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Old 02 May 2012, 05:06 PM   #360839 / #26
BioBeing
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You know - you asked us to read it and explain it back in our own words to see if we understood. As if in therapy. I did exactly that, and you complain I am putting words into his mouth! I wrote what I interpreted was the implied meaning of his words.

I read the article, cnorman, I quoted the article, and I showed you where I think hes going wrong. If you get depressed when people disagree with you, then I am very sorry, but there is really very little I can do with that.

Now - if that is the (or rather, a) Jewish way to look at faith, then thanks for sharing. But, if we are just supposed to all come on here and post "oh, that makes sense", then I'm again sorry. He equivocates religious faith with trust and maturity. The whole article is one big equivocation. If you don't see that, then maybe you are the one with the closed canon?
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Old 02 May 2012, 06:47 PM   #360870 / #27
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Whatever you say. From where I sit, it looks like you were reading into it all the things you expected to see -- especially when you said the rabbi had "defined faith as a system of religious beliefs," and "Jewish beliefs" at that. He just didn't do either of those things as a matter of objective, material fact.

I also notice that you didn't address any of my criticisms of your post and just chose to take a few shots at me instead.

Oh, well. As the old saying goes -- who am I gonna believe, you or my own eyes?

Like I said. No point in continuing. I just can't help pointing out misstatements of fact and claims that can't be objectively proven...
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Old 02 May 2012, 10:45 PM   #360990 / #28
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You know - you asked us to read it and explain it back in our own words to see if we understood. As if in therapy. I did exactly that, and you complain I am putting words into his mouth! I wrote what I interpreted was the implied meaning of his words.

I read the article, cnorman, I quoted the article, and I showed you where I think hes going wrong. If you get depressed when people disagree with you, then I am very sorry, but there is really very little I can do with that.

Now - if that is the (or rather, a) Jewish way to look at faith, then thanks for sharing. But, if we are just supposed to all come on here and post "oh, that makes sense", then I'm again sorry. He equivocates religious faith with trust and maturity. The whole article is one big equivocation. If you don't see that, then maybe you are the one with the closed canon?
nice job de-constructing an annoyingly slippery article biob
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Old 03 May 2012, 01:39 AM   #361083 / #29
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...

nice job de-constructing an annoyingly slippery article biob
Agreed!
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Old 03 May 2012, 12:58 PM   #361266 / #30
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Yes, I AM having a hard time letting this go. Here's why:
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You know - you asked us to read and explain it back in our own words to see if we understood. As if in therapy. I did exactly that...
Yes, you did; but the NEXT step in that process is "check to see that it's accurate (i.e. that your partner agrees that that's what was meant), and THEN respond. That makes sure you're responding to what is actually said, and not only what you HEARD."

And I did exactly THAT: I gave you some very specific criticisms of your "restatement" of the article. And your response was...
Quote:
...and you complain I am putting words into his mouth! I wrote what I interpreted was the implied meaning of his words.

I read the article, cnorman, I quoted the article, and I showed you where I think hes going wrong.
And I told you where I think YOU were going wrong with your "restatement," and your response was to, as I said above, take a shot at me as opposed to going back to the article and trying to work out something that we can AGREE that it said. You've taken the first step, as you say; but we never got to step #2, where you take MY interpretation into account as opposed to simply steamrolling over it with...
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If you get depressed when people disagree with you, then I am very sorry, but there is really very little I can do with that.
I don't "get depressed when people disagree with" me, though that little canard keeps getting tossed my way; I get depressed when people twist and distort things and substitute their own ideas for them, as opposed to actually considering a different point of view.
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Now - if that is the (or rather, a) Jewish way to look at faith, then thanks for sharing.
Ignoring the obvious sarcasm, you're quite welcome.
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But, if we are just supposed to all come on here and post "oh, that makes sense", then I'm again sorry.
And, as Reagan said, there he goes again. That was never my intention; I just hoped for an intelligent conversation about it as opposed to a mere rewriting and dismissal. I don't agree with everything the rabbi said MYSELF, but you see we never got that far.
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He equivocates religious faith with trust and maturity. The whole article is one big equivocation.
And that goes back to my remarks about your "interpretation." I think this article was written, in part, to show that this understanding of "faith" can apply to and be useful to people who do not believe in any religion or even in God. But, again, we never got that far, did we?
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If you don't see that, then maybe you are the one with the closed canon?
Maybe it isn't there, and maybe the problem is that some here insist on reading what they want to read into things whenever they see a red flag like that deadly F-word. Or the R-word, or the G-word, neither of which appeared here, of course -- but you see, you insisted on finding a way to ring both of them in anyway.
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nice job de-constructing an annoyingly slippery article biob
"Annoyingly slippery"? Maybe.

"Nice job de-constructing" it? Not so much. Rewriting it to suit, maybe.

Now let's see what will happen: some actual discussion of what was WRITTEN in that article, or just more about ME and my perceived weaknesses and foolishness...
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Old 03 May 2012, 01:13 PM   #361274 / #31
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Charles, perhaps you could stop being coy and write what YOU think about it, thereby giving us something you want to discuss, rather than simply dangling some bait, waiting for somebody to respond with their interpretation, and jumping all over them for how you think they got it wrong.

You're not the only one who's annoyed.

Try focusing on the substance of the disagreements, not the fact of their existence.
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Old 03 May 2012, 02:48 PM   #361309 / #32
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Charles, perhaps you could stop being coy and write what YOU think about it, thereby giving us something you want to discuss, rather than simply dangling some bait, waiting for somebody to respond with their interpretation, and jumping all over them for how you think they got it wrong.
Well, Bree, I did:

"It seems to me that this article is discussing a response to and approach to living in the real world, and finding meaning in that living, more than any particular "belief" in any particular idea or doctrine or concept. The application of the word "faith" to that idea seems obvious to me; "faith" in the idea that there IS or CAN BE meaning. What that meaning IS, it seems to me, is very much left up to the individual."

Didn't think I was being coy there...
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You're not the only one who's annoyed.

Try focusing on the substance of the disagreements, not the fact of their existence.
I thought I did that too. My criticisms were pretty specific, were they not?

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Old 03 May 2012, 03:38 PM   #361336 / #33
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I'm away from my computer today, so I'll respond in more detail tomorrow.
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Old 03 May 2012, 03:41 PM   #361340 / #34
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Perhaps I shouldn't have PWI'd - posting while irritated. My tolerance these days for the endless rehashings of old, old arguments is finally getting to me. My apologies for butting in. Carry on.
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Old 04 May 2012, 03:22 AM   #361660 / #35
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cn -

Quote:
"It seems to me that this article is discussing a response to and approach to living in the real world, and finding meaning in that living, more than any particular "belief" in any particular idea or doctrine or concept. The application of the word "faith" to that idea seems obvious to me; "faith" in the idea that there IS or CAN BE meaning. What that meaning IS, it seems to me, is very much left up to the individual."

That's less annoying than the article, but I'm not sure that saying you can find meaning in your life by having faith that your life has meaning is really saying anything... meaningful. Just sounds tautological to me.

If you're saying that having faith in something, no matter what, is better than not having faith, then it might be true that gives your life more meaning, but it might still be a bad thing. People do all kinds of bad shit to themselves and others because they place unwarranted trust in dodgy beliefs and dodgy people.

Having said that, such faith can result in positive things too, and I kinda have a soft spot for the likes of Armstrong and Spong who are so obviously sincere and well-meaning about that kind of faith in faith.
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Old 04 May 2012, 08:24 PM   #361907 / #36
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cn -
Quote:
"It seems to me that this article is discussing a response to and approach to living in the real world, and finding meaning in that living, more than any particular "belief" in any particular idea or doctrine or concept. The application of the word "faith" to that idea seems obvious to me; "faith" in the idea that there IS or CAN BE meaning. What that meaning IS, it seems to me, is very much left up to the individual."
That's less annoying than the article, but I'm not sure that saying you can find meaning in your life by having faith that your life has meaning is really saying anything... meaningful. Just sounds tautological to me.
That strikes me as an odd way of expressing it, and a little off. It's not "having faith that your life has meaning" that gives one's life meaning; that's simply the approach that allows one to find that meaning for oneself. I think it's universal, as opposed to tautological, and it might be pointless in THAT respect; who doesn't assume that there is meaning in what he or she does? But that's only the beginning of the discussion.
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If you're saying that having faith in something, no matter what, is better than not having faith...
Not at all.
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...then it might be true that gives your life more meaning, but it might still be a bad thing. People do all kinds of bad shit to themselves and others because they place unwarranted trust in dodgy beliefs and dodgy people.
Agreed 100%. But consider this from the article:
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The goal is to dissolve the subjective explanations that we created so that we can experience reality as clearly as possible.... This leap [toward "faith," the Kierkegaard reference] is a courageous move toward what is true, and begins by accepting things exactly as they are, with as little ego distortion as possible, and without the impulse to immediately condemn, reframe or ignore."
This resonated with me partly because of my reading of the "talks" of J. Krishnamurti, who said that the first thing one must do -- the first step -- is to drop all beliefs and dogmas and suchlike, and focus one's awareness on what IS. I felt that this article, too, was pointing toward believing only in what actually IS -- as in, what is real, in this moment, right now. Reality itself, without the labels and judgments and filters we usually apply to it without being aware of them. It's not a matter of "having faith" in anything or anyone, but only in what actually is, itself, and responding to that without what the rabbi calls "ego-defenses," or what Krishnamurti would have called "conditioning." "Faith" in dogmas or doctrines or persons actually get in the way of even perceiving the world as it actually is, never mind responding to it in a meaningful manner.

As Rabbi Lurie says in the article:
Quote:
"When you drop the ego's need to control and to be accepted (which you soon realize never worked anyways), you finally experience life as it unfolds, and discover that you do not need to figure anything out. Instead, the instructions for positive action are actually embedded in the awareness of reality itself. Then you become an active partner in growth and evolution. This is the real meaning of mature faith."
I'll grant, too, that "faith" may not have been the best word to have chosen here, because it DOES carry a lot of excess baggage; but I can't offhand think of a better one. I think perhaps he might have chosen it because a "mature faith," that is, religious faith, actually drops a lot of that baggage and becomes something more like awareness of the real, as opposed to insistence on dogmatic nonsense formulas. That's not a hurdle secularists have to jump, of course; but then this article was addressed to theists, and not to secularists. Consider it from that perspective and you might see that it isn't urging people toward unsupported beliefs, but in the precisely opposite direction.
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Having said that, such faith can result in positive things too, and I kinda have a soft spot for the likes of Armstrong and Spong who are so obviously sincere and well-meaning about that kind of faith in faith.
Yes, indeed; and isn't it true that a lot of what they say has to do with dropping the literalism and dogmas and formulae of the past and dealing with the world as it is and people as they actually are?

And let me add, thank you; this more the kind of discussion I'd hoped for.
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Old 07 May 2012, 06:57 AM   #362564 / #37
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thanks for explaining your take.

I find this sort of stuff hard to pin down and make it feel real, but I know some people get a lot from it.

If he's saying that having faith that clearly seen reality is meaningful enough without framing it in dogma or narrative or metaphor, then I don't get why he needs to bring in religiously loaded terms like faith and creation. It feels like a way of smuggling in an aura of 'otherness' and ambiguity, which seems superfluous to me but feels appropriate for some people I guess.

Personally I suspect that the currency of knowledge is the very stories we tell ourselves, rather than 'reality'. Which is fine, if it's a good story, and his seems well intentioned the way you explain it.
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Old 07 May 2012, 09:39 AM   #362582 / #38
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Maybe we need a new word to replace faith in non-religious contexts. I agree that we all have faith (in its purest sense) but the word has become loaded with a religious meaning making the statement that we have it sound unpalatable to an atheist.
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Old 07 May 2012, 10:55 AM   #362611 / #39
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Yep, agree with you on that one Ozy...

There are so many words that do/did have a wider meaning that have now taken on the connotations of religious meaning. I tend to avoid such words now as people tend to read their own meaning into it depending on their own pre-existing viewpoint.

I also give words like spirituality a wide berth unless I'm actively talking in a religious context.
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Old 07 May 2012, 01:44 PM   #362630 / #40
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How about "trust"?

Just tossing it in there; no opinion as yet.
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Old 07 May 2012, 03:34 PM   #362663 / #41
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How about "trust"?

Just tossing it in there; no opinion as yet.

Nah...politicians keep using that word which means it's now utterly valueless...
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Old 07 May 2012, 03:50 PM   #362669 / #42
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I think he used "faith" because, as I said, the article was not addressed to atheists, but to the religious. I think it was an effort to get religionists to think of "faith" in a different way -- as a way of approaching THIS life and the REAL world with openness and a clear eye, as opposed to clinging to dogmatic beliefs and ossified attitudes about some theoretical "spiritual" realm which doesn't have much to do with this real life except to get in its way.

This wasn't written to convince atheists that there's a respectable meaning for the word "faith," which some of you seem to have assumed, but to convince theists that there is a meaning for it OTHER than their conventional anti-reality supernatural Bronze Age beliefs. If one looks at it in that light, it's not "slippery" or "annoying" at all, IMHO. It's a step in the right direction for people who desperately need to take it. I thought it might be of interest here for exactly that reason.
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Old 07 May 2012, 04:39 PM   #362698 / #43
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I think he used "faith" because, as I said, the article was not addressed to atheists, but to the religious.
How so? It was an article on Huffington Post.

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I think it was an effort to get religionists to think of "faith" in a different way -- as a way of approaching THIS life and the REAL world with openness and a clear eye, as opposed to clinging to dogmatic beliefs and ossified attitudes about some theoretical "spiritual" realm which doesn't have much to do with this real life except to get in its way.
That is what you think he was saying. I would disagree. I think he was trying to do precisely what mood2 alluded to; that he was trying to appeal to secularists and those more liberal believers that may be on the spiritual fence as it were in order to "smuggle" in religious faith.

To me this reads like an apologetic; a sales pitch if you will to the disenfranchised and/or soon-to-be-disenfranchised.

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This wasn't written to convince atheists that there's a respectable meaning for the word "faith"
Upon what are you basing this? Do you know the Rabbi? That is exactly why it appears to have been written. You're engaging in apologetics for an apologetic.

Quote:
which some of you seem to have assumed, but to convince theists that there is a meaning for it OTHER than their conventional anti-reality supernatural Bronze Age beliefs.
Well, again, it's an article--a blogger's post--on the Huffington Post Religion section, not something that was, say, written to his congregation or the like and someone at Huff Post went, "We need to publish this to all our religiously minded subscribers/readers!"

Yes, it's in the Religion section, but that's just genre not any indication that he's specially targeting "the religious" as you are claiming to be the case.

Quote:
If one looks at it in that light, it's not "slippery" or "annoying" at all, IMHO.
You mean, if we look at it the way you think it should be looked at....?

Let's look at the concluding two paragraphs for what I would consider to be evidence of apologetics:

Quote:
The realization that deepening faith leads to a stronger connection to reality and to positive action is a common theme in many religious traditions. From a Judeo/Christian perspective this is demonstrated in the story of Moses and the burning bush. Although the surface of this story is well known, a careful reading of the narrative reveals another level. It is only after Moses stops and looks clearly at this little bush as it really is, that he sees that it -- like everything in creation -- burns with the life force of creation, but is not consumed. Then his own life's purpose is revealed, as all the defenses that he created to avoid seeing the real horrors of the world that he ran away from evaporate. Moses responds with the simple words that announce a willingness to be available to whatever arises: "Here I am."
There's some mighty fine Emperor's clothing being sold here in order to rationalize what originally was obviously a fantastical detail (a talking burning bush) to lend credence to a cult leader's bona fides to a bunch of pig-assed ignorant desert nomads.

One could make the same poetic claims about any fairy tale. That doesn't change the nature of the fairy tale, or address whether or not anyone believes (or diebelieves) the nature of the fairy tale. The question to the Rabbi in this regard would be, "Did an actual god use an actual burning bush to speak to Moses and if not, why did Moses lie about it?" Then you've got a ball game.

And then his last paragraph is littered with all kinds of "higher power" allusions without ever actually stating them. Why? Because he's addressing secularists and on the fence believers, imho. I'll highlight the trigger words and phrases that I think evidence this:

Quote:
This is the highest level of faith, as you surrender yourself to life as it appears, with the confidence in the inherent goodness of creation and in your own powers to act effectively, the knowledge that your life has a positive purpose, and the assurance that you are eternally cared for and loved. This is an exciting way to live, because every moment is unexpected and filled with possibilities.
He goes to great lengths never to say "By God" but it's jam packed into almost everything he wrote. Highest level; life is created; life has a purpose; God eternally cares for you and loves you; etc.

You don't see it, because of your particular bias; I see it because of mine.


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Old 07 May 2012, 04:50 PM   #362703 / #44
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I agree with what you're saying Charles, the article was clearly intended for theists.

This may indeed be the main reason why a lot of the atheists here (including ex-theist atheists like myself) either didn't get it or much more likely really, really didn't identify with it...

It's not about failure to read or comprehend, it's an inability to connect with the ideas.

I must admit having spent an awful long time within an 'inherited belief system' that there is a part of me that sometimes switches off when I hear particular styles of language. Whether it's an eminent theologist in a newspaper/magazine, a minister/priest giving a droning, mindless, meaningless, impersonal eulogy or some 'manic street preacher' ranting (rather than singing ) there is a part of me that decides that there is a familiar tone and actually tries to save my brain the bother of even listening. It's similar to the mechanisms we have for blocking out adverts or unwanted sales pitches...

It's not a conscious judgement on my part (or at least not a recent one), more that my brain operates like a anti-malware application and uses some form of heuristic process to filter and often automatically block familiarly wooly and overly flowerly language that many belief systems are so famous for.

Sometimes, as hard as I may try...there are some things which fit the pattern so well that my brain automatically converts any input into 'Charlie Brown's school teacher'...

I have the same reaction to many politicians, spin doctors and public servants who mutter on while steadfastly refusibng to get to the point, answer the question they've been asked or simply admit to 'fucking up'.

It's not that I can't listen to/read them at all, I just have to try much harder to wade through it as all the time a little warning light is flashing somewhere in my brain. At the end, a little voice deep inside then says "I told you so, now you've just wasted 10 minutes of your life that you could have spent ironing or tying flies!"

It's akin to trying to force yourself to like a piece of music...if it simply ain't your thing no amount of effort will ever make you 'get it'...

There are so many words now which carry so many connotations far beyond the simplest meaning that many atheists tend to avoid them, given their 'common currency' among theists. Sometimes it feels like we're saying "OK, dammit...just have the bloody word...we'll find something else to use that doesn't carry the same subjective sub-text"

Sometimes there are words which simply can't be stretched to fit everyone's needs, often simply because of the connotations which either atheists/theists are unwilling to accept, compromise on or simple risk their words being misinterpreted.

If I use words like faith or spirituality, most people will undoubtedly apply their own personal interpretation. To avoid such misunderstandings, it's easier for me to avoid using the words rather than asking them to clarify that their understanding is the same as mine then correct them as to my intended usage.

If the Rabbi wishes to encourage other religious folks that particular words can be more inclusive and wider ranging then more power to his elbow but, as you say, it's more directed at religionists than those who have little vested in the outcome of his dialogue.
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Old 07 May 2012, 05:24 PM   #362718 / #45
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I agree with what you're saying Charles, the article was clearly intended for theists.
Then why is the title of the article, "Is faith the rejection of reality?" What theist thinks that faith is the rejection of reality?

Sorry, but it's "clearly intended" for secularists/fence sitters as an apologetic.

Your turn .
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Old 07 May 2012, 05:43 PM   #362727 / #46
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I agree with what you're saying Charles, the article was clearly intended for theists.
Thanks. I would think that the most obvious evidence of that would be that it appeared in the Religion section of the HuffPo. One wonders just how many atheists peruse that section regularly.
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This may indeed be the main reason why a lot of the atheists here (including ex-theist atheists like myself) either didn't get it or much more likely really, really didn't identify with it...

It's not about failure to read or comprehend, it's an inability to connect with the ideas.
I quite agree; after spending a few years arguing against pro-supernatural apologetics and seeing little else in the way of religious debate, I'm sure it's hard for some to connect with the idea that a religionist might be addressing other religionists with some progressive and humanistic ideas. It would be easy for an atheist to assume that all arguments on the subject of religion, including this one, are all about proving the existence of God or the truth of religion to those who don't share those ideas. That is, of course, assuming that the whole world revolves around one's own understanding of that subject. It's the precise mirror image of some religionists' attitudes on the other side, which (I speak from experience) often assume that any argument discussing the weaknesses of a particular religious belief or mindset is equivalent to an argument that there is no God -- as opposed to there being a different way to express or live one's belief. Too bad.

It seemed clear to me that this article was about showing a different perspective to those who DO hold those beliefs. I regard koyaanisqatsi's contention that the piece was all about apologetics as very much of a stretch. Invoking allusions to the supernatural was more about acknowledging the beliefs of those whom he was addressing, not of "smuggling" in religious ideas. It it had been the latter, the "smuggling" was very clumsy indeed.
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I must admit having spent an awful long time within an 'inherited belief system' that there is a part of me that sometimes switches off when I hear particular styles of language. Whether it's an eminent theologist in a newspaper/magazine, a minister/priest giving a droning, mindless, meaningless, impersonal eulogy or some 'manic street preacher' ranting (rather than singing ) there is a part of me that decides that there is a familiar tone and actually tries to save my brain the bother of even listening. It's similar to the mechanisms we have for blocking out adverts or unwanted sales pitches...

It's not a conscious judgement on my part (or at least not a recent one), more that my brain operates like a anti-malware application and uses some form of heuristic process to filter and often automatically block familiarly wooly and overly flowerly language that many belief systems are so famous for.

Sometimes, as hard as I may try...there are some things which fit the pattern so well that my brain automatically converts any input into 'Charlie Brown's school teacher'...
As an ex-Christian from the South, I know exactly what you're talking about. I know the "ministerial tune," as we rather disparagingly called that familiar singsong inflection in seminary, and I can perform it on command.

I once heard the pastor in my home church preach an entire sermon on the subject of "Kingdom Come," as if it were a stand-alone noun of some sort, and not a part of the complete phrase, "May Thy Kingdom come." A perfect example of mindless rhetoric, pseudoreligious white noise.
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I have the same reaction to many politicians, spin doctors and public servants who mutter on while steadfastly refusibng to get to the point, answer the question they've been asked or simply admit to 'fucking up'.
True dat. I once heard a Texas United States Senator speak for almost an hour when I was in high school, and it was all high-sounding rhetoric that I realized even at 17 meant, objectively, nothing at all. I would happily agree that there's more of that in religion than in any other human endeavor, though politics can certainly give it a run for its money.
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It's not that I can't listen to/read them at all, I just have to try much harder to wade through it as all the time a little warning light is flashing somewhere in my brain. At the end, a little voice deep inside then says "I told you so, now you've just wasted 10 minutes of your life that you could have spent ironing or tying flies!"
And most of the time you're no doubt right.
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It's akin to trying to force yourself to like a piece of music...if it simply ain't your thing no amount of effort will ever make you 'get it'...

There are so many words now which carry so many connotations far beyond the simplest meaning that many atheists tend to avoid them, given their 'common currency' among theists. Sometimes it feels like we're saying "OK, dammit...just have the bloody word...we'll find something else to use that doesn't carry the same subjective sub-text"
Again, I quite agree; but when one is speaking to theists, one uses those words as a way to get to the new ideas one might be trying to introduce, as in this article.

On the other forum, I run into this all the time when debating Christians; many common "religious words" in Christianity have no analogues in Judaism. "Salvation," for example, in the Christian sense, is a non-concept to us; not only not a primary concern, it's not a concern at all. "Sin" and "faith" exist in my religion, but neither has the same meaning or significance as for Christians. "Heaven" is more or less a synonym for "God," as in "The Will of Heaven," and not a place where one goes when one dies. And so on. When we DO use the same words, they mean different things. Yet another reason, I suppose, why Jews generally talk about religion "in-house" and not often with non-Jews (and possibly why the rabbi in this article didn't go into religious-type ideas more than he did).

I've seen that atheists and fundamentalists very often communicate very well indeed on these matters, since they are using common understandings of those terms; they even approach the Bible in much the same way -- they agree that it's either the exact, literal Words of God Himself, or it's of no significance or value at all. We Jews tend to struggle to make ourselves understood to either, and both sides tend to assume that we're aligned with the other. Can be a bit comical, really.
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Sometimes there are words which simply can't be stretched to fit everyone's needs, often simply because of the connotations which either atheists/theists are unwilling to accept, compromise on or simple risk their words being misinterpreted.

If I use words like faith or spirituality, most people will undoubtedly apply their own personal interpretation. To avoid such misunderstandings, it's easier for me to avoid using the words rather than asking them to clarify that their understanding is the same as mine then correct them as to my intended usage.

If the Rabbi wishes to encourage other religious folks that particular words can be more inclusive and wider ranging then more power to his elbow but, as you say, it's more directed at religionists than those who have little vested in the outcome of his dialogue.
Yep. And my own mistake was not realizing that atheists and non-theists (a term popular on the other forum) would have a hard time getting out of that mindset and reading the article as a fundamentalist would. My bad -- and yet another reason not to try to make contributions to this subforum.
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Old 07 May 2012, 05:50 PM   #362732 / #47
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I agree with what you're saying Charles, the article was clearly intended for theists.
Then why is the title of the article, "Is faith the rejection of reality?"
To get the attention of theists who have so often had to deal with that accusation. That's why it got mine.

I understand that it's hard to see this article from a theist's point of view, but it makes a lot more sense that way. I wouldn't think it convincing to an atheist at all, as far as persuading him that there was anything at all to any kind of religious belief. It didn't do much in the way of persuading you, now did it?
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Old 07 May 2012, 05:55 PM   #362736 / #48
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I would think that the most obvious evidence of that would be that it appeared in the Religion section of the HuffPo.
Just as one would think that the most obvious evidence against such an assumption would be the title of the piece.

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One wonders just how many atheists peruse that section regularly.
One wonders if you do not understand the way the internet works. While an article may be categorized under a particular genre once you click on it, that doesn't mean it's exclusively accessed through that category.

One simple click on the "Unread Posts" link at the top of this page would easily demonstrate the fallacy of that kind of linear thinking.

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Old 07 May 2012, 05:55 PM   #362737 / #49
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Yeah Koy, after reading your post I'd agree that there could be an element which could be aimed at the non religious but, given the language used, the majority of his audience will be those who share some element of belief.

His flock will probably read it, other Jewish folks will probably read it (even if only because the word Rabbi catches their eye), other religionists who are either quite precious about what faith means to them or wish to acquaint themselves with other's perspectives will read it. Atheists...? Meh, not so much...

He may well have intended or hoped that some atheists will indeed read it perhaps seeing it as extremely accommodatory and encompassing of their 'world view'. Chances are though that most will skip past it (in the same way I do with the sports pages), some will only get so far before they hear Charlie Brown's teacher's voice and fewer still will read some or all of it before deciding they either disagree or haven't got a scooby what he was getting at.

I don't see it as any different to the many orations in churches, synagogues and mosques across the world supposedly directed at the unbeliever but preached to a welcoming and appreciative audience safe in the confines of their temple of choice..

So why then is the article called "Is faith the rejection of reality?"... I'd suspect he's aimed it at those who would predictably agree with him anyway or just need a little extra convincing (by way of conveniently stretching the definition) to address any slight doubts they have.

If the Rabbi genuinely believed that anyone who arrived at atheism through reason and rejection of faith alone would be moved by this article...then his 'faith' in his own persuasive abilities is misplaced...
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Old 07 May 2012, 06:04 PM   #362739 / #50
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I agree with what you're saying Charles, the article was clearly intended for theists.
Then why is the title of the article, "Is faith the rejection of reality?"
To get the attention of theists who have so often had to deal with that accusation.
You're not a theist.

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I understand that it's hard to see this article from a theist's point of view, but it makes a lot more sense that way.
I absolutely see it from a theist's point of view, which I why I see it as apologetic. He's trying to explain (in secular terms) what's so great about being a theist and that theism isn't so bad and that what Jesus meant to say is...

That's what apologetics is all about; making theism palatable to the non-believers and fence-sitting believers.

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I wouldn't think it convincing to an atheist at all
And I don't think he's targeting atheists exclusively. I think he's doing what I believe you often do; apologizing for his own beliefs; i.e., justifying his own lack of conviction in anything old school, but refusing to give up that last bit of godhood and having to face the cold hard facts. Hence that ending paragraph that reveals what he's really talking about is a God who loves us, created us with a purpose and has our back so we can focus on the blah blah blah.

It's godspeak whether he uses the word "god" or not.

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It didn't do much in the way of persuading you, now did it?
I have a very well trained bullshit detector .

But again, it wasn't aimed at me. It was (quite clearly) aimed at you; a non-theist theist. Its purpose is to make the irrational rational; the unpalatable palatable. Its purpose is to apologize and get you (and those in your camp) to either remain committed or jump off the fence and rejoin the cult.

It's rather classic cult propaganda in fact, in that regard.
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