2008.08.06 13:00 - So what is Religion and is it bad?

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    Quilty Bookmite is the guardian and the "I" voice of the comments. I arrived to an empty pavilion. After a few minutes Riddle appeared followed by Wol. 

    Quilty Bookmite: Hi Riddle
    Riddle Sideways: Hi Quilty
    Quilty Bookmite: Hi Wol.
    Wol Euler: evening all!
    Riddle Sideways: thought I would terrify everybody by being here twice in one day
    Wol Euler grins. em too.
    Wol Euler: *me
    Quilty Bookmite: I don;t think I have met you Riddle.
    Riddle Sideways: in a crowded guardian sunday meeting I think
    Quilty Bookmite: I haven't been to any Sunday meetings yet. :-)
    Riddle Sideways: but we have never spent quality time toghether :)
    Riddle Sideways: with either of you.
    Riddle Sideways: Wol, I only know from the logs
    Quilty Bookmite: The timing doesn't suit me.
    Wol Euler smiles
    Riddle Sideways: yes, sunday morning is a sleep day
    Quilty Bookmite: It's 4 p.m. for me. I'm usually out doing somehting.
    Quilty Bookmite: If it was morning I would be there. My daughter wouldn;t let me sleep that late. :-)
    Riddle Sideways: ah, my daugther is now teenager, so she sleeps now
    Quilty Bookmite: My daughter is 18 months.
    Riddle Sideways: neat age
    Quilty Bookmite: A long way to go to be a teenager.
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes, last teeth coming through. Then we might get more sleep.
    Riddle Sideways: I remember 18 months is the worst age to take a kid on airplane
    Quilty Bookmite: They don;t like the pressure?
    Quilty Bookmite: She hasn't flown yet.
    Riddle Sideways: nor sitting still
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Riddle Sideways: they walk the aisles
    Riddle Sideways: and touch (oh my g-d) the other passengers
    Afterwards I wondered if some people had gone to the new pavilion so maybe there are two chats going on at the same time.
    Quilty Bookmite: There are usually more people here but I guess it's going to be quiet today after yesterdays marathon session.
    Riddle Sideways: oh, you were there too
    My new radar tells me that Sky is approaching.
    Quilty Bookmite: Sky in on the way.
    Riddle Sideways: I finally had to leave
    Wol Euler: hello sky
    Riddle Sideways: hi Sky
    Quilty Bookmite: Hi Sky.
    Sky Szimmer: Hi Everyone
    Quilty Bookmite: Does anyone have anything they would like to discuss?
    At this point, apparently not
    Quilty Bookmite: Then I will sit and meditate. :-)
    Riddle Sideways: Wol, did I read you discussing Kabala?
    For those not in the know, Kabalah is the Jewish book of mysticism. Until recently, only a few select Rabbis were allowed to even see it. Now pretty much anyone can, even gentiles. :-)
    Wol Euler: I mentioned it, yes. In the context of our relationship to God
    Wol Euler: I'm not an expert, just happened to remember something I'd found in the Internets.
    Quilty Bookmite: I read some Chaim Potok about Kabalah.
    Riddle Sideways: do you have more thoughts on how PaB / YSBS relates with Kabala
    Wol Euler: sorry, no :-)
    Wol Euler: it was something of a conversational detour :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: I know very little about it but it's the Jewish book of mysticism, right?
    Wol Euler: yes, very literal/literary mysticism, belief in the power of words and text.
    Note that by mysticism I mean something very specific, not simply something that is mysterious.
    Riddle Sideways: yes, but more of a practice
    Wol Euler: unmentionable names and words.
    Quilty Bookmite: I think PaB deals with mysticism which is at the heart of all the major religions.
    Sky Szimmer: Sorry folks, I've got to run. RL is not cooperating
    Wol Euler: (sorry, brb, RL calls)
    Wol Euler: bye sky
    Riddle Sideways: bye sky
    Quilty Bookmite: NP. Bye Sky.
    Quilty Bookmite: I will do coffee drinking meditation :-)
    So I rez a cup of espresso and sit sipping it.
    Riddle Sideways: the coffee does keep you up tonight?
    Quilty Bookmite: I won't drink it in RL.
    Riddle Sideways: :)
    Quilty Bookmite: I'm not used to so much caffeine.
    Riddle Sideways: I was going over the jewish relation with g-d vs PaB places us in Beings place
    Riddle Sideways: there is a seperate people from g-d
    Riddle Sideways: nothing (that I know of) ruling out playing as all Being
    Riddle Sideways: just not spoken of
    Quilty Bookmite: This is the difference between eastern and western mysticism I think.
    Riddle Sideways: I think so too
    Wol Euler: back, and reading
    Quilty Bookmite: I don;t know if PaB is really Eastern.
    Riddle Sideways: is whole-istic
    Quilty Bookmite: So Being can either be something like the Cosmic Buddha or it can be g-d.
    Riddle Sideways: both seem to be ALL
    Quilty Bookmite: Depends on your own background I suppose.
    Wol Euler is reminded of the six blind men and the elephant.
    Quilty Bookmite: Yet in Judaism and Christianity we can;t be said to be part of g-d.
    Riddle Sideways: yes, I am too
    Wol Euler: different conceptoins of hte same thing.
    Quilty Bookmite: A Buddhist story I think. :-)
    Wol Euler: a truthful one in any case
    Quilty Bookmite: Indeed.
    Quilty Bookmite: In one of our scriptures there is a line "do not spend so much time in rubbing only a part of the elephant".
    Wol Euler chuckles
    Wol Euler: "the genie only comes out after you've rubbed it all"
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: So I guess the answer is to wait and see.
    Wol Euler is contrite. I'm in a silly mood tonight, too much beer with dinner
    Quilty Bookmite: Have a coffee Wol.
    Riddle Sideways: the elephant might get sore and mad if rubbed too long in one place
    Riddle Sideways: is another take
    Wol Euler: that too
    Quilty Bookmite: I think this particular elephant wouldn;t do that. :-)
    By which I mean Being or whatever else you want to call it. I don't think it would ever turn on you.
    Wol Euler: which scripture is that, Quilty, BTW?
    Quilty Bookmite: Ah. It's from Dogen. It's called "rules for meditation".
    Quilty Bookmite: It is said daily at midday service.
    Quilty Bookmite: It's sort of an accumulation of his wisdom.
    Riddle Sideways: I am lost off into western religions not having peolple part of god
    Quilty Bookmite: It really depends on how you see g-d.
    Quilty Bookmite: Do you have a religious practice Riddle?
    Riddle Sideways: for years I had all of them.
    Riddle Sideways: for 10 years I have been jewish
    Wol Euler: ah
    Riddle Sideways: and digging deeper
    Riddle Sideways: is it convient as a community near me
    Quilty Bookmite: And do you have the associated guilt? :-)
    Guilt is often regarded as part of the Jewish psyche. I don't think I would upset too many Jewish people by saying that as it is also a core part of their humour. If I do, please accept my apologies.
    Riddle Sideways: not so much... YET
    Quilty Bookmite: My wifes father was an atheistic Jew. :-)
    Riddle Sideways: I feel guilty about that
    Quilty Bookmite: Of course. :-)
    Wol Euler: "guilt"?
    Quilty Bookmite: his father was a kosher butcher.
    Riddle Sideways: that generation of Jews
    Quilty Bookmite: After he gave up his religion he became increasingly fussy about his food, like he was trying to substitute the laws of kosher.
    Quilty Bookmite: I work with many Jewish people who don;t seem to have that guilt trait.
    Quilty Bookmite: But they are in Israel. :-)
    Riddle Sideways: hmmmmm
    Riddle Sideways: that might be it
    Quilty Bookmite: ?
    Riddle Sideways: they might not have to be sooo guilty
    Riddle Sideways: but, we all worry tho
    Quilty Bookmite: Probably. :-)
    Riddle Sideways: well good folks I need to leave
    Quilty Bookmite: bye Riddle.
    Wol Euler: goodnighzt
    Wol Euler: well, that was fast
    Riddle Sideways: sorry, but have too
    Riddle Sideways: bye
    Wol Euler: oh, you are still there :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Np.
    Wol Euler: from my point of view he had disappeared already :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Ah. I saw him clearly.
    Quilty Bookmite: I hope I didn;t cause offense with my talk of guilt.
    Maybe I was feeling guilty about it. :-)
    Wol Euler: well, I did find it a bit unusual, but only he can say whether he was offended.
    Quilty Bookmite: Where you offended?
    Wol Euler: no, but I'm not Jewish.
    Quilty Bookmite: OK. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: I thought you might have been as you mentioned Kabalah.
    Quilty Bookmite: I made an assumption.
    As I often do.
    Wol Euler: mm, no, just curious and a voracious reader.
    Quilty Bookmite: Fair enough.
    Wol Euler: I am probably closer to Jewish than to either of the other Abrahamic religions (grins)
    Quilty Bookmite: A short while ago it would have been impossible for you to read Kabalah.
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Wol Euler: one believes that the world is getting better
    Quilty Bookmite: I like to think so. :-)
    And some religious groups recruit people on the basis that the world is getting much worse and only they can improve it. Their argument cuts no ice with me.
    Wol Euler: put it this way: the god in whom I don't believe is He of hte Mosaic old testament, who walks in his garden in the cool of the evening and enjoys a good meal with his friends.
    Wol Euler: a very human God, in other words, with a body like ours and feelings like ours.
    Quilty Bookmite: So is there a god who you do believe in?
    A long and thoughtful pause from Wol.
    Wol Euler: heheheh, well interpreted. No, there isn't, just OT God and I.
    Wol Euler: the point where I bridle is where belief (small b) becomes a Religion (cap R) with rules and requirements and exclusions
    Quilty Bookmite: And what is a religion?
    Something of a theme for me. There seems to be a Western concept of religion and an Eastern concept. They overlap to some extent but it is difficult to create a definition which matches both.
    Wol Euler: a system of beliefs which have been codified and determined and declared perfect to the exclusino of all other aspects of life.
    A western definition I think. At this point, as I say at the end, I am playing devils advocate. A bad habit of mine. Wol, I apologise. (Wol: no worries.)
    Quilty Bookmite: I have no formal beliefs but I'm still religious.
    Wol Euler: Belife becomes religion when I feel that it justifies me saying "you must / must not..."
    Wol Euler: ah, interesting. Points up the difficulty of language again, I infer that your view on the pair of words must be close to the opposite of mine :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: It's possible. They are only labels after all.
    Quilty Bookmite: I did share your view of religion at one time.
    At one time, I was a staunch atheist. Some would say, myself included, that this is a belief in itself.
    Wol Euler: ah
    Quilty Bookmite: But if there are rules and requirements what happens if you break them? Are we punished or simply consumed by guilt?
    Quilty Bookmite: If a religion makes such rules how does it enforce them?
    Wol Euler: I would say that guilt is an internal self-applied punishment
    Quilty Bookmite: Guilt is not part of my religion. It's discouraged.
    Wol Euler: I find that very good, praiseworthy.
    Quilty Bookmite: I can;t take any credit for that. :-)
    Wol Euler: awww :-( and here I thought you were the founder.
    Maybe I had gone a little too far. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Wol Euler winks
    Quilty Bookmite: I guess what I'm trying to say is that the label of Religion is a tricky one.
    Wol Euler: granted. Perhaps I need to find a different word.
    Quilty Bookmite: Maybe. I don't know if there is a word. Perhaps you need to simply describe what it is that you don't like.
    Wol Euler: I was talking about this with Pema this morning
    Quilty Bookmite: You already said you don't like the rules and regulations. Why is that?
    Wol Euler: because they tend to negate the intentions of the founder.
    I know what Wol means. I think this is abuse of religion but surprisingly common. There is a very human aspect to any organised religion.
    Wol Euler: Example: "An eye for an eye" goes from being the humanizing principle that you do not kill a man because he punched you,to being a declaration that you _must_ hurt someone in proprotion to the hurt he does you
    I saw this mentioned in a previous conversation between Wol and Pema.
    Quilty Bookmite: Is that expected of anyone practicing an Abrahamic religion?
    By which I mean, if you are, say a Christian, are you expected to hit back with equal vengence at anyone who does you harm? If you don't are you breaking the rules of the religion and therefore should receive some form of punishment? Are we allowed to simply forgive?
    Wol Euler: or that Mohamad spoke against sung sermons and therefore no believer may ever sing at all anywhere.
    I'm not very knowledgeable on Islam but I don't think this law is universally practiced, although I think it is common.
    Wol Euler: sorry, I'm too tired and beery to do the subject justice tonight.
    Quilty Bookmite: People disagree with rules and interpretations and so religions split into different churches. Some more liberal and some more conservative.
    Quilty Bookmite: NP.
    Quilty Bookmite: :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: I'm quite tired myself and nt necessarily making sense. :-)
    Quilty Bookmite: Also playing devils advocate a bit.
    Wol Euler: well, the hour is up; shall we call it a draw and continue some other time?
    Quilty Bookmite: Yes please. When we both are less "tired". :-)
    Wol Euler: indeed
    Quilty Bookmite: It's been a pleasure.
    Wol Euler: well, thank you and good night. Take care.
    Quilty Bookmite: You too.

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