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Tripitaka of AA
4th November 2003, 13:37
It gets mentioned on here occasionally, so how about a thread dedicated to exploring this topic? I’d appreciate some learned discourse on this subject, as it is often brought up when non-Kenshi start talking about Shoriji Kempo.

I know next to nothing, so I'll go first :D


As I understand it (Secondary School RE classes), Shinto is the oldest religion still practiced in Japan. It emphasizes the “Spirit” in natural objects, like a big tree, or a mountain, or a waterfall, etc. It also covers the little shrines that you see above doorways in people’s houses, doesn’t it? But not the Butsudan, where photographs of relatives and Family ancestral spirits are given gifts of fruit, etc. The Butsudan is a Buddhist thing isn’t it?

So in Japan, Shinto is the oldest. Buddhism was brought in from China, then later on the Portugese that settled in Macao brought Catholic Christianity. The first two live side-by-side (families will be Buddhist for Funerals and Shinto at Weddings. Visiting Shrines and Temples as appropriate), without apparent hypocrisy involved. Christianity (and Judaism and Islam) depend heavily on a devoted and unquestioning belief that there is only One God (I may be wrong, but I don’t think that all three religions recognise the Same God… or do they!). This must make it difficult – obviously, for a reason – to simultaneously declare a belief in the teachings of Buddha or the rites of Shinto, and the One God.

Well, perhaps it is easier for some people to find a happy mix of these elements to make their own belief system. Others find it easier to dismiss ALL forms or religion as foolish wastes of time and merely bureaucratic systemic opiates for the masses.

Where does Kongo Zen fit into the picture? Where does a “Religious Organisation” like the Sohonzan Shorinji fit in with a world where half the people go around chanting “There is only One God, thou shalt worship no other”?

Some of the more obvious statements have been given in many recent threads, particularly in the Members Lounge, and there is space here for them. It would be better if people try to limit themselves to one attempt to push each idea, to avoid repetitious tit-for-tat posting.

Mizuno Sensei once called himself a part-time Monk (I think that’s what he said, I was only half in the room at the time), are there any other BSKF members who have decided that they want more of the Kongo Zen side of the art? Are there any other “part-time Monks”? Shorinji Kempo is a Japanese Zen Martial Art, I know of many Kenshi who are Martial, I know Tony Kehoe is Japanese, are there any Zen Buddhists out there?

rinpoche
4th November 2003, 20:45
I may be wrong, but I don’t think that all three religions recognise the Same God… or do they

Religion is a complex thing as there may be Christians who also practice Buddhism, and certainly Shinto's who practice other religions.

As to the worship of the same god - generally speaking it doesn't quite work that way.

Shinto is a folk religion and a form of animism, the reverence of spirits in nature. There are many different sects, but as far as I know - none of them are monotheistic.

Buddhism is very complex too as there are many many different sects. Many buddhist sects worship no god or gods, some have many gods. Some are a form of secular humansim.

Christianity certainly has varying degrees and sects too. Generally the belief is that there is one true god, and Jesus is either an incarnation of god, or the son of god,or an aspect of god. Christianity began as a sect of radical Judaism that worshipped Jaweh a tribal god that was believed carried around inside the ark of the covenant. Originally Judaism was not monotheistic as the first commandment reads ," thou shalt have no strange gods before me," and not, "there's no such thing as other gods."

Catholic patron saints could be likened in a way to kami, or bodhisattvas, although the parallels are not 100%

So I don't have a definitive answer for you on the religion scale. Most religions have some beliefs in common. We are, after all, human beings with common problems, wants, needs, and concerns.

Tripitaka of AA
4th November 2003, 22:23
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
I know Tony Kehoe is Japanese, are there any Zen Buddhists out there?

I should, of course, include a Smiley with that statement... :smilejapa

dkw1998
5th November 2003, 10:59
As far as I am aware, Kongo Zen doesn't make any specific assumptions about the existance (or lack thereof) of God(s). The f_ukudoku hon mentions 'Dharma' as a 'source of universal law', I assume people with strong religous convictions would interpret this as meaning God, others can view them as the laws of physics etc.

I view Kongo Zen as a philosophy, not a religion (in the sense of involving worship of a god or gods). Then again, I'm sure other people have different views on what constitutes a religion...

CEB
5th November 2003, 14:31
What differentiates Kongo Zen from other brands of Zen or Chan Buddhism?

Kimpatsu
6th November 2003, 02:33
Originally posted by CEB
What differentiates Kongo Zen from other brands of Zen or Chan Buddhism?
The purpose of Kongo Zen is self-improvement. "Kongo" is an old Japanese word for a diamond, and polishing the facets of your character is analogous to polishing the facets of a diamond.

Indar
6th November 2003, 11:06
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
The purpose of Kongo Zen is self-improvement.

I should have thought that all forms of Zen are concerned with self-development.
Kongo Zen emphasises physical as well as spiritual development. Like other forms of Zen we practise zazen (seated) meditation. However, unlike other forms of Zen, we also practise 'ekkin gyo' ; development both physical and spiritual through physical training with a partner.

Jeff Cook
6th November 2003, 16:02
How did it get officially recognized by the Japanese government as a religion? What is the Japanese government criteria for "religion?" Since it is certified by the government as a religion, why do adherents insist that it is not a religion (it was, after all, an adherent who originally got it officially recognized)?

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Kimpatsu
6th November 2003, 21:15
Originally posted by Jeff Cook
How did it get officially recognized by the Japanese government as a religion? What is the Japanese government criteria for "religion?" Since it is certified by the government as a religion, why do adherents insist that it is not a religion (it was, after all, an adherent who originally got it officially recognized)?

A religion is Japan is no more than charitable certification. In addition to Shorinji Kempo, other "religions" in Japan currently include a chain of hot spas and a car dealership. The reason Kaiso registered Shorinji Kempo as a religion in 1947 was to get around the Allied ban on martial arts; the new, American-drafted constitution guaranteed freedom of religion.

Jeff Cook
7th November 2003, 16:31
Tony, thanks. Is it still registered as such? Is there some sort of tax break for that? And if so, why doesn't the government close the loophole?

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Steve Williams
7th November 2003, 21:03
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
It gets mentioned on here occasionally, so how about a thread dedicated to exploring this topic?

Actually the subject of religion rears its (ugly??) head a lot on e-budo.....

Usually in the lounge about christianity.....

But also there is a dedicated forum for Shinto and shintoism (http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=26)

Also a dedicated forum for The history and traditions of Japan (http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=14) which encompasses religion.

Finally a dedicated forum for Philosophy and ethics in the martial arts (http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=27)

Why not ask the same questions there..... you will not get so many views, but the views/comments you do get may have more substence.

Kimpatsu
7th November 2003, 21:03
Originally posted by Jeff Cook
Tony, thanks. Is it still registered as such? Is there some sort of tax break for that? And if so, why doesn't the government close the loophole?
Yes, Jeff, you get big tax breaks for registering as a "religion". As to closing the loophole, politicians in Japan seem blithely unconcerned. They're too busy lining their own pockets.

Indar
8th November 2003, 06:56
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
A religion is Japan is no more than charitable certification.

You seem to imply that Kongo Zen Sohonzan Shorinji exists purely for cynical reasons, i.e. to avoid paying tax. As a member of WSKO I would hope that this is not the case. It also does not explain the existance of Shadan Hojin Nihon Shorinji Kempo Renmei.

(note: There are two Shorinji Kempo organisations in Japan; the first mentioned being the 'religious' one, and the second a secular organisation).

see http://wsko.econ-net.or.jp/history/7.html for further info.

Kimpatsu
8th November 2003, 07:01
Originally posted by Indar
You seem to imply that Kongo Zen Sohonzan Shorinji exists purely for cynical reasons, i.e. to avoid paying tax. As a member of WSKO I would hope that this is not the case. It also does not explain the existance of Shadan Hojin Nihon Shorinji Kempo Renmei.

(note: There are two Shorinji Kempo organisations in Japan; the first mentioned being the 'religious' one, and the second a secular organisation).

see http://wsko.econ-net.or.jp/history/7.html for further info.
Not at all. I said the law exists the way it does. Registration as a religion certainly confers tax advantages; it's the reason why so many organisations register as religions, including hot spas and car dealerships. Zaidan Hojin also receive tax concessions, but registering creates an umbrella resulting in zero taxation.

Jeff Cook
8th November 2003, 19:00
Indar, Tony said that they are only registered as a religion "to get around the Allied ban on martial arts," the ban that the US imposed during the occupation of Japan immediately after WWII.

That was almost 50 years ago. So why is it still registered as a religion if they are not a religious organization, and the ban no longer exists?

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Kimpatsu
8th November 2003, 22:31
Originally posted by Jeff Cook
That was almost 50 years ago. So why is it still registered as a religion if they are not a religious organization, and the ban no longer exists?
Don't forget there are still tax concessions, Jeff, and Shorinji Kempo is a teaching organisation, so it fits the paradigm of a Shukyo Hojin.

Indar
9th November 2003, 11:58
Hi Jeff,

As you'll appreciate, this is a complex question, and I don't think that Tony's answer was very helpful.
It really depends on what you mean by 'religion'. In simple terms, Kongo Zen offers guidance rather than telling people what to think.
As an example, in our creed we say 'by committing evil you defile yourself, by avoiding evil you attain purity'.
The idea behind this is that you have to consider your own actions, and take responsibility for those actions, rather than than acting in a certain way because you will be punished otherwise.

Jeff Cook
9th November 2003, 12:50
Indar, thanks. I understand the philosophy; it's the whole religion thing about it that never seems to be adequately explained, unless it is just the tax break, as Tony says.

Tony, I think you know that I am not trying to argue about it this time, but I am trying to understand it. Thanks for your patience. The topic fascinates me.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Kimpatsu
9th November 2003, 12:56
Gassho.
Of course you don't think my answer helpful, Indar. If I say fire engines are red and the sky is blue, you'll disagree because it's me. However, everything I said is accurate.
I have told Jeff repeatedly, here and on Budoseek (www.budoseek.net) that Shorinji Kempo is not a religion, it is a code of ethics. This is because Jeff, and English speakers in general, equate "religion" with "theism". They take the term to mean worship or recognition of a supernatural entity with the ability to mete out treats and punishments. It therefore behooves people to supplicate themselves to said entity through prayer, in order to win favour. As recent experiments have proven, (http://www.randi.org/jr/110703.html) however, prayer does not in any way affect the recovery of patients. God works at the same speed as modern medicine.
The Japanese word for religion (sic) is "Shukyo", the characters of which actually mean "teachings of the sect/group". The key term here is "teachings". Now, for many theists, the notions of religion (in the Western sense: worship of a god or gods) and teachings, specifically moral teachings, are intertwined, because religion (worship) is the sine qua non of a moral life. As atheists, freethinkers, humanists, and other brights (http://www.randi.org/jr/110703.html) know, and prove through their daily lives, this is not the case. No superstition is required to be a good person. The Kanji used for "shukyo", however, gives a completely different impression: that what the word really means is "moral teaching", and has nothing to do with theism or edification. For this reason, translating "shukyo" as "religion" is an unhappy translation at best. It leads to misunderstandings, as evidenced by Jeff's assumptions that drive his question. Shorinji Kempo is no more a religion in the Western sense than the chain of hot spas that are also recognised as Shukyo Hojin in Japan. Classification as Shukyo Hojin is nothing more than a recognition on the part of the Japanese government that the organisation in question is teaching something of benefit to the people of Japan. (In Japan, constant moral teaching--habit formation--is defined as the primary goal of the Ministry of Education, and Japanese people are encouraged to be taking extra-curricular classes in something, anything, throughout there lives. This is for two reasons: 1. Social control, and 2. Because extra layers of morality--which is code for conformity to the supposed "Japanese ethic" as defined by those in power--is never viewed as a bad thing. The main objective of the Japanese government is to have everyone bleating "four legs good, two legs bad" in unison.) By contrast, classification as a religion in the West means something else entirely. It always involves a theistic dimension, be it the Catholic church, the Anglican hierarchy, or a small wacky cult in Wako with no more than 200 members, or the dozen or so members of Heaven's Gate. Calling both a Shukyo Hojin and the Cathloic Church "religions" is to muddy the waters, as the two terms mean very, very different things. It would be better to refer to the Catholic Church as a religion, and use "shukyo" whenever referring to the Japanese definition, which is an ethical one, devoid of prayer or superstition (theism).
When I first entered University, Dr. Breen told me that to call oneself "mushukyo" in Japanese ("atheist") was to imply that you were not human, a statement I took with a pinch of salt at the time. However, he was absolutely correct--when you view the Japanese word in the context of Japanese conceptualisation. Basically, to call oneself "mushukyo" doesn't mean "without gods"; it means to be "without ethics". And what separates humans from other animals is the sense of ethics--the notions of right and wrong. An ape, or an amoeba for that matter, doesn't care or even understand the ethical implications of its actions, any more than a cheetah cares about the implications for the herd of wildebeest when it kills a straggler; such analysis is a purely human thing, and to call oneself "mushukyo" is to say (according to the Japanese mindset) that you are incapable of such understanding--which makes you an animal, not a human being.
Kaiso himself said that he didn't know if there was a god, and anyway, it didn't matter; the important thing was how you live your earthly life, eyes front, not perpetually raised to heaven in an attempt to curry favour for an afterlife that may not even be there. How can such a claim be the central tenet of a religion? Answer: it can't, but it can certainly be the lynchpin of a shukyo. Because, and I can't repeat this often enough, shukyo is NOT the same as the Western term "religion".
Shorinji Kempo is not a religion, it's a shukyo, and as such, in its teaching capacity, its mission to educate, it is registered as a shukyo hojin in Japan. Heck, if Shorinji Kempo was really a religion in the Western sense, we'd register as such in America and Britain, and get big tax breaks--breaks to which we are currently not entitled--in those countries too. Instead, we're registered as a charity. The problem lies not with the definitions, but with the preconceptions (driven by the word "religion") of those native English speakers who assume facts not in evidence regarding the notion of shukyo, and thus of Shorinji Kempo. Transliterating from a dictionary is no good, because genuine translation requires not the rendering of words from one language to another, but the building in the listener's mind of the image that the speaker wishes to convey. The problem here is that some concepts are immediately apprehendable in one language--they are so core to the culture, that though complex, they are expressed with a single word--whereas in the target language, the concept is more exotic and requires lengthy, sentence-long explanations, but people are impatient, and want a one-to-one correlation. Hence the misunderstanding. The Japanese see nothing wrong with getting married in a Shinto shrine and being buried in a Buddhist temple, because they see themselves as members equally of both "religions", whereas my cousin who mistakenly calls herself "Catholic" although she never attends weekly services (what she really means is that she is born into a family with a lineage of Catholic affiliations--see: shorthand again) got married in a Catholic church and is now having her baby baptised in one. Anglican will not do, because she's a Catholic (sic). Such tribalism mystifies the Japanese, as they equate "religion" more with ethics than with ritual. That said, the word "shukyo" is sufficiently broad as to also incorporate the theistic meaning, so what we really have here is inadequate language--the bane of all translators. My purpose is to build in your minds the image intended to be conveyed by the Japanese use of "shukyo", not a one-to-one correlation of "shukyo" (ethics) with the English "religion" (theism). It's like taking a piece of music written using only the white keys on the piano, and trying to reproduce it faithfully on a piano that only has black keys. The closest you will ever get is an off-key approximation. And that's what happens when you transliterate "shukyo" as "religion": discord.
As for me, I have seen the light and know that the one true religion is Liverpool FC. Now I just have to proselytise the rest of you...
Kesshu.

Indar
9th November 2003, 13:24
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Gassho.
I have told Jeff repeatedly, here and on Budoseek (www.budoseek.net) that Shorinji Kempo is not a religion, it is a code of ethics. This is because Jeff, and English speakers in general, equate "religion" with "theism". They take the term to mean worship or recognition of a supernatural entity with the ability to mete out treats and punishments.

That's rather rude; I should think that Jeff can speak for himself on this matter.

However, the rest of your post is both interesting and (fairly) intelligently argued; proof that you do have a brain, you just don't bother to use it most of the time.

Kimpatsu
9th November 2003, 13:27
Originally posted by Indar
However, the rest of your post is both interesting and (fairly) intelligently argued; proof that you do have a brain, you just don't bother to use it most of the time.
That's my punishment for dealing with the likes of you.

Indar
9th November 2003, 13:36
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
That's my punishment for dealing with the likes of you.

no......your punishment is waiting in your next life

Kimpatsu
9th November 2003, 13:38
Originally posted by Indar
no......your punishment is waiting in your next life
Well, that's no problem then, as there is no next life. Getting through this one is hard enough.

Indar
9th November 2003, 15:49
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
By contrast, classification as a religion in the West means something else entirely. It always involves a theistic dimension

So Westerners are all so stupid, (apart from you), that they are incapable of understanding that Buddhism is a religion ?

Main Entry: re·li·gion
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
(merriam-webster dictionary: http://www.m-w.com/home.htm)

Jeff: The actual answer to your question is simple. The reason that Shorinji Kempo is registered as a religion in Japan is because it can be (and is by many practitioners) viewed as a religion. As Tony explained, Asian people may have a different view from Westerners as to what this implies, however I think that many Westerners are sophisticated enough to understand the Asian viewpoint.

Steve Williams
9th November 2003, 17:54
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
If I say fire engines are red and the sky is blue, you'll disagree because it's me.

Well......

Fire engines are green (yes the firemen are on strike again...) ;)
The sky is grey (well it is england after all...) ;)



But seriously, Indar and Tony do have an obvious history......

If you cannot be civil to each other then don't respond to each other at all, ok.......

Steve Williams
9th November 2003, 17:56
I think the 2 issues of most importence are:

The view of a "religion" to the Japanese is very different to the western view.

The tax-breaks are an obvious reason for keeping the classification.
Why do you think so many individuals/companies apply to be classified as a "charity" in the west..... it is a similar situation.

Iron Chef
9th November 2003, 17:57
http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/attachment.php?s=&postid=236747

Jeff Cook
9th November 2003, 18:26
Indar, thanks for the sympathy, but it is not needed. Tony is not being rude, he is being direct. Unfortunately he is incorrect. I have repeatedly stated that I was arguing that it is a NON-THEISTIC religion. I don't think that "religion" always equals "theism." Perhaps I am incorrect. Tony probably "forgot" that part of my argument. ;)

With that aside, I am not interested in getting into somebody else's pissing contest.

Tony, great answer, and thanks for taking the time to explain. It does make a lot of sense.

Now, can you please tell me how "non-theistic religion" is defined? That is the one sticking point I have with this. Thanks for tolerating my ignorance.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Indar
9th November 2003, 21:20
Originally posted by Jeff Cook

Now, can you please tell me how "non-theistic religion" is defined?

There is an on-going argument/discussion about the differences between philosophy and religion.
I like the quote from Karl Marx; 'Philosophers have interpreted the world; our job is to change it.'
My view would be that religion requires action on the part of the practitioner. Many people practice Shorinji Kempo as a hobby, but many other people practice with a more serious intention. If your purpose for practice is to change society then I would see this as being more than just a philosophy, which to me implies a passive way of interpreting the world.
As Tony said the problem is that these words have so many connotations it is easy to end up talking at cross purposes, although we may share a common aim.

Kimpatsu
9th November 2003, 21:34
Originally posted by Jeff Cook
Indar, thanks for the sympathy, but it is not needed. Tony is not being rude, he is being direct. Unfortunately he is incorrect. I have repeatedly stated that I was arguing that it is a NON-THEISTIC religion.
Surely "non-theistic religion" is an oxymoron? It's saying "non-theistic theism". A non-theistic moral code is called ethics.

Kimpatsu
9th November 2003, 21:40
Originally posted by Indar
So Westerners are all so stupid, (apart from you), that they are incapable of understanding that Buddhism is a religion ?
Gassho.
Northern Zen Buddhism isn't a religion; it's a code of ethics. Esoteric Buddhism is a religion, because it involves prayers and offerings to the gods. On his death bed, the Buddha told his followers not to deify him, but unfortunately, some chose not to heed his words and elevated his memory to godhood. Northern Zen gets back to the roots of Buddhist teachings, which is self-improvement without divine help. You've undermined your own position, Indar, with the quotation from the dictionary:

with ardor and faith
There is no leap of faith required in Shorinji Kempo; its teachings are axiomatic. Ergo, Buddhism is not a religion according to your own definition.
Now, back to proselytising for Liverpool FC...
Kesshu.

Jeff Cook
9th November 2003, 23:46
Tony, apparently this is an argument without end. There are a lot of people more educated than I (like yourself) who state that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion: http://www.shambhalasun.com/Archives/Columnists/Ray/july_01.htm Here is a brief quote from the article: "Briefly put, non-theism in Buddhism means that what is ultimately true and real cannot be found in any external god or being. Any such being has location, qualities and some kind of existence, and is therefore subject to causes and conditions. There is, according to Buddhism, something far more fundamental than this."

And from http://www.freud.org.uk/Religion.htm we have this quote: "As opposed to either Hindu or Judeo-Christian religion, the Buddha taught that there is no self ('Annata'), and no 'supra-ordinate transcendent being' that we can be reunited to. A truly non-theistic religion which makes Buddhism unique amongst the great religions and perhaps difficult for the Western mind to attune to. Provocatively she argued that there is a 'fundamental incompatibility' between theistic and non-theistic religion, and made no secret of which one she felt was the most sensible choice!"

There appear to be many other sources to support the idea of "non-theistic religions." A lot of the sources parallel what you said in your earlier post, Tony. Perhaps it is just a question of semantics?

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Kimpatsu
9th November 2003, 23:54
It's very much semantics, Jeff, but I maintain that "non-theistic religion" is an oxymoron. Indar himself posted the definition as requiring faith, so if no faith is required, how can the movement in question be a religion? As I posted above, Buddhism is not a religion, it's a shukyo, and the two are not the same. You're playing the piano in the wrong key again. Ask yourself this: if Shorinji Kempo is a religion, then what is the Catholic Church? The two are too disparate to be lumped together, so to call one a religion is to de facto exclude the other, the same way that you cannot be a married batchelor, or have a square circle. So which is it: is Shorinji Kempo a religion, or is Christianity? And if Shorinji Kempo is a religion, how do you define Christianity?

Kimpatsu
10th November 2003, 07:37
Originally posted by Jeff Cook
Perhaps it is just a question of semantics?
Gassho.
I don't wish to hog the bandwidth, but I have spent the better part of today pondering Jeff's last post, and in particular, the final sentence quoted above. The problem is that the sentence is an oxymoron, like the oft-abused "only a theory". In science, a theory is the gold standard. It is what we arrive at after subjecting a hypothesis to rigorous testing, and has passed every test. If a hypothesis fails a test, it is discarded as false, and a new hypothesis, one that better explains the facts, must be formulated. This is why in science there are no absolutes; unlike in religion, with its ex cathedra pronouncements, even the most solid scientific theories--gravity, heliocentrism, evolution, to name but three--are potentially falsifiable. When people colloquially say "theory" I wince, for what they really mean is hypothesis. To say that something is "only a theory" is an oxymoron, like saying that an athelete is "only an Olympic gold medal winner". Similarly, to say that something is "just a question of semantics" is oxymoronic because semantics--the definition of meanings--is what gives you and me, and every other English speaker in the world, the ability to communicate. (Communication is here defined as the ability to build in the listener's mind the image that the speaker wishes to convey.) Whilst no two people share an identical grammar (not even identical twins), we can share enough grammar and vocabulary--semantics--in common to give meaning to utterances. (The branch of linguistics called "pragmatics" deals with this subject.) Anthropologically, religion is defined as any body of ritual that invokes the supernatural--which Shorinji Kempo does not do. Ergo, Shorinji Kempo is not a religion. It is, however, laden with ritual, from the mutual gassho rei exchanged between Kenshi to the formal grading examinations. The big problem with colloquial definitions, as can be seen from these examples, is that they are sloppy, because they are too broad in range to be meaningful. If a guess, hypothesis, and theory can all be called a "theory", then the word "theory" becomes meaningless. If "religion" can be used to define theism, ritual, and appeals to the supernatural, then the word "religion" is too broad to be meaningful. To denigrate attempts at accuracy as "just semantics" is therefore to imply that accurate, narrow definitions are not worthy in and of themselves, because they give us no wiggle room in which to agree; but surely, pinning down terms as narrowly and clearly as possible should be the ultimate goal of all language, as it eliminates barriers to misunderstanding? If we can't agree on the terminology, then all debate becomes impossible as we sink into a pool of our own confusion. I may think of a round, orange-coloured fruit when I say "orange", but if you're thinking of a long, yellow fruit, which I call a "banana", then no reply to the question "what's your favourite fruit?" will ever be satisfactory.
But then again, empirically, I can't be sure that anyone has even understood this rant; i.e., have I succeeded in building in your minds the very image that I wish to convey?
And, more importantly, have any of you come to worship Liverpool FC as the one true religion yet?
Kesshu.

tb055
10th November 2003, 11:01
I would have never guessed you were from Liverpool Tony, or are you yet another plastic scouser :rolleyes:

David Dunn
10th November 2003, 11:06
Originally posted by Jeff Cook
Tony, thanks. Is it still registered as such? Is there some sort of tax break for that? And if so, why doesn't the government close the loophole?


I think the Japanese Government considers Shorinji Kempo to be a positive influence in society.

Kimpatsu
10th November 2003, 12:41
Originally posted by tb055
I would have never guessed you were from Liverpool Tony, or are you yet another plastic scouser :rolleyes:
My father was born and raised in Liverpool, and I have family there still.

Kimpatsu
10th November 2003, 12:43
Originally posted by David Dunn
I think the Japanese Government considers Shorinji Kempo to be a positive influence in society.
Yes, as an educational organisation.

tb055
10th November 2003, 14:01
Plastic scouser it is :D

Kimpatsu
10th November 2003, 14:08
Originally posted by tb055
Plastic scouser it is :D
Why plastic? :confused:

tony leith
10th November 2003, 14:11
OK, I'm not going to wade into too much of what has gone before. I (pause for drum roll) actually agree with a surprising amount of what Kimpatsu says. I however am capable of defining for myself what religious expression means in the context of my own life, and I imagine others might say the same. I disagree that a non theistic ethical position requires no element of 'faith' or at least belief - the position that human life, indviduallly or collectively, has instrinsic value is a belief which is not validated by the external universe. Nevertheless, it is at the core of Kongo Zen.

Tony leith

Indar
10th November 2003, 20:23
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Ask yourself this: if Shorinji Kempo is a religion, then what is the Catholic Church? The two are too disparate to be lumped together

You may remember that when Ms Yuuki So (WSKO President) visited Europe in 1999 she had a private audience with the Pope, arranged by the Italian SK Federation.

Kimpatsu
10th November 2003, 21:52
Originally posted by Indar
You may remember that when Ms Yuuki So (WSKO President) visited Europe in 1999 she had a private audience with the Pope, arranged by the Italian SK Federation.
And I shook hands withthe Catholic priest who conducted my counsin's wedding ceremony. What's your point?

Kimpatsu
10th November 2003, 21:55
Originally posted by tony leith
I disagree that a non theistic ethical position requires no element of 'faith' or at least belief - the position that human life, indviduallly or collectively, has instrinsic value is a belief which is not validated by the external universe.
Richard Dawkins disagrees with you. (http://www.world-of-dawkins.com/Catalano/temp/church-schools.htm)

Jeff Cook
10th November 2003, 22:46
Tony,

Since language is an artificial construct, and thus prone to widely varying interpretations based upon individual and group experiences, I can accept that under your definition it is not a religion.

Your argument almost convinced me, except for the one linguistic fact I mentioned above. Semantics exist and thus are NOT oxymoronic. Semantics serve a purpose: to put the artificial construct of language into a relative understanding of context based upon the various experiences of those using an imperfect method of communication, acknowledging that the communicators may have different frames of reference upon which their interpretations are based. Relativity in language is necessary, simply because absolutes DO NOT work! You may not agree with different definitions, but you cannot deny that different definitions for words exist and are valid within the proper context.

"In science, a theory is the gold standard. It is what we arrive at after subjecting a hypothesis to rigorous testing, and has passed every test."

It can't be much of a gold standard; Einstein's general and special theories come to mind. Much of his theoretical reasoning was unproven, because science at the time had no empirical method of testing it. He invented mathematical formulas to support his hypothesis. When means became available to test certain aspects of it, many many false assumptions were discovered.

Theoretical reasoning in the absence of empirical evidence often degrades into mere poll-taking. If you ask the right questions when taking a poll, then apply certain accepted, but SLANTED, standards to analyze the data, you can come up with the conclusion you want, not necessarily an objective conclusion.

At any rate, I do hear what you are saying. I can't say that I agree with you yet.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Kimpatsu
10th November 2003, 23:05
Originally posted by Jeff Cook
Your argument almost convinced me, except for the one linguistic fact I mentioned above. Semantics exist and thus are NOT oxymoronic. Semantics serve a purpose: to put the artificial construct of language into a relative understanding of context based upon the various experiences of those using an imperfect method of communication, acknowledging that the communicators may have different frames of reference upon which their interpretations are based. Relativity in language is necessary, simply because absolutes DO NOT work! You may not agree with different definitions, but you cannot deny that different definitions for words exist and are valid within the proper context.
Absolutes do indeed work; the problem is firstly, homonyms, and secondly, the very problem that I'm trying to illustrate: in the very next paragraph, you misuse the word "theory". Note also: I didn't say that semantics are oxymoronic, I said that the phrase "just semantics" is oxymoronic, because there is no "just" about the importance of the meaning of utterances.

Originally posted by Jeff Cook
"In science, a theory is the gold standard. It is what we arrive at after subjecting a hypothesis to rigorous testing, and has passed every test."
It can't be much of a gold standard; Einstein's general and special theories come to mind. Much of his theoretical reasoning was unproven, because science at the time had no empirical method of testing it. He invented mathematical formulas to support his hypothesis. When means became available to test certain aspects of it, many many false assumptions were discovered.
Misuse of "theory" when you mean "hypothesis". Besides, the theories of relativity can be proven mathematically, and mathematical proof is inviolable. It is a gold standard unto itself. Even before Einstein's hypotheses could be verified by observation (gravitational lensing wasn't actually observed until after his death), the mathematics still held water, so we knew that Einstein was right. And note again how you've misused "theory"; the above sentence should read, "much of Einstein's hypotheses remained unproven", which is axiomatic; once demonstrated, they became theories.

Originally posted by Jeff Cook
Theoretical reasoning in the absence of empirical evidence often degrades into mere poll-taking. If you ask the right questions when taking a poll, then apply certain accepted, but SLANTED, standards to analyze the data, you can come up with the conclusion you want, not necessarily an objective conclusion.
I don't understand this statement. At any rate, it's not how science works. We don't poll people on which scientific facts we want to keep, and which to change. We can't repeal the law of gravity, for example, and we can't poll test data. In science, we formulate a hypothesis that best fits the known data, and then experiment to see if the hypothesis is correct. If the hypothesis is not falsified by experiment, it becomes a theory, which is far stronger, but all theories, even ones you take for granted such as heliocentrism and gravity, are forever open to the possibility of falsification. It would undermine everything we think we know about the universe to undermine heliocentrism or evolution, for example, both of which theories are supported by mountains of evidence and have passed every test thrown at them, but the potential for falsification still exists, and always will. Similarly, to belittle semantics using the qualifier "just", as if it were unimportant, is to do the whole field of linguistics a great disservice, as it assumes that there is some better way of communicating than a shared grammar and semantic praxis.

Kimpatsu
10th November 2003, 23:10
Originally posted by tony leith
OK, I'm not going to wade into too much of what has gone before. I (pause for drum roll) actually agree with a surprising amount of what Kimpatsu says.
Hey, a two-Tone effort. :D

Originally posted by tony leith
I however am capable of defining for myself what religious expression means in the context of my own life, and I imagine others might say the same. I disagree that a non theistic ethical position requires no element of 'faith' or at least belief - the position that human life, indviduallly or collectively, has instrinsic value is a belief which is not validated by the external universe. Nevertheless, it is at the core of Kongo Zen.
What makes you say that the intrinsic value of human life is not validated by the external universe?
Kesshu.

Tripitaka of AA
11th November 2003, 04:17
When Tony Kehoe is capable of writing such compelling and convincing pieces, I can't begin to understand why he can churn out so much drivel in a normal day. All those posts where the word count is less than the number of words in his Sig.

I have seen enough threads and posts about theism and ethics to qualify for an EU subsidy (payable to all writers willing to not write about those subjects), and yet here there has been some progress, I feel.

For a start, I've discovered the proper uses of the words "theory" and "hypothesis" ;) .

More importantly, I've been given some material to read, which has allowed me to understand more than I did before. I can choose to agree or disagree, change my opinion or remain the same. I actually have something to read, real writing to get my teeth into. Not just a game of Quote-Ping-Pong.

Thanks Kimpatsu, for finally ignoring the Enter key, and focussing on the other ones for a bit.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 04:24
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
When Tony Kehoe is capable of writing such compelling and convincing pieces, I can't begin to understand why he can churn out so much drivel in a normal day. All those posts where the word count is less than the number of words in his Sig.
Huh? :confused: :D

Tripitaka of AA
11th November 2003, 06:42
:D ;)

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 06:50
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
:D ;)
This beats my one-word posts, David; you've posted using no words at all!
Kehoe has only got one word
Indar has two but they can't be heard
Williams has sim'lar problems
And Noble has no balls (err... words) at all!
:D

Tripitaka of AA
11th November 2003, 07:05
Kongo Zen is well served by your continuing presence... in Japan! :D

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 07:11
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
Kongo Zen is well served by your continuing presence... in Japan! :D
Now I'm speechless... :o

Tripitaka of AA
11th November 2003, 07:11
I'm ignoring my own advice. Still, I have so many words in my Sig, it usually takes two or three sentences to get over Par.

Tony. Does anyone in Japan think of Shorinji Kempo as a Religion? By that I mean, is there recognition of Sohonzan Shorinji Monks as Monks in the same sense as the monks of other Buddhist Orders? Do people understand that there are such things? Do regular Japanese people know anything about Shorinji Kempo, or is it just the "karate" club that their son/daughter does at Uni?

What place does Kongo Zen have in the general mental/social wellbeing of the population at large?

I ask you, as a representative of someone living in Japan.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 07:29
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
I'm ignoring my own advice. Still, I have so many words in my Sig, it usually takes two or three sentences to get over Par.
Over par? There you go, hitting balls again, David.

Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
Tony. Does anyone in Japan think of Sjorinji Kempo as a Religion? By that I mean, is there recognition of Sohonzan Shorinji Monks as Monks in the same sense as the monks of other Buddhist Orders? Do people understand that there are such things? Do regular Japanese people know anything about Shorinji Kempo, or is it just the "karate" club that their son/daughter does at Uni?
They think of Shorinji Kempo as shukyo, not as a religion in the same sense that Xpianity or Judaism are religions. What differentiates Shorinji Kempo is that we don't pray. Regular Japanese people have absolutely no idea about Shorinji Kempo, and think of it as just the "karate" (sic) that their kids do. To qualify that statement, people outside any art know no more about it than your average Westerner. They can't even tell apart the different styles of Karate (Shotokan, Goju, Wado, etc.), let alone distinguish between Karate and Shorinji Kempo. Interest in Western action movies is at an all-time high, and Japanese perceptions of MA are now as distorted as those of your average 14YO American or British kid who wants become a ninja "becasue they're cool". (Blame the influx of American culture for this.)
Japanese children used to have to study kendo in junior high school (it was compulsory) until a family of Japanese Jehovah's Witnesses successfully sued a school in Kobe about 11 years ago on the grounds that compulsory "violence" (sic) such as this was against their religion. As a result, all schools nationwide dropped compulsory MA from their curricula, and such activities are now only after school, and optional. The one point on which the Japanese are more clued in than their Western counterparts is that if I say I practice Shorinji Kempo, people have at least heard of it, whereas I am normally met with blank looks in the West. But the understanding is no greater than that it's budo.

Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
What place does Kongo Zen have in the general mental/social wellbeing of the population at large?
Absolutely zero. Kongo Zen is only of benefit to those people who practice it. And like with anything, Shorinji Kempo is looked upon as too much like hard work by many people. When we give demonstrations, sometimes 200 people come to spectate, and you'll be lucky to get two who stay to train. Shorinji Kempo, like anything, requires sustained commitment, in terms of time, money, and effort--and most people are just to lazy to stick to a regimen like that. It's so much easier to stay at home and watch the TV. Japan, like the West, is witnessing increasing obesity and the rise of the couch potato. Try explaining Shorinji Kempo and Kongo Zen to people, and watch their eyes glaze over. They're just not interested. Not enough car chases, death-defying stunts, or fights to the death. Surely, that's the real way to build a better world? Not this boring stuff about "handling small violence" (Mizuno Sensei's words). If you can't disarm a hulk with a machine gun, then what use is it?
And so, unrealistic expectations fostered by too much fantasy TV, and disappointment at the real world, has set into Japan as much as in the West. The root causes of this are something on which I'd also like to pontificate, but I think I'll leave that polemic for another day, as it's not germaine to thie topic of this thread.
Kesshu.

Indar
11th November 2003, 08:03
Originally posted by Kimpatsu

Kongo Zen is only of benefit to those people who practice it.

????? What happened to 'half for yourself and half for others' ?

Originally posted by Kimpatsu

Shorinji Kempo, like anything, requires sustained commitment, in terms of time, money, and effort--and most people are just to(o) lazy to stick to a regimen like that.
Perhaps because they don't have any faith.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 08:24
Originally posted by Indar
????? What happened to 'half for yourself and half for others' ?
OK, I'll rephrase:
Kongo Zen is only of active benefit to those who practice it. Other people can be passive recipients of the activist's largesse, but that is entirely dependent upon the activist's willingness and ability to give. For example, I can offer to carry my neighbour's shopping up three floors to her apartment for her, but her receipt of my munificence is dependent upon my presence and willingness to assist her. This is not the same as her being able to perform the task for herself.

Originally posted by Indar
Perhaps because they don't have any faith.
Faith in what? And why should faith in anything be a prerequisite for action? Given that more people in the world are theists than humanists, statistically, more theists than humanists are couch potatoes. What does that do for your argument?

jonboy
11th November 2003, 08:36
Tony,

just wondering if it is the fact Shorinji Kempo exists as shukyo that enables certain practitioners to perform wedding ceremonies? Or is that a licence that anybody can get their hands on?

I'm not big on weddings anyway, so I don't actually know how things work over here with registry offices and such like. I would assume you just have to get a licence because the whole point of a registry office (to me at least) is that you can have a non-religious ceremony.

cheers,

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 08:44
Originally posted by jonboy
just wondering if it is the fact Shorinji Kempo exists as shukyo that enables certain practitioners to perform wedding ceremonies? Or is that a licence that anybody can get their hands on?
I'm not big on weddings anyway, so I don't actually know how things work over here with registry offices and such like. I would assume you just have to get a licence because the whole point of a registry office (to me at least) is that you can have a non-religious ceremony.
Gassho, Jon.
Anybody can perform a wedding ceremony in Japan, because to make a marriage legal all you need is for the bride and groom to sign a form and submit it to the local town hall. Divorce is equally easy. This is completely different from Britain, where only Xpian priests, Jewish rabbis, secular celebrants, or town hall registrars can perform legal weddings.
Kesshu.

jonboy
11th November 2003, 08:50
Thanks Tony. Speedy responce.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 09:05
Originally posted by jonboy
Thanks Tony. Speedy responce.
Gassho, Jon. You're just lucky that I'm online, that's all.
Kesshu.

Indar
11th November 2003, 09:23
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
OK, I'll rephrase:
Kongo Zen is only of active benefit to those who practice it.


Is that what Kaiso taught?

'the purpose is to nourish in them the courage and enthusiasm that will allow them to act aggressively to achieve a peacefully and prosperously ideal society'
(WSKO website: http://wsko.econ-net.or.jp/kaiso/)


Originally posted by Kimpatsu

Faith in what?

Faith in the teachings, faith in our teachers, and most importantly, faith in ourselves.
'We co-operate in an endeavour to establish an ideal world'
Establish an ideal world? Surely that requires a huge leap of faith ? It also provide the link between what Kaiso taught, and the teachings of Jesus and Mohammed.
As an example, some time ago, with some other Kenshi, I visited an Arabic TV station, based in London and broadcasting to the Middle East in Arabic. The purpose was to video a short demo of Shorinji Kempo. We discussed Kongo Zen philosophy with the station manager, and used the example of ' live half for yourself and half for others'. He said; 'we have the same ideal in Islam; we say 'live half the day for yourself, and half for Allah.''
The point being that it may be more constructive to focus on our similarities, rather than our differences.

tony leith
11th November 2003, 09:39
I'm not going to quote, because my computer at work won't let me use the e-budo quote facility and Kimpatsu will have a hissy fit, but I agree with Indar that where mutual understanding is possible it is surely preferable to actively seeking conflict. By this I don't mean that an agnostic or an atheist should be apologetic about their views in discussion with theists, just that if there are affinities in the ethical standards we're all striving to uphold these shouldn't be discounted whatever their metaphysical foundations.

How people actually behave is in my view at least as important as what they ostensibly believe. I heard a Christian Right commentator from the US explaining on the radio the other morning that Islam sadly lacks the tradition of tolerance present in Christianity - I tell you I almost choked on my cornflakes. Islam from my very limited knowledge incorporates a rich and diverse heritage, right from the barking mad paradise grows from the barrel of an AK47 loonies to the Sufi tradition (which from what I've seen is pretty Zen for a notionally theistic belief system).

What I meant by saying that the value of human life is not externally validated is simply that to assign moral qualities to the universe at large seems to me to be typical human pretension/megalomania - the universe is too big for that. Our morality/ethics have to be realised in the context of our relations with each other. To me the ultimate basis of ethics is recognising that the suffering of others is equivalent to your own - again this is something that is grounded in your individual experience and your actual relations with other beings rather than abstract principle. You can argue your way from compassion, I think it's harder to argue your way to it in any incontrovertible way (obviously you can reach for the standard utilitarian arguments, but I find these ultimately unsatisfactory..)

Tony leith

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 10:01
Originally posted by Indar
Is that what Kaiso taught?
'the purpose is to nourish in them the courage and enthusiasm that will allow them to act aggressively to achieve a peacefully and prosperously ideal society'

Now you're being obtuse. If the purpose of Kongo Zen is to "nourish in them the courage and enthusiasm that will allow them to act aggressively to achieve a peacefully and prosperously ideal society", then the receipients of such benefits are passive. Those who work to achieve such benefits are active.
But let's get something straight, here: you're only arguing because it's ME who's writing this, anyone else, and you would be agreeing with them. Right?

Originally posted by Indar
Faith in the teachings, faith in our teachers, and most importantly, faith in ourselves.
That's not faith, it's belief. I believe in the teachings, believe in our teachers, and most importantly, believe in myself. Faith is the great copout, because it is belief without evidence. Often, faith is belief in something contrary to the evidence. Faith is contrary to Kaiso's teachings, because it requires blind acceptance of a tenet without evidence. Now, I believe the sun will rise again tomorrow, based on what I know about the solar system and because it has risen for every day over the past four and a half billion years. Such "faith" is not blind, because it has a rational basis for believing it. There is a possibility that the sun won't rise tomorrow, but the odds are against it.
By contrast, asking me to have faith in something which has never been demonstrated, and which runs counter to the body of knowledge we do have, is bonkers, quite frankly. I believe in the teachings, because they are axiomatic, or otherwise independently verifiable. I believe in my teachers, because they can do what they say they can do. They don't claim to be able to dodge bullets, but they do claim they can block a punch expertly, and they have proceeded to demonstrate this to me many times. And I believe in myself, because I know only too painfully my own limits.

Originally posted by Indar
'We co-operate in an endeavour to establish an ideal world'
Establish an ideal world? Surely that requires a huge leap of faith ?
No, that requires no leap of faith at all. It is demosntrable through actions that have already been performed by adherents to the philosophy. You're confusing faith and belief again, just like you did earlier, and Jeff confused hypothesis with theory.

Originally posted by Indar
It also provide the link between what Kaiso taught, and the teachings of Jesus and Mohammed
The teachings of Jesus and Mohammed? Such as:
WOMEN

Women are deficient in mind and religion.

Mohammed asked some women, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half that of a man?" The women said, "yes," He said, "This is because of the deficiency of the woman's mind. " Vol. 3:826
Mohammed to women: "I have not seen any one more deficient in intelligence and religion than you." Vol. 2:541
The majority of people in hell are women.

Mohammed said, "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers are women. " Vol. 1:28, 301; Vol. 2:161; Vol. 7:124
Women are a bad omen.

Mohammed said, " Bad omen is in the woman, the house and the horse." Vol. 7:30
Women are harmful to men.

Mohammed said, "After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women." Vol. 7:33
Women may not wear wigs.

Mohammed said, " Don't wear false hair for Allah sends His curse upon such ladies who lengthen their hair artificially." Vol. 7:133

SEX AND MARRIAGE
Mohammed's sexual strength is equal to 30 men.

Anas said, "The prophet used to visit all his wives in an hour round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number." I asked Anas, "Had the prophet the strength for it?" Anas replied, "We used to say that the prophet was given the strength of thirty (men). " Vol. 1:268
Mohammed married a 6 (SIX!!) year old girl and had sex with her when she was 9 (NINE!!) Mohammed was clearly a paedophile!

"Narrated Aisha that the prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old." Vol. 7:64
Allah hurries to please Mohammed's sexual desires.

When the Quranic verse that allows Mohammed to postpone the turn of any wife was revealed, and when Mohammed said that Allah allowed him to marry his adopted son's wife, Aisha (one of his wives) told him, "O Allah's Apostle I do not see but that your Lord hurries in pleasing you. " Vol. 7:48
When a woman is divorced irrevocably, she can not return to her husband until she marries (including having sexual intercourse) with another man.

"Narrated Aisha: The wife of Rifaa Al-Qurazi came to Allah's Apostle and said, 'O Allah's Apostle, Rifaa divorced me irrevocably. After him I married Abdur-Rahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi who proved to be impotent.' Allah's Apostle said to her, 'Perhaps you want to return to Rifaa? Nay (You cannot return to Rifaa) until you and Abdur-Rahman (the impotent man) engage in sexual intercourse! '" Vol. 7:186

HUMAN RIGHTS
Islam is to be imposed by force.

Mohammed said, "I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and whoever says, " None has the right to be worshipped but Allah , his life and property will be saved by me." (otherwise it will not). Vol. 4:196
Apostasy is punishable by death.

Mohammed said, "Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him." Vol. 9:57
A Muslim must not be killed if he kills a non-Muslim.

Mohammed said, " No Muslim should be killed for killing a Kafir" (infidel). Vol. 9:50
Ethnic cleansing is practiced.

Mohammed said to the Jews, "You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle (Mohammed) and I want to expel you from this land (The Arabian Peninsula), so, if anyone owns property, he is permitted to sell it." Vol. 4:392
Mohammed's last words at his deathbed were: "Turn the pagans (non-Muslims) out of the Arabian Peninsula." Vol. 5:716

ETERNAL SECURITY
No assurance of Salvation.

Mohammed said. "By Allah, though I am the apostle of Allah, yet I do not know what Allah will do to me." Vol. 5:266
God punishes a deceased if his relatives weep.

Mohammed said, "The deceased is punished because of the weeping of his relatives." Vol. 2:375
When you speak badly about a deceased, the deceased will go to hell.

Mohammed said, "You praised this, so Paradise has been affirmed to him, and you spoke badly of this, so hell has been affirmed to him. You people are Allah's witnesses on earth." Vol. 2:448
Urine on your clothes will bring punishment from God.

Mohammed said, "The deceased person is being tortured in the grave not for a great thing to avoid, it is for being soiled with his urine. " Vol. 2:460
Holy war (Jihad) is a guarantee of heaven.

Mohammed said, "The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostle, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to paradise (if he is killed). " Vol. 1:35

MEDICINE
Drinking camel's urine will make you healthy.

"The prophet ordered them to follow his camels, and drink their milk and urine , so they followed the camels and drank their milk and urine till their bodies became healthy." Vol. 7:590
Fever is from the heat of hell.

Mohammed said, " Fever is from the heat of hell, so put it out (cool it) with water." Vol. 7:619
A fly in your drink is a cure.

Mohammed said, "If a housefly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease. " Vol. 4:537
How the baby's looks are determined.

Mohammed said, "As for the child, if the man's discharge precedes the woman's discharge, the child attracts the similarity of the man, and if the woman's discharge precedes the man's, then the child attracts the similarity of the woman." Vol. 5:275

MISCELLANEOUS
If you eat garlic don't come to the place of worship.

Mohammed said, "Whosoever ate from this plant (i.e. garlic) should not enter the mosque." Vol. 1:812
Effect of evil eye

Mohammed said, "The effect of an evil eye is a fact. " Vol. 7:636
Which shoe you should put on first.

Mohammed said, "If you want to put on your shoes, put on the right shoe first, and if you want them off, take the left one first." Vol. 7:747
Breathing in your drink is bad.

Mohammed said, "Don't breath into your drinking utensil." Vol. 1:156
God frightens his devotees with eclipses.

Mohammed said, "The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah and they do not eclipse because of the death of someone but Allah frightens His devotees with them. " Vol. 2:158
THE KORAN IS FULL OF HATRED

· "O believers, prescribed for you is retaliation, touching the slain; freeman for freeman, slave for slave, female for female . . . In retaliation there is life for you, men possessed of minds; haply you will be godfearing." Surah II

· "And fight in the way of God with those who fight with you. . . . And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; [your own] persecution is more grievous than slaying [others]." Surah II

· "Whoso commits aggression against you, do you commit aggression against him like as he has committed against you . . . " Surah II

· "Prescribed for you is fighting, though it be hateful to you." Surah II

· " . . . take not to yourselves friends of them [the disbelievers] until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them . . . " Surah IV

· "This is the recompense of those who fight against God and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off, or they shall be banished from the land." Surah V

· "Fight them [the unbelievers], till there is no persecution and the religion is God's entirely." Surah VIII

· "It is not for any Prophet to have prisoners until he make wide slaughter in the land." Surah III

· "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush." Surah IX

· "Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day." Surah IX

· "And fight the unbelievers totally even as they fight you totally; and know that God is with the godfearing." Surah IX

· "O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you, and let them find in you a harshness; and know that God is with the Godfearing." Surah IX

· "The recompense of evil is evil the like of it . . . " Surah XLII

· "When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads." Surah XLVII

· "Mohammed is the Messenger of God, and those who are with him are hard against the unbelievers, merciful one to another."Surah XLVIII

· "Thou shalt not find any people who believe in God and the Last Day who are loving to anyone who opposes God and His Messenger." Surah LVIII

· "O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be thou harsh with them." Surah LXVI
Not a very nice person, this Mohammed.
Jesus isn't much better, and many of his reputed good acts were for questionable motives... and that's assuming they are accurately reported in the first place! Kaiso lived, we have people alive today who knoew him and a wealth of records and testimonials. Jesus is mentioned nowhere outside the Bible, and the earliest of the New Testament books was written years after his supposed death and ascent to Heaven. Kaiso was a real man, and a lot better than either Mohammed or Jesus.

Originally posted by Indar
As an example, some time ago, with some other Kenshi, I visited an Arabic TV station, based in London and broadcasting to the Middle East in Arabic. The purpose was to video a short demo of Shorinji Kempo. We discussed Kongo Zen philosophy with the station manager, and used the example of ' live half for yourself and half for others'. He said; 'we have the same ideal in Islam; we say 'live half the day for yourself, and half for Allah.''
The point being that it may be more constructive to focus on our similarities, rather than our differences.
Indar, that claim is not the same as Kaiso's "live half for yourself and half for others". It says live half for yourself, and half for a mythical being in the sky. It says nothing about looking out half for your fellow man. That guy you spoke to either didn't understand what Kaiso meant, or he's pulling the wool over your eyes.
Besides, the history of the Koran makes compelling reading. In the beginning, when Islam was a small religion with few followers and no power, the Koran is full of sweetness and light towards one's neighbours, but as Islam grew in power and wealth, and Mohammed grew richer and more powerful, the verses grow increasingly strident and demand jihad, death to infidels, and that all non-converts (mostly Jews) living under Islam to be treated as second-class citizens. In other words, Mohammed was corrupted by the power; Kaiso never was. (Either that, or Mohammed was cynical enough to know that the art of diplomacy is saying "nice doggy" until you can find a large rock. Take your pick.) Even after Shorinji Kempo grew wealthy and powerful, Kaiso never advocated dojo breaking. Kaiso was offered membership of all the main political parties, and safe parliamentary seats, but he turned them all down. "Did this in Ceasar seem ambition?" He could easily have joined the LDP, brought 1.2 million fellow travellers along as a power base, and passed laws to close down all non-Shorinji Kempo dojos as a threat. He never did.
Comparing a real-life person to an unverifiable myth on the one hand (Jesus) and a tyrant on the other (Mohammed) is muddled thinking at best.
Kesshu.

Indar
11th November 2003, 10:22
Tony (K),

Where did you get this information?
Could it have come from http://www.islamreview.com/articles/incredibleteachings.shtml

You need to be more careful with your sources of information.

The info comes from an anti-Islamic website, apparently run by Christian fundamentalists. Have you ever heard of 'hate crimes' ?

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 11:02
Originally posted by tony leith
I'm not going to quote, because my computer at work won't let me use the e-budo quote facility and Kimpatsu will have a hissy fit, but I agree with Indar that where mutual understanding is possible it is surely preferable to actively seeking conflict. By this I don't mean that an agnostic or an atheist should be apologetic about their views in discussion with theists, just that if there are affinities in the ethical standards we're all striving to uphold these shouldn't be discounted whatever their metaphysical foundations.
I disagree. Surely it is as important to understand the motive behind an action as the action itself. If I do the right thing for the wrong reason, it is still the wrong reason; in other words, that the outcome has been a "good" one (from the purely subjective standpoint of the recipient of said action), then that is merely coincidence. To be certain that the outcome of an action is good every time, then the motives behind the action must also be good. Of course, it is possible that a well-intentioned action may end in disaster, but that is not the same as intending for a bad outcome that turned out good by chance.
As you know, Tony, I am an unapologetic, militant atheist. This, however, has nothing to do with my morals, because as I said earlier, the notion that theism is the sine qua non of moral virtue is a strawman. If you like, I can write a lengthier essay on why this is so. Note that I do not say "why I believe it to be so", for the existence of one virtuous freethinker in the world--and there are many--is living proof that the theistic argument is a strawman. Surely it is far better to teach people to do the right thing because it is the right thing; not because if they don't, the Big Bad Juju in the Sky will punish them? Seeking accommodation with those who rule over the ethical behaviour of others by coercion is the real deal with the Devil. At some stage, it will inevitably turn round and bite you in the arse. (He says, gaily mixing his metaphors.)

Originally posted by tony leith
How people actually behave is in my view at least as important as what they ostensibly believe. I heard a Christian Right commentator from the US explaining on the radio the other morning that Islam sadly lacks the tradition of tolerance present in Christianity - I tell you I almost choked on my cornflakes. Islam from my very limited knowledge incorporates a rich and diverse heritage, right from the barking mad paradise grows from the barrel of an AK47 loonies to the Sufi tradition (which from what I've seen is pretty Zen for a notionally theistic belief system).
How people behave is predicated upon what they believe. For example, the Xpian Rightwinger wouldn't have said what he did (speaking is an action) if he didn't believe what he did--namely, that Islam is a lie, and the Bible is literally true. However, he was right about the intolerance of Islam as described by the Koran itself--see my post above. The irony is that Xpianity is equally intolerant.
When you say "How people actually behave is in my view at least as important as what they ostensibly believe", you're talking about the cognitive dissonance between what people really think, and what they claim to think. A case in point are those myriad American televangelists, who preach a smarmy kind of love, but rip off money from those who can afford it the least. This is because while they say they believe in universal love, what they really think is that they are closer to god than anyone else, and hence superior. As Kaiso said, you need eyes that can reach to the far side of the paper (i.e., read between the lines). You need to be able to see through all the BS they spout to judge what they're really thinking.

Originally posted by tony leith
What I meant by saying that the value of human life is not externally validated is simply that to assign moral qualities to the universe at large seems to me to be typical human pretension/megalomania - the universe is too big for that.
Interesting; now you're making a humanist/freethinker argument, but there is a flaw to your argument. You're right in that the universe is neither moral nor immoral; it is amoral. How could it be otherwise? The universe is pitilessly indifferent to the burden of awareness possessed by humankind because the universe itself is not sentient. It just IS. It exists for no purpose, no reason. That doesn't mean, however, that for us as human beings (or, in my case, anthropoid ape), life is pointless. And here is where the flaw in your reasoning lies. One of the great advantages of sentience is the ability to reason. Now, our brains are Darwinian mechanisms designed for Darwinian survival, and given how weak we are as a species (not fleet of foot, not strong as an elephant, not with the stamina of the ox or the warm pelt of a bear), our survival in the long term is best assured by cooperation over competition. In other words, we can override short-term Darwinian goals (kill neighbour, take his food) for a longer-term economic strategy (pool resources, gain greater chance to survive longer). This is the beginning of caring for others. Gradually, this action has taken on (in the case of the species) and takes on (in the case of the individual) greater meaning: that caring for another is intrinsically good, and not for the selfish reason that is enhances my own opportunities. But don't you see? This is because human morality is not only externally validated, it is mandated by the universe, because if the universe were any other way, we would not be here. Humankind could not have arisen any other way--with morals and ethics--as we are a product of the external universe. Through evolution, we have grown to be exactly the way we are, driven from behind down the aeons by the pressures of natural selection. The more a person adopts ethical codes, the better their chances has always been of passing on their genes to the next generation, so ethics becomes a necessity to ensure your own personal genes' survival. For example, a thief was likely to be hanged in the past, or at the very least banged up in prison, so there was no opportunity for their genes to be passed on. Ethics is not only externally validated by this; it is essential to humanity.
To return to your original point about seeking accommodation: The science I have described above directly undermines the faith of the theist in the idea that humankind is the "Crown of Creation"; god's crowning achievement. You say that "to assign moral qualities to the universe at large seems to me to be typical human pretension/megalomania", but that is precisely what theists do: assume that they are special in god's creation, and that the universe was created for us to be here. But the universe wasn't created for us; we adapted to it (evolution). To reject this anthropocentric notion is de facto to be at war intellectually with all those who claim that morality comes from an external superbeing they call god. There can be no accommodation with that. (Although, admittedly, this is going to upset a lot of people, who are into the fuzzy, warm idea that all religions are basically about being decent to your neighbour and cherry-picking superficial similarities between creeds, rather than acknowledging that both the Bible and the Koran are full of bloodthirsty tales of battle and exhortations to smite nonbelievers/infidels in the name of Yahweh/God/Allah/Ronald MacDonald).

Originally posted by tony leith
Our morality/ethics have to be realised in the context of our relations with each other. To me the ultimate basis of ethics is recognising that the suffering of others is equivalent to your own - again this is something that is grounded in your individual experience and your actual relations with other beings rather than abstract principle. You can argue your way from compassion, I think it's harder to argue your way to it in any incontrovertible way (obviously you can reach for the standard utilitarian arguments, but I find these ultimately unsatisfactory..)
Just as a matter of interest, and to keep the discussion going, why do you find the utilitarian argument to be unsatisfactory? (I agree with you that it is, but I'm curious to know whether your reasons are the same as mine, so I won't lead you by giving you my reasons until after you've supplied yours.)
When you say, "the ultimate basis of ethics is recognising that the suffering of others is equivalent to your own", you are describing empathy (another key word, that). Nurturing empathy is again a Darwinian survival mechanism. The better you can read and anticipate the emotions of another person, which is a key to predicting their actions, then the better you will be at least at knowing when to duck or get out of the way! In other words, living half for others is ultimately better for your own personal welfare, and not for something as nebulous as the "warm glow of self-righteousness you feel inside". There are concrete benefits to mutual cooperation, but none of them based in blind faith.
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 11:09
Originally posted by Indar
Tony (K),
Where did you get this information?
Could it have come from http://www.islamreview.com/articles/incredibleteachings.shtml

You need to be more careful with your sources of information.

The info comes from an anti-Islamic website, apparently run by Christian fundamentalists. Have you ever heard of 'hate crimes' ?
No, I got it from a more moderate site (which I can't find again now), but hoiw can quoting from the Koran itself be a hate crime? To be a hate crime, I would have to do what the fundies then do and extrapolate this to mean that Muslims must be killed or coerced into proselytization. I advocate neither. I merely quoted from the Muslims' own book. Now, how can anyone object to that?

Indar
11th November 2003, 11:16
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
No, I got it from a more moderate site (which I can't find again now

Really ?

It's actually very easy for anyone to check, they just need to follow the link.
Do you know what plaigarism is?

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 11:22
Originally posted by Indar
Really ?
It's actually very easy for anyone to check, they just need to follow the link.
Do you know what plaigarism is?
There is no copyright on the Koran. The list is published by myriad sites for this reason.
Do you have something worthwhile to contribute to this discussion, or are you just goign to be snippy with me for the rest of your life?

Indar
11th November 2003, 11:33
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
There is no copyright on the Koran.

But according to the source of your info you are not quoting from the Koran.

'Mohammed's teachings are included in what is called "Hadith." The "Hadith" is a record of Mohammed's words and deeds according to his wives, relatives, and companions. Next to the Quran, it is the most important part of Islamic law; its teachings are just as binding.'
(Source:http://www.islamreview.com/articles/incredibleteachings.shtml)

Why don't you quote the source of your information, especially considering the inflammatory nature of your post.
If you are going to insult an entire religion, and the founder of that religion, you had better be sure of your facts.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 11:39
Originally posted by Indar
But according to the source of your info you are not quoting from the Koran.
'Mohammed's teachings are included in what is called "Hadith." The "Hadith" is a record of Mohammed's words and deeds according to his wives, relatives, and companions. Next to the Quran, it is the most important part of Islamic law; its teachings are just as binding.'
OK, so I'm quoting from the Hadith. This is like mixing up the Old and New testaments. It is no big deal, as the content is substantively correct.

Originally posted by Indar
Why don't you quote the source of your information, especially considering the inflammatory nature of your post.
If you are going to insult an entire religion, and the founder of that religion, you had better be sure of your facts. Insult what? The quotes are accurate. You are one of these fuzzy thinkers who believes that one shouldn't criticise a religion, that religious claims are somehow not to be examined. This is nonsense. Try reading Religion's Misguided Missiles (http://www.world-of-dawkins.com/Dawkins/Work/Articles/2001-09-18misguidedmissiles.htm) and, particularly, Time to Stand Up, (http://www.world-of-dawkins.com/Dawkins/Work/Articles/2001-09time_to_stand_up.htm) both by Richard Dawkins. But first you have to jettison the notion that religions can't be criticised.

Indar
11th November 2003, 11:47
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
There is no copyright on the Koran.

But according to the source of your info you are not quoting from the Koran.

'Mohammed's teachings are included in what is called "Hadith." The "Hadith" is a record of Mohammed's words and deeds according to his wives, relatives, and companions. Next to the Quran, it is the most important part of Islamic law; its teachings are just as binding.'
(Source:http://www.islamreview.com/articles/incredibleteachings.shtml)

Why don't you quote the source of your information, especially considering the inflammatory nature of your post.
If you are going to insult an entire religion, and the founder of that religion, you had better be sure of your facts.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 11:49
Originally posted by Indar
But according to the source of your info you are not quoting from the Koran.

'Mohammed's teachings are included in what is called "Hadith." The "Hadith" is a record of Mohammed's words and deeds according to his wives, relatives, and companions. Next to the Quran, it is the most important part of Islamic law; its teachings are just as binding.'
(Source:http://www.islamreview.com/articles/incredibleteachings.shtml)

Why don't you quote the source of your information, especially considering the inflammatory nature of your post.
If you are going to insult an entire religion, and the founder of that religion, you had better be sure of your facts.
This is a reprint verbatim of your previous post. My reply still stands. :rolleyes:

Indar
11th November 2003, 11:57
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
The quotes are accurate.

Really ?

Are you an Islamic Scholar?
Do you read Arabic?
Have you studied this book in the source language?
Do you have any personal knowledge of Islam, or is your view based on prejudice and superstition (believing something without personal evidence) ?

Clearly the information that you have posted was cut and pasted from a website run by Christian fundamentalists. Doesn't a belief in science require some kind of consistency ?

bruceb
11th November 2003, 12:43
The Fifty Stanzas of Guru Devotion ... have any of you read this piece of writing that goes back to about 100 B.C.?

We were discussing this, over on the Aikido Journal, and the Behavioral Conditioning it imposed upon the Human Conditon.

Human beings seem to have a variety of ways to understand and adapt to the natural phenonmena of the world around them, and in some ways it is absolutely incredible how far the imagination needs to go to find an anchor to ground some of observations and experiences that have no percievable explanations to that individual. The examination of the religious aspects of human behavior is one of finding patterns of behavior and interpreting thought processes that give some explanation to the behavior.

Consider these ancient instructions from a student who explains that he has attained Enlightenment, or Buddha consciousness in his writings of the "Fifty Stanzas of Guru Devotion" but consider the many superstitious and methods of behavioral conditioning used to modify the thought process of the student through physical and mental modifications in the experiences and observations of the student. The applications of comparisons to what we consider modern religion, even the comparisons of worship and adaptations of behavioral conditioning found in todays religions is not as far fetched as you might think.

Instead of holding up the values of what each of us believes in, or the worship of our religion compared to another religion, cut to the heart of the comparisons and realize that human beings have created methods and means to deal with the unexplainable and observations of the world around them. Many of the modifications and laws found in religion are created because of human behavior and the cognizant thinking of one or more leaders who think they can contain a form of behavior or correct a misbehavior within a set of ideas that set the path for behavioral conditioning that will correct or keep a clear path in which others can follow.

The examination of a question like "Where does Kongo Zen fit in?" is both a question for the outsider who is interested in the application of Kongo Zen in relation to the other pratices of religion in Japan, and it is a question of self reflection for the insider or practitioner who should go beyond the practice but understand their practice of Kongo Zen in relation to the religion or non-religious practices.

Don't spend all your time listing the observations of physical differences or written text, but how does the practice of this subject affect the people involved as a means of behavioral condtioning? If you think about it .... the behavior of the individuals involved are the core to the discussion, despite the outcrys of denial from the "brights", who will never award the 1 million dollar prize from the J. Randi foundation, because there is only science we do or don't understand and no such thing as supernatural. Every type of lifestyle, religion, and thought process is a form of behavioral conditoning .... if you believe there is a describable parameter to describe a normal human being.

Oh well.

Check the Fifty Stanzas of Guru devotion and see if it provides some clarity to the strange and ways that have changed over the years in both religion, and martial arts.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 12:47
Originally posted by Indar
Really ?
Are you an Islamic Scholar?
Do you read Arabic?
Have you studied this book in the source language?
Do you have any personal knowledge of Islam, or is your view based on prejudice and superstition (believing something without personal evidence) ?
No, I have not studied the book in its source language, but I have read an English translation of the Koran. And I don't have any superstitions. Nor am I prejudiced; this is the typical strawman of the apologist. Take off the kid gloves and examine all the monotheistic religions for what they are: anti-humnaist patriarchal superstition. You can't take the high ground with me, Indar, because it isn't you's to take. You're the bigot here, attacking rational intllectual inquiry as "blasphemy" (which is an absurd notion in itself). Religions cannot be accorded any special privileges. Why don't you wake up to this fact?

Originally posted by Indar
Clearly the information that you have posted was cut and pasted from a website run by Christian fundamentalists.
No, it was taken from a more liberal website, as I have told you before. You're not even to me, and you clearly haven't read the Richard Dawkins articles.

Originally posted by Indar
Doesn't a belief in science require some kind of consistency ?
This is an ad hominem logical fallacy: attacking me personally rather than the argument. :rolleyes:

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 13:01
Originally posted by Indar
The info comes from an anti-Islamic website, apparently run by Christian fundamentalists. Have you ever heard of 'hate crimes' ? If this is the case, how come my article is three times as long as the one to which you've linked? Where did the rest come from?
:confused:

tony leith
11th November 2003, 14:06
OK I'm going to discount the flame war threatening to break out between Indar and Kimpatsu - I hope this isn't seen as rude, I just don't want to go there. Don't have time for a detailed riposte to Kimpatsu's earlier critique of my arguments, but I do want to reply to his contention that I'm missing the point about the evolutionary basis of ethical behaviour. Of course there is an evolutionary basis to ethics - our entire behavioural repertoire has evolutionary origins, albeit with culture overlaid. however, our capacity for selfish evil also has an evolutionary foundation. from my point of view, our unique place in dharma - the burden of sentience - is the ability to choose what kind of behaviour you're going to follow.

Tony leith

Indar
11th November 2003, 14:13
Originally posted by Kimpatsu

Indar, that claim is not the same as Kaiso's "live half for yourself and half for others". It says live half for yourself, and half for a mythical being in the sky. It says nothing about looking out half for your fellow man. That guy you spoke to either didn't understand what Kaiso meant, or he's pulling the wool over your eyes.


I spoke to him; you didn't.
Yet you know better than me what was in his heart ?

I'll leave it to each individual to decide for themself on this.

Indar
11th November 2003, 14:42
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
You are one of these fuzzy thinkers who believes that one shouldn't criticise a religion

Fuzzy thinker ?
Well..... I just graduated with an MSc (Internet Engineering).
Maybe the people who say that standards at British universities are dropping are right after all.

Actually I'm one of those people who believe that before you criticise anything it's usually a good idea to do some research.

Indar
11th November 2003, 14:48
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
If this is the case, how come my article is three times as long as the one to which you've linked? Where did the rest come from?
:confused:

Don't you know ?
You posted it.

Confused ? You certainly are.

Jeff Cook
11th November 2003, 14:59
Well, Tony, I turn my back and I see that the previously valuable discussion has degenerated a bit. I wanted to argue with you about theoretical reasoning and it's shortcomings, dialectical development, etc, and the value of empirical data, but I guess that will have to wait for another day.

Thanks for making me think!

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

Indar
11th November 2003, 15:10
Jeff;

In view of your links to The Christian Karate Association, perhaps you would be good enough to provide a Christian perspective.

There was a quote posted recently saying that a committed Christian could never practise Shorinji Kempo. Is this correct ?

Jeff Cook
11th November 2003, 16:35
Indar, I am not qualified to give the Christian perspective. Non-Christians were members of the CKA; I was affiliated as I was a student/instructor at a CKA school. The karate was good; I had no involvement with the ministry part of it.

Jeff Cook
Wabujitsu

shugyosha
11th November 2003, 20:59
the thought of kaiso about that is here:

http://wsko.econ-net.or.jp/kaiso/7.html

some question arises:

what is the dharma? (what is the matrix?;) )

how ones "awaken?" ?

i used to hate religion, much more than kimpatsu, yes its possible, but i met my sensei, he's christian, but not anything like any christian i met, he told me:

"the bible is only about meditation"

"shorinji kempo is the surface of the iceberg, kongo zen is the whole thing in deep water"

i still believe religion are just a tool to enslave the mind of the man, not because of the teaching, but because it is use by the governement.
i did not read the koran though, but i have some muslim friend, and i notice that the women tend to have the upper hand at home :D :D

once again it is the peaple, the peaple that matters, peaple make religion, governement, delusions, war...

from kaiso:

"we can dive into the ocean"

i dont think this comparaison is inocent, sensei always told me we are part of the ocean, that meditation is returning to the ocean...

"Each one of us is a splendid person holding a portion of the Dharma"

sensei also use to say that the drop
n the water can not claim beein the ocean, however it is part of it

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 21:59
Originally posted by Indar
I spoke to him; you didn't.
Yet you know better than me what was in his heart ?
Why ae you so pissy?
You posted here what you claim the man said. I took that at face value and deconstructed the sentence. Why can't you understand that?

Originally posted by Indar
Fuzzy thinker ?
Well..... I just graduated with an MSc (Internet Engineering).
Maybe the people who say that standards at British universities are dropping are right after all.
And how does an MSc qualify you to analyse anthropology? You remind me of Kent Hovind, who thought that a high court judge would make a good member of a science revieqw committee. (http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/kent_hovind's_phony_challenge.htm) Expertise in one area does not equate to expertise in all areas.

Originally posted by Indar
Don't you know ?
You posted it.
Confused ? You certainly are.
Another ad hominem attack, and one I can demonstrate is totally unwarranted! Do I get paid every time you commit a logical fallacy?
You cliamed I copied the list from the web site of a hate group, to whom you supplied a link. If you visit the hate groups's web site, however, you will see that their list is only about a third as long as mine. So, if I copied freom them, where did the other two-thirds of the list come from? The only explanation is that I didn't obtain my information from the hategroup's website. QED.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 22:02
Originally posted by shugyosha
"the bible is only about meditation"
Please explain.

Kimpatsu
11th November 2003, 23:04
Originally posted by tony leith
Don't have time for a detailed riposte to Kimpatsu's earlier critique of my arguments, but I do want to reply to his contention that I'm missing the point about the evolutionary basis of ethical behaviour. Of course there is an evolutionary basis to ethics - our entire behavioural repertoire has evolutionary origins, albeit with culture overlaid. however, our capacity for selfish evil also has an evolutionary foundation. from my point of view, our unique place in dharma - the burden of sentience - is the ability to choose what kind of behaviour you're going to follow.
Gassho.
Yes, that was my point exactly: that the capacity for both good and evil exist is evident, but as long as evolutionary good exists, then the notion of ethics is definitely validated by the external universe because it was caused by that very universe.
Do you think you'll have time to write a detailed response later?
Kesshu.

Tripitaka of AA
12th November 2003, 00:42
And while Kimpatsu is asleep (The Undead do sleep, don't they?), could we get any other views on the general topic or any of its offshoots. Perhaps there are those who know more, or have different views. Speak now, while the air is still.

Is it time for an explanation of the terms Doin and Dojo?

Am I going to regret having my name on another thread that descends, unchecked, into a mire of bickering, sickening, grown-ups behaving badly. I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the content so far. It would be a shame to lose the goodness for the sake of an argument that has been done elsewhere.

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 00:51
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
And while Kimpatsu is asleep (The Undead do sleep, don't they?), could we get any other views on the general topic or any of its offshoots. Perhaps there are those who know more, or have different views. Speak now, while the air is still.
Sorry, I'm still online. I am omnipresent. I know what you're thinking. I can destroy you with thunderbolts. Ha ha ha! :D

Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
Is it time for an explanation of the terms Doin and Dojo?
A doin is simply a dojo registered as a shukyo hojin, rather than a zaidan hojin. There is no substantive difference. I've found recently that many branches in Japan which are registered through the zaidan hojin arm of Shorinji Kempo still refer to themselves as doin. Whilst technically incorrect, it makes no practical difference, and I personally prefer the term "doin" to "dojo", for the terribly unscientific reason that I think it sounds nicer, and the kanji is cooler. (I find the "in" part (‰@) a joy to write.)
Now, I'd best go find my coffin...

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 01:02
Originally posted by Indar
There was a quote posted recently saying that a committed Christian could never practise Shorinji Kempo. Is this correct ?
Indar, in all fairness, the quote came from the website of a fundamentalist group that views all organisations not affiliated with their own as the tools of Satan. More moderate Xpian groups don't make that claim.

Tripitaka of AA
12th November 2003, 01:30
Next time, I'll check who's online before I post :nin:

Thanks for the definition Tony. I could suggest that your definition seems to shape the details to meet your personal view of Shorinji Kempo. Others may see a more obvious distinction between Doin and Dojo based on the two halves of the organisation, previously described as the religious branch and the non-religious. I daresay there are examples to match your view... does this mean that there are examples that might fit the alternative view? Am I getting tongue-tied?

Tony, have you met Japanese Kenshi who are more into the religious(sic) side? What do they make of your views? Are you willing to share any stories with us....

I have been fascinated and much rewarded by your contributions on this thread. I do so enjoy it when we get some real depth to the posts.

shugyosha
12th November 2003, 01:37
""the bible is only about meditation"

Please explain.

i'm sory that i am not christian, and my knowledge of the bible is to
limited too give a complete explanation. i was also surprise when i heard sensei say that.
all i can say his that sensei wanted us to understand that the bible provided the method to open the counsciousness, by correcting the actions, the thought, and speach, pretty much the same as what tought budhism actualy, because meditation is a "vessel" as said my sensei, but to embark this vessel one has to get rid of the weight of the ego, or one will sink.

i can repeat how sensei explain to me meditation in 8 stages:

1: love
2: faith (define by a clear confidence in love)
3: asana (posture of body and mind, behaviour)
4: pranayama (ki ryoku, qigong, breathing work)
5: withrawal from the five sens
6: concentration (of the mind)
7: meditation
8: Satori (enlightenement, temporary or permanent)

i hope this is of litle use and not too confusing...
to answer the topic quesiton, zen means meditation in japanese,
kongo zen "diamon meditation"
so how can a meditation be a religion?
but a person can create a religion and call it "meditation" or kongo zen, its up to peaple

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 01:49
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
Thanks for the definition Tony. I could suggest that your definition seems to shape the details to meet your personal view of Shorinji Kempo. Others may see a more obvious distinction between Doin and Dojo based on the two halves of the organisation, previously described as the religious branch and the non-religious. I daresay there are examples to match your view... does this mean that there are examples that might fit the alternative view? Am I getting tongue-tied?
In practical terms, I haven't seen any real difference. Mori Sensei at the Rakuto Doin is a bona fide Kongo Zen priest, but online I notice the Hollywood branch master is more likely to push the shukyo side of Shorinji Kempo.
And I wouldn't worry too much about getting tongue-tied. I talk drivel all the time, and I'm still here... :p

Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
Tony, have you met Japanese Kenshi who are more into the religious(sic) side? What do they make of your views? Are you willing to share any stories with us....
The most "religious" (sic) person in Japanese Shorinji Kempo has been someone who was more interested in musing intellectually on the deeper social ramifications of Shorinji Kempo philosophy by playing "what if" games (what if Kaiso were Prime Minister, what if Shorinji Kempo teaching were compulsory, etc.), rather than the actual physical training. I haven't seen him for many eyars, however, so I don't know whether he's still training.
In general, the philosophy doesn't make much of a blip in people's consciousnesses. I've been known to stop and ask myself, "what's the Shorinji way to handle this situation?", so I presume other Kenshi do the same, but as to lengthy pondering, I had for more in-depth discussions with Gerry Rixen Sensei than I've had in Japan.
I hope that answers your question.
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 04:18
Originally posted by shugyosha
""the bible is only about meditation"
i'm sory that i am not christian, and my knowledge of the bible is to
limited too give a complete explanation. i was also surprise when i heard sensei say that.
all i can say his that sensei wanted us to understand that the bible provided the method to open the counsciousness, by correcting the actions, the thought, and speach, pretty much the same as what tought budhism actualy, because meditation is a "vessel" as said my sensei, but to embark this vessel one has to get rid of the weight of the ego, or one will sink.
Jimi, don't be sorry for not being a Xpian; I'm not, either. Nothing wrong with rejecting superstition.
Please tell your Sensei from me that I disagree completely that the Bible is a way to open the consciousness; it is full of far too many instructions to kill people for picking up sticks on the Sabbath, homosexuality, "uncleanliness in the sight of the Lord" (i.e., physical deformity), it permits slavery, and advocates murder of people who don't believe. Not much that's spiritually uplifting or morally virtuous there. Your Sensei would be better off choosing an author with some genuine insight into the human condition, such as Shakespeare or Gabriel Garcia Marques.
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 04:23
Originally posted by tony leith
I however am capable of defining for myself what religious expression means in the context of my own life, and I imagine others might say the same.
Gassho.
Tony, I don't really understand this statement. Could you clarify it, please?
Kesshu.

Indar
12th November 2003, 06:43
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
A doin is simply a dojo registered as a shukyo hojin, rather than a zaidan hojin. There is no substantive difference.

A doin is a Shorinji Kempo branch at which the branch master is a Buddhist Priest. A dojo is a Shorinji Kempo branch at which the branch master is not a Buddhist priest.

As far as I know, most SK branches in Japan are doin. Outside Japan it's more difficult to say; the majority of branches are probably dojo, although a number are doin; usually, but not always, those with Japanese branch masters.

The reason for this is that Shorinji Kempo encompasses both those individuals who regard SK as a humanist philosophy, and those who regard it as a religion.

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 06:49
Originally posted by Indar
A doin is a Shorinji Kempo branch at which the branch master is a Buddhist Priest. A dojo is a Shorinji Kempo branch at which the branch master is not a Buddhist priest.
But my branch master's a policeman, not a priest, and we're a doin.
It's certainly true that most branches are called doin; this may have something to do with the registration procedure at Hombu, as compared to the procedure for branches outside Japan.

Indar
12th November 2003, 07:11
Originally posted by shugyosha
[B...
to answer the topic quesiton, zen means meditation in japanese,
kongo zen "diamon meditation"
so how can a meditation be a religion?
[/B]

The purpose of Kongo Zen for the individual is:

self defence
a healthly body
spiritual development

The first two are self evident. The third element is more difficult to define, and really the subject of our discussion.
I would see religion, in it's true sense, as being a method for spiritual development. Obviously religion can be, and has been, used for other reasons, both good and bad; as a method of social control, as a way of ensuring cohesion within a group of people; but I don't think that these are the reasons that humanity originated religion. I believe that religion started as a way of trying to understand our existance. This is the link between all religions, and the reason why Shorinji Kempo is a religion in the same sense as Christianity and Islam. Note that this does not mean that religion has to be 'good' or ethical. Satanism is also a method for attempting to understand and control our existance.
Religion, like science, is a tool for us to use in interpreting the world around us. Science is a wonderful tool, and has many benefits, however science and religion are not mutually exclusive, nor is science automatically a superior tool to religion.
It's better to understand than disease can be caused by germs in our drinking water, and therefore to drink clean water, rather than imagining that disease is caused by demons, and therefore we should bless the water before we drink it. Science is a great way of understanding the physical world; it's not such a good way of undestanding ourselves. The previous example of getting married illustrates this; religion provides us with a framework for this kind of social interaction. If you lose this framework then you get all kinds of social problems; if marriage is not a binding committment, then what will happen to the children if the marriage breaks up? These are the kind of questions that cannot be answered scientifically.

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 07:17
Indar, the essence of Kongo Zen are healthy mind, healthy body, and self defence. Where did you get "spiritual development" from?

Indar
12th November 2003, 07:36
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Where did you get "spiritual development" from?

I dunno, it just seemed to happen.

'To say, "We seek a way," may sound exaggerated or overdone, but the reason you are all staying to the end is that when you do Shorinji Kempo you're seeking for something. Having joined, you began to understand things'

Kaiso Doshin So
(source: WSKO website; http://wsko.econ-net.or.jp/kaiso/12.html)

Indar
12th November 2003, 07:41
'Buddhism is originally a teaching of human mutual esteem. To respect another requires that one first respect oneself. The characters with which "person" can be written in Buddhist philosophy mean "spirit" and "stopping." To put it into religious terms, that means that, if anything, people are spirits who contain in themselves a portion of the Dharma --- and I believe it is only when one awakens to this fact that one is capable of respecting oneself. The great change in my outlook on life came because I truly understood the meaning of this.'

Kaiso Doshin So

(source: WSKO website; http://wsko.econ-net.or.jp/kaiso/7.html)

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 08:23
Originally posted by Indar
The first two are self evident. The third element is more difficult to define, and really the subject of our discussion.
I would see religion, in it's true sense, as being a method for spiritual development.
First rant: Please learn the difference between "it's" (contraction of "it is" and "it's" (possessive). (Rant OFF.)
As I said earlier, anthropologically, "religion" is defined as an appeal to the supernatural. Spiritual development is the province of spirituality. If you refer to spiritual development as "religion", then what word do you use to describe appeals to the supernatural?

Originally posted by Indar
Obviously religion can be, and has been, used for other reasons, both good and bad; as a method of social control, as a way of ensuring cohesion within a group of people; but I don't think that these are the reasons that humanity originated religion. I believe that religion started as a way of trying to understand our existance.
That last sentence is spot on. All religions are pre-scientific attempts to explain the existence of the universe, and the existence of life. They are a cosmology and a biology. And, as modern science has amply demonstrated, they are all totally wrong.
Further, social control is at the core of religion, based upon the principle of the Ladder of Deception. (http://www.eclipse.co.uk/thoughts/ladder.htm)
Viz.: We can use our five senses to determine that there is no car or truck coming and that it is thus safe to cross the road. But what if I tell you that there are invisible cars that will kill you if you do not hold your nose when you cross the road? If you are brave enough, you might try crossing the road without holding your nose, and upon safely reaching the other side, conclude that there are no such things as invisible cars. But this is where the descent down the ladder begins.
"There is an invisible car that will kill you sometimes if you do not hold your nose when you cross the road."
"There is an invisible car that will not kill you now, but the invisible injuries it causes will make you die young if you do not hold your nose when you cross the road."
"A car will suddenly materialise and kill you if you do not hold your nose when you cross the road, like the old lady yesterday; she did not hold her nose properly."
"Some wicked people may tell you that there is no such thing as an invisible car. They are speaking for Satan. You may have doubts yourself. That is Satan talking in your ear."
"Even if you do hold your nose properly, you may still be hit by an invisible car (unforseen accident or illness) and die young. But the purpose of life is to die and go to Heaven, so don't worry. The really important thing is that you hold your nose when you cross the road." (Because that is where my power to control you socially comes from.)
Of course, in pre-scientific society, all attempts at cosmology and biology were inevitably bound up with the "will of the gods", as that was the only way pre-scientific people could explain natural phenomena. We now know that lightning is not Zeus tossing thunderbolts, and earthquakes start years before--sometimes millenia before--as tectonic stresses build up in the Earth's core, so they are not sudden punishments from a wrathful god. The element of control, however, remains, because no one in authority wishes to yield the power that they hold. Such is human nature.

Originally posted by Indar
This is the link between all religions, and the reason why Shorinji Kempo is a religion in the same sense as Christianity and Islam. Note that this does not mean that religion has to be 'good' or ethical. Satanism is also a method for attempting to understand and control our existance.
Shorinji Kempo is NOT a religion, because it makes no appeal to the supernatural. It is an ethical code. It makes no unverifiable statements, such as you will go to Heaven if you die. Xianity and Islam are religions because they make just such an appeal. Authority is vested in a cleric, imam, or preacher whose word may not be questioned.
To continue, there are three types of theist (for brevity, I shall henceforth use this term to describe Muslim clerics and imams, and Xpian clergy). Richard Dawkins referred to them as Know-Nothings, Know-Alls, and No Contests. (http://www.world-of-dawkins.com/Dawkins/Work/Articles/1994-12religion.htm) The broad majority of ordinary people ("civilians", if you like, as opposed to theists) fall into the "no contest" category. In the paragraph below, Indar does the same, and I shall return to the No Contests below, but as a quick definition, No Contests believe that there is no conflict between science and religion, that science and religion are simply about these things. Stephen J. Gould, who was also a No Contest, fell into this category. He coined the term NOMA (Non-Overlapping MAgesteria) to describe it. He was wrong, but as I say, I shall return to the issue below.
Know Nothings are the theists who accept that their holy book--mostly the Bible--does not contain any genuine science, and feel offended if you should even ask. They accept that the Bible or the Koran is not factually accurate. The world was not created in six days, about 6,000 years ago, and nor was there ever a global flood. Instead, they maintain that the Bible is a collection of allegories designed to illuminate human nature, like using a fairy tale such as Jack and the Beanstalk to illustrate a moral point. This is like those people who cry when a character in their favourite TV show dies, or those who write letters of condolence to the either cast characters.
Finally, there are the Know-Alls. At least they are more honest than the Know-Nothings. They accept that the Bible (or the Koran) was written as an attempt to explain origins, and they cling fast to the belief that it is literally true. Despite the overwhelming mountains of scientific evidence to the contrary, fundamentalists maintain that there is a literal Heaven and Hell, and that their particular Holy Book is 100% accurate in all details. Personally, I think they're candidates for a rubber room, but you evidently can't lock people up just for expressing opinions, no matter how daft.

Originally posted by Indar
Religion, like science, is a tool for us to use in interpreting the world around us.
Perhaps, but what on earth makes you think that religion has anything valid to say on the subject? That the Sun is at the centre of the solar system, that disease is caused by microbes too small to be visible to the naked eye, that the immune system can be stimulated to ward off disease, are all interpretations due to science. Religion is a bogus cosmology and biology that has been falsified time and again. Remember my explanation of hypotheses? We test them, and if they fail the tests, then we reject the hypotheses in favour of ones that better explain the data. So why, I must ask, is it any different for these thoroughly discredited biology and cosmology of the Abrahamic religions? What possible advantage can there be to accepting notions as barmy as a six-day creation or a flat earth?

Originally posted by Indar
Science is a wonderful tool, and has many benefits, however science and religion are not mutually exclusive, nor is science automatically a superior tool to religion.
And why on earth would you make such a claim? Science is demonstrably superior to religion, because its explanations regarding causation of natural phenomena and our origins are all correct. What religious claims have ever been bourne out by the evidence? As I linked to earlier, praying doesn't work, and all the religious explanations for phenomena have been invalidated. So what on earth do appeals to the supernatural (religion) have to offer?

Originally posted by Indar
It's better to understand than disease can be caused by germs in our drinking water, and therefore to drink clean water, rather than imagining that disease is caused by demons, and therefore we should bless the water before we drink it. Science is a great way of understanding the physical world; it's not such a good way of undestanding ourselves.
Why not? All we need are better, more accurate models by which to evaluate hypotheses. When Newton first attempted to calculate the diameter of the Earth, he got a figure that was far too small, because he didn't have the appropriate tool--calculus. After he invented calculus, he tried again, and this time got it right. But at no time did he need to pray to find the answer.

Originally posted by Indar
The previous example of getting married illustrates this; religion provides us with a framework for this kind of social interaction. If you lose this framework then you get all kinds of social problems;
I have to interrupt you mid-sentence here for making such a blatantly ridiculous remark. Religion is not, and need never be, the social glue that holds a people together. As the Ladder of Deception illustrates, religion in the social sphere is all about control. It also punishes those who dare to question or oppose its teachings or attempt at control. Further, the corrollary to your statement is that a non-theistic society cannot function, which is blatantly false. It also implies that brights and other freethinkers are somehow morally less developed than theists, which I personally find offensive. When was the last time a suicide bomber acted in the name of atheism? You can be as superstitious as you like, but don't try to force your superstitions on me. Attempting to claim religion (superstition) as a moral framework is to disenfranchise all those of us who are sincere in a desire for a better world, but don't see any reason to appeal to the supernatural to achieve it. It also puts you in the Know-All camp, because you somehow thing that appeals to the supernatural are A GOOD THING for society, even though the message they preach may be factually wrong. (Martin Luther called this the "noble lie".) Personally, I'd rather face the stark truth, no matter how unpalatable, than be fed a sugar-coated falsehood. You personally may be different, but the assertion in the above paragraph is an attempt to force the pill on all of us. You don't have the right to infringe my personal liberty in that way, and nor do you have the right to decide for me what is in my best interest. And that's where the greatest social problem with religion lies: it assumes that not only does it operate in everyone's best interest, it automatically knows what that best interest is. No matter how messy a free society may be, with marital breakdowns and all, I still prefer it to a theocracy.

Originally posted by Indar
... if marriage is not a binding committment, then what will happen to the children if the marriage breaks up? These are the kind of questions that cannot be answered scientifically.
This is a false dilemma. Firstly, it assumes that secular marriages will inevitably break up, but this is not the case. And plenty of church marriages dissolve as well. But let's return to the crux of your argument: that religion somehow has something to contribute to the children of a failed marriage? What exactly? Science can supply them with food to eat (without science, we would still be stuck with peasant agrarian subsistence farming), with clothes to wear (mass production means they don't have to catch and skin their own animals for clothing), light, heat, and an education. It can also supply them with the means of transport to and from school. If you took away science, there would be no transport faster than the horse, no lighting other than natural light, no doctors other than witch doctors. Religion has resulted in centuries of oppression, crusades, genocide, and has generally held back humankind. Science is already studying the nature of love (biochemical response), and could one day provide us with a complex mathematical formula to explain just how long a marriage might be expected to last. And your final sentence betrays an ignorance of what science actually IS (strange for an MSc):

These are the kind of questions that cannot be answered scientifically.
This sentence should read, "science cannot answer this question yet (but may be able to do so in the future)". And why shouldn't it? We are only meachines made of meat; if we can retroengineer a complex piece of machinery such as a fighter plane's guidance system, then we can one day do the same to the human brain. And then we'll really know why love is blind.

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 08:28
Originally posted by Indar
I dunno, it just seemed to happen.
Yeah, that's what I said when I was asked why I got married. ;)
Actually, the Japanese for "healthy mind" as used in Shorinji Kempo (these terms are fixed, after all) is "seishin shuyo". "Shuyo" means to nurture or develop, and "seishin" is defined by the Kojien as "mind or spirit". But this is only because, in pre-scientific Chinese biology, the "spirit" was thought to be a supernatural energy that inhabited the body and gave rise to awareness. When you died, your spirit left your body, and thus you were no longer sentient. We now know that this is a load of baloney. The mind is dependent upon the physical organ of the brain, and loss of sentience is due to brain death. So purely from the standpoint of what we know of modern anatomy, "mind" is a better translation than "spirit", for which I would reserve the Japanese word "tamashi" (soul), and which is used in such phrases as, "Yamato damashi banzai!" (Long live the spirit of Japan!)
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 08:33
Originally posted by Indar
'Buddhism is originally a teaching of human mutual esteem. To respect another requires that one first respect oneself. The characters with which "person" can be written in Buddhist philosophy mean "spirit" and "stopping." To put it into religious terms, that means that, if anything, people are spirits who contain in themselves a portion of the Dharma --- and I believe it is only when one awakens to this fact that one is capable of respecting oneself. The great change in my outlook on life came because I truly understood the meaning of this.'
Certainly, Buddhism is the only creed still extant that places mutual self esteem based upon a sense of personal self worth at its core, but just because 2,000-year-old Chinese characters for "person" are written with a radical meaning "spirit" doesn't mean that we should assume there is such a thing as a spirit. Remember, these characters reflect the cosmology and biology of the people who created them, people who had no knowledge of anatomy or medicine as we do today. In history, to assume that ancient peoples had the same set of values and ethics, predicated upon a similar understanding of the universe, as we do is called the "sin of present-mindedness". The second part of Kaiso's statement above is best taken metaphorically, not literally.
Kesshu.

Indar
12th November 2003, 09:04
Gassho,


Originally posted by Kimpatsu
The second part of Kaiso's statement above is best taken metaphorically, not literally.
Kesshu.
So you know more than Kaiso ????????


source : Shorinji Kempo Fukudoku-Hon page 2; Kongo Zen Sohonzan Shorinji, World Shorinji Kempo Organisation First principles of Shorinji Kempo (Self-defense, spiritual growth, and a healthy body
Do you also know more than WSKO ?

Kesshu

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 09:13
Originally posted by Indar
So you know more than Kaiso ????????
What I said about the history of kanji is fact. How you choose to interpret that fact is up to you.

Originally posted by Indar
Do you also know more than WSKO ?
That quote is taken from the American version of the Fukudokuhon, which contains so many mistranslations it has now been yanked from publication. The correct translation of "Kenko zoshin, seishin shuyo, goshin rentan" is "Sound mind, healthy body, self defence", for the reasons I explained above.
Moriat Sensei has said on more than one occasion that, based on my ability to articulate Shorinji Kempo philosophy, I certainly do know more than the "country bumpkins" at Hombu. This is because I'm a translaotr by preofession, the ability to see behind the actual words to what the speaker really wants to say is a prerequisite for my job. How could the monolinguals at Hombu know how to correctly translate "Kenko zoshin, seishin shuyo, goshin rentan"? I do, because it's my vocation. What's your excuse?
Note also that I'm not disagreeing with Kaiso; nowhere does he say his statement is not to be taken metaphorically. You're creating a false dilemma of antagonism where there is none. Back to Logical fallacies 101 (http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/) for you.

Indar
12th November 2003, 09:18
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
The correct translation of "Kenko zoshin, seishin shuyo, goshin rentan" is "Sound mind, healthy body, self defence", for the reasons I explained above.


Would anyone else like to provide a translation ?

Aran, Anders, Michael Eastwood ?

tony leith
12th November 2003, 09:50
Just a brief interjection from the sidelines of the flame war that seems to have erupted between Messrs Kehoe and Picton Howell. Religious expression is a term I would use (like Indar) to describe the struggle to define a moral definition of my being I can live up to. I know Kimpatsu may well erupt in a froth of indignation at this, as well as the use of words like 'spirit', which again I think can be a handy shorthand for concerns that go beyond the pervasive materialism (meant in the colloquial sense) of advanced capitalist society. Frankly I'm not that concerned at this. I don't see why matters of the spirit should be the exclusive preserve of new age crackpots and the ideologies/power structures embodied in the major religions, and I also don't share Kimpatsu's abhorrence of metaphorical and allusive language.

As I said earlier, I have come to the conclusion that believing that human life has some ultimate value is when it comes right down to it a question of belief and empathy (yes, I understand the meaning of that word, and I am not abashed about saying that I think it is the only viable basis for an ethical approach to life.

Just as a purely trechnical point about rhetoric, Kimpatsu might just find his laudable causes bettter served if he experimented with modes of discourse other than the declamatory. Just a thought.

Tony leith

shugyosha
12th November 2003, 12:12
it is full of far too many instructions to kill people for picking up sticks on the Sabbath, homosexuality, "uncleanliness in the sight of the Lord" (i.e., physical deformity), it permits slavery, and advocates murder of people who don't believe. Not much that's spiritually uplifting or morally virtuous there. Your Sensei would be better off choosing an author with some genuine insight into the human condition, such as Shakespeare or Gabriel Garcia Marques.

what about "thy shall not kill" :p

i think the problem is not inside the "holy" books, but the interpretation that peaple make of it, i realy think the bible is like a mess to understand, and probably as been rewriten by the church to suit the need of control to the society, but all of this as been done by peaple, it is the person that decide the meaning, you can always take something good from anything, any book, it is up to the person.
even shorinji kempo is not execption, this very thread is a good example, now we have different peaple saying different interpretation of one teaching! this is becoming very religious, any others subject would be answer like:

"ok, maybe, that's a point of view"
but because this is kongo zen, because there is such attachement to what is "true" and what is "wrong" peaple would fight to define there own interpretation as the "one"

what if kaiso didnt mean to be reglious nor atheist?
maybe he just wanted that every person, each person could make his own judgement, his own belief, whatever the religion, the origin?

indar wants to point out that the "why" (religion) is all that mather,
while kimpatsu shows that the "how" (science) can solve anything.


hohoho, sounds like neo fighting Smith
:p :p

"why?, why M. anderson, why do you go on fighting?!"

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 12:48
Originally posted by shugyosha
what about "thy shall not kill" :p

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

--the Ballad of Reading Gaol, by Oscar Wilde.
See? Same sentiment, much better poetry. As a writer, god betrays insecurity in her work. She repeats herself often, and contradicts herself. As I said before, you're better off with Shakespeare.

Originally posted by shugyosha
indar wants to point out that the "why" (religion) is all that mather, while kimpatsu shows that the "how" (science) can solve anything.
I have to take issue with this statement. Religion gives us the "why" of nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada. All it does is replace one unknown (why does the universe exist?) with another, less parsimonious unknown (why does god exist?). And Occam's Razor forbids us from unnecessarily complicating the hypothesis with unnecessary layers. (Or, as Einstein said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler".) Or as Richard Dawkins put it, "Why do you thing religion holds the answer to anything? Why not the cook, or the gardener, or the parlour maid?"
Science answers the "why" as well as the "how": For example, "how do you boil water?"
--You heat it.
"Why does it boil?"
--Because the heat agitates the molecules, which collide together and the resulting friction raises the temperature.
Or, like when Napoleon asked the French astronomer, "But Monsieur LaPlace, where is god in your model of the universe?", LaPlace replied, "I have no need of that hypothesis".
Often, people (and I guess that Indar is among them) feel that a god is necessary to explain existence. But, and to end with another quotation, again from Richard Dawkins: "I suspect that today if you asked people to justify their belief in God, the dominant reason would be scientific. Most people, I believe, think that you need a God to explain the existence of the world, and especially the existence of life. They are wrong (emphasis mine), but our education system is such that many people don't know it. "
Kesshu.

jonboy
12th November 2003, 14:37
"Why does it boil?"
Tony, without meaning to be an arse, please don't supply incorrect scientific reasoning when you are trying to argue your point about science being able to explain all. I personally agree with your sentiment though. In case you are wondering what I'm getting at, water (and other liquids) boil because the vapour pressure of the liquid reaches the pressure of the surrounding gas. Hence the reason why when you go up a mountain, you need to supply less heat to boil the water (the water needs not to reach such a high vapour pressure).

Steve Williams
12th November 2003, 17:13
Oh



My



God........



(or non-demonational deity ;) )





I am away for a couple of days and come back to 4 new pages of (mostly) drivel........


Did I not tell TonyK and Indar to play nice??


Guys, if this thread does not start making sense (or at least talking less crap) then I will close it.



Anders is in Japan, and I am not able to get online every day, so PLAY NICE.

Kimpatsu
12th November 2003, 22:00
Originally posted by jonboy
Tony, without meaning to be an arse, please don't supply incorrect scientific reasoning when you are trying to argue your point about science being able to explain all. I personally agree with your sentiment though. In case you are wondering what I'm getting at, water (and other liquids) boil because the vapour pressure of the liquid reaches the pressure of the surrounding gas. Hence the reason why when you go up a mountain, you need to supply less heat to boil the water (the water needs not to reach such a high vapour pressure).
Granted, Jon, I pared this down because my point lay elsewhere; namely, that no appeal to the supernatural is needed to explain the "why".
Kesshu.

Indar
13th November 2003, 00:49
Originally posted by shugyosha

what if kaiso didnt mean to be reglious nor atheist?
maybe he just wanted that every person, each person could make his own judgement, his own belief, whatever the religion, the origin?

That's actually what I already said:

Originally posted by Indar

The reason for this is that Shorinji Kempo encompasses both those individuals who regard SK as a humanist philosophy, and those who regard it as a religion.

Originally posted by Steve Williams

Did I not tell TonyK and Indar to play nice??


Originally posted by Kimpatsu
It also implies that brights and other freethinkers are somehow morally less developed than theists, which I personally find offensive.

Well; Steve and a number of other people reading this thread know both TonyK and myself personally. Would anyone like to comment?
As Kaiso said, ultimately it all depends on the person.

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 00:58
Originally posted by shugyosha
what if kaiso didnt mean to be reglious nor atheist?
maybe he just wanted that every person, each person could make his own judgement, his own belief, whatever the religion, the origin?
Then by definition, Shorinji Kempo cannot be a religion, as it would be unable to admit card-carrying atheists like myself as a member.
Thank you, Jimi.
Kesshu.

Indar
13th November 2003, 05:24
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
For example, a thief was likely to be hanged in the past, or at the very least banged up in prison, so there was no opportunity for their genes to be passed on. Ethics is not only externally validated by this; it is essential to humanity.


What you say is correct, but only half correct.
The stupid thieves are caught, and their genes are removed from the gene pool. The clever thieves survive and reproduce. Thieves become more and more clever. Darwinian selection works in both directions.

Originally posted by Indar

Clearly the information that you have posted was cut and pasted from a website run by Christian fundamentalists. Doesn't a belief in science require some kind of consistency ?

Originally posted by Kimpatsu

This is an ad hominem logical fallacy: attacking me personally rather than the argument. :rolleyes:
True; but in order for us to have a useful discussion there have to be rules. You quote information that appears on a Christian fundamentalist anti-Muslim website in order to support your pro science argument. If you want to argue scientifically, shouldn't you use scientific evidence, and document the source of that evidence?
If you want to argue with a computer programmer you need to start with some understanding of logic

Originally posted by Kimpatsu
This is because I'm a translaotr by preofession, the ability to see behind the actual words to what the speaker really wants to say is a prerequisite for my job.
But not your ability to spell words in your native language?
How is business? No wonder you have so much time to spend on E-budo.


a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds

Anyone know who said that?

Indar
13th November 2003, 05:46
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
I pared this down because my point lay elsewhere

So science doesn't have to be right or wrong, it can be 'pared down', i.e. 'sort of correct, in a fuzzy way' ?

Not content with correcting the mistakes made by Kaiso and WSKO, you now correct the mistaken assumptions made by the whole scientific community.


Clive Anderson to Jeffrey Archer
Is there no beginning to your talents?

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 06:25
Originally posted by Indar
What you say is correct, but only half correct.
The stupid thieves are caught, and their genes are removed from the gene pool. The clever thieves survive and reproduce. Thieves become more and more clever. Darwinian selection works in both directions.
True, but the pressures of natural selection work to drive them all out of the gene pool ultimately. The problem with an analogy is that it has limits; I used criminals as an example here, but of course, criminal traits are not genetically inherited, so a new generation of criminals arises with each new generation. The basic comparison, however, remains intact.

Originally posted by Indar
True; but in order for us to have a useful discussion there have to be rules. You quote information that appears on a Christian fundamentalist anti-Muslim website in order to support your pro science argument. If you want to argue scientifically, shouldn't you use scientific evidence, and document the source of that evidence?
If you want to argue with a computer programmer you need to start with some understanding of logic
You've missed the point, Indar; the quotation appears not only on a fundie website, but on other, perfectly respectable websites as well. And the content wasn't written by the fundies; all they've done is appropriate it for their own ends. My original point still stands. You cannot deny these are all words that are attributed to Mohammed by the Hadith. That being so, what are we to make of them? Quite simply, if you study the history of Islam, it started off preaching tolerance when it was small and weak, and grew increasingly bellicose as it grew in strength and power. These are undeniable facts. So now tell me how you can claim Islam is about peace? (Also, did you read "Time to Stand Up"? It's well worth it.)

Originally posted by Indar
But not your ability to spell words in your native language?
How is business? No wonder you have so much time to spend on E-budo.
Yeah, business is in the toilet at the moment. And my spelling is excellent. (Don't confuse inability to spell with typos.)

Originally posted by Indar
Anyone know who said that?
Ralph Waldo Emerson. And it is one of the most misapplied quotations on the internet. The operative word isn't "inconsistency", it's "foolish". Or are you arguing that consistency is a priori bad? If so, you must write some bizarre programming code... and I don't believe you do.
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 06:33
Originally posted by Indar
So science doesn't have to be right or wrong, it can be 'pared down', i.e. 'sort of correct, in a fuzzy way' ?
No, you miss my point entirely, probably through wilfull ignorance. My point is that evreyone in school learns the "molecular friction" reason for boiling water (which is later overturned at A-Level chemistry, if you go that far). I wanted readers to focus not on the actual scientific argument given, but on the fact that Jimi was wrong regarding NOMA; in fact, science gives us both the how AND the why, wheras the Great Juju in the Sky explains nothing. Clearly this strategy backfired, becasue Jon Cruikshank's a clever dick. (Hello, Jon! :wave: ;))

Originally posted by Indar
Not content with correcting the mistakes made by Kaiso and WSKO, you now correct the mistaken assumptions made by the whole scientific community.
Now you're accusing me of something I've never done. When have I ever corrected Kaiso or the scientific community? You're reading things that aren't there. So blinded by your hatred of me, you're not even fololowing my arguments! My point is that I am
validated by the very quotations from Kaiso that you have published here! When did Kaiso ever say an atheist couldn't be a Shorinji Kenshi? When did he ever insist that all Kenshi had to convert to a different religion? NEVER! Proof--if any more were needed--that Shorinji Kempo is NOT a religion--for no appeal to the supernatural, by definition, ever included a bright or other freethinker.
Won't you please try actually reading and understanding my posts before rushing intemperantly into condemning me? After all, such a headlong gallop isn't really the behaviour one expects from a Kenshi--now, is it?

Indar
13th November 2003, 07:11
O.K.; lets move on;

'Human divinity and the moral nature of Dharma'
This is one of the questions in the sandan syllabus; a grading that you recently passed. Could you give us your views on this subject?
And btw, some time ago you promised to explain how sokai ranks work within SK.

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 07:20
Originally posted by Indar
'Human divinity and the moral nature of Dharma'
This is one of the questions in the sandan syllabus; a grading that you recently passed. Could you give us your views on this subject?
Actually, the question in Japanese is better translated as "human mind (seishin) and the moral nature of Dharma". I really don't know who translated the English, but I'm willing to bet it was a Japanese native speaker. (The giveaway is their use of the redundant "on" in such questions as "On the meaning of bu and the essence of budo"; it's a transliteration of the Japanese "ni tuite".)
So: Human mind and moral nature. I hold that morality is self-evidently separate from any religion, as proven by the lives being led by perfectly ethical atheists and other brights around the world. I also wrote earlier in this thread how human morality has been driven by evolution.
I've got the full essay that I submitted at home somewhere; I'll have to dig it out and write a much fuller answer. Obviously, the examiners thought my answer was perfectly acceptable, as I passed.

Originally posted by Indar
And btw, some time ago you promised to explain how sokai ranks work within SK.
Yes, I shall get around to doing that at some stage. But first, I'm bound to supply another lengthy answer to a seprate debate in the Members' Lounge, on the subject of democracy.
Kesshu.
PS: Could you clear something up for me? Are you of the opinion that atheists should cannot, or should not, be Shorinji Kenshi? TIA.

Indar
13th November 2003, 07:35
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
PS: Could you clear something up for me? Are you of the opinion that atheists should cannot, or should not, be Shorinji Kenshi? TIA.
O.K., to answer your question (for the third time):

Originally posted by Indar
The reason for this is that Shorinji Kempo encompasses both those individuals who regard SK as a humanist philosophy, and those who regard it as a religion.

happy?

Tripitaka of AA
13th November 2003, 07:48
If I may return to some thoughts that have been simmering (not boiling ;) ) beneath my surface;

"People outside Japan hear that Shorinji Kempo is a Religion (in part, or parts of it are, or it has a religious element, etc) and this changes the way they think about it, approach its study, develop their studies. Japanese Kenshi don't have quite the same problem, as they already know the word that Kimpatsu taught us, Shukyo (wasn't it?)"


Agree? Disagree?

This was part of why I think it was important for us to understand how Kongo Zen fits into Japanese society. I would have liked a few other Japan-Resident E-Budoka to add their comments, if only to validate what Kimpatsu has told us (scientific experiments that can be repeated with the same results, etc (yawn)).


Oh and did you catch;

originally posted by Tony Leith
Just as a purely trechnical point about rhetoric, Kimpatsu might just find his laudable causes bettter served if he experimented with modes of discourse other than the declamatory. Just a thought.

I'm just picturing Tony L pondering how many ways to rephrase "stop being an !!!".:) :D :laugh:

Indar
13th November 2003, 07:58
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Actually, the question in Japanese is better translated as "human mind (seishin) and the moral nature of Dharma".

Sorry to be so pedantic, but the question does appear both in the English language syllabus published by WSKO and the BSKF syllabus as approved by Mizuno Sensei as originally quoted:

Human divinity and the moral nature of Dharma

Or are you going to tell us that both Mizuno Sensei and Hombu are mistaken on this? Did you see the thread on Hokei?

shugyosha
13th November 2003, 09:06
thy shall read this:

http://www.thebricktestament.com/

and thy shall love your neighbour if thy want to be at peace:o :o ;)

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 09:27
Originally posted by Indar
O.K., to answer your question (for the third time):
happy? No, I would like a YES or NO answer to a YES or NO question:
Do you personally believe that atheists should be forbidden to practice Shorinji Kempo?
BTW, I looked up the actual wording to the 'Human divinity and the moral nature of Dharma'; in Japanese it reads, "Dharma no tokusei to ningen no reisei", which is better rendered as "The ethics of Dharma and human spirituality". As I said, I gaven't seen the English translation of the topics, but some of them seem to be mistranslations to me.
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 09:33
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
I'm just picturing Tony L pondering how many ways to rephrase "stop being an !!!".:) :D :laugh:
David (and Tony), I use affirmations because I have no time for the weasel words. Of course, I could pepper my polemics with "I think", "I believe", "In my opinion...", but why should I? They don't actually contribute to the statements I have to make; they serve only to pad out the paragraph and show how I can use subordinate clauses. (If writing an essay in a foreign language exam, however, it is highly advisable to use these phrases to lubricate and pad out the sentence, but that's another matter. ;) )
Jeff Cook was right when he said it's only being direct; they sarve no real function other than social lubrication (which is why Indar mistakenly thinks that sentence without them are rude). This is why Microsoft manuals are written in the declaatory: "Turn ON your PC, and click the BUGGEROFF Icon on the Desktop. An option menu will be displayed. Select the DICKHEAD button, and then click the ENTER Button." When writing technical manuals or polemics, anything in which you wish to press home your point, the declamatory is to be preferred. Even Strunk and White agree on that point.
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 09:40
Originally posted by Indar
Or are you going to tell us that both Mizuno Sensei and Hombu are mistaken on this?
Yes, I beleive they are. This is a mistranslation in my expert opinion. I suspect that Mizuno Sensei had to look up "tokusei" and "reisei" in a dictionary, but we're back to playing the black keys on the white piano again. And I know for a fact that there are no professional J to E translators at Hombu, which is why they always outsource translations--to companies with no background knowledge of Shorinji Kempo! This has already led to complaints from native English-speaking Kenshi, but they don't complain to their Japanese branch masters or to Hombu; they complain to me, as if my language skills gave me an inside to the WSKO "country bumpkins" (ahem!). Perhaps you could ask Mizuno Sensei about this for me, Indar? Who translated the titles? Remember: translation should always be for meaning, which means building in the listener's mind the same image as that held in the speaker's. And language is culturally driven. Consequently, when translating between such disparate cultures and English and Japanese, straight transliteration will not serve. It takes someone au fait not only with both languages, but with the subculture of Shorinji Kempo as well, in addition to the wider cultures of both Japan and Britain. I stand by my assertion, but will willlingly discuss it with Mizuno Sensei if I ever see him again.
Kesshu.

jonboy
13th November 2003, 11:14
...because Jon Cruikshank's a clever dick
Sorry about that Tony :D

I corrected you only because I liked your argument and wanted it to be accurate.


science gives us both the how AND the why

Indeed it does, but I would say that.

David Dunn
13th November 2003, 11:20
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Remember: translation should always be for meaning,

This is very difficult Tony. Why should there be a one-to-one correspondence between words in different languages? I think that essays or articles written in other languages shouldn't be shy about trying to explain meaning and context (not just Shorinji ones either). Sometimes it isn't possible. Sometimes we adopt words because of this, such as shadenfraude, zeitgeist etc.

(btw - the translator at the FFSK's 30th anniversary was something to behold. He translated Japanese into French, English and Spanish one after another, all day. )

As for the argument, there is another thread on the same subject somewhere. As far as I'm concerned science is the only epistemologically sound process of discovering the workings of the physical universe. Understanding human beings and their inter-relationships is not in the realm of science, because science is unable to account for the dual subject-object nature of human beings. Or in plain English, humans are able to make of themselves what they want, individually and collectively. That includes constructing our own consciousness. Some consciousness is false, such as creationism.

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 11:34
Originally posted by David Dunn
This is very difficult Tony. Why should there be a one-to-one correspondence between words in different languages? I think that essays or articles written in other languages shouldn't be shy about trying to explain meaning and context (not just Shorinji ones either). Sometimes it isn't possible. Sometimes we adopt words because of this, such as shadenfraude, zeitgeist etc.
We do sometimes adopt words from other languages; cross-pollination happens all the time. Japanese is a case in point. My argument is that one needs to translate for meaning, and the words to borrow, with their attendant cultural baggage, have yet to make their way into English, so we're stuck with working in a language with no one-to-one correspondance. Consequently, errors do creep in.
Back when I was captain of Brixton, Mizuno Sensei used to ask me my opinion of certain WSKO translations into English, and I would find errors and correct them "Dharma no tokusei" never came up, though; I think it's because Mizuno Sensei didn't want to burden me with translations for howa concepts that I had yet to study, but whether that's truly the case I don't know.

Originally posted by David Dunn
(btw - the translator at the FFSK's 30th anniversary was something to behold. He translated Japanese into French, English and Spanish one after another, all day. )
What was his name?

Originally posted by David Dunn
As for the argument, there is another thread on the same subject somewhere. As far as I'm concerned science is the only epistemologically sound process of discovering the workings of the physical universe.
So do I.
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 11:37
Originally posted by jonboy
Sorry about that Tony :D
No need to apologise, Jon. Never be sorry for being right. (That's why I'm NEVER sorry! Ha ha! :D )
And to be fair, I did call you a cleverdick in return. ;)
Best,

Indar
13th November 2003, 12:18
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
No, I would like a YES or NO answer to a YES or NO question:
Do you personally believe that atheists should be forbidden to practice Shorinji Kempo?


I, Indar Picton-Howell, being of sound mind (and strangely enough I do happen to have a letter from my doctor to confirm this) believe than no-one should be forbidden from doing anything that does not cause harm to another person.

Why do you ask? Isn't this something that you should confirm with Hombu?
And why do you think that I don't like atheists? My Father was an atheist and I liked him.

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 12:39
Originally posted by Indar
I, Indar Picton-Howell, being of sound mind (and strangely enough I do happen to have a letter from my doctor to confirm this) believe than no-one should be forbidden from doing anything that does not cause harm to another person.
That's still not a yes or no answer, but I guess it will have to do.

Originally posted by Indar
Why do you ask? Isn't this something that you should confirm with Hombu?
I was asking for your personal opinion. I already know Hombu's take on this.
Kesshu.

Gem_C
13th November 2003, 12:41
Firstly, I apologise if this disrupts the present course of thread, but I have only just joined the forums and there is so much in this thread that I feel I should address. I restrained myself and only jumped back a page or two. ^_^



Of course, in pre-scientific society, all attempts at cosmology and biology were inevitably bound up with the "will of the gods", as that was the only way pre-scientific people could explain natural phenomena. We now know that lightning is not Zeus tossing thunderbolts, and earthquakes start years before--sometimes millenia before--as tectonic stresses build up in the Earth's core, so they are not sudden punishments from a wrathful god. The element of control, however, remains, because no one in authority wishes to yield the power that they hold. Such is human nature.

I completely agree. However, you are ignoring a key point to be considered when discussing the origin and creation of any religious and/or spiritual belief; what is it about human nature/psychology that has caused entirely isolated communities across the world to create similar religions, beliefs, and moral codes?

I DO agree that deities were given roles so that primitive societies could explain the world around them, but it would be naive and, dare I say, dangerous (from a theological point of view) to view this as the only cause. There is something we cannot define about the human mind and/or human nature that causes the willful creation of religion and faith; such is human nature.


Shorinji Kempo is NOT a religion, because it makes no appeal to the supernatural. It is an ethical code. It makes no unverifiable statements, such as you will go to Heaven if you die. Xianity and Islam are religions because they make just such an appeal. Authority is vested in a cleric, imam, or preacher whose word may not be questioned.

Agreed. Indeed, (and I can see this has been partly addressed already) many who study Eastern Philosophy and religions argue whether Buddhism is a religion at all, for the very reason you state here.

The core teaches of Buddhism as a whole are moral guidelines. There are no rules laid out by a superior force, and therefore no divine ruler or leader. Enlightenment is attained through personal effort, not because of the will of another, divine or otherwise. One must make a personal and wholly individual decision to work towards Enlightenment, and in this way Buddhism is nothing but the paving stones across the lake of Samsara.

Someone mentioned previously how some sects or schools of Buddhism have deified The Buddha, Siddartha Gautama. This is false.

The Buddha has not been DEIFED, per se, but sects that have developed from the original Mahayana (meaning "Great Vehicle") school view the Buddha as a spiritual, or celestial, being. This does not make him a god, and, indeed, that goes against the whole foundation of Buddhist teachings, as even gods are trapped within Samsara, and for the Buddha to be a god this would mean that he would never have escaped Samsara and therefore never achieved enlightenment.

There's much more I could say on this topic, but I fear I'm pulling the threadoff track. If anyone is interested, please just give me a nudge and I'll be only to glad to elaborate.


To continue, there are three types of theist

I'm assuming you mean three MAIN groups of theists. I don't think assigning labels to a theological group is ever a good idea when those labels are so general. I see your point, however, but I feel like you're treading on dangerous ground here, i.e. it's all a bit too vague really.


isdemonstrably superior to religion, because its explanations regarding causation of natural phenomena and our origins are all correct.

Science is only superior to religion in areas such as the natural world and the known universe, but you fail to recognise that religion can give us incredible insights to the developing human mind; to human nature, to emotions, morality, social behaviour. . . . religion has the potential to teach us so much when viewed in a logical and critical light. Science can tell me about my hormones and how they effect my emotions, but it has yet to DEFINE emotions, and can only theorise as to why exactly we have them.

Just as does religion.

Don't discredit religion so easily as "superstition", as you're liable to miss some fascinating observations on the developing human mind.




When was the last time a suicide bomber acted in the name of atheism?


Firstly, many suicide bombers from religious backgrounds come from extremist environments wherein the religion has been mainipulated and falsified to support a political agenda. Therefore it moves from the range of "religion" to "politics", and although those who DO kill themselves for the "cause" do so in the belief that they are supporting and furthering their religion, those in power know that what they are doing is for political reasons. Such people have usually been brainwashed since they were mere children, but it's so much easier for us in the west to see the religious name and not even bother to investigate the individual group working through or by that name.

Secondly, although your point was to prove the danger of religion, it's also important to note that religion can also stop people from committing crime due to its moral foundation. Most major world religions share a common moral code, and it is only through politics and the selfish agendas of others that have distorted this code throughout history.

But good religious folk being good religious people just doesn't make the headlines.



Attempting to claim religion (superstition) as a moral framework is to disenfranchise all those of us who are sincere in a desire for a better world, but don't see any reason to appeal to the supernatural to achieve it.


But religion IS a moral framework, however, not one that should be applied to everyone. Like I said earlier; the morality is a base one (which brings up interesting debates in regards to innate morality being an essential part of human nature) but the way in which a religion might enforce such morality might not be correct.

You don't need to be religious to be moral, but most societies HAVE been shaped by the original religious moral code of that providence, state, or country.

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 13:33
Originally posted by Gem_C
I completely agree. However, you are ignoring a key point to be considered when discussing the origin and creation of any religious and/or spiritual belief; what is it about human nature/psychology that has caused entirely isolated communities across the world to create similar religions, beliefs, and moral codes?
The alpha male complex. All tribes and groups of primates group themselves around the alpha male, who demands obeisance but acts as the strong-willed leader, providing shelter and comfort, assuming the burden of command, for the group. It's a pecking order. So are religious hierarchies. The Abrahamic religions are patriarchial, as were the pantheons of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Zeus is a greater god than Apollo, who in turn is above Mercury. So, when something such as sickness came or lightening threatened, tribal members turned to their alpha male to protect them but he couldn't, and anthropomorphism (which is all the gods really are) led to the conclusion that there had to be an even stronger alpha male--a supernatural, divine alpha male--"up there" showing his displeasure. Humans are hardwired to group tribally for the best opportunities for continued survival (see my posts on the pressures of natural selection above). Remember also that religion is a meme, and the human brain is a Darwinian organism. It is programmed to be fantastically gullible, so that when young, children can learn the tools of survival from their parents: don't pick up snakes, don't eat red berries, don't play with fire, etc. The problem is that any mechanism that gullible is vulnerable to parasitisation, and can thus be infected by the religious meme. What is most telling in this scenario is that people inherit the religion of their parents. They don't choose a religion based on the best hymns, or the most fun holy days, or even those with the most persuasive arguments; they take up the religious mantle of their parents. Why? Because they have inherited it, the same way that they can inherit asthma or cystic fibrosis. It's the same principle on which computer viruses work; being fantastically gullible, the OS is conned into passing on the virus and wiping the hard drive while it's at it. The problem with evolution through natural selection is that it's not always the optimum solution to a problem, only the best solution for the quick fix required at the time.

Originally posted by Gem_C
I DO agree that deities were given roles so that primitive societies could explain the world around them, but it would be naive and, dare I say, dangerous (from a theological point of view) to view this as the only cause. There is something we cannot define about the human mind and/or human nature that causes the willful creation of religion and faith; such is human nature.
You've just committed the cardinal sin, Gemma; you've assumed that something that cannot be explained now will never be explained, and is incapable of rational explanation. Just because we cannot fully define the human mind (human nature arises from the Darwinian mechanism of the brain, which is the physical organ required for the mind) at present, doesn't mean we never will. Your brain is merely a machine made of meat. A fantastically complex machine, but a machine nonetheless, and that means that not only CAN we retroengineer it, given enough time, we inevitably will.

Originally posted by Gem_C
The Buddha has not been DEIFED, per se, but sects that have developed from the original Mahayana (meaning "Great Vehicle") school view the Buddha as a spiritual, or celestial, being. This does not make him a god, and, indeed, that goes against the whole foundation of Buddhist teachings, as even gods are trapped within Samsara, and for the Buddha to be a god this would mean that he would never have escaped Samsara and therefore never achieved enlightenment.
There are some small esoteric sects that have deified the Buddha, although I find their rationalisation specious. They argue from the assumption that there just has to be a god to explain the existence of the universe (see earlier posts for my rebuttal to this teleological argument from first principle), and if there must be a god, that it just has to be the Buddha. Their first and fatal flaw is the assumption that you need a god to explain the existence of the universe, and of life, which you don't. But as I said, these sects are small and rather unpopular. That's not to say that their small numbers de facto makes them wrong, but their flawed arguments certainly do.

Originally posted by Gem_C
I'm assuming you mean three MAIN groups of theists. I don't think assigning labels to a theological group is ever a good idea when those labels are so general. I see your point, however, but I feel like you're treading on dangerous ground here, i.e. it's all a bit too vague really.
Find me a theist who doesn't fall into one of the three groups (Know Nothing, Know All, and No Contest). Their justifications for supporting religion are inevitably one of the three. If you can think of a fourth, please let me know.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Science is only superior to religion in areas such as the natural world and the known universe, but you fail to recognise that religion can give us incredible insights to the developing human mind; to human nature, to emotions, morality, social behaviour. . . . religion has the potential to teach us so much when viewed in a logical and critical light. Science can tell me about my hormones and how they effect my emotions, but it has yet to DEFINE emotions, and can only theorise as to why exactly we have them.
But you said it yourself, only the emphasis should be on a differnt word: Science has YET to define emotions. Doesn't mean that it can't, or won't. And now, RANT MODE ON. Your final clause in the above paragraph should read, "Science can only hypothesise as to why exactly we have (emotions)". (Rant mode OFF.) In fact, emotions are hormonal responses to various stimuli that are again a product of Darwinian evolution to maximise our chances of survival, so the basics ARE already known. It's really only a question of filling in the blanks (although, admittedly, that's still a pretty big undertaking).
As to the rest, I totally disagree. You want insights into human nature, to emotions, morality, and social behaviour, try psychology and other soft sciences. What makes you thing that belief in the Great Juju in the Sky has anything valid to offer in the way of understanding these subjects? There are greater secular writers throughout history who don't claim to be either gods or divinely inspired whose works have shown far more insight into the human condition. Shakespeare, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and even J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. You're better off studying them for insight.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Just as does religion.
No. See the above paragraph for why.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Don't discredit religion so easily as "superstition", as you're liable to miss some fascinating observations on the developing human mind.
Religion IS superstition; it is claims about the natural world that are not bourne out by the evidence, and it claims that supernatural intercession can be received in the form of miracles (i.e., through the suspension of natural physical laws), which is a paranormal claim. Such is the definition of superstition.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Firstly, many suicide bombers from religious backgrounds come from extremist environments wherein the religion has been mainipulated and falsified to support a political agenda. Therefore it moves from the range of "religion" to "politics", and although those who DO kill themselves for the "cause" do so in the belief that they are supporting and furthering their religion, those in power know that what they are doing is for political reasons. Such people have usually been brainwashed since they were mere children, but it's so much easier for us in the west to see the religious name and not even bother to investigate the individual group working through or by that name.
ALL religion is brainwashing; read the paragraph above on religious parasitization (the religious meme). Atheism is the antidote to religious credulity; in response to the virus that death through martyrdom means 70 virgins in paradise, critical thinking is the innoculation. We need to spread the skeptical meme.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Secondly, although your point was to prove the danger of religion, it's also important to note that religion can also stop people from committing crime due to its moral foundation. Most major world religions share a common moral code, and it is only through politics and the selfish agendas of others that have distorted this code throughout history.
But the moral code does not require religion to be effective. In fact, I would argue that religion does NOT have any moral code; it threatens believers with all manner of dire punishments (hell and damnation) for bad behaviour (the stick), and offers the carrot of heaven and salvation for good behaviour. But if someone is only operating out of fear, then how moral can they really claim to be? Far better the atheist, who does the decent thing because they believe it to be right, and like the kind of world in which decency exists, than the righteous theist who's constantly aware of Big Brother looking over his shoulder and wielding a big stick.

Originally posted by Gem_C
But good religious folk being good religious people just doesn't make the headlines.
Neither do all the good deeds done by brights. In that we're truly equal.

Originally posted by Gem_C
But religion IS a moral framework, however, not one that should be applied to everyone. Like I said earlier; the morality is a base one (which brings up interesting debates in regards to innate morality being an essential part of human nature) but the way in which a religion might enforce such morality might not be correct.
No, religion is not a moral framework, because it takes away the free will to act morally for the reason that to do so is the right thing. It puts a gun to your head and says, "well, you can do what you like, but if you choose the wrong course of action (one of which I disapprove), I'll pull the trigger and send you to hell." Coercion through fear of damnation is not the way to inculcate morals.

Originally posted by Gem_C
You don't need to be religious to be moral, but most societies HAVE been shaped by the original religious moral code of that providence, state, or country.
No, they have been shaped by the superstition of said province, state, or country. That morality becomes intertwined is an adjunct. I'm really tired right now (it's almost 11:30 here), but I'll write a longer essay as to why tomorrow.
Great to have you on board, and don't let David Dunn or Jon Cruikshank give you a hard time, OK? ;)
Kesshu.

David Dunn
13th November 2003, 13:37
Hello Gemma, and welcome to e-budo. Not all of the threads get like this.

On your point:


Science can tell me about my hormones and how they effect my emotions, but it has yet to DEFINE emotions, and can only theorise as to why exactly we have them.

It's hard to define something like emotions, precisely because of the subjectivity of them. There are some who argue, quite well, that emotions are constructed to a large extent.

David Dunn
13th November 2003, 13:44
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Your brain is merely a machine made of meat. A fantastically complex machine, but a machine nonetheless, and that means that not only CAN we retroengineer it, given enough time, we inevitably will.

I have to completely disagree Tony. This is a degraded view of humanity. The fact that we are conscious, and social beings that defy purely biological explanations is what scientists have struggled with. We are different things in different times and places.

I suggest you read "Man, Beast and Zombie: what science can and cannot tell us about human nature", available here (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0753812959/ref=sr_aps_books_1_2/202-2005979-7131833) .


Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Great to have you on board, and don't let David Dunn or Jon Cruikshank give you a hard time, OK? ;)
Kesshu.

When was the last time I did that, or Jon for that matter? :laugh:

jonboy
13th November 2003, 14:09
In fact, I would argue that religion does NOT have any moral code; it threatens believers with all manner of dire punishments (hell and damnation) for bad behaviour (the stick), and offers the carrot of heaven and salvation for good behaviour.
I have to pick up on this statement. Apart from the heaven bit, this is exactly what the society that we all belong to does. Does society have a moral code, with or without religion? Yes. It tells you that if you commit a crime (and get caught) then you will be punnished. Granted it's not the same as hell and damnation, but the incentive is there.

As an aside I went to a convent school where I was taught by nuns. I am not catholic, although most people there were. Yet I have no doubt I learnt about morals whilst at that school, without the threat of going to hell.

jonboy
13th November 2003, 14:28
I have to completely disagree Tony. This is a degraded view of humanity. The fact that we are conscious, and social beings that defy purely biological explanations is what scientists have struggled with. And I have to completely disagree Dave, because I agree with Tony. We can't explain things yet. Perhaps we never will be able to, but only because I think the necessary controls for the experiment are unethical.

George Hyde
13th November 2003, 15:44
I have to completely disagree Tony. This is a degraded view of humanity. The fact that we are conscious, and social beings that defy purely biological explanations is what scientists have struggled with. We are different things in different times and places.


Originally posted by jonboy
And I have to completely disagree Dave, because I agree with Tony. We can't explain things yet. Perhaps we never will be able to, but only because I think the necessary controls for the experiment are unethical.

I think that David's choice of words "degraded view of humanity" are possibly to blame here. True, the human brain 'amounts' to much more than a biological machine but it does not "defy purely biological explanations" - they're just inadequate and will likely always be so. It's fair to say that all psychological phenomena have neural correlates, but it is equally fair to say that a purely reductionist approach will fail to offer any meaningful explanation thereof. Whilst reverse engineering may produce the ability to link psychological phenomena to a particular physical representation in the biology of the brain, that physical representation does nothing to explain the phenomena unless it is coupled with social context.

For example - give a bunch of chimps amphetamines and their behaviour will change in dramatic yet inconsistent ways. A biological explanation can describe what's going on in the brain, but not the behaviour. However, once you consider the social hierarchy, you discover that the bizarre behaviour is actually the dominant members of the group being extra dominant and the lesser members exaggerating subservient behaviours. Now - change the social structure by removing the dominant males or adding more junior members and you'll see a significant change in behaviour - yet the biology remains constant.

Despite our highest hopes for the future of science, I don't see a time when science can point to the neural representation of being embarrassed about farting in public (for such surely exists) and for that representation to be common to all cases of my farting in public, let alone to all individuals experiencing similar circumstances.


:toot

Later,

tony leith
13th November 2003, 15:45
Posting this feels a bit like coming back into the pub a full half hour after the argument and uttering the above words, but I just can't help myself. I'm not going to try and address all of the foregoing discussion, but I will attempt to respond to some of the points that I intervened on earlier...


quote:
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
For example, a thief was likely to be hanged in the past, or at the very least banged up in prison, so there was no opportunity for their genes to be passed on. Ethics is not only externally validated by this; it is essential to humanity.

Indar's reply


What you say is correct, but only half correct.
The stupid thieves are caught, and their genes are removed from the gene pool. The clever thieves survive and reproduce. Thieves become more and more clever. Darwinian selection works in both directions.


You're both wrong, IMNSHO. The notions of any ethical system being 'validated' by evolution is just the same fallacy that the social Darwinists fell into - the fact that it isn't the kind of error that can give aid and comfort to fascism makes it less worrying, but it doesn't make it more true. In neither instance described above are we seeing anything that could fairly be called natural selection. True Darwinian natural selection does not embody a teleology. If you start selecting which members of a population are going to survive to reporduce on the basis of any conscious criteria you're engaged in selective breeding, not an evolutionary process. Horrifyingly enough, this kind of logic helped precipitate the Holocaust, as it occured to leading Nazis that the kind of undesireables they couldn't work to death in the labour camps were really dangerous, and would just have to be exterminated outright. What this does point up is that human beings are arguably not subject to the kind of evolutionary pressures imposed on other animals by the environment

I'm not claiming that humanity stands apart from the rest of nature in any supernaturally mandated sense, just that the advent of a cultural heritage as sophisticated and powerful as our as fundementally altered our relationship with our environment (at least in the kind of timescale that we can get to grips with). If we're going to achieve some kind of a balance with the rest of nature, we will have to do consciously, as a matter of choice. I personally don't go along with the apocalyptic rhetoric of much of the green movement, another example of how caterwauling that the sky is falling in leads to diminshing returns sooner rather than later. I doubt very much that we have the capacity to destroy life on this planet. I do suspect that we have the ability to make it unlivable for ourselves, however. The point here is that again I think it is up to us to what we are going to do with our unique place in dharma.

Tony leith

David Dunn
13th November 2003, 15:52
Originally posted by jonboy
And I have to completely disagree Dave, because I agree with Tony. We can't explain things yet. Perhaps we never will be able to, but only because I think the necessary controls for the experiment are unethical.

Actually, I think it's one of the vexing issues of science. Science deals with objects, and laws that govern those objects, and their evolution/interaction. Humans are objects insofar as we are animals. Hence our biological functions, or physiology, how our eye works, how it transmits information to the brain, are all questions that science can tackle, with ultimate success. I have faith in that ;)

On the other hand humans are also subjects, in that we are self-determining, conscious, moral and so on. I don't believe that the methods of physical sciences can really be brought to bear on understanding human societies, and how individuals develop inside them. I cannot recall the precise details, but early studies of primitive societies showed no evidence of schizophrenia, which led scientists to think of it as a product of a particular form of society.

David Dunn
13th November 2003, 16:12
Originally posted by George Hyde
I think that David's choice of words "degraded view of humanity" are possibly to blame here. True, the human brain 'amounts' to much more than a biological machine but it does not "defy purely biological explanations" - they're just inadequate and will likely always be so. It's fair to say that all psychological phenomena have neural correlates, but it is equally fair to say that a purely reductionist approach will fail to offer any meaningful explanation thereof. Whilst reverse engineering may produce the ability to link psychological phenomena to a particular physical representation in the biology of the brain, that physical representation does nothing to explain the phenomena unless it is coupled with social context.

So George-san, you agree completely. I didn't mean that humanity is degraded (a nonsensical position for a humanist to take), I meant the view of humans as merely machines is degraded. As degraded as the 'merely animals' point of view. Human history is more than either of those things. You can't write down a scientific law that governs human history, but rather you have to develop analytical tools which are up to the task.

As a famous BSKF seihanshi once said, dog society hasn't changed since the middle ages.


Originally posted by George Hyde
Despite our highest hopes for the future of science, I don't see a time when science can point to the neural representation of being embarrassed about farting in public (for such surely exists) and for that representation to be common to all cases of my farting in public, let alone to all individuals experiencing similar circumstances.

This is a case in point. It isn't a biological reaction to be embarassed about farting in public, it's a conditioned response.

David Dunn
13th November 2003, 16:16
Originally posted by tony leith
You're both wrong, IMNSHO. The notions of any ethical system being 'validated' by evolution is just the same fallacy that the social Darwinists fell into...

I agree with TonyL. People aren't thieves because of genetic problems or evolution, and they aren't locked up to protect the gene pool. They're locked up precisely because they are autonomous agents who have stepped beyond the rights accorded to them by society.

jonboy
13th November 2003, 16:18
I don't believe that the methods of physical sciences can really be brought to bear on understanding human societies, and how individuals develop inside them.
I am inclined to agree, because of the size of the task, not because it is not possible. A brain is a product of it's environment. Trouble is the variations in environment between each indivdual are too great.


this kind of logic helped precipitate the Holocaust, as it occured to leading Nazis that the kind of undesireables...

Surely this is an example of Godwin's Law (http://info.astrian.net/jargon/terms/g/Godwin_s_Law.html) :D Only heard of that the other day. Thought I'd share it with you all.

Gem_C
13th November 2003, 17:26
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
The Abrahamic religions are patriarchial, as were the pantheons of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Zeus is a greater god than Apollo, who in turn is above Mercury. So, when something such as sickness came or lightening threatened, tribal members turned to their alpha male to protect them but he couldn't, and anthropomorphism (which is all the gods really are) led to the conclusion that there had to be an even stronger alpha male--a supernatural, divine alpha male--"up there" showing his displeasure.

I did not consider this argument. My educational background is largely theological, and although I have a keen interest in biology it tends to take a backseat to my knowledge and views of Theology.

Your point is most definitely supported in the world today, and I am inclined to agree, however, a large number of primitive societies worshiped a female deity originally or adjacent to a male god with both deities holding equal power. It is only in later development of said cultures that the male god takes precedence, maybe a delayed reaction to an alpha male response? Perhaps the main and obvious idea of fertility became overcome by the instinct for a strong and therefore (for that time) masculine leader?

It's also interesting to note that although the majority of today's world religions are patriarchal, throughout history there have ALWAYS been more female followers.


You've just committed the cardinal sin, Gemma; you've assumed that something that cannot be explained now will never be explained, and is incapable of rational explanation.

Actually I did not, you merely assumed I have. I recognise religion as a phenomena to be studied and analysed objectively in order to give insights into human nature. This does not mean that I disregard science or feel that science will never find an answer to that which aludes us now. I have great faith and trust in science, but the difference between our attitudes is that I don't see religions VERSUS science or vice versa. They need not be mutually exclusive from an analytical standpoint.

I know science will find the key answers before religion ever will, but this doesn't make religion any less important as a key element/area of our history as an evolving species.


There are some small esoteric sects that have deified the Buddha, although I find their rationalisation specious. They argue from the assumption that there just has to be a god to explain the existence of the universe (see earlier posts for my rebuttal to this teleological argument from first principle), and if there must be a god, that it just has to be the Buddha.

Ah, I was not aware of these sects. Do you have any links or references for me to investigate? I'd appreciate it.


But you said it yourself, only the emphasis should be on a differnt word: Science has YET to define emotions. Doesn't mean that it can't, or won't.

And I never said it would not. You're misreading me because of your own personal bias.


You want insights into human nature, to emotions, morality, and social behaviour, try psychology and other soft sciences. What makes you thing that belief in the Great Juju in the Sky has anything valid to offer in the way of understanding these subjects?

Because whether you agree or not, religion is a HUGE part of our culture and history, and therefore incorporates elements of philosophy, superstition, myths, instinctual human nature, societal pressures; you name it and it is right there waiting for us to analyse it and work out WHY it is that people all over the world have faith; how this faith developed and WHY.


There are greater secular writers throughout history who don't claim to be either gods or divinely inspired whose works have shown far more insight into the human condition. Shakespeare, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and even J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. You're better off studying them for insight.

And I DO study a number of such writers. Although I'm not too sure about your mention of J.K.Rowling; she doesn't exactly inspire any great insights, but I suppose that's a different conversation, eh? ;)


Religion IS superstition; it is claims about the natural world that are not bourne out by the evidence, and it claims that supernatural intercession can be received in the form of miracles (i.e., through the suspension of natural physical laws), which is a paranormal claim. Such is the definition of superstition.

Yes and no. The majority of religious beliefs are superstitious in nature and, yes, I suppose this makes RELIGION superstitious in nature. But most religions are so deeply connected to history that one might miss key events that explain and help us understand why religious beliefs occurred and how they originated if we pass them off so flippantly using the negative connotations of the word "superstitious".

Plus there IS a difference between faith and superstitious nature, though it's a minor and tricky one, though none the less important.


ALL religion is brainwashing; read the paragraph above on religious parasitization (the religious meme).

Absolutely not.

Religion does not become an ACTIVE tool for brainwashing until those in power use it as such. Otherwise it merely has the potential to be so damaging. A Rottweiler has the potential to be a vicious animal trained to kill, but one does not immediately erradicate it and view it negatively until it acts in a way that confirms your suspicion.

Religion in itself is neither dangerous nor propaganda, but it certainly can and HAS been used this way throughout history, usually resulting in the religious structure being vitally changed and pulled away from it's original source.

Atheism isn't a cure; it's a state of being; a belief, or indeed LACK of belief. Rationalism, logical thought, objective analyse; THOSE are closer to a "cure", although I dislike this analogy.


But if someone is only operating out of fear, then how moral can they really claim to be? Far better the atheist, who does the decent thing because they believe it to be right, and like the kind of world in which decency exists, than the righteous theist who's constantly aware of Big Brother looking over his shoulder and wielding a big stick.

Again, yes and no. I do agree that one should make moral decisions because of a belief in right and wrong, and that religion does use a nice juicy carrot as bait to the sinful donkeys. ;) BUT. . . I wonder where these base IDEAS of morality came from as the religion was being structured. I don't believe for a second that a deity commanded such rules, so why did humanity create them freely, and then add their own regulations to them?
That was my main point; that religions were built on a foundation of moral values that humanity voluntarily created.


No, religion is not a moral framework, because it takes away the free will to act morally for the reason that to do so is the right thing. It puts a gun to your head and says, "well, you can do what you like, but if you choose the wrong course of action (one of which I disapprove), I'll pull the trigger and send you to hell." Coercion through fear of damnation is not the way to inculcate morals.

Religion has adapted so much over the years that few believe that ALL traditional "sins" will lead to damnation. Indeed, the more prevalent view is like any atheist; it's more important to do what you feel is right, and if you DO make a decision you know was wrong, you fix this. For the majority, people realise they're not in the Dark Ages anymore and have a much more compassionate approach to religion, although there will always be exceptions.


No, they have been shaped by the superstition of said province, state, or country. That morality becomes intertwined is an adjunct.

I disagree. The morality occured first and the religion followed. But I'll wait for your essay so we can debate on this further. :)


Great to have you on board, and don't let David Dunn or Jon Cruikshank give you a hard time, OK? ;)
Kesshu.

Thank you, and no worries; they're both very evil men but I'm sure they can learn to behave. ;)

Gem_C
13th November 2003, 17:31
Originally posted by David Dunn
It's hard to define something like emotions, precisely because of the subjectivity of them. There are some who argue, quite well, that emotions are constructed to a large extent.

Oh, of course. My main point was that there are things that science cannot explain as of yet, and whilst this is the case other areas of our history and social behaviour might be able to give us some insights or indeed assist science.

Intangibles, that which we cannot reach out and touch or directly study in a physical sense, will always be a challenge and I feel that relying on one avenue, such as only science, to explain such things is foolish. Why not use other avenues, other ideas, other theories? If one fails, than at least another can take it's place, and neither should necessarily warrant more credit than another until the results have been obtained.

And thanks for the welcome. :)

Steve Williams
13th November 2003, 20:27
Originally posted by jonboy
As an aside I went to a convent school where I was taught by nuns.

In your zeal to converse about theism..... or whatever, you all missed this little "gem" from Jon.......


Now a catholic school I can understand, but the last time I checked a "convent" is something frequented by WOMEN........

Something you want to share Jon...... or is it JoAn?? ;)

Kimpatsu
13th November 2003, 21:55
Originally posted by David Dunn
I have to completely disagree Tony. This is a degraded view of humanity. The fact that we are conscious, and social beings that defy purely biological explanations is what scientists have struggled with. We are different things in different times and places.
What is degrading about admitting we have are physical beings? If I replace a neuron in your brain with an artificial one that functions identically, are you still you? Of course. So if I replace two neurons, no problem? Three? At what point do you cease to be you? Answer: you don't. You will still always be you. The fact that your machine of meat has been replaced with a machine of silicon doesn't change that at all. And your statement above needs qualifying: "The fact that we are conscious, and social beings that CURRENTLY defy purely biological explanations is what scientists have struggled with." No reason to think we won't answer the question in the future.
Kesshu.

David Dunn
14th November 2003, 00:44
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
What is degrading about admitting we have are physical beings? If I replace a neuron in your brain with an artificial one that functions identically, are you still you? Of course. So if I replace two neurons, no problem? Three? At what point do you cease to be you? Answer: you don't. You will still always be you. The fact that your machine of meat has been replaced with a machine of silicon doesn't change that at all. And your statement above needs qualifying: "The fact that we are conscious, and social beings that CURRENTLY defy purely biological explanations is what scientists have struggled with." No reason to think we won't answer the question in the future.
Kesshu.

You didn't say that we were physical beings Tony. That's indisputable. You said that the brain is "merely a machine". That point of view is as degraded as any 'human nature' argument - the 'alpha male' theory being in the same category. You might as well go the whole hog and say that we have no free will, and that consciousness is an illusion, or even that burglary is determined by your chromosomes.

I am not me. This brain that I call my own, is not my own. It's part of a whole human society, and this consciousness has been constructed only through its interaction with other human beings, and therefore somehow through the whole of human history. The unethical experiment to do is to leave a newborn baby to its own devices, feed it, but leave it devoid of other interaction. By the age of six it will probably never be able to learn language. Since language and consciousness are pretty much the same thing, it will never become conscious.

My statement needs no qualification. Consciousness is not in the realm of a study of an object. It needs analysis of subject and its interaction with the objective world, and that's the realm of philosophy. All attempts so far to treat consciousness in the same way as a physical science have been abject failures.

Tony, I think you're taking a robust defence of science into the territory of scientism.

David Dunn
14th November 2003, 00:47
Originally posted by Steve Williams
In your zeal to converse about theism..... or whatever, you all missed this little "gem" from Jon.......


Now a catholic school I can understand, but the last time I checked a "convent" is something frequented by WOMEN........

Something you want to share Jon...... or is it JoAn?? ;)

I did notice that too Steve, but you told us to keep the discussion on-topic :laugh: :beer:

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 00:50
Originally posted by jonboy
I have to pick up on this statement. Apart from the heaven bit, this is exactly what the society that we all belong to does. Does society have a moral code, with or without religion? Yes. It tells you that if you commit a crime (and get caught) then you will be punished. Granted it's not the same as hell and damnation, but the incentive is there.
Did you read my earlier description of the Ladder of Deception, (http://www.eclipse.co.uk/thoughts/ladder.htm) Jon? I think it described the difference between secular and religious morals quite well. The point of religion is to enforce power to control (you must hold your nose when you cross the road). Once the read the article, get back to me on that one. TIA.

Originally posted by jonboy
As an aside I went to a convent school where I was taught by nuns. I am not catholic, although most people there were. Yet I have no doubt I learnt about morals whilst at that school, without the threat of going to hell.
My experience of Catholic primary school (ages 5 to 11--the formative years) was that all teachings of morality and ethics were predicated upon the notion of divine punishment. The Catholic church has currently stopped preaching the doctrine of Hell--it's bad for business, I guess-but they threaten extended periods of exile in purgatory, ranging from a few years to all eternity, for those who fail to hold their nose when they cross the road. One less-than-fond memory from when I was seven was the teacher drawing two hearts on the blackboard and labelling them "souls". (The fact that they were heart-shaped is already emotive, as it associates emotions with behaviour, a classic pathetic fallacy.) She them said that Tim went to church but got there late, and added a black spot to his "soul". Then he teased his sister. (Another black spot.) Then he stole a magazine from the newsagent. (Yet another black spot.) She continued in this vein until there were about a dozen black spots on a soul that was mostly still white, then turned to the other "soul", and said, "John got up early, but didn't go to church", and shaded the entire soul black. In case the message wasn't clear, she then explicated: "Although Tim committed these sins, he still went to church, so his soul was still mostly in a state of grace."
In other words, by far and away the worst sin of all is not to follow the church. Morality and punishment derive directly from the priest's power. Humanism--caring for people because you beleive it to be the right thing to do, not because you fear divine retribution--didn't get a look in.
And people wonder why I loathe the Catholic Church.
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 01:02
Originally posted by David Dunn
You didn't say that we were physical beings Tony. That's indisputable. You said that the brain is "merely a machine". That point of view is as degraded as any 'human nature' argument - the 'alpha male' theory being in the same category. You might as well go the whole hog and say that we have no free will, and that consciousness is an illusion, or even that burglary is determined by your chromosomes.
The issue of free will is a vexed one, because there is a cosmological argument regarding the block universe, which is basically saying that since the events we are living through now have already happened elsewhere, they are in fact predetermined. Personally, I'd like to think that we have free will, but I can't prove it. I still feel, however, that the brain IS a machine. Follow my reasoning, and tell me where you disagree.
1. Consciousness is dependent upon the physical organ of the brain.
2. If I replace a single neuron with an artificial neuron made of silicon, which mimics the function of the original neuron exactly, you are still you.
3. If I replace a second neuron, you are still you.
4. Then a third.
5. It therefore matters not if I replace every single neuron in your brain with silicon ones, because there will be no change to either your personality or behaviour.
6. As such, the brain is indeed no more than a machine made of meat.
Now, where's the problem with that?

Originally posted by David Dunn
I am not me. This brain that I call my own, is not my own. It's part of a whole human society, and this consciousness has been constructed only through its interaction with other human beings, and therefore somehow through the whole of human history. The unethical experiment to do is to leave a newborn baby to its own devices, feed it, but leave it devoid of other interaction. By the age of six it will probably never be able to learn language. Since language and consciousness are pretty much the same thing, it will never become conscious.
Actually, language is a secondary, perhaps even tertiary, level of communication with others. Consciousness and communication are NOT the same thing. Even Einstein was known to be a confusing communicator (he rambled in lectures and conversations, and seemed always unable to find the mot juste with which to express himself. On one occasion, he also admitted that language had nothing to do with the way he thought and pieced together his mathematics.) Language is an attempt to articulate consciousness. Isolating a child until the age of six will stunt their linguistic skills, but their consciousness will remain intact. The problem is that without stimulation, their awareness of the external world will also be stunted--but this does not mean that language equates to consciousness.

Originally posted by David Dunn
My statement needs no qualification. Consciousness is not in the realm of a study of an object. It needs analysis of subject and its interaction with the objective world, and that's the realm of philosophy. All attempts so far to treat consciousness in the same way as a physical science have been abject failures.
Your statement above does need qualifying, with the modifier "currently". Without the adverb, the sentence reads as if we will never be able to define consciousness precisely, as if consciousness lay beyond the scope of empiricism. Consciousness is a product of a physical organ--the brain--so once we understand the brain, we will understand the phenomenon of consciousness.

Originally posted by David Dunn
Tony, I think you're taking a robust defence of science into the territory of scientism.
There you may be right. ;)
Kesshu.

David Dunn
14th November 2003, 01:03
Originally posted by Gem_C
Your point is most definitely supported in the world today, and I am inclined to agree, however, a large number of primitive societies worshiped a female deity originally or adjacent to a male god with both deities holding equal power. It is only in later development of said cultures that the male god takes precedence, maybe a delayed reaction to an alpha male response? Perhaps the main and obvious idea of fertility became overcome by the instinct for a strong and therefore (for that time) masculine leader?

It's a bit late to post. But ... the alpha male theory is a crock of bull. Even if it applies to primates, it says more about the proponent of the theory than it does about human society. Perhaps someone could explain one of the great events of the twentieth century in terms of it. Perhaps the rise of National Socialism in 1930s Germany? This really dominant male pushed the whole of society around and made them commit untold atrocities.

ps - TonyK, I'll get back to your points after some zzzz's. For now, consciousness is is a product of a society of brains, not just one.

pps - I was also brought up catholic. It's an abhorent religion, and the soon to be ex-pope and his lifelong crusade against contraception has a lot to answer for. It looks like he'll get away with it. At the same time the many catholics that I've met are thoroughly decent people.

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 01:08
Originally posted by David Dunn
It's a bit late to post. But ... the alpha male theory is a crock of bull. Even if it applies to primates, it says more about the proponent of the theory than it does about human society. Perhaps someone could explain one of the great events of the twentieth century in terms of it. Perhaps the rise of National Socialism in 1930s Germany? This really dominant male pushed the whole of society around and made them commit untold atrocities.
I disagree. Society is all about Alpha Males. Just because one took it to the extreme says nothing for the basis of the theory itself. And what hypothesis better fits the nature of religions? If you have one, I'd like to hear it.

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 01:11
Originally posted by George Hyde
(Snip.)For example - give a bunch of chimps amphetamines and their behaviour will change in dramatic yet inconsistent ways. A biological explanation can describe what's going on in the brain, but not the behaviour. However, once you consider the social hierarchy, you discover that the bizarre behaviour is actually the dominant members of the group being extra dominant and the lesser members exaggerating subservient behaviours. Now - change the social structure by removing the dominant males or adding more junior members and you'll see a significant change in behaviour - yet the biology remains constant.
But can't social hierarchy also be explained in terms of how we as primates are hardwired by evolution to arrange ourselves thus, on the basis that it improves our chances of survival (the goal of every organism)? As such, the behaviours of dominanants and juniors on speed can be explained in terms of their biological programming.

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 01:17
Originally posted by tony leith
You're both wrong, IMNSHO. The notions of any ethical system being 'validated' by evolution is just the same fallacy that the social Darwinists fell into - the fact that it isn't the kind of error that can give aid and comfort to fascism makes it less worrying, but it doesn't make it more true. In neither instance described above are we seeing anything that could fairly be called natural selection.
I'm not a social Darwinist, Tony; the problem with analogy is that it can only take you so far. My point was that creatures that are prevented from breeding for whatever reason--isolation from their peer group (imprisonment) or sickness (less viable genetic traits in the constant competition for resources) leads to their being unable to pass on their genes to the next generation. don't read too much into the "prisoner" thing, Number Six. ("I am not a number..." ;) )

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 01:20
Originally posted by David Dunn
I cannot recall the precise details, but early studies of primitive societies showed no evidence of schizophrenia, which led scientists to think of it as a product of a particular form of society.
I'm in two minds as to whether you're right. :D

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 01:27
Originally posted by David Dunn
So George-san, you agree completely. I didn't mean that humanity is degraded (a nonsensical position for a humanist to take), I meant the view of humans as merely machines is degraded.
Even if it happens to be the truth?

Originally posted by David Dunn
As degraded as the 'merely animals' point of view. Human history is more than either of those things. You can't write down a scientific law that governs human history, but rather you have to develop analytical tools which are up to the task.
Have you ever read the Lensman series by E. E. "Doc" Smith. (The doctorate was in engineering.) The Arisians were a race capable of advanced cogitation, and had modelled the whole of human history before it started becasue, they argued, governed by genetic predeterminism, we were bound to commit certain acts at certain times. They predicted the rise of the Mongols and Genghis Khan the way we can predict the next eclipse. Their game lay in seeing how accurate their model was, by comparing it to actual human events.
Not particularly germaine to this discussion, perhaps, but an entertaining read. (Though be warned: Smith writes with all the subtlety of a wrecking ball.)

Originally posted by David Dunn
This is a case in point. It isn't a biological reaction to be embarassed about farting in public, it's a conditioned response.
But can't we argue that conditioned responses such as this one lubricate society, thereby once again maximising our chances of survival? So ultimately, it is the genetic drive to survive that determines the rise of social mores.
Or am I talking out of my arse again? :p :cool:

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 01:31
Originally posted by David Dunn
I agree with TonyL. People aren't thieves because of genetic problems or evolution, and they aren't locked up to protect the gene pool. They're locked up precisely because they are autonomous agents who have stepped beyond the rights accorded to them by society.
See my note on the next page as to why that was an anology, and the boundaries to it. ;)
I notice that with two Davids (Dunn and Noble--sounds like a clearing house) and two Tonys (Kehoe and Leith--sounds like a dodgy firm of down-at-heel solicitors :D ), people have taken to writing DavidD, DavidN, TonyK and TonyL. To clear up any confusion, I think I'll change my name to Hieronymous... :p :cool:

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 03:38
Originally posted by Gem_C
(Snip.)Your point is most definitely supported in the world today, and I am inclined to agree, however, a large number of primitive societies worshiped a female deity originally or adjacent to a male god with both deities holding equal power. It is only in later development of said cultures that the male god takes precedence, maybe a delayed reaction to an alpha male response? Perhaps the main and obvious idea of fertility became overcome by the instinct for a strong and therefore (for that time) masculine leader?
It's also interesting to note that although the majority of today's world religions are patriarchal, throughout history there have ALWAYS been more female followers.
Matriarchal religions are primitive forms of animism, in which the earth mother, seasonal cycles, and agriculture are equated with female fertility. As to more women followers than leaders, I think that stems from the simple fact that men are more often than not able to dominate women physically. Simply put, the men in society wouldn't stand still and let physically weaker women tell them what to do.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Actually I did not, you merely assumed I have. I recognise religion as a phenomena to be studied and analysed objectively in order to give insights into human nature. This does not mean that I disregard science or feel that science will never find an answer to that which aludes us now. I have great faith and trust in science, but the difference between our attitudes is that I don't see religions VERSUS science or vice versa. They need not be mutually exclusive from an analytical standpoint.
Gemma, you didn't use the qualifier "yet" in your sentences, so they read as absolutes ("we will never..."). I know I'm nitpicking, but everyone who's been around on these boards awhile knows I'm anal retentive about grammar. ;)

Originally posted by Gem_C
I know science will find the key answers before religion ever will, but this doesn't make religion any less important as a key element/area of our history as an evolving species.
From a social historical standpoint, yes, the development of religions is an interesting field of study, but something worthwhile to contribute? I still don't see what benefit invocations to the supernatural have.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Ah, I was not aware of these sects. Do you have any links or references for me to investigate? I'd appreciate it.
Unfortunately, all my material dating from my MA is in storage at the family home in Liverpool, and I'm in Japan. When I next make a pilgrimage home, I'll dig them out and get back to you on this point.

Originally posted by Gem_C
And I never said it would not. You're misreading me because of your own personal bias.
No, I'm being a grammar Nazi again. ;)

Originally posted by Gem_C
Because whether you agree or not, religion is a HUGE part of our culture and history, and therefore incorporates elements of philosophy, superstition, myths, instinctual human nature, societal pressures; you name it and it is right there waiting for us to analyse it and work out WHY it is that people all over the world have faith; how this faith developed and WHY.
I don't deny the enormous impact that religion has had; I challenge that said impact has been of any benefit. The smallpox virus has had a great impact upon cultures globally down through the millenia, right until 1977, when it was finally eradicated; its impact, however, was universally negative.

Originally posted by Gem_C
And I DO study a number of such writers. Although I'm not too sure about your mention of J.K.Rowling; she doesn't exactly inspire any great insights, but I suppose that's a different conversation, eh? ;)
I added Rowling as a joke. My point is that if you want literary insight into the human condition, writers such as Shakespeare and Marquez are far better than the Bible.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Yes and no. The majority of religious beliefs are superstitious in nature and, yes, I suppose this makes RELIGION superstitious in nature. But most religions are so deeply connected to history that one might miss key events that explain and help us understand why religious beliefs occurred and how they originated if we pass them off so flippantly using the negative connotations of the word "superstitious".
ALL religious beliefs are superstitious in nature; they are invocations to the supernatural, in defiance of the laws of science. Understanding why a religious belief arose does not validate that belief. I'm not arguing against the study of religions; I just want you to take their claims (transsubstantiation, geocentricity, etc.) with a grain of salt.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Plus there IS a difference between faith and superstitious nature, though it's a minor and tricky one, though none the less important.
Faith is belief in something for which there is no evidence. Superstition is belief in the power to defy the laws of physics.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Absolutely not.
Religion does not become an ACTIVE tool for brainwashing until those in power use it as such. Otherwise it merely has the potential to be so damaging. A Rottweiler has the potential to be a vicious animal trained to kill, but one does not immediately erradicate it and view it negatively until it acts in a way that confirms your suspicion.
Religion is a parasitic meme that uses the built-in "trust" of the mind--to defer to those in power-- to spread itself. Name one good thing to come out of religion that could not have been achieved secularly. In fact, early laws were secular, in ancient Greece and Rome. (Not sure about the Code of Hammurabi; I'll have to check.) It was only with the spread of the Xpianity meme during the Dark Ages that laws came to be embodied by the Church.
Rottweilers are bred as attack dogs; that they can be restrained doesn't say anything expcet that they CAN be restrained by those with greater power over them. (Even so, they've been known to bite the hand that feeds them.) Same with the Church, which has only demonstrated self-restraint in the face of opposition. The other thing about the Church is that it is political, and sometimes being an eminance grise is a more effective way to gain domination than an overt crusade.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Religion in itself is neither dangerous nor propaganda, but it certainly can and HAS been used this way throughout history, usually resulting in the religious structure being vitally changed and pulled away from it's original source.
Religion is intrinsically dangerous, because it is the antithesis of learning and reason. Appeals to superstition and scientific knowledge are mutually exclusive; the question you have to answer is which one you choose as correct. And I think we all already know the answer to that.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Atheism isn't a cure; it's a state of being; a belief, or indeed LACK of belief. Rationalism, logical thought, objective analyse; THOSE are closer to a "cure", although I dislike this analogy.
Atheism is a lack of belief. It is the rejection of groundless faith. As such, it is the default position of those who favour reason over superstition. Skepticism (the umbrella for "rationalism, logical thought, and analysis") always leads to atheism, because it leads to a rejection of claims for which there is no evidence.
BTW, why do you dislike the analogy?

Originally posted by Gem_C
Again, yes and no. I do agree that one should make moral decisions because of a belief in right and wrong, and that religion does use a nice juicy carrot as bait to the sinful donkeys. ;) BUT. . . I wonder where these base IDEAS of morality came from as the religion was being structured. I don't believe for a second that a deity commanded such rules, so why did humanity create them freely, and then add their own regulations to them?
Firstly, claims that the rules came from god will always give said rules more weight among the credulous than to say, "I drafted these rules because I think they're a jolly good idea". This fact is lampooned in Kissing Hank's A$s. (http://www.jhuger.com/kisshank.mv) Secondly, I've already argued that morality arises as a Darwinian imperative, to maximise our individual chances of survival. The intertwining of religion and morality comes from primitive cosmology, in that everything requiring an explanation was explained in terms of the supernatural. A medieval European, for example, didn't think of a rose as red to attract pollinating insects, and having thorns for self defence, to deter predators; to the medieval mind, the rose was red for the blood of Christ and had thorns for the crown of thorns. Everything was viewed through the filter of the Bible, with humanity at its precious core. (This anthropomorphic argument holds true for all religions, but I'm just choosing a classic example.)
As to the question of humanity creating the rules "freely", how free are we really to make those choices, and how much is determined, either genetically and/or by the block universe theory? It's a vexed question, but I'd welcome your input.

Originally posted by Gem_C
That was my main point; that religions were built on a foundation of moral values that humanity voluntarily created.
I think it more likely that, given the cosmologies of prescientific societies in which everything had a supernatural explanation ("it's the will of the gods"), the religion (appeal to the supernatural) and the code of ethics evolved together, intertwined like a caduceus, rather than that the ethics came first, and proved to be the building blocks for the supernatural cosmology.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Religion has adapted so much over the years that few believe that ALL traditional "sins" will lead to damnation. Indeed, the more prevalent view is like any atheist; it's more important to do what you feel is right, and if you DO make a decision you know was wrong, you fix this. For the majority, people realise they're not in the Dark Ages anymore and have a much more compassionate approach to religion, although there will always be exceptions.
But that's my beef with religion entirely; if you actually read the Abrahamic holy books, they all prescribe damnation for transgresssors and unbelievers. The church has softened its message in an attempt to win modern audiences in direct contradiction to their own holy texts. Modern people quite rightly find a literal interpretation of the Bible barbaric, and also laughable (six day creation, etc.). As I said earlier, though, the Bible is meant to be read literally; at least, that was the intention of its myriad authors. They were writing down creation myths that they believed to be literally true. Same for the laws, which we find repugnant today. For the Church to claim these writings are meant to be allegories is disingenuous at best, and downright dishonest at worst. They are softening the barbarity to suit the sensibilities of a modern audience, when the Abrahamic religion to which they subscribe was never meant to be adulterated in this way. It's like adding ginger ale to a 12-year-old single Malt. (:D) Terribly unpalatable. But they know that if they told the truth about their holy books, not only would such texts seem barbaric to the people of today, they would seem totally irrrelevant to modern life. ("Seething a kid in its mother's milk"? Pshaw!) The clerics who have studied these texts in depth know this and are lying to you if they say otherwise. Those who sincerely believe these tales are allegories have switched their brains off. Not much to respect in there.

Originally posted by Gem_C
I disagree. The morality occured first and the religion followed. But I'll wait for your essay so we can debate on this further. :)
See the preceding paragrpah for the explanation of intertwined evolution.

Originally posted by Gem_C
Thank you, and no worries; they're both very evil men but I'm sure they can learn to behave. ;)
Ha! She's got your number, chaps!
:D

Indar
14th November 2003, 07:20
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
She them said that Tim went to church but got there late, and added a black spot to his "soul". Then he teased his sister. (Another black spot.) Then he stole a magazine from the newsagent. (Yet another black spot.) She continued in this vein until there were about a dozen black spots on a soul that was mostly still white, then turned to the other "soul", and said, "John got up early, but didn't go to church", and shaded the entire soul black. In case the message wasn't clear, she then explicated: "Although Tim committed these sins, he still went to church, so his soul was still mostly in a state of grace."
In other words, by far and away the worst sin of all is not to follow the church.

It's an allegory.
Tim committed 'sins', but when he went to church he acknowledged what he had done, and took responsibility for his actions.
John may or may not have committed 'sins'; his problem is that he didn't examine his own actions, and did not learn from his mistakes.
In Shorinji Kempo we call this Kyakka shoko

I agree that to tell anyone, especially children, that they will burn in hell if they don't do what they are told is barbaric. The responsibility for this, in the case that you quote, starts with the person that taught you. Don't you think that each individual has to take responsibility for their own actions?

Originally posted by Kimpatsu
And people wonder why I loathe the Catholic Church.
Kesshu.
But isn't it a pre-requisite to be objective in a spirit of scientific enquiry? Assuming that such a thing is possible, which you appear to believe is not, since we are all programmed by our genes?

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 07:29
Originally posted by Indar
It's an allegory.
Tim committed 'sins', but when he went to church he acknowledged what he had done, and took responsibility for his actions.
John may or may not have committed 'sins'; his problem is that he didn't examine his own actions, and did not learn from his mistakes.
In Shorinji Kempo we call this Kyakka shoko
No, Indar, the moral of the story was that going to church keeps you sweet with god. Tim didn't do anything wrong other than not go to church, whereas John was a thief and a bully, but he's still holier in god's sight because he went to church. God's wisdom at its finest. :rolleyes:

Originally posted by Indar
I agree that to tell anyone, especially children, that they will burn in hell if they don't do what they are told is barbaric. The responsibility for this, in the case that you quote, starts with the person that taught you. Don't you think that each individual has to take responsibility for their own actions?
Absolutely, but the point I was trying to make was the the Roman Catholic church is about indoctrination. See the Ladder of Deception for details.

Originally posted by Indar
But isn't it a pre-requisite to be objective in a spirit of scientific enquiry? Assuming that such a thing is possible, which you appear to believe is not, since we are all programmed by our genes?
Behaviour is determined by the interaction of genes with the environment. If you lack genes for a certain capability, however, you will never develop that trait no matter how much you may wish to; genes are an expression of potential; the environment provides the surroundings by which to fulfill that potential.
Kesshu.

Indar
14th November 2003, 07:34
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Atheism is a lack of belief. It is the rejection of groundless faith. As such, it is the default position of those who favour reason over superstition. Skepticism (the umbrella for "rationalism, logical thought, and analysis") always leads to atheism, because it leads to a rejection of claims for which there is no evidence.


Wrong; Some-one who does not believe in God is an agnostic. An atheist is someone who believes that God does not exist. In order to believe that something does not exist (in a 'real' sense) you clearly have to believe that it does exist as a concept; how can you disbelieve in something that doesn't exist? That is illogical.

Likewise with skepticism. Since no-one has yet proved the non-existance of God, the default position for a skeptic is agnosticism.
Are you saying that something does not exist unless we have evidence that it does? So bacteria did not exist before we had microscopes?

Indar
14th November 2003, 07:36
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Society is all about Alpha Males.

But Shorinji Kempo is led by a woman.

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 07:45
Originally posted by Indar
Wrong; Some-one who does not believe in God is an agnostic. An atheist is someone who believes that God does not exist.
What a load of rubbish! An agnostic is uncertain whether or not a god exists; atheists are sure she doesn't.

Originally posted by Indar
In order to believe that something does not exist (in a 'real' sense) you clearly have to believe that it does exist as a concept; how can you disbelieve in something that doesn't exist? That is illogical.
This is a wonderful piece of sophistry, but it simply isn't true. I recognise the concept of a god, and I am firmly convinced that such a concept is impossible. Same with unicorns. I understand fully the concept of a unicorn, and I'm utterly, implacably convinced of its non-existence.

Originally posted by Indar
Likewise with skepticism. Since no-one has yet proved the non-existance of God, the default position for a skeptic is agnosticism.
Not true, again. It is impossible to prove a negative, except in cases where the concept is mutually contradictory (married batchelors, square circles, etc). As the notion of an omnipotent being is inherently self-contradictory (can god create a rock too heavy for him to lift?), the concept of the omnipotent god is a nonsense. This is best summed up by the riddle of Epicurus, which has never been satisfactorily answered:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

Originally posted by Indar
Are you saying that something does not exist unless we have evidence that it does?
No.

Originally posted by Indar
So bacteria did not exist before we had microscopes?
Can you not tell the difference between existence and a discovery?

Indar
14th November 2003, 07:53
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
I recognise the concept of a god, and I am firmly convinced that such a concept is impossible. It is impossible to prove a negative, except in cases where the concept is mutually contradictory

Logic 101.

It is impossible to prove a negative, except when it isn't?
Please translate 'impossible' into a language that a human can understand.

Tripitaka of AA
14th November 2003, 08:23
I agree 10% :)

Tripitaka of AA
14th November 2003, 08:30
The thread has, naturally, drifted away from the original post, but in a genuinely thoughtful and interesting way. I thank all the participants and would like to make special praise for Kimpatsu for really applying himself to the topic with full gusto. Full answers and not so many cheap insults, much more entertaining than the stuff that fills the Members Lounge..

I am struck by two observations;

People in Japan don't seem to have so many hang-ups about religion.

People who despise the misuse, abuse and authoritarian torture of Religion have often been to Catholic Schools.

Indar
14th November 2003, 10:01
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
What a load of rubbish! An agnostic is uncertain whether or not a god exists; atheists are sure she doesn't.


Yes, that's what I said.


Originally posted by Indar
Wrong; Some-one who does not believe in God is an agnostic. An atheist is someone who believes that God does not exist.

So actually we do agree.
The only issue left then is that when I agree with you think that I am talking rubbish. Seems like a no-win situation.

jonboy
14th November 2003, 10:21
Nothing to add to the thread right now as I need to think some more, but I feel the need to answer this
Now a catholic school I can understand, but the last time I checked a "convent" is something frequented by WOMEN........ Whilst there does exist some evidence of me, for instance, training in a dress (for comic relief I'll have you know) I'd like to point out that I went to a convent school, not a convent. There was a convent on the school grounds and we were taught by the inhabitants, as well as some 'regular' teachers.

Something you want to share Jon Not really sensei. I'm not even going to mention what happened when we were naughty ;)

jonboy
14th November 2003, 10:32
I'm in two minds as to whether you're right.
So what's that got to do with schizophrenia, Tony?

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 12:55
Originally posted by Indar
It is impossible to prove a negative, except when it isn't?
Please translate 'impossible' into a language that a human can understand.
You know, if you stopped being snide and actually behaved like a kenshi for a moment, you might actually contribute something positive to this thread. I am absolutely SICK TO DEATH of your shitty behaviour. You would NEVER behave like this in front of Mizuno Sensei. If I could e-mail you privately, I'd give you chapter and verse on why your behaviour is TOTALLY UNACCETPABLE, kohai. I'm pissed off to the gills with it. Either start contributing postively, or f*ck off and study how to be a real kenshi. Until then, I don't ever want to see you on this board. Clear?

David Dunn
14th November 2003, 12:58
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
People who despise the misuse, abuse and authoritarian torture of Religion have often been to Catholic Schools.

If you mean me David, then I didn't. I went to a secular state school. I went to a catholic primary school, but my dad didn't want me to go to a secondary school where monks would beat me up. I didn't know what he meant at the time. My understanding of Catholicism under pope jp2's hegemony stems from a critical analysis of it from a materialist point of view. That is politics, not religion.

The only time the church upset me personally was at my grandpa's funeral. The priest said "ours is not to judge the life of men", and steadfastly refused to say anything about his honesty, decency, kindness. If he was lucky God would let him into heaven. No wonder he spent his last few days crapping himself, which is pretty much the state the other old folk at the service were in by the end of it.

David Dunn
14th November 2003, 13:07
I don't have time to post as promised above. If anyone is interested, the argument I was going to put forward is not mine, but you can see it here - 'an admirable truly humanist work.' (http://www.kenanmalik.com/top/books.html)


Human nature is neither an illusion, nor simply an expression of our rootedness in nature. It is a concept that only makes sense if we understand it historically, and normatively. The human essence is not something simply given to us but is also made by us. In this sense, human universals are also, paradoxically, historically contingent.

The unique character of human universals arises out of the existence of humans as rational, social beings with the power to act as political subjects - with the power, in other words, to transform themselves and their societies through reasoned dialogue and activity. All animals have an evolutionary past. Only humans make history. The existence of humans as a uniquely history-making species has moulded the relationship between universals and particulars in human society, between human nature and human differences. Humans are able both to create social distinctions (and to view them as natural or fixed) and to ignore natural differences (as irrelevant to social intercourse).

Discussions about the relationship between human nature and human differences, however, whether rooted in natural or cultural views of human behaviour, have paid insufficient attention to the transformative character of human life. The conflation of the debate about universals and differences with the nature-nurture debate has established a dichotomy between biological universals and cultural differences, a dichotomy within which the sense of human agency has been lost....

To restore balance to the discussion of human commonalities and human differences, we need to do three things: first, to distinguish the debate about universalism and relativism from nature-nurture debate; second, to understand human nature not simply in naturalistic terms but also as historical created; and thirdly to restore the concept of human agency into the discussions of both human nature and human differences.

From here (http://www.kenanmalik.com/papers/sshb_universal.html)

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 13:08
Originally posted by Tripitaka of AA
People who despise the misuse, abuse and authoritarian torture of Religion have often been to Catholic Schools.
I think I should amplify my last answer to Indar.
Trying to draw parallels between Xpianity and Kongo Zen is ultimately futile, for the reason I cited earlier: motive.
The Catholic church has never had a concept of kyakkashoko (here defined as "being sory beforehand", as described by Korean/Amwerican anthropologist Y. S. Pak). Trying to forcefit the teacher's statements to Shorinji Kempo philosophy is pointless--and inaccurate. In Catholicism, the emphasis is on the fact that you have already done wrong, and will always do wrong,
because you are a sinner in the eyes of god. The attempts to draw parallels and then claim that all religions are really "about the same thing" is warm, fuzzy, modern liberal nonsense. Just taking the Abrahamic religions, if Xpianity is right, Islam and Judaism are de facto wrong. Either Jesus is god, or here's merely a prophet. There can be no middle ground.
Anyway, back to the question of sin.
The whole point of Catholicism is that you are always and constantly guilty. (This is how the Catholic church extends its power over people.) As such, it is in direct opposition to the Buddhist notion of innocence, but that's by-the-by. The important thing to remember is that as a "sinner", you are damned unless you can plea bargain your way out of heaven. The Tim and John story was to illustrate how failure to obey the Catholic church's rules was a greatre sin than stealing, bullying, or laziness. As I said, trying to forcefit your own ideology upon their's is not only pointless, it's just plain wrong, because that was not how the teacher--or the church--intended it. That wasn't the message they wanted to convey.
Always look at the motive.
Kesshu.

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 13:10
Originally posted by jonboy
Not really sensei. I'm not even going to mention what happened when we were naughty ;)
OOhh, nuns! What a turn-on! :D

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 13:26
Originally posted by David Dunn
I don't have time to post as promised above. If anyone is interested, the argument I was going to put forward is not mine, but you can see it here - 'an admirable truly humanist work.' (http://www.kenanmalik.com/top/books.html)
From here (http://www.kenanmalik.com/papers/sshb_universal.html)
Thak you, David.
How's Bristol dojo doing?
Kesshu.

bruceb
14th November 2003, 14:03
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
You know, if you stopped being snide and actually behaved like a kenshi for a moment, you might actually contribute something positive to this thread. I am absolutely SICK TO DEATH of your shitty behaviour. You would NEVER behave like this in front of Mizuno Sensei. If I could e-mail you privately, I'd give you chapter and verse on why your behaviour is TOTALLY UNACCETPABLE, kohai. I'm pissed off to the gills with it. Either start contributing postively, or f*ck off and study how to be a real kenshi. Until then, I don't ever want to see you on this board. Clear?

Follow your own advice.

When you treat the least of us any less than the best of us, you defame all of us.

David Dunn
14th November 2003, 14:25
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
Thak you, David.
How's Bristol dojo doing?
Kesshu.

Gassho Tony,
both well it is fair to say. Soon they'll have to add 'west of england' to the london, south coast and scotland. Mind you NW and NE seem to be planting acorns too.

Kesshu

tony leith
14th November 2003, 14:32
OK, I want to discuss some of the substantive issues that have been raised above. First I want to say directly to Kimpatsu that in my view you have totally blown whatever pretensions you might have had to holding the moral high ground vis a vis your argument with Indar. Your remarks (which I refuse to quote as they've had enough currency)were offensive and arrogant in the extreme. It is to put it mildly revealing that you repeatedly use 'kohai' as a term of abuse. It is also undeniably true that the rest of us seem to manage to stay within the bounds of reasonable courtesy however heated the discussion gets. You by your own account have beeen expelled from the member's lounge on e-budo, and from budoseek. This needless to say you have represented as being through no fault of your own, a construction on events which in the light of your recent conduct is frankly implausible.

I also know for a fact that your behaviour is actually dissuading people from participating in these forums, as it's like being trapped in a lift with a particularly boorish pedant. Anybody who won't take responsibility for their own behaviour and its consequences is no senior of mine in either Shorinji Kempo or Kongo Zen. Feel free to go ahead and threaten me with violence again, Tony: I've been dealing with that kind of pig ignorant behaviour from bullies since I was at primary school, and it's long since ceased to concern me.

The pity of Mr. Kehoe's infantilism is that it undermined completely the credibility of his participation in what had been an interesting debate. I'd like to come back to the discussion about the nature of consciousness.

Consciousness as I understand it is indeed a phenomenon which physically resides in the brain, but I do think it's somewhat 'fuzzier' than that. Human consciousness is a social phenomenon - we have to be socialised into awareness of ourselves and how we stand in relation to other individuals and our wider societies. The hypothetical feral child might well be a human animal, but would it be a human being in any developed sense? I would suggest not. Our beings have to be articulated through our relations with others. The relational nature of consciousness probably won't be a surprise to anyone reading this, it's pretty much Buddhism 101.

The other observation I have to amke concerns 'brainwashing'. I was once told be Mizuno Sensei that he was indeed brainwashing us, but for the good of society. So that's alright then. Kongo Zen does not reside on metaphysical foundations, but I personally have embraced it as something which helps to give moral and ethical sructure to my life. This seems to be an aspect of most religious practice. I would prefer to live in a world weher people didn't rely on metaphysics for their moral/ethical premises, but I suspect I'm not going to get there by going up and shouting in their face 'You're wrong! You're wrong!' until their ears bleed..'

Tony leith

David Dunn
14th November 2003, 14:37
On that note, I'm off. No doubt I'll return on Monday and have another dozen pages of this to read, but thankfully the distance between me and a switched on PC is going to be great until then.

Have a good weekend all.

ps - TonyL, consciousness itself is a societal phenomenon. I couldn't have it without you. So I reckon I owe you a pint :beer:

Gem_C
14th November 2003, 15:05
Originally posted by David Dunn
[B]It's a bit late to post. But ... the alpha male theory is a crock of bull. Even if it applies to primates, it says more about the proponent of the theory than it does about human society.

I'm actually a tad embarrassed about this now. It sounded so feasible to me at first but after discussing the matter with a Biologist friend of mine, I'm inclined to agree with you, Dave.

Although, I'd love for you to elaborate so that a/ I can hear a second opinion, and b/ give the board a chance to understand WHY the theory is "bull".

Gem_C
14th November 2003, 15:36
As much as I hate to do this, I'm afraid I too will be absent for a few days due to deadlines and whatnot.

I do have a few points for/in regards to Kimpatsu, however. :)

-In regards to women often being the most faithful believers, some of this is because of patriachal societies. However, this means that it is a result of social situations, not mental, and that women found the greatest faith in something that promised them reward based on merit; a worthy goal, and one most of us adopt today.
Religion, despite it's patriarchal structure, was also an area of control for women. By being faithful a whole other world opened up to women, and indeed this is why we see female saints and believers being the most extreme in areas of asceticism, particularly in regards to fasting/starvation, as food was an area of life they had control over.

Just an interesting fact (well, I find it interesting anyway).

-Considering how entwined religion is with history and human nature, yes, the study of religion definitely has something to contribute to the world today. And even a NEGATIVE impact is one we can learn from, indeed, most of histories most negative events have resulted in a more keen awareness in the generations that followed.

-Yes, you are indeed a grammar Nazi. I shall be watching myself. ;) But you also have a very obvious bias against religion. You are entitled to your opinion, but for one who stresses rational thinking, maybe a little objectivity in regards to ALL areas of life might be of use.

-I dislike your analogy of atheism as a "cure" because religion is not a disease to be erradicated, and such a view is extremely ignorant and arrogant. You find nothing of worth in centuries worth of religion therefore it IS worthless and should be erradicated? I think not.

-Atheism is a lack of belief in god or other higher, supernatural powers, and the supernatural altogether. This doesn't instantly make all atheists more rational. One could be an atheist and still believe in totally foolish ideas founded in nothing but lies and imagination. You're applying too much worth to a simply term.

-The Rowling thing was a joke? *gasp!* Well, I never. ;)

And now, I shall depart for a few days. I look forward to coming back and discovering how the thread has developed.

George Hyde
14th November 2003, 15:55
Originally posted by David Dunn
ps - TonyL, consciousness itself is a societal phenomenon. I couldn't have it without you. So I reckon I owe you a pint :beer:

Have to disagree here - if anything, society is a conscious phenomenon. Society, its rules, regulations and machinations are possible because we are conscious beings. Many aspects of our consciousness are evident in our construction of our society - many aspects of our society are evident in the construction of our personal identities. However, to say that we owe the faculty of consciousness (rather than certain aspects of it) to society is just plain wrong.

The 'feral child' noted above would be conscious, for consciousness requires only 'a self in the act of knowing'. There may not be much for the poor mite to know in her solitary world, but that she would know it and herself is indisputable.

Later,

tony leith
14th November 2003, 16:28
OK, I take your point re. 'consciousness' in it's most basic sense as denoting awareness of a 'self' however conceived in relation to its environment. However, in this sense all animate beings are conscious after their own fashion. Goldfish, rhinos, whatever - the higher primates evidently do share much of our weltanschauung, possibly up to and including the ability to tell us about it, if you accept that chimpanzees using sign language are doing more than apeing (sorry, I couldn't help myself) their trainers

My point is that you can't disentangle human being from human society. Many other animals manage pretty well without self awareness in any sense that is recogniseable to us, including in the construction of quite intricate societies with many of the organisational characteristics that some commentators (e.g. Marx) have taken as the signifier of an advanced level of development in human history. Many of the features of modern industry have been pretty well anticipated by the social insects.

The point that I am trying to make is that the content of the self depends to a very large extent on the cultural capital present in the individual's environment. Our hypothetical feral child might not even be able to pass a Turing test to demonstrate the existence of her consciousness, depending on just how lacking in social stimuli her environment was.

I'm all for individualism BTW, just not the kind of atomistic alienated model of individualism which is so prevalent in capitalist society.

Tony leith

shugyosha
14th November 2003, 17:32
why are you so angry kimpatsu?
what are you scared of?

peace will come when you answer those question i think

Indar
14th November 2003, 17:41
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
your behaviour is TOTALLY UNACCETPABLE, kohai

Kohai?

I am older than you, and graded before you.
A lesson in Japanese etiquette please.

Kimpatsu
14th November 2003, 22:49
Originally posted by David Dunn
Gassho Tony,
both well it is fair to say. Soon they'll have to add 'west of england' to the london, south coast and scotland. Mind you NW and NE seem to be planting acorns too.
Gassho, David.
Where in the Northwest? Liverpool, Manchester, or points beyond? (Say not Runcorn, surely? :D )

Steve Williams
15th November 2003, 21:01
Originally posted by Indar
Kohai?

I am older than you, and graded before you.
A lesson in Japanese etiquette please.

This is unacceptable.

Yes Indar, you are older, but I think you will find that TonyK joined long before you, and (I could be wrong on this) graded before you also.

Steve Williams
15th November 2003, 21:14
Maybe I should have stepped in earlier..... but this thread did show some words of wisdom.



Anyway, it ends now.






You know, the reason I enjoy this forum is that grade is not really an issue.......

We have branch masters and 4th kyu kenshi, all sharing meaninful discussion (and yes, sometimes even irreverent humour!!) and that is what makes it so interesting and enjoyable.
Also to have the input of other martial artists, makes it all a richer experience.

That some people cannot keep this element of fun and that good natured experience really worries me.

Have you learned nothing from your practice of the martial arts??

Do you take nothing of our philosophy (and the philosophy of other martial arts is included here also) to your heart??

Argueing and disagreement is fine, but you should not lose your respect, or (if you do not hold much respect for the other person) then at least comon decency.
If you do not agree with something that is said then by all means object...... but keep your common decency in mind, and if you have any respect for the other person then show it.

DO NOT BE BLINDED BY YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE.......
"We pledge to leave our past aside..." (So-Doshin, Kaiso, Shorinji Kempo)