Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Up-Front Guides: The Weasel Translator

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  • BenWilson, in reply to andin,

    And apologies to Emma I took up the challenge and derailed the thread , sorry

    This digression was your fault? :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to tussock,

    Tussock,

    Almost agree, I think when discussing religion it is better to ignore belief. Belief makes no functional difference to religion.

    Which means local religion is a meaningless social clique where membership demands only that no one mention the emperor has no clothes, and even the church officials don't actually believe in God as anything more than a large common mythological story you can cherry-pick to fill in a sermon.

    Not meaningless, it is a means of providing immediate and ongoing earthly benefit to religious officials and where it occurs their state supporters. Religion is for the benefit of the clergy and can be beneficial to a state.

    Religious extremists are just people who really do believe God is real, and all those old bronze-age laws about being careful and timely about who you murder for Him are His word and must be followed. Dawkins says soft-religious people are a problem precisely because they enable those true believers every time they refuse to call bullshit on the whole God being real and the ancient stories being correct thing.

    No, they are people who derive benefit from choosing to "cherry-pick" things you and I do not like. Them having a sincere belief in those pickings, or not, is irrelevent.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Not meaningless, it is a means of providing immediate and ongoing earthly benefit to religious officials and where it occurs their state supporters. Religion is for the benefit of the clergy and can be beneficial to a state.

    Yesterday I went to a religious funeral - the deceased in his acceptance of his traditional faith lived a life of dignity in the work he did both in paid employment and voluntarily - he was all about living what he saw as a good life and allowing people to flourish.

    His religion/faith was a guide to him in his life and a benefit to many - I don't have a problem with that or his belief in God.

    Organised religions are in essence corporations - with tax-free status - they have failings. I tend to prefer the traditional religions to the new age and I cannot abide Destiny Church or televangelists.

    But this is all something else.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S, in reply to DexterX,

    I tend to prefer the traditional religions to the new age and I cannot abide Destiny Church or televangelists.

    Worst religion ever? Jonestown [whatever it was]--- just to get the ball rolling.

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    I tend to prefer the traditional religions to the new age

    Yeah, they're good now that their murdering, witch burning days are behind them.
    The new age is a term not a religion. Charlatans just the same tho.
    And how one man lived his life means only something to him and those around him. Extension of his deeds to whatever religion he followed doesnt mean much.
    Ok one last one

    A Christian friend tells me that God decides what shoes she wears

    God as fashion consultant! Who knew.

    – she doesn’t get emails or texts,

    That is redundant, we all know this god thing is a technophobe.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to andin,

    And how one man lived his life means only something to him and those around him.

    Consider “and those around him” if he doesn’t matter to you. It appears to have mattered to those people. Could you consider that?

    My observation that religious partisanship makes bad people worse, but I cannot separate the religion from the goodness in good people that I know.

    God as fashion consultant! Who knew.

    I find that crass and a cheap shot.

    It has more to do with an overtly non-anthropomorphic definition of divinity as they see it. What I call “chance” or “providence” they see as “immanent divinity” and they tend to anthropomorphise it in order to articulate their understanding – at least that’s my agnostic view.

    I think that I’m probably right, but be that as it may, to get by, I don’t find it necessary to ridicule religious people.

    we all know this god thing is a technophobe.

    Only if you use a straw man, anthropomorphic caricature of “Old man in a sheet”, but modern theology is far beyond that. Teilhard de Chardin was even beyond anti-Darwinism over half a century ago, so your caricature of theology is irrelevant.

    Are people with faith “acceptable targets” for ridicule? Lilith takes her reasoned approach to atheism and consequently her dignity seriously. It took her hard work and serious thought to arrive at her position and I respect her, her seriousness and her integrity for that.

    Perhaps you might assume the same right applies to others? You prove my point about SOME self-declared atheists being dicks. If people are going to be sensitive about personal abuse, then perhaps it should be consistent?

    Andin, DexterX just went to a funeral. Presumably it was the funeral of a friend or family member. Tact might possibly be appropriate? Maybe? Perhaps?

    Which means local religion is a meaningless social clique where membership demands only that no one mention the emperor has no clothes, and even the church officials don’t actually believe in God as anything more than a large common mythological story you can cherry-pick to fill in a sermon.

    Tussock, that’s a pretty good example of a straw man argument. Those aren’t the people I know. They’re not insincere, hypocrites, social climbers and cowards and neither are they idiots.

    If you’re going to discuss faith, then figure out what faith is first. It’s not just a subscription to a very literal ideology or franchise. It is – as I see it (admittedly as an outsider) - a means of articulating one’s relationship with the cosmos.

    I can’t say that I agree, but I try at least to assume that people who think differently from me are not always fools or swine.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Kracklite,

    I try at least to assume that people who think differently from me are not always fools or swine

    Well said; but I make the exception for outright bigots.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to andin,

    Thanks Ben & Kracklite you have not enlightened me in the least, but thanks anyway.

    You’re welcome. We can agree to disagree. As I find myself saying more often these days, “Ask me in a couple of centuries.”

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Lilith __,

    But evolution itself is not what’s in dispute here, only some of the finer points of its mechanics.

    Indeed. In fact, In some commentary I’ve found on that debate, I’ve seen some quite explicit eye-rolling about how things have moved on. Be that as it may, Wilson has been consistently civil and pointed always at the mathematics. His opponents have not.

    My problem with sociobiology is that it’s almost always used in a facile way: so much supposed research takes some social norm and works backwards to try and justify it in evolutionary terms… This sort of self-serving nonsense gives social science a bad name

    Agreed, absolutely. It’s like my frustration with economics – I’m certain that there’s a phenomenon there, and a theory to describe it, but all too often people leap in with facile postrationalisations. Stephen Jay Gould called a lot of Evo Psych “Just-So Stories”, i.e., tales made up to justify prejudices by what was little more than tautology. In a couple of centuries, we may just have a coherent theory… (actually, I hold less hope for economics).

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Kracklite,

    They’re not insincere, hypocrites, social climbers and cowards and neither are they idiots.

    I can only go by my personal experience, which is that religious people are at best genuinely confused to meet a good person who is not religious, because they are taught from childhood that goodness comes from their faith. They really do look on everyone else as hell-bound tempters to sin and damnation.

    Now, they're human beings, so they're massively intelligent by default, but they do share a delusion that's been deliberately crafted to benefit the church and it's ministers by limiting their charity to within the church system.

    The Salvation Army does a lot of good work, but they do it because they want to turn us all into God's warriors and thereby attain a high rank in heaven's army come the apocalypse. For reals. They're not kidding.
    The folk in Chch had to de-consecrate the church before knocking it over so as not to offend God and thereby burn in hell for eternity. Not kidding or "personifying the universe" or anything rational at all.

    When the Catholics have crackers at church, they really do think they're eating a little piece of God. Mormons really do jump through a bunch of hoops in their life to avoid owning computers and phones so that God doesn't torture them for eternity in the afterlife like He will do to the rest of us sinners. For serious. It's a full on proper delusion.

    If you’re going to discuss faith, then figure out what faith is first. It’s not just a subscription to a very literal ideology or franchise. It is – as I see it (admittedly as an outsider) – a means of articulating one’s relationship with the cosmos.

    But that's not my experience at all. The religious people I've known truly do believe in a literal heaven, eternal torture for homosexuals, that letting gay people get married is a sign of the imminent end of the world and coming of the apocalypse, that global warming is hell coming for the unfaithful, big lists of arbitrary sins that have nothing to do with our modern world, and they absolutely do treat unbelievers poorly if anyone from their church asks them to.

    Despite being otherwise nice and well-adjusted people. I've had plenty of religious friends, I've got religious family, they're not substantially different in how they go about life, they're just deluded about a whole bunch of stuff because of their religion, and I've seen that show itself as suddenly abandoning friends and family at the behest of their church, because they don't want to burn in hell. For reals.

    I can’t say that I agree, but I try at least to assume that people who think differently from me are not always fools or swine.

    Wow, so not all religious people are infinitely stupid sub-humans. Nice argument, for someone who just got done calling mine a straw-man.

    Since Nov 2006 • 609 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Cheers for that Kracklite.

    "Just-So-Stories", how very apt!

    In my experience any institution, any belief-system or world-view has its share of dicks. Some groups seem to positively encourage dickishness; but equally you're likely to find lots of good people. I think there are a lot of possible paths to being a good human being.

    How does the song go...
    Just remember the rule about rules, brother,
    What's right for one could be wrong for the other
    Let's take a tip from La Belle France: "Vive la difference!"
    . (Pete Seeger)

    And on that happy-clappy hippyish note, g'night all.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    I can only go by my personal experience,

    A lot of cherry-picking and reiteration follows, mostly in the form of pointing and giggling. Other flaws include the argument of the excluded middle.

    The claim that people are charitable only within their own religions is demonstrably false if you look worldwide. A friend of mine just spent six years running a charity for people with leprosy in Ethiopia. She didn’t care what faith they practised and din’t try to convert them.

    I suggest you broaden your experience, rather than use that as an excuse for narrowing it. I’ve know a lot who do not act in the way that you describe at all.

    Moreover, you are depersonalising them, making them one and the same with their institutions. There are no nuances, no appreciation of complexity in your apparent thinking and as a result, you are presenting hollow caricatures to stand for a whole range of people.

    I’m sorry that you’ve met unpleasant and silly people, but making sweeping dismissals like “it’s a full on proper delusion” doesn’t show much of the open-mindedness I’d attribute to a liberal person.

    In regarding ritual, hymn, liturgy and so forth, for many it is not insincere to go through the motions. Literal belief in the individual words is illogical in many cases, and misses the point. It is the sharing of voice and movement, to establish feeling and concentration, as a mantra frames meditation. If you sing a song, you do not believe the song, but you may want to feel and believe what the song means.

    I was reading a while back a book by an anthropologist (Timothy Taylor The Buried Soul FYI) discussing death rituals in a variety of societies, and he looked at what had a couple of decades ago been a very fierce debate, with one side trying to deny completely the existence of institutionalised cannibalism and/or human sacrifice. Those doing the denial (“it only happened in extremes, was only done by crazed individuals, was a fringe activity at best”). In fact, the evidence rapidly accumulated that blew their case out of the water. Cannibalism is and was very widespread and fundamentally ingrained in many cultures for a variety of reasons and the same was true of human sacrifice.

    First, they were motivated by the best intentions, but as the author noted, they were trying to strip away the savager” of ancient and extant cultures because cannibalism and/or human sacrifice were “savage”. Now they may be to us, some of whom are vegan, but the fault was that the past had to be rewritten, ostensibly to rehabilitate these people, but in effect, erasing their undesirable characteristics. The subtext, the author commented, was that they could be acceptable to us only on our terms and therefore we had to censor them or convince ourselves to ignore what we did not want to see in order to respect another culture.

    Second, as for the consumption of the host, the ritual of saying “this is the blood and the body of christ”, first depends on the Aristotlean separation of form and substance, which is not a part of modern physics obviously, but makes perfect sense on its own terms. Second, it’s a cultural fossil that predates Christianity and is a sublimation of one of the practises for cannibalism, the sharing of the flesh of the illustrious departed among the whole community. As a symbolic activity, it’s no more delusional than the Stanislavsky Method.

    Wow, so not all religious people are infinitely stupid sub-humans. Nice argument, for someone who just got done calling mine a straw-man.

    You mistake a concluding summary for an argument.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Teilhard de Chardin was even beyond anti-Darwinism over half a century ago, so your caricature of theology is irrelevant.

    And most of what he said was waffle not worthy of serious consideration.

    Lilith takes her reasoned approach to atheism and consequently her dignity seriously. It took her hard work and serious thought to arrive at her position and I respect her, her seriousness and her integrity for that.

    And in your opinion I havent done that? I find that summary judgement ludicrous.

    Perhaps you might assume the same right applies to others? You prove my point about SOME self-declared atheists being dicks. If people are going to be sensitive about personal abuse, then perhaps it should be consistent?

    Oh get off your high horse would you.

    DexterX just went to a funeral. Presumably it was the funeral of a friend or family member. Tact might possibly be appropriate? Maybe? Perhaps?

    Now a lecture on tact, Wow you really do take the cake.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to andin,

    And most of what he said was waffle not worthy of serious consideration.

    My point is that he was prepared to move forward, however mistakenly. Not all theologians are young-earth creationists. Whatever you think of his theology, his paleontological work, particularly in the study of Homo erectus was well-respected.

    And in your opinion I havent done that? I find that summary judgement ludicrous.

    I am not suggesting that you have not done that, I am emphasising my point that people who have an alternative point of view might have done so too and to be honest, one should ask why first. This topic deserves to be discussed in its nuances, not in broad strokes.

    You appear wave your hands in dismissal at any view you don’t like by usually targeting some incidental aspect or association aside from the main point. Maybe it’s simply the implied rule of the blog format that one responds in the briefest way, but your argument style looks shallow and sneering. UNfortunately the clipped form of the media does tend to enforce a kind of brusqueness that may be unintended.

    DexterX has been recently bereaved. You don’t have to send flowers, but a dismissal of his argument in such trivialising terms as you did does not win friends and influence people.

    Oh get off your high horse would you… Now a lecture on tact, Wow you really do take the cake.

    Just a little less cattiness please? I honestly apologised to Lilith for a misunderstanding. I really think we can do without shows of taking offence.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to tussock,

    Mormons really do jump through a bunch of hoops in their life to avoid owning computers and phones so that God doesn't torture them for eternity in the afterlife like He will do to the rest of us sinners. For serious.

    That's odd. I worked with a Utah based support company for 8 years recently. All Mormons, all working on computers, many from home, and all communication was via remote systems, including phones. Provo is the original base of Novell corporation, a massive employer in that city. Half of them played a lot of PlayStation. It was only when I actually asked that I found out any of them were Mormons. One of them was a rocket scientist, as in he had trained in it, and spent years designing rockets, before switching to software. I'm not sure the primitive tribal caricature fits so closely any more. I was disappointed that none of them were polygamists.

    They did seem conservative, on the whole, but in a square way, rather than a religious one. Which ended up making them the most professional people I've ever dealt with. All about the business.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Re, Mormons & computers - Brigham Young University's computer science department has been the pioneering academic research centre for computer animation since the 70s. Dire Straits' Money for Nothing video was created with BYU-developed software.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    If tussock had suggested Brethren, especially the extreme ones, nobody would bat an eyelid- but the last pair of Mormon proslytisers in Big O wanted to know where you got cellphone coverage round here?

    I politely said "Franz Josef" before shutting the door...

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

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Islander,

    If tussock had suggested Brethren, especially the extreme ones, nobody would bat an eyelid

    Yeah, because those latter-day saints have done pretty well to put over 500 million vital records online without the aid of computers.

    BTW the last time I looked they'd retrospectively baptised my dad, but they'd managed to misspell his name. Apart from that the historical NZ passenger lists are pretty good.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to BenWilson,

    They did seem conservative, on the whole, but in a square way, rather than a religious one. Which ended up making them the most professional people I've ever dealt with. All about the business.

    And it was only later I found that Glen Larson, the creator of Knight Rider and the original Galactica, is a Mormon. It likely explains the kid-friendliness of the shows too, in comparison to the harder-edged Galactica remakes.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Kracklite,

    Whatever you think of his theology, his paleontological work,

    you want some depth?
    de Chardin's credibility took a huge hit after the Piltdown man fraud.
    Sure he could have made some difference to the catholic church if they were interested in listening to him. They werent of course, because it would have meant looking seriously at changing their power structure. Probably not a bad thing.
    No he got shipped to missionary work in China.
    Anyway Lao tzu and Buddha had predated his ideas by millenia.

    but your argument style looks shallow and sneering.

    Wrong, I call it being comfortable with the subject matter and being able to joke with ease about it. I know a lot of people take it all so seriously and that is the problem. Theirs not mine.

    targeting some incidental aspect or association aside from the main point.

    The main point being? I think we have derailed the tread enough and it is you who are trying to trivialise my arguments not the other way round using words like "dick" and "cattiness". And if Dexter was so upset let him tell me not you.
    Ciao

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Heading back around the corner and onto the Louisa Wall bill....

    Catherine Masters for the Herald

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Sof’- that was a lovely sane article!
    Some bits did not come across as sane or knowledgeable: the Catholic bishops’ quoting of “Male & female He made them” – o no ‘he’ didnt! Think hermaphrodites & transgender peoplefor a non-settled m/f bodily form for humans, and bisexual/asexual people for differing sexual practises/no sexual practises. And when we get into other species – WAUA! Everything from parthenogenesis to fissioning!

    And as for poor old McCroskie and his ‘family consists of’ mother & father and the children they concieve & raise – well, bang go the families that are blended, or have whangai, or raise children they dont adopt (there are examples of all 3 within my whanau.)

    Kia kaha Louise – & Catherine-

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

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Islander,

    Sof’- that was a lovely sane article!

    I felt so too. and yes the bigger picture is just that, much bigger .I was actually talking to a person who deals with families a lot and discussing how she felt about perceptions and it was interesting to note that she felt marriage and adoption being granted to all couples in NZ would only benefit many children needing a loving home and that sometimes the considered "success" for kids is reintegration into dysfunctional families when another family be it any type would be knowingly better. Just her opinion but a knowledgeable one in the context of NZ.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    t was interesting to note that she felt marriage and adoption being granted to all couples in NZ would only benefit many children needing a loving home

    The coupling of ‘marriage’ and ‘adoption’ “to all couples” is to be regretted: there is already provision within ANZ law for a single person to adopt a child/children, with quite stringent provisions (including age & sex of both adopter & adoptee.) I am concerned that the fact that families can & do adopt people is kinda ignored: also the absolute fact that _families_ raise children other than those born & bred in the whanau is also ignored…

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

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Islander,

    I am concerned that the fact that families can & do adopt people is kinda ignored: also the absolute fact that _families_ raise children other than those born & bred in the whanau is also ignored…

    Oh certainly not in the fields her and her partner work in. As family (extended and immediate) is extremely important in any decisions allowed to be made by either of them (both work with children at different ends of their well being). Her concern was that often it is putting at risk kids back into a toxic environment when perhaps a same sex couple would be a good alternative. Sadly they don't have the choice. We were just fleshing out ideas and time was a luxury neither of us could afford then, but the conversation will continue and grow much bigger, I am sure.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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