PDA

View Full Version : Reasons to be grateful for religion



veinglory
12-20-2006, 01:56 AM
I think that when a new subforum starts it can be easy to see it as anti-everything else, not just to support the demographic it is for. So I thought we could make a preemptive strike for tolerance. Is there a reason you as an atheist or agnostic have to be grateful for the major religions?

Here is one from me. I went to a high school that was large and a lot of the kids were from very affluent families. There were severe issues with drinking, drunk driving and pregancies and the learning environment was chaotic with many of the teacher intimidated by the 'kids'. In my final year the church directly across the road just took the iniative to support academically-oriented students coming up to our college entrance exams.

Several days a week after school they opened the church hall to us and provided tutors from the congregation who were graduate students from the nearby university. They helped us prepared for the bursary exams in hours of special sessions with our peers which were probably the first time I really got to share my love of science and literature. The provided time, facilities and cookies and never even asked for a donation. Matters of religion were not once mentioned. Even with this help I only acheive a 'B' bursary but it was enough to get me in to university and they did it only to help people in the community.

Now that I am thinking about this, as a post-doctoral researcher and university lecturer I realise that this support was really important to me and it is probably time I tracked down their address and at least send a note of thanks.

Meerkat
12-20-2006, 02:01 AM
What a coincidence--I was just thinking today as I walked into the post office (crowded but congenial) that I am grateful that every religion encourages civil behavior and self improvement. 'nuther good thread you started!

nancy02664
12-20-2006, 02:03 AM
Excellent topic. :)

I agree that religion can indeed be a good thing, and that the basic tenets of many relgions (love your neighbors, help those in need) are wonderful.

I can't think of any specific examples of how religion has helped me personally, but it's obviously helped many others.

Higgins
12-20-2006, 05:06 AM
Excellent topic. :)

I agree that religion can indeed be a good thing, and that the basic tenets of many relgions (love your neighbors, help those in need) are wonderful.

I can't think of any specific examples of how religion has helped me personally, but it's obviously helped many others.

But, to quote Fra Bartolome de Las Casas (writing to the Holy Roman Emperor in 1519, about his project for saving the Indians, just as Cortes set off for Mexico): "I was moved to act not because I was a better Christian than others, but by a Natural Compulsion."

--okay: He was a priest not a Friar at the time and the quotation is in his own account of what he told the Emperor Charles the V.

Thus it is often that religious people do good despite their religious convictions. But we can thank religions for making them obsessively record their various self-justifications at least.

truelyana
12-20-2006, 05:08 AM
Without religion, this world wouldn't have turnt out the way it has...

veinglory
12-20-2006, 05:17 AM
There are good and bad in all things. This thread happens to be about the good.

Higgins
12-20-2006, 06:02 AM
There are good and bad in all things. This thread happens to be about the good.


I'm grateful for the melodrama of the devotio moderna. Only a few weeks ago I was moved to tears by a devotional diptych. Okay it took about 10 of them and a lot of concentration...but Roger van der Weyden is the best and van Eck even better.

veinglory
12-20-2006, 06:08 AM
I rather like pre-Raphealite art with its themes of enlightment, fallen women and angels. I think beleif in divinity creates a certain type of art. There is a New Zealand artist who did a piece of Christ in the tomb that I looked at for a good half hour, of couse them I forgot the artist's name.

BruceJ
12-27-2006, 10:02 PM
Then there's the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Either ya see this or ya don't... :-)

Higgins
12-27-2006, 10:22 PM
Then there's the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Either ya see this or ya don't... :-)

Yes indeedee. JSB is extremely religious and extremely good. Taruskin's recently published history of Western music emphasizes the religious logic in JSB.

See:

http://www.us.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/?view=usa&cp=25593&ci=9780195169799&WT.mc_id=musmnl

C. L. Richardson
12-28-2006, 08:21 AM
I'm a Christian myself, so I don't know if my opinion counts here. But I've seen Christian organizations do backflips to reach out to people who are hurting all over the world. How many atheist, Buddhist, or Islam groups will travel halfway across the planet to feed a starving country at their own risk of being imprisoned or shot? Sure it could happen but I've yet to hear of it. Christian organizations have also provided communities with maternity homes and pregnancy centers that provide loving support and every kind of help imaginable to young struggling moms. The fact is, Christians care with a passion that can only come from God, and God has blessed them to do His works on a bigger and bigger scale.

Mac H.
12-28-2006, 08:34 AM
How many atheist, Buddhist, or Islam groups will travel halfway across the planet to feed a starving country? Sure it could happen but I've yet to hear of it.Wow. You've never heard of the Red Crescent organisation ?

You might want to keep in touch with world events more. They are an Islamic organisation who does exactly what you've described. They've been in the international news a fair bit lately.

Also, there are very few 'atheist' organisations, simply because athiests who want to organise together to do good in the world simply don't see the point in making people of other beliefs feel unwelcome by naming their organisation after their belief. You'll normally find these organisations described simply as 'secular'. 'Doctors without Borders' and UNICEF are examples of secular organisations that do exactly what you describe.

Just out of interest, how many Buddhist organisations are you familiar with? If you know the name of a few dozen of Buddhist organisations, but hadn't heard of any humanitarian ones that might be significant. But if you haven't heard of many Buddhist organisations, it doesn't mean anything if you haven't heard of any that do a particular job. As another datapoint, the only Buddhist organisation I'm familiar with is a humanitarian one. (There are probably thousands of others - I just haven't heard of them)

Good luck,

nancy02664
12-28-2006, 10:21 AM
But I've seen Christian organizations do backflips to reach out to people who are hurting all over the world. How many atheist, Buddhist, or Islam groups will travel halfway across the planet to feed a starving country at their own risk of being imprisoned or shot? [...] The fact is, Christians care with a passion that can only come from God, and God has blessed them to do His works on a bigger and bigger scale.

Um... I think things like this might work better elsewhere (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=40).

KimJo
12-28-2006, 08:13 PM
I think Christians care with a passion that comes from their belief in God, not necessarily from God himself, if such an entity exists. There's a difference. Personally, I'm neither necessarily atheist nor agnostic; I do believe that there's a higher power in existence. But I also believe that we as humans have the ability to create or magnetize positive events and things into our lives. That Christians are able to do what they see as God's works on a "bigger and bigger scale", to my belief, is because they as a group are creating the reality of being able to perform those works on that scale, not because God has said, "Look at those Christians, I'm going to give them a hand." The universal power in which I believe does assist its creations, but only if we're willing to do most of the work. And as has been stated, Christians don't have a lock on doing charitable works; nor do they have a lock on being able to perform those works on whatever scale they choose, because if there is a God as Christians and many other religions see him, I really doubt he'd care how we identify ourselves spiritually; all he would care about in my opinion is that we try to live as spiritually as we can.

C. L. Richardson
12-28-2006, 08:27 PM
No, I have never heard of Red Crescent. A person can live in almost any town across the US and never hear of a Buddhist group, but the Christian churches are pretty prominent, still popping up in large numbers and contributing unselfishly to society. As I said before, similar groups of other religions may very well exist. I've just never heard of them. What I have seen from a quick glance around is that the church really cares, going great lengths to help people --any people -- Christian or non. They do it voluntarily, expecting nothing in return, and what's equally amazing is they have the resources to do it. God has blessed them with the funds and opportunities, so that they can bless others.

veinglory
12-28-2006, 10:48 PM
C L, this is a thread to say positive things about religion, not negative things about our beliefs, thank you.

No matter how much you say 'as far as I know' you are suggesting we don't do a comprable amount of charity or humanitarian work and as a person who is a long time, very active member of Amnesty International, Greenpeace and the SPCA I do resent that. As I said above, this thread is about 'the good' and I think you are direspecting my good intentions and presimptuously crediting God with my money and energies when I do not give them in His name.

One could easily make the case that religion is disproprtionately responsable for the wars and famines these poor people need to be rescued from but it was not my intention to turn this into that sort of discussion and if it goes there I respectfully ask for the thread to be locked.

citymouse
12-28-2006, 11:42 PM
"I was moved to act not because I was a better Christian than others, but by a Natural Compulsion."

If I may I quote here a part of a poem that came to mind as I read the above.
...Thou hast set the Pleiades in a silver row,
Thou hast sent the trackless winds loose upon their way;
Thou hast reared a colored wall
Twix the night and day;
But chief of all Thy wonderous works,
Supreme of all Thy plan,
Thou hast put an upward reach
Into the heart of man.

C__

ChunkyC
12-29-2006, 12:00 AM
I donate money every year to various organizations that are not based on a religion. I offer my arm to someone unsteady on their feet when inclement weather has the sidewalks slippery. I open doors for people. I say please and thank you. I stop my car to allow pedestrians to cross the street at crosswalks.

I expect nothing in return for these things, and I do not advertise my religion, lack thereof, or sexual orientation while doing them, because under the circumstances those things are irrelevant.

I would venture to say there are millions of athiests and agnostics all over the world who go about their daily lives being decent, caring human beings, and who like myself feel no need to advertize the fact they are athiest or agnostic. I bet there are also millions of Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. who do exactly the same.

To address the reason for the thread: I believe that the majority of the people who follow the world's various religions learn to care about their fellow human beings, and that will always be a good thing. And, as noted above, some of the most beautiful music ever created has been sparked by the composer's beliefs.

veinglory
12-29-2006, 12:06 AM
Maybe it is the matter of the small but essential difference bewteen 'good' and 'better'. Because there are good people of all belief systems, all belief systems have it in them to be good and can be seen being 'good'. So I, perhaps niavely, see tolerance and emphasizing the positive as the way to actually make the world a good place, as much as we can.

Roger J Carlson
12-29-2006, 02:30 AM
No, I have never heard of Red Crescent. A person can live in almost any town across the US and never hear of a Buddhist group, but the Christian churches are pretty prominent, still popping up in large numbers and contributing unselfishly to society. As I said before, similar groups of other religions may very well exist. I've just never heard of them. What I have seen from a quick glance around is that the church really cares, going great lengths to help people --any people -- Christian or non. They do it voluntarily, expecting nothing in return, and what's equally amazing is they have the resources to do it. God has blessed them with the funds and opportunities, so that they can bless others.Most of the organizations in the United Way have no religious affiliation. Certainly people who contribute may have religious affiliation, as may some or all of the people who work in such organizations, but the organizations themselves are not religion-based.

Now, as a Christian, I am pleased and proud that so many Christian churches and other organizations work unselfishly for others, but that's no reason to minimize the contributions of others.

Sassenach
12-29-2006, 02:58 AM
No, I have never heard of Red Crescent. A person can live in almost any town across the US and never hear of a Buddhist group, but the Christian churches are pretty prominent, still popping up in large numbers and contributing unselfishly to society. As I said before, similar groups of other religions may very well exist. I've just never heard of them. What I have seen from a quick glance around is that the church really cares, going great lengths to help people --any people -- Christian or non. They do it voluntarily, expecting nothing in return, and what's equally amazing is they have the resources to do it. God has blessed them with the funds and opportunities, so that they can bless others.

You don't get out much, do you? Have you every heard of the UJA [United Jewish Appeal], for instance?

JimmyB27
12-29-2006, 04:26 PM
God has blessed them with the funds and opportunities, so that they can bless others.

Seems an odd way for him to behave, why not cut out the middle man?

Anyway, on topic - I like a lot of religious architecture. There's an old Saxon church in the village I grew up in, and I think it's a beautiful building.

Cath
12-29-2006, 06:30 PM
I know that religion gives many people strength to cope and deal with the things that happen in their lives. I'm not one of them - but I'm not going to begrudge others their source of comfort if it works for them.

Roger J Carlson
12-29-2006, 06:40 PM
Borrowed from another thread:

*Myth 11: Atheists view religion and religious people with contempt.

That's not the sense I'm getting from this thread. Thanks for starting it, Em. :)

*Note: I just made this one up.

Shadow_Ferret
12-29-2006, 07:39 PM
I can't think of one reason to be grateful for religion.

That isn't to say I disrespect anyone who believes, I just can't think of any reasons why it's necessary to have religion.

Pat~
12-29-2006, 09:58 PM
"I was moved to act not because I was a better Christian than others, but by a Natural Compulsion."

If I may I quote here a part of a poem that came to mind as I read the above.
...Thou hast set the Pleiades in a silver row,
Thou hast sent the trackless winds loose upon their way;
Thou hast reared a colored wall
Twix the night and day;
But chief of all Thy wonderous works,
Supreme of all Thy plan,
Thou hast put an upward reach
Into the heart of man.

C__

Organized religion is a positive thing when it helps man to see the downward reach of God.

Shadow_Ferret
12-29-2006, 11:43 PM
Organized religion is a positive thing when it helps man to see the downward reach of God.

What does this mean? And how does it apply to athiests being thankful since they wouldn't believe in God?

nancy02664
12-30-2006, 12:20 AM
Anyway, on topic - I like a lot of religious architecture. There's an old Saxon church in the village I grew up in, and I think it's a beautiful building.

Good call! Almost forgot about that. I totally agree--I've seen several fantastic cathedrals.

nancy02664
12-30-2006, 12:39 AM
Organized religion is a positive thing when it helps man to see the downward reach of God.

This (and this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1012188&postcount=11), and this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1013137&postcount=17)) are not only OT, but pretty inappropriate.

IMO, it's not very nice for theists to come in and start hijacking NT threads--especially when the theists already have a place to go to discuss their opinions.

Pat~
12-30-2006, 01:29 AM
What does this mean? And how does it apply to athiests being thankful since they wouldn't believe in God?

Because when people believe they've seen the hand of God in their lives it inspires them to love their fellow man, create beautiful music, etc., just as Chunky (and others) have said.

Pat~
12-30-2006, 01:37 AM
This (and this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1012188&postcount=11), and this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1013137&postcount=17)) are not only OT, but pretty inappropriate.

IMO, it's not very nice for theists to come in and start hijacking NT threads--especially when the theists already have a place to go to discuss their opinions.

I was not aware that I could hijack a thread with one sentence. I also was not aware that everyone's opinions weren't allowed in some of the threads in AW.

nancy02664
12-30-2006, 02:01 AM
If you want to talk about gods/goddesses as if they actually exist, there are more appropriate forums for that.

I just personally don't appreciate it when a thread meant for nontheists starts accruing a bunch of theistic responses.

Posts about how "great" xians are, or about the "downward reach" of particular deities, etc., make me want to stop coming to this forum. This just isn't the place for it.

Sorry for the rant, but I'm slightly annoyed.

veinglory
12-30-2006, 02:05 AM
Because when people believe they've seen the hand of God in their lives it inspires them to love their fellow man, create beautiful music, etc., just as Chunky (and others) have said.

You are totally failing to take the point being made and show respect for non-believers as people equally capable of love, creation "etc".

Can you phrase your points in a way that is aimed at a non-believing audience? That is saying religion is good for reason other than bringing the God we don't believe in into people lives? Walk in our moccasins here, just for a moment?

There is in fact an enormous difference between your point and Chunky's which apparently you don't see.

citymouse
12-30-2006, 02:07 AM
This (and this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1012188&postcount=11), and this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1013137&postcount=17)) are not only OT, but pretty inappropriate.

IMO, it's not very nice for theists to come in and start hijacking NT threads--especially when the theists already have a place to go to discuss their opinions.

Nancy, Citymouse here. You're right. I'll leave.

veinglory
12-30-2006, 02:14 AM
Perhaps the difference to appreciate is that of the outside perspective.

Athiests are grateful for the effect religion has on how people act, not who they are or what they believe.

By deifnition we consider theist belief to be unsupported or false, but smarter and wiser people than me are theist so my focus is not on who is right, but who is good--who has a positive effec on the world and people around them.

And this thread was meant to look at the fact that religion is part of the lives of people and organisations who are part of the good. So, I care not whether they experience God as existing so long as that leads them to be constructive in their dealings with others (including in not trying to convert me or go on about my own firm beleifs when this is not in context.)

I would certainly not suggest athiests are more rational that thesits (let alone in a church or religious forum)--there are different kind of rationality (love,creativity etc etc)

Our diversity in virtue is out greatest strength as a species, IMHO.

Pat~
12-30-2006, 02:14 AM
You are totally failing to take the point being made and show respect for non-believers as people equally capable of love, creation "etc".

Can you phrase your points in a way that is aimed at a non-believing audience? That is saying religion is good for reason other than bringing the God we don't believe in into people lives? Walk in our moccasins here, just for a moment?

There is in fact an enormous difference between your point and Chunky's which apparently you don't see.

I didn't say, or even imply, that agnostics and atheists are not equally capable of love. I'm wondering if you're mixing me up with another post?
What I said was this:

"Organized religion is a positive thing when it helps man to see the downward reach of God."

The reason I gave Shadow Ferret was that people who believe they've seen the hand of God in their lives are often motivated to love others, create music, etc. because of it. (I did not say that this was the ONLY way people could be motivated to love or create.) And this benefits everyone around them--including agnostics and atheists.

C.bronco
12-30-2006, 02:16 AM
Then there's the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Either ya see this or ya don't... :-)
Yeah, I was going to say the music. And then there's the Chronicles of Narnia, incense, yummy feasts, Christmas, Polish Easter food. It goes on and on. The religions of the world have shaped our cultures to a significant extent.

veinglory
12-30-2006, 02:28 AM
I didn't say, or even imply, that agnostics and atheists are not equally capable of love. I'm wondering if you're mixing me up with another post?
What I said was this:

"Organized religion is a positive thing when it helps man to see the downward reach of God."
.

Yes, and, (paraphrased): 'religion is good because it lets people see God' is not an inclusive statement because it includes a presumption of the existence of God. If you left that out and skipped to the next bit you wouldn't have seen the reaction that you did. This is an area of the forum where statements simply should not be made that contain a presumption of the existence of God. It's as inpolite as quoting Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins from the pulpit or wearing your shoes in a shrine.

veinglory
12-30-2006, 02:33 AM
I loved the Narnia books. Personally I would have preferred the last 'and you shall come to know me by another name' scene hadn't been there. That was the first time (I was about 7) that I felt explicitly excluded as not a true 'daughter of Eve'. But hey, there was still 'A Horse and His Boy' and 'Voyage of the Dawntreader'.

nancy02664
12-30-2006, 02:53 AM
I liked the Narnia books as well.

I also liked Daniel Quinn's Ishmael, which, while not a 'religious' book, does discuss religion quite a bit.

Pat~
12-30-2006, 02:56 AM
Yes, and, (paraphrased): 'religion is good because it lets people see God' is not an inclusive statement because it includes a presumption of the existence of God. If you left that out and skipped to the next bit you wouldn't have seen the reaction that you did. This is an area of the forum where statements simply should not be made that contain a presumption of the existence of God. It's as inpolite as quoting Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins from the pulpit or wearing your shoes in a shrine.

Here was your original question:


So I thought we could make a preemptive strike for tolerance. Is there a reason you as an atheist or agnostic have to be grateful for the major religions?

And my answer, (presuming only tolerance), was "organized religion is a positive thing when it helps man to see the downward reach of God."

Your paraphrase was presumptive; if it "lets them see God" that presumes He exists. But that's not what I said. What I said was "if it helps man to see the downward reach of God"--this is about people's perception of events that may or may not actually be God at work in their lives, but that they perceive to be. And if they have such a perception it sometimes motivates them to love and creativity which benefits everyone, regardless of faith.

In other words, whether or not God exists, if people perceive Him to, and therefore are motivated to love and good works, how is that NOT a positive thing for the agnostics and atheists around them?

veinglory
12-30-2006, 03:03 AM
Yes, it was a giant leap from 'see the downward reach of God' to 'see God'. I see that now.

And yes, it does make me want to stop coming here too.

scarletpeaches
12-30-2006, 03:06 AM
Religion enabled the world to see Jim Caviezel's bare arse in TPotC.

And I say that as a supposedly 'respectable' Christian myself.

Rrrrr! ;)

nancy02664
12-30-2006, 03:22 AM
Religion enabled the world to see Jim Caviezel's bare arse in TPotC.

And I say that as a supposedly 'respectable' Christian myself.

Rrrrr! ;)

Haha! I may just have to watch that now... :)

nancy02664
12-30-2006, 03:31 AM
Might be silly, but... the bare bum thing for some reason made me think of Adam Sandler's Chanukah Song -- I'm definitely grateful for that. :)

veinglory
12-30-2006, 03:39 AM
Oh, and Santa. Gotta love Santa.

Roger J Carlson
12-30-2006, 04:24 AM
This (and this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1012188&postcount=11), and this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1013137&postcount=17)) are not only OT, but pretty inappropriate.

IMO, it's not very nice for theists to come in and start hijacking NT threads--especially when the theists already have a place to go to discuss their opinions.

If you want to talk about gods/goddesses as if they actually exist, there are more appropriate forums for that.

I just personally don't appreciate it when a thread meant for nontheists starts accruing a bunch of theistic responses.

Posts about how "great" xians are, or about the "downward reach" of particular deities, etc., make me want to stop coming to this forum. This just isn't the place for it.

Sorry for the rant, but I'm slightly annoyed.This forum is not an enclave for Non-Theists only. There is no sign out front that says "No Theists Allowed". Just as atheists have been welcome to join into discussions on the Christian board, Theists have every right to join in discussions here.

Certainly, CL's posts were inappropriate and many people (myself included) said so. Pat's and Citymouse's posts were of a different order. Point 4 in the Forum Guidelines says: "You're welcome to discuss your 'faith' here, so long as that discussion respects other beliefs." Presuming the existence of God does not disrespect the beliefs of those who do not.

Nevertheless, the original post WAS directed to non-theists and their reasons to be grateful for the major religions. In that sense, Pat's and Citymouse's posts were Off Topic.

But it is not appropriate to tell them to just go away, that they are not welcome here. Frankly, that's for Cathy, the moderator, to decide. If you feel another poster is abusing a thread, report it to the moderator to make a determination.

Cathy C
12-30-2006, 04:26 AM
Here was your original question:



And my answer, (presuming only tolerance), was "organized religion is a positive thing when it helps man to see the downward reach of God."

Your paraphrase was presumptive; if it "lets them see God" that presumes He exists. But that's not what I said. What I said was "if it helps man to see the downward reach of God"--this is about people's perception of events that may or may not actually be God at work in their lives, but that they perceive to be. And if they have such a perception it sometimes motivates them to love and creativity which benefits everyone, regardless of faith.

In other words, whether or not God exists, if people perceive Him to, and therefore are motivated to love and good works, how is that NOT a positive thing for the agnostics and atheists around them?

Okay, let me explain what you just said that has annoyed people here (and I'm included, to an extent.)

The topic is about why atheists and agnostics are grateful to religion. We are NOT grateful to religion for people believing in a god. Notice the small g. You brought in your personal bias as a Theist, and quite possibly a Christian, which is fine, but you IMPLIED that the basis of your one particular religion is the only basis for motivation.

Yes, we ARE grateful for the good works because it makes life more pleasant. But the motivation, and the particular brand or religion, is immaterial. Religion has served to bring out wonderful, shining qualities and has acted as a focus for stellar talents, from music to building to selfless acts. But is the Taj Mahal any less beautiful than Notre Dame because it was dedicated to a different god? What about grand, glorious works and music dedicated to Buddha or Kali?

See the issue? "Religion" isn't just Christianity. That's my concern with your statement. :)

scarletpeaches
12-30-2006, 04:27 AM
Haha! I may just have to watch that now... :)

All through watching it at the Odeon I was saying to myself, "You can't fancy him, that's Jesus. You can't fancy him, that's Jesus."

I felt really dirty and evil, in an 'I deserve to be spanked' kinda way.

;)

Okay, I'll leave this thread alone now. We don't need to be talking about JC (see, same initials!!!) and his bare bottom.

nancy02664
12-30-2006, 04:52 AM
But it is not appropriate to tell them to just go away, that they are not welcome here.

Actually, Roger, I said posts like theirs made me want to stop visiting this forum. I didn't tell anyone to go away. (Inventive interpretation, though...)

Pat~
12-30-2006, 04:58 AM
Okay, let me explain what you just said that has annoyed people here (and I'm included, to an extent.)

The topic is about why atheists and agnostics are grateful to religion. We are NOT grateful to religion for people believing in a god. Notice the small g. You brought in your personal bias as a Theist, and quite possibly a Christian, which is fine, but you IMPLIED that the basis of your one particular religion is the only basis for motivation.

With all due respect, Cathy, I did not. Not once did I use the word "only" or imply it, and further, I reiterated that in my later posts. I firmly do NOT believe that only religious people are capable of love and good works, and would never say or imply that untruth.


Yes, we ARE grateful for the good works because it makes life more pleasant. But the motivation, and the particular brand or religion, is immaterial. Religion has served to bring out wonderful, shining qualities and has acted as a focus for stellar talents, from music to building to selfless acts. But is the Taj Mahal any less beautiful than Notre Dame because it was dedicated to a different god? What about grand, glorious works and music dedicated to Buddha or Kali?
Kathy, with the sentence I said, it could apply to ANY religion--anyone sensing the downward reach of his God (or god, if you prefer). I stand by my opinion that this sense has inspired men to love and good works, with benefit to all. (And yes, other things inspire men to love and good works, too. But this thread was about how religion does that, hence the reference to God.)


See the issue? "Religion" isn't just Christianity. That's my concern with your statement. :)My statement said nothing about Christianity.

Roger J Carlson
12-30-2006, 05:12 AM
Actually, Roger, I said posts like theirs made me want to stop visiting this forum. I didn't tell anyone to go away. (Inventive interpretation, though...)

You said:


Um... I think things like this might work better elsewhere (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=40)...

...IMO, it's not very nice for theists to come in and start hijacking NT threads--especially when the theists already have a place to go to discuss their opinions...

...This just isn't the place for it...Not all that inventive an interpretation, I'm afraid.

Cathy C
12-30-2006, 05:13 AM
god with a capital G is primarily used by Christianity to reference a specific entity.


I firmly do NOT believe that only religious people are capable of love and good works, and would never say or imply that untruth.


Nor did I say that. I never used these words. I said I felt you IMPLIED a particular religion from the way you phrased the sentence.


But this thread was about how religion does that, hence the reference to God.)


No, not really. It morphed into that, but didn't start out that way. But I'm not going to argue the point. BTW, what Roger said about being careful with language works here too. "This isn't the place for it." implies (to me) that a viewpoint isn't welcome. That's not true. Still, we're dangeously close to having people feel insulted here and I don't want anyone to feel that they're not welcome to post. But please remember that NTs, as a group here at AW, are going to feel very sensitive about even DISCUSSING religion for a time, until things settle out.


Again, this thread is an olive branch of sorts to begin with, trying to blend the various non-theists with the Christians, Jewish, Muslims (yeah, we have several here) and Pagans that already feel comfortable on their boards. I'd prefer we not discuss what people FEEL about their gods, but how that manifests in temporary spurts of goodwill toward strangers or in tangible things.

Thanks.

nancy02664
12-30-2006, 05:31 AM
Yes, Roger, I suggested they try a more appropriate place--several times. Is that the same as telling them to "just go away, that they are not welcome here"? Not by a long shot. What they were saying was making me feel unwelome, and that's why I responded the way I did. So please don't ascribe some sort of veiled, malicious meaning to my statements.

Pat~
12-30-2006, 05:37 AM
god with a capital G is primarily used by Christianity to reference a specific entity. No, it is used by Christians, Jews, and Muslims...a broad spectrum of religious persuasion. You made the leap to Christianity.




Nor did I say that. I never used these words. I said I felt you IMPLIED a particular religion from the way you phrased the sentence.
My mistake. I thought you said this:


You brought in your personal bias as a Theist, and quite possibly a Christian, which is fine, but you IMPLIED that the basis of your one particular religion is the only basis for motivation.


No, not really. It morphed into that, but didn't start out that way. But I'm not going to argue the point. We're dangeously close to having people feel insulted here and I don't want anyone to feel that they're not welcome to post. But please remember that NTs, as a group here at AW, are going to feel very sensitive about even DISCUSSING religion for a time, until things settle out. The OP started the thread specifically ABOUT the positive things religion did for people, it did not 'morph' into a discussion about religion. And if NTs are sensitive about discussing religion, maybe they shouldn't be posting in a thread about "Reasons to be grateful for religion."


Again, this thread is an olive branch of sorts to begin with, trying to blend the various non-theists with the Christians, Jewish, Muslims (yeah, we have several here) and Pagans that already feel comfortable on their boards. I'd prefer we not discuss what people FEEL about their gods, but how that manifests in temporary spurts of goodwill toward strangers or in tangible things.Having posted on this board for over a year, I'm well aware of the diversity of religious and nonreligious viewpoints represented here. I'm entirely comfortable with it. I also expect that anyone who is grounded in their beliefs can discuss them respectfully, even when discussing feelings.

Roger J Carlson
12-30-2006, 05:45 AM
Yes, Roger, I suggested they try a more appropriate place--several times. Is that the same as telling them to "just go away, that they are not welcome here"? Yes it is.


What they were saying was making me feel unwelome, and that's why I responded the way I did.By saying that, you made Citymouse feel unwelcome, and in fact she left.

I'm not ascribing any malicious intent on your part. I'm only saying it is not for you to decide who should post here and who should not. It is not for you to decide which forum is more appropriate for them to post in. That is for the moderator to decide.

nancy02664
12-30-2006, 06:01 AM
By saying that, you made Citymouse feel unwelcome, and in fact she left. That was her decision. I felt unwelcome, and I spoke up about it; she felt unwelcome, she left. People react differently to things.


I'm only saying it is not for you to decide who should post here and who should not. It is not for you to decide which forum is more appropriate for them to post in. That is for the moderator to decide. Obviously I have no power to prevent people from posting wherever they'd like. But I can suggest more appropriate places for certain topics of conversation, and, if theists begin talking about their gods/goddesses on a NT forum, I will definitely do so.

Cathy C
12-30-2006, 06:01 AM
The OP started the thread specifically ABOUT the positive things religion did for people, it did not 'morph' into a discussion about religion. And if NTs are sensitive about discussing religion, maybe they shouldn't be posting in a thread about "Reasons to be grateful for religion."


As I said, I won't argue with you. I will merely say that more than one person here has stated they took offense at comments you made. Whether their intepretation of your words is correct or incorrect, I'm just saying it's over. veinglory's original post discussed the generosity of religious people who didn't bring their religion into the act. They helped without asking her faith and she was grateful for their tolerance. She encouraged the rest of us to add to the discussion of tolerance of others who could share and do good without bringing religion (or non-religion) into the act. That's the basis of this thread. Nothing more.

If Citymouse has truly left, then perhaps we need to rethink the direction of this forum. I don't want arguments about religion versus non-religion or using one or the other as a club. But the forum is primarily for discussion of NT topics, which implies a certain level of sway toward NT members and their needs. That's how I envisioned it. If that doesn't meet other people's expectations, then perhaps we need to start a thread to discuss that. As of now, this topic is closed. Anyone who wants to re-open it can PM me with a good reason.