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  1. #796
    "hot and jolly" Nevyn's Avatar
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    What frightens me more than anything is the fundamentalism on the religious front that's spreading all over the world.
    Gary , in what way could you possibly feel threatened by me ? Could you simply be mistaking a Zealot with a Fundamentalist ?
    Why can't people see how divisive it is? I feel almost like we are back in the middle ages.
    Do you honestly believe that religion is the divisive factor at work in the world today ? I don't ! Money , wealth , land grab for greater wealth , tribal (culture) differences the list goes on . Sure , at times religion differences have played their part , but nowhere to the extent you're trying to imply .
    Scott just explained the reasons for fundamentalisms
    Scott explained his opinion or theory , some of it I agree with but I would argue that Scott has made a better arguement for people who have turned their back on God ie. materialism and selfishness . By accepting the written word of God makes me a fundamentalist , not a zealot . And to further disagree with something Scott said
    We simply not hardwired to think in the large-scale systematic terms required to understand or appreciate our social position (none of us understand our social role).
    Speak for yourself , I know exactly what my social role is !
    Last edited by Nevyn; May 27th, 2005 at 11:56 PM. Reason: because I can't spell

  2. #797
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    It's too hard to predict all of this, impossible in fact, and there are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic. But that's just so boring!!
    Nothing boring about the end of the world! Otherwise, I think you're entirely right of course.

    On the other hand, these increasing pressures might force one of those evolutionary leaps.
    My fear is that it'll more of a post mass extinction explosion of evolutionary activity.

    Speak for yourself , I know exactly what my social role is !
    And what would that be?

  3. #798
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Alison, I think you are right in one respect and wrong in another. Anonymity can be a dangerous thing, I admit. People can lie and deceive. They can pretend to be someone or something that they are not. But the anonymity of interenet correspondence also allows the honest person to focus on the discussion, on the ideas involved, without being distracted by the other aspects of face to face communication. Fundamentalism could just as easily be a reaction to that anonymity, the anonymity of a high tech world and the impersonal aspects of it. Fundamentalism represents purpose. It provides the individual with a sense of community and it rejects post-modernism's lack of 'grand narratives' and lack of humanism. In an odd way, the liberal sees fundamentalism as reactionary, but the fundamentalist sees it as humanistic.

    Nev, forgive me if I don't fully understand the distinctions. Aren't all zealots fundamentalists? I am not saying that all fundamentalists are zealots, but we are talking about radical behavior, not innocuous behavior. I turned on the news this morning and the first thing that i heard was about a boming in Indonesia that was the result of the recent flareup between the Christian community and the Moslem community in this particular city. I seem to hear these types of things daily now. You don't think religion has anything to do with this? You are a fundamentalist? What does that entail strictly? What missionary role should you play? What is your responsibility to convert the heathen? Are you a true fundamentalist in all respects? Again, maybe I just don't understand what it means to be a fundamentalist Christian today. Maybe the news has led me to believe the wrong things.

  4. #799
    "hot and jolly" Nevyn's Avatar
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    And what would that be?
    First and foremost I'm a dad !
    Aren't all zealots fundamentalists?
    No , not all! Somewhere along the way (IMO) most have forgotten the basis of their belief ie. the written word . From a Christian point of view this would prevent me from things like murder in the name of the Father and so on .
    I turned on the news this morning and the first thing that i heard was about a boming in Indonesia that was the result of the recent flareup between the Christian community and the Moslem community in this particular city. I seem to hear these types of things daily now. You don't think religion has anything to do with this?
    Sure , at times religion differences have played their part , but nowhere to the extent you're trying to imply .
    You are a fundamentalist? What does that entail strictly? What missionary role should you play? What is your responsibility to convert the heathen? Are you a true fundamentalist in all respects?
    That would mean not picking and choosing which parts of the Bible I'm going to believe but believing the whole thing and doing my very best to live by it . As for what missionary role I "should play" , that would be a more active one than I am currently involved in now . But then sometimes the smallest actions have the greatest results . Not my job to convert the heathen , that's up to them whether they believe , my resposibillity is to deliver the message .
    Maybe the news has led me to believe the wrong things.
    Fox news will do that for you

  5. #800
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    Aren't all zealots fundamentalists?

    Of course not. Think about eco-terrorists. Remember the Symbionese Liberation Army? People can be 'zealous' without adhering to a strict doctrine.

    And if you're really fretting about all the religiosity in the world today, and how that might directly lead to mass graves, once again I refer you to the anti-religious regimes of our times (Soviet Union, China, etc.).... and their mass graves.

  6. #801
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    You call them anti-religious, but I don't, Tex. I don't see that much difference between zealous faith in communism and zealous faith in God when it comes to the basis for it, the attitudes it engenders, the divisiveness of it in reference to anyone outside of the circle of that particular faith. I am looking more in terms of faith than religion though, I must admit. But it seems that religion cannot exist without faith, and when fundamtentalism takes precedence over a more laissez faire version of personal faith, it seems less distinct once again from zealousness.

    If I understand what a zealot is, then "zealotry" tends to be reserved for cases where excess zeal is shared with others, and has formed or merged with a dogma; typically with ideological self-perpetuation as among its primary foundations." What is different here from an evangelical religious group?

  7. #802
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    If I understand what a zealot is, then "zealotry" tends to be reserved for cases where excess zeal is shared with others, and has formed or merged with a dogma; typically with ideological self-perpetuation as among its primary foundations." What is different here from an evangelical religious group?

    Well, using that definition, nothing. The reason being that your definition is broad enough to include anyone and everyone. How would atheists be exempt from that? Scott said on this thread that he is trying to "perpetuate" his brand of skepticism. Any beliefs, positive (I believe there is a God), or negative (I believe there is no god) on the subject will technically fall under the heading of dogma.

    No, Gary, your definition leaves out the key element of fundamentalism. Fundamentalists adhere to an objective set of formalized beliefs and practices, usually in the form of those ancient texts you all dislike so much. Liberal "christians" can be dogmatic and certainly are trying to add members, but still are not fundamentalists because they don't believe the Bible.

    I agree with the statement that communism/marxism/just about any other 'ism' takes on the form of a religion. That's what I meant earlier when I said that everyone worships something. And just so you know, legally, in the U.S., Secular Humanism is considered a religion as well.

  8. #803
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Well, actually, anyone or group would be exempt if they were not attempting to perpetuate their ideology. The key words for me here are 'excess zeal' and 'perpetuate'.

    I don't make up these definitions. I also am not choosing among various ones for those that support my comments. But, if I am reading this correctly, then, fundamentalism means, to most people:

    In comparative religion, fundamentalism refers to anti-modernist movements in various religions.

    In many ways religious fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon, characterized by a sense of embattled alienation in the midst of the surrounding culture, even where the culture may be nominally influenced by the adherents' religion. The term can also refer specifically to the belief that one's religious texts are infallible and historically accurate, despite contradiction of these claims by modern scholarship.

    Many groups described as fundamentalist often strongly object to this term because of the negative connotations it carries, or because it implies a similarity between themselves and other groups, which they find objectionable.


    If I understand the usage of zealoutry correctly, the sense of 'embattled alienation in the midst of a surrounding culture' seems endemic. I also believe that zealots have a very strong sense that 'their religious texts are infallible' whatever those religious texts might be. I honestly think that it's not stretching the meanings to assume that zealots are fundamentalists.

  9. #804
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    Well, using that definition, nothing. The reason being that your definition is broad enough to include anyone and everyone. How would atheists be exempt from that? Scott said on this thread that he is trying to "perpetuate" his brand of skepticism. Any beliefs, positive (I believe there is a God), or negative (I believe there is no god) on the subject will technically fall under the heading of dogma.
    Technically, no. Dogmatic beliefs are not 'any beliefs,' which is precisely why 'dogmatic' is able to modify the meaning of 'belief.' Dogmatic beliefs typically refer to closed cognitive commitments - or beliefs that people are unwilling or unable to seriously question - which is why it's a pejorative.

  10. #805
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    If I understand the usage of zealoutry correctly, the sense of 'embattled alienation in the midst of a surrounding culture' seems endemic. I also believe that zealots have a very strong sense that 'their religious texts are infallible' whatever those religious texts might be. I honestly think that it's not stretching the meanings to assume that zealots are fundamentalists.

    You can bend the words however you like and not get arrested by the grammar police, but Gary, some of us simply refer to dictionaries for our definitions. I don't know who you're quoting or why that person would think that "In many ways religious fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon," but it sounds like they're taking part in the popular pasttime of trying to redefine words for themselves. 'Zealot' means a zealous person, pure and simple. But you're free to attach whatever denotations and connotations that you like. Just don't expect anyone else to know what you're talking about.


    "Technically, no. Dogmatic beliefs are not 'any beliefs,'"


    I didn't say that 'any beliefs' could be dogmatic, I said that any beliefs on this topic (the existence of God) could be considered dogmatic, since dogma is often defined as a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds, and since some people consider any BELIEF concerning God to be 'without adequate grounds' because of its lack of empericism.

  11. #806
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I am making no attempt whatsoever at twisting words to my advantage. In fact, I simply typed the word fundamentalism in to google's search box and this is the site that it came up with,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism

    which also means that anyone else in the world who performs the same action that I just did will get the same result. It's kind of hard to 'fix' google or bend it to my advantage, as you state. That would be a trick I could sell for lots of money!

  12. #807
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    I didn't say that 'any beliefs' could be dogmatic, I said that any beliefs on this topic (the existence of God) could be considered dogmatic, since dogma is often defined as a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds, and since some people consider any BELIEF concerning God to be 'without adequate grounds' because of its lack of empericism.
    Well, let's look at what you actually said:

    Any beliefs, positive (I believe there is a God), or negative (I believe there is no god) on the subject will technically fall under the heading of dogma.
    Is this what you're claiming you never said?

    Otherwise, I'm not sure how asking for grounds makes people dogmatic. You'll have to walk me through that one, Tex. It sounds like rationalizing to me, an attempt to foist the same dogmatic certainty that characterizes your views onto your critics.

  13. #808
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    I am making no attempt whatsoever at twisting words to my advantage.

    You're not? Let's go back to this:

    "I also believe that zealots have a very strong sense that 'their religious texts are infallible'"

    This is the part where you spliced the definition of a fundamentalist into that of a zealot. The two words are not interchangable, they do not mean the same thing.

    Example: during the first 3+ centuries AD the Roman Empire spent a great deal of time and energy attempting to eradicate Christianity. It came in fits and spurts and religious zeal wasn't always the cause, but it was always involved in the process. You see, a great many within the Greek Pantheist crowd viewed Christianity as a threat. When they suffered from natural disasters and losses on the battlefield they feared that the gods where unhappy with them because of the growing number of people who no longer paid them homage. The result was that Christians were substituted for lion chow.

    Those Pantheists where zealots. They murdered untold thousands for the supposed whims of their gods. They were NOT, however, fundamentalists. Greek Pantheism was a fluid religion that uncompassed and embraced hordes of other ideologies.


    They're two seperate words with two seperate meanings.

  14. #809
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bakker
    Well, let's look at what you actually said:



    Is this what you're claiming you never said?

    No, Scott, I'm claiming that you left out the words "on the subject" and then explained why it was that that made a difference.

    And if you don't believe that the statement "there's no meaningful statements that can be made about God" is a statement of certainty, then I wouldn't even have a clue where to begin explaining it to you.

  15. #810
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Now you are twisting the words, Tex. You know very well that I said that religious texts could easily mean Mein Kampf or Das Kapital as well. I also qualified the sentence you quoted with the words 'I believe' to distinguish it from what others might believe or what the definition strictly says. The bottom line is that fundamentalism, IMHO, is a radical perspective and is often adopted by individuals who zealously guard, proselytize and proclaim their beliefs. So unless you really want to be picky to the point where the essence of your argument will suffer, there is a very close association between zealotry and fundamentalism, in principal.

    And that is why the third most visible characteristic of Fundamentalism is the emphasis on evangelism. If sinners do not undergo the same kind of salvation experience Fundamentalists have undergone, they will go to hell. Fundamentalists perceive a duty to spread their faith—what can be more charitable than to give others a chance for escaping hell- (Catholic Answers, Church News)

    How else would you define this Weltgeist if not as zealous?

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