Re: virus: Religion

John \ (
Sat, 24 May 1997 23:41:23 -0400

At 10:12 PM 5/24/97 -0500, Eric wrote:

>> But It is not likely to, and thus any "authority" must of neseccity be
>> suspect: did God actually say that, or was it the Reverend?
>That's not how any Christian I've ever met has answered... you're really
>on my side of the issue, if I'm intrepreting correctly. You seem to
>believe that the Bible is mearly a guiding force and can be used simply
>as a source of material to guide ones life.

There are many of us. We have been long silenced by the Fundamentalists --
who made us feel guilty about not being "Good Christians," and the Athiests
who always somehow manage to make us feel stupid before we can even express
ourselves. I'm doing what little I can to spearhead a Religious Left
renewal. Most of the heros of American Pacifist Folk Music profess a
Christian faith. They've been forgotten in all the noise created by

>I've read all of the New Testament (caps?) but only a small part of the
>Old. The farther I read, the more it seemed to me that the Old
>Testimate wasn't really affecting the Christians much anyway... don't
>see too many people sacrificing their sheep to God on the alter anymore.

Funny you should mention that. It's been my argument agaist the 10% tithe
for a long time -- especially since the 10% tithe is set in the same
chapter that requires each family to sacrifice a sheep a day.
[Incidentally, the OT family would be: the landowner, his relatives, the
farmhand, their relatives, etc... it's not like every family of four had to
go out and get a sheep every day...]

>> you have, the popular notion of that Tome as "unchanging truth" puts
>> blinders on people -- but the Bible serves quite well as a history of
>> people's maturing (?) beliefs about the world and the world we live in.
>Yes, I've heard this view to... something about the Bible being a
>"progressive revelation." Your theory is more "real life." And it
>makes a lot more sense. A quick question here: when abouts was the Old
>Testament written?

Debateable. The first five books are the oldest, commissioned by King
David, many years BCE. I don't have my book with me that has the projected
dates, but I seem to remember it was in the four-digits BCE. The later
books of the OT were written around 500-300 BCE, with much of the Apocrapha
(included in the Catholic Bible) written in the intertestamental period.
Much of the NT was written in about a fifty-year time span (again, a
poor-memory guess, I'll have to dig out my biblical history book).

>> Remember that Christ chucked a good deal of Jewish tradition -- said it was
>> more or less pointless, as a matter of fact. I believe that part of the
>> Real Message of Christ(tm) was that we have the authority to say, "hey,
>> this isn't working here, we need to chuck it and build another."[1]
>So the way I see it then, we are in vast need of the second Christ so
>that we can chuck some more!

I'd argue that it's always been done. Hey! The jews had stopped a
sheep-a-day a long time before Christ came. And changes have been made
since Christ: most notably the Church's turn away from poverty.

>Because I know that quite a bit of the
>Bible actually contains "ends" (morals, ethics, whatever) that are quite
>useful and which I do use to guide my life... it's just that there are
>so many other parts I can't agree with that I cannot accept it whole.

No-one can, honestly. It's completely impossible to. Too much change and
contradiction. It only makes sense if read as a development of philosophy,
not a philosophy in itself.

>in with Scientific Pantheism. But actually equating the super-organism
>with God? Where does that lead?

Radical Progressivism? Socialism? Also to ancient Eastern religions (since
that's where I stole the idea from, basically).

>> While you're discarding "God and his cohorts," btw, please keep in mind
>> that most of his cohorts are NOT Fallwellian. :-)
>OK, I admit my ignorance... but assuming that the reference is similar
>to "fundamentalist" I guess I can agree... supposedly, well over half of
>the population is "Christian" and yet few people I run into are

Jerry Fallwell: High-profile American fundamentallist/politician. Sticks to
Church now. Recently made a full-blown Baptist, yet another good reason to
be Methodist.

>> Perhaps this is an appropriate place to bring up the PromiseKeepers?
>"Ignorance is Bliss" -- but I abandoned bliss a long time ago. It's
>just that ignorance is so huge, and my knowledge base is soooo small.
>What, praytell, are PromiseKeepers?

Best to look for yourselves: Watch for falling

>Since I view the actual act of writting it as more important than the
>final written material, I'd say that he /has/ written. The fact that
>there is no audience involved does not mean that memes have not been
>active inside the authors head. (and on the paper)

This is something I'll have to think about. I generally see memes as acting
between individuals. I'll do some consideration as to internal acts of

BTW: Thanks for de-lurking.

John Williams ICQ Address: 1213689
Various Artists: Raising the Tide of Mediocrity for Two Years