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Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce yourself!

I agree with you, Pepper, that Joseph's handling of the board so far has been very good.  But I still sense some potential problems that perhaps, if raised to the forefront, he may be able  skillfully to help us avoid. 

 


Peppermill wrote:

Eman -- Take a look at the way Joseph_F has been handling the diversity of views so far on this board and I think you will find some excellent modelling for the rest of us.  We do not have to accept each others' views to allow each other the full expression of them. 

 

It is true that it may sometimes feel confining and irritating and even anger provoking, but in a world with Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and many others of their persuasions about God and religion, I believe that it behooves all of us to find ways to communicate with each other across those gaps.  Maybe once again I am naive, but I am reminded deeply of Nhat Hanh's descriptions of the practice of mindfulness, which includes the ability, when we are angered, to breathe three times and be aware and (perhaps) to choose to live and act into peace.

 

Pepper

 


Everyman wrote:

blkeyesuzi wrote in part:    I tend to keep my personal choice in religion to myself...I tend to discuss everything on more of an acedemic level. Does that make sense at all?  I'm not sure if I'm being very eloquent in this respect.

 

This comment helps clarify for me something which I am finding unfortunate, at least from my perspective, about certain of the posts on this board so far.

 

I'm sure I'll put this badly, but here goes.

 

There is a difference between non-belief and disbelief.  I think the one is entirely appropriate here.  I find the other, personally, less so.

 

Let me take an analogy which, like all analogies, will be imperfect, but may be helpful to some.  Let's say we were scheduling a discussion about parent-child bonding.  Now not all parents will have a special bond with their own children that they don't have with other children, but I believe many parents will and do.  I have certainly experienced such a bond, and for me, it is something quite real.  

 

Now, a non-parent may be able to discuss this bond intellectually or academically, but they will never be able to discuss it in its full reality because it is something more than mere intellect or academia.  It is an experience that cannot be fully understood without undergoing the experience, just as, for example, no matter how many books I read about Shackleton's boat journey to South Georgia after the sinking of the Endurance I can never fully understand what it must have felt like to have been aboard the James Caird. 

 

Back to our parenthood discussion, non-parents can respond to such a discussion in two (or more) ways.  They can say something like "I have never experienced personally that relationship, but I can respect that for those who have it is something real and special and I can respect and appreciate that even as I don't share it."  Or, they can say something like "I have never experienced personally that relationship, and I don't believe there is anything special at all about the parent-child bond.  I think those who claim to feel something real and true there are just fooling themselves, that there is nothing real there.    I will discuss the issue academically and intellectually, but from the specific viewpoint that those who believe there is anything real there are in fact creating a pretend reality out of a delusion." 

 

I realize that I am presenting only two ends of a spectrum, and that there is a great deal of middle ground,  but I think the end points do exist and are meaningful.

 

I think I could participate creatively in a discussion about the issue of parent-child bonding with the first group; I'm not sure I could with the second. 

 

When this board was formed, I hoped that those who did not themselves have a direct personal experience of the reality of the divine would bring to the discussion the general approach of the first group I have described above.  Without referring to any specific individuals, I am getting a sense, though, that there may be some here who will be entering the discussion with the general approach of the second group. 

 

If think if this second approach becomes prevalent, it will significantly diminish, if not eliminate, the possibility of a serious spiritual discussion here.  Which I think would be a shame.

 

As I have said, I'm sure I have put this badly, for which I ask forgiveness.  And perhaps this stikes a chord with nobody but myself.  But it has been a developing thought and concern in me as I have read through the range of posts here.




 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006

Re: Introduce yourself!

i agree , Pepper, that the only way we're going to keep channels of communication open is to wait... count to ten... take three deep breaths... remember our common humanity... then, and only then, express our disagreement with someone's whose ideas are very very different from ours.

 


Peppermill wrote:

Eman -- Take a look at the way Joseph_F has been handling the diversity of views so far on this board and I think you will find some excellent modelling for the rest of us.  We do not have to accept each others' views to allow each other the full expression of them. 

 

It is true that it may sometimes feel confining and irritating and even anger provoking, but in a world with Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and many others of their persuasions about God and religion, I believe that it behooves all of us to find ways to communicate with each other across those gaps.  Maybe once again I am naive, but I am reminded deeply of Nhat Hanh's descriptions of the practice of mindfulness, which includes the ability, when we are angered, to breathe three times and be aware and (perhaps) to choose to live and act into peace.

 

Pepper


 

 

IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Distinguished Correspondent
Joseph_F
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎03-05-2009

Re: Introduce yourself!

[ Edited ]

Just a comment on what you all are talking about here:

 

I'd say religion is the touchiest subject to discuss, somewhere just past politics. So it is inevitable that at some point (or more likely often) someone will end up offending someone else in the course of expressing their opinion. 

 

There are two key things to remember about this:

 

1. Try not to offend people. You're welcome to your opinion, and it's yours to express, but try to remember that the key to polite discussion is respect. Even if you think the other person is completely wrong, offer them the respect of a fellow human being and express your disagreement politely, not in an attacking way. If you lay out your own beliefs in a respectful way, and they get offended simply because you don't believe the same thing as they do, that's their fault not yours. Which leads me to:

 

2. Try not to get offended. The line between strong disagreement and attack can be very thin, and the person you're discussing with might easily slip over that line. Be charitable and understand that it's difficult to express yourself perfectly in situations like these. Just politely ignore whatever they said that could be taken as offensive, and respond to their ideas in a way that demonstrates to them how to be respectful.

 

These are the best guidelines I can give you, but it's likely situations will come up anyway, and we'll try to handle them as they come up. Discussing religion is inherently tricky, but I hope we'll find a balance.

Message Edited by Joseph_F on 04-06-2009 03:18 AM
Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,279
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Introduce yourself!

Thank you Pepper for your post and including Nhat Hanh .I discovered him one Suday morning at 7Am on NPR.Krista Tippett was having this this wonderful conversation with him.During that week I ordered his Book on Anger and his Cd on Mindfullness.I was so taken back with his teachings,and his simple,yet profound message,that I incorporate him into my life everyday..It has helped me ,as it has all of his followers.I have a website which I will post,he is speaking to a group of Academics ,its very enlightening and really to me addresses the core belief of Minfullness,and Balance..We are all looking for that balance...VTC
Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,279
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Introduce yourself!

Thank you Joseph for addressing  the issues that will ultimately come up on this topic...Respect...thinking before you post,and disagreeing does not have to be hurtful..I hope this Board succeeds,,We are all in need of an understanding of what it really means to be kind,and to those who are not Academics concerning these topics to understand that not all is blk and wht..its the grey areas of our lives that matter most to me..Most of the time its difficult to explain..one just needs to feel it   V...
Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Introduce yourself!


Joseph_F wrote:

Just a comment on what you all are talking about here:

 

I'd say religion is the touchiest subject to discuss, somewhere just past politics. So it is inevitable that at some point (or more likely often) someone will end up offending someone else in the course of expressing their opinion. 

 

There are two key things to remember about this:

 

1. Try not to offend people. You're welcome to your opinion, and it's yours to express, but try to remember that the key to polite discussion is respect. Even if you think the other person is completely wrong, offer them the respect of a fellow human being and express your disagreement politely, not in an attacking way. If you lay out your own beliefs in a respectful way, and they get offended simply because you don't believe the same thing as they do, that's their fault not yours. Which leads me to:

 

2. Try not to get offended. The line between strong disagreement and attack can be very thin, and the person you're discussing with might easily slip over that line. Be charitable and understand that it's difficult to express yourself perfectly in situations like these. Just politely ignore whatever they said that could be taken as offensive, and respond to their ideas in a way that demonstrates to them how to be respectful.

 

These are the best guidelines I can give you, but it's likely situations will come up anyway, and we'll try to handle them as they come up. Discussing religion is inherently tricky, but I hope we'll find a balance.


Thank you for this post, Joseph.

 

I will, however, add one twist from some of the work I do.  It is the concepts about whether we do or do not control our feelings.  One view is that feelings are the one aspect of ourselves that we each, and each alone, can control, indeed that we "choose" our feelings.  Another is that our feelings simply arise or occur and that what we can control is how we act or respond to those feelings.  This latter view seems to call out for us to have perhaps inordinate awareness and sensitivity to our own feelings (and hence oftentimes for those of others) rather than hiding or camouflaging them behind reason or logic, as many of us are quite skilled and well trained to do.

 

I.e., I guess what I am saying here is that it is legitimate at times for us to share our feelings, but we need to be able to distinguish such sharing from other types of discourse. I do also think that there is "truth" embedded in the first view of "choosing" our feelings as well -- e.g., we can indeed "choose" not to be offended.  But I do believe there is more honesty possible when we acknowledge, at least to ourselves, when we are offended, for example, and then decide what to do about that.

 

(Again, I'll refer those interested in these concepts about sharing feelings as a part of communications to Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg,  although there are others who suggest similar relationships between feelings and actions.  I am not intending to be on a soap box, only to give credit to one source of these views for myself.)

 

 

Pepper 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Distinguished Wordsmith
Dreamer4ever
Posts: 411
Registered: ‎11-06-2008
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Re: Introduce yourself!

Thank you, Joseph. That's what I worried and wondered about when I first saw this board. I wanted to understand how it was going to work without becoming a huge religious debate. It wouldn't be very nice if everyone was going to be put down by someone else for looking at something differently. I realize, though, that that is our world and you'll find that in religion, as well as politics and such.

 

I know that it isn't always easy to give an opinion without coming across as rude, or pushy. And that's just the way it is with a subject like this. I don't know what else we can expect.

 

I appreciate what you've said on the matter. And as Victoria said, it's all about respect. I don't necessarily have to agree with you on a matter of faith and religion, but I can respect that that is your opinion. And vice versa. It's a good system and use of manners, the harder part, for some, is actually using it. I know I will try very hard to be kind and respectful when replying. I hope everyone will understand that I never want to be offensive to anyone's beliefs. And if I ever do come across that way, please forgive me. 

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. --Mark Twain
New User
APtah
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎04-29-2009
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Re: Introduce yourself!

Hallo everyone

I am Abel. I really enjoy controversial books dealing with spiritual subjects.

I am about to start on Dan Borwn's Lost Symbol. I just finished reading "Rise of the Anakim", a very interesting mix of science fiction, adventure and spirituality revolving around the 2012 Mayan saga.

 

 

Rise Of The Anakim 

 

 

 

New User
PatsyNC
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎05-03-2009
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Re: Introduce yourself!

Hi everyone,  I live in Raleigh, NC, born and raised in Georgia.  I am a Christian and enjoy learning about other religions.  I was raised in the Protestant faith (Disciples of Christ). Converted to the Catholic faith 24 years ago.  I consider myself a Protestant/Catholic.

 

I attended Wesleyan College (a Methodist school) in Macon, GA and majored in religion. One of the courses I took was on world religions, i.e. Hindu, Muslim, etc.

 

I look forward to joining in discussions here.

 

Patsy :smileyhappy:

 

 

 

 

Patsy
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce yourself!

I consider myself a Protestant/Catholic.

 

That's an interesting thought, given how much blood has been spilled over the centuries between those two beliefs.

 

Are you comfortable being asked some questions about that (no obligation to answer, of course, if you prefer not to)?

 


PatsyNC wrote:

Hi everyone,  I live in Raleigh, NC, born and raised in Georgia.  I am a Christian and enjoy learning about other religions.  I was raised in the Protestant faith (Disciples of Christ). Converted to the Catholic faith 24 years ago.  I consider myself a Protestant/Catholic.

 

I attended Wesleyan College (a Methodist school) in Macon, GA and majored in religion. One of the courses I took was on world religions, i.e. Hindu, Muslim, etc.

 

I look forward to joining in discussions here.

 

Patsy :smileyhappy:

 

 

 

 


 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Distinguished Correspondent
Adelle
Posts: 70
Registered: ‎11-09-2008
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Re: Introduce yourself!

I was taking a look at the book club selections and the Religion and Spirituality subject really appealed to me.   Also, KA's A History of God had been sitting on my Read-Me shelf for a couple of years.  

 

My father's family had been pretty strict Mennonites, but there weren't any Mennonite churches where I grew up in North Dakota, so I attended a Baptist church. 

 

I've started following the discussion and have been enjoying it very much.

 

I've found I rather enjoy the quotes that some people include at the end of their posts...so...

 

"We are not who we were.  We are not who we will become."

 

Adelle

 

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Introduce yourself!

I like your quote!

 

I admit to not knowing that much about the Mennonite faith.  I hope you'll share some of their beliefs as the discussions proceed.

 


Adelle wrote:

I was taking a look at the book club selections and the Religion and Spirituality subject really appealed to me.   Also, KA's A History of God had been sitting on my Read-Me shelf for a couple of years.  

 

My father's family had been pretty strict Mennonites, but there weren't any Mennonite churches where I grew up in North Dakota, so I attended a Baptist church. 

 

I've started following the discussion and have been enjoying it very much.

 

I've found I rather enjoy the quotes that some people include at the end of their posts...so...

 

"We are not who we were.  We are not who we will become."

 

Adelle

 

 


 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Distinguished Correspondent
Adelle
Posts: 70
Registered: ‎11-09-2008
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Re: Introduce yourself!

I like your quote!

 

 

It is good, isn't it?   And yes, I should have properly attributed it, but I was disinclined (sounds so better than "too lazy") to find the book and get the author's name. 

 

 

The quote is from Chris Hedges; it's from his book When Atheism Becomes Religion.  I have underlines and highlights in about a third of the book ...  thoughts and ideas that resonated with me.   And, I have big "X" marks in about a sixth of the book... statements and concepts that irked me or with which I strongly disagreed.  

 

 

 Mmm.   I don't specifically know much about Mennonite beliefs...They seemed to believe strongly in individual accountability and in a personal relationship with God.   No infant baptism.  No middle-men; no priests; the pastor: there to guide...but ultimately, it's you and your Maker. 

 

 

 

The family were Germans from Russia who escaped from Russia a few years before the revolution.  My uncles and aunts seemed to transfer pretty solidly into the Baptist church.  

Correspondent
plaidfroggie
Posts: 116
Registered: ‎04-21-2009
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Re: Introduce yourself!

I was raised in the Church of God until I was 11 years old.  I have yet to read the Bible cover to cover, but I consider myself an athiest.  I could not reconcile what I did learn of the Bible in church with what I learned in my history classes.  I am primarily here to do some self reading of the Bible to see what there is to see from an adult perspective.  I do not know how my belief in evolution and a general disagreement with the concept of organized religion would fit with the Bible.

 

I also am experiencing a bit of difficulty with my nonbelief conflicting with family members belief system.  I am a bit drawn to the little I know of Wicca.  I am interested in learning more about Wicca, though I am not at this time actively seeking faith in a supreme being.  I suppose if anyone develops faith they are not likely to find it through a booklist since it is a feeling inside of you.

 

I don't completely understand why since I just recently came out as an atheist to my family that they are so concerned about me burning in the fires of Hell.   I am confused by my lack of belief being unacceptable.    I guess though I was planning to read the Bible as an attempt to understand all the talk of a Christian Nation I am now going to be reading it to understand my family as well and could use some help.

 

I am not here to offend anyone, just to do a little religious study.  Am interested in more than just Christianity and Wicca, just restricting myself to those two belief systems for now because I do not want to become overwhelmed.

Contributor
ler2009
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎05-08-2009
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Re: Introduce yourself!

Hi my name is Anik and I am 36 years old. I have been married for four years and I have a little three year old.

 

My family was not very religious and I rediscovered my faith (Catholic) on my own. I have since then been trying to understand more about the Catholic faith and God in general. I am very open to all religious beliefs as i feel that there are many paths to heaven and we are all here to share and learn from each other.

 

Since I am learning I enjoy any books that teach more about God, Jesus, Mass, Sabbath, Praying, etc, etc....

 

Am I to late to join the discussion of "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong?

Distinguished Correspondent
Joseph_F
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎03-05-2009
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Re: Introduce yourself!

 Absolutely not. Jump right in :smileyhappy:

ler2009 wrote:

Am I to late to join the discussion of "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong?


 

New User
silverthorn
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎05-10-2009
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Re: Introduce yourself!

hi there. my name is matt and i love rekigion. I am a stregone myself but i love studying different paths.
Contributor
ler2009
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎05-08-2009
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Re: Introduce yourself!

Welcome Matt!!!
Contributor
steelers64
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎05-11-2009
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Re: Introduce yourself!

Hello everyone, I am a Christian Pastor to a growing church in my city I am also a Author I just written my first book titled "Why Christians Should Understand The Jewish Roots of our Faith" I have been a Pastor for ten years and have been preaching for over twenty years, but in these last 3 to 4 years God has been dealing with me about this topic and it is a very interesting subject, everywhere I go teaching on this subject people are amaze on what they have been missing by not understanding this connection, so I would love feedback from my B&N readers. 
Inspired Bibliophile
Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,279
Registered: ‎10-20-2008

Re: Introduce yourself!

Interesting post..I was attracted to the idea of the understanding of Judism related to Christianity.I live in a small town in Vermont with a very active Interfaith Community.Pastors,Priests,and Rabbis are just to me the creme of the crop...Functions,Christmas,Passover,and all related Holidays are celebrated of course and all are invited.We get quite a crowd..Its a wonderful undertaking that you have begun.I am Jewis,and slide inbetwenn,Coservatine/Liberal...Will look forward to some sort of discussion here,altho,if it gets too heated,I will just browse..I am sure you understand Religion/Politics.. emotional issues...Will try and locate your book on BN  ..Vtc My Daughter was raised in the Jewish faith,altho her Dad is Roman Catholic..and only attended schools all the way up to receiving his Masters,were Jesuit/Catholic schools..He embraced the Jewish faith like it was his own..It was great.....
Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer