SCIENCE VS RELIGION

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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robochrist
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby robochrist » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:45 pm

I'm only making an observation. Ezra, I'm not telling you or anyone else what to attach to the concept of Jesus. That you don't think he symbolizes anything is as valid as those who DO! But the fact that it IS a symbol to many simply means that it IS a symbol! Doesn't have to be one to you or to myself. But it is a GREAT story, with themes, symbols, and metaphors. The history you cite, yes; BUT with few details actually recorded in its time, it readily evolved into the equivalent of myth. A myth, of course, you'd be burned for at one time if you didn't buy it as concrete reality. What little time you or I give to it, it IS symbol to many. Since we know next nothing of who this really preacher was, other than a lightening rod for anti-Roman sentimentwith the concept of Jesus, he is the embodiment of a symbol to many...whatever that symbol might be to THEM!

Do you understand what I'm trying to say? What's so complicated about that?

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robochrist
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby robochrist » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:47 pm

Lot of rapid-fire typos in that last one!

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robochrist
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby robochrist » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:12 am

Like, let the symbolism pour over you, m-a-a-a-a-n!

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Mark Tiedemann
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:45 am

Jesus symbolizes the in destructibility of a moral position. He took a stand, he was killed for it, he rose from the dead. He's a meme. Subsequently, people attached to him all manner of absolutist moral good (however defined), but the chief appeal is that he couldn't be killed.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:26 am

Do you understand what I'm trying to say?

Yes I think so. I'm just making explicit my own agenda. At this point the so-called "Jesus of faith" interests me not at all. I've had all of that I need. What interests me is history, what happened as near as we can determine what happened that is.

I do hear this attitude expressed very often by folks who identify as believers but not as fundamentalists. I accept that Jesus can be a symbol and that God can be a metaphor. But I always ask - a symbol of what? A metaphor for what? It's always disappointing to get a blank stare in response to what seem to me to be perfectly natural questions.

What use is a symbol or a metaphor that can mean anything you want it to mean? Isn't the point of a metaphor or a symbol to communicate? Aren't they forms of mediated language? Isn't the intention of the composer to be privileged at all?

But fine. I ask questions but it's fruitless to argue about it. I would simply point out that this is not the way the majority of christians in most times and in most places have looked at it. They thought they were talking about things that eisted in the real world and had an effect on the real world.

And is it all figurative or just some of it? And if some of it is to be taken literally then how do we distinguish between the literal parts and the figurative parts? I know christians who can quite happily dispense with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden but nevertheless hold onto a belief in Jesus' resurrrection. But why is one any less incredilble than the other?
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Moderator » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:17 am

Ezra Lb. wrote:I accept that Jesus can be a symbol and that God can be a metaphor. But I always ask - a symbol of what? A metaphor for what? It's always disappointing to get a blank stare in response to what seem to me to be perfectly natural questions.


They are very good questions. Perhaps the blank stares are indicative that Believers tend not to ask questions, they simply follow and do what they are told is what God wants them to do.

But, not being a true Believer myself, I have answers to both inquiries: Jesus is a symbol for our ability to become better humans. By having an example of a divine human, we have something to which we, as humans, can aspire to become. Much the same as with Buddha. As a symbol of that divinity, in Jesus' case we are allowed to be human as long as we keep trying to get better. "He died for our sins" means we can look back and accept the things we have done wrong as long as we try to become something better in the future.

As a metaphor, God is representation of our awe of things we do not understand -- particularly in the "early days" before science had opened up a lot of the universe for us to play with. In many ways God represents protection from the unknown, a comfort on those cold nights when all seems lost. The perception that there is a guiding hand to the insanity is a comforting one, and should not be discounted for the consoling warm-blanket effect it has on people who know no other kind of solace. (There is a reason religion plays so strong a hand in places where people feel oppressed, driven down, under duress.)

God is very much a metaphor for finding our own happiness, particularly when it seems we have no control to find it on our own. Belief in God can be a truly enabling thing.

(You will be tempted to argue, but you asked the question and I gave you an answer.)
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FinderDoug » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:20 am

But, not being a true Believer myself, I have answers to both inquiries: Jesus is a symbol for our ability to become better humans. By having an example of a divine human, we have something to which we, as humans, can aspire to become. Much the same as with Buddha. As a symbol of that divinity, in Jesus' case we are allowed to be human as long as we keep trying to get better. "He died for our sins" means we can look back and accept the things we have done wrong as long as we try to become something better in the future.
For not being a true Believer, you just did a hell of a job channeling this week's sermon from our church. :)

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Moderator » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:23 am

FinderDoug wrote:
But, not being a true Believer myself, I have answers to both inquiries: Jesus is a symbol for our ability to become better humans. By having an example of a divine human, we have something to which we, as humans, can aspire to become. Much the same as with Buddha. As a symbol of that divinity, in Jesus' case we are allowed to be human as long as we keep trying to get better. "He died for our sins" means we can look back and accept the things we have done wrong as long as we try to become something better in the future.
For not being a true Believer, you just did a hell of a job channeling this week's sermon from our church. :)




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robochrist
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby robochrist » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:59 am

At this point the so-called "Jesus of faith" interests me not at all.


But, Ezra, that's my OWN point!

Symbolism and faith are totally different provinces. I place no stock in "faith" of ANY kind, but a discussion about SYMBOLS - the embodiment or attribution of an IDEA - offers nearly limitless latitude to the dialectic. Always remember, one doesn't have to be a "believer" in order to associate a concept with a symbol. Now, personally, I rarely if ever reference "Jesus" because, frankly, the context most people use is one of FAITH, which turns me off. But when I hear so many spouting it off, then supporting social agendas that cut off safety nets for people who need them ("if you do not work, you shall not eat"), then I see fit to remind them of their hypocrisy when Jesus is supposed to represent alturism. That is the only time I bring it up. Strictly contextual!

And this is what makes symbolism important. It opens dialog between sides that look at the same picture a different way.

Like we were saying earlier, the figure may symbolize Naricissism to some and Altruism to others. That's the power of a symbol. It holds something for different people; to others it may hold nothing. In the few cases I cite the Story of Jesus, I prefer to call on the symbol of altruism for practical purposes - so that I can throw it in the faces of the hypocrites out there.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:29 pm

Doug, you go to church?

Ezra, Jesus is a symbol of ultimate humanity, of community and a sense of universal brotherhood.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:48 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Doug, you go to church?

Ezra, Jesus is a symbol of ultimate humanity, of community and a sense of universal brotherhood.


For you, maybe, and I don't really have a problem with that---but a lot of people in history could serve that function. I'll be clearer---the thing that sets Jesus apart from all the rest of the pack is that he symbolizes beating death. Without the resurrection and that that implies, he wouldn't have been any different than any other harmless prophet of his day or any Siddharta that walked away from his fortune.

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:49 pm

Being willing to die for a friend, a powerful ethic. Loving everybody. Few match him.

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robochrist
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby robochrist » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:52 pm

he symbolizes beating death.


Never heard that before! I always thought Bob Crane filled that role!

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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:02 pm

He was stabbed to death. :)

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robochrist
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Re: SCIENCE VS RELIGION

Postby robochrist » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:27 pm

No, he was beaten.


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