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  1. #11
    clever fool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    See, this post is a very good illustration of why people can not think about religion, its just considered a social construct, an imaginary idea, so basically you may as well be talking about someone's imaginary friend or a fantasy fandom, such as Star Wars, Star Trek or Lord of The Rings.

    Which is not the case. There is an objective cosmic order whether you choose an awareness of it or not, its probably a good thing that for the most part practical reason kicks in and you dont become convinced that gravity is just a social construct and try to test that one out.

    The thing about objecting to "organised" religion or "organisation" in terms of religion, its an old one which has been repeated in terms of every ideological innovation or development since, its one of those perennial things which is dismissed too easily, if you'd like to read a liberal, feminist, left wing version of the dilemma you could find a copy of "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" or the lousy response to it "The Tyranny of Tyranny" which is a good representation of its opposite.

    You could then consider, if you want, the role of tradition in transmitting social learning or "memory" across generations, how that translates into cultures and institutions, it should be balanced with innovation or fresh insight but it remains a thing and consider whether spontaneity or "chaotic" mediums could achieve a result at all. Then consider the consequences for a society of not possessing those things, maybe just per se or perhaps in competition or contrast with other societies, think 40 First Dates without any nice helpful family or love interest to look after the central character but instead evil, exploitative pimp types.

    The alignment matrixes of AD&D between evil/good and lawful/chaotic are pretty good when considering these things, that is a backdrop of high fantasy post-apocalypse, ie order has been defeated, at least lawful good order, and is only ever an emergent or competiting force among others, in terms of culture it could describe a post-modernism or perhaps what gives rise to post-modernism.

    Anyway, I've rambled on a bit there.
    Most religions are social constructs, at least, that's what they've turned into. The internal aspect of religions is lost on alot of people. I'm not denying such an aspect exists, in fact I'm a big believer in it.

    Also when I say I don't like organised Christianity, I don't have anything against people's sincere beliefs, but I don't care for the way Christian churches, including the RCC, have attempted to stigmatize religions which they feel they can't control. Why does the RCC celebrate ecumenism with other highly organised religions such as Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Jainism, Hinduism, etc, but goes as far as to stigmatise "new religious movements". I have a problem with the way organised Christian churches have spread misinformation about religions or organizations they don't agree with, though the RCC isn't alone in this regard. You wouldn't like it either if someone was spreading misinformation about the RCC. I'm not saying you personally are doing this btw, but I know many catholics irl including some in my family, who believe total misinformation about secret societies, about the occult, satanism etc. Again, not all churchgoers do this, but unfortunately it's not uncommon.

    For example one of my mother's friends is catholic and she has some conservative catholic relatives in France who tell her stories and she repeats that the freemasons are in league with Trump, Kim Jon Un, and Erdogan, that they sacrifice babies and are in league with Satan. We're talking an adult woman with a an education from a wealthy background. How is it possible someone like this believes such nonsense?

    I don't know why the RCC is so adamant about opposing freemasonry for example, not to mention the new age, thelema, wicca and satanism, not that these things should be confused with each other except that conventional religions look down on them and even spread disinformation (often deliberately) on these movements.

    So I'm not against organisation, I agree with you that a competely de-structured movement wouldn't work to well, but I'm just clarifying my stance on this.

    Though I guess we're getting off topic...

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Most religions are social constructs, at least, that's what they've turned into. The internal aspect of religions is lost on alot of people. I'm not denying such an aspect exists, in fact I'm a big believer in it.

    Also when I say I don't like organised Christianity, I don't have anything against people's sincere beliefs, but I don't care for the way Christian churches, including the RCC, have attempted to stigmatize religions which they feel they can't control. Why does the RCC celebrate ecumenism with other highly organised religions such as Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Jainism, Hinduism, etc, but goes as far as to stigmatise "new religious movements". I have a problem with the way organised Christian churches have spread misinformation about religions or organizations they don't agree with, though the RCC isn't alone in this regard. You wouldn't like it either if someone was spreading misinformation about the RCC. I'm not saying you personally are doing this btw, but I know many catholics irl including some in my family, who believe total misinformation about secret societies, about the occult, satanism etc. Again, not all churchgoers do this, but unfortunately it's not uncommon.

    For example one of my mother's friends is catholic and she has some conservative catholic relatives in France who tell her stories and she repeats that the freemasons are in league with Trump, Kim Jon Un, and Erdogan, that they sacrifice babies and are in league with Satan. We're talking an adult woman with a an education from a wealthy background. How is it possible someone like this believes such nonsense?

    I don't know why the RCC is so adamant about opposing freemasonry for example, not to mention the new age, thelema, wicca and satanism, not that these things should be confused with each other except that conventional religions look down on them and even spread disinformation (often deliberately) on these movements.

    So I'm not against organisation, I agree with you that a competely de-structured movement wouldn't work to well, but I'm just clarifying my stance on this.

    Though I guess we're getting off topic...
    I dont believe religion is a social construct, I'm not sure what you mean by internal aspects but anyway.

    What you have said about having relatives which believe those conspiracy theories about free masonry and the US presidency, that's much more widespread than the RCC, its certainly not official RCC "policy" or "opinion", the actual reasons for opposing free masonry are pretty reasonable, I've read about that it pertains in the most part to the swearing of oaths, binding obligations and secrecy, most of it is largely opinion which would not be out of keeping with more recent liberal democratic opinions about secret societies and possible corruption.

    The opposition of the RCC to occultism shouldnt be surprising and I dont believe they do deal in misinformation on that respect at all, it should not be a surprise that they do not affirm new religious movements or occultism since those same movements and creeds have very little good to say about the RCC, although besides any sort of tit-for-tat reasoning the RCC deals in matters of truth, which is not relative, you could watch the film Silence to see the sorts of persecution RCs have suffered for believing that and opposing other creedos or simply just disbelieving them and quietly practicing their beliefs after their own fashion. Years and years of propaganda would have it that the RCC has always been and is in all contexts a powerful and oppressive force, which couldnt be further from the truth.

    Anyway, its possible to have an open and honest difference of opinion, ie do not support a church or its professed beliefs as fact, without attributing it to the church being organised or an older institution, if you know what I mean.

  3. #13
    clever fool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    I dont believe religion is a social construct, I'm not sure what you mean by internal aspects but anyway.

    What you have said about having relatives which believe those conspiracy theories about free masonry and the US presidency, that's much more widespread than the RCC, its certainly not official RCC "policy" or "opinion", the actual reasons for opposing free masonry are pretty reasonable, I've read about that it pertains in the most part to the swearing of oaths, binding obligations and secrecy, most of it is largely opinion which would not be out of keeping with more recent liberal democratic opinions about secret societies and possible corruption.

    The opposition of the RCC to occultism shouldnt be surprising and I dont believe they do deal in misinformation on that respect at all, it should not be a surprise that they do not affirm new religious movements or occultism since those same movements and creeds have very little good to say about the RCC, although besides any sort of tit-for-tat reasoning the RCC deals in matters of truth, which is not relative, you could watch the film Silence to see the sorts of persecution RCs have suffered for believing that and opposing other creedos or simply just disbelieving them and quietly practicing their beliefs after their own fashion. Years and years of propaganda would have it that the RCC has always been and is in all contexts a powerful and oppressive force, which couldnt be further from the truth.

    Anyway, its possible to have an open and honest difference of opinion, ie do not support a church or its professed beliefs as fact, without attributing it to the church being organised or an older institution, if you know what I mean.
    Sure, I'm not saying that the RCC is officially spreading misinformation, though there is alot of misinformation going on about the occult movements, this happened in the US with the evangelicals too, it was obvious that the "satanic panic" type claims were false from the FBI investigation into the matter, I don't know who exatcly was behind such claims but it certainly was done for commercial reasons, ie selling books and media hype.

    I agree the RCC is not an oppressive institution, though in the middle ages for example it was, the truth is that this isn't the case today anymore.

    Also, by social aspect of religion I mean more the way religion is a convention for some people, whether it be Christianity or Buddhism, alot of the deeper meaning and rich, varying interpetations of these relgions have been lost in favor of a more...conventional aspect, people believe in dogma mainly because they were told its true, less because of inner meaning, though I am aware there are some people who's inner meaning may coincide with said dogma, but that isn't everyone.

    Also, as to the whole secrecy aspect of freemasonry and other secret societies, while I understand many people not liking that type of thing, because it creates a lackof transperancy in these societies, which doesn't mean they're commiting crimes or part of some world conspiracy or anything like that, I don't if you are aware but anti-masonic propaganda goes far beyond this oppositon to secrecy, look up the taxil hoax if you want to get an idea of disinformation that many catholics believed in and that the then pope praised, many still believe elements of the taxil hoax and while I'm not saying the RCC offically promotes this stuff, I am dissapointed at how little they do to set the record straight when it comes to this hoax. What I mean is that the Taxil hoax was meant as a prank on the RCC but it seems like it was a prank they many refused to admit as such because it suits them well to believe freemasonry is evil.

    So basically what I'm saying is that I don't have a problem with religion, or the RCC per se, but I do wish more was done to combat misinformation on the part of some of its members...

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Sure, I'm not saying that the RCC is officially spreading misinformation, though there is alot of misinformation going on about the occult movements, this happened in the US with the evangelicals too, it was obvious that the "satanic panic" type claims were false from the FBI investigation into the matter, I don't know who exatcly was behind such claims but it certainly was done for commercial reasons, ie selling books and media hype.

    I agree the RCC is not an oppressive institution, though in the middle ages for example it was, the truth is that this isn't the case today anymore.

    Also, by social aspect of religion I mean more the way religion is a convention for some people, whether it be Christianity or Buddhism, alot of the deeper meaning and rich, varying interpetations of these relgions have been lost in favor of a more...conventional aspect, people believe in dogma mainly because they were told its true, less because of inner meaning, though I am aware there are some people who's inner meaning may coincide with said dogma, but that isn't everyone.

    Also, as to the whole secrecy aspect of freemasonry and other secret societies, while I understand many people not liking that type of thing, because it creates a lackof transperancy in these societies, which doesn't mean they're commiting crimes or part of some world conspiracy or anything like that, I don't if you are aware but anti-masonic propaganda goes far beyond this oppositon to secrecy, look up the taxil hoax if you want to get an idea of disinformation that many catholics believed in and that the then pope praised, many still believe elements of the taxil hoax and while I'm not saying the RCC offically promotes this stuff, I am dissapointed at how little they do to set the record straight when it comes to this hoax. What I mean is that the Taxil hoax was meant as a prank on the RCC but it seems like it was a prank they many refused to admit as such because it suits them well to believe freemasonry is evil.

    So basically what I'm saying is that I don't have a problem with religion, or the RCC per se, but I do wish more was done to combat misinformation on the part of some of its members...
    I dont think they are any more or less prone to misinformation than any other faith community or even those with ostensibly no faith, I hope it doesnt cause a disagreement but I've never heard of this reference you mention to a hoax involving free masonry, which would suggest to me that its pretty obscure, so I'm not sure that I'd know why an institution like the RCC would decide to prioritise anything about it.

    There may be people who engage in or believe in dogmatics, I knew one person who did in my whole 38 years of life and he was kind of an exception sort of being, gradually gravitated towards fascism, and I strongly suspect that he had some psychological issues which had gone undiagnosed and professed the belief in dogmatics that he did as a strong wish to avoid any emotional conflict or mental trouble from a consequence of doubts, second thoughts etc. I like to think they are less, less commonplace with the passage of time.

    In terms of its history or legacies the RCC has apologised for the factual crimes its played a part in, although I would suggest there is as much good as there is bad, the salem witch trials and other witch hunting atrocities which most people remember were never part of the RCC's history but instead perpetrated by neutral or chaotic (to borrow the AD&D alignments again) christian congregations.

    The heresy hunting and inquisitorial atrocities were fewer than supposed and often many of them were committed by local feudal authorities before they even arrived on the scene or in their stead even, now I know there's a complex medieval politics involved in that, some would claim that those local, regional and national atrocities which did occur were committed in view of trying to prevent greater ones perpetuated by the inquisition which had a powerful, terrifying reputation but I'd be content to say it was an awful time all around, if the RCC was criminal it was in step with EVERY other institutional authority at the time. That's not to defend it, it was indefensible, but there was enough of that to go around. Plus, I think, over time, given some of my own research, that in a time when pretty incredible superstition reigned, it is possible that some of what was under attack as heresy or black magics was worth trying to police out of existence, it was not modern times at all.

  5. #15
    clever fool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    I dont think they are any more or less prone to misinformation than any other faith community or even those with ostensibly no faith, I hope it doesnt cause a disagreement but I've never heard of this reference you mention to a hoax involving free masonry, which would suggest to me that its pretty obscure, so I'm not sure that I'd know why an institution like the RCC would decide to prioritise anything about it.
    Taxil hoax - Wikipedia


    In terms of its history or legacies the RCC has apologised for the factual crimes its played a part in, although I would suggest there is as much good as there is bad, the salem witch trials and other witch hunting atrocities which most people remember were never part of the RCC's history but instead perpetrated by neutral or chaotic (to borrow the AD&D alignments again) christian congregations.
    I know that they have, and like I said it's not just the RCC which has done this type of thing, so I'm by no means singling the RCC out or anything.

    Plus, I think, over time, given some of my own research, that in a time when pretty incredible superstition reigned, it is possible that some of what was under attack as heresy or black magics was worth trying to police out of existence, it was not modern times at all.
    I personally think that stuff would've been fascinating to look at, kinda like what was lost with the library of Alexandria, though obviously on a much, much smaller scale than the library because the library was just a barbaric move...and it wasn't the RCC that did it that, noone really knows who did but sources say it was probably already destroyed by pagan Rome.

    I'm just quoting these parts of your post btw because I either agree with the rest and/or don't have anything to add.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Taxil hoax - Wikipedia




    I know that they have, and like I said it's not just the RCC which has done this type of thing, so I'm by no means singling the RCC out or anything.



    I personally think that stuff would've been fascinating to look at, kinda like what was lost with the library of Alexandria, though obviously on a much, much smaller scale than the library because the library was just a barbaric move...and it wasn't the RCC that did it that, noone really knows who did but sources say it was probably already destroyed by pagan Rome.

    I'm just quoting these parts of your post btw because I either agree with the rest and/or don't have anything to add.
    I just think for every instance of a highly unusual or interesting manuscripts being burned out of existence or scribes persecuted for anthologising folk wisdom or precursors to modern medicine there were probably two or more of infanticide, poisoning epidemics or serial killers using superstition as a cover (or actually believing it all).

    Like great and all as it may have been woodstock and the summer of love are to be seen as part of a bigger picture which includes the Manson family, people recall that the Beatles went to visit the Yogi, learn meditation and some great songs came out of it (one featuring lines from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying) but they dont recall that the Beatles left quickly again after John Lennon and George Harrison quarreled with the same Yogi about how he seemed to take sexual advantage of the younger female students at his meditation retreats.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    I just think for every instance of a highly unusual or interesting manuscripts being burned out of existence or scribes persecuted for anthologising folk wisdom or precursors to modern medicine there were probably two or more of infanticide, poisoning epidemics or serial killers using superstition as a cover (or actually believing it all).

    Like great and all as it may have been woodstock and the summer of love are to be seen as part of a bigger picture which includes the Manson family, people recall that the Beatles went to visit the Yogi, learn meditation and some great songs came out of it (one featuring lines from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying) but they dont recall that the Beatles left quickly again after John Lennon and George Harrison quarreled with the same Yogi about how he seemed to take sexual advantage of the younger female students at his meditation retreats.
    Could we agree that abuses, corruption, crime etc, can happen in religions which are chaotic or neutral but also in lawful one ( to borrow your D and D analogy)? I think it's humans that are often messed up, sometimes problems are structural in that a structure allows people to express their defects but blaming the structure itself where people are responsible seems ... irresponsible to say the least.

    I don't think the fact a religion is lawful means it is more trustworthy than those less organized, in D/D lawful evil is also a thing...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Could we agree that abuses, corruption, crime etc, can happen in religions which are chaotic or neutral but also in lawful one ( to borrow your D and D analogy)? I think it's humans that are often messed up, sometimes problems are structural in that a structure allows people to express their defects but blaming the structure itself where people are responsible seems ... irresponsible to say the least.

    I don't think the fact a religion is lawful means it is more trustworthy than those less organized, in D/D lawful evil is also a thing...
    I do think that lawful religions are very capable of wickedness, there's a reason I strongly identify with being neutral myself even if I practice as part of a lawful religion, I'm a huge fan of Orwell's criticism of authority or even his personal and speculative sympathy with the anarchists in the Spanish civil war, but just at present I think that its so much easy to find those sorts of criticism of anything lawful that the other side of the story deserves an airing it seldom gets (not least because a lot of the actual lawful sources or individuals are poor represenatives themselves).

    I agree with you that often it comes down to the individuals, like any organisation is only as good as the people who make it up, but I always think that the point of institutions is that they are something enduring and that operate independent of the "luck of the draw" in terms of the individuals involved or delivering them.

    At which point you segway into a huge debate about individualism versus social-ism or communitarianism (depending on whether you are left or right I suppose), most of the time I think that individualism wins by default. I think its a sign that humanity hasnt gotten out of the historical kinder garden but I appreciate that there'd be others who'd say that failing to appreciate that individualism is where its at and trying to change or transcend that is the the kindergarden or only contributes to it.

    Its a complex picture.
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  9. #19
    clever fool Typh0n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    I do think that lawful religions are very capable of wickedness, there's a reason I strongly identify with being neutral myself even if I practice as part of a lawful religion, I'm a huge fan of Orwell's criticism of authority or even his personal and speculative sympathy with the anarchists in the Spanish civil war, but just at present I think that its so much easy to find those sorts of criticism of anything lawful that the other side of the story deserves an airing it seldom gets (not least because a lot of the actual lawful sources or individuals are poor represenatives themselves).

    I agree with you that often it comes down to the individuals, like any organisation is only as good as the people who make it up, but I always think that the point of institutions is that they are something enduring and that operate independent of the "luck of the draw" in terms of the individuals involved or delivering them.

    At which point you segway into a huge debate about individualism versus social-ism or communitarianism (depending on whether you are left or right I suppose), most of the time I think that individualism wins by default. I think its a sign that humanity hasnt gotten out of the historical kinder garden but I appreciate that there'd be others who'd say that failing to appreciate that individualism is where its at and trying to change or transcend that is the the kindergarden or only contributes to it.

    Its a complex picture.
    Yeah, Indeed. Complex as you say.

    I myself identify as either neutral good or true neutral, I'm not a fan of chaos but I also appreciate freedom and individualism, yet I also feel like having a structure to discpline oneself is essential.

    I'm a big fan of individualism but not the immature, adolescent kind where selfishness is king.

    The thing I find is that no matter what the school, organization, church, institution, etc individuals all have their defects and I agree with you - the insitution should stand for something more than the defects or qualities of the individuals that compose it, this is something I appreciate since it gives it a more long-lasting vision. In a way I'm frustrated by smaller groups that pop up and then disappear when the individuals that compose it are either revealed to be corrupt or they are just no longer motivated to keep the group going, while I do appreciate the intimacy and "local" aspect of such things, I also feel that it has no staying power without a desire to transcend the individuals that compose it so that even if the founder of the group is no longer motivated they can choose someone else to carry the torch so to speak.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typh0n View Post
    Yeah, Indeed. Complex as you say.

    I myself identify as either neutral good or true neutral, I'm not a fan of chaos but I also appreciate freedom and individualism, yet I also feel like having a structure to discpline oneself is essential.

    I'm a big fan of individualism but not the immature, adolescent kind where selfishness is king.

    The thing I find is that no matter what the school, organization, church, institution, etc individuals all have their defects and I agree with you - the insitution should stand for something more than the defects or qualities of the individuals that compose it, this is something I appreciate since it gives it a more long-lasting vision. In a way I'm frustrated by smaller groups that pop up and then disappear when the individuals that compose it are either revealed to be corrupt or they are just no longer motivated to keep the group going, while I do appreciate the intimacy and "local" aspect of such things, I also feel that it has no staying power without a desire to transcend the individuals that compose it so that even if the founder of the group is no longer motivated they can choose someone else to carry the torch so to speak.
    The chaotic good alignment I see as similar to anarchists, all of them, even those which the more purists dismiss as not anarchist enough because they seek to discover some way of creating a legitimate authority through democratic or popular sovereignty means.

    My criticism of them would be largely what yours is here, its great but generally does not last, even without the oppression or violent opposition which anarchists tend to blame for any long range impact from their organising or ideas. I think there's precursors to all that which are not explicitly anarchist, or which are libertarian but not really "political" if that makes sense, like reformation splinter groups like the anabaptists and the various revivalists over the years.

    I'm a fan of both individualism and socialism/communitarianism because I dont see them as dichotomous, even if a lot of other people have and there are not too bad criticisms of the one by the fans of the other throughout history. Seeing either as a complete picture of human relationships I think is more than a bit reductive and misses the complexity of things.
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