Theists, motivation for aggression, non-theists and trust in matters of "God"

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by wynn, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. cole grey Hi Valued Senior Member


    wonderful. Thanks to people like you, I am also well-acquainted with the tactic of shitting in the soup, which i see people do around here when they have nothing more elevated to add, just to try to make other people unhappy for no apparent reason. Is there something in that that you see as clever? Does that make you feel as if you were clever to say it? I am not seeing the intelligence behind your post above. Keep practicing your ad homs though, one day you may make it into the big leagues and actually get one in that is funny.

    I'm sorry, i realized that I can't tell if you are trying to be a dick, or just having some light-hearted fun. If it's the latter, please forgive my response.
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  3. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    I explained the reason for Wynn's post you objected to, and I am not the only one here who thinks that Wynn has copped-out on every elevated addition. So far in this thread, only this post of yours is completely off-topic. I just found it humorous that you should object to the same devices you employ. Nothing clever on my part about stating the obvious.

    Cole has provided you with a brilliant example of mana. Self-assuredness can be taken too far, to such an extent that one can, most likely completely unaware, criticize another of what they do themselves.
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member


    Just the usual utter loving-kindness from the two of you!
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  7. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Will the irony never end?!

    Oh, I keep forgetting that you and some others here are enlightened. Silly me.
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Whom are you addressing this to?

    I do think that the religious epistemology that may be appropriate in approaching some Western forms of theism, does not apply, has no referent in some Eastern forms of theism.

    The issue is, though, when both Western preachers of Western theism, as well as Western preachers of Eastern theism, are employing the same assumptions about conversion and religious choice.
  9. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Apparently you do not know the meaning of irony, which you come closer to employing with your sarcasm. And you cannot very well judge "enlightenment" while you willfully avoid any hint as to attaining it. It seems you think enlightenment is all about coddling your insecurity, but that only further enables your uncertainty.
  10. cole grey Hi Valued Senior Member

    i was responding to this -
    I agree that most people don't think about selfhood that much, but it is due to trust of the common western analysis, i.e. this bag of skin is me, from birth to death, end of description. Maybe there is an idea of soul or afterlife or whatever, but they won't deny the bag of skin defines their "self". Here you are saying that trusting oneself becomes problematic due to Eastern notions of selfhood, but I think you should explain why it actually creates a different situation east vs west, OR drop the distinction and talk about both. YOu decide. I am merely pointing out that you can't use a description of actions taken by selfish people to describe a religion that preaches lack of self, UNLESS you want to talk about the limited efficacy of religious practice for the general population. I think you may need to distill this question into the appropriate segments and address them one at a time.
    I personally would say the eastern religions rely too much on teachers and gurus and priests and lineages for definitions, but this may stem from the eastern idea that some segment of the self is maintaining delusions of being what it is, while in the west, most people think that whatever they think is correct just becomes correct the way king midas makes gold, by being theirs. Actually i would assume most people in the east think that way as well, but i am open to proof that they don't.

    1 The fact that religion doesn't make most people saints is a legitimate thing to explore. I think most will agree that the buddha was cool, and jesus was cool, and most of the great spiritual leaders are pretty cool and intelligent. So do you want to listen to them, or the dude who says he is interpreting them? Since you can't actually listen to them, but have to read filtered documents, we often do need to trust an expert, but it seems to me to require the same process as going on the internet to see which way to vote or what the news is. I want to see who is promoting which issues, and i want to see the opposing view, and I realize that the truth is not just plastered on the headlines or in the advertising. So rather than trusting one person who has all the answers, I expect all the ideas to pass some filters, and although i know that i am ignorant of some things now, I trust my process to eventually work its way to the truth. SO, trust in a process of self, not trust in the self, similar to the way I trust the scientific method to eventually show what are physical realities, although the data and theories created through it can be wrong at any one point in time, they will get tossed out over time.

    2 the fact that people do need to trust outside themselves to make ANY learning happen, while they still CAN maintain a basic trust of themselves, is an almost paradoxical idea and worth exploring.
  11. cole grey Hi Valued Senior Member

    P.S Have you people who claim "cop-out" thought that perhaps it is not your objections Wynn wants to cop-out from, but rather from having a discussion drenched in so much negative misunderstanding and bad attitude? These questions are real, they mostly do not have SYSTEMATIC and EMPIRICALLY PROVABLE answers, so why not just let discussion happen? If you are REALLY as intelligent, creative, well-spoken and CORRECT as you seem to think you are, can't you show that better by effectively proving your point? If there is an objection you feel is invalid, if you have knowledge and skill, you can address it. If you don't have knowledge and skill, you can direct the discussion away from the question and towards the person's (unknowable unless you read minds) intent.
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member


    Are you kidding?!
    Those guys are angels, absolutely angels, I tells ya!
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I have to go now, I'll be back later to reply to your post, although we've already talked about these things.
  14. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    I guess you have not read this entire thread, or the many very similar posts by Wynn. If you were as objective, or honest, as you seem to make yourself out to be then you could not fail to notice that Wynn is usually given constructive answers and only criticized for saying things like:
    Bah. Discussing theism with atheists defeats the point. ​
    Especially when it is used to dismiss all answers, whether from atheist or not. The negativity is the natural response to someone asking questions they refuse to accept, or even examine, any answer to.
  15. cole grey Hi Valued Senior Member

    I have to say that YOUR initial post did contain a relevant point (i.e. what is this aggression and where should it be attributed?), and that it didn't contain any of the stock atheisms that wynn feels are a waste of time to address (such as "god isn't real anyway, so forget it"), so YOU would have a valid point in talking about YOUR posts, which i find surprisingly non-hostile up to the point you chose to try to get in a jab at the irrational, and imaginary, Cole Grey you have created in your mind. However, you have to agree that Wynn was presented with mostly responses that say, "don't continue along your line of thought", and they responses don't thoroughly explain how they are pertinent to the idea that opens the thread. Also, the negativity was apparent at post #2 of the thread, so saying the negativity is a "response" is assuming Wynn doesn't want to examine the idea, which can only be described as a possibility and not a probability.

    I agree that it would be more useful for Wynn to just ignore the responses that don't apply and address those that do, or say, "whether the God being proposed by theists is real or not is not my concern in this thread, i am talking about a different aspect of this question." My point still stands (not in your particular case, in this thread), i.e. dealing with personal attacks should not be a requirement for having a discussion here - let's imagine there is someone with dog poop (a propensity for negativity and attacks) on their shoe, who doesn't realize it. If Wynn were to speak with that person, who may have some valid point, and Wynn can't take the smell and has to walk away... well that is reasonable to me.
  16. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Are we done with the off-topic commentary? Having trouble separating the wheat from the chaff seems to be the whole point to the OP, so perhaps Wynn needs some practical exercise.
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    In Eastern terms, they have very detailed ideas about the "self" - as opposed to, say, in mainstream Christianity.
    In short, in Eastern terms, that, which we usually consider the self, isn't considered the self at all. One's body, feelings, thoughts, intuition, mind, intelligence, sense of personhood - the things one would normally consider our "self" and trust - aren't considered to be the self at all. So what is there left to trust?

    It seems to me that every religion, theistic or not, has its own religious epistemology, including its own religious epistemology for potential converts.
    The modern situation in the West, along with mandatory school classes on "world religions" and ideas about "religious choice" would have us believe that all religions are basically the same, made after the same model, just the names and some specific practices are different, and that no matter which religion one were to choose, one should follow the same decision-making process.

    But I don't think this is accurate. Because given that a religion typically contextualizes everything one does, including religious choice for said religion, there is nothing outside of religion.
    Notions of choice and taking responsibility for one's choices make sense as long as we are talking about things that are lesser than oneself or that don't contextualize one's whole life.
    For example, when choosing a political party to join, notions of choice and taking responsibility for one's choices make sense, because a political party and its doctrine contextualize only a part of one's life, but not the whole.
    Choosing a religion, however, is much like choosing one's biological parents - it can't be done. Unless, of course, one demotes religion to the status of a political party.

    Specifically, we are talking about forms of theism. Eastern forms of theism, such as the Hindu schools that came to the West, don't preach lack of self.

    Some people effectively have no working concept of "perspective" and "subjectivity." They talk as if everything that comes out of their mouths is the objective truth.
    But perhaps that is their way of disidentifying with their mind! They don't say "I think" and "In my opinion" and such, because to do so is to identify with the mind!

    Or maybe we just have erroneous notions of what a "saint" is supposed to be like.

    LG once said that heaven wasn't a "community of the sedated."

    It doesn't really matter, because I still don't get to hear from God directly.
    For all practical intents and purposes, one doesn't subject oneself to God, but to someone who claims to be God's representative.

    Or, as noted earlier, the notions of "trusting oneself" and "trusting others" are unnecessary complications, and it would be more appropriate to simply speak of trust for a particular idea, without reference to a particular person who happened to mention that particular idea.
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    The Easterners may not have the sort of records of aggressive actions committed formally by religious institutions as Christians do, but my reference to aggressiveness is wider - the whole scope from slight contempt for someone to killing someone.

    In that sense, I find the Hindus, for example, to be aggressive in their my-way-or-the-highway attitude. They might not actually hit anyone, or not even use gross curse words against someone, but their haughty attitude is a form of aggressiveness. And from such an attitude, there is a small step to actual physical violence. I think that someone who readily uses words like "fool" and "rascal" to describe people, would not shy away from kicking someone in the stomach or head as the person is lying on the ground. (And Hinduism and violence against women and children are old companions.)

    But like I said earlier, perhaps some of us in the West have far too meek notions of what a proper human ought to behave like.
    Maybe the behavior of Corporate America is more realistic.
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    What if the dog poo is part of the point the person is making?

    What if the negativity and personal attacks are part of the point?

    Here's the first half of a sutta:

    "There are these four types of excellent thoroughbred horses to be found existing in the world. Which four? There is the case where an excellent thoroughbred horse, on seeing the shadow of the goad-stick, is stirred & agitated, [thinking,] 'I wonder what task the trainer will have me do today? What should I do in response?' Some excellent thoroughbred horses are like this. And this is the first type of excellent thoroughbred horse to be found existing in the world.

    "Then again there is the case where an excellent thoroughbred horse is not stirred & agitated on seeing the shadow of the goad-stick, but when his coat is pricked [with the goad stick] he is stirred & agitated, [thinking,] 'I wonder what task the trainer will have me do today? What should I do in response?' Some excellent thoroughbred horses are like this. And this is the second type of excellent thoroughbred horse to be found existing in the world.

    "Then again there is the case where an excellent thoroughbred horse is not stirred & agitated on seeing the shadow of the goad-stick, or when his coat is pricked, but when his hide is pricked [with the goad stick] he is stirred & agitated, [thinking,] 'I wonder what task the trainer will have me do today? What should I do in response?' Some excellent thoroughbred horses are like this. And this is the third type of excellent thoroughbred horse to be found existing in the world.

    "Then again there is the case where an excellent thoroughbred horse is not stirred & agitated on seeing the shadow of the goad-stick, or when his coat is pricked, or when his hide is pricked, but when his bone is pricked [with the goad stick] he is stirred & agitated, [thinking,] 'I wonder what task the trainer will have me do today? What should I do in response?' Some excellent thoroughbred horses are like this. And this is the fourth type of excellent thoroughbred horse to be found existing in the world.

    "These are the four types of excellent thoroughbred horse to be found existing in the world.


    It's interesting that they are all called excellent. Even the one that has to be hit to the bone.
    The comparison is for the four types of people and how they reply upon being confronted with suffering.

    But some people apparently think that hitting to the bone is the only way or the preferable way to interact with others (it might certainly be the only way that works on them).
    However, on people who are more sensitive than that, for whom just seeing "the shadow of the whip" is enough to make them alert, the approach with hitting them to the bone is counterproductive.
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    In the Eastern idea of self, "otherness" is illusory. It is a native condition to be overcome. But the "path to enlightenment" is found within, by developing the self. This may seem contradictory to Western thinking, but it is not. As the individual develops their own sense of self, their "selfness" simply encompasses less "otherness". In other words, what they think of when they say "I" is cultivated to include more than themselves.

    Regardless of the details, both Eastern and Western religion focus on personal development. Western religions simply do not question the sense of "otherness" aside from a separation from god.

    That is an equivocation/redefinition of the word "aggressive".
  21. cole grey Hi Valued Senior Member

    This is a paradoxical problem with those who are proponents of the idea that delusion is running rampant. The teacher teaches "direct experience" over symbology and non-direct experience, but their life is based in large part around the symbology and a better defined lingual explanation of things. Hence the guru thing, the teacher who isn't deluded - you can trust him of course. haha. i am starting to "feel your pain", so to speak, on this subject.

    i don't think this is accurate at all. Many proponents of western religion would like us to believe that all of the eastern religions are a creation of satan. Universalism is far from the accepted RELIGIOUS perspective in the west.

    that is your perspective and isn't normal. i am not saying it is wrong, but hopefully you realize by now that most people don't think like you do on this matter. So if we are generalizing instead of speaking to your specific case, then this idea is not useful.

    we have to look at the effectiveness of psychotherapy in dealing with suppressing unwanted behaviors before we can make a judgment on religion. It is commonly known in psychological circles, that psychology is highly ineffective for most people in dealing with non-extreme psychological issues. If you want to say that religion allows for "god's actions" to help us act right, and therefore should be more effective than behavioral therapy, we also have to shift the burden of responsibility to God, which i am not intellectually willing to do. So essentially, we can only expect humans to improve as humans do, with great struggle and much backtracking. Perhaps if religion can made to be more effective for modern humans, we will get further faster. I am not talking about settling for crappy behavior as a goal, just being realistic about the process.

    But that isn't the case for people who have a religious experience, because they quite often believe they talk to God. John Wright, a contemporary of William Blake, wrote - "In the month of April, so called, 1788, at which time I lived in Leeds, Yorkshire, the HOLY SPIRIT told me, I must go to London..." So this person probably also believes that God can tell him which representatives are true and which false. The same applies to all of us, at least according to those who would say you should get to know God in some way. It seems that eastern perspectives that include the idea that a person can have direct experience of being God, should be at least as welcoming of subjectivity. Does the "my way or the highway" attitude you mention imply an idealization of subjectivity, or the opposite????
    We can disagree on the semantics of it but essentially the same need applies, i.e. accepting a change of perspective instead of fighting it off and keeping the current one. All changes of perspective occur with a negation of self-trust (in an idea), and an acceptance of external influence. While it is true that religious prophets and leaders are the least supported by evidence of any type of leader (i will refrain from making a political joke here), the other thought leaders are not all supported by evidence either (art movements for example that tell one to dislike some color scheme or arrangement of lines in preference of another.) What EXACTLY is the distinction with religious acceptance of a change of perspective? My point was that i am not sure it is any different, in MECHANISM) than any other learning.
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Well, yes. If, as they say, a human is bound to make mistakes, then how can a human know when he has made a mistake, or not?

    I think my description is accurate for secular environments in the West, at least some such environments.

    Although even in Western secular environments, there are people, neither Christians nor theists themselves, who nevertheless implicitly hold Christianity as the norm for all religion.
    For example, in psychology of counseling for ex-cult members, some mainstream version of Christianity tends to be considered "religion" and all others are "alternative religions" or "cults" and "sects."

    I realize that others don't see this the way I do. I don't understand their perspective. Even Lightgigantic, for example, tends to resort to what are actually mundane, non-sacred ideas of religiosity - as if, indeed, being a religious person would be no different from, say, being a republican or a democrat.

    What if the humanist notions of morality and what is morally good behavior, are actually wrong, or harmful, or inferior?
    What if those who are extremely reluctant to be aggressive, ever, are actually exhibiting an inferior mentality and behavior?
    A measure of aggressiveness certainly seems to be evolutionary advantageous, and also on the individual level. The aggressive person is much more likely to get what they want than a non-aggressive one.

    I have no such hope for myself.
    I am quite sure that whatever notion I would have of "God told me", there would be a dozen theists claiming I was wrong. - It has always been like that, ever since I can remember. Whatever I thought that may be in line with what God wants, there were theists claiming I was wrong. And since they are theists, and I am not, who am I to disagree.

    Actually, I think it is possible that there are many species of souls, some eternally superior, some eternally inferior.
    Perhaps some souls are doomed to forever jerk along behind, never to actually get to know God themselves.

    Much of the discourse on theistic topics assumes that all souls are equal before God and that thus, everyone has equal chances to know God or be loved by God. But where is there any reason to take this for granted?
    What if the Calvinists have a more accurate image?

    It's not necessarily about external influence.
    A person may have in their mind a number of competing desires already, and it may all come down to which of those desires they will act on, and which ignore.

    On principle, religion contextualizes the whole universe, your whole being, everything you think, feel and do. "Contextualizes" primarily in the sense that it explains how come you think, feel and do and the way you do; it explains how and why the world exists, why the sun shines, why it rains, why flowers grow and why lions kill antelopes, and it explains what is right and what is wrong. There is nothing that religion would not claim to have an explanation for.

    In contrast, political parties, art movements, medicine, astronomy etc. claim to have explanations only for specific portions of the Universe or a human's lived experience. They do not assume to be complete, while religion does.
  23. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    See Cole? Wholly constructive posts go ignored and only ones that actively challenge Wynn are engaged, at least as long as they do not challenge Wynn to actually do something halfway proactive.

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