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This topic contains 189 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Pastor_Jason Pastor_Jason 4 years, 8 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 190 total)
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  • #5312
    Avatar of horton
    horton
    Participant

    That America is “the Great Satan” could be derived from any number of religious texts including both the Bible and the Quran. So using your definition that fundamentalism is related to literalism or a strict interpretation of religious texts, I think calling America the Great Satan is a fundamentalist concept.

    Iranians are definitely fundamentalists, as opposed to Americans who are relativists. Incidentely I trust fandamentalists more than relativists. Relativists will pull anything out of thin air to support their selfish views.

    #5377
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    Horton,

    Well put. The problem with many “fundamentalists” then is that they are relativists. Words can be twisted and misused by a clever person. I’d love to see a movement of “totalists” or people who believe in the complete interpretation of a scripture or text. In this way, such people would be held to the whole of a teaching. Those who take up arms would be instructed to love and be merciful. Those who would hold-up signs of protest against a “lifestyle” or a “choice” would be reaching out across the aisle with friendship and acceptance (of the people while protesting their behaviors or actions).

    Personally, I have enough issues to worry about myself. My neighbor who violates some spiritual principle sits in the boat right next to me as I’ve violated more than my fair share as is. I think the best thing I can do to show my neighbor the right path is to live it myself. There used to be many people who lived like this and they formed a wonderful nation in their time. To say that they are a dieing breed these days is the understatement of the millenium. I would hope such pious ideals would be welcome anywhere, even on a secular society based seastead.

    I think I could learn a lot living in such an environment.

    Live Well!

    -Jason

    #5410
    Avatar of horton
    horton
    Participant

    It would be nice if we could learn to be “totalists.” If you believe in the Bible at all, you’ll have to believe in Jesus’s message of compassion and forgiveness. The same thing goes for the Quran which in verse 2:256 says that there can’t be any compulsion in religion. The problem is that people pick and choose what they want to believe, usually to interpret our own selfish views of the world.

    My view is that one of the big problems with modern “democracy” is that it gives people license to enslave other people, and even more tells people that they’re great for doing it. Not a very compassionate thing to do. I think if we could encourage people to be more compassionate with each other, they would naturally want the State to leave other people alone. America being a Christian majority nation, this could be a powerful method of relating to people. Religion has great potential for uniting and bringing out the best in people, and it can have the opposite effect as well.

    #5413
    Avatar of Eelco
    Eelco
    Participant

    It would be nice if we could learn to be “totalists.” If you believe in the Bible at all, you’ll have to believe in Jesus’s message of compassion and forgiveness. The same thing goes for the Quran which in verse 2:256 says that there can’t be any compulsion in religion. The problem is that people pick and choose what they want to believe, usually to interpret our own selfish views of the world.

    While your explanation is certainly plausible enough by itself, i can think of another one: all religious text are so full of ambiguity and plain contradiction that a totalitarian interpretation is a rather ill defined concept in the first place.

    #5417
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    Speaking about “all religious texts” would put them all in the same melting pot. There are almost no similarities between many of the religious books. Many are written by a single person, some are written by many people. Some religions use many texts, others just one.

    As much as religion can be picked on, so can government. No matter how pure they start out, both of these institutions are controlled by men, and as such are prone to man’s evil nature. Seasteading offers us a new chance at government that would allow citizens to have “fresh starts” when things begin to get stagnant. I simply offer that religions have a place in this new experiment as a desire for purity is as inherant in our natures as the evil that we let fester.

    To the secularists: how would religion be incorporated and delt with on your seasteads?

    Live Well!

    -Jason

    #5418
    Avatar of horton
    horton
    Participant

    Eelco wrote:

    While your explanation is certainly plausible enough by itself, i can think of another one: all religious text are so full of ambiguity and plain contradiction that a totalitarian interpretation is a rather ill defined concept in the first place.

    The concept of compassion and non-aggression are by nature broader than concepts of retribution. For instance “love your neighbor as yourself,” construes “neighbor” in a purely geographical sense. Something like Joshua effectively committing genocide in Jericho has no logical impact because it’s so vague, merely a metaphore. So if you wanted to use the Bible as a basis for your actions, really the only thing you would be left with for sure is that you need to be compassionate and non-aggressive towards people.

    It’s not so much a matter of how the Bible is written, but the nature of what it’s talking about. Compassion takes precidence over retribution. “Punish wrongdoers,” well you have the problem of interpretation of what a “wrongdoer” is. “Be compassionate,” takes precidence because it refers to all people and doesn’t require interpretation of its target.

    This is a distinctly libertarian view of the Bible. In that sense I’d really rather have the Bible as the US Constitution than the misused and misenterpreted document that we have now. The reason is that the Bible speaks of non-aggression and compassion, while these concepts are abscent in our constitution.

    This isn’t whacky speculation on my part. The big problem in America is that we use threats of violence against people to steal the benefits of their labor and then use those benefits to oppress other people througout the world. It’s a very real phenomenon, and would be preempted if we had a compassion or non-aggression requirement in our constitution.

    #5427
    Avatar of Thorizan
    Thorizan
    Participant

    The answer to the “Thou shalt not kill” vs. “Go forth and kill every man, woman, and child” paradox to me is found in the statement of “Due to the imperfections of Man, God, at times, requires His people to do things, which until then, were contrary to His will.”

    If you truly believe in revelation from the Creator and Controller of all things Known and Unknown, then you are fine with His recommendations being fluid. As we are all agents, free to choose liberty, or the captivity of sin, life, as it interacts with us, is not going to be static, and neither should be the Instructions that condescend from above.

    Now, as these forums are dedicated to a group of individuals that want more space for themselves to practice living as they see fit, unimpeded by the imperfections of others, I think we can agree that there will be societies created that are purely secular, and others that are purely religious, and more still that are hybrids of both extremes.

    As this topic, in particular, was concerning the desire to create a group that is purely secular, I say, good luck to you.

    As for my desires on this subject, you can probably imagine, my preference would be one of more tolerance in allowing on to worship, organize, and proselytize as they so choose.

    __________________________________________________
    There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. Each to his fate.

    #5646
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    Horton,

    Well put. Especially the last paragraph.

    Thorizon,

    Thou shalt not… murder. The Hebrew word is “Ratsach” which is to murder in cold blood for selfish purposes, as an assassin would. After all, kill means to end life. Do we not end life of animals and plants to eat them? Though Cain in the bible is the first to commit murder (his brother Able), God is the first to kill in the bible as he clothes Adam and Eve with animal hides when he removes them from the garden of Eden. You can’t get hide from an animal without ending it’s life. Similarly, how could a God who demand animal sacrifice simultaneously ask for there to be no killing of anything?

    For those who speak of the contradiction of the Bible, please listen to my kind correction:

    You don’t know what you are talking about. There has been no time spent studying, researching, and trying these texts in earnest interest to see if they will hold true on your part. You write these writings off without delving into them in the least bit. Present all the “contradictions” you can find in a google search and I will give you concrete answers (not that “faith” cop-out or the “you just need to believe” arguement). If you earnestly peek into these writings to see if there could be any truth contained with-in, my experience has been that you will find it. More importantly, you will begin to see a picture of the entity that is behind those writings.

    Note: I present this challenge only on the writings of the Protestant Bible (translations only, not paraphrases). Though many other spiritual texts and apocrypha have value, only the 66 books of the bible have stood up for millenia in the manner I have spoken.

    All of that said, I have no problem with a secular society. I live in one now. My only hope is that freedom of speech and freedom of choice in what can be believed and practiced as far as religion goes would be something you allow. In this way, I can be your neighbor and add my efforts to building your community.

    Live Well!

    -Jason

    #5650
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    Sorry, been offline for a while and trying to get back into posting…

    I want to stress again the difference, at least in my mind, between freedom to believe what you want and organized religious groups.

    While I feel that all religion, in any form, is detrimental to society and our advancement as a species I would never think about forming “thought police” who would prevent people from believing a certain thing. If you want to believe that some omnipotent man ripped a rib out of somebody and used it to create another being…fine. If you want to believe that the world sits on the shell of a turtle…fine. If you want to believe in the Flying Spagetti Monster…fine. If you want to believe that women should be totally subservient to men…fine. If you want to believe that homosexuals will burn in eternal fire…fine. But keep those beliefs to yourself and do not try to act on them or force them on others because that’s where I have a serious problem. When organized groups form whose sole purpose is to spread these beliefs, and to attempt to convert others who don’t believe as they do…that’s where I think society needs to get involved.

    I don’t call this intolerance. All freedoms have some limitations imposed for the good of society. You have a freedom of speech, to speak your mind without fear of persecution. But you cannot phone security in a crowded arena, say you have planted a bomb, and then defend your actions as “freedom of speech”. I would not allow this behavior in any society I formed, and this does not make me “intolerant” of people who call in bomb threats. I would also not allow discimination based on sexual preference. That does not make me “intolerant” of people who are homophobic.

    I place organized religion in the same basket as those two examples. It is detrimental to society…to our advancement as a species…and should therefore be prevented.

    My secret hope is that without the enforcement and constant pressure that organized religious groups impose on their “flock” these beliefs will slowly die out. Like containing a colony of yeast in a sealed bottle these belief systems will be unable to spread to new food sources and eventually vanish. Then perhaps we can take the training wheels off and finally ride on our own.

    #5654
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    Fair point of view. For all of the “evils” of organized religion, remember they institutionalized: medical care (hospitals), education (schools), and charity amongst other beneficial services. Perhaps instead of writing off organized religion, an effort could be made to improve on the current systems, similar to how we seek to improve on government.

    Live Well!

    -Jason

    #5658
    Avatar of Thorizan
    Thorizan
    Participant

    One should not be punished for their belifes, surely. Does that extend to a belief that people should “meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.” A grouping, or organization, of similarly minded peoples (whether that similarity be religious, or political, or social, or what have you) has always and, I believe, will always occur. If you wish to form a group, or organization, that believes that religion is a hinderance to true growth, I say good luck to you. Personally, I will chose to group, or organize, with those that believe the opposite.

    __________________________________________________
    There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. Each to his fate.

    #5661
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    My improvement on the system of organized religion is remove it. Place the authority in the hands of the people who hold those beliefs. If you want to have a few like-minded people over for dinner and conversation, and talk about how great Jesus is for dying for our sins, then go right ahead. Your next-door-neighbor can have friends over and discuss the merits of reincarnation all night long.

    And again, since I guess I didn’t make myself clear enough…no one is being punished for their beliefs. You can believe whatever you want. I don’t care if you believe that Zeus is the head of a pantheon of gods, if all black people are disgusting, or that a women’s place is only in the home making babies. It is when you act on those beliefs (bad), try to convert others to those beliefs (very bad), or proclaim to be an authority on those beliefs and get even more people organized to follow those beliefs (very very bad) that I have a problem with you and when the law would step in.

    #5673
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith:

    If we were living in your society right now, it would seem that you would be hauled off as you are advising others of your beliefs which we all know is just another tactic to convert the masses (a very bad thing). Furthermore you have participated in a group that is advocating the start of an entire society based along those principles which would lead us to believe that you would then be a leader of said society, which would use it’s authority to convert even more of our citizens (a very very bad thing by your own judgement). Your trial is schedules for 0800 tomorrow. Your internment in “re-education camp” Theta is scheduled for 0830 tomorrow. Just because we allow our citizens the right to believe something does not give them the right to degrade others by influencing them to believe likewise. You should have known better.

    All hail Sea-topia!

    The only difference between our beliefs is mine is in a God and you advocate a country. Take either of these to an extreme and you have oppression. To keep from going to extremes it is vital that the citizens have complete freedom to express themselves as they see fit and convince others of the truth of their statements. The system works. America, for all her faults, has not become a fascist nation. Remove that freedom from your society and it will become an oppressive regime by those who wield power over the very thoughts of their citizens. Why bother even making a seastead, just move to China.

    It seems that historically those that wish to restrict freedom to think and speak out do so because they feel threatened by others beliefs. My question is: if your system is right and best… what is to fear from some “outdated” and “counterproductive” belief system? Why must you regulate discussion as conversion, and organized meetings as subversive? We couldn’t even operate TSI within your society at this point.

    Live Well!

    -Jason

    #5678
    Avatar of Eelco
    Eelco
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:

    My improvement on the system of organized religion is remove it. Place the authority in the hands of the people who hold those beliefs. If you want to have a few like-minded people over for dinner and conversation, and talk about how great Jesus is for dying for our sins, then go right ahead. Your next-door-neighbor can have friends over and discuss the merits of reincarnation all night long.

    And again, since I guess I didn’t make myself clear enough…no one is being punished for their beliefs. You can believe whatever you want. I don’t care if you believe that Zeus is the head of a pantheon of gods, if all black people are disgusting, or that a women’s place is only in the home making babies. It is when you act on those beliefs (bad), try to convert others to those beliefs (very bad), or proclaim to be an authority on those beliefs and get even more people organized to follow those beliefs (very very bad) that I have a problem with you and when the law would step in.

    Your badness scale seems to be going the wrong way. Acting on any of those beliefs would cause me to react. Holding, or trying to spread those beliefs, would merely make me distantiate myself.

    When someone claims authority in words, you will rectify this by authority of force? Im sorry, but ill pass. Id rather live in a society with people who take their clues from moldy books, yet draw libertarian conclusions from them. I have a bad feeling about where your war-is-peace kind of ‘tolerance’ is going.

    #5782
    Avatar of bkemper
    bkemper
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:

    Sorry, been offline for a while and trying to get back into posting…

    I want to stress again the difference, at least in my mind, between freedom to believe what you want and organized religious groups.

    While I feel that all religion, in any form, is detrimental to society and our advancement as a species I would never think about forming “thought police” who would prevent people from believing a certain thing. If you want to believe that some omnipotent man ripped a rib out of somebody and used it to create another being…fine. If you want to believe that the world sits on the shell of a turtle…fine. If you want to believe in the Flying Spagetti Monster…fine. If you want to believe that women should be totally subservient to men…fine. If you want to believe that homosexuals will burn in eternal fire…fine. But keep those beliefs to yourself and do not try to act on them or force them on others because that’s where I have a serious problem. When organized groups form whose sole purpose is to spread these beliefs, and to attempt to convert others who don’t believe as they do…that’s where I think society needs to get involved.

    I don’t call this intolerance. All freedoms have some limitations imposed for the good of society. You have a freedom of speech, to speak your mind without fear of persecution. But you cannot phone security in a crowded arena, say you have planted a bomb, and then defend your actions as “freedom of speech”. I would not allow this behavior in any society I formed, and this does not make me “intolerant” of people who call in bomb threats. I would also not allow discimination based on sexual preference. That does not make me “intolerant” of people who are homophobic.

    I place organized religion in the same basket as those two examples. It is detrimental to society…to our advancement as a species…and should therefore be prevented.

    My secret hope is that without the enforcement and constant pressure that organized religious groups impose on their “flock” these beliefs will slowly die out. Like containing a colony of yeast in a sealed bottle these belief systems will be unable to spread to new food sources and eventually vanish. Then perhaps we can take the training wheels off and finally ride on our own.

    Wow. So if you do a good deed, and then if they say “wow, thanks, why did you do that” you go “no worries, its just part of my religion, I’m a Christian”, you go to jail. The good deeds are part of the religion and it is “witnessing.” Are you that insecure in your world that someone going to church and says “hey, we’re going to worship, would you like to come along” that this will break you? I’ve been asked to go to about every major type of worship…and have taken most of them up on the offer. I’m also firmly rooted in the secular world as a engineer. I see no conflict. If a priest (George Lemaitre) can discover the Big Bang and see God in the science, and non-religious people take the same findings and see only the Big Bang…who cares? Incidently, the priest was educated by the Catholic Church and was doing the science as an expression of his faith. There is no inherent conflict between faith and science….its only when one side or the other manufactures the conflict.

    This is not hypothetical. Stating you are of a given group and doing ANYTHING to act on it, to include bowing yoru head in prayer or having religious items on you, puts you in jail in places I’ve visited. If you wish that kind of life, please move to Tibet and see how the Chinese gov’t deals with Buddhist, or Vietnam, or Israel, or a large number of Arab countries. The Soviet Union is gone….but you can still die for being of the wrong religion in the wrong place. The very act of practticing it, or “not keeping it to yourself”, is a crime and gets everything from chiding to harrassment to arrests to summary execution. You can point to some of my suggestions as “religious”…but its the same issue — an approved thought pattern is in charge, and non-conformists have to keep it to themselves “or else.” There is no difference.

    I’ve seen what you are proposing. First hand — this isn’t abstract polticial theory sitting around coffee. Its not a nice place….well, unless of course you’re on top of the heap and have control of the laws to bend them around your mindset so you are always right. Once you get rid of one set of beliefs, then it becomes a dwindling circle of “who is the better Party Member”. If you trucate a given data set, then the group that was once mainstream is now the fringe. Hopefully, you never fall on the wrong side of the truncation. A study of Stalin as well as the French Revolution’s aftermath would be an excellent historical grounding in this.

    Eugenics was the basis for the Holocaust — and it was taking science, not religion, as its justification. Stalin wasn’t a fan of religion, either. Saddam Huissien was an avowed secularist and only paid the minimum lip service to the cultural norms. Lack of religion doesn’t assure desireable behavior.

    Your ideals have been tried. They even work, as long as you have the money and muscle to keep those pesky people in line. I’m sure it works for you. I just hope you manage to stay on top of the heap instead of meeting the nice men with hatchets on your veranda.

    Me? Well suffice it to say, I would not be welcome. My family includes Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, American Indian, Hindi, and Old Religion types (passed down in the family long before the Wiccan movement in the 1950′s) as well as athiests and agnostics. We all get along. Respect goes along way. Clearly, people who have faith and act on it are not welcome.

    Of course, if anyone attempted to squelch any of our beliefs, to include pressure the agnostics or athiests into something else, it would be met with signficant resistance. Stay on the path. Keep your hands in the open. Books are welcome. R.A.H.

    Bart Kemper, P.E.

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