1 of 4
1
Liberal and/or moderate believers
Posted: 09 August 2013 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  804
Joined  2009-10-21

This idea of moderates comes up a lot in religious discussions. Christians will distance themselves from fundamentalists or Muslims will claim they are not terrorists. They will also say how unfair it is to generalize about believers. New Atheists will say the moderates are not a strong enough voice, or that they “give cover” to the fundamentalists. My problem with the moderates is, I have never heard one who is actually willing to consider their dogma is not sacred. The Dalai Lama might be the one exception, but if you include Buddhism in this discussion, you’re already pretty far left of the middle.

I’m glad more religious people are accepting of gays and tolerant of other religions, but until they are ready to step out from under the cover of “faith”, I can’t consider them moderate. Once the “faith” card gets played, reasonable discourse gets difficult. For example, I can’t point out all the rapes in the Bible because that “has to be viewed in the context of the faith tradition”. That would be fine, if in fact there was way to view those stories in a way that had any value.

Currently, what passes for liberal is someone who is willing to say that they don’t believe in the miracles, don’t accept the old laws, but they do believe in their god (by whatever name). This could extend to actual discussions or encounters with that god. It allows for any spiritual experience to be used as proof of their chosen definition. So, I could look at the stars tonight and have exactly the same experience as one of these moderates and they would say I just experienced their god. If I said, no, I experienced my other neighbor’s god, or no, I experienced something available to all people everywhere, that would end the discussion. This is not what I call liberal or moderate.

Is this asking too much? I think in any other discipline, the expectation is, to be considered reasonable, you have to accept that you could be wrong. It is certainly true of science, it is sometimes true in politics (or at least it used to be), why should this not be the standard for religion?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 August 2013 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  483
Joined  2013-06-01

I really would be uncomfortable putting labels on anyone with today’s understanding of what classifies as a religious believer, liberal or moderate. But my knowledge of the understanding of the mechanics of religion is extremely fresh with many of the newest theories. What is oblivious to me is society is in a culture revolution when it comes to all knowledge due to the development of the internet’s distribution method of knowledge and a lot of the older people are nervous of the new ideas and methods of communication and fall backward and become closed mined to any new thoughts or changes. As fighting as that is to a lot of Americans it must be much worst in the third world nations. 

Good post and an interesting subject for me to follow and learn.

One question I have.

Can a liberal or moderate be looked at differently depending on geographic location, say comparing the meanings in the middle of the Bible belt as to NYC?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2013 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  804
Joined  2009-10-21

What is oblivious to me is society is in a culture revolution

I think you meant “obvious”, as in very apparent.

older people are nervous of the new ideas and methods of communication and fall backward and become closed mined to any new thoughts or changes

I think you’re saying people get a little frightened by rapid change. I agree.

As fighting as that is to a lot of Americans it must be much worst in the third world nations. 

Not sure what “as fighting” means. Did you mean “frightening”? as in scarey.

Can a liberal or moderate be looked at differently depending on geographic location, say comparing the meanings in the middle of the Bible belt as to NYC?

Certainly there are degrees of liberal, but I don’t think dividing up regions would be important to this question. Asking any believer to consider that their god is not The God would be asking a lot. I’m not too concerned about Bible Belt believers here. More the Karen Armstrong types, who say they are open minded, but still refuse to give up irrational thinking.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2013 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  483
Joined  2013-06-01

Lausten,
Thanks for the help in spelling; sometimes I go brain dead in the spelling department.
It’s been a lifetime curse. I was taught on an alphabet that had no vowels, double consonants, short or long sounds or even the letter “Q”.

I do not know who Karen Armstrong is, but I understand your idea.

Twenty years ago religion was not a subject that you would talk about in a public coffee shop.

Fifteen years ago if you talked about religion in the coffee shop you would get a lot of looks from people.

Ten years ago you would get the hard core believers would come to your table wanting to tell you their views about God.

Five years ago you would get people that would admit they were atheists in the conversation.

Last week there was the combination of believers and atheists. But the thing that impressed me the most was the use of iPods and phone using the internet as part of argument to prove or disprove the points of the conversation. With the internet you always have the bible with you.

It seems that we can all laugh together on the subject of religion today more than we could yesterday.

How people react in public about religion I feel has an effect on how people view their own belief in religion. If you only talk about religion at church you are most likely not going to challenge the churches thinking. This new openness I think will bring out the liberals and moderates more.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2013 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2585
Joined  2011-04-24
Lausten - 09 August 2013 11:45 AM

Is this asking too much? I think in any other discipline, the expectation is, to be considered reasonable, you have to accept that you could be wrong. It is certainly true of science, it is sometimes true in politics (or at least it used to be), why should this not be the standard for religion?

Well, religion is not really about being right of wrong. I mean, faith and reason are fundamentally different.


Overall, I think it depends on what motivates you. From a skeptic’s POV, a believer is a believer, it doesn’t matter if it’s Karen Armstrong, Dali Lama, or Fred Phelps - all are incorrect. From a social justice activist POV, there are big differences in these three. It’s probably not possible to fully blend both points of view in a totally satisfying way.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2013 07:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  200
Joined  2012-09-14
MikeYohe - 10 August 2013 05:51 PM

Last week there was the combination of believers and atheists. But the thing that impressed me the most was the use of iPods and phone using the internet as part of argument to prove or disprove the points of the conversation. With the internet you always have the bible with you.

I have always wondered why the internet has become such “scholarly” reference.  Unless one can verify the scholarly approval of the website (or any other sources )one
refers to, it should be questioned. 

Here is funny demonstration about what I mean (in the context of religious studies)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3w_v0aEX38


The net result is this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJuNgBkloFE

 

Lausten - 09 August 2013 11:45 AM

New Atheists will say the moderates are not a strong enough voice, or that they “give cover” to the fundamentalists.

Dont know about all faiths, but for some that may due to media coverage.
http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2012/04/03/the-islamophobia-excuse/    (article by a former CIA agent)

 Signature 

Say: He is God, the Unique.
God, the Self-Sufficient.
He does not give birth, nor was He born.
And there is none equal to Him.

Quran (112: 1-4)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 August 2013 10:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  483
Joined  2013-06-01

Hakeem,

Unless one can verify the scholarly approval of the website (or any other sources )one
refers to, it should be questioned.

I find that to be a big problem.
What I found that helps if there are to many hits is to use site:edu or site:gov. And set the date for the last month.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 August 2013 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  804
Joined  2009-10-21

From a social justice activist POV, there are big differences in these three. It’s probably not possible to fully blend both points of view in a totally satisfying way.

I’m not sure what you mean by that mid-atlantic, but as I was thinking about this, I came up with this way of putting of it. Reason and the sacred are not reconcilable. In a reasonable discussion, their can’t be anything sacred. Each side must be open minded enough to completely abandon their point of view if the evidence and logic demand it. Any type of intransigence is by definition unreasonable.

This does not mean that there aren’t good reasons to have sacred places and sacred things. Setting aside a sacred time is completely reasonable. What it means is that can’t be done in reverse. There are no sacred reason. A fact, arrived at reasonably, doesn’t become sacred, and a sacred truth cannot impose itself upon other evidence, data or logic.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 August 2013 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  804
Joined  2009-10-21

Sheikh Google

Good joke Abdul, but just to clarify. I started studying Christianity in a liberal church in 1993, reading Crossan. I’ve also read up on John Wesley and a few Liberation Theology books, plus a short trip to Colombia where I met the UM Bishop of that country. When I was drafted into being a Sunday School teacher, I realized I better brush up on my Bible. I wanted to teach life lessons without using the pat answers from the standard Sunday School curriculum. So, I used the Internet and discovered two truisms; that’s where religions go to die, and if you read the Bible, you’ll become an atheist.

Then I realized I now had not spent much time in my life developing a system of truth seeking or how to defend any particular action I might take as “moral”. I looked into UU, Taoism, Buddhism, tried to filter out the myth of Christianity and find some actual law, that all failed. I discovered the first Golden Age of Islam, where the works of Plato and Aristotle were preserved, but I also saw how that collapsed. Sam Harris and Richard Carrier turned out to be the best living sources, with their ideas based on Locke, Hume, Spinoza, etc.

Now, having gone through all that, I’m circling back again through Christianity to see if I missed something. Haven’t found anything yet.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 August 2013 03:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2585
Joined  2011-04-24
Lausten - 11 August 2013 03:18 PM

From a social justice activist POV, there are big differences in these three. It’s probably not possible to fully blend both points of view in a totally satisfying way.

I’m not sure what you mean by that mid-atlantic, but as I was thinking about this, I came up with this way of putting of it

Maybe I misinterpreted you, but it seemed like you were asking how to reconcile progressive values with faith - which may or may not be progressive.

.

Reason and the sacred are not reconcilable. In a reasonable discussion, their can’t be anything sacred.

Totally agree.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 August 2013 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  483
Joined  2013-06-01

Lausten,
Now, having gone through all that, I’m circling back again through Christianity to see if I missed something. Haven’t found anything yet.

I guess I’m lucky, because I was able to find what I was looking for in religion.
Of course I will continue to learn and understand. But finding that feeling and level of comfort was something that I was afraid I would never find when I started this project.
The clutches of belief and faith were hard to cast off but once done the understanding came quickly.

It could be that we have been looking for different things too. I wanted to know the truth and history of the past. Understanding religion was just one part, less than half of understanding what our past ancestors were like. The internet made it possible. 

You could say I took a bite from the Tree of Knowledge.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 August 2013 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2242
Joined  2012-10-27
Lausten - 11 August 2013 03:18 PM

From a social justice activist POV, there are big differences in these three. It’s probably not possible to fully blend both points of view in a totally satisfying way.

I’m not sure what you mean by that mid-atlantic, but as I was thinking about this, I came up with this way of putting of it. Reason and the sacred are not reconcilable. In a reasonable discussion, their can’t be anything sacred. Each side must be open minded enough to completely abandon their point of view if the evidence and logic demand it. Any type of intransigence is by definition unreasonable.

This does not mean that there aren’t good reasons to have sacred places and sacred things. Setting aside a sacred time is completely reasonable. What it means is that can’t be done in reverse. There are no sacred reason. A fact, arrived at reasonably, doesn’t become sacred, and a sacred truth cannot impose itself upon other evidence, data or logic.

Define sacred.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 August 2013 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2242
Joined  2012-10-27
MikeYohe - 12 August 2013 09:35 AM

Lausten,
Now, having gone through all that, I’m circling back again through Christianity to see if I missed something. Haven’t found anything yet.

I guess I’m lucky, because I was able to find what I was looking for in religion.
Of course I will continue to learn and understand. But finding that feeling and level of comfort was something that I was afraid I would never find when I started this project.
The clutches of belief and faith were hard to cast off but once done the understanding came quickly.

It could be that we have been looking for different things too. I wanted to know the truth and history of the past. Understanding religion was just one part, less than half of understanding what our past ancestors were like. The internet made it possible. 

You could say I took a bite from the Tree of Knowledge.

Uh oh. Now you’re doomed.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 August 2013 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  804
Joined  2009-10-21
Lois - 12 August 2013 11:41 AM
Lausten - 11 August 2013 03:18 PM

From a social justice activist POV, there are big differences in these three. It’s probably not possible to fully blend both points of view in a totally satisfying way.

I’m not sure what you mean by that mid-atlantic, but as I was thinking about this, I came up with this way of putting of it. Reason and the sacred are not reconcilable. In a reasonable discussion, their can’t be anything sacred. Each side must be open minded enough to completely abandon their point of view if the evidence and logic demand it. Any type of intransigence is by definition unreasonable.

This does not mean that there aren’t good reasons to have sacred places and sacred things. Setting aside a sacred time is completely reasonable. What it means is that can’t be done in reverse. There are no sacred reason. A fact, arrived at reasonably, doesn’t become sacred, and a sacred truth cannot impose itself upon other evidence, data or logic.

Define sacred.

Good question. I’m using it a couple ways here. In the general sense, as in something that can’t be questioned or altered in any way. And when I talk about sacred places, I mean the more religious sense, as in something a particular religion has attached special meaning.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 August 2013 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2242
Joined  2012-10-27
Lausten - 12 August 2013 06:28 PM
Lois - 12 August 2013 11:41 AM
Lausten - 11 August 2013 03:18 PM

From a social justice activist POV, there are big differences in these three. It’s probably not possible to fully blend both points of view in a totally satisfying way.

I’m not sure what you mean by that mid-atlantic, but as I was thinking about this, I came up with this way of putting of it. Reason and the sacred are not reconcilable. In a reasonable discussion, their can’t be anything sacred. Each side must be open minded enough to completely abandon their point of view if the evidence and logic demand it. Any type of intransigence is by definition unreasonable.

This does not mean that there aren’t good reasons to have sacred places and sacred things. Setting aside a sacred time is completely reasonable. What it means is that can’t be done in reverse. There are no sacred reason. A fact, arrived at reasonably, doesn’t become sacred, and a sacred truth cannot impose itself upon other evidence, data or logic.

Define sacred.

Good question. I’m using it a couple ways here. In the general sense, as in something that can’t be questioned or altered in any way. And when I talk about sacred places, I mean the more religious sense, as in something a particular religion has attached special meaning.

Can you give some examples of things that can’t be questioned or altered in any way?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 04:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  804
Joined  2009-10-21

Can you give some examples of things that can’t be questioned or altered in any way?

If you don’t believe Christ died on the cross, you’re not a Christian. Usually you also have to believe in some sort of resurrection.

The Koran can’t be altered.

Aboriginal cultures usually have sacred places, where you are supposed to only act in certain ways or only be there under certain circumstances.

A sweat or a meditation or even a sermon is sacred time. There are rules about how you act in those times.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 4
1