Some questions from a passer-by

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06 Jan 2016 20:28 #219580 by Alan
Replied by Alan on topic Some questions from a passer-by
“Religion is (1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long lasting moods and motivation in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such as aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.”

Using this definition by Clifford Geertz will help in understanding Jediism as a religion.

Jediism, as practiced here, is neither creedal nor revealed. Some religions are both (Christianity, Sikhism, and Islam) but religions such as Shinto, Hinduism, or the indigenous religions of North American or Africa are neither. Some religions eschew reliance on a deity such as Zen, Confucianism or Daoism, so also with Jediism. Jedi can be theists or not. Jediism is analogous to transtheistic religions in that it focuses more on practice than belief.

Metaphysics is the philosophical discipline that studies being, or, in other words, studies the nature of reality. In this sense, Jediism is metaphysical and philosophical. Metaphysics is subject to rigorous logical analysis requiring precision of language. The proofs of philosophy are subject to different standards than experimental science.

This quote is in my lecture notes but I can’t remember where I got it.

"Campbell believed myth had an important purpose in human life, and defined its four major functions:

1. The Metaphysical Function - Awakening a sense of awe before the mystery of being.
2. The Cosmological Function - Explaining the shape of the universe.
3. The Sociological Function - Validating and supporting the existing social order.
4. The Pedagogical Function - Teaching and guiding the individual through the stages of life.

Mythology and storytelling is a universal human drive. Through these four steps, myth informs and enhances human understanding of not only the world around us, but who we are, both in society and within ourselves. By mythologizing our own lives, we can understand them, and work out our place in them. By experiencing our own adventures, we too can learn."

Academic definitions of myth:
Myth is a “traditional narration which relates to events that happened at the beginning of time and which has the purpose of providing grounds for the ritual actions of men of today and, in a general manner, establishing all the forms of action and thought by which man understands himself in his world.” (Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil)
Myth is a traditional narration regarding the nature of the sacred.
Myth is a traditional narrative account of the origin of an aspect or symbol of the sacred.
Myth is the narrative embodiment of an idea.
Myth narrates a sacred history: it tells of an event in primordial time or it tells how reality or a part of reality came into existence.
Myths can be known, experienced, lived in the sense that one is seized by the sacred in the ritual re-enactment of the primordial event.
The mythic person says, “That myth is true for me because it tells the story of how and why the world is the way it is.”
The truth, validity or effectiveness of a myth is determined solely on the life in the world of the participants (believers) in the myth.
Myth is the symbolic expression of primal experiences.
The symbols in the myth represent a primary aspect of experienced reality.
Myth is a narrative account of the origin of the symbol.

Some persons here at TotJO refer to the Star Wars myth in order to express their understanding of the symbol of the Force.
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06 Jan 2016 20:28 - 06 Jan 2016 20:30 #219581 by Reneza
Replied by Reneza on topic Some questions from a passer-by

RyuJin wrote: i hate dogma, jediism has no dogma...dogma is inflexible, inflexibility causes strife...


I am not talking about that at all. If you had read any of the text in this thread, you would see that I'm asking for definitions. If something has no definition, it lacks substance and is only an image

RyuJin wrote: the vast majority of mainstream religions thrive on causing strife and driving people to their "god"...this is especially common in some of the abrahamic religions....


So do any human systems.

RyuJin wrote: to me jediism is more of a philosophical lifestyle. we don't tell you what to think, or how to think, instead we teach you how to think for yourself, how to decide for yourself, how to define your own path.


This sounds awfully hubristic.

RyuJin wrote: among the various jedi groups we share a few common beliefs...how we define the beliefs varies individually just like among various christian sects...judaism does believe in christ but they don't believe in his messianic nature the way other christians do...


Except Christianity actually has a foundational idea of what it actually is while from my discussions here it seems Jediism does not. Furthermore, Jews "believe" in Jesus as much as a historian believes in Jesus and so to use "believe in" in this sense is completely unsuitable.

RyuJin wrote: we believe in the force...how each of us defines it is likely to vary.


So it seems that my understanding was right; "the Force" is a synonym for "individual belief system" with Star Wars imagery and nothing more. If anyone would like to suggest otherwise, let me know.

RyuJin wrote: personally i don't give two sh...ts about what others think of me when i mention being a jedi. if they laugh, they laugh...it just shows how closed minded they are and they will never know what it is like walk my path. most people are actually quite interested once i start discussing it with them.


Is self-aggrandizement and belittlement of others really so common here..?

RyuJin wrote: so take it as you will....or don't, either way i'm not fussed by it...we frequently get people seeking to "deconstruct" what we are....we're still here...we're still growing and evolving....how many religions truly encourage knowledge, understanding, and acceptance and truly mean it?


I don't know about others, but all major religions in history have been "deconstructed" by everyone including their own adherents, and for good reason. It's a good thing and healthy because it raises questions and it forces individual adherents to actually answer questions and not simply accept things as given. Knowledge and understanding do not come from taking a fictional order of warrior monks and applying their religious ideology to the real-world while also resisting any questions about it. It just makes it look all the more ridiculous
Last edit: 06 Jan 2016 20:30 by Reneza.
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06 Jan 2016 20:28 - 06 Jan 2016 20:30 #219582 by Adi Vas
Replied by Adi Vas on topic Some questions from a passer-by
Saying that a Christian who rejects the Nicene Creed is not a Christian rules out a *lot* of Christians (e.g. American evangelicals or others who simply dislike creeds, like Quakers - I live in North Carolina, we have a lot of the former) whose faith I have no right to deny. Perhaps it's a product of the tradition that I belong to (I'll get back to this), but I don't think the walls to being a "true Christian" are particularly high. Of course, the walls to being a Jedi are considerably lower. I don't think the walls need be high for a tradition to be valid.

Sola scriptura, like you say, is a relatively new development. But there is no interdenominational consensus on what sola scriptura entails. The Baptists I have worshipped with are quite fond of the Old Testament stuff, especially in this day and age. Less conservative traditions practically treat the Old Testament, Psalms excepted, as if it doesn't exist. The "sola" probably deserves an asterisk if you're going to talk about it as if it were a single, monolithic concept. The inconsistency and incoherency of sola scriptura is a large part of why prima scriptura makes more sense to me.

Also, your use of such a passive-aggressive phrase furthers my belief that among people here it seems eerily rather common to make snide swipes at Abrahamic faiths.


I almost never talk about the particulars of my faith on here, but I feel this needs to be cleared up. You read too much into what I say, perceiving hostility that does not exist. There is no passive-aggressiveness on my part or snide swipe toward Abrahamic faiths, since I practice and live by one myself. I'm a devout Anglican Christian, and my tendency to jokingly describe horrible things as "pleasant" pre-dates my time as a Christian, to say nothing of my time in this community. I studied history in uni for six years and mostly focused on bad things. A sad habit I picked up from my colleagues in that field is that I tend to occasionally use sarcasm in the context of discussing historical atrocities, something I try to work on. Make of that what you will.

(Also, this is terribly off-topic - sorry guys! I'll shuffle on.)
Last edit: 06 Jan 2016 20:30 by Adi Vas.
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06 Jan 2016 20:38 #219587 by Reneza
Replied by Reneza on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Adi Vas wrote: Saying that a Christian who rejects the Nicene Creed is not a Christian rules out a *lot* of Christians (e.g. American evangelicals or others who simply dislike creeds, like Quakers - I live in North Carolina, we have a lot of the former) whose faith I have no right to deny. Perhaps it's a product of the tradition that I belong to (I'll get back to this), but I don't think the walls to being a "true Christian" are particularly high. Of course, the walls to being a Jedi are considerably lower. I don't think the walls need be high for a tradition to be valid.


What part of Quaker doctrine has ever been contrary to the Nicene Creed? Most Christians, even today with non-Christian Christian groups such as the LDS Church, are Nicene Creed based.

Adi Vas wrote: Sola scriptura, like you say, is a relatively new development. But there is no interdenominational consensus on what sola scriptura entails. The Baptists I have worshipped with are quite fond of the Old Testament stuff, especially in this day and age.


Yes, this is a big problem within Christianity and one that has never entirely been solved; that of the existence of the Old Testament in contrast with the New. As you probably know it was the cause of many groups in the early days of the Christian faith declaring that the Old Testament was evil/nonsense/etc. But my point is still that while Jediism seems to have no real foundation in anything except for secular ideas like free speech, Christianity does in the person of Jesus.

Adi Vas wrote: I almost never talk about the particulars of my faith on here, but I feel this needs to be cleared up. You read too much into what I say, perceiving hostility that does not exist. There is no passive-aggressiveness on my part or snide swipe toward Abrahamic faiths,


Using a sarcastic expression is quite a good indication, but apologies if it wasn't intended.

Adi Vas wrote: since I practice and live by one myself. I'm a devout Anglican Christian, and my tendency to jokingly describe horrible things as "pleasant" pre-dates my time as a Christian, to say nothing of my time in this community. I studied history in uni for six years and mostly focused on bad things. A sad habit I picked up from my colleagues in that field is that I tend to occasionally use sarcasm in the context of discussing historical atrocities, something I try to work on. Make of that what you will.


Why do you devoutly follow something in which the primary focus of worship does such things?
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06 Jan 2016 20:43 #219589 by Loudzoo

Loudzoo wrote:
You seem quite intent on proving that Jediism isn't a religion.

Reneza wrote:
This is your presumption. I'm merely curious as to what a Jedi actually is and so far it definitely seems not to be a religion in the slightest or by any definition. I like to understand others and when I read about this particular phenomenon/movement and that it was based on certain historical systems/ I was curious. But now the more I read the more it does seem to be an inconsistent and intentionally vague collection of secular concepts with trappings of historical theology/philosophy.

Jestor wrote:
Please tell us what a religion is, from a agreed upon source...

Reneza wrote:
I didn't start this thread to do so and I don't see how it would help at all.

Reneza wrote:
But if you'd like to understand certain definitions of what I'm saying, I'm more than happy to clarify.


What is your definition of religion?

Or are you happy to use Alan's? [as above]

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06 Jan 2016 20:50 #219593 by Reneza
Replied by Reneza on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Alan wrote: “Religion is (1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long lasting moods and motivation in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such as aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.”

Using this definition by Clifford Geertz will help in understanding Jediism as a religion.


You have literally picked the definition of an anthropologist completely un-related to lexicography and is completely at odds with most definitions.

Alan wrote: (...) religions such as Shinto, Hinduism, or the indigenous religions of North American or Africa are neither.


I have never mentioned anything about revelation being a determining factor in religion, yet somehow certain people seem to think this is worth mentioning.

Alan wrote: Some religions eschew reliance on a deity such as Zen, Confucianism or Daoism, so also with Jediism. Jedi can be theists or not. Jediism is analogous to transtheistic religions in that it focuses more on practice than belief.


Yes, but Buddhism and its schools have foundations in the Pali canon at least to define what they are. Jediism has nothing but vague "teachings" mentioning "the Force" (with no definition whatsoever).

Alan wrote: Metaphysics is the philosophical discipline that studies being, or, in other words, studies the nature of reality. In this sense, Jediism is metaphysical and philosophical.


In this sense you can also call any philosophy class or web forum a "religion" because it encourages people to discuss such things. Jediism is neither metaphysical or philosophical because it makes no claims to either. It only relies on its members to create definitions which completely negates the purpose of having a religion in the first place.

Alan wrote: Metaphysics is subject to rigorous logical analysis requiring precision of language. The proofs of philosophy are subject to different standards than experimental science.


What is Jediist philosophy then?

Alan wrote: Through these four steps, myth informs and enhances human understanding of not only the world around us, but who we are, both in society and within ourselves. By mythologizing our own lives, we can understand them, and work out our place in them. By experiencing our own adventures, we too can learn."


So what is Jediist myth then?

Alan wrote: Some persons here at TotJO refer to the Star Wars myth in order to express their understanding of the symbol of the Force.


What is "the Force"? You cannot claim that it is a fundamental belief of a whole group and then not define it so I'd really like to know.
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06 Jan 2016 20:54 #219594 by RyuJin
i was not self aggrandizing, nor was i belittling anyone....i'm indifferent...this is the problem in textual communications...without seeing body language and hearing vocal tone much meaning is lost. when meaning is lost misunderstandings occur....

it doesn't help that you refuse to explain how you define certain things while simultaneously demanding that we define things in a manner that matches how you define things

Jestor wrote:
Please tell us what a religion is, from a agreed upon source...


Reneza wrote:
I didn't start this thread to do so and I don't see how it would help at all.

Reneza wrote:
But if you'd like to understand certain definitions of what I'm saying, I'm more than happy to clarify.


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06 Jan 2016 20:56 #219596 by Reneza
Replied by Reneza on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Loudzoo wrote: What is your definition of religion?

Or are you happy to use Alan's? [as above]


Hey again! Thanks for asking. I've already stated in this forum vaguely how I define it. I think if I recall correctly I said that historically religion has almost consistently been used to refer to a deity/deities/spirit(s)/teleology/the metaphysical/etc. and veneration/worship/traditions/customs related to them.

The search engine says this which I'm rather happy with: the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods or a particular system of faith and worship.
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06 Jan 2016 20:59 #219598 by Senan
Replied by Senan on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Reneza wrote:

Senan wrote: Not every Christian believes every part of the Bible because the Bible in it's entirety contains contradictions.


They are required to by definition otherwise they are not defined as Christians. The definition of Christian was made with the Nicene Creed and it has been agreed upon ever since that anything contrary to this is not defined as "Christian." If you just allow everyone to define words, there is no meaning to anything and dialog goes out the window.


Required by who? Agreed upon by who? Christians have a commandment prohibiting murder, and yet went on crusades. Definitions, meanings and agreements certainly change over time. Jedi understand that. If I am to accept your definition of "Christian" being the one from thousands of years ago for the sake of this conversation, would you not then be expected to accept my definition of Jedi as I define it today?

Senan wrote: We are an officially recognized 501-(c) (3) in order to operate as a tax exempt charity and this Temple is legally recognized allowing for our clergy to perform certain legal functions, hence the titles.

How did it register? I mean, what definition did it use when registering?


https://www.templeofthejediorder.org/media/kunena/attachments/523/ha011135.pdf

Senan wrote: The Force does not have to be metaphysical. Some would say the quest of theoretical physicist is to finally define a unifying force. Currently, Quantum Mechanics could explain the Force just as well as someone calling it "god". That is why we are here. We are exploring these questions together. A Jedi is not expected to believe any one thing over another. We are expected to do our due diligence to find the answers for ourselves.

The Jedi simple oath asks you to uphold the "Jedi teachings" which include in the very first clause: belief in "the Force." What is the definition?


I am a Jedi and I profess my belief in the Force. The Doctrine does not demand a definition in defense of my belief. It simply demands that I have one.

Senan wrote: Why do Christians maintain the traditions and mythology shared with Jews?

Again, this is a really interesting trend I'm noticing here among many people: imposing the idea of myth onto other religions who do not see their faith as myth but reality. This organization definitely does not seem to be neutral on the matter of other faiths.


Are we not allowed to see the Force as a reality? Are we not allowed to consider the Bible a collection of mythology? Am I to accept the story of Noah's Ark as truth because all Christians "have to"? I'm sensing a double standard being applied here.

Senan wrote: The Star Wars mythology was inspired by many ancient philosophies and religious texts including the Tao Te Ching and Bushido Code along with some newer ideas from Campbell and Watts among many others.

So is the metaphysics of the Tao Te Ching actually binding with this organization, or if not all of it, which parts?


The Tao Te Ching isn't mentioned in our Doctrine. It is simply an example of many sources we incorporate into our studies. "Inspired by" was not meant to equate to "binding". This is the kind of thinking that allows extremists of any religion to be "bound" to the literal text rather than seeking the lesson within.

Senan wrote: Jediism is the name we use now because it allows us to identify with much of the ancient mythology in a way that can be understood in our current society.

This goes back to what I said before: to make the statement with a hidden clause that other religions are not "relevant" to the world today but this one is. Very interesting stuff.


I would not agree with your assertion that Jediism suggests that other religions are not relevant today. If that were the case, we would not include study of them in our Initiate Program. I would be willing to say that certain aspects of some religions may not be relevant to some people anymore. As a former Catholic myself, I was known to eat meat on Fridays. I would also readily admit that there are some aspects of Jediism that do not resonate with all Jedi.

Senan wrote: 5. Our Creed begins with "I am a Jedi, an instrument of peace".

What is "peace"?


What is a cupcake? I can give you a dictionary definition if you'd like, but it will pale in comparison to actually eating one yourself. Be at peace, and you'll know. Have your peace disturbed, and you'll know. Or maybe you won't.

Senan wrote: Jediism represents a collection of individuals seeking ways to better understand the universe and our place in it.

Then it's not a religion according to you, I suppose.


We're right back to defining terms rather than seeking truth. To say that I don't believe Jediism is a religion is to say that my definition of religion is the same as yours. If you want to rely on dictionary definitions, we certainly can, but in that case, nothing I said here conflicts with the accepted dictionary definition of "a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, ethics, and social organisation that relate humanity to an order of existence."

Senan wrote: To be "objective" suggests that one can remove themselves from the process of analysis

Sounds like the opposite.


A scientist takes all measures and steps to remain "objective" while conducting experiments. This does not, however, remove the scientist themselves from the experiment, even if they are only an observer. To say that Jediism or The Force is objective would assert that all Jedi are objective, and that is clearly not always the case.

Senan wrote: What I believe the Force to be works on a fundamental level,

How does it work?


This is a great question for you to explore for yourself, just as many of us do every day in this Temple. :)
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06 Jan 2016 20:59 #219599 by Reneza
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RyuJin wrote: it doesn't help that you refuse to explain how you define certain things while simultaneously demanding that we define things in a manner that matches how you define things


But I'm doing this over and over right now for many words/concepts I'm attempting to discuss. And part of my problem is that people won't define what they mean themselves , not that I'm demanding they adhere to any of my definitions.
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