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Big Klu

Why are you in (that) religion?

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I would like to add The 4th option called Common Sense with Reasoning

One need not gaze afar, nor think further than our own selves. Think about the faculties of hearing, sight and the pound of soft matter at the top. Is it any wonder, that there an Architect behind all these plain old (yet sophisticated) abilities.....

The concept of the individual self makes for fascinating exploration! :cheer:

Mind if I bring into play a little 'common sense with reasoning' here, LeD? ^_^

As far as my exploration has taken me, I've yet to find an individual self and I've yet to find anyone else who can tell me or show me where in the physical body the "self" is located. Have you found your individual self, LeD? Where is it located; what does it look like; what are it's fundamental, intrinsic attributes? How much of the physical body can be discarded without losing the individual self? What part of the body is essential to the individual self? Common sense and reasoning might well lead one to the conclusion that the individual self,.. as a distinct, singular object/entity,.. does not exist.

:whistling:

As far as the five senses go.. a little booze is all it takes to realize how unreliable the five senses can be. Ok, forget the booze. Ask three stone cold sober people to describe an object they've all seen, heard, smelled, touched, or tasted and note how different their reports are about that same object. Ya gotta wonder: just how reliable are the senses? And even if the senses are reliable when it comes to 'objectively perceiving' an object, is it possible for us to really perceive an object for what it really is, or is that perception tainted by the various ideas, concepts, labels, judgments, assumptions, etc that we project onto that object?

For example, your doctor tells you to go to the spa and spend time in the sauna; she says it'll do wonders for your health, so you go and subject yourself to 100 degree heat for 30 minutes at a time in the sauna. You sweat up a storm, you have a hard time breathing, and.. you love every minute of it it! You can't wait for your next "session" of sitting in 100 degree heat! Six months later the region where you live experiences a heat wave. Temperatures soar to 100 degrees! Your air conditioner breaks and 30 minutes later you're sweating up a storm, you're having a hard time breathing, and.. you're absolutely miserable! You're hating life, and you're cursing that gawdamned 100 degree heat!

Same 100 degree heat as you experienced in the sauna.

Much different projections and expectations though, eh? ;)

A stick is perceived as being "a short stick" in relation to a stick that is longer than it. "Are you sure that's the short stick?" "Hell yes, I'm sure!". Take that same "short" stick and place it next to an even shorter stick, and ask "which is the short stick and which is the long stick?", and the first stick is no longer the "short" stick, its now the "long" stick. "Short" and "long" are merely relational labels. There is no "short" or "long" stick other than in relation to other sticks. But do "sticks".. or "trees" or "leaves".. even exist?

From a "tree" take a leaf. Is that "leaf" still a "tree"? If not, then what is fundamentally a "tree"? What can you take away from that "tree" and yet still be left with "tree"? What is intrinsically "tree"? Common sense and reason may well lead one to the conclusion that there is no single object that is a "tree". In and of itself "tree" does not exist; "tree" is merely a label for a particular conglomeration of objects that we've collectively agreed to call "tree". And each of those objects in that conglomeration also do not, in and of themselves, exist; they too are merely conglomerations of yet smaller objects, which also are conglomerations of yet smaller objects.. which also are.. well, you get the idea.

Common sense and reason may lead one to the conclusion that there is no single object anywhere.. from the largest of objects in the universe to the smallest yet discovered in quantum physics.. that has an intrinsic nature in and of itself. Common sense and reason may then lead one to the conclusion that nothing.. no one thing.. anywhere!.. exists. The body, the brain, and the five senses.. various aspects of the the conglomeration we've collectively agreed to call "the individual self".. included. The so-called "individual self" also included. It simply does not exist. So sayeth common sense and reason. ..right? huh.gif

B)

A sound is heard.. but by whom is it heard? Who is the hearer of the sound?

Is the "individual self".. which doesn't even exist.. the hearer of the sound? :unsure:

:D

:hippy:

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Again - that's the same for everybody. And as long as people's acts don't mirror their "genuine feelings" I have my doubts about how "genuine" those feelings are.

I get your point about hypocrisy, Fuzzy. However, aside from that you made the claim that you think any human being who is capable of feeling empathy can feel loving kindness and compassion for others when struck by the mood to do so. My counter claim was that it takes more than merely 'being struck by the mood' to be able to feel genuine loving kindness and compassion for people who've done heinous acts that have wrought harm on others.

So then,.. if you really believe it's "the same for everybody", then how's about you answer the questions I posed specifically to you as a means of testing your claim on a personal basis? -->

"You're surely capable of feeling empathy, Fuzzy, but could you feel genuine loving kindness and compassion for a terrorist.. a rapist.. or a serial killer.. simply as a matter of 'being struck by the mood'? Would simply 'being struck by the mood' enable you to overcome your own negative emotions, impulses, and judgments such that you could feel genuine loving kindness and compassion for say.. a serial killer pedophile? Would your sense of loving kindness and compassion for that heinous harm-doer outlast you 'being struck by the mood' to regard him that way?"

:whistling:

Sorry, that was a quote from the bible which you don't seem to be familiar with. "Thou shallst know them by their fruits" means you will know the true believers by their acts and behaviour (not by what they claim they feel), i.e. what I meant was that I'd be much more impressed by your buddhist believes if I hadn't been so surprised by your claims at "generating genuine love and compession" in view of some of your rather spiteful posts on here.

First of all,.. I'm not trying to impress you, and as such I'm

not the least bit concerned that you're not all that impressed. ;)

Furthermore,.. I've never claimed to be free from personality flaws/traits/patterns, I've merely claimed my commitment to working on fostering an increased awareness of those flaws/patterns and to working on slowly unraveling them. Those patterns have had many, many years in which to become habitual and it will take some time to unravel them. I accept that.

This is a message board and I come here primarily to have fun, and engaging in sharp-witted, clever, sometimes sardonic banter with fellow posters is fun for me. It's never my intent to harm others; it's never my intent to be downright mean-spirited. I sure as heck can "dish it out" every bit as well as I can take it, and yes sometimes my dishing it out gets rather sharp-edged. No great secret there, right? Fwiw, if anything, I appreciate a cleverly biting barb just as much when I'm on the receiving end of one as when I'm the author.

I've been a member of this board community for quite some time and those who know me know that my intentions are generally well placed. Those to whom I 'dish it out' at any one point in time will find me supporting them, defending them, and praising them at other times. I assure you there is no one here.. no one.. toward whom I harbor a grudge or ill feelings.. and that includes you and your oft ill-tempered friend about whom I'm not bashful about making some rather playfully pointed (and valid) comments. You might consider the possibility, Fuzzy, that teasing someone and feeling genuine kindness for them are not mutually exclusive.

Am I warm and fuzzy all the time? Heck no. Could I stand to be warm and fuzzy more often than I am? Sure. Am I concerned that you think some of my posts are "rather spiteful"? No, not unless you're referring to posts that were directed at you. If that's the case and you have the courage and maturity to let me know I've hurt your feelings or that you feel I've disrespected you, then I'm sure we can work it out. I'm quite able and willing to own it when I've crossed a line with someone, and I'm willing to apologize when I've hurt someone's feelings.

Why not start with something less ambitious and e.g. show some genuine respect to your fellow posters - regardless of whether you like them and their attitude or not?

Your judgmental and condescending attitude notwithstanding ( :P ),.. I'll take your suggestion under advisement. Be forewarned though, that doesn't mean I won't comment on, or tease people about, their "attitude" if and when I feel inclined to do so. And if at any time someone feels disrespected by me, I invite them to let me know and we'll take it from there. I've no doubt at all that if they're as reasonable as I am (tongue in cheek) we'll be able to work things out to our mutual satisfaction. ..nine times out of ten, anyway. ..ok,.. eight times outta ten. ;)

Fyi,.. I can't think of anyone here that I outright "dislike". There are certainly people with whom I strongly disagree about some things, but there's no one here who I wouldn't genuinely enjoy meeting in person and whom I wouldn't gladly buy a beer.. or two. Truly. And yes, ill-tempered Yankee fans, republicons, and the dork lord himself.. are all included. ^_^

Ok,.. so.. having taking your suggestion under advisement, I choose instead to continue with the 'more ambitious' endeavor of generating a sense of loving kindness and compassion for ALL beings. Perhaps "showing genuine respect for my fellow posters" will arise naturally out that larger endeavor, eh? Thanks for the suggestion though. B)

:hippy:

Edited by Hermit

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I get your point about hypocrisy, Fuzzy. However, aside from that you made the claim that you think any human being who is capable of feeling empathy can feel loving kindness and compassion for others when struck by the mood to do so. My counter claim was that it takes more than merely 'being struck by the mood' to be able to feel genuine loving kindness and compassion for people who've done heinous acts that have wrought harm on others.

So then,.. if you really believe it's "the same for everybody", then how's about you answer the questions I posed specifically to you as a means of testing your claim on a personal basis? -->

"You're surely capable of feeling empathy, Fuzzy, but could you feel genuine loving kindness and compassion for a terrorist.. a rapist.. or a serial killer.. simply as a matter of 'being struck by the mood'? Would simply 'being struck by the mood' enable you to overcome your own negative emotions, impulses, and judgments such that you could feel genuine loving kindness and compassion for say.. a serial killer pedophile? Would your sense of loving kindness and compassion for that heinous harm-doer outlast you 'being struck by the mood' to regard him that way?"

:whistling:

Would I be able to feel "genuine" love and compassion for a serial killer pedophile? Sure. Depends on what you call "genuine" doesn't it? The point is that it isn't all that difficult to lean back and feel "genuine" love for somebody who hasn't harmed you or people dear to you personally and to get all warm and fuzzy about it. Personally I think that part of that warm and fuzzy feeling comes from congratulating yourself on what a wonderful person you are, but I'm a cynic you see. Would you (or I) still be able to do the same once that serial killer pedophile kills your child? I doubt it. In any case I don't think you (or I) could claim this for ourselves unless we are in that situation. I'd also say that it is a lot easier to feel some "genuine" love and compassion for people you've never met than to feel - and show - the same for people who get on your nerves right here and now. And I don't think you're any more successful in generating love in that respect than anybody else I know. Now I don't expect you to be superhuman - it's you who claimed that "you Buddhists" are able to do it.

First of all,.. I'm not trying to impress you, and as such I'm

not the least bit concerned that you're not all that impressed. ;)

I get the feeling you're a bit too impressed with yourself - or with what you think you are - which in turn doesn't seem to fit in with what I see you do.

Furthermore,.. I've never claimed to be free from personality flaws/traits/patterns, I've merely claimed my commitment to working on fostering an increased awareness of those flaws/patterns and to working on slowly unraveling them. Those patterns have had many, many years in which to become habitual and it will take some time to unravel them. I accept that.

This is a message board and I come here primarily to have fun, and engaging in sharp-witted, clever, sometimes sardonic banter with fellow posters is fun for me. It's never my intent to harm others; it's never my intent to be downright mean-spirited. I sure as heck can "dish it out" every bit as well as I can take it, and yes sometimes my dishing it out gets rather sharp-edged. No great secret there, right? Fwiw, if anything, I appreciate a cleverly biting barb just as much when I'm on the receiving end of one as when I'm the author.

I've been a member of this board community for quite some time and those who know me know that my intentions are generally well placed. Those to whom I 'dish it out' at any one point in time will find me supporting them, defending them, and praising them at other times. I assure you there is no one here.. no one.. toward whom I harbor a grudge or ill feelings.. and that includes you and your oft ill-tempered friend about whom I'm not bashful about making some rather playfully pointed (and valid) comments. You might consider the possibility, Fuzzy, that teasing someone and feeling genuine kindness for them are not mutually exclusive.

Is it really necessary to "dish it out" when you feel "genuine" love and compession? I think you must have realized by now that no matter how "playful" you think your comments towards Elizabeth are they ain't welcomed by her. Wouldn't it be a sign of very basic respect to not continue posting them? Do you really consider it "teasing" when the person you address has already let you know that they won't read your comments anymore?

Frankly I think you're fooling yourself about your acts as well as about your motives - which might not be the best way to go about reaching spiritual enlightnment.

Am I warm and fuzzy all the time? Heck no. Could I stand to be warm and fuzzy more often than I am? Sure. Am I concerned that you think some of my posts are "rather spiteful"? No, not unless you're referring to posts that were directed at you. If that's the case and you have the courage and maturity to let me know I've hurt your feelings or that you feel I've disrespected you, then I'm sure we can work it out. I'm quite able and willing to own it when I've crossed a line with someone, and I'm willing to apologize when I've hurt someone's feelings.

Your judgmental and condescending attitude notwithstanding ( :P ),.. I'll take your suggestion under advisement. Be forewarned though, that doesn't mean I won't comment on, or tease people about, their "attitude" if and when I feel inclined to do so. And if at any time someone feels disrespected by me, I invite them to let me know and we'll take it from there. I've no doubt at all that if they're as reasonable as I am (tongue in cheek) we'll be able to work things out to our mutual satisfaction. ..nine times out of ten, anyway. ..ok,.. eight times outta ten. ;)

Fyi,.. I can't think of anyone here that I outright "dislike". There are certainly people with whom I strongly disagree about some things, but there's no one here who I wouldn't genuinely enjoy meeting in person and whom I wouldn't gladly buy a beer.. or two. Truly. And yes, ill-tempered Yankee fans, republicons, and the dork lord himself.. are all included. ^_^

Ok,.. so.. having taking your suggestion under advisement, I choose instead to continue with the 'more ambitious' endeavor of generating a sense of loving kindness and compassion for ALL beings. Perhaps "showing genuine respect for my fellow posters" will arise naturally out that larger endeavor, eh? Thanks for the suggestion though. B)

It's nothing personal, Hermit. It's you who's raised the bar very high and I simply judge your behaviour in the light of your own standards. Of course everybody would get along in real life - simply because people in real life are a lot more inhibited to act like asses than they are on message boards. That's nothing new either.

The point is that if I'd used the "generating genuine love and compession" standard and looked at posts on here to find out who's Buddhist I'd probably picked Bilbo, but I'd certainly not have thought of you.

It's not all about you either btw. In more general terms: One reason why I don't subscribe to any religion is that despite of all the teachings of various religions you're bound to find the same average number of overbearing idiots, utter assholes, selfish bastards and prejudiced intolerant cretins in every community...and the same number of wise, friendly, helpful, respectful people. The same goes for pagans and atheists. From all I've seen I get the impression that a "good" person (however you want to define the term) will always be a good person, no matter what their religious believes (if any) are...and the same goes for the less likeable variety.

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I was raised in a Catholic Home, my hole family is catholic, and so they they raised me as one.

I think some of the teachings fit with my thoughts and ideology, so i staid one by choice, and i still go to church every Sunday (I even play guitar on the Youth Choir).

Edited by Z88

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Simple, I was born into a religion

followed it blindly for years

came to realization that it just didn't make any sense to me

tried to follow my own ideals

got caught by my mommy

and now she's angry at me and is pushing it in my face

The religion is Islam, it's not a bad religion, it has some valid ideals to me. Yet, it still has some restrictions, that go beyond religion. I just don't believe in following a set of rules that seem insignificant to me.

So some values of Islam I appreciate and reflect, but I don't believe that I need a religion to have these values.

And I hate the idea of heaven and hell.

If a perfectly respectable person just happened to have premarital sex and sometimes drink wine, why should they go to hell.

Yet if a completely despicable person just "happened to follow a certain set of rules" they go to heaven.

This I had a lot of conflicts with, so I don't even know what religion to follow anymore.

Edited by DeepBlackZeppelin

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Sorry I don't want to spam.

I'm not into religion. I'm an atheist but I was born in a Catholic family. My Dad is very religious and my Mom, well lets say she believes in 'something', in a higher power. My Dad was very disappointed when I first told him that I didn't believe in God. He strongly believes that I will go to hell because of that even if I'm a good person, who never did any harm to anyone... :huh: I don't judge people who believe in God but for me there are too many reasons to not believe.

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Because the message is more important than the building?

And why is your argument that the only two choices would be a Reims Cathedral or a leaky hut?? There is middle ground.

Buildings aren't the word of God. And since any secular structure can and has been made beautiful, I dont see how 'gods relationship with man' is exclusive or even warranted in this way.

To be fair...

I didnt ask why cathedrals are grand, I asked why are they made to be grand.

My point is simply that they attract attention. Secondly, I think it's sweet that Catholicism has the Notre Dame Cathedral, it's beautiful. I don't see why it's a problem that there are such buildings.

I'm gonna guess that cathedrals are made to be grand simply because they can be and it appeals to the masses.

And waterwitch, thanks but religions aren't looking to convert a few devout people. They want to convert as much people as possible to bring their message to as many people as many. And if that means make St. Peters Cathedral, then so be it. It appeals to the masses not individuals.

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Who was it that wondered about a universal religion...thoreau or emerson -in u.s., along with millions of others, i'm with them.

I was brought up its all paths to the same thing. i think that notion comes to most everyone along the way naturally through life anyway.

Edited by middlezep

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And waterwitch, thanks but religions aren't looking to convert a few devout people. They want to convert as much people as possible to bring their message to as many people as many. And if that means make St. Peters Cathedral, then so be it. It appeals to the masses not individuals.

I really don't know what that has to do with anything I've had to say, but you raise an interesting point.

It could go a long way toward explaining why Paganism (especially Wicca) is one of the fastest growing religions today, given that it tends to celebrate individualism and there isn't any need to impress the masses.

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My point is simply that they attract attention. Secondly, I think it's sweet that Catholicism has the Notre Dame Cathedral, it's beautiful. I don't see why it's a problem that there are such buildings.

I'm gonna guess that cathedrals are made to be grand simply because they can be and it appeals to the masses.

Well, obviously its made to appeal.

Really I was looking for a more philosophical argument, so I'm a bit disappointed.

For the most part I don't think patrons of the Abrahamic religions pay enough attention to the nature of their beliefs, self examining and so forth. Most of the answers tend to be in the vein of "well, its common sense, no need for me to articulate it for you. Get converted then you'll get it".

This is just my general observation, not a personal attack. I realize it's not like LZ.com puts everyone is in the mood to post all philosophical.

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My big common sense question is with churches and temples

.

Historically they are all heavily ornate and impressive. Seems to me a doctrine should have been adopted at some point that kept the structures modest. Gilded trim and painted artwork smacks of human vanity and ego rather than divine inspiration. I'm surprised no influential guy ever put that into motion.

I suppose that huge Buddhas and stainedglass windows would be part of the shock and awe of converting the heathens or keeping the congregation in line. Especailly weird that Buddhism is rife with symbolism in spite of its heavy emphasis on philosophy. Christianity not so much, because its based on a story book (<---as in a collection of moral stories in a book; no negative implications meant) so you would want pics and symbols to go with the stories.

I used to wonder the same thing about cathedrals, etc. The reasons taught in my Art History class made sense though.

Yes, some of it was kind of a 'shock and awe' thing. God and Christ weren't considered 'buddies' of people, and 'shock and awe' buildings were considered a way to show reverence, etc. Bibles were copied and illuminated by hand and were therefore relatively rare and valuable. Yet most people were illiterate. The building of large 'awe-inspiring' cathedrals and churches decorated with images from biblical stories and people enabled the 'common man' to experience what was essentially a gigantic pop-up picture book.

On a more secular level, building a cathedral was a massive undertaking and provided decades of steady employment for folks in the surrounding areas.

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I used to wonder the same thing about cathedrals, etc. The reasons taught in my Art History class made sense though.

Yes, some of it was kind of a 'shock and awe' thing. God and Christ weren't considered 'buddies' of people, and 'shock and awe' buildings were considered a way to show reverence, etc. Bibles were copied and illuminated by hand and were therefore relatively rare and valuable. Yet most people were illiterate. The building of large 'awe-inspiring' cathedrals and churches decorated with images from biblical stories and people enabled the 'common man' to experience what was essentially a gigantic pop-up picture book.

On a more secular level, building a cathedral was a massive undertaking and provided decades of steady employment for folks in the surrounding areas.

So yer sayin' that most just liked to look at the pictures? :lol:

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I really don't know what that has to do with anything I've had to say, but you raise an interesting point.

Well you "raised your hand" after I asked a rhetorical question and I simply explained how you were just one person

Well, obviously its made to appeal.

Really I was looking for a more philosophical argument, so I'm a bit disappointed.

For the most part I don't think patrons of the Abrahamic religions pay enough attention to the nature of their beliefs, self examining and so forth. Most of the answers tend to be in the vein of "well, its common sense, no need for me to articulate it for you. Get converted then you'll get it".

I've done the whole 'self-examination' deal. I've questioned myself on why I believe what I believe?

I've learned to live with the fact that the Bible isn't meant to be taken completely literally, but I'll follow it anyways because I think it's the Word of God. I'm not one to just sit here and take orders, I wouldn't stay in the church to simply please my parents. But I fully understand how you would see many Christians/Jews/Muslims as those kind of people who would, I see it myself everyday

This is just my general observation, not a personal attack. I realize it's not like LZ.com puts everyone is in the mood to post all philosophical.

I'm not taking it as a personal attack, don't worry about it.

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Well, obviously its made to appeal.

Really I was looking for a more philosophical argument, so I'm a bit disappointed.

For the most part I don't think patrons of the Abrahamic religions pay enough attention to the nature of their beliefs, self examining and so forth. Most of the answers tend to be in the vein of "well, its common sense, no need for me to articulate it for you. Get converted then you'll get it".

This is just my general observation, not a personal attack. I realize it's not like LZ.com puts everyone is in the mood to post all philosophical.

Churches in centuries past were designed with a sense of majesty in mind and to direct one's attention heavenward. Interesting that Michangelo painted on the ceiling as to direct one's attention upward. Sitting in a building in which Michangelo painted or Bach wrote the music had to have been pretty inspiring I would think. Even the placement of the pulpit meant something then. It was during a time when people recognized that art and music were a gift from God and they actually used it for higher purposes (as in a place of worship) as opposed to someone getting their groove on.

Your question about church architecture is actually a very interesting study into how it has changed over the years. Even the worship service itself ties in and how it has changed in recent years to appeal more to one's flesh (as in happy-clappy get up and dance to the "worship" band) than to make one think. What a concept.

Some churches today may be built to appeal to people (Lord knows some of them have the jack to build them) or to impress some and I'm afraid they have missed the point.....more interested in trying to appeal or impress people rather than direct one sitting there to think that there is a message behind it all.

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Historically they are all heavily ornate and impressive. Seems to me a doctrine should have been adopted at some point that kept the structures modest.

I think that's what Protestantism (and similar approaches in other religions) tried to achieve.

Btw - wasn't the Franciscan order at one point close to being deemed heretic because they criticised the extravagance of the catholic church and insisted on the poverty of christ? I'm afraid keeping the structures modest wouldn't have fit the lifestyle of the higher clergy.

Gilded trim and painted artwork smacks of human vanity and ego rather than divine inspiration. I'm surprised no influential guy ever put that into motion.

Look at the Christians in the middle ages: For most "influental guys" their religious position wasn't much different to a secular position of power. Of course vanity and the need to impress worldly rivals were at least part of the game. Then there's the idea of bribing god - "I build you a cathedral, you let me go to heaven". Also a lot of the "gilded trim" goes back to votive offerings.

I suppose that huge Buddhas and stainedglass windows would be part of the shock and awe of converting the heathens or keeping the congregation in line. Especailly weird that Buddhism is rife with symbolism in spite of its heavy emphasis on philosophy. Christianity not so much, because its based on a story book (<---as in a collection of moral stories in a book; no negative implications meant) so you would want pics and symbols to go with the stories.

As for Christians: In many cases those pics and symbols were the best way to teach catechism to the - illiterate - masses, i.e. they served a very practical purpose. Not sure about Buddhism, but it seems that the average human being has a psychological need for symbols and for creating tangible objects that represent their feelings and ideas....maybe even more so when those ideas are particularly abstract and hard to grasp.

Edited by FuzzyMerkin

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Would I be able to feel "genuine" love and compassion for a serial killer pedophile? Sure. Depends on what you call "genuine" doesn't it? The point is that it isn't all that difficult to lean back and feel "genuine" love for somebody who hasn't harmed you or people dear to you personally and to get all warm and fuzzy about it. Personally I think that part of that warm and fuzzy feeling comes from congratulating yourself on what a wonderful person you are, but I'm a cynic you see. Would you (or I) still be able to do the same once that serial killer pedophile kills your child? I doubt it. In any case I don't think you (or I) could claim this for ourselves unless we are in that situation. I'd also say that it is a lot easier to feel some "genuine" love and compassion for people you've never met than to feel - and show - the same for people who get on your nerves right here and now. And I don't think you're any more successful in generating love in that respect than anybody else I know. Now I don't expect you to be superhuman - it's you who claimed that "you Buddhists" are able to do it.

"Sure.", you say? Just like that you could feel loving kindness and compassion for a serial killer pedophile, eh? Obviously you're addressing this issue merely in the realm of the conceptual. The fact of the matter is that most people wouldn't even consider trying to feel loving kindness and compassion for a serial killer pedophile. And for those who are willing to attempt it, it requires considerable effort and intention to overcome one's habitual emotional reactions and moral judgments to be able reach the point of feeling genuine loving kindness and compassion for someone who's raped and killed children. Your "Sure." answer suggests to me that you haven't really given the issue serious thought.

As far as what "genuine" means in the context of loving kindness and compassion, it means sincere and authentic. If you think its merely a matter of generating a whimsical "warm and fuzzy" feeling about someone, as it seems you suggest, then you're quite a bit off the mark. I'd even go so far as to say you're missing the mark altogether.

As far as 'being in that situation' goes, having your child killed is merely an extreme example that highlights the difficulty of feeling loving kindness and compassion for the most heinous harm-doers. Perhaps you can't relate to that unless you've been in that situation yourself. Ok, fair enough. Then take any situation from your own life in which someone has done you major wrong or has harmed you or a loved one of yours. Can you generate a feeling of sincere and authentic loving kindness and compassion for that person? Not merely as a hypothetical, but really, right now, can you feel sincere and authentic loving kindness and compassion for someone who's done you major wrong? [Fwiw,.. before you simply answer "Sure." again, I might point out that if it was really that easy for you, you probably wouldn't need to rely on an ignore function to help you manage your feelings and behaviors toward others here on this message board. ya know? ;) ]

I get the feeling you're a bit too impressed with yourself - or with what you think you are - which in turn doesn't seem to fit in with what I see you do.

With regard to who I think I am,.. are you speaking in relative or absolute terms? :whistling::D

My beloved guru *Sri Ramana Maharshi* gave students the simple yet profound practice of asking themselves the question "Who am I?". What one discovers through that practice of self inquiry is quite wonderful. Who we think we are is never very impressive, but who we really are.. the essence of who we really are.. our True Self.. now that is impressive! :thumbsup:

It's possible Fuzzy, that you're not very aware of all that you project onto the person you know (or think you know) as "Hermit".. all that you read into what I post that may have little or nothing to do with where I'm actually coming from. You're not alone in projecting; we all do it, unconsciously. We think we know what someone is saying, but really we're making a ton of assumptions and presumptions. Ever notice how your own current mental state tends to affect how you perceive others in any given moment? I could post something that would be taken one way by you given your mood right now and the very same comment by me could just as easily be taken entirely differently by you if you were in a different mood. Again, that's quite natural, we all do it habitually and unconsciously. As a Buddhist, one of my aims is to foster an increased awareness of my own tendency to project. Hopefully, over time, my vigilance will become more steadfast and my projections will get less and less in the way of my being able to perceive people (and reality) more clearly.. in any given moment in time. I don't know if you have any interest in paying attention to, or developing an awareness of, your own tendencies to projection. [if you're interested, *Cuckoo* is a fabulous movie that lays bare the phenomenon of projection.]

Is it really necessary to "dish it out" when you feel "genuine" love and compession?

What does "necessary" have to do with it? You seem to have your own idea (assumption, perhaps) of what it means to feel loving kindness and compassion for someone. Perhaps in your idea, sharp-edged banter is incongruent with loving kindness and compassion. In my experience they're not mutually exclusive at all.

I think you must have realized by now that no matter how "playful" you think your comments towards Elizabeth are they ain't welcomed by her. Wouldn't it be a sign of very basic respect to not continue posting them? Do you really consider it "teasing" when the person you address has already let you know that they won't read your comments anymore?

I think people can be confronted and/or teased both playfully and respectfully..in varying degrees of both. Sometimes the truth hurts; that's a fact of life. Afaict Elizabeth has gotten upset with me over two things: 1. I made some valid comments/criticisms about a baseball player she adores, and she didn't like that. 2. I'm not bashful about calling her on her ill-tempered comments and posts. Like I said, the truth hurts sometimes; that's a fact of life.

Here's a simple solution: if she doesn't like being teased about her hostile posting style, she merely needn't post hostile comments. As long as she continues to dump on people I may just continue to exercise my liberty to point it out and tease her about it. Whether or not she "welcomes" being teased about her temperament is not my concern, but its certainly not my intent to be harmful. I think I do a pretty good job of balancing playfulness, confrontation, wittiness, and respect in how I go about commenting on her temperament and treatment of others. If you care to dispute my observations about her temperament and treatment of others, by all means have at it. But if you're honest about it, I think you'd have to admit that I treat Liz with a heckuva lot more respect than she treats others at this board. And if you can't set your personal feelings of friendship aside enough to acknowledge the truth about that, then I dare say you're gonna have a helluva hard of a time setting your personal feelings, biases, opinions, and judgments aside enough to generate authentic and sincere loving kindness and compassion for a serial killer pedophile. ..doncha think? ;)

:hippy:

[/ 1 of 2]

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Who's going to want to join a church where they get to pray in a leaky hut?

Why not? Very atmospheric. The most beautiful things are usually hidden where you don't expect them at all. No one has yet built a cathedral that would be more beautiful and fascinating (and horrifying) than sky.

Christianity is evangelical. We're supposed to convert people to the Word of God. Many Cathedrals were built to show how great Christianity is (for better or worse) but it also shows the beauty of Gods relationship with man

No, they were built to show people how minute and insignificant they are, and to leave them in awe. The medieval vision of cristo pantocrator definitely doesn't show the beauty of this relationship. People were supposed to fear God's authority. All the beauty and pomposity was supposed to threaten them and make them submissive.

But thats just me talking. If you really want to know why cathedrals are so grand ask Michelangelo

Because he was talented?

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Adopted at birth by a Jewish family. Attended Temple and Hebrew school as a child.

Knew I was adopted and became a seeker as a teenager.

Hit rock bottom and lived in a monastery (Coptic Orthodox) for a time.

Realised that the true religion was love of life and music.

No longer believe in organized religion as I think it all poisoned by the teachings of men.

To quote a wise man: "Christianity is a wonderful idea. Unfortunately no one's actually practiced it yet".

A cynic? Yes I admit so. The problem with religion is that people must have a voice in it. That screws it up every time.

People do not have the capacity to dictate the will of God, but they insist on doing so. Hence the problems that result.

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[2 of 2]

Frankly I think you're fooling yourself about your acts as well as about your motives - which might not be the best way to go about reaching spiritual enlightnment.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion. I wonder though, what makes you think your opinion about what "may not be the best way to go about reaching spiritual enlightenment" would be meaningful to me? Is "reaching spiritual enlightenment" even something you value, are interested in, have explored, or know anything about from personal experience or from having received instruction about it? Do you know what "reaching enlightenment" would mean or would look like? And what, pray tell, do you know of my motives? Answer: you know nothing of my motives. How could you possibly know if I'm fooling myself about my motives when you don't even know what my motives are?

It seems to me you're projecting all over the place. You're running amok with assumptions, presumptions, judgments, and ideas that may in fact have absolutely nothing to do with the reality of my spiritual practice and my motives. By all means please feel free to prove me wrong by accurately identifying my motives, by explaining to me what "reaching spiritual enlightenment" means, and by advising me of what you think would be the the best way to go about reaching enlightenment. Then I'll decide if I should take your advise about the best way to reach enlightenment or if I should stick with the advise offered by the likes of Ramana Maharshi, Tai Sutu Rinpoche, Karmapa, Sakyamuni Buddha, Milarepa, Papaji, Osho, Eli and Gangaji, RamaKrishna, Mingyur Rinpoche, Ponlop Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Lama Pema,..

^_^

It's fascinating, aint it, that so much projection can be packed into the seemingly simple comment "I think you're fooling yourself about your acts as well as about your motives - which might not be the best way to go about reaching spiritual enlightenment". B)

It's nothing personal, Hermit. It's you who's raised the bar very high and I simply judge your behaviour in the light of your own standards. Of course everybody would get along in real life - simply because people in real life are a lot more inhibited to act like asses than they are on message boards. That's nothing new either.

You sure it's not personal, Fuzzy? "I think you're fooling yourself" , "you're a bit too impressed with yourself" , and "I simply judge your behavior" ..as a few quick examples.. all seem rather personal to me. :whistling:^_^

Fyi, I didn't set the level of the bar, my spiritual teachers.. including Buddha himself.. have set the bar. I'm merely trying my best to reach that level at some point in the course of my journey through this life. Even my best efforts fall well short of the goal so you can imagine how far short I fall those times (and there are many) when I don't give my best effort. If its any consolation to you, no one escapes their karma, not even me. If I cause harm to another, surely I'll get my comeuppance.

The point is that if I'd used the "generating genuine love and compession" standard and looked at posts on here to find out who's Buddhist I'd probably picked Bilbo, but I'd certainly not have thought of you.

Thats pretty ironic ain't it,.. seeing as though you'd be wrong on both counts. :lol:

That's another example of you projecting your ideas, assumptions, expectations, and judgments.. positive and/or negative.. onto others. Bilbo fits your personal idea of what a Buddhist would be like, and yet he's not a Buddhist. I don't fit your idea of what a Buddhist should be like, and yet I am a Buddhist. Haha! Aren't projections a trip?! :D

Bilbo is a wonderful, sweet guy. No doubt about it. I hold him in the highest regard.

It's not all about you either btw. In more general terms: One reason why I don't subscribe to any religion is that despite of all the teachings of various religions you're bound to find the same average number of overbearing idiots, utter assholes, selfish bastards and prejudiced intolerant cretins in every community...and the same number of wise, friendly, helpful, respectful people. The same goes for pagans and atheists. From all I've seen I get the impression that a "good" person (however you want to define the term) will always be a good person, no matter what their religious believes (if any) are...and the same goes for the less likeable variety.

Really? You sure about that? In the communities of Buddhist monks at the monasteries I've visited, not only would you be unlikely to find "the same average number of overbearing idiots, utter assholes, selfish bastards and prejudiced intolerant cretins" as you would in any other community, you'd be hard pressed to find any "overbearing idiots, utter assholes, selfish bastards and prejudiced intolerant cretins". But why let one example get in the way of your assumptions, presumptions, judgments, and generalizations.. right? ^_^

It might be worth your while to examine the projections and assumptions that go into your assertion that "a good person will always be a good person.. and the same goes for the less likeable variety". Good people will "always" be good people and less likeable people will "always" be less likeable, eh? Gee, you don't leave people much room for change, do you?

Once good, always good. Once less-likeable, always less-likeable, eh?

Shall I guess what category you place me in? ..or yourself? ^_^

Ok, its reality check time: it's simply not true that anyone will "always" be the same. People have great capacity for change. In fact, capacity or not, people are in constant change. Nothing and nobody stays the same from one moment to the next. Not people, not objects, not anything. Everything changes. Constantly. Any appearance of permanence is merely an illusion.

Anyway..

thanks for the thought provoking discussion, Fuzzy.

Namaste,

:hippy:

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[1] indoctrinated by family

- mandatory sunday & private school

- food prayer, rituals, symbolism around house

[2] a personal epiphany

- had a dream, heard the call, saw the burning bush

- 'it clicked'

[3] need direction or answers to big questions

- was atheist or oblivious, but then...

- 1st religion didn't cut it, went to this one instead

[4] societal/community influence

- everyone else did/does it, went with the flow. no overt pressure.

- churchgoing mostly for social networking

Do any of these apply to you?

Can you add any?

If you were 'in' (even superficially) and got 'out', what were your reasons for both?

I'd be closest to #3 if I became religious.

I'm agnostic/secular humanist/don't really care...but taking babysteps into learning Buddhism. I'd like to improve myself in some areas, and I'm attracted to the philosophical and practical nature of Buddhism rather than what I perceive to be the rigid, rules based Abrahamic religions.

I'm in all, except 3rd. Let me explain:

I was born in a very catholic family, my oldest memory is breaking a stuff in the church. I studied in a priest's school, and everything I am now i learned there. It was in 70's, our bishop, Hélder Câmara, was a great leader of Liberation theology, the priests shown us the poverty reality, and also the crimes of dictatorship.

After Helder Câmara an other bishop came, and change all curch, he fired some priests who had social commitment, one of those, who was my teacher, died writing a letter for him, so i lose my faith in that church. Ten years after i had a very big problem in my life, and, in an epiphany that i cannot explain here, I reconciled myself with the Church, despite the critical ones, and also I found some friends who thought like me. Since then, never more I left the catholic creed. However, although to go to the rites, I do not think that the catholic action, and, mainly, the communion, happens inside of the temple, but together to those who need bread and justice.

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"Sure.", you say? Just like that you could feel loving kindness and compassion for a serial killer pedophile, eh? Obviously you're addressing this issue merely in the realm of the conceptual. The fact of the matter is that most people wouldn't even consider trying to feel loving kindness and compassion for a serial killer pedophile. And for those who are willing to attempt it, it requires considerable effort and intention to overcome one's habitual emotional reactions and moral judgments to be able reach the point of feeling genuine loving kindness and compassion for someone who's raped and killed children. Your "Sure." answer suggests to me that you haven't really given the issue serious thought.

Have you ever had a one-year old come up to you, stretch out their arms and look at you with all the trust in the world? That's all it takes - imagining people the way they were as toddlers...then think about what life has done to them to turn them into what they have become. No, it's not that hard.

As far as what "genuine" means in the context of loving kindness and compassion, it means sincere and authentic.

I wonder why you need a qualifiying adjective at all. If it isn't sincere and authentic it's not love. If you don't feel it, it's not a feeling.

If you think its merely a matter of generating a whimsical "warm and fuzzy" feeling about someone, as it seems you suggest, then you're quite a bit off the mark. I'd even go so far as to say you're missing the mark altogether.

I don't think the aim is to generate a whimsical "warm and fuzzy" feeling. I suspect that with some people that's the sole result of their efforts though.

As far as 'being in that situation' goes, having your child killed is merely an extreme example that highlights the difficulty of feeling loving kindness and compassion for the most heinous harm-doers. Perhaps you can't relate to that unless you've been in that situation yourself. Ok, fair enough. Then take any situation from your own life in which someone has done you major wrong or has harmed you or a loved one of yours. Can you generate a feeling of sincere and authentic loving kindness and compassion for that person? Not merely as a hypothetical, but really, right now, can you feel sincere and authentic loving kindness and compassion for someone who's done you major wrong? [Fwiw,.. before you simply answer "Sure." again, I might point out that if it was really that easy for you, you probably wouldn't need to rely on an ignore function to help you manage your feelings and behaviors toward others here on this message board. ya know? ;) ]

That's exactly the point, Hermit. Can you show the most basic form of respect to another poster who gets on your nerves? I'm not even talking about somebody who's actually done you some harm...just a person with who's posts you don't agree. Going by what I've seen you can't. You haven't even been able to let go after that person stopped replying to you. What does that say about you?

With regard to who I think I am,.. are you speaking in relative or absolute terms? :whistling::D

My beloved guru *Sri Ramana Maharshi* gave students the simple yet profound practice of asking themselves the question "Who am I?". What one discovers through that practice of self inquiry is quite wonderful. Who we think we are is never very impressive, but who we really are.. the essence of who we really are.. our True Self.. now that is impressive! :thumbsup:

It's possible Fuzzy, that you're not very aware of all that you project onto the person you know (or think you know) as "Hermit".. all that you read into what I post that may have little or nothing to do with where I'm actually coming from. You're not alone in projecting; we all do it, unconsciously. We think we know what someone is saying, but really we're making a ton of assumptions and presumptions. Ever notice how your own current mental state tends to affect how you perceive others in any given moment? I could post something that would be taken one way by you given your mood right now and the very same comment by me could just as easily be taken entirely differently by you if you were in a different mood. Again, that's quite natural, we all do it habitually and unconsciously. As a Buddhist, one of my aims is to foster an increased awareness of my own tendency to project. Hopefully, over time, my vigilance will become more steadfast and my projections will get less and less in the way of my being able to perceive people (and reality) more clearly.. in any given moment in time. I don't know if you have any interest in paying attention to, or developing an awareness of, your own tendencies to projection. [if you're interested, *Cuckoo* is a fabulous movie that lays bare the phenomenon of projection.]

What does "necessary" have to do with it? You seem to have your own idea (assumption, perhaps) of what it means to feel loving kindness and compassion for someone. Perhaps in your idea, sharp-edged banter is incongruent with loving kindness and compassion. In my experience they're not mutually exclusive at all.

I think people can be confronted and/or teased both playfully and respectfully..in varying degrees of both. Sometimes the truth hurts; that's a fact of life. Afaict Elizabeth has gotten upset with me over two things: 1. I made some valid comments/criticisms about a baseball player she adores, and she didn't like that. 2. I'm not bashful about calling her on her ill-tempered comments and posts. Like I said, the truth hurts sometimes; that's a fact of life.

Here's a simple solution: if she doesn't like being teased about her hostile posting style, she merely needn't post hostile comments. As long as she continues to dump on people I may just continue to exercise my liberty to point it out and tease her about it. Whether or not she "welcomes" being teased about her temperament is not my concern, but its certainly not my intent to be harmful. I think I do a pretty good job of balancing playfulness, confrontation, wittiness, and respect in how I go about commenting on her temperament and treatment of others. If you care to dispute my observations about her temperament and treatment of others, by all means have at it. But if you're honest about it, I think you'd have to admit that I treat Liz with a heckuva lot more respect than she treats others at this board. And if you can't set your personal feelings of friendship aside enough to acknowledge the truth about that, then I dare say you're gonna have a helluva hard of a time setting your personal feelings, biases, opinions, and judgments aside enough to generate authentic and sincere loving kindness and compassion for a serial killer pedophile. ..doncha think? ;)

:hippy:

[/ 1 of 2]

I'm not going to repeat myself endlessly. No you haven't treated Liz with respect. It's not what she thinks - I don't know what she thinks about this - it's my impression. It doesn't have anyhting to do with the way she treats people btw - by your own admission that shouldn't be a criterion anyway.

It's quite obvious that the truth hurts you, Hermit.

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Adopted at birth by a Jewish family. Attended Temple and Hebrew school as a child.

Knew I was adopted and became a seeker as a teenager.

Hit rock bottom and lived in a monastery (Coptic Orthodox) for a time.

Realised that the true religion was love of life and music.

No longer believe in organized religion as I think it all poisoned by the teachings of men.

To quote a wise man: "Christianity is a wonderful idea. Unfortunately no one's actually practiced it yet".

A cynic? Yes I admit so. The problem with religion is that people must have a voice in it. That screws it up every time.

People do not have the capacity to dictate the will of God, but they insist on doing so. Hence the problems that result.

Ev, I think we share pretty much the same opinion on this. Cheers.

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Ev, I think we share pretty much the same opinion on this. Cheers.

Right back to you Kat! :beer:

It's a damn shame too. So many beautiful concepts and ideas only to be soiled by the will and greed of men. Makes me ashamed to be one.

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Right back to you Kat! :beer:

It's a damn shame too. So many beautiful concepts and ideas only to be soiled by the will and greed of men. Makes me ashamed to be one.

Well...it is a bit better to be a woman, I tell you. :huh::P

Sorry, I had to.

*stepping out of thread due to shame.....

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