Taken in Moderation

I posted before about not taking things literally. And this one is related. Don’t be so serious. It’s the extremists that give religon a bad name.
Maybe the idea is for a man not to look upon the members of the oppposite sex with total lust in their hearts all the time. Well maybe that’s a good idea. You don’t want to go around with a hardon and act like a pervert. But taken too far, you get men requiring women to cover themselves totally from head to foot. That’s just bizarre.
On the other hand there are the people who have distain for even the mildly religious, based on the bad example set by the extreme fundamentalists. It works both ways.

I posted before about not taking things literally. And this one is related. Don’t be so serious. It’s the extremists that give religon a bad name.
Maybe the idea is for a man not to look upon the members of the oppposite sex with total lust in their hearts all the time. Well maybe that’s a good idea. You don’t want to go around with a hardon and act like a pervert. But taken too far, you get men requiring women to cover themselves totally from head to foot. That’s just bizarre.
On the other hand there are the people who have distain for even the mildly religious, based on the bad example set by the extreme fundamentalists. It works both ways.[/quote]Oh crumbs. I said to myself that I’d try not to get involved in discussions in the R&S forum. But this one’s an interesting one.

Lots of people say pretty much the same; that they don’t mind religion as long as it’s not extremist. But what does that mean to them? What qualifies as “mildly” religious?

Does it mean people who don’t force their views down others’ throats, and strive to understand religious teachings in an intelligent, discriminating way, and who don’t take themselves too seriously? I’m all for that.

Or does it mean people who try to tame religion and put it in a neat little box? People who go to church on Sunday but don’t try to bring Christian thinking and behaviour into their lives during the rest of the week? Or people who profess to be spiritual but take little bits out of many different religious traditions: the bits they like, not the bits that might make them question their assumptions about themselves and the world around them? That seems pretty pointless.

This first case.

But I must admit to squirming in my seat when the preacher starts talking about these people.

I don’t have the blind faith where I can just listen to the preaching and believe it all. So the only way I can do it is to suspend the logical process and try to get some sort of spiritual essence out of the whole process.

If you accept that Christianity is ‘Plato for the masses’, and know how important moderation was in Greek philosophy, the consistency isn’t surprising.

Not that divine inspiration is necessary for so simple a rule. Even the poets get it:

[quote=“Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet’s Friar Laurence”]These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.[/quote]

But there’s always one bugger who, worried about keeping folks in line, is likely to go off looking to whip up a furor:

As for the folks sitting in their seats Sunday morning, then acting like assholes to the ‘heathen waitresses working on the Sabbath’ (I’ve known a few such back in the Bible belt) that serve them lunch a couple of hours later, what’s moderate in an excessive show of religiosity at one moment, followed by a dreadful lack the next? The point isn’t to blindly accept the preacher’s words, but to meditate on whatever wisdom may be found therein, apply your reason, take what works, and apply it as best you can. :laughing: It’s not as if arguments over interpretation are foreign to religion.

Whatever floats your boat, man. Religion gets people thinking, and that in itself is a good thing for a bunch of hairless apes with enlarged frontal lobes and opposable thumbs. The Good and Lethargic of Us far outnumber the maliciously Bad.

Slowing down though, in general, IMO, would be a good thing for Us. It’s a hell of a view these eyes these days.

[quote=“Dr. McCoy”]This first case.

But I must admit to squirming in my seat when the preacher starts talking about these people.

I don’t have the blind faith where I can just listen to the preaching and believe it all. So the only way I can do it is to suspend the logical process and try to get some sort of spiritual essence out of the whole process.[/quote]I wish you could meet a couple of my college professors. They’re deeply Christian people who would never consider taking anything on blind faith. It’s possible to be a devoted Christian without suspending the logical process. There are thousands of musty old books - and some newer ones too - to prove it. There aren’t any easy answers, but certainly there’s a wide range of thoughtful viewpoints on just about any doubt you might have. Trying to get to the spiritual essence, as you’re doing, is surely what it’s all about.

At first I wasn’t sure what you meant by moderation. What some people seem to advocate when they talk about avoiding extremism is a kind of wishy-washyness; keeping everything comfortable and cosy and non-challenging. I do think that for religious practitioners it’s important to be “serious” to the extent that they try to engage with the religion wholeheartedly: in an emotional as well as intellectual way. It’s not just an interesting set of beliefs, or a hobby. Done properly, religion should eventually infuse all areas of a person’s life. Of course that doesn’t mean that people should be po-faced or force their beliefs on others. It’s a personal thing.

[quote=“Jaboney”][quote=“Phillippians 4:5”]Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.[/quote][/quote]Hmm … doesn’t that usage mean something more like patience and forbearance?

They’re deeply Christian people who would never consider taking anything on blind faith. It’s possible to be a devoted Christian without suspending the logical process.

Of course. Because Christianity’s problem isn’t logic, but the premises on which its logic rests. Christianity is perfectly logical – if you want to believe that the Son of God died and was resurrected and all the other things necessary to be a Christian. It’s only when you try and test those premises against reality that problems begin.

Michael

[quote=“Vorkosigan”]They’re deeply Christian people who would never consider taking anything on blind faith. It’s possible to be a devoted Christian without suspending the logical process.

Of course. Because Christianity’s problem isn’t logic, but the premises on which its logic rests. Christianity is perfectly logical – if you want to believe that the Son of God died and was resurrected and all the other things necessary to be a Christian. It’s only when you try and test those premises against reality that problems begin.

Michael[/quote]I believe that there are various ways that people think about the Resurrection, from the literal to the not so literal. It’s been ages since I studied any Christian theology, so off the top of my head I can’t point you towards anything in particular. And I’m not sure that you’d bother trying to read through it with an open mind even if I did!

[quote=“Vorkosigan”]They’re deeply Christian people who would never consider taking anything on blind faith. It’s possible to be a devoted Christian without suspending the logical process.

Of course. Because Christianity’s problem isn’t logic, but the premises on which its logic rests. Christianity is perfectly logical – if you want to believe that the Son of God died and was resurrected and all the other things necessary to be a Christian. It’s only when you try and test those premises against reality that problems begin.

Michael[/quote]
And logic is not the Holy Grail. It’s not the end-all cure-all that some green blooded, pointy-eared hobgoblins like to say it is. It’s not perfect. There are things beyond our understanding in a linguistic sense. Any Daoist will tell you that.

There are things beyond our understanding in a very literal sense.

Fine by me.

[quote=“joesax”][quote=“Jaboney”][quote=“Phillippians 4:5”]Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.[/quote][/quote]Hmm … doesn’t that usage mean something more like patience and forbearance?[/quote]Maybe. I’m certainly not capable of doing the translation myself. Any of those options, though, are to the good.