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Subject: "'Religion costs" rss

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To anyone here who is religious, I share this, one of my favorite quotes from things I've read lately. All others enjoy as you wish.


"We feel unmoored if our religion fails to answer all our questions, if it does not resolve our anxious fears, if it does not tie up all loose ends.

"We want a script, and we find we stand before a blank canvas. We expect a road map, and we find we have only a compass....

"It is curious in this regard that so many critics attribute to religion a kind of facile wish fulfillment, imaginative fairy-tale scenarios that reduce complexity and mystery to easy answers and glib forms of consolation.


"As any disciple knows who has lived a life of faith thoughtfully, attuned to the rhythms of humanity's travails, to the demands of mercy and unconditional love, and to the call of patient waiting, religion is not the coward's way out of life's difficulties.

"As Flannery O'Connor wrote, 'Religion costs. They think it is a big electric blanket, when of course it's a cross.'

".... As Elder Holland has said, 'Sadly enough, it is a characteristic of our age, that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much: comfortable, smooth gods.'"

-- The Crucible of Doubt, Terryl and Fiona Givens, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1609079426/?tag=article-boa...
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Shames that so few people of certain faiths act as if they do not have all the answers.
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There are two kinds of faith, Elric. Like freedom, there is a kind which is easily kept but proves not worth the keeping, and there is a kind which is hard-won.
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My faith - Pastafarianism - answers all the questions I have.

So speak for yourself.
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slatersteven wrote:
Shames that so few people of certain faiths act as if they do not have all the answers.

Yes, I agree.

But I also feel my religion points me in the right direction, even if it doesn't give me a complete map of what's ahead. As mentioned in the OP quote about the compass.
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tesuji wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Shames that so few people of certain faiths act as if they do not have all the answers.

Yes, I agree.

But I also feel my religion points me in the right direction, even if it doesn't give me a complete map of what's ahead. As mentioned in the OP quote about the compass.
Opps.I meant to say

Shame that some people of certain faiths act like they do have all the answers.

It seems to be that very often it boils down to "this is the truth, end of argument".

I agree that religion should not be about arrogance or self assurance that you are right.
 
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slatersteven wrote:
tesuji wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Shames that so few people of certain faiths act as if they do not have all the answers.

Yes, I agree.

But I also feel my religion points me in the right direction, even if it doesn't give me a complete map of what's ahead. As mentioned in the OP quote about the compass.
Opps.I meant to say

Shame that some people of certain faiths act like they do have all the answers.

It seems to be that very often it boils down to "this is the truth, end of argument".

I agree that religion should not be about arrogance or self assurance that you are right.

It's easy to forget that. But the Bible agrees with you:

1 Cor. 3:18
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
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tesuji wrote:

"As any disciple knows who has lived a life of faith thoughtfully, attuned to the rhythms of humanity's travails, to the demands of mercy and unconditional love, and to the call of patient waiting, religion is not the coward's way out of life's difficulties."


If you live a life of faith thoughtfully. That sidesteps the criticism that there are those who embrace faith in order to avoid the anxiety, stress and doubt of being thoughtful.
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Situations in which everyone thinks their own burdens are greater than those of others are infelicitous. I would rather encourage myself to view others as bearing burdens heavier than my own. To an extent, this helps me do so and I'm thankful for it (though I'm not confident in the accuracy of its diagnosis). Seems like kind of a troubling project for a religious person, though, unless it aims to emphasize the depth of the problem in order to make the inspirational bits seem all the more impressive.
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Pepe Le Pew wrote:
I'm not sure that practicing a religion to increase your existential angst or to raise your anxiety is particularly wise.

I think the OP quote is not saying that your end goal is just to make things harder on yourself, for no good reason.

The goal is to accomplish something worthwhile, which is nevertheless hard. He's speaking as someone who believes the Christian God has laid out a path, which is difficult but is worth it. He doesn't give you all the answers, and expects you to make a lot of effort: "We want a script, and we find we stand before a blank canvas. We expect a road map, and we find we have only a compass...."

It is ultimately a "way out of life's difficulties" but it is not is not "the coward's way out of life's difficulties."
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tesuji wrote:
Pepe Le Pew wrote:
I'm not sure that practicing a religion to increase your existential angst or to raise your anxiety is particularly wise.

I think the OP quote is not saying that your end goal is just to make your life harder.

The goal is to accomplish something worthwhile, which is nevertheless hard. He's speaking as someone who believes the Christian God has laid out a path, which is difficult but is worth it. He doesn't give you all the answers, and expects you to make a lot of effort: "We want a script, and we find we stand before a blank canvas. We expect a road map, and we find we have only a compass...."

It is ultimately a "way out of life's difficulties" but it is not is not "the coward's way out of life's difficulties."


But if the alternative is not having a compass, doesn't it seem odd to suggest that having the compass makes things harder?
 
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rinelk wrote:
tesuji wrote:
Pepe Le Pew wrote:
I'm not sure that practicing a religion to increase your existential angst or to raise your anxiety is particularly wise.

I think the OP quote is not saying that your end goal is just to make your life harder.

The goal is to accomplish something worthwhile, which is nevertheless hard. He's speaking as someone who believes the Christian God has laid out a path, which is difficult but is worth it. He doesn't give you all the answers, and expects you to make a lot of effort: "We want a script, and we find we stand before a blank canvas. We expect a road map, and we find we have only a compass...."

It is ultimately a "way out of life's difficulties" but it is not is not "the coward's way out of life's difficulties."


But if the alternative is not having a compass, doesn't it seem odd to suggest that having the compass makes things harder?

Buddha said "life is suffering" (life is 'dukkha' - "suffering", "anxiety", "stress" or "unsatisfactoriness"). I think everyone, including Christians, would agree. Life is usually hard.

So would you rather have no compass pointing the way out of that, or have a compass?

But even having the compass, you still have to make the journey. It's hard because you have only the compass, not necessarily the Land Rover or the map or the chauffeur, and no one but you can make the effort of the journey.

I think that's what it's talking about

 
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A crap justification for why some people have crap lives.

If life was hard there would be no relative suffering, the fact is life is not hard for everyone, or as hard for some than others.

 
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slatersteven wrote:
A crap justification for why some people have crap lives.

What do you mean? I'm not understanding you
 
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So why would a kind and loving god make faith into an obstacle course and then punish those who fail with eternal damnation?
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tesuji wrote:
rinelk wrote:
tesuji wrote:
Pepe Le Pew wrote:
I'm not sure that practicing a religion to increase your existential angst or to raise your anxiety is particularly wise.

I think the OP quote is not saying that your end goal is just to make your life harder.

The goal is to accomplish something worthwhile, which is nevertheless hard. He's speaking as someone who believes the Christian God has laid out a path, which is difficult but is worth it. He doesn't give you all the answers, and expects you to make a lot of effort: "We want a script, and we find we stand before a blank canvas. We expect a road map, and we find we have only a compass...."

It is ultimately a "way out of life's difficulties" but it is not is not "the coward's way out of life's difficulties."


But if the alternative is not having a compass, doesn't it seem odd to suggest that having the compass makes things harder?

Buddha said "life is suffering" (life is 'dukkha' - "suffering", "anxiety", "stress" or "unsatisfactoriness"). I think everyone, including Christians, would agree. Life is usually hard.

So would you rather have no compass pointing the way out of that, or have a compass?

But even having the compass, you still have to make the journey. It's hard because you have only the compass, not necessarily the Land Rover or the map or the chauffeur, and no one but you can make the effort of the journey.

I think that's what it's talking about



Okay, so maybe what you're saying is something like this: without religion, you don't bother looking for an escape from the suffering of life. So, yeah, you suffer, but you can be lazy about it. Religion shows you a path out of that suffering, but taking advantage of it requires lots of effort (and perhaps even further suffering). So religion is demanding in a way that non-religion isn't.

Contrast that with the suggestion that everyone wants to know what to do, but religion only provides you with partial instructions. It sounds foolish to suggest that the person with partial instructions is somehow worse off (religion costs) than the person with none. It makes it sound like the remaining uncertainty is somehow more uncertain than the total uncertainty of which it is a proper subset. It seems much more plausible that the cost of religion comes from its demands, not the epistemic problems it introduces.

The accusation that religion is a glib fairy tale isn't an accusation of cowardice about actions, it's about epistemic cowardice. The claim is that it involves a simple answer for which you don't have to take responsibility about what constitutes the good.
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OK, so the OP quote is by a Mormon scholar. I find it very meaningful and thought other religious people, especially Christians might find it interesting.

aiabx wrote:
So why would a kind and loving god make faith into an obstacle course and then punish those who fail with eternal damnation?

I'll speak to this as a Mormon. We believe life is like school. Take advantage of it and learn and grow. Or don't. It's your choice.

Mormons don't believe in eternal damnation, except for Satan and a few people as bad as he is. Very bad.

For the rest, we get what we deserve and what we will be happiest with. People who don't repent and try to make amends will suffer to pay for what they did. But it's not eternal.

Mormons believe the highest aim is to live with God, in the place he lives. But you have to work for that. And if you are unclean you will feel very uncomfortable. So God gives us ways to become clean again.

The consequence for not going as high you could, becoming your full potential, will be remorse for what you might have had if you had been willing to pay the price.
 
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rinelk wrote:

Okay, so maybe what you're saying is something like this: without religion, you don't bother looking for an escape from the suffering of life. So, yeah, you suffer, but you can be lazy about it. Religion shows you a path out of that suffering, but taking advantage of it requires lots of effort (and perhaps even further suffering). So religion is demanding in a way that non-religion isn't.

Contrast that with the suggestion that everyone wants to know what to do, but religion only provides you with partial instructions. It sounds foolish to suggest that the person with partial instructions is somehow worse off (religion costs) than the person with none. It makes it sound like the remaining uncertainty is somehow more uncertain than the total uncertainty of which it is a proper subset. It seems much more plausible that the cost of religion comes from its demands, not the epistemic problems it introduces.

The accusation that religion is a glib fairy tale isn't an accusation of cowardice about actions, it's about epistemic cowardice. The claim is that it involves a simple answer for which you don't have to take responsibility about what constitutes the good.

What I'm saying is that life is suffering. But religion (specifically, I believe the Mormon/Christian religion) makes that suffering purposeful.

Instead of sitting by the road and suffering, you are moving forward toward a goal that makes the suffering worthwhile. And the suffering teaches you.

So God gives you a compass. If you then go around saying "God gave me a compass, I know which way to go now, that's all I need to know" then you are a fool. Because the compass doesn't get any farther down the road.

The OP quote is speaking to Christians who tend to think they have all the answers and don't need to work. Christians can also wonder why God only gives them a compass. The book the quote is from is about doubt. So some Christians may start to doubt their religion because they thought God was going to helicopter them to heaven, when in fact he just gives them a compass and says, "You need to make the journey yourself. That's the only way you will learn."

Sorry if I'm giving too many metaphors about the compass, and going on and on here. Just trying to explain the OP
 
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tesuji wrote:
rinelk wrote:

Okay, so maybe what you're saying is something like this: without religion, you don't bother looking for an escape from the suffering of life. So, yeah, you suffer, but you can be lazy about it. Religion shows you a path out of that suffering, but taking advantage of it requires lots of effort (and perhaps even further suffering). So religion is demanding in a way that non-religion isn't.

Contrast that with the suggestion that everyone wants to know what to do, but religion only provides you with partial instructions. It sounds foolish to suggest that the person with partial instructions is somehow worse off (religion costs) than the person with none. It makes it sound like the remaining uncertainty is somehow more uncertain than the total uncertainty of which it is a proper subset. It seems much more plausible that the cost of religion comes from its demands, not the epistemic problems it introduces.

The accusation that religion is a glib fairy tale isn't an accusation of cowardice about actions, it's about epistemic cowardice. The claim is that it involves a simple answer for which you don't have to take responsibility about what constitutes the good.

What I'm saying is that life is suffering. But religion (specifically, I believe the Mormon/Christian religion) makes that suffering purposeful.

Instead of sitting by the road and suffering, you are moving forward toward a goal that makes the suffering worthwhile. And the suffering teaches you.

So God gives you a compass. If you then go around saying "God gave me a compass, I know which way to go now, that's all I need to know" then you are a fool. Because the compass doesn't get any farther down the road.

The OP quote is speaking to Christians who tend to think they have all the answers and don't need to work. Christians can also wonder why God only gives them a compass. The book the quote is from is about doubt. So some Christians may start to doubt their religion because they thought God was going to helicopter them to heaven, when in fact he just gives them a compass and says, "You need to make the journey yourself. That's the only way you will learn."

Sorry if I'm giving too many metaphors about the compass, and going on and on here. Just trying to explain the OP


My problem isn't the number of metaphors, it's the fact that many of them seem to contradict the message that religion costs. If everybody suffers, but religion gives your suffering purpose, how is that a cost? All your analogies make it sound like religion doesn't cost, it just doesn't remove ALL the costs.
 
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aiabx wrote:
So why would a kind and loving god make faith into an obstacle course and then punish those who fail with eternal damnation?


He doesn't. Next question.
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rinelk wrote:
tesuji wrote:
rinelk wrote:

Okay, so maybe what you're saying is something like this: without religion, you don't bother looking for an escape from the suffering of life. So, yeah, you suffer, but you can be lazy about it. Religion shows you a path out of that suffering, but taking advantage of it requires lots of effort (and perhaps even further suffering). So religion is demanding in a way that non-religion isn't.

Contrast that with the suggestion that everyone wants to know what to do, but religion only provides you with partial instructions. It sounds foolish to suggest that the person with partial instructions is somehow worse off (religion costs) than the person with none. It makes it sound like the remaining uncertainty is somehow more uncertain than the total uncertainty of which it is a proper subset. It seems much more plausible that the cost of religion comes from its demands, not the epistemic problems it introduces.

The accusation that religion is a glib fairy tale isn't an accusation of cowardice about actions, it's about epistemic cowardice. The claim is that it involves a simple answer for which you don't have to take responsibility about what constitutes the good.

What I'm saying is that life is suffering. But religion (specifically, I believe the Mormon/Christian religion) makes that suffering purposeful.

Instead of sitting by the road and suffering, you are moving forward toward a goal that makes the suffering worthwhile. And the suffering teaches you.

So God gives you a compass. If you then go around saying "God gave me a compass, I know which way to go now, that's all I need to know" then you are a fool. Because the compass doesn't get any farther down the road.

The OP quote is speaking to Christians who tend to think they have all the answers and don't need to work. Christians can also wonder why God only gives them a compass. The book the quote is from is about doubt. So some Christians may start to doubt their religion because they thought God was going to helicopter them to heaven, when in fact he just gives them a compass and says, "You need to make the journey yourself. That's the only way you will learn."

Sorry if I'm giving too many metaphors about the compass, and going on and on here. Just trying to explain the OP


My problem isn't the number of metaphors, it's the fact that many of them seem to contradict the message that religion costs. If everybody suffers, but religion gives your suffering purpose, how is that a cost? All your analogies make it sound like religion doesn't cost, it just doesn't remove ALL the costs.


His message isn't one of religious faith versus the absence of faith. At least that's not how I read it. I see it as a casual, surface religious faith which assuages guilt but doesn't lead to introspection versus a faith which refines a person and makes them more godly.

Joseph Smith wrote:
A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation
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rinelk wrote:
tesuji wrote:
...

My problem isn't the number of metaphors, it's the fact that many of them seem to contradict the message that religion costs. If everybody suffers, but religion gives your suffering purpose, how is that a cost? All your analogies make it sound like religion doesn't cost, it just doesn't remove ALL the costs.

I didn't mean to say religion doesn't cost. It is hard to live a good Christian life.
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tesuji wrote:
rinelk wrote:
tesuji wrote:
...

My problem isn't the number of metaphors, it's the fact that many of them seem to contradict the message that religion costs. If everybody suffers, but religion gives your suffering purpose, how is that a cost? All your analogies make it sound like religion doesn't cost, it just doesn't remove ALL the costs.

I didn't mean to say religion doesn't cost. It is hard to live a good Christian life.


That was my impression, which is why I was trying to tweak your metaphors to capture that part of the original message. I kind of blew that and started going down the road of making the argument that the sources from the OP were directed against, as a way of showing the need to clarify their points. I apologize. I imagine you'd rather have heard more thoughts from others who are better positioned to apply these insights to their own lives than I am, and I fear my back-and-forth with you made this thread a less appealing place to engage in that conversation, and so drove some of that away. That sucks, and the best I can say now is that I invite further discussion from others, and will unsubscribe so as to avoid keeping myself in a position to want to jump back in. If there are others inclined to be purely critical, I'll just note that RSP has a tendency to silence people of faith with a degree of nasty criticality, and we should try to counteract that.
 
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rinelk wrote:
If there are others inclined to be purely critical, I'll just note that RSP has a tendency to silence people of faith with a degree of nasty criticality, and we should try to counteract that.


I think the fault for this resides on both sides of the argument. It all comes down to when the leap of faith enters the equation. That leap of faith is kind of the diverging point from where a conversation can be had. So if a person of faith engages in a conversation and deals as much as possible with the topic at hand before bringing in the inevitable fact that it's faith that dictates X, then that's okay. But if people prematurely bring up the leap of faith, then it's being done to silence the discussion and declare an authority that others don't recognize.

Conversely, if there are those who use the leap of faith as a way to say "That's all you God-babblers have which is to say you have nothing," then that's doing the same thing. It's using the inevitable, irresolvable divide as a tool to quash any discussion. Truth is, there's plenty of room for issues of faith to be discussed before the leap of faith enters into it. It's on both sides to make sure it happens.
 
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rinelk wrote:
I apologize.

I don't have a problem with anything you've said
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