[Lesson 5] The religious state

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28 Feb 2018 06:00 #316913 by Twigga
Thank you all! There's plenty of input for me to be scribbling at now. Thanks again! :)

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28 Feb 2018 19:08 #316955 by Kasumi
On the topic of what defines a religion, keep in mind that it isn't necessarily about what people believe. Religion focuses on what people do and often on what they do in groups: The details of what people believe doesn't differ much between, say, Catholics and Baptists. I would say that many members of the two groups would have trouble defining what doctrinal differences distinguish them. But the activities they explicitly (and implicitly - lots of churches run daycares or soup kitchens) define as religious DO distinguish them.

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I do not fight for gain or loss, am not concerned with strength or weakness, and neither advance a step nor retreat a step. ~Takuan
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28 Feb 2018 23:00 #316970 by Kyrin Wyldstar

Kasumi wrote: On the topic of what defines a religion, keep in mind that it isn't necessarily about what people believe. Religion focuses on what people do and often on what they do in groups: The details of what people believe doesn't differ much between, say, Catholics and Baptists.


you are defining a very limited scope when it comes to religion. I would say there is a huge discrepancy between what a christian believes and a pagan believes. I would disagree that its not about belief. Belief is the major core component to religion. Action is only secondary to that. By your definition the boy scouts are a religious group.

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28 Feb 2018 23:27 #316975 by Kasumi

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote:

Kasumi wrote: On the topic of what defines a religion, keep in mind that it isn't necessarily about what people believe. Religion focuses on what people do and often on what they do in groups: The details of what people believe doesn't differ much between, say, Catholics and Baptists.


you are defining a very limited scope when it comes to religion. I would say there is a huge discrepancy between what a christian believes and a pagan believes. I would disagree that its not about belief. Belief is the major core component to religion. Action is only secondary to that. By your definition the boy scouts are a religious group.


By your definition, an agnostic who continues to attend a church but who find value in the social teachings and actions thereof is not a member of that religion. That seems to be false.
Similarly, a Catholic who does not literally believe in that the miracle of transubstantiation occurs at every single instance of the Mass is also NOT a Catholic.

And, bluntly, you're the person arguing that atheism isn't a religion despite it having clear theological tenets from which its members may not deviate. Where, as atheism does not have activity requirements, by my definition you would be correct. You are inconsistent.

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I do not fight for gain or loss, am not concerned with strength or weakness, and neither advance a step nor retreat a step. ~Takuan
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01 Mar 2018 00:04 #316979 by Adder
In Australia the law seems to have settled on an definition to define religion.... at least for the purposes of the law!

"belief in a supernatural being, thing or principle, accepting the canons of conduct that give effect to that belief so long as they do not offend against the ordinary laws"

So, I interpret supernatural as something beyond scientific (human) understanding, and by being 'super' it has as its nature what we can perceive as reality - above it by its interconnected attribute. And with us being part of that reality, it means we are therefore connected to the Force, and vice versa, and so the Jedi path is how one defines that Force and how one relates to it as a path.

But law requires things to be nailed down to some extent which I find a bit restrictive, I guess mostly so that they can be related in practical terms to activity.... which is not all that irrelevant to be honest, but I do tend to consider the concept of religion with a little more fluidity that that definition, rather being any set of practises one chooses to do religiously for some type of effect in their experience of living life.

So as I look over the OP, it seems I tend to agree with the definitions there :S

How that relates to that part of the doctrine for me, is more in line with the former then the later, in that my belief is protected so long as it is not illegal. Which raises the question, who decides what is illegal... which is what I think that part of the doctrine represents - the focus on that comparison, awareness of ones position, and analysis of what might be best in terms of the Force, the universe, and all its parts known and unknown. I don't think it represents a 'anything goes if its my religion' position of the Temple, in my opinion. All arguments instead, must rest on their merits as they sit within the community the law (and therefore the government) represents.

Knight ~ introverted extropian, mechatronic neurothealogizing, technogaian buddhist. Likes integration, visualization, elucidation and transformation.
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01 Mar 2018 01:01 #316987 by Senan
Bear with me while I toss in my two cents. This isn't meant to say who is right or wrong, but rather to share my initial reactions to see if I can learn some things and understand you both better...

Kasumi wrote:

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote:

Kasumi wrote: On the topic of what defines a religion, keep in mind that it isn't necessarily about what people believe. Religion focuses on what people do and often on what they do in groups: The details of what people believe doesn't differ much between, say, Catholics and Baptists.


you are defining a very limited scope when it comes to religion. I would say there is a huge discrepancy between what a christian believes and a pagan believes. I would disagree that its not about belief. Belief is the major core component to religion. Action is only secondary to that. By your definition the boy scouts are a religious group.


By your definition, an agnostic who continues to attend a church but who find value in the social teachings and actions thereof is not a member of that religion. That seems to be false.
Similarly, a Catholic who does not literally believe in that the miracle of transubstantiation occurs at every single instance of the Mass is also NOT a Catholic.

And, bluntly, you're the person arguing that atheism isn't a religion despite it having clear theological tenets from which its members may not deviate. Where, as atheism does not have activity requirements, by my definition you would be correct. You are inconsistent.


1. Catholics and Baptists are similar, but ask any one of them and they will tell you how they are different, both in behavior and in belief. It has also been pointed out that you don't have to believe everything from a certain religion to still call yourself a follower of it, but you do have to have some sort of belief (read faith) in the doctrine of said religion. Otherwise you are just mimicking behavior as a spectator, but not genuinely participating in the faith. So, do we decide what religion we are based on our beliefs, or do our actions allow others to put the label on us?

2. An agnostic attending church for social reasons can be seen as a member of the church community, but not the religion. Again, it comes down to whether you believe in the core tenets of the faith and the dogma/doctrine, not how you behave or what building you sit in. That's how churches can offer charity to people who are not members of their faith.

3. When atheists deny the existence of God or gods, that is not a theological tenet of Atheism, and members can deviate from this if scientific evidence were to emerge indicating the contrary. Or they could just change their mind. Theology isn't even required to say that there is currently no scientific evidence for the existence of God. That is a secular observation entirely separate from any belief system in that it is simply a preference for provable facts over faith driven beliefs.

4. Religiously motivated actions are driven by belief in the religion, not the other way around. Otherwise accidentally acting like a Catholic would make me a Catholic whether I believed I was one or not. And what happens when my actions change and I suddenly start doing yoga? I'm not instantly Hindu or Buddhist.

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01 Mar 2018 15:23 - 01 Mar 2018 15:45 #317015 by Kyrin Wyldstar

Kasumi wrote: By your definition, an agnostic who continues to attend a church but who find value in the social teachings and actions thereof is not a member of that religion. That seems to be false.


Why does this "seem" to be false? You make a lot of assertions without any backing. Just because something seems to be a certain way does not make it true. That is actually a major failing in religion. As for your statement here, yes I agree that person is not a member of that religion. By definition, an agnostic claims that knowledge of a gods existence or not cannot be known. But to be a member of a church, you must accept the doctrine of that church. In fact many times you have to attend a class before you can join. If you make the statement that you accept the doctrine, which necessarily includes the belief in a God, and yet don't really believe in that God then you are a liar not a member.


Kasumi wrote: Similarly, a Catholic who does not literally believe in that the miracle of transubstantiation occurs at every single instance of the Mass is also NOT a Catholic.


Correct, if that's what Catholics believe then they are not Catholic. I see absolutely no purpose to staying in a religious paradigm that the individual does not even believe in. It would be better for this person to seek out some protestant denomination that better suites their belief system.



Kasumi wrote: And, bluntly, you're the person arguing that atheism isn't a religion despite it having clear theological tenets from which its members may not deviate. Where, as atheism does not have activity requirements, by my definition you would be correct. You are inconsistent.


"Clear theological tenets" from which its "members" may not deviate? Another bold "argument by assertion fallacy" that lacks any substance or evidence. In the first place you cant be a "member of atheism". Its not an organization. Its a single default position of nonacceptance on a single claim - the claim that a God exists. And it has no theological tenets whatsoever. Ill provide a link below for your reading pleasure. Please pay special attention to the section entitled "Misconceptions about atheists".

rationalwiki.org/wiki/Atheism#Misconceptions_about_atheists

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My Journals: Kyrin-Wyldstar

Associate Degree of Divinity - Earned July, 2017
Apprenticed to: Alan, Senan, Mendalicious
Tribute to Senan: My Friend
Last edit: 01 Mar 2018 15:45 by Kyrin Wyldstar.

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01 Mar 2018 16:10 #317016 by Manami
Twigga, this may also be a helpful read to understand the context of American separation of church and state - it's a huge site, so there's probably more there than you need...the "Church and State - Virginia" is a good section, since that's where it all went down. :) www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel05.html

Basically, the U.S. tried an experiment with government-endorsed religion early on, with *approved* churches receiving financial support through taxes in some states, and mandatory church attendance being enforced through "Sunday Laws". In many places, you were required to pay a tax to support churches, and while you could direct it to the church of your choice, the list of choices was pretty slim - the small and very independent denominations like the Baptists were considered little more than cults, and faced heavy persecution from the establishment churches. Hence the Baptists were a driving force being the Religious Freedom Act, and pushed Thomas Jefferson when they thought it wasn't strong enough in ensuring that there would be no link between public funding (state and federal taxation) and the churches and to make sure there would be no oversight or endorsement of a particular form of religion by the government.

So this influences how I understand the separation of religion and state. It's not so much about the religious beliefs themselves, but the legal relationship between legislation and personal beliefs. I come from an area where there is still a lot of fighting over this - a long history of public ordinance laws being used to shut down things like Pagan temples or businesses, the church-supported "blue laws" that keep alcohol from being sold, establishment churches getting preferential treatment in the legal system (for instance, Evangelical religious centers being allowed as jail time alternatives for minor charges), etc. In the context of this part of doctrine, for me, "religion" refers to personal beliefs which may or may not be codified into a "church" or religious entity, and separation of religion and state means basically that the government should not be able to force religious participation or give preferential support to a specific religious entity that would allow them to indirectly compel participation.

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.
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01 Mar 2018 18:15 #317028 by JinhamKlyean

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote: I claim I have an invisible unicorn in my bedroom. Do you believe me? No you would not, or at least you should not, until such time as I can prove to you that I have an invisible unicorn in my bedroom. Is your lack of belief a worldview? No its not.


But the belief that people shouldn't believe in things without proof is a worldview, wouldn't you say?

Jinham Klyean
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01 Mar 2018 18:25 - 01 Mar 2018 18:25 #317029 by JinhamKlyean

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote: But to be a member of a church, you must accept the doctrine of that church.


Nah, just gotta convince the locals that you accept the doctrine. Lots of Pentecostals don't actually believe in speaking in tongues, even if they wouldn't admit it to the person to their right and left.

Or, in some churches, let it be known that you don't accept the doctrine but promise not to make waves.


Its a single default position of nonacceptance on a single claim - the claim that a God exists. And it has no theological tenets whatsoever.


You can claim that's not a theological tenet, but the statement "I believe that God does not exist" is both a tenet and theological (i.e., related to religious faith, practice, or experience). Sorry, but claiming invisible unicorns don't exist is still a statement relating to invisible unicorns, and relating de facto to experiences people have had with them.

Jinham Klyean
"Oh good. I survived. I love it when I do that."

"When did we hire Tom Stoppard to write this show?" - Taliesin Jaffe
Last edit: 01 Mar 2018 18:25 by JinhamKlyean. Reason: Formatting cleanup
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