understand about feeling that way (that determining what is wrong is more basic), but I see that as happening more on a problem/solution level than a truly moral ground. It's like on the politics board when we can pretty much all agree that there is corruption on a government level, but we differ in our opinions on what to do about it. Whereas with something like religion, I don't see where you are getting that absolute wrong, and I think you may be incorrect about people who are religious claiming to know absolute right. I'll come back to this in a minute.

Perhaps the difference in the way we see things really does mostly have to do with me viewing things on a level like religion as being possibly unhealthy or risky but different enough from person to person so as to not be not morally wrong, and you taking the hard edge on it. I think that's a lot of it, but I don't think that's all of it.

Understand, for the purpose of argument, that there are things I do view as being morally wrong on an objective scale -- prayer or ritual is just not one of them.

Okay, so now back to that other thing I was trying to say. I'll use Christianity again because I'm the most familiar with it and it's the most widespread where we live. Catholicism as a whole seems inherently batty to me, and I hope I haven't said anything that would lead you to believe otherwise. However, if you accept Christianity as a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the corresponding scriptures (which is kind of the point), you're always going to have to deal on some level with the element of interpretation, even if you're a Catholic. The number of Protestant offshoots has been growing since the time of Martin Luther and several of these offshoots are home to people who are willing to share in an environment of other people who value the teachings of Jesus Christ in a similar way to how they do and possibly nothing more. These people have a document in common and a contract of sorts to apply it to the same moral ends, but in Protestant denominations, especially the more liberal ones, this idea of a definite contract simply doesn't work. This I can state with certainty. Drop me in any UCC church in America, and there will be at least three different major splits in thought there, and we're talking major, fundamentally different ideas. On the level of Catholicism it's more under the table, a matter of just how involved you want to be. But the point of all this is, if so many people differ so radically in the nature of their thought, why do they belong to a Christian religion? I would suggest that it's because many of them feel that spirituality is more important than their one particular religion per se, and they are willing to compromise their literal or fundamental beliefs for the sake of spirituality, even if it involves listening to a minister talking about creation. You may think this sounds absurd if you are not familiar with general Protestant values or have not been in many churches, but whether you take my word for it or not, this is what happens. I'm not saying this applies to everyone or that there is any way to know, again, what's actually going on in peoples' minds, but a lot of what goes on in religion has to do with certain kinds of moral coding more than absolute literal belief. Sure, there are fundamentalists, too, I don't deny that, but there is also a huge chunk of people who do not embrace any kind of world view (even those who belong to religions that preach one), and you can't simply cut those people out of the picture or say that they don't count because they are not religious. I still don't have it totally clear in my mind if you think that say, going to church or praying is morally wrong, or if you just think it's wrong depending on how it works, so I'll leave that for the time being. But I hope it doesn't seem I'm just re-raking the coals of the "you don't know what's in their heads" argument, because this, I think, is more of a "you do know to a certain extent what some people are thinking and it's not a fundamental world view" kind of thing. The only thing I don't know is whether you would still consider this kind of religious bonding or submission subject to a moral wrong.

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i mean i think ive said before that its about determining right or wrong, not good or bad, so i dont know why you constantly appeal to the latter. ive admitted that it sometimes does good, but that that neither excuses it on that subjective level, or is something that makes it "right"
Okay, if I missed that before, I'll drop it now. And just clarify that I never said, nor do I by any means think, that religion is "right."

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but this all just speaks to one premise of this issue, there are still other things unresolved. lets just clean up a little bit and recap: its right to judge people negatively on grounds of their being religious. necessary in this are the ideas that genuine religious belief is negative (objectively wrong or just subjectively bad, i believe both but the former is what ive been focusing on) and (the more interesting idea) that, ok that belief is lamentable and wrong, but detecting that belief within people is an imperfect science and you cant just depend on usual indicators (the person saying they are "religious"). ill get back to that in a second

honestly i didnt think you were a religious nutcase in disguise, i just thought you had some strange, unwarranted affection for religion. but, let me just seek clarification: thats true? you are religious? you are that religious nutcase? or was that just tongue in cheek?
It was tongue in cheek but I was trying to make a point by stating that you would have no way of knowing.

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i remember in your religion thread before you saying that youve always had a curiosity for it but i dont remember you saying that you were actually religious.
and the latter is determinable,
I'm not sure if it is, especially with us throwing around these new-fangled definitions that require a complete religious mindset. You said before something about a religious mindset being one that accepts pre-existing dogma. And then I pointed out that religions change and grow. So what does that make someone who re-interprets and breaks away from a religion with a new branch, or a person who starts a new religion? How about a person who starts a new religion inadvertantly? Where does the actual creation take place, who's doing it, and who is ultimately responsible?

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i dont have to just presuppose. you sort of said as much with some things before, that religion is wonky or whatever. i could go back and comb through some stuff and find it but i dont think youll argue with me on this so its not necessary. or maybe im remembering wrong. i guess we'll find out
I'm not sure what you're referring to here so I'll just let it sit. I guess we will find out.

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yes thats true, i think they necessarily are something like that. im wary about taking the term close minded, though, i dont think its the best, but its certainly in the right direction. the latter half of that statement i wouldnt agree with because there are a million ways other than religion where people can have their mind closed.
but i stand by that: if youre religious you are necessarily more "close minded" (imperfect, inexact term notwithstanding). how can an entire system of belief that provides answers off the bat to all kinds of troubling questions and is founded in the very antithesis of reason, faith, ever be reconciled with truly boundless, open mindedness and critical thought?
Concerning what? I guess that's the appropriate question. People make choices throughout their lives that reflect conclusions they come to, so on a threoretical level it's easy to say that religious answers could be conclusive answers to a question, rather than something that blocks you from finding answers, or more questions. As far as them being reconciled, the best answer I can give you is that if someone wants to reconcile them, they'll find a way; there are plenty such working contradictions in life. This is just a matter of perception, but I don't know why you seem to think everything just shuts down when someone becomes religious. That it solves their problems and stops them from looking for answers in anything, because it doesn't, even if they try to make it that way. People are still human, and regardless of religion they are still forced to find, or not find, ways of living on their own. Believing in literal things like creation and heaven and hell is not going to help you deal with life from day to day -- your belief in the guiding power that created those things is. And while religions have plenty of rules on how to live, there are very few that actually claim to give you ALL the answers. Branches of Christianity are more likely to claim that all the answers are in God, but even if you believe God exists, those answers aren't going to come on their own. Really, I think the idea that religious thought sort of causes people to space out and cruise through life is just weird. Granted, some people take it as an easy out, but so they do with any number of things. I feel I've just come in a circle now and am probably talking about things that you think are irrelevant or that we already decided we weren't talking about, but I think the fluidity factor is important. Not just that you can't tell what's going in in someone's mind, but that it changes, from minute to minute, that religion isn't an actual out of anything, but as a pre-set spiritual setting, at least pre-set for an individual person as they see it.

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how can i at once both believe that, say, the world was created 7000 years ago or, more abstractly, that certain behaviours or beliefs, dictated to be by the bible, are absolutely right or wrong, and at the same time be truly open and willing to accept the truth as it reveals itself?
You can't, but most people, religious or no, aren't open to any truth that reveals itself. I also didn't know our entire argument was based on pure literal interpretation. If it is, let's just stop now.

For the sake of argument, I can't imagine many truths revealing themselves in a day to day basis that directly contradict the idea of the world being created when or how it supposedly was.

And if we're talking about truth aside from fact, those are probably things people are always going to disagree on, correct? So to say that someone being religious would keep them from seeing certain truths could be more like saying that religious people will never see certain truths you see. And this is not even entirely the case as no religious person will necessarily stay religious.

Also, you can't take behaviors and beliefs literally from the Bible as right or wrong because it contradicts itself, becomes obviously metaphorical and allegorical, urges you to listen within yourself, and praises the glories of full-breasted women. Everyone has to do their own interpretations somewhere.

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im sorry, lie, but they are mutually exclusive. you cant have answers and at the same time be honestly and seriously looking for them and be willing to accept them in whatever form they might take.
You can if the answers have to do with yourself as a spiritual being and something other than this world. You can be completely willing to accept facts as they exist within the world. As far as answers go (aside from fact, because we are talking about the DIFFICULT questions), even when it comes to the difficult things in this world, I don't see people getting answers from religion, even if they think they are. Christians fight like hell over issues like abortion. No one is telling these people what is right and wrong. They're choosing what they want to believe.

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you seem to be using the fact that this belief isnt always totally debilitating (there are many scientists who are religious, for instance) as proof that it doesnt exist. this functions in degrees, yes, but the issue was always that it made you more close minded, more unreceptive to truth, not, like a swtich that is on or off, with religiousness equaling "totally close minded" (some certainly are) and non-religiousness meaning "totally enlightened."
and, just to be clear, were talking about a genuinely religious person. as i said before, i think thats the only example person we can use in many things. that question about if you can determine if a person is or is not religious is apart from this present question about close mindedness.
Yes, it may be, but like I said before I think it's totally asinine to be having a theoretical argument about this based on just those kinds of people, because that's a personality type, plain and simple.

My point was that religion doesn't MAKE you closed minded. You either choose to be or you aren't. For some people, choosing religion might be a step toward being MORE open minded. It depends on where you're coming from.

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it is indeed necessarily definable from just "spiritual feeling." on two levels: one, just semantically, religious belief and general spirituality have different meanings, they refer, rightly, to two different things. and, two (more on the level you mean it), religious belief is apart from general non-religious spirituality because, as ive said, its not just a belief or value, its a preordained set of beliefs and values. i mean some general spiritually doesnt connote worship, for instance. i thought, if anything, we agreed that belief (spiritual or otherwise) and religion are two different things. religion is spiritual, sure, but spiritual isnt necessarily religious.
Right, but I'm of the opinion that most people are religious for the spirituality aspect that matches rather than the literal belief aspect. As far as values, who's the say that people don't choose a religion because it MATCHES their values? It is a choice, therefore there's no reason to assume that it's a complete submission.

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the latter part, about how it necessarily crushes true spirituality, i dotn particularly agree with. it is true in a sense, but i dont think its the way you mean it.
Okay.

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and what are you talking about? did you just skip over that other post i made before this one? becuase i go into spirituality and the leap of faith and everything. i know this new board has this tendency to just shoot you past everything to the last post on a page so im not saying you deliberately ignored it, but it does seem like, going from your comments, that you didnt read it one way or another. if you did read it and are just ignoring it, fine whatever, but that sucks because i thought i brought up some interesting topics and stuff
I read everything you wrote and I'm not going to go back and look right now because I'm writing on a laptop and it's too much effort but I'll check later to make sure I didn't miss anything. I feel like I keep bringing up all this interesting points as well that are mostly lost to an uninteresting argument. I wonder if we could just branch off and discuss things or if we would just end up arguing anyway.


[quote]this is nonsense. obviously, for the sake of practical argument, weve referred to, one dimensionally, "religious people" and "religion", but i wouldt say that that doesnt reflect enough of reality. of course, like we talked about, there are varieties of religion and varieties of religious belief, but how varied? ever varied enough to escape the fundamental qualities attached to religion?

This is a question I don't know that answer to, because I don't know what you mean by fundamental qualities, but all I can say is that extreme varience has been my experience in reality. I do believe that there is not always self-deception present in religion, and this I can only base on experience. I have no idea what your experiences have been, but I can only suspect that they are quite different.

weve been talking about thngs in broad, generic terms, i agree, but i disagree with the idea that thats at all stopped us from coming at some kind of truth. even in the most bare sense of "religiousness", does someone truly escape that core?

If it benefits them, I don't think that "core" matters. I can't say for sure that the idea of a "core" isn't an illusion anyway. A lot of people use religion to their own ends. I keep saying that, but I don't know if you get what I mean. Of course I can't absolutely know that not every person who is religious is destroying themselves from the inside out, but it has never seemed that way to me, and I wonder why it does to you.

i dont think they do. so, while one persons religiousness can be more extreme and worthy of criticism, and anothers totally mild and in the background, and, from that perspective, its wrong to be so indiscriminate with ones treatment of the subject, but i dont accept that the language we are presently using doesnt suffice. i cant even count how many times weve been over this idea that varieties do exist, that its not all generic on all levels, but that theres still, nevertheless, some common elements between them all that can be targeted from criticism. so i dont think one even has to specify beyond the level of "religious" for this discussion to work (if were operating from the premise of a genuinely religious person and not this nominally "religous", yet fundamentally irreligious, person you have in mind)

No, but I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the way people operate. And I refuse to believe that the second type is irrelevant, because these are people who are present in a religious context.


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i expressed a preference for judging on actions, not a need to. this is actions as opposed to claims by the person. someone telling you they are trustworthy, for instance, and someone demonstrating trustworthiness. this was in response to the idea suggested by you, that you need to hear what they say about it first to truly decide. in many cases, sure, but there are alternate routes to that same end, ones that arent necessarily fraught with the kind of vanity or dishonesty that might creep into personal claims about what someone believes in. but i seem to be giving off the impression now that i dont ever listen to or believe what people say, which isnt at all true. i do, very much. i just dont accept this idea that thats the only (or necessarily the best) way to see or understand what someone believes
I don't think that either, but if you aren't judging someone by words or actions, what are you judging them by exactly?


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you really have to resist appealing to this "in someones mind" thing. thats such a smokescreen. this is the kind of stuff corganist does all the time: just make something seem ridiculous by way of dishonest framing of the subject.
It's not a smokescreen, it's realistic look at how these things actually work and an admittance that I don't know.

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youre trying to give the impression that its something inmutably personal and deep and impossible to understand. it is to an extent, but one doesnt have to even fully understand someones belief, they just have to understand enough for their purposes. i might have an incredibly nuanced, personal, idiosyncratic belief that the bible is the word of god, but all youd have to know to be able to criticize it is that i hold the belief that the bible is the word of god and that the other details or contextual points arent of such a nature to reverse that.
I would want to know more because I think people often speak of things like this abstractly.

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the only things with this that ive claimed not to understand are the true psychology of a religious person (i think ive got it down pretty well though) and what exactly religion is, whats the exact, perfect definition of it. but with that, as ive said before, the same rule applies: a full understanding isnt even necessary for our purposes, i just have to understand enough (know what it isnt, and know what basic elements definitely do exist within it). newtons law of gravity is incomplete, yet at the same time it functions marvelously for any variety of ends. (to avoid falling the same traps ill clarify: im not saying my beliefs on this are at all as brilliant as newtons on gravity, or whatever perverse interpretation this could support, im just illustrating a general principle. that principle being that "complete" knowledge (insofar as thats possible) is not a requisite and that the extent of knowledge needed is just relative to the ends

but i have to again stop and take stock. ill address what i know youre getting at, regardless of all the objectionable statements youre making along the way that might cloud that. with this idea that its right to judge people for being religious in mind, it really does seem like were on two different planes here. im saying: a person being religious, if they are "religious", means xyz (where anyone goes with that is another matter). youre saying soemthing like: "its fair to judge people on grounds of their being "religious"? what does it this "religious" even mean? what it does mean to be religious here and now, in pracitce, isnt of a universal character and doesnt necessarily relate to what it means in principle, so you cant honestly act like everyone corresponds to that." something in that vein, correct? i cant help but feel its all semantic. on the level i mean it i dont think you disagree.
On that contrary, I think it's based in reality and human character rather than the kind of theory we've been discussing. But I don't think I really disagree either, we just can't find language we agree on, possibly.

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i mean that were talking about religious people, people that are already religious, as per our understanding of the word, and whose faith isnt really the subject of contention, and thus believe in a general type of things in a general type of way (for expediency, accept that wording). if anything, the question is just flawed because, youd say, it presupposes too much. in reality, youd say, religious people are not so neatly divided from other people (radical communists) and, while they might call themselves religious, arent exactly even religious. i have to say that this angle is as wishful and theoretical as you accuse mine of being. even on that level, my point (that its right to judge them negatively) stands. i dont have to know it all. how far can one be religious, in name or in the fact that they go to church or because they claim to be or by any other measurement, and at the same time be sufficiently distanced from all of the elements of religious belief that i think so little of? i mean, they cant have their cake and eat it too. if somebody is seriously willing to forgo the infinite humility that is beholden upon them to have as humans and have, not the courage, but the weakness and utter stupidity to accept, wholly or a la carte, ready-made, plainly and obviously moronic solutions to the greatest questions of life and accept some of cheap bits of pseudo-wisdom from the ravings of some venal, opportunistic hobos like muhammad or jesus (thats exactly what they both were),
I have a hard time understanding how you think you know enough about the reality of Jesus and Muhammad (not being religious) to say that.

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to degrees small or large, im going to think less of them. whatever could possibly suffice to indicate the existance of these beliefs or this type of disposition (not exclusively systematic beliefs in the teachings of jesus or whatever, but ones of that exact nature -- aka religion) is enough, and its your mistake to give so much credit to these people to think that they can simultaneously have these type of beliefs and this type of disposition and yet be unscathed by criticism that applies to religion "theoretically"
I don't think you know for certain that it's a mistake, just as I don't know that it's not one. I think people adjust themselves to contradictions in life pretty well.

Also, I never said that I wouldn't, in some ways, be compelled to think less of someone who was religious. As per your example from before, I would be compelled to think less of someone who liked Nickelback. But both of these things could always be mitigated by knowing other things. Or maybe this is just an argument about judging people. I avoid judging people as much as possible -- and this isn't just some corny little standby, I would prefer to judge something they say or do than something they are. Judging people themselves on something they apparently are seems 100% wrong to me, but maybe we define this differently, too. I don't see how it is to my credit to judge people, assume things, or lead to direct conclusions about morality. It really just doesn't seem rational.

I think what we are dealing with has to do more with that, come to think of it. You can wipe out everything I just said even though I'll leave it since I spent too much time on it, and I can just say that I don't believe that it is right, in fact I believe in some ways that it is WRONG to judge a person on an abstract concept like religion rather than their actual words and actions. And even when it comes to judging a fundamentally religious person, the kind you're talking about, I'm still going to judge them on their words and actions. If someone started talking to me right off about the Bible being the word of God, I would be like, "This guy is an idiot." But if you told me, that you somehow, guaranteed, knew that this person believed that "the Bible was the word of God" that that was just in their head somewhere, I could not judge them on that. I don't know how to better explain it.

 
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:09 AM   #244
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longest original post ever?

 
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Old 05-04-2006, 11:43 AM   #245
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I'm half-tempted to quote that 10 times

 
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:12 PM   #246
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I'd just like to take this opportunity to say that I'm very fond of my girlfriend.







(anticipates standard response of, "So am I, LOL!")

 
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:33 PM   #247
RopeyLopey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeviousJ
I'm half-tempted to quote that 10 times
the correct term is you're tempted to randallize it

 
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:50 PM   #248
sleeper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shparticus
I'd just like to take this opportunity to say that I'm very fond of my girlfriend.







(anticipates standard response of, "So am I, LOL!")
are you a religious kook too?

 
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:57 PM   #249
ammy
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hey, where's cliff's notes when you need him?

 
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:33 PM   #250
sleeper
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lie, im working on the reply/. it might be a while because i hurt myself biking and only one hand is operational for now. i tried writing some part of the reply with the one hand and, besides the fact that it just took inordinately long, i couldnt think right. it seems like getting the thoughts out quick before i can dwell, or just being kind of disengaged frm myself, is productive.

im replying slowly. im at the "new religion" part. fascinating indeed


so what you think about shoes bitch

 
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:34 PM   #251
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http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/dr...pi/IV-A-01.jpg

 
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Old 05-06-2006, 06:57 PM   #252
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i think im goinf to take more pride in my posts now. im going to spruce them up with photos and casual asides and whatever. a post you can be proud of

http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/3...anlarge3wq.jpg


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Okay, I guess it was my mistake throwing that into the mix without explaining in more detail what I meant. What I should have said is that you display what I see as certain absolutist tendencies in practice, and it wasn't even so much a direct criticism of you as an attempt to make a point about the nature of the kind of things we're talking about. I'm going to try to address this as I work my way down, though, so for now I'll just assure you that I don't think you are actually an absolutist.

If it helps clarify, though this is unrelated, I'm probably more of a pragmatist than a relativist. I think most truths are (god substitute help me) self-evident, not in the sense that "if you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm not explaining it and fuck you," but that things which are morally wrong usually carry an obvious consequence, both to the person who commits the wrong and any victims of it. Basically, I think it is morally wrong for people to deliberately or knowingly hurt others or themselves.
i have no problem believing this at all, i do think youre somthing of a pragmatist, as, if not anything else, your arguments for religion on the grounds of their (sometimes) positive practical consequence attest. and objecting to that idea would necessarily be (maybe this isnt the best word) somewhat absolutist. but i think this word is a bit too loaded and thats maybe why i reacted so confrontationally to your labeling of me with it. like i said, i believe in the existence of things like truth and progress, but in practice (or, fine, mainly in principle) this only guides me so far as feeling comfortable declaring something as wrong (objectively and, to a lesser extent, morally/subjectively). i still get pretty nervous and anxious at the thought of declaring something as absolutely right. it frightens me, i admit

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If you argued that religion in itself causes some inherent harm to a person and therefore it is wrong to accept it, I could easily jive with that reasoning, it's just not something I could be sure about myself enough to state as fact, mainly because I think it's more complicated. If you are, I want to know how, and if you want, I could explain in more detail exactly why it is something I feel I cannot be sure about and have serious doubts as to the ability of yourself or anyone else to do so. I'm going to italicize that because I think it's important. I wouldn't be surprised if it needs go no further than that. Then again, that could go pretty far. But just to get rid of some of the mess, for the sake of housecleaning, feel free to zone in on that or anything if you think it's the only real issue.
i do agree with that and i do take it a step further and feel comfortable stating positively that it is damaging. this, too, is actually pretty loaded i think. "damaging" connotes something relatively grave, while it doesnt necessarily have to be grave at all for that label to justly apply. for that statement to stand religion would just have to create some damage, not necessarily some kind of catastrophic consequence. that damage comes in a few forms, most of which i think weve been over to one degree or another. i still like this idea that it debases reason and elevates faith (or just any non-rational magical thinking) across the board. theres also the idea of violence or any other amoral act, which i do believe a religious person would be, in principle, more prone towards than non-religious, for the above stated reason of havig that thin barrier of accountability to and for oneself circumvented. thats what i think we all fear in others: the loss of responsibility for oneself and ones actions. strictly and wholly rational people (a somewhat rare bird, you would agree) promise safety in their predictability. there are other things that break this barrier too (CEO's and their legal mandate to make money, nations at war, "i was just following orders") but none i think have the weight of religion, which, like that little paragraph i posted before said, derives its authority not from law, but from god. you cant argue with that. weighted against that, absolutely evertything imaginable, being merely earthly and not divine, can be excused. then you have people like bush leaving policy decisions up to the bible (aid going pretty much exclusively to AIDS organizations with abstinence-only programs, despite every study in the world saying theyre utterly ineffective) and people like nimrod voting against gay rights issues because "homosexuality is a sin, period." now, im not saying it all has to be so extreme, where ever religious person is virulently irrational, violent, homophobic, and a fundamentalist, im just trying to represent the broad scope of the consequences associated with this seemingly private, personal decision and extreme examples just unambiguously illustrate that (honestly, theyre not even extreme, im just using that word for your sake (to avoid getting mauled for some trivial example)). i know you were talking about harm done to oneself and not necessarily to others, but in a, you know, modern society theyre kind of intertwined.


yes please explain your rationale, im curious


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Okay, so if you do think it's morally wrong, may I ask where those morals are derived from and what they represent? I'm going to assume that you would then be willing to make a direct statement saying that accepting religion into your life is morally wrong. Can you explain why that action by itself is fundamentally wrong? I'm not trying to harass you with preacher-speak to then turn it around and make and "ironic" statement at your expense, I'm just wondering if you can explain how , for example, going into church and saying the Lord's Prayer, that action in itself, which is not harming anyone or getting in anyone's way, is morally, objectively wrong.
i dont get this. i dont know what you want me to address: what it is morally or why its objective wrong. i didnt say it was morally wrong (insinuated maybe) and morals, while they basically mean "right or wrong", mean it vis a vis society and human values. objectively (in the sense i meant it) means apart from all of that, beyond and independent from subjective values. but saying its "morally wrong" is a weird thought thought. its awkward, i dont think thats the best way to frame it. i guess its immoral in that its dishonest (youre wantonly lying to yourself) and encourages people to have and keep unfounded convictions. that certainly couldnt be defended as "right", on any scale. but the term "morally" is weird for this.
and by "objectively wrong" i just mean that its not the truth. this is only possible because it makes positive claims about the truth

but, at the same time, ideas on what is right and wrong is not strictly socially created and they do have some foundation in the objective state of things, but that isnt the way i think you meant it. or is it? this just becomes too philosophical then


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In this case we can simplify that argument a lot by not even talking about the bad things religion can (apparently) drive people to.
oops, too late. i told you that i reply as i go

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Understand, for the purpose of argument, that there are things I do view as being morally wrong on an objective scale
out of curiosity, could you give me an example?

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if you accept Christianity as a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the corresponding scriptures
see, you might have well have just stopped there. the other denominations and interpretations might mitigate and better frame the stupidity of that, and i dont doubt that they do, but none can erase it, and none have the power to justify ignoring that.
and i like this idea you put forward of christianity in modern day america just being a practicable outlet for a general spirituality (im going think about that a lot, its an interesting idea), but i dont believe that the choice is so unconscious or unaware. it can never be so innocent. i, for instance, have an inkling of that general spirituality but do you think i could just seamlessly transpose myself into a church environment and not change? the point is that i wouldnt be able to just discover the truth by myself, it would be told to me. i coudlnt at once call myself a christian and ignore its teachings and just maintain that general spirituality. there is a broader web of consequences, is what you might not see

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of moral coding more than absolute literal belief
yes, of course, but i still neither think that that moral coding is at all right in itself, or that people could ever go far enough from literal belief. they might not think the world was created 7000 years ago, but they believe in a host of other literal things, and those same moral codes (ten commandments are pretty literal am i wrong) are, even when not literal, directly derivative from that text. and thats kind of the point: to me, theyre one and the same. both are saying you take the text of the bible as the word of god, but there just being different approaches advocated towards extracting the message from the text, with one saying the message of god is in the exact words, and the other that the message is implied or in the subtext. neither say that it isnt the message of god, and thats what matters.

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there is also a huge chunk of people who do not embrace any kind of world view
i dont really believe this, are you sure you do? i would accept that they do to varying degrees, but could a religous person not embrace "any kind" of wordview?



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You said before something about a religious mindset being one that accepts pre-existing dogma. And then I pointed out that religions change and grow. So what does that make someone who re-interprets and breaks away from a religion with a new branch, or a person who starts a new religion? How about a person who starts a new religion inadvertently? Where does the actual creation take place, who's doing it, and who is ultimately responsible?
well, theres a difference between what religion usually is and what it can be, and ive said before a number of times that i dont think ive gotten down the exact definition of it, and id be lying if i said i thought my conception of religion is totally identical to what religion can objectively, fairly, and accurately be defined as.
but this "new religion" thing is kind of troubling (for me). to just, like you said, help things move along and make things cleaner, ill just put my cards on my table (whether or not im shooting myself in the foot with respects to this thing were doing (im loathe to give it a title or whatever because doing so tends to have the effect of creating a self fulfilling prophecy. if i call it a "debate" than all of a sudden were "debating" each other and that has all kinds of effects on how we conduct ourselves and so on. i just dont like that. but, then again, calling it a "thing" isnt by any means neutral either, its just differently connotative. whatever fuck you)). but if i were to just address that issue, i would say that you couldnt call that a religion, that its something else. i cant put my finger on why, but i really dont think it is. i think it has something to do with submission. youre submitting yourself beneath a specific god and dogma. if you create it entirely yourself (im using the latter example of yours, the guy who invents an entirely new religion) its more egocentric than it is submissive (you could argue that all religion is fundamentally like this though, and i would entirely agree. i implied that before religious belief actually doesnt have any genuine humility to it and i stand by that). consider this: someone who creates this "religion" and practices it exclusively alone. in such a case i dont think you could call that a religon, regardless of if it concords with some previously mentioned characteristics of religion. i think theres something of an institutional element to it all. its something you organize something of yourself around, i dont think you can be both creator (or "discoverer" haha) and servant. i think the only way it could work would be if the "creator" himself claimed to be divine or above human or a prophet, which has obviously been the case for more than one religion. but that person wouldnt himself be religious, he would be just "it" (pardon the ambiguity, i just want to avoid using the wrong word) and a religion would come when a constellation of systematic beliefs and practices (worship) develops around it. i dont know. but i do know that this idea doesnt sit correctly, im just trying to discover why. i probably failed, but whatever



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Concerning what? I guess that's the appropriate question. People make choices throughout their lives that reflect conclusions they come to, so on a theoretical level it's easy to say that religious answers could be conclusive answers to a question, rather than something that blocks you from finding answers, or more questions. As far as them being reconciled, the best answer I can give you is that if someone wants to reconcile them, they'll find a way; there are plenty such working contradictions in life. This is just a matter of perception, but I don't know why you seem to think everything just shuts down when someone becomes religious. That it solves their problems and stops them from looking for answers in anything, because it doesn't, even if they try to make it that way. People are still human, and regardless of religion they are still forced to find, or not find, ways of living on their own. Believing in literal things like creation and heaven and hell is not going to help you deal with life from day to day -- your belief in the guiding power that created those things is. And while religions have plenty of rules on how to live, there are very few that actually claim to give you ALL the answers. Branches of Christianity are more likely to claim that all the answers are in God, but even if you believe God exists, those answers aren't going to come on their own. Really, I think the idea that religious thought sort of causes people to space out and cruise through life is just weird. Granted, some people take it as an easy out, but so they do with any number of things. I feel I've just come in a circle now and am probably talking about things that you think are irrelevant or that we already decided we weren't talking about, but I think the fluidity factor is important. Not just that you can't tell what's going in in someone's mind, but that it changes, from minute to minute, that religion isn't an actual out of anything, but as a pre-set spiritual setting, at least pre-set for an individual person as they see it.

i dont accept any of this. hardly a word. you talk about religion as one would just spirituality, which is a different animal. the choice to believe in the dogmas of a religion is irreconcilable with truly open thought. those dogmas dont admit distinction. you either believe or you dont. to willingly put yourself into such a frame is counter to what free thinking and open mindedness is about. think about the nature of that choice: youre choosing to know the answers to life, without any remotely sensible justification, and those answers are such that they actually forbid any others. it preaches infallibility. it puts forward, not truths, but absolute truths. and on what basis are, of all things, these absolute truths being accepted? the answer to that is hugely embarrassing for humankind. this simply cant be reconciled. youre not just accepting some general truths, youre accepting, in essence, rules and constraints. this guy jesus is the son of god. to a devout christian, is that truly debatable? i dont think it is, and its these kind of sacrosanct, inviolable notions that give religion its special status as the closer of minds. granted, people can always just get up and walk away from a religion, and they should, but if were taking about religious people (people who are presently religious) i cant speculate as to what they one day might do. they made the choice to be religious and that choice is going to and does reflect on who they are and their abilities. a general spirituality is distinct from this in that it is (or it very well can be) mutable and free, it does not establish any restrictions. please dont reply to this saying "hey, those rules can often be minimal or peripheral" or anything like that. the question is does it mean you are more close minded. and it does


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You can't, but most people, religious or no, aren't open to any truth that reveals itself
so? does that mean we are then to excuse something that actively pushes it in the wrong direction? nobody lives forever, yeah, so that means im allowed to slit your throat, right? oh please say yes!

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For the sake of argument, I can't imagine many truths revealing themselves in a day to day basis that directly contradict the idea of the world being created when or how it supposedly was.
but those initial beliefs have a tremendous influence on your conduct to begin with. i dont share you perception of these things all being neatly contained (not to mention that christianity or islam do a lot more than just exclusively deal with the question of god). so, beyond the fact that truths dont just have to pertain to those specific questions you supposed, who is to say that those rare truths about the meaning of life would, in the case that they did appear, even be received? thats the problem. and who is to say that those same beliefs dont colour other beliefs or dont encourage an attitude of unquestioned certainty? its not contained, theyre not seperate worlds.



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Also, you can't take behaviors and beliefs literally from the Bible as right or wrong because it contradicts itself, becomes obviously metaphorical and allegorical, urges you to listen within yourself, and praises the glories of full-breasted women. Everyone has to do their own interpretations somewhere.
ive always agreed that it shouldnt all be taken literally, fine. but theres the stink of an awful cop-out going on any time this idea is leaned on and i really hate it. it does come to take the role of excuse for so much and i refuse to just accept that such things were to be taken as absurdly figuratively as they sometimes are suggested to be. why are these interpretations so pliable too? why do they adapt so readily (in religious terms) to the social mood? the subjugation of women or slavery is out, so xyz, you see, actually meant zyx. the premise that its supposed to be taken somewhat figurative (or, rather, just simply not literally (an impossible idea in itself, really)) is a sound one, but it can only carry so much. from that position, again, absolutely anything is explained, excused, or justified. past a certain point it just becomes worthless. people who really heavily use this idea of non-literal interpretation are just lying to themselves i think. its so repulsive, all of it

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and those plain contradictions that exist in the literal reading dont just point to the fact that it should (has to) be read figuratively, ( i dont know why you are so easily satisfied with such a conclusion) it points to the fact that, hey, this is actually a lazy crock of shit. its like looking at some botched work of art with a big smudge and, because youre so set on loving the painting a priori, praising the smudge as a creative and brilliant. (look at the principle im trying to illustrate with that please)



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You can if the answers have to do with yourself as a spiritual being and something other than this world. You can be completely willing to accept facts as they exist within the world. As far as answers go (aside from fact, because we are talking about the DIFFICULT questions), even when it comes to the difficult things in this world, I don't see people getting answers from religion, even if they think they are. Christians fight like hell over issues like abortion. No one is telling these people what is right and wrong. They're choosing what they want to believe.


how hypothetically are we talking about religion now? i blame myself from making it too -- what you called before, but is a term i object to -- "theoretical", so i cant blame you. but i really have to stop and tell you that i think youve been slowly creeping towards the most implausibly innocuous view of religion imaginable. again, its very much inline with a general spirituality from your characterization, which isnt just. bluntly: when were talking about religion were talking about christianity and islam -- and to a lesser extent hinduism, judaism, and buddhism. those two religions are far and away dominant and, quite frankly, i cant even remember the last hindu or practicing jew ive met, and i dont think ive ever even met a genuine buddhist. from a practical perspective, this is what everything we have been saying in theory is applicable to. we shouldnt forget that. im just saying this to keep us grounded, because the image your painting is practically of a entirely non-religion person who has some extremely passive beliefs (that he so happens to share with others) about god. do such people, who are yet nominally christian ( i wont even say "or muslim" because islam has yet to have its martin luther moment, it would seem, and theres not nearly as muhc latitude in belief as in christianity i think), exist? sure. but the kind of representation youve been giving them is entirely out or proportion and dishonest, i think. i havent met every christian in the world but i dont think even you would support the notion that those magically dualistic people constitute a faction sizeable enough to merit the kind of position youve been giving them within the scope of this thing.
and i feel as though, despite the fact that i just explained some of it a paragraph or two ago (its funny that were measuring things on such a scale), have to reiterate my thoughts on this idea your presenting of two worlds that dont interfere with each other. wishful, i think is a generous way of qualifiying it. in practice, those metaphysical beliefs are not at all contained. they, like i said, wield influence. a belief that god is watching you and will punish you for your sins doesnt contain itself, it directly influences ones conduct in the real world. a beleif that there is no god would as well. a belief in reincarnation would also. and a strong enough belief in some metaphysical notion can (and evidently does) often serve to even override real world fact. theyre not contained, neither in theory nor in practice

that abortion example doesnt do much for me at all. substitute that for anything else, any other moral question, and the same applies. the fact that theyre willing and capable to debate some things doesnt stand as proof against my comment that they have the answers, which seems to be what youre using it as. it would if i said they had ALL the answers (however that would even work out), which i didnt

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My point was that religion doesn't MAKE you closed minded. You either choose to be or you aren't. For some people, choosing religion might be a step toward being MORE open minded. It depends on where you're coming from.
well it doesnt, like a swtich, make you close minded, but it does make you more close midned, yes. for the reasons covered above


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Right, but I'm of the opinion that most people are religious for the spirituality aspect that matches rather than the literal belief aspect. As far as values, who's the say that people don't choose a religion because it MATCHES their values? It is a choice, therefore there's no reason to assume that it's a complete submission.

well i dont doubt that a lot of people choose religion initially for that spiritual aspect, but that i dont think that remains the extent of the relationship with a religion. its the doorway, if you will, not the room

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I read everything you wrote and I'm not going to go back and look right now because I'm writing on a laptop and it's too much effort but I'll check later to make sure I didn't miss anything. I feel like I keep bringing up all this interesting points as well that are mostly lost to an uninteresting argument. I wonder if we could just branch off and discuss things or if we would just end up arguing anyway.
i of course welcome branching off (in fact i really want to), and that was what i was kind of trying to do with that second strain of posts we developed, where i talked about the nature of spirituality and what it feels like psychologically and everything. i thought those britannica quotes were killer, i cant believe they didnt excite you like they did me

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I don't know what you mean by fundamental qualities
wtf. you just asked what i thought the hard core was an i begrudgingly went over it all.

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I do believe that there is not always self-deception present in religion
there a few amusing layers to this comment.


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If it benefits them, I don't think that "core" matters. I can't say for sure that the idea of a "core" isn't an illusion anyway. A lot of people use religion to their own ends. I keep saying that, but I don't know if you get what I mean. Of course I can't absolutely know that not every person who is religious is destroying themselves from the inside out, but it has never seemed that way to me, and I wonder why it does to you.

that core isnt an illusion. its what makes religion religion.
the way i interpret these comments about benefits and using it for their own ends is that within the scope of these peoples lives, religion can serve some kind of productive, positive end. correct? this has been address though, so i wont go into it again

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I don't think that either, but if you aren't judging someone by words or actions, what are you judging them by exactly?
what? where did i say i dont do either? i do both, but have a preference for the former in many circumstances. thats all

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I think it's based in reality and human character rather than the kind of theory we've been discussing
i dont know why but this one phrasing of it has a real clarifying effect, i see a new angle to your argument.
on a level, yes. but it again has the potential to just, righly indiscriminate of that, be boiled down to basic qualities. does the person believe that mohammed was the prophet and that the koran is the word of god? if so, what individual-specific qualities to that belief could really ever mitigate that enough? to me its essentially inexcusable



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I have a hard time understanding how you think you know enough about the reality of Jesus and Muhammad (not being religious) to say that.
you have to be religious to know about religion?

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I would prefer to judge something they say or do than something they are
prefer to, sure i agree, but judging someone on who they are, while a precarious sport, is viable, its not totally out of bounds






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Judging people themselves on something they apparently are seems 100% wrong to me, but maybe we define this differently, too. I don't see how it is to my credit to judge people, assume things, or lead to direct conclusions about morality. It really just doesn't seem rational.
i think this mis-characterizes my position on this. i think you again mistake how far i take this, and, honestly, i think its this false impression that is fueling a lot of your distaste for what im saying. i really dont write people off or viciously condemn someone in my mind for wearing a cross around their neck or something. i do judge people on who they are, and unless youre saying that that is always, without exception, wrong, i think the issue becomes how or how far. to give a practical example: last week i met some guy my age. we talked about bangladesh (hes from there) and some motorcycle accident he was in and whatever, and i thought him kind of innocently clueless and simple. someone asked him what religion he is and he answers muslim. what did you think i did at this point? if you think i lunged at him with my pen and try to score a fatal wound before i would be pulled off him, youd (unfortunately, of course) be incorrect. i just logged in my brain another component of this guys character, another chunk of facts to the database. i asked him why he chose to be a muslim and he said that he didnt, that his parents did. how much do you think i hold what he is, a muslim, against this guy in this circumstance? not much at all, but it certainly still matters. and look here: do i, in general, hold this guy in high esteem and respect him? no, not at all, and the fact that hes religious does absolutely, somewhere along the way, factor into that standing, but its not this definitive thing at all times for everyone. it does matters and rightly so

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I would prefer to judge something they say or do than something they are.

honestly, this just seems like an empty rhetorical distinction, i dont think it very meaningful. it has some superficial persuasiveness, and i think thats what youre standing on. i mean, what is somebody but the product of their actions? a "smoker", for example, is something someone could be, but does it mean nothing or little? they are that as the result of their choices and theres nothing wrong with weighing that for or against them. there are times when something somebody is isnt the result of choice (like someone being black) and in those situations its entirely not right to judge them for it, but in all other cases it entirely logical and just. so a muslim is something else somebody could be, but it is connotative. that state came from their own choice and that reflect on them.
but there is a subtext to what youre saying that one couldnt reasonable disagree with, which is that one shouldnt be harshly prejudiced or categorical. or, rather, that actions and words weigh more in the scheme of things than something someone is, which i agree with (well, depending on the exact context, because that isnt always the case).

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Old 07-21-2006, 06:02 PM   #253
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I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the hippobus in Ottawa today in the morning. Guys have it, too!

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Old 07-21-2006, 06:11 PM   #254
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Old 07-21-2006, 06:12 PM   #255
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my netappearance should relflect that but it doesn't

 
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