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 Post subject: Open source religion
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:06 pm 
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Haven't spent too much time looking at this concept, but from reading through the articleI found it very intriguing and applicable to what we are experiencing here.

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for six weeks, 40 brave volunteers from across the U.S. met in a special online forum "Open Source Religion," to talk about their deepest beliefs; along the way, their respectful curiosity wound up defying the old warning about never discussing religion with strangers.

[...]

The volunteers ranged from atheists to evangelicals, Methodists to Muslims, young students to aging scholars. As their emails crisscrossed the continent, the forum members moved from exploring their own spiritual yearnings to talking honestly about their anxieties over religious conflict in the world.

[...]

But what emerged from the discussions is strong evidence that there's real energy behind open source religion: People are eager to express their most sacred insights within emerging grassroots crowds that are forming around the world

There's solid sociological data behind this observation. It comes from multiple waves of World Values Surveys, analyzed by University of Michigan sociologist Wayne E. Baker, who also joined our forum. Baker wrote about this in his 2006 book, "America's Crisis of Values: Reality and Perception." As Baker sorted out the data, he showed that religious values are very strong and widespread across America. Americans rank with traditionalist countries around the world, places like Pakistan, in the strength of our religious values. But Americans also are almost off the chart in another powerful value -- our desire for individual self-expression. (We rank with Scandinavia on that scale.)

[..]

Team members did point out real dangers in throwing open the doors of religious tradition. For instance, more than a few people asked: If our Ultimate Source is open to everyone's interpretation, then how can we trust that the timeless tradition won't change?


As for the last warning - I think the religious traditions are not so timeless as many people believe, and as anything alive must change or die. I see more value than danger here, and I come from tradition that goes back three, four thousand years.

So, what do you think? Is it valuable? Would you try it? How is it different from the conversations we are having here? What would be your hope and your fear from such discussion?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:14 pm 
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I think I would try it - in fact I had planned to start reading the Bhagavad Gita and post it bit by bit here as I read it for open discussion. I just never got around to it in the summer. But, I don't see whats different about this forum and what we have here? Except that its probably a more touchy topic.

Another thing is that there is a self-selection problem here. People who are willing to join such forums are those who are anyway, more open about their beliefs, traditions and that of others. They are open to discussion on THIS topic.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:54 pm 
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As they all try to reconcile their core beliefs, I wonder how they would respond to my own guiding principle: there is nothing more dangerous than a True Believer.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:47 pm 
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Core philosophical beliefs, or even moral beliefs, can be reconciled in many cases. Core theological beliefs are another matter altogether. In those cases where a theological belief can be directly tied to a more generic human impulse, there can be understanding, but that's not the same as reconciliation.

I would call it more akin to interfacing than actual open source coding. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:21 pm 
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I think talking with strangers about the specifics of one's religious beliefs has a better chance of succeeding than attempting it within a messageboard community like this one. Here I learned that in discussing spiritual beliefs, it is all too easy give offense without meaning to or even being aware it has happened. It did not take me long to realize that whatever the potential benefit of such discussions, it wasn't worth the cost.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:43 pm 
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I had the same lesson to learn, Cerin, but I'm persisting because I do think what I've learned has been worth the risk (and because I am, I hope, getting better at avoiding giving offense).

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:59 pm 
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Prim, I think what I've decided is that discussions about more general aspects of religion (such as we're having in the 'dangers of' thread) are less fraught with potential disaster than trying to get into the specifics of one's personal beliefs in a community forum. But that's just my own calculation. I don't mean to discourage anyone who has weighed the matter and come to a different conclusion! Huzzah!

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:49 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
I had the same lesson to learn, Cerin, but I'm persisting because I do think what I've learned has been worth the risk (and because I am, I hope, getting better at avoiding giving offense).


You are a brave woman. :hug: I, too, am very grateful for what I have learned on this messageboard, and others... but I have tragically learned, also, that I can be nattering on quite happily about point "A", and yet somehow others are quite clearly hearing point "B".

It only seems to happen in the religious threads. :(

I have finally learned that religious threads are very... different. I used to truly believe in the common ground idea of people everywhere... the idea that common ground exists, and that we can find it. However, I have not found the path.

One can believe one is talking about a general principle, and sort of wandering through familiar rooms with friends, and then discover that instead one has been charging blindly through a live minefield.

And that's not fun. :(

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:58 pm 
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It's more fun if everyone has a few drinks first, in my experience. ;)

And it happens in two kinds of threads: religious ones and ones involving the LOTR movies. Draw your own conclusions. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:04 pm 
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axordil wrote:
It's more fun if everyone has a few drinks first, in my experience. ;)


:rofl:

Thanks, ax. I needed that. :love:

Quote:
And it happens in two kinds of threads: religious ones and ones involving the LOTR movies. Draw your own conclusions. :D


... and the conclusion is drawn and noted. ;)

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"What do you fear, lady?" Aragorn asked.
"A cage," Éowyn said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:39 pm 
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I will peep in here, because I am another one that has felt the wrath of people coming down on me when I thought I was making the most bland of observations about religious topics....

Anyhoo, (takes big deep breath)

No conversation can take place about core religious/philosophical beliefs unless one is willing to suspend their OWN belief system for even a matter of seconds and really TRY and see where the other party is coming from.

Alas, in my experience, that is something many people cannot or will not do. Maybe if they are in a "face to face" sort of forum, it COULD take place, but even days ago, an interfaith prayer opening in the Senate by a respected Hindu cleric was booed down by crashers onto the Senate floor. A renowned fundamentalist preacher in Texas recently came to the conclusion that there was no everlasting Hell and torment for non-born again Christians or non-Christians in general, and that it was a man made construct designed by men in their faulty interpretation of God's purpose, and he lost his congregation. What I found most interesting were the comments that followed the news story in terms of the posters who were frankly disbelieving that someone who was a preacher could deny the existence of Hell. It goes on and on from there, much to my dismay.

At the end of the day, humans beings are more likely to destruct over the matters of religion than they are likely to destruct over anything else, I fear. And, it is SO fraught with human fallibility that it makes me cringe.

:(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:45 am 
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Ay, me Watcher, you are so right again.


Popularity so often results from devisiveness, the urge to divide, and so seldom from the urge to unify. Division is the cheap way to rile an audience, and the best. In most cases, keeping that audience means running further to the edge.



Hell versus Heaven has a built in audience that demands distinct polar terms. All comedians know that if you soften to a heckler, he wins.

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