Re: virus: Religion

Eric Boyd (
Sat, 05 Jul 1997 00:29:19 -0500

Michael Moore wrote:
> Boy, you people really push my buttons. Not in a bad way,
> but I find myself wanting to reply to every post. Since I tend to
> choose my words carefully, and it takes me forever to choose,
> the process could take all day so I ask myself, 'Do I really want
> to take all day doing this?' No. But I do have something to say
> about religion that some may find interesting.

I found the same problem. I was a lurker for a long time, and then when
I started posting, I responded to everything even remotly interesting to
me... took me three hours a day. I don't have time for that shit! So
now, I put the messages through three "buffers"... one, I read and
delete the uninteresting ones. Two, I reread and delete any thing I do
have more than two lines to say to. Three, I rereread and reply only to
those I have something *good* to say.

And I'm thinking of implementing Tim's idea about junking half of the
things I write... that would be four levels of checking, before it gets
to you.

> Gurdjieff (or was it Ouspensky) said that to understand something
> was to agree with it. At first this sounds wrong, but I don't wish
> to debate it but suppose we take it as a prescription rather than
> a description. Now, having accepted this, when I find my self
> "disagreeing" with somebody I must instead say to myself that
> I have failed to understand
> that person. This puts the burden on me for further investigation.
> The door stays open, rather than closed as would be the case if
> I believed that I already understood, but simply disagreed.
> To 'agree that we do not understand' each other has so much
> more potential than to 'agree to disagree'.

Very interesting. This would fit in very well with the Memetic Wake up
call (or whatever title we settle on)

> So what did I really 'not understand'? In a word Islam. This
> seemed to me to be the ultimate in 'whacked out religions'.
> The challenge for me - Become a Muslim. Step out of my
> world into something very opposite of what I believed myself
> to be.

I'm keenly interested in other religions besides Christianity now, too.
I think I understand it well enough to agree that while it has validity
inside of itself (that is, if you accept the "faith", "original sin",
and "sacrificial death on the cross", "God" "etc." deal, Christianity is
capable of providing *meaning* to individuals. Perhaps, inside it's own
boundaries, even *evidence*.) But from an external persepective, such
as mine, all one asks is "to save me from what?" No meaning.

And so I'm going to broaden the religion search. I need to get my hands
on a copy of the Torah, or some other religious text.

That, and I'm going to shift my study of Christianity from the
"conservative" position to John's "liberal" position. Certainly they
are different beasts! BTW, John, that site on the "Dirty Hippy" was
*very* well done. I couldn't find anything to disagree with! And their
conclusion about the modern conservative Christians being
"neo-Pharisees". I had come to the same conclusion myself!

> I have been working at this for three years now. In the process
> I've discovered something I believe to be true of all religions.
> 1) Religions are complex.

YES! Understatement of the year! Funny though, how much one can learn
if you're dedicated enough. For those counting, I beleive my study of
Christianity is now at the 700 hour point. I pegged it as a 1000 hour
project, and it looks good.

I've decided that Evelyn will not receive my essay "Christianity: why I
can't; why you shouldn't" essay until next year. That will give me time
to polish it, and it will also give me an entire summer to help her
understand. So there is no rush anymore.

> Occasionally,
> somebody will make a study of religion. He will fly over in an
> airplane and take pictures. There is no harm in this provided
> that he understands that what he has is 'pictures of the surface'.
> If he really wants to understand a religion, he must get wet.
> {{footnote - this model itself is overly simplistic }}
> There is no other way, but be warned, this is dangerous!
> Some memes do not play well with other memes. The danger
> is that you might change. This can be very upsetting to your
> friends and family.

No, the *danger* is *not* that you might change. That's the *glory*!

> How can I experience that other world without giving myself
> over to that other world. One person cannot, but we are not
> one person, we are a multiplicity. ( See Gurdjieff's doctrine
> of multiple 'I's) So, for a time we can walk in two worlds

ummm... reading "The Forth Way" are we? Tell me sometime about the end
of that book... I never made it!

> provided the ego, which prefers that you be a single integrated
> person for survival reasons, does not object too strenuously.

This is exactly the "level 3" debate. Are we *really* capable of
embracing *multiple* level 2 views of the world? Can our brain maintain
the effort over a life time?

Regardless, I see no other way now. I've gone too far. At the drop of
a stone, I could call myself a Christian. And I know it. Psychic
dissonance. I can't tell you how difficult it's been for me to manage
*both* of the world views. I'm torn, day in and day out. But, as with
wars between my left hand and my right, I will *always* win.

either that or *always* lose. <VBG>


I've been thinking again reciently about debating. Somebody mentioned,
and I agree, that it's always much more *educational* to try and debate
the *other* side of an issue. I'm thinking, yea. If I could get Evelyn
to agree to such a debate, I could not only convince her (and myself,
which is of far more importance) that I understand Christianity, but it
would force her to at least research the other side. Her ignorance
about what "atheist" actually implies is bottomless! Who knows, she
might even learn something! But I can't see her ever agreeing to such a
thing, sadly...