Politics and Perspectives

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Well, it’s been almost a month since my last update. It’s hard to believe that time has gone by that fast. I’ve been busy with stuff here and there, but I like the pace things are at right now – not too quick that it drains me, but just quick enough to keep time going by.

At any rate, I have a few scattered thoughts, none of which are all that significant, but hey, when is anything I say significant anyway? You people that read my blog should be well used to that by now.

Anyway, the first thing I want to say is that I think I’ve figured out my political views. I’ve spent the last couple months reading, essentially, about the history of socialism/communism. I found a list on Wikipedia of countries that have constitutional references to socialism, and have literally gone through that list and read up about the history of the country – what the conditions were that brought about the “revolution”, how it affected the country for better or worse, and what led to the demise of the socialist state (if it’s no longer one, which is the case for most of them). Now, I understand that reading about a country’s history on Wikipedia is not exactly a comprehensive review of socialism, but I figured it would give me a pretty nice overview that would give me a general feel for things. And I think it’s done so.

Essentially, most of the countries that have turned to socialism have a) been ravaged by war, natural disaster, or political corruption beforehand, and b) have followed the Soviet Union model of Stalinist Marxism pretty closely. It seems like a lot of the countries had immense pressure put on them from the USSR to follow their lead, including pushing for collectivized farming even if it may not have been the best solution for their individual country. That made it a little hard to disentangle things, because instead of reading about different flavours of socialism, I was reading about just one in particular, rehashed over and over again. So, it said little about whether socialism of any kind was a viable option. As well, along with this pressure from the USSR came a pressure to only deal with other socialist/communist countries. Instead of trading with other countries like the US or England, France, etc., they would trade with the USSR, China, and other Eastern Bloc countries. That severely limited their economic growth potential. Not to mention that the US would essentially shun all the countries that even hinted at turning to socialism, so it’s a little hard to get a handle on how much of a failure was due to socialism and how much was due to declining relationships with other countries.

Anyway, I say all that to essentially say that I don’t think socialism, at least in it’s Marxist-Leninist flavour, is a viable option. I think that centrally planned economies (where the state controls industry, essentially) have some inherent weaknesses that really tend to amplify product surpluses and shortfalls. The market has a way of self-correcting in a way that even the most efficient government bureaucracy cannot. So I think I remain firmly in favour of using the market. However, I do still like the idea of worker cooperatives – the idea that the workers themselves own the business they run (and not just in a stupid corporate stock option sort of way). It provides them with a closer connection to what they do, and gives them more control over the business that obviously has an effect on them. I also am tending to lean towards more liberal political policies, in a sort of “socialist” sense of “sharing the wealth”, so to speak. In one of my previous posts, I noted the inherent ability of the capitalist economy to reassert its unequal distribution of wealth. But as I thought about it a little more, I realized that, while handing money from the rich to the poor still ends up with the money back in the pockets of the rich, taking money and spending it on education, health care, etc. provides an investment that doesn’t revert back. I mean, the money likely still eventually ends up in the pockets of the rich, but in the process it has improved the lives of the lower class in a tangible, more permanent way.

So after this whole process, I’ve come up with the conclusion that I am in favour of “democratic free market syndicalist socialism”. I know that’s a very complicated position, but essentially it means that I support a mixed economy (like most developed nations have in some form or another) that utilizes worker cooperatives and gets away from the corporate ownership structure, and that attempts to redistribute opportunity equally and improve quality of life in tangible ways. That, of course, may change, but it’s where I’m at right now.

To switch gears entirely, I wanted to talk about my night tonight. (I also wanted to talk about existentialism, which I’m taking a course in right now, but I’ll save that for another time.) Tonight I went back to “The Bridge” for the first time in a couple years. The Bridge is an event put on by a Catholic campus organization that is similar to things like Campus for Christ or Navigators, but, well, Catholic. When I was in Ottawa two years ago for another one of my co-ops, I was invited by one of my friends to go to this, and seeing as it gave me some semblance of a social life in a city where I knew very few people, I went. This time around, things are obviously very different, because now I’m no longer even a Christian, but I decided I’d go see some of the friends that I hadn’t seen in two years, and just try it out and see if I was okay with going.

Overall, I’m really not sure what to say about the night, though. I guess I enjoyed myself, but things were a little awkward. The speaker had us break off into small groups to talk about some questions, and that made me a little uncomfortable. I realized that I was likely going to have to lie about my thoughts on the matter at hand. Even though I don’t enjoy lying, to be honest, it was an attempt not to derail the entire discussion onto a matter of “well, let me try to convince you that God exists.” So I tried my best to remember what I would have said if I were doing it back a couple years ago, and things went alright. But it put a little bit of a damper on things for me.

However, the speaker was talking about goals and about God’s plans for our lives. (Can anyone say cliche?) As she was speaking, I sort of had this little realization of how differently my thought processes have become. She gave everyone a sheet with some questions, and some of them were as follows: What are areas in your life that you are feeling heavy burdened? Do you believe God desires greatness for your life? What areas of your life do you believe you have failed God? These are just a sample, of course. But when I looked at these, I realized that, well, I don’t really have any sort of “heavy burden”. I still have things I face in life, of course, but heck, I’m doing pretty good. And the idea of failing God was always a big thing on my mind as a Christian – every time I did something wrong, I’d have to go to the creator of the universe and ask for forgiveness again. That was a terrible feeling.

I’ve realized this before, but it hit me again tonight: Christianity is at the same time a source of guilt and a source of relief from that same guilt. In many ways, it creates the problem that it solves. It’s like the vacuum cleaner salesman that throws dirt on your carpet just so he can show you that the vacuum cleans it all up. And I realized that I don’t have that guilt anymore. I mean, I still have guilt when I do things that are wrong. When I say something hurtful to someone, I feel terrible about it. And the best way to resolve it is to mend the relationship with that person. But religion adds in this whole new dimension – not only do you have to worry about offending others, now you also have to worry about offending the almighty ruler of the cosmos. And he sees everything – you can’t get one by the guy. He sees what you do when you’re all alone. And he knows what you’re thinking, too. To me, that’s honestly a frightening thought. And so religion tries to convince you that those things that you did – your little lie you told that person, your lack of sympathy when your enemy faced misfortune, the mischievous thought you had when someone made you angry – it tries to convince you that these are eternal, terrible offences against the ruler of the universe that must be punished by death. And then it goes on to tell you, “Are you tired of sinning and letting God down? Then you need…forgiveness!” like some cheesy infomercial trying to sell you a product. It’s creating a need in you that didn’t exist in the first place (not nearly to the same extent, anyway) – that’s a classic advertising tactic. It’s Marketing Gimmicks 101.

I don’t have that guilt. I don’t have to hold myself to the ridiculous standard of “be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect”. And that is a big relief. I’m not saying that anyone should reject religion to get away from guilt. Far from it. But I’m saying that reaching the conclusion that religion is false, that God doesn’t exist, ends up with this amazing after-effect. To be honest, that meeting was depressing. The speaker said something to the effect of, “You will continue to fail over and over again without God.” And I realized that yes, that’s true. You will also, however, continue to fail over and over again with God. I know that for a fact, because I’ve been in that camp as well. But you know what? I’m okay with failing now. I don’t have to constantly be on my knees begging for strength to succeed, because I realize that I am not intended to be perfect, and I don’t need to find that supernatural strength that is always promised but never quite given. I can just be…me. I can be human again. And it feels great. Because even though I know that I will fail time and time again, I can pick myself up and keep on truckin’. And, well, failure feels bad no matter what side of the fence you’re on. But success tastes much sweeter when you know that you did it on your own strength. You were the one that cleared that hurdle. You had the strength within you all along, and you don’t need, and never needed, some supernatural power to just get you to the level of a decent human being. And that feels goooood.

There are plenty of Christians who say that atheism is depressing. And that’s fine. But I don’t find it depressing at all. I find Christian beliefs depressing – the idea that we can’t seem to even cross the street successfully without Daddy watching out for us. And I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. I can also see the joyful parts of Christianity, where you surrender yourself to a larger purpose and story. For some people, I guess they need that, and I won’t deny that to them. But I really just find the water much better over here. Here I’m free to make my own story, and invent my own destiny that is exactly what I want it to be. Here I don’t have to constantly be guarding myself against letting my Father down over and over again, always afraid that I’ll do the wrong thing (or miss an opportunity to do the right thing). I don’t have to feel shame when I don’t go over to the person over there and share the gospel. In fact, I don’t have to feel shame when I don’t go talk to random strangers at all. But if I do so, it’s on my terms, and because it’s what I chose to do – not because I feel some vague feeling “leading me” to go talk to someone. So it’s all a matter of perspective. But regardless, my perspective is that hearing people tell me about how much of a failure I am is not how I like to spend my time. I am a success – not at all times in all areas, of course, but hey, I just figured out my political leanings. That’s pretty awesome. And I did it by myself, with my own power. I don’t need Daddy to help me across the street anymore.

In fact, it feels a lot like growing up.

22 responses to “Politics and Perspectives”

feeno

Hello

As you continue on in life you will certainly change your political outlook several more times. It wont be a 180 degree turn, but you'll change about stuff here and there. I'm still changing and I thought I had it all figured out at your age.

Maybe it was because I didn't take God serious when I was young that I escaped all those feelings of guilt and thinking I had to be perfect. I do have to agree with you that can only lead to a stressful life. Yes,I feel bad when I sin, and I do ask for forgiveness, but it's not because I'll be punished. It's because I feel like I let God down, just like you feel when you let a friend down. Do you stop believing in God? I know I still sin but it has no control over me. And you only have to ask for forgiveness one time. When one becomes a Christian God forgives all their sins, past, present and future.

I'm only preaching right now cause I'm still on a roll from my blog. But like I said when I get back from the Mountains I'll simply write about my "Outlaw Josey Wales weekend.

Your Catholic "field trip" sounded kinda funny. I was in a old lady's house and she and her Sister was talking about how they believe in evolution. (Although they were Christians) but I just kinda nodded like I was agreeing with them. Some times I don't want to be rude or something. Had they asked me what I thought I would have been polite as possible but would have told them I believe God actually created the world in 6 days. STOP, we'll fight that fight another time.

Check in after a bit. Later, feeno

Gandolf

"Christianity is at the same time a source of guilt and a source of relief from that same guilt. In many ways, it creates the problem that it solves. It's like the vacuum cleaner salesman that throws dirt on your carpet just so he can show you that the vacuum cleans it all up"

Hi Jeff great to hear things are going well,and thanks for the new interesting post.

Religion was a scare tactic used back in a times when there was no DNA science and they needed ways to try to frighten people and crims into behaving better.

And many of the worlds natural elements they were not yet able to understand such as lightning bolts or drought, to them those natural elements almost seemed they had some strange mind of their own, controling nature that they naturally felt they needed to try and fathom how to better understand.

The need of guilt and repentance was very important to the whole community,after all it was thought maybe guilt repentance and sacrifice is what helped control even the onslaught of such things as lightning and drought.

Sadly how true it is that,"In many ways, it creates the problem that it solves"

Except maybe it only "trys" to solve it.I dont think it can be said it really even solves any real problems,if it infact did maybe it might not be quite so bad.

Take care Jeff !

Feeno –"When one becomes a Christian God forgives all their sins, past, present and future."

Classic get out of jail free card ,pass go and collect $200

Real manopoly 🙂

The way you explain that Feeno,i can see why members of the cult i was born into dont mind if their beliefs caused many folks harm and some folks to suicide.

The gods forgive da sins past present and future …Nothing matters …who cares who your beliefs might effect ..Ask god for forgiveness and you simply score da home run 🙂

feeno

G

Just because God has forgiven us doesn't give us a license to sin.

And people who think they have that right don't understand his forgiveness.

Paul says "Should we keep on sinning to shows God's grace? No way, God forbid".

I don't know who is a Christian or not? That's up to God to decide. But I think we can agree that Christianity shouldn't be selfish and uncaring. And should try to eliminate harm, not cause it.

If I only became a Christian to recieve a get out of jail free card, chances are it wont work. God judges our hearts and knows our motives.

On a lighter note are you Kiwi's interested in the Super Bowl at all? It's just another reason to throw a party and eat around here.

Later Holmes, feeno

Jeff

Hey feeno,

Oh I'm sure I will change my political views, you're right about that. But it's definitely a nice feeling to have worked it through and come to some conclusions about the matter.

Your comment about guilt over letting God down vs. being punished is exactly how I felt as well. I was confident enough that I was going to heaven, but I felt like I had punched my best friend in the gut…yet again. And I knew I was forgiven, but being constantly reminded of one's own sin tends to make it hard to forgive oneself. It makes it especially hard when the person you're letting down (apparently) never lets you down in return, being perfect and all. That means that it's never his fault, always yours. Dealing with humans is much simpler – we can say, "Well, I'm not perfect, and I can't expect you to be either."

Lol anyway, I'll convert you at least to EVILutionism eventually 😛 Haha have a good time in the mountains (even though I already told you that on your blog…I'll say it again 🙂

Hey Gandolf,

Thanks for the comment. I tend to have a little bit better view of religion than you do – I don't think that prehistoric people were just stupid so they made stuff up, but at any rate, it has provided a good method of ensuring social cohesion. More primitive religions were more of a communal thing, so if you did something wrong, it was like "letting the team down" – your guilt came from the rest of the group, in other words, instead of coming down from God himself. You've gotta remember that most religions haven't had some set form of rules and regulations to follow – maybe they've had some general ethical guidelines, but nothing set in stone.

It's really interesting to know that Christianity has undergone a huge change and become much more individualistic over, say, the past several hundred years. That's why you get pastors talking about a "personal relationship with Jesus", something which would have been unheard of for much of Christian history. I don't really know whether that amplified the possibility for guilt (over and above just "breaking the rules") or not, but at any rate, it has changed things.

Thanks again for dropping by!

feeno

Does Evolution teach that time had a beginning? Some "fundy" dude just told me a bunch of secular scientists have just concluded that the Earth actually had a beginning. Maybe I'll turn you on to the idea of an Intelligent Designer first.

I am looking forward to my trip. I'll try to give everyone a full report when I get back. Hopefully it wont be to boring? It's kinda just for us old folks? There will be about 10 of us there. Ages from about 45-55?

Later Holmes, feeno

Gandolf

Feeno said–"And should try to eliminate harm, not cause it."

Oh so thats why laws of freedom of faith were created by folks of faith.To try to eliminate harm,not cause it?.Thats why so many folks of faith dont seem to care! or do anything about!, faith freedoms which DO still CAUSE HARM ?

Its all very well feeling proud and laying claim to certain good attitudes,but its a very different matter (honestly deserving) to lay claim to such good attitude.

But yes i do believe if there actually do be heaven and a god,there infact will likely be many faithful facing charges of being involved in deceitful guess work of faith thats wrongfully harmed and even been the death of many.

Wouldnt you agree those involved in creating or promotion of faiths of guess work,should hopefully be held very responsible for the harm of their guess work?.

I and my family and many kids in Africa killed as witches have suffered alot because of the evils of superstitious faith guess work on this planet!.

Had i simply have murdered somebody,my sentance of suffering in prison would have likely been many times less, than the lifetime i suffered because of idiots on this planet who guessed faith and gods.

Only seeing the faithful guess workers suffer a whole eternity ! ,would make my suffering seem any less! and like it was needed to be suffered for any good reason.

Gandolf

Hi Jeff, i do admit they might have honestly believed lightning was connected to gods.(Back) when they had no way to understand lightning.

But even this borders on guess work,and shows a definite lack of decency of concern of how their mere unproven ideas actually impacted on any others.Even amongst these people,the golden rule they claimed to follow..To them was a worthless and false claim for them to make! and little more than a matter of false pride.

Why? ..well because im sure the faithful would prefer that peoples ideas and guesses took into considderation! just how they effected the faithful….So to keep the golden rule they needed to considder how their faith of such guess work effected other people….Which seems they didnt bother much about!,considdering they seemed to think it quite ok that faith guess work saw some folk burned at stakes as witches.

Jeff i see faith the way i do,because i have actually experienced its danger personally.Its nearly as real to me, as it is for kids killed as witches in Africa.

There is many people on this planet who dont see it as quite so dangerous.Just as some are not so fazed about aids or global warming etc.

Jeff

Feeno,

Well, evolution is technically only about "descent with modification". It only explains why life is so diverse, and has nothing to do with the "beginning of time". But the big bang theory, depending on who you ask, may imply that time began at the big bang. Some would disagree, though, and say that that's merely as far back as we can look in time.

But either way, merely proving that time had a beginning doesn't prove that God exists or that he made everything. In reality, the question of "what was before time?" is a nonsensical question – the word "before" implies a time reference, so literally, there was nothing before time. It's a very odd thing to think about, but it's only a product of the fact that "time 0" has some odd properties that we don't normally come across in everyday life.

Oh and, hey, feel free to give Gandolf props for the quote, but you might also want to give me props for writing it 😛 lol

Gandolf,

Well I agree and disagree with you. I certainly think that faith/religion can lead to very terrible things. No question there. And I think that faith is generally a pretty bad way of coming to any sort of knowledge about the world, and so that can also have bad effects. But ultimately, when we're trying to equate the faith of a superstitious caveman with the faith of an Anglican minister, the comparison is pretty weak. Chances are the minister isn't going to be burning anyone at the stake. And good golly, he might just be preaching a message of love and kindness!

I would tend to say (although I might change this if I think about it a bit more) that faith combined with lack of education is the real killer. Educated theists don't bother me. But the ones that don't know anything but believe that they have some form of ultimate knowledge that is beyond any criticism can be dangerous. So if I had to go on a tirade, I'd be more likely to argue that education is critical, rather than trying to combat religion.

Gandolf

Jeff ohh yeah id certainly agree the Anglican minister has come a lomg way in no longer burning people at the stake.

I admit religion and faith in many areas has mellowed,however personally it seems to me this has more to do with disregarding certain parts of said faith and cherry picking what suits.

So for the moment i tend to disagree with you that the faith/religion is no longer based on any cave man thoughts.

Far as i know and can tell many Anglican ministers still believe in a place called hell,if not living presently in simple past cave man style thinking i ask,what evidence for proof does this modern day Anglican minister have. That makes his way of thinking of matters like hell, now no longer simple cave man style guess work?.And ideas of hell any more than cave man type guess work?

You feel simply no longer burning people at the stake is all that it actually takes to take a position of thought right from cave days and updated it to the year 2010?.

What is there to suggest that the thought of hell for instance is any less cave man type thought,than it was back in the days when people lived in caves?.

Understand by mentioning cave man im not suggesting all faithful live in caves.Its my way of implying a age bact towards where the ideas came from,to help point out the beliefs are connected to times of great ignorance when in my opinion many matters about life were obviously totally misunderstood.

Anyway i can say im honestly glad you dont feel any need to simply agree.Otherwise that to me would be kinda cave man and about faith and association by group.Rather than honesty and search for knowledge and truth.

Jeff

Well Gandolf, I still don't agree with you. Let me try and explain why 🙂

I don't really care whether the Anglican minister is "cherry picking" his faith. That seems to assume that there is some sort of "real faith" that he's just taking bits and pieces off of. So in essence, by saying that, you are in fact legitimating the more hurtful/violent type of religion by saying that it's "real faith" and the more moderate type isn't. But for me, I really don't feel the need to distinguish between what "real Christianity" and "fake Christianity" is – regardless of the truth content of any of it, both the fundamentalist and the Anglican believe that they have found the true form. So I feel no need to elevate one as being "more true", so to speak.

Now I know you would say that both are false, but if they are both false, then they are both equally false. Who cares if one follows a book literally to get to falsehood and the other "follows his heart" to get to falsehood? And if both are guesswork, who cares what sources they're using to guess with? Personally, I'd rather that people use empathy and compassion to determine their religious beliefs, rather than following an out-dated book to the letter – there is a much greater chance that they will come up with something that values human beings.

Now, as far as hell is concerned, I would agree that that doctrine does some damage. There are, of course, Christians who don't believe in hell, or who at least believe that it is reserved for those who are evil people (which at least appeals to some sort of common morality instead of relying on belief). And I don't care if the belief in hell is more accurate to the Bronze age book or not – what matters is the consequences of the belief, something with which I think you'd agree. So as long as we're evaluating religious beliefs based on consequences (rather than truth value or emotional satisfaction or whatever), do you not think that it's possible that there would be religious beliefs that would not have negative consequences? And shouldn't we at least be okay with allowing someone to hold those beliefs?

Certainly, I think that finding truth is important. And no evaluation of beliefs should leave that out. But at the end of the day, if disagreement persists, I am much more comfortable with a modern Anglican minister than I am with a medieval peasant. Religion shifts over time, and I think we should by all means encourage every shift that leads to a less hurtful, violent, or inhumane focus. By lumping all religion together, we discourage this process, and that will paradoxically lead to more of the hurt that you want to avoid.

To sum up what I'm saying: I think it's very important to encourage good deeds and beliefs that lead to treating others with respect – regardless of where we find them. Without this encouragement, the loud and obnoxious find it very easy to drown out those who want to progress towards beliefs that focus on helping others.

Gandolf

Nice one Jeff! as per usual once again im totally impressed with your nature of thoughts.

And i would agree with you totally on being– "much more comfortable with a modern Anglican minister than I am with a medieval peasant"

"Personally, I'd rather that people use empathy and compassion to determine their religious beliefs, rather than following an out-dated book to the letter – there is a much greater chance that they will come up with something that values human beings."

I agree here above also, about the use of empathy and commpassion needing to be used.For the very same reason you suggest.

And agree too –" what matters is the consequences of the belief, something with which I think you'd agree"

Yes i agree here too–"So as long as we're evaluating religious beliefs based on consequences (rather than truth value or emotional satisfaction or whatever)"

Which is why when i evaluate faith in general i feel a need to be honest, i then feel i see a great lack of "empathy and commpassion " being used. And to me that includes in the area of the Anglican minister.

Does any Anglican minister? bother doing anything with honest use of "empathy and commpassion ",to work towards seeing if change can be (fast forwarded) with regards to matters of old laws of "faith freedoms" which have long allowed for all manner of abuse to happen ?.

Its now the year 2010!,have we yet seen? any Anglican ministers approach any governments! moved by some honest decent "empathy and commpassion ",to try to do something towards helping those longsuffering in the (silent worldwide matter) of faith abuse?….Which even see`s that some lives somewhere are often totally destroyed and in some cases causes death by suicide!.Do we see church folk worldwide joining hands and flocking to governments, asking on part of their concience! for the abused, that change should rightiously be happening?

Im quite fine with the Anglican ministers part ,Jeff .

Except for it just doesnt seem honest to do what i feel is the injustice of simply affording total freedom from any involvement in any abuse.When maybe it isnt yet honestly so deserved,because faithful worldwide collectivly continue on really doing (almost) absolutely nothing! to bring about any thinking for real (action) of fast tracking some change!.

"I think it's very important to encourage good deeds and beliefs that lead to treating others with respect – regardless of where we find them"

Jeff im fine with doing that,i totally agree with you.However where i disagree is im wondering where you see "good deeds" with regards to this matter actually being so very honestly actioned at the present moment?

If abuse by "faith freedoms" happened instead to be a earthquake,golly ! we might even see some honest action tomorrow!,because there is browny points on offer! for the pride of christianity!

What of? the importance of cleaning out and repairing the own house? …Not enough browny points involved in it?, to make it worthwhile for the prompt? proud christian effort

Im fine with respect and encouragement where its due.

"Without this encouragement, the loud and obnoxious find it very easy to drown out those who want to progress towards beliefs that focus on helping others."

Ohh yes i still agree with you,but yet still find myself needing to still disagree with also.For the moment anyway.

I suggest (maybe) far to much silence of "undue encouragement" has been whats (stalled movement forward) towards some more faster use of this "empathy and commpassion " that you and i both agree really needs to be happening.

I understand people need encouragement.But the balance sometimes also needs to be balanced by some encouragement that the encouraged person may not always enjoy so much or even find quite so pleasant.

Gandolf

2,

We even have jails for this very reason Jeff,some folks dont react so well with gentle encouragement.We need to use encouragement in different ways,it often has reason for need to be blunt!…How else do we get the attention needed for change?

Of course im not suggesting throw Anglican ministers in jail nor anyone faithful.

Im just explaining my possition of difference in thinking.

I dont think im far off your thoughts.Its maybe more about me expecting to be observing a little more game action!,before im prepared to start being involved with handing out bright ribbons! of merit.

Do you ever ask yourself why there might be quite a lot of what might even seem to be a little militant type encouragement around these days?.

What do you feel about it maybe having some good reason?.Could it be more because faith drags the chain?

Do you feel the rate of change surrounding superstitious faith belief has honestly been quite acceptable?, when in some places like Africa superstitious faith still even kills children as supposed witches and/or in NZ 2007 still somebodys killed through exorcism!.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/family-watch-deadly-exorcism-ritual/2007/11/12/1194766543938.html

How about that Jeff.Just so happens its even a Anglican minister Hone Kaa who says of exorcisms — "they were still commonplace."

So to sum it up for me.

As yet,i just dont understand how this situation is really best served! by "only" our gentle encouragement.

My opinion is maybe change has thus far been spoiled!, by always having far to much of only whats been far to gentle and allowed for some dishonesty and so then blind complacency.

Sorry about a double post! Jeff.I dont claim to be at all scholarly at explaining my thoughts.

Gandolf

Even as somebody who`s experienced faith abuse in so many ways myself…Why i might even be quite tempted and totally prepared to even venture into a Anglican church, to shake hands with the minister!,and place some money in his collection box and thank him!.

If i actually saw some "real action" happening somewhere on this matter.

Its not like it takes money to just create a combined effort to approach governments and ask for change.We faithfully abuse, dont! ask for any Haiti type action, involving money!.

Just some simple honesty! with regards to keeping golden rules

People recover from earthquakes.

I can never change my faith abused past.Neither can many others…Faith abuse for some folks, can be like a earthquake that never ever ceases trembling

Gandolf

I like the sacred wall of Jericho quietly fell apart upon you, crushing life away forever.

But somehow relief is unwarrented!,because faith deserves gentle encouragement

Jeff

Gandolf,

Let me say that I'm not in favour of "faith". I think it's a poor way to determine truth about the world. But at the same time, I recognize that people have the right to believe what they wish. So I support people's rights to have faith without supporting faith itself.

Now, I'm not entirely clear about what you mean by "faith abuse" but I think I have a general idea. I would also say that I am against any sort of "pushing" one's beliefs on others, and I think many of the moderate Christians that are out there would likely agree. You seem to condemn them because they fail to speak out against these wrongs – and that's fair enough. Sometimes I think they tend to "tow the party line", so to speak. But many of them are also very opposed to fundamentalism – and are outspoken about this. There's another area that needs to be encouraged.

But primarily when I was talking about encouragement, I was speaking of hands-on, practical good that religious people do. If they are helping the poor, feeding the hungry, building homes, helping those in Haiti, etc., then I fully support that. And I think that it's possible to support those actions without necessarily endorsing every other action that they take. So even a person who "abuses" people in regards to faith can still do some good in the world in other areas. We need not condemn the whole thing – we just need to put effort into pointing out the dangers of faith.

So I think that largely we seem to be in agreement. I just tend to think that one's individual faith, by itself, is pretty neutral and harmless. When it's combined with some form of fundamentalist black-and-white thinking, or some incessant need to force others to believe the same thing, or some form of prejudice, that's when things can get dangerous. I would just rather condemn these secondary factors instead of insisting that people give up faith altogether. But it's a balanced approach, because I also think that people should be interested in truth, and should use the best methods we have for getting at it. At the end of the day, however, I think it is possible to be a religious person and a good person at the same time. But I certainly understand your point that these often do not come together.

Gandolf

"You seem to condemn them because they fail to speak out against these wrongs – and that's fair enough. Sometimes I think they tend to "tow the party line", so to speak. But many of them are also very opposed to fundamentalism – and are outspoken about this. There's another area that needs to be encouraged."

Jeff yes you are correct.Although condemning anyone is not really my nature even the word itself i dislike because it seems to final,i merely ask for more action.I do (condem the lack of action) happening towards removing abuse allowed by faith freedoms.I dont see condemming lack of action as totally condemming the faithful.

I realize some faithful folks are outspoken Jeff,but it will take more than simply being outspoken to right this wrong.

If humans could rely simply on certain people being outspoken about abuse,we wouldnt have any need of laws and law and order would we.

This matter needs to be taken to governments,and (personally) i find it a kind of mockery of the general golden rule,that if it was about the matter of abortion or gay marriage or something that suited the faithful …We would likely see great hoards of them from all different churches and dominations joining hands in solidarity,to see that matters got urgent attention.

Yet when people are suffering year in and year out,often for a whole lifetime!..Some folks like myself will most likely die of old age having still seen absolutely no change!.

The faithful drag the chain ..All they can muster up for some type of relief package is –"many of them are also very opposed to fundamentalism – and are outspoken about this."

Imagine the uproar and great mockery and mirth, if for the suffering in the earthquake in Haiti, all christians did offer is was for some to be a little outspoken about it?.

Hell Jeff this abuse caused by wrongful laws of freedom of faith,has been devistating CERTAIN peoples lives for centurys…And no real relief ACTION in sight?

I realize i often sound a little to angry.I realize i sound like i hate all christians and faithful.

But Jeff this is really so untrue.What i dislike (extremly) is the fact they claim the golden rule,yet in all real honesty when it suits them they just dont bother following it honestly .

I know my debates are often fired by emotion,but if you walked a mile in my shoes my friend i know you would understand i also use "emotion" combined with "good reason".

People ask my to tone it down abit.They argue with "emotion" from the faithful point of view,that we shouldnt be to hard on the faithful..

Yet when these matters of abuse still exist and make people suffer continuiously year in and year out..even still in the year 2010!.

Im thinking i hear these calls from "emotion" from other people who have been less abused by the faithful telling me to go easy on the faithful,but im not understanding how it has the "reason" combined with the "emotion" part….When i see nothing much has ever been happening yet from faithful in general to do anything of real honest "action" to work towards righting these wrongs.

They just talk about it…Joe blogs the liberal Anglican says,oh those other faithful folks are naughty they shouldnt abuse people with faith.

What the hell will that do?.Do these people really have so much faith in other faithful people,that somehow they think they might SUDDENLY decide to choose to stop abusive practices on their own steam just because some other faithful is being a little vocal against them?.

Hello .. anybody home !!

Why not also only just talk out about matters like abortion ..Why the need all of a sudden for faithful thinking they need to be a little more imposing that just be outspoken …and all of a sudden they have need to start (ralling and approaching governments and getting it sorted by laws?) ..Strangley talking about these matters all of a sudden doesnt seem to cut the cheese and suit the faithful concience anymore ?.

Gandolf

At present looking at then in a overall general sense they are frauds Jeff…I personally myself do not and will not encourage frauds to continue down the line of being frauds.

When i see them being consistant and honest,for sure! im quite happy to join in with others! and offer them encouragement also!.

Jeff you are very correct the problem has got a lot to do with –"tow the party line".

Its no different from doctors or lawyers that get together and decide how their manopoly can be inforced,who piss in each others pocket by agreeing on pre set prices they will ALL change.

But atleast doctors and lawyers dont claim to love jesus and pretend to care about a heavenly father whos supposedly into honesty etc.They dont claim objective morals or being led by any holy spirit.

Jeff i long to also feel able to have honest respect for the faithful.

You said-"I'm not entirely clear about what you mean by "faith abuse" but I think I have a general idea."

Jeff it comes in so many different forms depending on whats agreed upon as being abuse ..For instance i considder threats of hell specially imposed on very young impressional children,can amount to little less than psychological abuse,how much difference is it to somebody saying if you dont obey me i will torture you for ever?.There is other abuse such as promotion of shunning and separation of families,we have some folks who prefer prayer to medication even at the risk of death of their own children.

Jeff secular parent have their children removed from them for any pysical abuse as bruising can be observed with the eye!.

Yet i cannot even start to talk about the ongoing psychological hurt and pain that can be a endless lifetime of suffering for folks suffering from the random effect of bad luck of being born to parents of abusive type faiths.

I have personally seen and assisted in situations where two of my own brothers tried commiting suicide from experiencing long term abuse,i have one cousin and one brother in law who suceeded with suicide.I have seen families split like split peas in a packet of soup mix.And much more.

To look at me i seem quite fine and normal..Yet underneath my heart is completely broken ,there was little hope i ever had a real decent chance of living a enjoyable life, because in all honesty family is so very important,and to be honest i now live life waiting to get old enough to hurry up and die.

That is the only honest realistic escape i have from this lifelong suffering of faith abuse.

Jeff

Well, Gandolf, I think you've said it well. I agree that talk is cheap, and what is needed is action – but at least talking can be a first step to something more. I just don't know what the best way is to spur people on to action rather than simply being "outspoken". But to go back to the idea of encouragement…I guess we need to encourage both believers and non-believers to take action to right these wrongs. And hopefully, like you said, take it to government to try to create change. Hopefully.

Thanks again for the discussion Gandolf, it's a pleasure to have you around 🙂

Jeff

Gandolf

" but at least talking can be a first step to something more."

Yes i agree.

And im still all for offering encouragement for positive progress already made!!,but feel a need to be careful to find some balance that doesnt come to rest in some type of complacency, that then forgets the plight of those many who still suffer! and wait for more movement that might then provide relief of their suffering also.

Thanks Jeff.Its all my pleasure discussing these matters with you,i feel it helps me keep some perspective.

Jeff

Wow, jeez, I didn't even realize it had been that long since my latest update. I'll probably post something soon in a couple days or so then…lol thanks for checking in 🙂

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