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Humans can't help but make faith complex

 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:47 pm    Post subject: Humans can't help but make faith complex Reply with quote

Reading some of the discussion topics in this forum has left me with a very clear impression.

It seems humans can't help but make faith in a supreme being complex. We're just not happy unless there is a handbook with 800 pages filled with rules, suggestions, examples and laws and if we don't have volumes of information to scrutinize and discuss ad nauseam we're just don't feel fulfilled spiritually.

Judeo / Christian:

Early on God managed to condense his lesson plan to humans down to 10 easy to understand sentences. (Even this was probably not necessary but why not throw us a bone since we like to write stuff down.)
No sweat. No interpretation and deep study required.
Follow these and we're good.

Very little actual time passes and humans manage to over complicate the living crap out of things to the point that there was hardly any way to keep track of it all without at least attempting to write some of it down.

Jesus arrives and reiterates the original message with a few easy to follow additions. No sweat.
Follow this message and we're good.

Jesus ascends into heaven and humans immediately set about over complicating the living crap out of things. So much so that a college degree is required to attempt to understand it all. There are numerous interpretations and iterations. After thousands of years of heaping layers upon layers upon layers of dogma we arrive at our present day understanding of the Judeo/Christian faith and its so muddled and complex we need to use a plethora of polysyllabic adjectives to describe and discuss even the most inconsequential aspects of theology.

Just so we're clear I'm really not knocking anyone's religion. I respect everyone's belief system and frankly if it works for you that makes me happy. However in my opinion I can't help but feel that things have gone so far off the rails no one can clearly see the tracks anymore.

I guess that's the world we live in and people of faith are comfortable with it.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm doing Bible study this Autumn. A chapter each fortnight from the Book of Mark.

My first impressions were of a general simplicity, as if Mark had just two channels to choose from - the Sermon on the Mount, or the Crucifixion. Good news or bad. Take it or leave it.
Quite easy reading really. No degree necessary.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Who created the world?"
"God."

:
:

"Well, if God created the world, why did he put bad things in it?"

And so complexity was born.

Simple faiths are easy to tear down.
Only when you add enough caveats, assumptions, and special circumstances does it hold up.
Kinda.
When faith plays reason's game, it can't win.

But who said it had to play?
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
"Who created the world?"
"God."


This is pretty much a good example of my point.

We humans can't resist over thinking everything. Big Grin
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Grin
Quote:
Carnagie: IT'S NOT A FUCKIN' BOOK! IT'S A WEAPON! A weapon aimed right at the hearts and minds of the weak and the desperate. It will give us control of them. If we want to rule more than one small, fuckin' town, we have to have it. People will come from all over, they'll do exactly what I tell 'em if the words are from the book. It's happened before and it'll happen again. All we need is that book.

- Book of Eli
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Humans can't help but make faith complex Reply with quote

+JMJ+

aTOMiC wrote:
Early on God managed to condense his lesson plan to humans down to 10 easy to understand sentences. (Even this was probably not necessary but why not throw us a bone since we like to write stuff down.)
No sweat. No interpretation and deep study required.
Follow these and we're good.

If following the Law made us good, then Divine Love (Agape) would be superfluous. But rather, following the Law only makes us "not bad"; it doesn't make us lovers of God and neighbor.

And it's precisely this sort of complexity -- this sort of dual-consideration -- which makes religion so multifaceted. This sort of dual-consideration (a sort of "this, yet ... not this") is found in every ancient religious tradition.

Quote:
This Self cannot be won by preaching [Him],
Not by sacrifice [intellect] or much more heard;
By him alone can He be won whom He elects:
To him this Self reveals his own [true] form.

Not he who has not ceased from doing wrong,
Nor he who knows no peace, no concentration,
Nor he whose mind is filled with restlessness,
Can grasp Him, wise and clever though he be.

(Katha Upanishad II:23-24)


And it's just this sort of ungraspability or undecidability which gives religious expression its ability to crystallize in a kaleidoscope of mutually-conditioning considerations and counterconsiderations. This may make religion seem needlessly complex ("if God is simple and if love is simple, why should religion be complex?"), but it really just means that religion is invested in the real world -- means that it's inextricable from the authentically Human.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rune wrote:
Big Grin
Quote:
Carnagie: IT'S NOT A FUCKIN' BOOK! IT'S A WEAPON! A weapon aimed right at the hearts and minds of the weak and the desperate. It will give us control of them. If we want to rule more than one small, fuckin' town, we have to have it. People will come from all over, they'll do exactly what I tell 'em if the words are from the book. It's happened before and it'll happen again. All we need is that book.

- Book of Eli


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure why I posted this thread. Its like dropping a balloon into a cactus farm. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, humans like mythology with complex magical systems and rules. You don't have to point that out on a site dedicated to a fantasy author. Cool

People create religions for pretty much the same reasons people write fantasy. Its seems there's a Donaldson quote for that ...
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Gospels are filled with parables. So much so in fact that they may just be a direct annotation to the message of Jesus Christ - a way to convey voice as only early scripture could. One example might be the miracle of changing water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. Where it's human tears that are being represented and the difference between sadness and joy.
This to me tells a much richer story, with more realistic story arcs.

Only children believe a man walked on water. It's the responsibility of the adult to understand the parables and what they mean in a real world.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rune wrote:
I'm doing Bible study this Autumn. A chapter each fortnight from the Book of Mark.
I think that's cool!

Rune wrote:
My first impressions were of a general simplicity, as if Mark had just two channels to choose from - the Sermon on the Mount, or the Crucifixion. Good news or bad. Take it or leave it.
Quite easy reading really. No degree necessary.
Some days I just love people's unedited impressions about the Bible! ...and this is one of those days.
"a general simplicity, as if Mark had just two channels to choose from - the Sermon on the Mount, or the Crucifixion"
I.. like.. don't think I ever noticed that...
Things to think about when one reads through Mark!

Was this something you noticed... IMMEDIATELY... by any chance? Wink
(Sorry; that was just an excuse for me to make a mischievous Gospel-of-Mark pun.)

aTOMiC wrote:
I'm not sure why I posted this thread. Its like dropping a balloon into a cactus farm. Smile
Aaaah!
That metaphor. Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the complexity arose as a result of a human tendency to overthink simple information from the divine realm. Let's look at Judaism for example. AFAIK, the Adamic Genesis story was written before the one that ended up first in the text (or so some mainstream Bible documentary said, based on analysis of ancient Jewish history). The idea was that when the Jews were more oppressed, they came up with the peaceful-sounding story as a form of historical comfort of some form, whereas when they were earlier triumphant or established in the region they were more of a mind to speak of some ancient sin that had (at last to be or) been atoned for.

Also the Joshua narrative is in dispute; the idea is that, despite the gruesomely genocidal nature of the story, it is not true, that there was never a real military campaign of that form in the region in the relevant time.

So, when was the Moses narrative transcribed, and why? Basically, the complexity of Judaism and its role in Christianity has to do with the historical complexity of the Bible's eventual compilation. Which, then, is relevant to Christianity's complexity: there was never a man with a simple message, or rather there was never a man with only one message and a simple one at that, but there was a real man who, like us, is complex, and so spoke of complex matters and inspired complex thought.

More generally, an ideal of simplicity can be rather vague. Some people regard "saved by faith alone" to be the obvious, simple message of the Bible. So perhaps also the issue is that for those of us who are liable to go on about kenotic perichoresis in abstract Trinitarian theology, though the ideas at play are intricate, we know how to deftly enough handle them to satisfy ourselves on these scores?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess the point of this thread is more focused on how humans worship. I still maintain that the core message is extremely simple.

There is no 11th Commandment stating "Thy God understands that the aforementioned is not particularly clear so I command that thou and thine endlessly examine the hidden meanings I hath placed between each of the words comprising said aforementioned commandments so that you, my children, may take comfort in this as I am well acquainted with thy weakness and insecurities. Thy compulsion to make abundant that which is properly scant is what makes thou adorable in mine eyes. "
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A read somewhere there was an 11th Commandment. Only Moses dropped it on his way down the mountain and was too embarrassed to admit it. Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well ten commandments seem somewhat complicated. Why not one ultimate rule? (But then that's what they were looking for at the time that Jesus offered a take on the greatest element of the Law.) Another thing is that there's a theory that Israel was supposed to follow the 10C (plus the 600+ rule version of the Law!) but humanity in general was only under the "Noahide" law (or some such thing), IIRC it had only 7 precepts.

Or let's suppose God really spoke to someone and said, "Here's the one rule to follow above all else." Let's say this proffered rule is not only internally simple but is not general enough for much to be inferred from it. I, personally, would question whether I was being told the truth, here. Like let's say God said, "E = mc^2 is the ultimate fact." Well sure it's simple and true in its own right but it is not the fundamental fact of physical reality.

Mightn't complexity arise in religion just because life is complex?

Now OTOH, making salvation/eternal life/w/e depend on learning and following a complex`rule might seem unfair. And in fact I have questioned the rationality of much Christianity on this ground: believing unwaveringly in "faith alone by grace alone according to Scripture alone" and then assuming the remainder of social mores and political stances that regularly attend upon such Protestantism (for example) while arguing from translations of translations of second- and other-hand material, well, like you'll see Christians arguing on forums about universalism (is everyone saved?) by splicing and parsing individual Koine Greek words and stuff: so does God really require as to believe such things? But how many people have the chance to spend time analyzing Koine Greek and Hebrew and so on?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mighara Sovmadhi wrote:
Mightn't complexity arise in religion just because life is complex?

No doubt life is complex. But Spiritual Life need not be.
I live by one rule as much as I can - do unto others as you would wish others do unto you - or words to that effect. It's done OK for me, so far.
More so, as this rule is like Karma then the flip side should also include - think on others as you would like to be thought on - or words to that effect.
One rule, twice the strength.
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