Debate and Discussion

The End of the World
TnTComic at 8:37AM, Oct. 2, 2007
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ozoneocean
Ha! To think that religion is primarily about death, especially because “humanity is programmed for it” is to get the whole concept arse about and backwards: It's a small subset of culture with specific influences.
Jebus, we really, genuinely, honestly are obsessed with sex and what results from it more than anything else. You want a connecting thread in religions, look at that! There's so much about the regulation of it, the suppression of it, the encouragement of it, stuff about progeny, ancestry: all about sex and children. That's what we're really obsessed over. And that's renewal. In fact most religions in their earliest forms have much more focus on “mother Goddess” figures, births, and planting times. :)

And all that is entirely the focus of this subject. Lothar talks about the world ending. I say that people only think like that because of certain specific cultural influences, -that are especially popular right now, just the same as they were after the first millennium had just passed. And then I've gone to prove why that's so.

Truly. Your world will end, but only when you do.

Guess we're going to have to disagree.

Religion IS obsessed with death and the end of the world. The end of the world takes up an entire book in the New Testament. The premise of most religions is that you follow a rule set in life so that you are rewarded in death. Without death, the religions have no meaning. Without death, people wouldn't care about the consequences religions tell them to care about. When Adam and Eve took of the tree of wisdom, their punishment was mortality. What did Jesus have to do to save the rest of us? DIE. Yadda yadda yadda. Religions are quite focused on death. Believers in reincarnation tell us that you are reincarnated in the form that rewards your previous life. Eh… I could go on, but you get the point.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
ozoneocean at 9:33AM, Oct. 2, 2007
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Ah, you say “religion”, but the only example is some bits of Christianity… Those are only parts of it too, and being the New Testament; pretty much in-line with what I said a few times earlier about Christianity: It formed just as their world was ending. And it was the religion of a slave class to boot, a class with not much to look froward to on earth. And later on as I said; they suffered constant attacks and failures of their empires in the first 1000 years. -that more than anything is where they get an apocalypse focus and why the original millennialist cults formed.

But there is always more to it. And as I also said; as the secular world takes on more of the roles, religion is left more and more with just tradition, myth and the unseen, and less and less with the day to day practical stuff, so the the movements as we know them now are VERY different to what they had been and serve quite a different function. It's easy to fall into the trap of looking at things the way they are now and thinking that's a good way to determine their essential character, thinking it's how they've always been, rather than what they've evolved into.

Sort of like the way a creationist looks at man and thinks “god” must have made him this way, rather than him arriving in his current form after a couple of million years of evolution and change.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:28PM
TnTComic at 9:42AM, Oct. 2, 2007
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Nice try, but your dodge didn't work.

I referenced 3 different religious beliefs, if not more, as examples of fixations on the consequences of death as they relate to religions.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
ozoneocean at 10:45AM, Oct. 2, 2007
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No… you talked about Christianity only, with an opinion on the content of the new testament, an interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, and another interpretation of the crucifixion. Not much about “religion” there, just some ways of looking at Christianity specifically. And as I said, it's a modern viewpoint, not an overview of religion in general.

But its interesting that we still agree that it's from there that we get most of the belief in Apocalypse. I'm just saying that the death themes are more specific and you're saying they're more general.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:28PM
TnTComic at 10:51AM, Oct. 2, 2007
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ozoneocean
No… you talked about Christianity only, with an opinion on the content of the new testament, an interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, and another interpretation of the crucifixion. Not much about “religion” there, just some ways of looking at Christianity specifically.

I spoke of Old Testament (Judaism), New Testament (Christianity), and reincarnation (Hinduism).
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
ozoneocean at 11:31AM, Oct. 2, 2007
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Not in that post you didn't… :/ -the one at the top of the page, to which I was replying to, since we tend to do this stuff sequentially. ;)

It'd help if you provided a bit more background to the posts you're referring back to, like I try to do when I bring up things I've said before, makes it easier. I myself don't expect you to re-read stuff I posted 6 posts ago to find specific things I happen to bring up. It's not a criticism of you man, but it makes things harder if you just do it short hand like that.

Anyway, if you're talking about the old Testament, that's not specifically Judaism, but the Christianised version of it. And if you're using the “primary death focus” argument, again: I can still say that it's an interpretation based on your modern viewpoint, as a product of a classical Christian Western culture which is consistent with what I've been saying all along.

I won't repeat the points I made about your reference to the new Testament because those are in my post above your last one here.

And with the reincarnation aspect of Hinduism, the interpretation and the viewpoint argument come to the fore again. Simplistically; You can look at that aspect as being about death, or you can look at it as simply being about life. Besides, reincarnation in Hinduism is less “about death” and more about the maintenance of the cast system and social stratification, a fact that has been pretty widely explored and commented on elsewhere, by Mahatma Ghandi among others. In fact it goes right back to what I said about religion originally serving the purpose of a tool of social organisation and government: it helped to keep groups of people in their place; slaves, ruling classes, working classes etc.
-Again, all those things have been widely explored and commented on by some heavy weights, especially on the subject of the Untouchables and how the cast system keeps them trapped in a perpetual social underclass.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:28PM
bobhhh at 1:54PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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snark
Whilst I agree with TnTComic's definition of ‘programming’, I still stand by my original point that humanity is instinctively fascinated with death. I draw again on the notion of religion, and not just the monotheistic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, but every religion as a whole. Whilst I can never claim to have an indepth understanding of every religion that has ever existed, I can state that every religion that I know of does indeed obsess over death, especially on our fate after death. Therefore, for all these different belief systems that have developed (sometimes independently, sometimes based on each other) over the globe and across many different time periods to all share this similar obsession, I thus propose that humanity, by nature is fascinated with death.

((By the way, hardcore atheist here who will gladly argue that every single religion has been developed by humans independent of a transcendent deity, so Im not sure, but my argument might not be as convincing if read from a religious standpoint))

It's unfortunate that this thread digressed from an ecological discussion to a religious one.

Truly we are fascinated with death, but we are also fascinated with sunsets, fire and really good pizza. I don't think our natural curiousity makes us more or less likely to cast a grand vision to the end of the world. It's like that old joke about “does this outfit make my ass look fat?” No your ass makes your ass look fat.

People get all grand about an apocalyptic event, because there is a real danger, not because of any hard wiring or programming. To be realistic about our world is to understand that not believing that we are in danger of poisoning our biosphere or accidentally obliterating the planet is the naive viewpoint and not the converse which is a charge that has been leveled at ecologists(or tree huggers as the nay sayers call them) since their rise to prominence, even though nearly every warning they have posted in the last few decades have managed to come true ahead of schedule.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
ozoneocean at 2:33PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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In the end though bobhhh (lol pun^^), there's just the way of thinking about things as “apocalypse”, rather than a “change of circumstance”. Yep, that change can be bad for us, it can happen quickly or slowly, and it can also be preventable the way we believe climate change to be, but it won't be the end of the world. :)

The planet will still spin on and nature will adapt. A lot of things could die off and maybe the planet won't be able to support the same level of human population that it does now, but that's change for you. It's more than semantics; it's outlook, attitude, perspective. Apocalyptic thinking is harmful and negative, because not only is it false, apocalypse are inherently unavoidable: it encourages a culture of resignation; a rush towards disaster; “if it's going to happen anyway then what's the point of trying to prevent it by using less greenhouse gas” etc.

Instead, if we're intellectually mature enough to dismiss the “end of the world” ways of thinking (that are culturally influenced), and instead think in terms of maintaining our standards of living and preserving ecological balances, then it's a lot easier to move forward. We don't feed into the cultist fantasies about “rapture” etc, we cut out the religious, fantastic, fatalistic aspects of the concepts and focus on the realities.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:28PM
bobhhh at 2:35PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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I couldn't agree more.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
TnTComic at 2:59PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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ozoneocean
Not in that post you didn't… :/ -the one at the top of the page, to which I was replying to, since we tend to do this stuff sequentially. ;)

It'd help if you provided a bit more background to the posts you're referring back to, like I try to do when I bring up things I've said before, makes it easier. I myself don't expect you to re-read stuff I posted 6 posts ago to find specific things I happen to bring up. It's not a criticism of you man, but it makes things harder if you just do it short hand like that.

Anyway, if you're talking about the old Testament, that's not specifically Judaism, but the Christianised version of it. And if you're using the “primary death focus” argument, again: I can still say that it's an interpretation based on your modern viewpoint, as a product of a classical Christian Western culture which is consistent with what I've been saying all along.

I won't repeat the points I made about your reference to the new Testament because those are in my post above your last one here.

And with the reincarnation aspect of Hinduism, the interpretation and the viewpoint argument come to the fore again. Simplistically; You can look at that aspect as being about death, or you can look at it as simply being about life. Besides, reincarnation in Hinduism is less “about death” and more about the maintenance of the cast system and social stratification, a fact that has been pretty widely explored and commented on elsewhere, by Mahatma Ghandi among others. In fact it goes right back to what I said about religion originally serving the purpose of a tool of social organisation and government: it helped to keep groups of people in their place; slaves, ruling classes, working classes etc.
-Again, all those things have been widely explored and commented on by some heavy weights, especially on the subject of the Untouchables and how the cast system keeps them trapped in a perpetual social underclass.

Whatever man. This is pointless.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
mapaghimagsik at 3:27PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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Its my understanding that depending on your Old Testament Version, you *are* basically overlapping with Judeasm – and Islam. Same base books, but the booster packs are different.

For example, in Judeasm, you can't tap Christ, while in Islam you can, but he's only like worth 2 holies while he's worth like 20 in the Christianity Booster.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
TnTComic at 3:35PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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I know, man. I laid out a forest, mountain and a plains to cast Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism, and he's saying I only cast one damn spell. Time to go Stasis/Chronatog on his ass.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
bobhhh at 3:42PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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I just picked up a BFG9000, so all y'all MF's better step off!!

;)
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
ozoneocean at 3:52PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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Yep, lets just dissolve this into nonsense.

Seriously though, using the Qua'ran for example to talk about traditional pre-Islamic belief is problematic, you see? Or talking about Samaratanism or Zoroastrianism by referencing the Tora has its issues, or Hinduism by talking about Buddhism: In all those cases its a fact of looking at the older religions through the tinted lens of a newer one.

Which is a common theme in what I've been saying ;)
Duh.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:28PM
TnTComic at 4:35PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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ozoneocean
Yep, lets just dissolve this into nonsense.

Please don't be hypocritical. You said that people were focusing on one religious angle, to which I provided three different examples that account for about 75% of the world's religion, and you said I was only talking about Christianity.

You were the one dissolving it into nonsense.

The point stands. Religions are very focused on death and end of times mythos. They always have been.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
mapaghimagsik at 5:38PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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ozoneocean
Yep, lets just dissolve this into nonsense.

Seriously though, using the Qua'ran for example to talk about traditional pre-Islamic belief is problematic, you see?


Agreed that its problematic, though I don't think its so problematic that you can't at least have the discussion.

Or talking about Samaratanism or Zoroastrianism by referencing the Tora has its issues,

Same. I can see there are problems, but I think there's value because many basic tennants apply.

In all those cases its a fact of looking at the older religions through the tinted lens of a newer one.

I agree there are changes in the newer religions, but if you can't identify them, and just say, “Well, they're not the new and improved religion” then I think you miss out. Besides, even though the religion has moved on, the worshipers have not. The Religious Right follows more tenants of Old Testament than New, even though the New Testament was supposed to change a few things.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
ozoneocean at 5:52PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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Hang on TNT, I clearly addressed EACH of those points and explained why there were not what you claim there. I outlined that in detail! Man, I can't see how calling this nonsense is hypercritical:
I just picked up a BFG9000, so all y'all MF's better step off!!
and this:
I know, man. I laid out a forest, mountain and a plains to cast Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism, and he's saying I only cast one damn spell. Time to go Stasis/Chronatog on his ass.
I'm actually insulted by that since it's so plainly another case of nonsense.

Ok, lets go over it again, shorthand:
The crucifixion- the focus is on resurrection, coming back to life, not death. A death “focus” is a matter of interpretation. (Christian)
Adam and eve- Your death interpretation was just that, an interpretation. There's a Hell of a lot written about that that talks about other themes. (From a Christian source based on an older Jewish one)
Reincarnation in Hinduism- it's about social stratification and the maintenance of the caste system. So say the experts, over and over and over again. (in all their many lives probably).

-All three viewed from the point of view of someone who is very much a product a Modern Christianised Western background.

-edited by me to remove stuff I thought would cause offence-
In the end, that perspective on religion is yours and it's fine that you have it TNTcomic. I don't begrudge your right to that view. :)

mapaghimagsik
I agree there are changes in the newer religions, but if you can't identify them, and just say, “Well, they're not the new and improved religion” then I think you miss out. Besides, even though the religion has moved on, the worshipers have not. The Religious Right follows more tenants of Old Testament than New, even though the New Testament was supposed to change a few things.
My main point about that aspect Mapaghimagsik isn't that we can't get a perspective on earlier religions by reading stuff that evolved from them, it's that the stuff that evolved from them doesn't represent them: it represents a later, altered point of view of them. And that is further complicated by the fact that our point of view today is coloured by our modern culture.

You know, it's like when I read a lovely book of stories about the Norse myths a couple of years ago. I know that book wasn't the best representation of them since it came from a very Christianised point of view and was written in the late 19thC which was the height of a period of romanticism about such things (the movements that gave rise to Wagner and would eventually influence the Third Reich), so I took it with a pinch of salt.

-The idea isn't about the evaluation of religion anyway. The idea is that the “end of the world” way of thinking comes to us mainly (but not exclusively) from pre and post-millennialist Christians (the FIRST millennium). The only argument with TNTcomic is his idea that all religion has a primary focus on death (and Snark who thinks all humanity is preprogrammed to obsess over it), which is a side issue at best.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:28PM
bobhhh at 6:21PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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ozoneocean
Yep, lets just dissolve this into nonsense.

Seriously though, using the Qua'ran for example to talk about traditional pre-Islamic belief is problematic, you see? Or talking about Samaratanism or Zoroastrianism by referencing the Tora has its issues, or Hinduism by talking about Buddhism: In all those cases its a fact of looking at the older religions through the tinted lens of a newer one.

Which is a common theme in what I've been saying ;)
Duh.

Jeez Ozo, a little levity never hurt a debate, it reminds us that we are all just folks having a discussion. I take these issues very seriously, but I steadfastly refuse to take myself too seriously…

…I invite you to do the same. ;)

ps I may be wrong, but I thought this was primarily an ecological thread, if it is in fact a religious thread, then I for one am out of here. Many wiser folks than me, you among them, have convinced me that these religious threads devolve quickly into beligerent arguments with little chance of resolution, and I'm getting abit tired of that, aren't you?

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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
ozoneocean at 6:46PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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Perspective bobhhh. ;)
That was a single sentence comment. Not a command, request, or decree. It was a token response to the last three posts before it, with the main body of the post being a response to the themes in mapaghimagsik's post before it. (the last post not entirely nonsense in that sequence).

Yep, arguments about religion DO tend to devolve. The trouble was that I was explaining why the apocalypse perspective was invalid and in fact had limited cultural influences, and went on to outline them specifically and provide examples. I managed to get a lot of agreement about that. :)

But I've since been stuck with these guys saying that "all religion is about death". Which is troubling since I've explained why it's not over and over again (and provided many examples pointing to fields of further reading), but I just keep hitting the wall of belligerence.

Besides, it's a banal variation on the debate really. -just a stupid disagreement between me and TNTcomic.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:28PM
barking_frog at 8:46PM, Oct. 2, 2007
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mapaghimagsik
Same base books, but the booster packs are different.

For example, in Judeasm, you can't tap Christ, while in Islam you can, but he's only like worth 2 holies while he's worth like 20 in the Christianity Booster.

Funniest thing I've read in a week. ^.^

Aside from that, I'm gonna unbookmark the thread now ‘cause there’s far too much that's good in my life for me to want to read religious debate.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:15AM
snark at 4:48AM, Oct. 3, 2007
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This is rather ironic coming from me, but really, lets just put a close to the religion portion of this discussion. Personally, I strongly do not believe that the whole “My opinion, your opinion” thing is little more then a weak excuse, but clearly this isn't getting anywhere, so lets just save it for another time.

Also, let us not forget that this discussion was originally focused on the End of the World, which I still stress, we put far too much thought and care into rather then just sitting down and and relaxing. (And yes, I do appreciate the irony that despite my point of view, I am spending considerable time in this debate >_>)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:49PM
ShadowDion at 9:01PM, Oct. 8, 2007
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to be fair, people have been saying that the world will end for, well probably since creatures began abstract thought. all sorts of people during all sorts of times, some worst than are own, have said that their time was the end. before 1500 they thought that would mark the end days, some said in the year 2000, even during world war II. but every prediction has come and past and i don't think we are any closer. there has always been wars, prestillence, famine and natural disasters. true, they are worse than before, but i'm sure that's what they said during world war II, when they used the atomic bomb.
are we any closer? yeah, everyday we are, but that doesn't mean it's close.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:32PM

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