Not 'I' but 'we'

Hi everybody,

I think that something about Religion is continually being missed out. We live here together on a planet that is becoming increasingly smaller - surely the community aspect about Religion must open up to take in those who have in the past been ‘outside’.

What about the idea of the ‘book Religions’ getting together, or the eastern religions - especially the various forms of Buddhism. Is there too much of a chasm between them.

Can we put aside our individualistic approach and start seeing ourselves as part of the greater community of humankind?


I think we can improve. Religions ought to be able to relate to each other like political parties or corporations competing for business. In other words, there is a place for civility. I don’t think you can acheive harmony, without the faiths losing their individual identities, or one set of beliefs ‘defeating’ all the others.

well this is characteristic bob. a religious fascist in a ‘can i carry that for you’ nice type of way.

well my feeling is no, bob. because i want my stinking religion to do exactly what it literally purports to do… tell me about that starry dynamo in the machinery of night, as thoreau wrote.

you think that at the heart of religion they are all the same, basically, something like that. and the truth is, at the surface they sometimes look the same… but at the heart they are RADICALLY different.

what is really the point of that post anyways?

I feel basically the same way, Monooq. There’s a larger and larger group of people pushing religious subjectivism as the new way decent people ought to think, and the hypocrisy of it is completely lost on them.

I agree with you here

Uccisore, religious integration is no better than all the world having the same religion. integration is never a good thing it destroys the wonderful diversity of mankind.

but I think what bob was saying is that sects within religions should join up and agree on central points, like buddhist sects, islam sects, christian sects, etc. (I may be misreading bob if I am then see first paragraph.)

Hi Monooq,

Why is it that you have nothing but abuse for anything I post? You obviously are using the word fascist in a very loose and ignorant manner - something that is basically unpardonable - but I would like to know why.

Which is what I am pointing at - and I would be the last to say people should give up their identity with their particular type of faith.

The problem is that the act of “showing regard for others” (civility) is reliant upon having respect, ‘walking in the other’s mocassins’, trying to understand where beliefs and fears come from. The increase of indivuality in society is the death of common values that bind people together, help them overcome problems together. It is generally when our needs become existential that a small community overcomes prejudices. A large community however, finds itself poising for war because it doesn’t know those others and suspects that they too are poising for war.

Basically, when people come to know each other on neutral ground they find many common interests. I grew up as an Englishman who avoided the French, possessed by many prejudices. When I went to party in Germany where the invited were a mixture of nationalities, I met a Frenchman who had similar prejudices against the English. Our German host introduced us and we began a conversation that helped us both overcome our prejudices and began a sturdy friendship.

Similarly, when I met a young man in Germany who told me that he was a Jew from Morocco, we began an interesting conversation. At first he was concerned that I was an outright Christian, but when we started talking about the tragedy of the relationship between Jews and Christians, we found that we liked each other. He told me about his relationship to Judaism and how he had difficulties with taking the Torah seriously and we found that we could actually learn from each other - I think I learnt more from him, which finally changed my stance.

Similarly, I have had good relationships with various Moslem nationalities, mostly Turkish but also Egyptian and Palestinian. I was surprised that many Egyptians are secular and that the Arab countries have various minority religious groups beside Islam. I think we need to get to know many people.

The nicest people I got to know - though probably not well enough to judge - were the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. It was only three days that we spent together, but three days of revelation and enlightenment. It was most probably my host who impressed me most, but it is by relationships that understanding grows.



I think you mislabeled your post.It is not a question of “I and we” it is a question of “We and They”

If I don’t know who they are. How am I to know whom I am better than? How am I to know what group I belong to?

We white folk
We men
We Christians
We Americans

are obviously better, smarter, more correct than they are.

I agree with you it would be nice but it ain’t going to happen

But you and I are not better than anyone - and the first thing you need to learn is who you are. Many misunderstandings occur because people start worrying about what or who other people are without being clear about themselves.

But that again has a lot to do with where we come from - consciense for example is a form of joint knowledge which you share with other people who you have an affinity with. Therefore ethics are a question of where you come from and not something that we automatically share. Consequently we need to communicate to have some basis when living together.

Since Religion is something that influences ethics, we have yet another reason to try and get our acts together…


I think its the other way around, Bob,…or “Father Vivian Oblivion,” as I have come to know you.

The origins of all religions come about through the establishment of some set of principles that are already being practiced at the time. The dry and calculated metaphysics of Buddhism, for example, sees the world as a great pointless suffering, and so considers these proponents to be religious, but after they have become ethical axioms. It wasn’t that the Buddhists found some mysterious book lying in the bushes with all that one needed to know about the world to start a religion.

The ‘Buddhism’ is the contingency of the established beliefs by those people who form them in those conditions. You got it backwards.

Christianity sets the scene like this: man is born into sin and has one life time to correct this. It posits the world as a miserable place where one is tested, and, if successful, is rewarded with a better world and life. The metaethic behind Christianity is disgusting, cowardice, and resentful. It is created in the minds of the weak and degenerate. It is a religion of revenge against this world.

The ‘Christianity’ is the contingency of the established beliefs by those people who form them under those conditions.

You pretend that religion is some kind of magical force that overcomes human beings giving them a profound sense of purpose for their morality other than simply to ‘stay alive.’ You pack religion full of shit that was already there, and then say that if it weren’t for the religion, we wouldn’t be moral.

You know, Father Oblivion, I’d like to see your brain. No, really. I’m beginning to think that a person who is religious has either something more in their brain, or not quite the full package. I don’t know which it is.

Hi Bob,

Nice try. We’ve both been trying to find a starting point that would allow diverse peoples to find commonality, but like the other posts (perhaps not as vociferous) I find religion to be a poor prospect to do the job. It would be nice. The institutions are in place, there is organization, and the leadership positions are filled, but each look’s inward upon itself and accomodating (your tolerance thread) other religions is more platitude than reality.

It might be possible if the theologians of each major religion could convince their respective followers to follow the spirit of their particular religion, but that doesn’t seem to work very well. Every religion seem’s to generate it’s own core of “fundamentalists” that keep the fires of prejudice burning brightly.

It is true that we are getting packed closer together, and we are starting to see the beginning of material shortages (oil demand vs supply), but we’re probably 50 years from the catastophic event(s) that will force us to begin cooperating - just to survive. In the meantime, I expect to see even sharper divisions among the religions. We’re starting to see the major conflicts right now.

Bob, you’re a visionary. 50 years from now they will say, “See? Bob knew what was needed even back then.”


double post

I thought about this more and now completely disagree with bob. I think two things need to happen.

#1 we need to be more thoughtful of other peoples beliefs systems or any particular ism they follow. (nihilism, solipsism, narcissism etc.)

#2 we need to not be so damned sensitive where every little offensive statement (that we take offense to) sets us off.

after reading more of your thoughts, I think you and tentative are both talking about integration, which may as well be re-worded “thoughtism” where you want everyone in the world to think the same so that they don’t fight with each other.

fighting is good (in a mental/spiritual capacity I stand against physical violence and physical fighting) it helps you understand your POV better, and helps you grow emotionally and spiritually.

do you want a philosophy where we state our points then say “yep that’s a good idea.”


You are getting nowhere with these “arguments.” Why don’t you try to use a little more reasoning instead of just emotionally charged statements?

I also think Bob that it is not such a good idea to have a similar “universal religion.” People are and will be different from each other, including the way they think and act. Though I do think that there can be an understanding between religions, which I think would be very ideal.

Jiminy crickets! Such broad and sweeping statements! A query asking for grounds on which the religions of the world might cooperate bring’s condemnation and accusations of “religious subjectivism”, “religious integration”, and “thoughtism”, whatever that means.

Oh, and de’trop, please post your vitriolic diatribe on some bathroom wall where it belongs. That kind of stuff has no place here.

I’ve re-read the beginning post and found nothing to suggest anything but the potential for the various religions to find whatever common ground they might have that would allow cooperation in a world desparately in need of such. There was no mention of the need to subordinate particular religious beliefs, no call for religious subjectivism, integration, or thoughtism.

It’s just possible that we might agree to disagree on particulars of faith, but it does not follow that we can’t find areas of common understanding.

Just when did calls for cooperation become something negative?


Hi de’trop

You’ll have to explain that one to me, since I know you have had a good think about it.

You don’t have to be so frustrated, if you would only read what I write. If it wasn’t clear, I meant that ethics are not something stabilised, static but always being formed by each society, reformed by each generation and it is the religious influence of the time or place (also in development) that motivates people in a certain direction. The ethical discussions of our day are a long way off from ethics of centuries before.

The Jews and the Christians didn’t find a book either - it developed through hundreds of years (with NT Texts over a thousand years) and who knows how old the original texts were or where they came from. Judaism and Christianity may be portrayed as being one flowing development, but history shows that very often things happened parallel to each other and were written about from different perspectives, presenting the scholar with hundreds of questions as to where what came from.

I think your problem with me is that you are forever trying to put me into the wrong box. I know that we differ in opinion on many subjects but you don’t listen to me, but to what you believe I’m saying. I am fully aware that the logic of the Bible doesn’t hold water in a rational sense - something I have continually said. You can’t find out how the world was made, where people come from or what happened to the dinosaurs in the Bible. You can’t rely on the Bible to present the facts historically. But that isn’t what the Bible is about.

If you take the fundamentalist angle I agree with you. It isn’t logical and it isn’t ethical in my eyes either - but the fundamentalist angle isn’t what was originally meant to be said. The Bible doesn’t present us with all the answers but provokes us to look for them ourselves. Some of our questions also have no answers that we modern people would acknowledge as being answers.

And still I am not prepared to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You are hardly going to plead for reincarnation as a sound metaethic as against the idea of resurrection! What you have a distaste for, and I can agree with you on that, is the dogmatic manner with which the church has enforced it’s metaethic. But again, it is the development of the rational exegesis of a mythical text - in short: Fundamentalism. Mystics try to regain the original message, and have very often been burned by the Church as heretics for doing so. It is this tradition that I stand in, as a dissident within the church - which is more accepted in Europe than in America (and we are no longer burned either!).

Hi JT,

It wouldn’t surprise me, Mystics always were visionary. You may also be right about Religion not able to free itself from fundamentalism - especially when Presidents of the most powerful states have such views. I think it is worth thinking about and I will probably always be the one to get stoned from both sides (also the fate of visionaries) - but at least I’m not being burned at present.


well there was this :


there’s no need for integration if you read my above post.

we can remain seperate and still agree on key points and then argue about the other particulars. The key here is to know when the argument is leading towards physical levels. the whole “arguments are bad” ideaology doesn’t fly with me (as you can tell.) we grow from arguments.

thoughtism is my new catch word.

in bobs later posts that I re-read he does stress gettting to know people before judging them and that I completely agree with, but from the first post, what he suggested in my mind was borderline socialist. maybe you just worded it incorrectly bob?

don’t be afraid to disagree, at the same time if someone counters you don’t fold like a house of cards!

Since socialism is in my mind a pseudo-religion that arises out of the attempt of a rational mind to present religious values in a non-religious framework, maybe there was a hint of socialism there. But there is far more about getting to know people in there, burying the hatchet (in German a dispute is called an Auseinandersetzung, which means literally ‘sitting apart’ and telling each other your own perpective), understanding people.

There was a Jesuit Priest from India by the name of Anthony de Mello who influenced me a lot. He took a lot from Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism to illustrate what spirituality was about, and had humour (which seems to be lacking at present) even if his jokes are dated. He was sometimes drastic but he got the message over.

The disciples were absorbed in a discussion of Lao-tzu’s dictum:
Those who know do not say;
Those who say do not know.

When the master entered,
They asked him what the words meant.
Said the master, “Which of you knows the fragrance of a rose?”
All of them indicated that they knew.
Then he said, “put it into words.”
All of them were silent.

~ from Anthony deMello, One Minute Wisdom


most of this I agree with, except I view socialism differently, the only way to bury the hatchet though is to NOT fold like a house of cards, otherwise the feelings of resentment will stay just deeper beneath the surface.

but it is also true that those who know do say, and those who do not know do not listen.

as for the fragrance of a rose, it’s bitter sweet concoction reminds me of several things:
first kiss
sip of a hot cup of tea
the grand view from the highest peak.

all simutaneously, with the occasional spring scenery thrown in for good measure. but what the scent does for you may be entirely different, maybe for you no visuals come to mind, thus it is harder to describe… me I’m very visual oriented, so connecting words to visual things seems very natural.

anyways back off that tangent and to the subject at hand.

to add to my above post (and to my post in the rant house) I think people are offended FAR too easily. you simply mention something they disagree with and suddenly the gloves are off. sit back and see how the statement offends you before acting.

“Rationality type 3, is roughly synonomous with tolerance - with the ability not to be overly disconcerted by differences from oneself, not to respond aggressively to such differences. This ability goes along with a willingness to alter one’s own habits - not only to get more of what one previously wanted but to reshape oneself into a different sort of person, one who wants different things than before. It also goes along with a reliance on persuasion rather than force, an inclination to talk things over rather than fight, burn or banish. It is a virtue that enables individuals and communities to exist peacefully with other communities and individuals, living and letting live, and to put together new, syncretic, compromise ways of life. So rationality in this sense is sometimes thought of, as by Hegel, as quasi-synonomous with freedom.”

would this be a style of thought and action which could avoid being described as “thoughtism” but would still allow for a minimum of “everyone… fight[ing] each other”?

ok I don’t know where you got that rationality type 3 stuff from…

that would be a form of thoughtism though, because you are comprimising your beliefs to not disagree with others in the group.

argument is an important form of growth. confrontation.

life without confrontation means we all agree, if we all agree than there would be nothing to talk about. Think about that.

I think that more than anything people need to try to be more compassionate towards ideas or beliefs that are not their own, which would involve no integration, no thoughtism. and the two individuals would still have their own seperate identities.

part of the problem stems from the reason for confrontation. Your right, I’m wrong mentality. Think about it you read my post and immediately felt you had to set me straight as to who had the correct opinion about this.

the correctness of the opinion does not matter as confronting other opinions. and then in your mind contemplating those other opinions with an unbiased mind to see maybe, “hey maybe he/she/it was right?” but being human nature as it is, we will always go back to

“I’m right and you are wrong.”

(This is classic defense of ones own idealogies, we all like to think we are open minded, but as soon as someone offends our idealogies, we go into IRURW mode.)