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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default What we teach versus what we practice

    I read this quote today and wondered what everyone would think of it, whether you would necessarily agree or not and if you do or dont what that means.

    "Children in Sunday School learn that honesty and integrity and concern for the soul should be the guiding principles of life, while "life" teaches us that to follow these principles makes us at best unrealistic dreamers." - Eric Fromm, Psychoanalysis and religion

    I find Fromm a strange and intriguing author since I'm pretty sure he was a non-theist, if he wasnt an athiest (and he may very well have been), but he took his own religious tradition, he was a Jew, and others, notably Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism, at face value as important world and individual shaping forces.

    Generally when I encounter non-theists or athiests they prove the rule that there are two aspects to denying the existence of God, first that there is no God, second that you hate God, or at least in so far as they will acknowledge nothing good what so ever about theistic traditions or history, its a very polarised tapesty of good and evil with year zero being some time with the aftermath of the enlightenment and emergence of the secular world.

    Those points are possibly tangental to the quote and what I want to discuss but its just something which reading Fromm makes me think.

  2. #2
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    How does honesty, integrity and following one's soul equate being an unrealistic dreamer?

    Agreed, that many atheist seem to make their statements with the goal in mind to rebel. It's all fine and dandy to me if that's what you believe, but I've known a number of atheists that push the topic really hard. However, let it be known that I'm not saying this is the case with ALL atheists. There are indeed many intelligent atheists, with more and more going in that direction as time goes on.

    I don't believe spirituality or a belief in a god is the root of all evil, nor is the disbelief. Rather, blind belief (or blind disbelief) and closed mindedness are.

    Anything that teaches that all humans are created equal, and deserve equal compassion and happiness is great in my book.
    "I don't know a perfect person.
    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
    -John Green

  3. #3
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Generally when I encounter non-theists or athiests they prove the rule that there are two aspects to denying the existence of God, first that there is no God, second that you hate God, or at least in so far as they will acknowledge nothing good what so ever about theistic traditions or history, its a very polarised tapesty of good and evil with year zero being some time with the aftermath of the enlightenment and emergence of the secular world.


    You're one to talk about being polarized, larky.
    -end of thread-

  4. #4
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post


    You're one to talk about being polarized, larky.
    Yeah, it is my experience though, I could be more charitable and say that I have a general belief that not all atheists are like that and only the select set which I've met are like that, and at a time perhaps that was true, but experience has worn me down.

    I dont know what you mean about polarized.

  5. #5
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Probably one of the only people I have stimulating and mutually rewarding/respectful discussions about religion is an atheist (out of people I know face to face, I mean). He's an old hippy slash renfaire guy and about as rebellious as John Denver singing Sunshine On My Shoulder (literally.. he can cover that song pretty well). Maybe every once in awhile, I hear someone whose atheism revolves around rebellion, but it's not exactly the image in my head. Then again, as a rule, I kind of tune out belligerent teens who just got a hold of their first Nietzsche book and think they know everything. They're annoying for other reasons, and it isn't atheism.

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    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    For all practical purposes I am an atheist and it isn't because I hate God, or even the idea of god. It is completely uncomfortable for me to be an atheist, but I base my thinking on what I can understand through reason. Letting go of the notion of god actually broke my heart, but I couldn't be honest with myself and adhere to the belief. It was a gradual dismantling process where I realized the more specific parameters I placed on the notion of god through organized religion and person inclination, the less likely the idea was to exist. By the time I dismantled all the pieces that could not be proven, there was nothing left, but an acknowledgment that as a tiny, human creature I do not have the hardware to fully comprehend the nature of the universe.

    I think it is even more important now to be compassionate because I don't assume there is an ultimate judge to set things straight. I also realize that each person is the product of their life. I don't think people have ultimate control of their destiny through complete freedom of choice. By removing the assumption of complete control and responsibility from each person, I find compassion is the natural conclusion. In the way a wildflower happens to grow between the cracks in a sidewalk, there is one person conditioned to be angry and ignorant and another to be moved with compassion. I don't hate the hateful because they are simply the result of a process like a piece of fruit that fell and began to rot. This understanding also removes all arrogance because I can be no better or worse than another, but am simply what humanity looks like when subjected to the set of conditions that produced who I am. The next person is what humanity looks like when subjected to their experiences. We are ultimately the same, and the logical conclusion is that whatever impulses exist towards protecting self, must apply to another because of that sameness.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Well said, Scully.

    Quote Originally Posted by Annwn View Post
    It was a gradual dismantling process where I realized the more specific parameters I placed on the notion of god through organized religion and person inclination, the less likely the idea was to exist. By the time I dismantled all the pieces that could not be proven, there was nothing left, but an acknowledgment that as a tiny, human creature I do not have the hardware to fully comprehend the nature of the universe.
    Hans Blumenberg, a German philosopher, holds that in the High Scholasticism of the Middle Ages the myth of monotheism brought itself to an end by formulating the concept of the one almighty, all-encompassing god so clearly, thereby making the one god himself so endlessly complex, that, in the end, he could not longer provide the necessary complexity reduction. So, in a sense, by becoming as complex as the universe, god became a useless explanation. As a matter of fact, we say 'universe' where earlier ages said 'god'.

  8. #8
    Senor Membrane
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I read this quote today and wondered what everyone would think of it, whether you would necessarily agree or not and if you do or dont what that means.

    "Children in Sunday School learn that honesty and integrity and concern for the soul should be the guiding principles of life, while "life" teaches us that to follow these principles makes us at best unrealistic dreamers." - Eric Fromm, Psychoanalysis and religion

    I find Fromm a strange and intriguing author since I'm pretty sure he was a non-theist, if he wasnt an athiest (and he may very well have been), but he took his own religious tradition, he was a Jew, and others, notably Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism, at face value as important world and individual shaping forces.
    I like Fromm, and I like religions, but I don't think that the question in the quote really has much to do with religions as such. I keep my eye out on how people turn out to be and what were their conditions when growing up, and I guess I am coming to an age where I can already talk about this and maybe not totally miss the point.

    The way I see it, it has all to do with what the people do, and practically nothing to do with what they teach. You can see this quite easily if you take a sensitive child to a person who is tense and anxious, or instead to a person who is relaxed and confident. The child senses this and starts to feel in the same way as the adult. Now, consider the child growing up in either of these environments. Well, basically this is not too bad, at least there is an adult around, but I don't want to go into MIA parents.

    Moving on. The child grows up with the anxious parent and his basic attitude to world will be that it is a place you need to be ever watchful, it can come at you any moment. Now, you add any teaching on this basic attitude and the child will obviously choose to remember the things that are relevant in his world. So, no matter what you teach, the damage is already done. The anxious child will interpret any religious idea in the worst possible way. And no matter what you teach to the confident child the results will probably be good. He will learn the positive aspects of the teaching. The confident child trusts the world so he is likely to learn and adapt to it a lot better than the one running away from the world.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    I like Fromm, and I like religions, but I don't think that the question in the quote really has much to do with religions as such.
    Yeah, I think the thread got side tracked, it was interesting though I'm glad its on topic again.

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