Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Missionary Position

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  • andin,

    You left out "Philosophers"

    Starting in Ionian islands and then on through troublesome relationships with religions that were around over time, so I kinda left it out on purpose.

    Cause thats when the idea of proofs started to appear. And so the distinction between the religious and the scientific started to appear.
    And proving something evidentially such as a supernatural being, is foreign and I would say impossible, for a religion. And probably a non starter if you wanted funds from the church.

    Cheers

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Starting in Ionian islands and then on through troublesome relationships with religions that were around over time, so I kinda left it out on purpose.

    I'm not one to discount the vast array of ancient philosophers who weren't Greek, just because I haven't particularly studied them. But of the Greek ones, you'll find if you actually read them, that the basic assumptions they started with were begun by the theories of the culture that they lived in. They were the kind of things that humans are likely to come up with as the first shot at explaining things. Very often the second shot, and many subsequent ones, would seem equally absurd to us today. But they were progressing. To even be paying attention to trying to explain the movements of the cosmos was a good start. At some point, one of the theories, whether it contains references to supernatural beings or not, starts hitting nearer the mark, and real progress is being made.

    Believe it or not, it was actually the scientific observations of Aristotle that created a great deal of the difficulties for the Catholic Church in accepting the idea of Copernicus, that the Earth moves. It was not much to do with the Bible and supernatural beings, and everything to do with the fact that parallax could not be observed at the time. Certainly they erred in oppressing Galileo for his beliefs, but I don't buy fully that the oppression was religiously motivated. It had a great deal to do with 'who owns the science?'. The Church thought they did, and certainly they had the bulk of the scientists of the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Yeah, lucky a snippet of Aristotle's writings survived to have that influence.
    Thanks Ben.
    Oh and people who use the word inclusive send a shiver down my spine.

    Dear Ms Emma Hart

    You overcame your Kiwi reticence to mention the subject of religion. Thanks.
    Isnt it funny that most of the people who turned up to comment profess no religion. I guess it says something about the readership of Public address.
    Well there was the one catholic, the resident PA supposed contrarian the dear luv, he was out of here quick.

    It is an awkward subject mainly I think, because when it is talked about, it goes to the very heart of what goes on in our minds it isnt really about gods. I dont find have difficulty with that as a subject but many people do.

    It is a private domain usually, until something goes wrong in the world we all live in. Then it is of vital importance that we open up I think. But it is a counter intuitive thing to do for many. And when times are tough, as they surely will be for the next couple of years in NZ and with a crew of ninnies holding the reins of Govt, dialogue and introspection just dont figure.

    So I guess Brian Tamaki and his ilk, must be rubbing his hands with glee. They have an identifiable target -atheism, people hurting and a govt they can cosy up to.
    Is this a perfect storm, I hope not.
    And remember follow you own rule, if someone mentions god change the subject quick.
    Thanks again anyway very brave of you.
    A

    PS
    It will be interesting to see what kind of reception Richard Dawkins gets when he appears by video link (chicken) at the upcoming writers, is it a conference. I cant remember off the top of my head.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Isnt it funny that most of the people who turned up to comment profess no religion. I guess it says something about the readership of Public address.
    Well there was the one catholic, the resident PA supposed contrarian the dear luv, he was out of here quick.

    From the tone portions of this conversation have taken, even the most reasonable, patient, tolerant religious person would have required a great deal of courage to participate. Far more courage than it took for me to write this, which was pretty much 'none'.

    And yet it was still more patient and reasonable than most internet discussions on religion.

    I'm still a big fat hippy incense burner, though.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    ... yournear death experiences, and how you feared. Did you think: 'No worries, nothing is going to happen"

    From my experience in situations where I could die, my thoughts in these situations is usually some variant on "Well, this is going to hurt." Sometimes bulked out with "Hey, that sky is really blue today" (I have a clear recollection of thinking both these thoughts the first time I was hit by a car). I'm still pretty convinced that "This is going to hurt" is going to be the last thought I'll ever have.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Yeah, lucky a snippet of Aristotle's writings survived to have that influence.
    Thanks Ben.

    I'm sure if he didn't say it, it would have been rediscovered, since it was a very compelling scientific argument. I point it out to counter your apparent claim that there was no science going on back then, because it was religiously motivated. I think there's little doubt that a great deal of the work of the Pythagoreans was religiously motivated and yet they made enormous advances in some sciences. They also reputedly drowned someone to hush up the discovery of irrational numbers - in doing that they were wicked fools.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    big fat hippy incense

    But how can you tell it was made by large hippies?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Shivers, you mean getting hit by a car is you recurring theme?

    Not particularly recurring, but it's happened a few times. To be honest, I've had about as many accidents while taking evasive action to avoid being hit. You get used to it after a while.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Not particularly recurring, but it's happened a few times. To be honest, I've had about as many accidents while taking evasive action to avoid being hit. You get used to it after a while.

    I've been lucky when riding personally, but my dad on the other handhas had more than his share of car versus bike accidents. Just plain ol' falling off (evasive or otherwise) is almost a non-event for him now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    12 hail marys.

    How 'bout twelve Bloody Marys? It is Friday.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    A few weeks ago I was proceeding up the hill towards my castle when I was accosted by two overly clean cut young guys who attempted to foist some 'literature' upon me. Whereupon I began my uber materialist ultra Darwinian hard core atheist proselytising speel on them. They were satisfyingly stunned and responded by trying to give me the 'literature' again. I walked away turned around and wished that they 'walk in the light of reason and knowledge'.

    Billy Graham Jr was in these parts a couple of years ago and expressed bemusement when informed that this is a post-christian country. Though in our case it is more a reaction to having been excessively priest ridden in the past. There are a lot of reused churches here. At the bottom of the aforementioned hill for eg the building with tallest local spire has an Indian restaurant in the ground floor and a snooker hall above. Also it is notable that the suburbs built post about 1955 have no churches. There is no church up the hill here for eg, the remaining in religious use ones are all in the old part of the place as are the reused ones. There are no churches in the new estates that have been sprouting all over the good agricultural land.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    From my experience in situations where I could die, my thoughts in these situations is usually some variant on "Well, this is going to hurt." Sometimes bulked out with "Hey, that sky is really blue today"

    You guys are so articulate with your near-death experiences. Any time Death has clearly been in the room with me the closest my brain could have got to vocables would have been 'you're fucking kidding me', and more honestly, something with no vowels.

    Billy Graham Jr was in these parts a couple of years ago

    Again, reflexive 'gnrgghh'ing. A few years ago, we had a massed family reunion. The organisers seemed to feel it necessary to have some kind of religious service. Okay, I thought, I'll be able to duck out with the kids before they start. But no, there was no chance for anyone to leave, and we stood and listened in gathering horror as a cousin of my mother's proceeded to talk about when Billy Graham was here and how great he was, and how the country had totally gone to pot since the fifties. Only the knowledge of how much it would embarrass my mother stopped me gathering up my children and storming out.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    How 'bout twelve Bloody Marys?

    And twelve How's Your Fathers? Elvis Costello album wasn't it?

    You guys are so articulate with your near-death experiences. Any time Death has clearly been in the room with me the closest my brain could have got to vocables would have been 'you're fucking kidding me', and more honestly, something with no vowels.

    I gurgled the one time I thought my number was up, but that was because I was caught in a rip at a west coast beach. The fact it was New Years Day and I was hungover didn't help my clarity of thought.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    How 'bout twelve Bloody Marys?

    At ten in the morning? I want the Fridays you're having..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Zippy Gonzales,

    From my experience in situations where I could die, my thoughts in these situations is usually some variant on "Well, this is going to hurt."

    Strange. I get a worrying sensation about the unaffordability of insurance premiums, combined with a stupidity of death comparison to the guy who died by a landslide while screwing a chicken.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    How very Darwin Awards.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    I find it interesting that so many families are mentioned in the Abrahamic religions. That there's alot of intergenerational and interfamily stuff. At least in contrast with eastern religions which are far less biological and more of the metaphysical bent. rice paper and wine. singing in unison, and getting God damned cramp and sore knees.

    as an aside, there's something bizarrely poignant about the English word TAO being slang for 'condom' in Chinese, poorly appropriated loanword of the term DAO meaning 'the way'

    I don't see so much distinction between spirituality and superstitions as much as between spirituality and religion.
    Spirituality being truly personal as opposed to that more collective sense that is inspired by things like organized worship and shared belief systems.

    Spirutaulity seems to be a sense of potential. Rich Lock, you mention the ecstasy of riding. the quest for nirvana. Sacha you mention the quest for beauty in abstraction, while Morgan Nichol you prefer a more contrapuntal beauty, and andin you describe pleasure and appreciation. Steven you illustrated the conception of mortality and go into incisive detail

    "but I think its understandable way some people look for more prescriptive methods of coping with life".

    I think at coalface, that best sums up spirituality for me
    Not just a sense of appreciation and of beingness but also a sense of interaction, with your life. purportedly divining the possibility that we may be influencing elements beyond our empiricall potential or limitations. via subconscious manipulation of the metaphor that gives whatever this is we sense around and between us, meaning.

    some of us follow stratagems essentially guided by what could be classified as coincidence, miracles and epiphanies. Brief moments when our senses are joggled onto the quest for further interaction with the beingness.The sense that our thoughts inside somehow influence the universe at a subatomic level and viceversa. That vital emotions, senses and phenomena like pain, laughter, sorrow, tears, anger, joy, jealousy, ecstacy and peace, could mould and turn the clay of our being and even experiences in untenable ways.

    and it would seem from all accounts that focus and discipline are the keys to unlockng this sense.

    a large portion of religious doctrine contains a common thread regarding the perception of immortality, the continuous tense of existence.....and how to attain it.

    for the more pragmatic it's the knowledge that by focusing on ill gotten annoyances, such as stress, or a backache, a mere worry or greater, we may alleviate them. despite the intrusive drudgery of medical science .

    It's either an absorbing fantasy, a glitch, or the mildest insight into a magnificent future.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Spirutaulity...

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    My near death experiences have typically crushed all vocalizations out of my mind with the simple immediacy of doing my utmost to survive. At those times, wasting one single neuron in my brain on attempting to form into verbal thoughts what's happening, or how I feel about it, just isn't an option my subconscious will allow. It's very hard to describe what is going on in my mind other than "100% focus on living". It's a pity that I can't tap this experience more often - I think it's part of the attraction of Xtreme sports.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Thats a perfect example Ben, it seems that this is the age of discovery or rediscovery of our primal mechanisms. Having no aptitude whatsoever for that stuff, I'm often astounded by the limits of human endeavor as exhibited in footage of the Xtreme..

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    The miracle of the human condition: we spend a hundred years perfecting aircraft that make it safer to fly to Los Angeles than to walk across your own street - and then, for fun, we start jumping out of them with bits of cord and canvas.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    I've just read an interesting article in New Scientist magazine (here), which discusses a theory that, because humans are very good at relating causes to effects, they tend to come up with fallacious explanations when they do not what the real cause is. This pre-supposes us to belief in supernatural causes.

    (I love the example of a question put to kids of "Why do rivers exist ?", answer "So that boats have somewhere to float").

    So, as Bart stated earlier, by the time people become adults they have a reasonably fixed world view. If it contains fate, luck, que sera, gods, or whatever, then those things are likely to stay part of their world view.

    (Well, I found the article illuminating, anyway ...)

    Cheers,
    Brent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • liam,

    @BenWilson

    Posted at 4:19PM on 10 Mar 09. Permalink.

    Is N/A somehow different from "None"?

    It seems to be to me. "None" in the context of the way the questions generally are seems to say 'no organized religion', but leaves the possibility of other spiritual beliefs. N/A says that the question has no applicability to me.

    NC, USA • Since Oct 2008 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Really liked the article, thanks Brent!

    liam - interesting interpretation: for statisitcal purposes. I understand "none" goes into the not-religious/ atheistic basket, and "n/a" into the 'chooses not to answer" file...statisticians, please?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    sounded a lot like "a theory that, because humans are very good at relating causes to effects, they tend to come up with fallacious explanations when they do not what the real cause is. This pre-supposes us to believe in simplistic pseudo scientific explanations.</quote>

    Although I liked Atran's and Richard Dawkins' perspectives.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

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