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Author Topic: Three games about religion  (Read 31357 times)
contracycle
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« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2011, 12:37:11 PM »

Alfryd: I don't think the claim was that religion was exclusive in regards its propagation of cultural forms.  But rather that we are all affected by the orthodoxies and conventions that are current in our cultural setting. Obviously we're not pre-programmed robots either, but until not very long ago in historical terms the church was an extremely powerful, nearly all-pervasive force.  So a lot of the repetition for repetition's sake originates in or was encouraged by religion, even if they aren't strictly speaking actually religious.  the general avoidance of religious topics in any depth has resulted in them all being ignored, no matter how strong or weak the case for them being "really" religious might be.

ADGBoss:  As far religions prior current ones are concerned, sure, stuff like Greek and Roman societies were misogynistic in their own right.  In one sense, then, yes you could say it's a "secular belief" carried along by religion, but by the same token that's just a description of the problem, in that the religious patina gives people the sense that they doing the right and proper, indeed moral, thing by maintaining such discrimination.  I used to know someone who claimed he was only a racist in church, citing some biblical story which was being used as justification.  So it might not be a direct relationship but I would think that a decline in religious sentiment probably opens a space for people to engage in the discussion without being branded as heretics and immoral disruptors of the divinely ordained social structure.  In terms of deeper history, the first that look liike religious objects and sites are usually female oriented, things like the Venus of Willendorf or the womb-shaped temples of Malta.  It's probably the case that the earliest "religions" were basically goddess-worship and that women held significant positions in those societies.  The development, later, of specifically male monotheisms therefore suggests that there was a distinct change.  After all a singular, abstract god doesn't need to actually have a gender at all.
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Alfryd
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« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2011, 01:19:22 AM »

Quote from: ADGBoss
In my mind this also brings up the idea of cause and effect. Gender roles are important in most religions and with only a surface glance at the phenomena, one might conclude that religion, somewhat dominated by males, created the gender situation we have today around the world. When it could easily be argued that the same gender inequity existed prior to the modern religions (not everywhere but in many places) . So which was the chicken and which the egg?  Will that inequality go away with the continued downplay of the importance of religion, at least in America? Gender roles are just one concept where religion may have been the instrument of a more secular belief.
Well, I think- as Ron has pointed out- the actual causal links between the morals and proscriptions ordained by a given religious institution and (A) those contained within it's holy texts and/or (B) implied by it's core metaphysical concepts can be very tenuous.  I mean, the basic concepts of a benign, incorporeal, interventionist deity, or reincarnation, or the accumulation of mana, etc. don't inherently make any statements about gender relations, so far as I can tell.  To the extent that one identifies religion as 'core metaphysical beliefs' as distinct from dogma, scripture, institutions or observance, it's often hard to assign direct blame to the former for social ills ascribed to the latter.
Quote
I hope I am staying relevant and on-topic here, at least I am trying to. The first thing I will point out is the use of "irrational character".
Apologies- my phrasing here was  misleading.  My point is simply that it's possible for a player to role-play a character with beliefs, goals or personality traits radically different from their own- that, e.g, a stiff/clumsy puppeteer isn't the same thing as a skilled puppeteer depicting a stiff/clumsy person.

I'm not saying that there aren't situations where some degree of faith-in-the-unproven can't be justified- arguably, even in a scientific context, you need this in order to justify the mental effort and physical labour of making hypotheses and then conducting experiments to prove or disprove a new theory.  The concept of trust as a form of experimentation plays a similar role in human relations.  Or, A Canticle For Leibowitz basically makes the point that in an era where the rigorous accumulation of scientific insight is slowed or outright reversed, dogma can be most efficient repository of knowledge.
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sirogit
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« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2011, 01:54:28 PM »

Ron: That's a lot of cool stuff. I've also been giving a lot of thoughts about gamifing religion, as in the actual experience that I see every day as opposed to D&D cleric powers.

I think of 'religion' as ambitious attempt at a 'group belief system', with all of the terribleness and possibility that that includes. I've recently read some popular business books, which are full of religion - straightforward dichotomies that try to explain a wide span of human behavior in a few sentences, promises of salvation, welcoming the reader to a 'golden circle' away from the unwashed without twitter accounts, simplistic stories that most people know aren't true but will parrot them anyway because its nice to have common ground.

I liked the bit about people messiniac thoughts within gamers-who-leave-religion - I think this is part of the design of most systems that oppose free thought but nonetheless want to include free thinkers; Let them be Jesus in their own mind. Let them think of themselves as the person who would save all of these lowly sheep.

Of course, a lot of the times those freethinkers decide to strike out on their own - loudly praising their exodus from the sheep in anticipation of their future leadership position, which is either stalled because no one wants to be their sheep, or successful in light of the people who so desperately don't want to be sheep they will attach themselves vigorously to someone who will promise them they won't be.
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Alfryd
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« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2011, 01:44:05 PM »

Of course, a lot of the times those freethinkers decide to strike out on their own - loudly praising their exodus from the sheep in anticipation of their future leadership position, which is either stalled because no one wants to be their sheep, or successful in light of the people who so desperately don't want to be sheep they will attach themselves vigorously to someone who will promise them they won't be.
I'd agree with this.  In fact, I'd go on to suggest that the 'behaviour-mod indoctrination' Ron refers to would apply a kind of natural-selection fitness function to the people able to shake it off.  The ability to say, "I am right and everyone else I know is wrong" would be arrogance in the great majority of cases, but occasionally it happens to be true.  For better or worse, anybody lacking a rock-solid conviction they know better than their peers would still be there, chanting hosannas.

That said, this is mostly guesswork on my part- my own religious obligations as a kid were basically nonexistant, aside from formal occasions once or twice a year- weddings, confirmations, funerals, etc.  I do kinda match up with a few of the symptomatic characteristics- strangely enough, I can still recall the Swahili translation of the sign of the cross that was taught to us by a visiting missionary in 3rd or 4th year primary- but my religious warm-fuzzies fizzled out by themselves by the age of 12 or so, and my folks were always agnostic-by-default: not really invested enough in either conviction or atheism to really count as either.

I'd hazard that a possible hiccup here in D&D is that divine intervention is treated as a standard aspect of the fire-and-forget magical arsenal available at will to the characters-  In other words, there's no actual faith or element of uncertainty involved, no blurring of the line between the divine and the mundane.  I could be getting this completely wrong, though- how does the Glorantha setting handle presentation of a divine presence?  I honestly have no idea myself, and I'd be very interested to see it done right.
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C Luke Mula
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« Reply #34 on: July 18, 2011, 04:40:36 AM »

Wow, these are great!

I especially like the fact that you're focusing on the disconnects between the various aspects of religion (culture, institution, belief, practice):

The focus on the disconnect between personal belief/practice and the immediate culture in the red game.

The focus on the disconnect between personal practice and cultural practice/institution in the ophite game.

The focus on the disconnect between institution and belief in the relic game.

These disconnect points produce some powerful (even when casual) play. Good stuff.

I have a question, though. You mentioned that these games were borne directly out of theory as opposed to previous techniques. What specific theory led to these games?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #35 on: July 18, 2011, 09:08:37 AM »

Hi Luke, and welcome to the Forge!

(To see how Luke got here, check out Vincent's companion discussion to this thread at Anyway, Hooray for religion).

You've nailed it. The disconnects are exactly where I see the most content.

Your theory question is a good one. I'm referring to my ongoing Big Model theory, particularly at the Techniqes level. But to get there, I began with very strong Color-based ideas and images for what the fiction was supposed to look like, not necessarily in terms of plot so much as literal visual imagery. Even "visual" isn't enough - a lot of my take on the red-game material is tactile and olfactory, such as the feel of a concrete sidewalk curb and the smell of the homeless guy's spilled possessions. Or what it's like to move through your own house in the dark, being familiar enough with it and sleepy enough not to want to the light, but encountering a slight strangeness nonetheless. Or more dramatically, once I was hit unbelievably hard with a full-contact jumping spin-heel kick, just below the eye (he was aiming at my temple and I almost evaded it), but was not knocked out, and kept fighting - like that, continuing to function in a completely altered state of mind/consciousness. Regarding the ophite game, I don't know if you've ever dreamed in the following fashion, but I did it a lot when I was a kid and sometimes now too: beginning with reading a book or watching a TV show, and then finding myself in it, being the character in it ... and the dream then proceeds sometimes from the watching/audience perspective and sometimes within the doing-perspective, the latter with out without knowledge of being watched. My Color-take on the ophite material was a lot like that, bordering on my occasional desire, while reading a truly outstanding comic such as Dykes to Watch Out For,* to be in the strip myself, talking and jiving with the characters. For Relic, I kept imagining a stone column which remained standing even as the church around it evolved into new forms, was burned, rebuilt, et cetera, all the while with a skull sitting in its niche, being perceived and treated differently each time. It looked like it was drawn by Mike Mignola.

Oh! One other thing: each was built off a Ronnies list, two of which were used a couple of months later in the 2011 Ronnies. The ophite is "morning" and "wings," and Relic is "old" and "skull." The red-game used two terms from a list I haven't applied to a Ronnies round yet. I can fairly say that each process began strictly off the terms pairs, which makes their thematic unity all the more interesting in retrospect. Clearly I was using the Ronnies technique as a deep-sea net-casting device into stuff I was really chewing over, down below.

So with all that as the starting point, or points because these games were definitely written (in the current not-a-game-text form) in sequence, here's where the Theory part starts: I basically threw out every imaginable thing I assumed about role-playing techniques into a bigger span of everything I could possibly imagine, and then rooted around in that huge box. So some of the things I chose came up familiar, and some came up weird, like the Universalis-like "round" structure of the red game and its collage technique, respectively. I actually think the weirdest thing I did among all three was the totally unconstructed speaking and card use in the ophite game, the precise opposite of most of the design trajectory at the Forge and Story Games for the past eight years or so.

I think, in retrospect, that "theory" is too vague a term. I was not merely working from theory (the Big Model itself, which implies any technique will do, as long as it's well-chosen for the larger scheme of Color and Reward), but from engineering-level hypothesis - "Hey, this looks like it might work and be lots of fun, so what if it's never been done." As for why I came up with the particular combinations for each game, all I can say is that for all three of these things, I found it to be a visceral and indeed involuntary creative experience.

THE WORD "BELIEF" MAY BE AN MMM-MMM SOUND INSERTED INTO A SENTENCE TO FULFILL AN IMMEDIATE NEED
The Anyway discussion has exposed to my eyes many problems with the term "belief" - it seems to stand in for just about anything. Apparently it's possible to refer to the doctrines of one's particular religion as one's beliefs even without practicing them, or to one's daily practices as beliefs even though they are actions and not ideas, so I'm tossing in this point for clarification. Here, I am not talking about how anyone else should use the term, but how I am using it. I am referring to personal certainty that particular claims (historical, spiritual, societal, anything) are true. Absolutely nothing else. (And by "certainty," I mean it fully literally, not merely "I'll go with that because it looks rational or supported by evidence," or, "I'll go with that because I like it.")

A possible response: but that could be about anything, not just religion. That would be correct, and it supports my point. Same goes for the observation that advanced study in many religions incorporates doubt as a feature of understanding.

That discussion has also exposed a perception, perhaps born in the Telephone game, that I am "rejecting" belief as a feature of religion, in the sense that it never happens or never matters. Granted, my phrasing was strong, and I do think the issue is so radically overblown that it obscures the most important features of religion as a human phenomenon. But my first post is written to alert the reader that my own personal interests in religion - as undeniably exposed by these three game-things - focuses on other stuff. That's not same as rejecting, in the sense of claiming that belief is not part of religion or not part of the religious experience or not ever relevant.

PERHAPS SOME MORE DEPTH, OR AT LEAST I THINK IT IS, FROM MY DINGHY IN THE SHALLOWS
If I had to come up with a single bumper sticker for dealing with all three of the more interesting topics of my current intellectual life, Creative Agenda in role-playing, an evolutionary perspective on human behavior, and the role of belief in religion, it would say, What it feels like is not why we do it.

The best explanation I've ever read for why someone "is" in or of a particular religion (as we say, "is" Catholic, "is" whatever) can be found here: War Nerd 29: West African ethnic geology at Exiled Online, especially this paragraph:

Quote
We like to think a person changes religion when they see the light, one person getting the beam of light straight from God like Saul before he changed his name and franchised the operation.
It’s not like that, never has been. If your ancestors came from Germany and your family’s Lutheran, it means most likely the Protestants were winning the Thirty Years War when they marched into your ancestors’ valley. If your family’s Catholic, Wallenstein was having one of his better days, before the loopy astrologers got to him. If your folks came from England, you know why you went Protestant: Henry needed sons and that Catholic girl he married wasn’t up to it. Your great-great grandpa didn’t see the light of true religion, he got the word at the end of a pike: “New church in town, any objection?” Not a lot of objections when a feral drunk in the King’s uniform is holding a dagger to your son’s ear.
Perhaps the associated point is too brutal for the internet, but this is the Forge and not fuzzy-sunbeam Anyway,** so I'll go ahead: when someone diverges or converts or divests from the religion of origin, not much changes for that person, in terms of their standards and values for what they want religion to be in their life. What does change if they are very fortunate is the people they associate with, if those people don't perpetuate the same shit that they were trying to escape from. But a lot of the time even that doesn't happen. The hunt for a new religion, or for some intellectual construction which rejects it, seems to me to be all about finding the exact same one which happens not to include whatever emotional rejection or stress was involved in the original circumstances.

So with those starting points in mind, what I'm saying here is that one can get all manner of personal feelings and results from participating in a given religion (which to my mind includes frantically haranguing people about why one is not or no longer in it), and it may seem very much, to oneself, as if that is why one is doing that. Whereas my view from the outside is that we, people, seem to have social and ritualistic needs which are met for the most part, world-wide, by religion (in tandem with its intricate political, educational, and family-clan features), and most religions get that far for a lot of people, for better or worse being a matter for further discussion. So it really doesn't matter much which one is involved, or if it does matter, the parameters for differences are not the same as the identity-politics labels we call each religion, i.e., its name as distinct from the other named groups.

But what the useful parameters for actual differences among religions is another discussion too, I think.

Best, Ron

* Irresistible time-sink archive here. To get an idea of the range of content I'd like to see in ophite-game play, see "Proxy War" and "Sleep's Sister," although these strips show the characters twenty years older than the strips that inspire the game.

** This is a long-running joke between Vincent and me, not an internet-style sideways slam. Laugh and move on.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2011, 11:45:54 AM »

Oh yeah ...

Alfryd (Morgan, right? Morgue for short? Correct me if I've mixed you up with someone else.), you wrote,

Quote
my own religious obligations as a kid were basically nonexistant, aside from formal occasions once or twice a year- weddings, confirmations, funerals, etc.

I'm going to single this out for some possibly-unpleasant dissection. What you describe is as far from "basically nonexistant" as one can get. What you did was real. It's part of your history as a person and part of your social identity as conceived by your family at that time. And sure enough, you went on to deflect into the irrelevant issue of the intensity of belief, as if the observance were canceled or made into a quaint detail due to the strength of that entirely different variable.

It floors me how often, among gamers, when I ask about initial religious upbringing, they say "Oh, none really," and then go on, sometimes requiring prompting, to describe actual and concrete observance just as you did. Fairly or unfairly, I'm pointing at your post and saying, "There. Right there. That's what I'm talking about," every time I refer to the slippery, evasive way that gamers seem to respond to this issue.

It may or may not matter that you happened not to mention which religion was involved. That's up to you to reflect on. But I am interested, in terms of our discussion here, to know what it was, so tell me if that's OK with you.

Best, Ron
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C Luke Mula
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« Reply #37 on: July 18, 2011, 06:17:30 PM »

Real quick correction before I get into my response: I actually came here before I went to "anyway." I've been lurking at the Forge and reading through all of the (theory-related) Archives for almost a year now, and discovered Vincent and his site through this one. Not that anyone but me is interested to hear that, but there it is.

Quote
THE WORD "BELIEF" MAY BE AN MMM-MMM SOUND INSERTED INTO A SENTENCE TO FULFILL AN IMMEDIATE NEED

I am referring to personal certainty that particular claims (historical, spiritual, societal, anything) are true. Absolutely nothing else. (And by "certainty," I mean it fully literally, not merely "I'll go with that because it looks rational or supported by evidence," or, "I'll go with that because I like it.")

Yes, I'm definitely seeing the "mmm-mmm" problem of "belief" as well, which is why I'm also having to learn to define my particular usage (even when no one else is using it like that).

Thanks for the clarification on what you mean by it in this instance; it clears up a lot of confusion I had about your design priorities and interests.

Quote
We like to think a person changes religion when they see the light, one person getting the beam of light straight from God like Saul before he changed his name and franchised the operation.
It’s not like that, never has been. If your ancestors came from Germany and your family’s Lutheran, it means most likely the Protestants were winning the Thirty Years War when they marched into your ancestors’ valley. If your family’s Catholic, Wallenstein was having one of his better days, before the loopy astrologers got to him. If your folks came from England, you know why you went Protestant: Henry needed sons and that Catholic girl he married wasn’t up to it. Your great-great grandpa didn’t see the light of true religion, he got the word at the end of a pike: “New church in town, any objection?” Not a lot of objections when a feral drunk in the King’s uniform is holding a dagger to your son’s ear.

I can't remember who exactly was the speaker (I'm thinking it was Sam Harris), but in a talk I've seen recently the speaker displayed a map of the world with dominant religions covering various regions. It was very much bound by geography and was obviously a matter of other historical events perpetrating or destroying religion.

Then he put up the same map of the world, but instead of religions labeling the colored regions, it was scientific Theories (Quantum, Relativity, Evolution, Electromagnetism, etc). Everyone laughed, and he said, "Truth does not spread like religion does."

I would add to his point, though, that art does spread the way religion does. Even through generations.

Quote
Perhaps the associated point is too brutal for the internet, but this is the Forge and not fuzzy-sunbeam Anyway,** so I'll go ahead: when someone diverges or converts or divests from the religion of origin, not much changes for that person, in terms of their standards and values for what they want religion to be in their life. What does change if they are very fortunate is the people they associate with, if those people don't perpetuate the same shit that they were trying to escape from. But a lot of the time even that doesn't happen. The hunt for a new religion, or for some intellectual construction which rejects it, seems to me to be all about finding the exact same one which happens not to include whatever emotional rejection or stress was involved in the original circumstances.

THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS. I am absolutely, 100% in agreement with you on this, and it seems weird to me that people aren't as aware of the fact that they're doing this as they should be. The Creative Agendas apply almost exactly to religious practice as they do to RPG play, and I definitely see that people who grow up in one agenda tend to practice with that agenda throughout their lives. Just look at the New Atheist movement (which has all the trappings and components of a religious movement): it is often practiced with the religious-equivalent of Story Now, and a lot of the movement's members come from Christian Evangelicalism, which is almost exclusively Story Now.

It seems that, because people assume that religion is one or two of the four things (culture, institution, beliefs, practices), when people drop those one or two things, they assume that they're not religious any more. But like you said, people only tend to move from one version of their religion to another. That's much easier to see when you have a healthy idea of how religion is actually influencing you, though (like the fact that you use a ring to symbolize your marriage even though you're "not a Christian").

By the way, great analysis of the four things that people are talking about when referring to "religion." You definitely nailed it.
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C Luke Mula
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« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2011, 06:30:09 PM »

Sorry for the double-posting, but I need to amend my equivalence of Creative Agenda in rpg and religion:

The agendas don't necessarily have counterparts in all of religion, but they do in all instances of "faith."

"faith" - actually engaging in religious beliefs and putting them into practice
"engaging" - at least temporarily (though often permanently) suspending disbelief
"beliefs" - anything emotionally committed to that is not scientifically, objectively verifiable (as in, not a "fact;" includes opinions and convictions and lots of other things that don't necessarily relate to what we think of as "religion")

Okay, I think that about does it.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #39 on: July 18, 2011, 09:18:45 PM »

Ron,

Quote
as if the observance were canceled or made into a quaint detail

Well, when is something just a quaint detail, then? Never? Is there a grand halo of significant light on these things, or do you happen to have a halogen torch in your hand as you walk up to them?

My observance is that the less practical an activity becomes, the more obsessive it's pursuit (if any). Simply because once it leaves the practical realm, it slips the leash of any self corrective pattern - ie, it can never be wrong, because there is no practical metric left to judge it by.

What is the practical issues involved with such a contact? Is it different somehow from being exposed to Mc Donalds adverts on TV? I've heard theories that everyones in a cult. Whether it's a cult of keeping up wih the jone's, or a cult of coffee drinkers, or a cult of Nike wearers (ah, the hoodies...). I'd get that interest, but to just focus on being bored at a wedding during childhood seems to ignore the massive influx of other cults around, before and after it?
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Alfryd
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« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2011, 05:17:27 AM »

'm going to single this out for some possibly-unpleasant dissection. What you describe is as far from "basically nonexistant" as one can get. What you did was real. It's part of your history as a person and part of your social identity as conceived by your family at that time. And sure enough, you went on to deflect into the irrelevant issue of the intensity of belief, as if the observance were canceled or made into a quaint detail due to the strength of that entirely different variable.
I dunno, Ron.  On the sliding scale of observance, I would have considered 'only for special occasions' to be a pretty tepid degree of involvement, as opposed to, say, weekly attendance for services, an insistence on daily prayer, owning rosary beads, and so on and so forth.  I reckon it's possible to get a lot farther from 'basically nonexistent', when it comes to intensity of observance.  (In any case, yeah, it's Morgan.)  FWIW, the local church was basically bog-standard Irish Catholicism.

I wouldn't worry about whether the discussion is unpleasant- in my experience, any genuinely interesting discussion is at least mildly uncomfortable for one or both parties.  As Graham puts it, there's no point in telling people things they already believe, and they're often upset to be told things they don't.

I'm just still a little skeptical of the idea that religious belief, observance, and institutions can be considered entirely separate variables.  I agree they're not synonymous, certainly, but aside from parody religions like the pastafarians or discordianism, why observe when neither you or the folks you know actually believe or make any pretence to that effect?  And if there isn't a sufficient critical mass of observers, how does an institution for organising such activities justify it's existence?  Even in Sweden, church attendance has been dropping like a rock since the state church ceased to the state church in 2000, and there have been similar trends throughout most of Europe.  I don't think there's no causal correlation there.
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Alfryd
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« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2011, 06:03:53 AM »

Well, when is something just a quaint detail, then? Never? Is there a grand halo of significant light on these things, or do you happen to have a halogen torch in your hand as you walk up to them?
I'd have to agree with this.  Getting dragged along to church ceremonies 1 day out of 365 was a pretty minor facet of the larger pressures to partake in social rituals and activities for which I had no particular interest or aptitude.  Is it probable that had an impact on my development?  Sure.  But religion wasn't a big culprit there.
Granted, my phrasing was strong, and I do think the issue is so radically overblown that it obscures the most important features of religion as a human phenomenon.
It obscures the most directly active features, but that's a little like saying a focus on the concept of government obscures the study of nations.  It's true, in a sense, in that the government only represents a small fraction of the physical and intellectual activity and history of the nation, and that many aspects of nations- such as language, culture, literature, ethnicity, etc. can persist or extend well beyond it's boundaries- but when you strip away government entirely from a nation, it either dissolves pretty quickly, or erects a new government to replace the old one.  It's part of the definition- and not just in a purely arbitrary way, but because there are causal factors at work there.
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contracycle
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« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2011, 06:00:30 PM »

Well, yes, but...  I mostly agree with you, as someone who was not brought up "in the church" as such and recognises (and is grateful for) the significant difference.  But I'm still a child of christendom, as it were.  Even if I didnt go to church a whole lot, all the stuff I've ever been taught about charity or mercy or pity was taught in the framework of jesus-said-this-or-that, of the lessons delivered in the bible.  There was no other source of moral authority or tuition.  And therefore, I do not deny that it is "part of my history as a person" and it's definitely "a part of my social identity".  Now I would say - would perhaps like to say - that I've gone a lot further than merely the doctrine-of-habit that was imposed upon me as a child, but even if I have, that means I've had to think may way out of the implicit moral maze that was created for me.  What I'm definitely NOT is someone brought up in, say, Confucian ideals of morality and right behaviour.

It doesn't necessarily matter if you went to church if Big Bird is disseminating much the same ideas that the church propagates.  And maybe thats not totally unreasonable either; maybe the the church, as the locus in which discussion and analysis of right thought and behaviour was conducted did indeed hit upon some valid insight, regardless of whether they are justified by appeals to the supernatural.  But the very fact that you were exposed to the Western Big Bird as opposed to its Chinese equivalent is significant in itself.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2011, 07:02:15 PM »

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There was no other source of moral authority or tuition.

I dunno, this seems the same denial of history charged, but going the other way - ie, that any other source of moral suggestion is cancelled or made into quaint detail.

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maybe the the church, as the locus in which discussion and analysis of right thought and behaviour was conducted

Or maybe it's an effect of a supposed monopoly being hammered in? The locus? 'Right' thought?

Granted, a world full of moral confusion and a roiling, boiling sea of moral suggestion is a fairly unpleasant alternative.
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contracycle
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« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2011, 07:44:32 PM »

I dunno, this seems the same denial of history charged, but going the other way - ie, that any other source of moral suggestion is cancelled or made into quaint detail.

I'm telling you what it was, not what I would wish it to be.  And certainly, when I became critical, I looked beyond what was offered.  But realistically, there are no European states or colonies which are not thoroughly infused with christian doctrine.

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Or maybe it's an effect of a supposed monopoly being hammered in? The locus? 'Right' thought?

The point being here that I agree that what discussion there was on what right thought and right behavior should be was, or happened, to be conducted in a local christian framework.  I would certainly agree there is no reason to privilige that framework, but just because I don't priviliege it doesn't mean I automatically reject everything anyone who happens to be a christian has to say either.

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Granted, a world full of moral confusion and a roiling, boiling sea of moral suggestion is a fairly unpleasant alternative.

Not so sure about that, myself.
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