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  1. #81
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Like say, if they moved in next to a tribe called the Rotisserons, who ate mutton with gravy but also happened to worship idols, they'd make a point of not eating mutton with gravy to show they were different to the Rotisserons.
    However, no one would deny that the Rotisserons made a valuable contribution to modern culture, in the form of Rotisserie Lamb.

    Mmmm.

  2. #82
    Wait, what? Varelse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    They had a big thing about making themselves stand out as different to the other tribes and peoples around them, so sought to define themselves by these convoluted laws and customs and whatever that distinguished them from others. And the purity complex thing too, they believed doing these things made them 'purer' or kept them pure.

    Like say, if they moved in next to a tribe called the Rotisserons, who ate mutton with gravy but also happened to worship idols, they'd make a point of not eating mutton with gravy to show they were different to the Rotisserons.

    (IMO of course)
    You have a point. Of course, how effective this policy was would be a whole 'nother argument.
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  3. #83
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varelse View Post
    You have a point. Of course, how effective this policy was would be a whole 'nother argument.
    The policy was highly effective in a sense: There are still people who can be identified as ethnic, cultural, and religious Jews.

    Despite a history fraught with disaster, persecution, and dispersion, Jews have maintained a distinct ethnicity and cultural identity for an incredibly long time. The only other people groups who have been able to sustain an identity and a culture for so long have done so mostly by way of isolation (Australian Aborigines, for example).

    You can still find a Jew, but you can't find an Akkadian or a Hittite or an Etruscan, or even a Lombard or a Mercian or a Frank for that matter. All these other groups were assimilated into others and lost their identities.

  4. #84
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Heh, yeah... well I just don't buy the whole "chosen people" thing. Y'know, I can't go with that. I think it's far more Jewish wishful thinking or delusions of grandeur, or as I say, a convenient justification for them being exempt from the same standards that others are expected to show towards them, and for obliterating people and war crimes etc.

    I can't go along with the idea that the loving God we met in Jesus Christ is the kind of god who would create an entire species, and then abandon the vast majority of it to its fate whilst concentrating on this one particular race, purely because one of their ancestors happened to be a nice guy. It's just that human tendency to want to "own" The Truth, y'know they had a good thing going there, "we have The Truth because we're the chosen people! bow before us and let us conquer you or take you as slaves, none of your arguments or objections are valid!"

    Personally I can't see any valid argument, except those of the Jews themselves in the various passages of the Bible, for God not having 'bothered' with the rest of humanity just as much as with the Jews. If you think that at the same time as the Jews were sacking Jericho and when King David was having it away with that chick he liked after having her husband conveniently disposed of, there were Hindus in India who had a fully developed spirituality based on non-violence and disciplined meditation and y'know, all that stuff... well, it just makes me think really, that God showed himself to other peoples in other ways too.

    Lao Tzu's ideas of leadership and how to rule wisely and benevolently strike me as being much more in line with what Jesus taught than anything in the Old Testament.

    Oberon - would you say that was a good thing though? what's better - to change and update your identity by way of trading and absorbing ideas from others, or keeping it rigidly 'pure' for the sheer hell of it, even though there are other people with some better ideas?

    You may now begin chanting "Burn the heretic!"

    edit - by the way, there's no such thing as a 'pure' race. Etruscans? Well, who were they before they were Etruscans? How did they get there? Did they just evolve independently from different apes? Did they just appear in their part of the world randomly? Did any people or tribe or race 'just appear'? Of course not. They came from somewhere, and who they were and what tribes or now-vanished races they were a mixture of before they became known in their earliest form that we know about, is anyone's guess. Likewise, Abraham himself would've been a cocktail of all the different breeds/brands of homo sapiens that had evolved by his time.

    All of us are just overgrown chimpanzees ffs, and what our distant ancestors in pre-history got up to and where they moved to and from and how they mixed with each other will always be a mystery.
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  5. #85
    Oberon
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    Eh. People are people, with all the same warts and virtues. If God wanted to save Mankind through sending a Christ, he'd have to start somewhere. The Jews would have made as good and bad a place to start as any.

    In those terms, being "God's chosen people" is no particular credit.

    Christ himself said he was on the scene for everyone's benefit, and acted consistently with that idea. At the same time, he never denied his Jewishness (though many times he was well and truly pissed with the Jewish religious establishment).

  6. #86
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Eh. People are people, with all the same warts and virtues. If God wanted to save Mankind through sending a Christ, he'd have to start somewhere. The Jews would have made as good and bad a place to start as any.

    In those terms, being "God's chosen people" is no particular credit.

    Christ himself said he was on the scene for everyone's benefit, and acted consistently with that idea. At the same time, he never denied his Jewishness (though many times he was well and truly pissed with the Jewish religious establishment).
    Yeah but I see no reason to believe that that was the ONLY time God walked the earth or spoke directly to human beings, just cos it was the first time the Jews noticed it.

    And of course, if Jesus was starting there then he would present himself in such a way that would translate well into the terms the people around him could understand. You can see him doing that throughout the Gospels, harnessing local beliefs and customs to make his points. Take the guy near the pool at Bethsaida - it's this superstitious idea that bathing in this water will heal you, it's a local superstition, but he doesn't judge them for it or tell them off, he just uses it as an opportunity to make a point. If he'd been in China or India or Australia or Scandinavia, he'd have used whatever their local belief system was for the same purpose, IMO.

    I don't see any reason to see the Jewish context as any more sacred, valid or holy when all it was, was a hook that God used to hang his thoughts on. If even a lowly chimpanzee like me can find many different ways of saying the same thing to different people according to their worldviews and stuff, then I'm sure God would have no trouble doing the same thing, only better.
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  7. #87
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    edit - by the way, there's no such thing as a 'pure' race. Etruscans? Well, who were they before they were Etruscans? How did they get there? Did they just evolve independently from different apes? Did they just appear in their part of the world randomly? Did any people or tribe or race 'just appear'? Of course not. They came from somewhere, and who they were and what tribes or now-vanished races they were a mixture of before they became known in their earliest form that we know about, is anyone's guess. Likewise, Abraham himself would've been a cocktail of all the different breeds/brands of homo sapiens that had evolved by his time.
    That's true of the genes, but not true of the culture, nor of the religion. It's not hard to keep a genetic line going for a hundred generations... but a cultural identity? That's quite another matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    All of us are just overgrown chimpanzees ffs...
    Well, some of us more so than others...

    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    ...and what our distant ancestors in pre-history got up to and where they moved to and from and how they mixed with each other will always be a mystery.
    And a fascinating one at that.

    Incidentally, I don't think these matters will always be a mystery. If you believe in an afterlife, it's not ridiculous to suppose that much we consider mysterious in this life will be revealed in the next.

    On the other hand, if you don't believe in an afterlife, none of it much matters anyway... or, at least, its significance requires a massive re-evaluation.

  8. #88
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Yeah but I see no reason to believe that that was the ONLY time God walked the earth or spoke directly to human beings, just cos it was the first time the Jews noticed it.
    Rest assured, that's one of those mysteries I'll be eager to see the answer to one day.

    To me, the real question is not "Are religious traditions other than the Jewish one valid?" but rather "Is the Jewish religious tradition valid?" Xenophobia isn't a Jewish exclusive by any means.

  9. #89
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Well yeah obviously, I meant it'll always be a mystery to us here and now. Though naturally I suppose science might come up with a way of figuring it all out eventually, but the point is that until then nobody living knows these things, so basing entire philosophies on it seems a trifle absurd to me.

    Cultural identity... hm, I don't know of many Jews living in London who still live just as in the Old Testament. They have changed - their culture hasn't stayed the same at all throughout history, even just through Biblical times you can see it changing and evolving, and you can see them borrowing ideas from other races around them at the time. They go from the Covenant God, the God of Liberation to the God of Hosts (convenient transformation, dontcha think, for a race that's getting into wars a lot?), then later in Isaiah and Hosea he's changed character completely again. And their culture has too. About the only thing that's stayed completely consistent is the monotheism - despite the beliefs about God's nature having changed - and the name.

    Just because they've got a bunch of written documents (of doubtful authenticity) that record this transformation/progression, which they claim hasn't changed, and their attitude towards its sacredness remains... well, I dunno. I don't see that as any reason to believe that they're any more culturally consistent than say, the French, whose history and evolution as a nation is documented from before Caesar's invasions all the way to the present day. We've called ourselves French and spoken various versions of the same language, subscribed to the same religion (officially) and lived in roughly the same part of the world for over 1500 years, but those are just pivots around which everything constantly revolves and changes. The ideology and worldview of a modern Frenchman would be unthinkably different to one of his own ancestors even just two centuries ago, let alone back in Joan of Arc's time. Yet it's still considered their common heritage.

    But yeah... xenophobia is a human thing, comes in all shapes, sizes, colours and creeds!!
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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  10. #90
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I don't see that as any reason to believe that they're any more culturally consistent than say, the French, whose history and evolution as a nation is documented from before Caesar's invasions all the way to the present day. We've called ourselves French and spoken various versions of the same language, subscribed to the same religion (officially) and lived in roughly the same part of the world for over 1500 years, but those are just pivots around which everything constantly revolves and changes. The ideology and worldview of a modern Frenchman would be unthinkably different to one of his own ancestors even just two centuries ago, let alone back in Joan of Arc's time. Yet it's still considered their common heritage.
    ...and the survival of this cultural identity quite probably can be credited to French xenophobia.

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