RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

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RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Tony on Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:58 pm

--The Catholic Church denying Ron Howard the right to film "Angels and Demons" in churches. And now The Catholic Church is protesting the movie because of it's "disrespectful" portrayal of the Catholic Church.
--The jihad put out against Saalman Rushdie by Muslim extremists.

These are only examples from modern entertainment. What of the arrogance of Christian missionaries attempting to convert the heathen, godless tribes of the New World?

I wish organized religion would stop taking itself so seriously. Before you flame me, let me say I draw a big line between personal faith and organized religion. We all, as individual humans, have a need for faith, understanding, love and security. I feel we all have to define these things for our private selves. I am on my own personal journey in this matter, as I'm sure you are. But as soon as two people, and then a community, and so on, communicate their beliefs to another, it will be agreed or disagreed upon. Agreement leads to organization. Organization, when it comes to religion, leads to "I'm right, you're wrong".

Yet this is a huge topic, but it is also my ultimate hurdle. I can say a lot about it, and I suppose I will, about my personal beliefs and how I feel religion, while a natural occurance in society, is also a social cancer. I can understand and forgive a lot of viewpoints vastly different from my own. I can't tolerate--hurdle--holier than thou attitudes.

Your thoughts?
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  weathereye on Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:14 pm

Ooh, this is a wicked good hurdle. I think there's a difficult balancing act between adapting religious themes and actually adapting religion. I can see why Catholics would be offended by Dan Brown (and I can see why Catholics who can read would be even more offended). But there was no such outcry over things like The Matrix, which is a scarily literal Christ analogy, or other science fiction programs that explore religion while masking it in explosions and costumes. Even Lost has its parallels with organized religion.

The question, though, is this: Does the presence of religious elements in a work of fiction turn you off or draw you in? I enjoy fiction with a religious setting. I wanted to like The DaVinci Code, because I read all those Holy Blood Holy Grail books in the 80s. I wanted to like Angels and Demons, because I'm interested in Catholic history and secret societies. The suckage was just too much, though. But it got me reading them.

Another good example is the comic book series Preacher, which pulls a lot of the same themes and concepts up by the hair and kicks them around a bit, leaving them in the dust. There is also nudity. Religion is front and centre, and it was not a hurdle for me.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Tony on Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:02 pm

I was thinking about this post after I made it, and I wanted to add now what I think it is that really bothers me. Organized religion, at its highest, biggest, strongest level is a political force. I think my hurdle for the bickerings of politics outweighs my issues with religion. My attitude towards religion as really softened over the years. I used to be verrrrry cynical about it. In general, it reinforces decent behavior and morals. I was raised a Presbyterian, and I think that had a good effect on me. I certainly don't hold my friend's individual beliefs against them. There you go, I hate politics. I told you I'd learn something about myself via this thread! A bit of backstory, when I was growing up my parent's church had a minister who was ranked as one of the top 50 speakers in the USA. When I was only 12 or 13, this man was forced from our church by a vocal minority for stupid, local, and political reasons. I was personally disgusted. The church body actually split in two; the group my parents belonged to formed a new church congregation, while this event served as a catalyst to explode my inherent cynicism into full teenage bloom. People, I learned, could be full of shit.

Kennedy, don't forget about DUNE, or even the progress-as-god brainwashings of a book like BRAVE NEW WORLD. Even Hari Seldon's prophecies were more-or-less worshiped in Asimov's FOUNDATION, until they started to go astray. Actually, to answer the question you posed, YES, religion does draw me in, very much, as an element in fictional writing. I would probably be kinder to Dan Brown than most, from what I've read. He's only written 4 (now 5) books, after all, and I think art is always a learning process. But yes, the religious and symbolic backgrounds to his most-famous books is certainly alluring.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Marius on Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:17 pm

Ok, confession time. I read, and thoroughly enjoyed The DaVinci Code. I read Angels and Demons, too, after, and thought it was a trial run for TDC. In any case I totally agree with you, Jumpsuit. I have many, many friends who are Catholics, Baptists, Jews, etc. But the Catholic Church, and the Southern Baptist Convention, and whatever the governing body of Judaism is totally piss me off. Religious people are usually cool, religions as entities rarely are, imo.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Jakob on Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:31 pm

I'm suprisingly pro-religion. I suppose because you don't get more athiest than me. It does a lot of good for people who, because they have god, don't have to go to work dressed in their Starfleet uniform to give their lives meaning. Though perhaps that in itself was caused by organized religion somewhere along the line.

But though I have less of a problem with people devoting their lives to a magic baby than a lot of liberal-minded people I know, I'm not entirely without predjudice. Whenever a lady opens up her prayer book beside me on the subway I get the nerd shivers (Oddly, I've never seen a man pray on the train). Also I find myself facinated by religious/spiritual people. As if they're a strange other species to study and figure out. The notion of holding a religious belief is entirely alien to me.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Domino on Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:03 am

When someone opens up a bible next to me on the subway I honestly think they might have a knife in their bag their gonna stab me with. Religious people totally scare me. They are beyond alien. But I'm agnostic.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Mekka on Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:45 am

Religious people don't scare me in the slightest. I think if you did a survey of people who carry a bible there's probably less chance of them carrying a weapon than the rest of the population.

It seems everyone else seems not to have a problem with the idea of religion but of large organisations. I fail to see how religious organisations are that much different to any other organisation except that the larger religions speak to far more people. The major damage I see is a man of the Pope's standing in the world condemning the use of condoms in Africa. To me, knowing the power he holds, that's equivalent to a war crime.

I've often stated that if you could take religion away from the world in one swoop you wouldn't remove the problems associated with religion. They would just manifest elsewhere. Some humans are tossers whatever happens that will always be the case. Humans need to find meaning has been near universal. Until very recently in our development most of us found that meaning in religion. The last couple of centuries more and more people have looked elsewhere or just stopped looking.

I don't find offensive notions any more offensive if they come from someone who's religious. I just worry that they may have a greater mouthpiece to work with. I don't find that a scientist's findings are any more believable if he claims to be an atheist, proof is proof.

But I don't really associate religion with being a nerd hurdle. It's not exactly next to Star Trek fan-fic and people dressing as Darth Vader on my list anyway.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Admin on Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:18 am

I think the nerd hurdle aspect of religion would be in the goody-two-shoes sterotype of Sunday school and church youth group kids. The do-gooders wearing slacks and button-down white shirts with bad haircuts who are into Jesus the same way trekkies are into their Trek. There certainly are god nerds the same way there is anything else. Some of those American mega-churches and stadium Jesus rallies seem to be a lot like conventions.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Mekka on Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:28 am

Maybe we miss those in the UK! Sunday school is more about people sending their kids so they can get them into a religious school. As religious schools usually get better exam results.

I think the whole religion thing is very, very different on different sides of the Atlantic. We don't have those kind of rallies here. Nor does religion seem so embedded in elections. I have heard that if a US presidential candidate were to claim he didn't believe in God that would scupper any chance of election. Where in Britain politicians mostly shy away from being seen as religious. When Tony Blair was aked about his religion his adviser famously replied very firmly 'We don't do God'.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Kerokapala on Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:34 am

I have a huge issue with the "holier than thou" and "I know what's best for you thankyouverymuch." attitude spawned by organized religion. I have no problem with people being religious, as long as they keep it to themselves. As soon as you start proselytizing, you may as well have punched me. Religion has NO PLACE in politics. This enrages me. "Oh, sure he has the best ideas i've ever seen, he's charismatic, but he's not a Christian, so i'll vote for this good churchgoing man whose platform is called... "Fascist Overlord"

Another prong of this is alternative religions, but that ties into my unabashed shamelessness hurdle. When a teenager comes up to me and says "I'm a wiccan, you know." My stomach does a nerd-flip, and I feel a little "Flight or fight"-y.
Mind you, it doesn't always have to be "wiccan," it can be pretty much anything.

The final prong in this trident of hurdlery is people who form their own religion, name it, and give it "holy laws." an associate of mine came up to me the other day, and asked if I would like to join his religion. He then laid out the basic tenets of "Wear no shoes, Eat at no restaurants, and maintain rigorous personal hygeine." I almost fainted. He had come up with a diet and dress plan, and called it a religion. Ugh. Mad
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  2hot2handle on Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:31 pm

I think i may be the opposite to what you have all described. for example when i was walking through the town centre a week or so ago a very loud religous (Christian i think) man was shouted across to me if i had found god. It was a pedestrianised section and he had a fairly official looking stall and stuff so it wasn't as if he was the same as the stereotypical "the end is nigh" bloke. Anyway getting to the point i very almost turned around and engaged conversation with him simply so i could debate with him and i guess in a way try and prove my superiority. But as i was with friends i carried on walking but i dread to think what i would have looked like if i had been on my own and had decided to talk to him.

So does the Richard Dawkins type of atheism count as a Nerd Hurdle as well?

By the by i wouldn't descriminate people because of thier religion, i wouldn't attack (verbally or physically) a Christian simply for saying that they were a Christian but when people are telling me loudly why i should believe in thier god, well, who knows what i might do...
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Kerokapala on Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:36 pm

Dawkins style atheism falls into the same group as the rest of the proselytizing religions. I'm equally discomforted by that. When I was at LSU, we would have the Atheist-Humanist-Agnostic club sitting right across the sidewalk from the "Students for Life" table. The AHA guys badgered the Pro-Lifers so hard that they weren't put near each other again. Mind you, the Pro-Lifers were badgering me, so it's kind of a chain of abuse here.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Mekka on Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:47 pm

2hot2handle wrote:I think i may be the opposite to what you have all described. for example when i was walking through the town centre a week or so ago a very loud religous (Christian i think) man was shouted across to me if i had found god. It was a pedestrianised section and he had a fairly official looking stall and stuff so it wasn't as if he was the same as the stereotypical "the end is nigh" bloke. Anyway getting to the point i very almost turned around and engaged conversation with him simply so i could debate with him and i guess in a way try and prove my superiority. But as i was with friends i carried on walking but i dread to think what i would have looked like if i had been on my own and had decided to talk to him.

So does the Richard Dawkins type of atheism count as a Nerd Hurdle as well?

By the by i wouldn't descriminate people because of thier religion, i wouldn't attack (verbally or physically) a Christian simply for saying that they were a Christian but when people are telling me loudly why i should believe in thier god, well, who knows what i might do...

This is part of the 'Fishers of Men' outlook. Christians are taught that it's their duty to bring people to their religion. I assume other religions teach a similar thing. The stall you mentioned must have some luck gaining followers or they wouldn't be there. However, I suspect they only attract those that are already on the lookout for some kind of faith. People who would have found their way to some kind of church anyway.

I completely agree that it doesn't bother me when people practise religion, just leave me out of it thanks. Especially when I have Jehovah's Witnesses knocking on my door, pretending to be doing a survey before finally hitting me with the 'God can improve your lot' lecture.

As for Dawkins, I can't stand the man, he just rubs me up the wrong way. He's what I'd call a fundamental atheist. I did find his book 'The God Delusion' very interesting though. Helped to clear my mind of all the guilt I harboured for not really believing in God. I just wish I'd read it 10 years earlier.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Marius on Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:55 pm

Maybe it's the Viking in me, but I'd like to see the Vatican sacked, the Pope deposed, and the wealth of the Catholic church distributed to the poor.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  2hot2handle on Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:01 pm

Marius wrote:Maybe it's the Viking in me, but I'd like to see the Vatican sacked, the Pope deposed, and the wealth of the Catholic church distributed to the poor.

Surley thats more of your Robin Hood side coming out, y'know i think you'd look great in tights. Smile
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Jakob on Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:30 pm

Mekka wrote:
As for Dawkins, I can't stand the man, he just rubs me up the wrong way. He's what I'd call a fundamental atheist. I did find his book 'The God Delusion' very interesting though. Helped to clear my mind of all the guilt I harboured for not really believing in God. I just wish I'd read it 10 years earlier.

I have a love/hate with Mr. D. I agree with all his ideas to which I've been exposed, but he's also a bit of a pompous ass about it all. Perhaps even a douche. Maybe as an athiest I can't quite call him a douche. But I don't really see the point, as an absolute athiest, of waging a crusade against religion. God might be a delusion, but I think it's a delusion religious people need. Take whatever gods away and they'll just worship something else. Whether it be the Earth, Spock, The NY Yankees, animal spirits or Kurt Cobain.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Roundapanda on Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:42 pm

Jakob wrote:
Mekka wrote:
As for Dawkins, I can't stand the man, he just rubs me up the wrong way. He's what I'd call a fundamental atheist. I did find his book 'The God Delusion' very interesting though. Helped to clear my mind of all the guilt I harboured for not really believing in God. I just wish I'd read it 10 years earlier.

I have a love/hate with Mr. D. I agree with all his ideas to which I've been exposed, but he's also a bit of a pompous ass about it all. Perhaps even a douche. Maybe as an athiest I can't quite call him a douche. But I don't really see the point, as an absolute athiest, of waging a crusade against religion. God might be a delusion, but I think it's a delusion religious people need. Take whatever gods away and they'll just worship something else. Whether it be the Earth, Spock, The NY Yankees, animal spirits or Kurt Cobain.

He was on the Russell Brand show (before Sachsgate) and they compared him to professor Yaffel from Bagpuss Laughing
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Tony on Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:55 pm

Mekka wrote:I've often stated that if you could take religion away from the world in one swoop you wouldn't remove the problems associated with religion. They would just manifest elsewhere. Some humans are tossers whatever happens that will always be the case.

I'd never thought of it that way, and that makes perfect sense to me. Yeah, I really wrestle with my idealism vs. the fact that history proves humanity is unlikely to learn from their mistakes. Maybe that's my real hurdle here, reconciling those two extremes. Thanks for sharing your point-of-view!
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  cohnee on Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:57 am

Everything I have to say about religion, Mekka has (more or less) already said. So I'll just ditto her comments.

Personally, while I don't believe any of the viewpoints purported by the main religions, I also find the notion that we can know that there is no God/gods utterly ridiculous. We know so little about the universe and the chances are that any higher being is operating on plane of existence and thought so far removed from our own, that we simply won't be able to truly comprehend it.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Jakob on Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:17 am

cohnee wrote:I also find the notion that we can know that there is no God/gods utterly ridiculous. We know so little about the universe and the chances are that any higher being is operating on plane of existence and thought so far removed from our own, that we simply won't be able to truly comprehend it.

How would that work? Our own consciousness is housed in chemicals and tissue. In space, there is literally nothing. It's a vacuum. Even if there ways for consciousness to exist and travel outside of a vessel, I can't buy it'd have any means of operating or communicating, or even existing outside of a coma-like state. I don't actually think there is much we don't know about the universe. I think when we get out in the galaxy, we'll find a lot of "same but different." The laws of physics and basic concepts of biology aren't going to change.

I feel that we've come to a point in our knowledge where we can extropolate, scientifically, using deductive reasoning, that God is an impossibility. There may be be an absence of proof, but I believe and absense of proof regarding something that supposedly exists, is a valid proof it doesn't exist.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  ori-STUDFARM on Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:25 pm

Jakob's been at Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy again!! Isn't the Babel fish a dead give away though? Very Happy
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Roundapanda on Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:30 pm

It's weird, because as I read, I'm drinking out of a Marvin mug
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  2hot2handle on Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:45 pm

Jakob wrote:
cohnee wrote:I also find the notion that we can know that there is no God/gods utterly ridiculous. We know so little about the universe and the chances are that any higher being is operating on plane of existence and thought so far removed from our own, that we simply won't be able to truly comprehend it.

How would that work? Our own consciousness is housed in chemicals and tissue. In space, there is literally nothing. It's a vacuum. Even if there ways for consciousness to exist and travel outside of a vessel, I can't buy it'd have any means of operating or communicating, or even existing outside of a coma-like state. I don't actually think there is much we don't know about the universe. I think when we get out in the galaxy, we'll find a lot of "same but different." The laws of physics and basic concepts of biology aren't going to change.

I feel that we've come to a point in our knowledge where we can extropolate, scientifically, using deductive reasoning, that God is an impossibility. There may be be an absence of proof, but I believe and absense of proof regarding something that supposedly exists, is a valid proof it doesn't exist.

I'd watch out for Zebra crossings if i were you.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Marius on Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:59 pm

The whole 'does God exist' issue reminds me of string theory. There are aspects of string theory that simply cannot be directly observed or tested, yet we cannot dismiss them as non-existent. I have my doubts as to the existence of a supreme being, but it is scientifically untenable to state with certainty that something does not exist. I think that Sasquatch and Nessie are extremely unlikely to exist, but it would be irresponsible for me to categorically claim that they do not. I suspect you are correct, Jakob, that the laws of physics are the same in all areas of the universe, but until I have data from everywhere I cannot assume that to be true. We have only one sample to base our estimate of what life is, and a sample group of one is not statistically useful. Therefore it is, in my opinion, far too soon to believe that we have a handle on what the boundaries of life, and by extension consciousness, are.
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Re: RELIGION: The Big Hurdle

Post  Jakob on Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:24 am

I'm not a firm believer in String Theory or Quantum Mechanics either. Just because the calculations work, doesn't mean the concepts are actually correct. They smell every bit as fishy to me as this god idea.
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