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Thread: Suppose you came from a distant land....

  1. #1

    Suppose you came from a distant land....

    or from the future, whatever, you found in front of you all of the world's religious books and being fluent in all languages you sat down and read them all.

    The Book of Mormon
    The Bible
    The Qur'an
    The Torah
    Buddhist Texts
    Hindu Texts
    Shinto Texts
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh


    Do you think there would be something found in one of these texts that outshines all the rest? A philosophical insight into humanity that sets one of these books apart from the others? OR are they all pretty much the same?

  2. #2
    I would say yes, Buddhism is the least superstitious, the most accepting of new information, and describes a natural science of the mind. The others mostly encourage worship of something or other.

  3. #3
    It is very dry in here today PsychoticEpisode's Avatar
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    If I was from the future then it would be obvious that I was more interested in the historical value than anything else. I might have a different perspective if from a strange land. Overall I might be quite shocked by the violence contained within.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    or from the future, whatever, you found in front of you all of the world's religious books and being fluent in all languages you sat down and read them all.

    The Book of Mormon
    The Bible
    The Qur'an
    The Torah
    Buddhist Texts
    Hindu Texts
    Shinto Texts
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh


    Do you think there would be something found in one of these texts that outshines all the rest? A philosophical insight into humanity that sets one of these books apart from the others? OR are they all pretty much the same?
    Just wanted to point out that you often seem to look at truth as if it is IN words. So we look for the text that has the most truth IN the words, as if in the encounter between human and text the human portion does not matter. To make a lateral example, there are children who learn faster if the learning has a kinesthetic component, others work better with sounds, some with more images, etc. I think many people are attracted to texts not for what is IN them but what happens to them when they read them and mull over them. That there is a fit somehow. What gets done might even be rather similar by texts that seem not the same.

    There are philosophical problems with the idea that truth is IN language.

  5. #5
    tending tangentially glaucon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doreen View Post
    Just wanted to point out that you often seem to look at truth as if it is IN words.
    ...
    There are philosophical problems with the idea that truth is IN language.
    An excellent, and pertinent point.

    And on that note.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    ...
    A philosophical insight into humanity that sets one of these books apart from the others? OR are they all pretty much the same?
    You're making a mistake here: these texts cannot serve as means to philosophical insight, but rather, to psychological insight.



    Quote Originally Posted by spidergoat View Post
    I would say yes, Buddhism is the least superstitious, the most accepting of new information, and describes a natural science of the mind. The others mostly encourage worship of something or other.
    Precisely.
    Myself, I was going to point out the glaring omission of the Tao Te Ching, but the same point equally applies.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    or from the future, whatever, you found in front of you all of the world's religious books and being fluent in all languages you sat down and read them all.

    The Book of Mormon
    The Bible
    The Qur'an
    The Torah
    Buddhist Texts
    Hindu Texts
    Shinto Texts
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh


    Do you think there would be something found in one of these texts that outshines all the rest? A philosophical insight into humanity that sets one of these books apart from the others? OR are they all pretty much the same?
    Another way to frame my objection would be to jump to cookbooks.

    Which is better, the best Thai cookbook or the best Italian cookbook?

    We can't assume 1) that people all want the same thing 2) that there is only one possible good outcome 3) that really we all need the same thing. This thing is 'the truth'. So what we do is we compare the texts to the truth and then rank them for how close they come to it.

    The bolded portion should make anyone antsy.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Doreen View Post
    We can't assume 1) that people all want the same thing 2) that there is only one possible good outcome 3) that really we all need the same thing. This thing is 'the truth'. So what we do is we compare the texts to the truth and then rank them for how close they come to it.
    Why can't we assume those things?

  8. #8
    Be kind to yourself always. cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Do you think there would be something found in one of these texts that outshines all the rest?
    That there are some very smart people that can convince many others to things that they want them to believe in and therefore make allot of money doing nothing for anyone but themselves. The original con men.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Doreen View Post
    Another way to frame my objection would be to jump to cookbooks.

    Which is better, the best Thai cookbook or the best Italian cookbook?

    We can't assume 1) that people all want the same thing 2) that there is only one possible good outcome 3) that really we all need the same thing. This thing is 'the truth'. So what we do is we compare the texts to the truth and then rank them for how close they come to it.

    The bolded portion should make anyone antsy.
    I don't get that antsy.



    Cook books. If you had 5 cook books that all repeated the same recipes and one cook book that also developed and offered novel recipes - I'd probably want to buy the one with new recipes I mean, we call these type of people chefs as an accolade .. yeah?? What if one book has recipes that makes people sick? Is that equal to the others?


    Is Ron Hubbard's dietetics equivalent to the Qu'ran?

    Is it really good to skew people's perception of reality to include an Alien Overlord? Does this act to progress society or retard it?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Signal View Post
    Why can't we assume those things?
    Oh, well, we can. I just think it's a bad idea. But good call.

    I look, for example, at what is considered 'heaven' or the goal and see such disparate images. I could assume that really these are all the same despite the differences in description and feeling tone, but that seems like a leap I have no reason to make, as far as I can tell.

    Sometimes I have seen mystics seem to converge in their descriptions of the goal - say between a specific Buddhism and specific Hinduism - and I can think these are different vehicles transporting adherents to the same goal. I have read some clever attempts to show the parallels between more distant religions, say Christianity with one of the two I mentioned. I find these less convincing, but interesting. But toss in the full range of religions and what adherents say - rather than the tiny % of mystics - and their final goals seem as disparate as their here and now goals.
    Last edited by Doreen; 01-31-10 at 06:20 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I don't get that antsy.

    Cook books. If you had 5 cook books that all repeated the same recipes and one cook book that also developed and offered novel recipes - I'd probably want to buy the one with new recipes
    WEll, that's you, novelty is a priority. You'd probably buy one in English. And you'd end up preferring ones that presented the instructions in a way you could follow - the pictures - iow images - you could connect to, the text was clear to you, or humourous or had tidbits of chef wisdom you immediately jived with. Etc.

    I mean, we call these type of people chefs as an accolade .. yeah?? What if one book has recipes that makes people sick? Is that equal to the others?
    I am sure a number of cookbooks do make people sick: the recipes are too fatty and the wrong fats. But if you are heading into the American midwest and planning on taking those cookbooks away from people, well, good luck to ya. I mean they like it like that.

    Imagine further two cookbooks that have different ways of presenting the recipies, different photos, different texts, different approaches to intructions, different names for the dishes....but you notice that your sister, using the other one comes up with the same dishes. This also possible.
    Is Ron Hubbard's dietetics equivalent to the Qu'ran?
    Nice punnish thing with 'dietetics'. Equivalent to whom? For what? To me? To me pretty much. I have not read much of either. So they fall into the category of unread cookbooks for me.

    Is it really good to skew people's perception of reality to include an Alien Overlord? Does this act to progress society or retard it?
    Is it really good to write books that skew people's reality by saying only those things verified via scientific methods are real? Does this progress society or retard it?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Doreen View Post
    But toss in the full range of religions and what adherents say - rather than the tiny % of mystics - and their final goals seem as disparate as their here and now goals.
    I think a person's here and now goals shouldn't be taken as the final answer to what would truly make a person happy.

    We can, after all, observe, that one's idea of what happiness is tends to change over time, with some people more and faster, with some less and slower. But it does change.

    To take the adherents' here and now goals as the definitive measure of what their religion considers to be the final goal, is saying that anyone who claims to be an adherent is an authoritative representative of their religion, representing it fully, perfectly, finally.

    I think to assume such things about just any self-proclaimed member of a religion is not justified, and damaging for oneself.
    Although it seems religiously tolerant and respectful to assume just that, it is also a statement of one's own religious/philosophical illiteracy, irresponsibility and laziness, a blind deference. The way I see it, such blind deference is damaging because it binds one into a knot with the presumption that one does not nor could one have the intelligence to intelligently discriminate between the various people who claim to be adherents of a religion, and that one does not nor could one have the intelligence to understand the religion's scriptures properly, at least to some relevant extent.

    It's like saying "I'm stupid, I don't know and I can't know, so I better just bow down to everyone and everything and accept them, or reject everyone and everything."
    But if we do that, we can't function.



    P.S.

    I don't mean to be rude. The above is something I have been struggling with myself, for a long time. Looking for a solution.
    I still get overwhelmed by people who tell me that I can't possibly understand them or their scriptures, but that they are worthy and that I should worship them and trust them, even though they don't seem right to me, and that I will heap terrible offences on myself if I don't do and believe as they tell me.

    The moment one seriously accepts that one is stupid, incompetent, foolish, faulty, irrational, is the moment one becomes disabled from overcoming that stupidity etc.
    Last edited by wynn; 02-01-10 at 03:38 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Signal View Post
    I think a person's here and now goals shouldn't be taken as the final answer to what would truly make a person happy.

    We can, after all, observe, that one's idea of what happiness is tends to change over time, with some people more and faster, with some less and slower. But it does change.

    To take the adherents' here and now goals as the definitive measure of what their religion considers to be the final goal, is saying that anyone who claims to be an adherent is an authoritative representative of their religion, representing it fully, perfectly, finally.
    But it is not merely random adherents, it is also the masters, teacher, priests of these religions who describe final states or goals that do not sound similar to me. Perhaps they are, language can be misleading. But I see no reason to assume that it all ends up being the same.

    So I add up what adherents seem to be seeking - at a variety of 'levels' - and also what the teachers and texts describe, and it seems to me respectful, actually, to think we are talking about different goals.

    I don't mean to be rude. The above is something I have been struggling with myself, for a long time. Looking for a solution.
    I still get overwhelmed by people who tell me that I can't possibly understand them or their scriptures, but that they are worthy and that I should worship them and trust them, even though they don't seem right to me, and that I will heap terrible offences on myself if I don't do and believe as they tell me.
    I don't want to suggest that what some adherent use to judge others or the world must be taken as the truth of the religion. And I do think that people can be misguided. I think several traditions have at least stories related to how naive beginner reasons for approaching meditation, Jesus, etc., can have a seed of 'goodness' in it that later reveals the real hidden goal they have. But when I look at the set of practitioners and the texts and teachers, I don't think we are talking about the same goals.

    The moment one seriously accepts that one is stupid, incompetent, foolish, faulty, irrational, is the moment one becomes disabled from overcoming that stupidity etc.
    Sure.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Doreen View Post
    But it is not merely random adherents, it is also the masters, teacher, priests of these religions who describe final states or goals that do not sound similar to me. Perhaps they are, language can be misleading. But I see no reason to assume that it all ends up being the same.
    But that which actually makes people happy may be one and the same, though.

    And not all religions may be leading people to that which actually makes people happy.

    It seems all religions directly or indirectly state happiness as their goal, but what exactly they think this happiness is about, this they differ about.
    So nominally, they may indeed have the same goal, but the content may be quite different.

    I am inclined to think that that which actually makes people happy may be one and the same, because to think otherwise, to think that each person is, in their essence, completely different and unique, and that completely different and mutually exclusive phenomena make them happy (e.g. if one's true happiness would be in pacifism, and another's in killing) - this would suggest that living beings ultimately have nothing in common, are ultimately not related, but exist as separate, compartmentalized entities (or even as groups, but even with groups, the same problem of separatendness remains) - which further suggests that we would need to assume they are not part and parcel of God, or that God is insane or incoherent, or doesn't exist, and that existence is ultimately just some random and chaotic, nonsensical thing.

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