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Thread: A Believer Thread

  1. #541
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    A Believer Thread

    Andrew Sullivan:

    America’s New Religions

    Which is to say, even today’s atheists are expressing an attenuated form of religion. Their denial of any God is as absolute as others’ faith in God, and entails just as much a set of values to live by — including, for some, daily rituals like meditation, a form of prayer.

    In his highly entertaining book, The Seven Types of Atheism, released in October in the U.S., philosopher John Gray puts it this way: “Religion is an attempt to find meaning in events, not a theory that tries to explain the universe.” It exists because we humans are the only species, so far as we can know, who have evolved to know explicitly that, one day in the future, we will die. And this existential fact requires some way of reconciling us to it while we are alive.

    This is why science cannot replace it. Science does not tell you how to live, or what life is about; it can provide hypotheses and tentative explanations, but no ultimate meaning

    Ditto history. My late friend, Christopher Hitchens, with a certain glee, gave me a copy of his book, God Is Not Great, a fabulous grab bag of religious insanity and evil over time, which I enjoyed immensely and agreed with almost entirely. But the fact that religion has been so often abused for nefarious purposes — from burning people at the stake to enabling child rape to crashing airplanes into towers — does not resolve the question of whether the meaning of that religion is true. It is perfectly possible to see and record the absurdities and abuses of man-made institutions and rituals, especially religious ones, while embracing a way of life that these evil or deluded people preached but didn’t practice. Fanaticism is not synonymous with faith; it is merely faith at its worst. That’s what I told Hitch: great book, made no difference to my understanding of my own faith or anyone else’s. Sorry, old bean, but try again.
    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/...religions.html
    Last edited by LA Ute; 12-08-2018 at 10:42 AM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  2. #542
    If you define "religion" as spirituality or philosophy for life, then I guess you could call atheism a religion. That is the only way that article makes any sense.

  3. #543
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    Andrew Sullivan:

    America’s New Religions



    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/...religions.html
    I really like what he is saying there.

  4. #544
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthwestUteFan View Post
    If you define "religion" as spirituality or philosophy for life, then I guess you could call atheism a religion. That is the only way that article makes any sense.
    It looked to me like Sullivan, who is a truly heterodox thinker, by the way, is saying that even non-believers substitute some type of higher authority or guiding light in their lives for divinity. I think he is right. Everybody places faith in something.

    I´ve always thought that there are very few true atheists. The more intellectually honest description is agnostic, since the existence or non-existence of any deity is unprovable. I admire a great many agnostics, some of whom are close friends.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  5. #545
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    I’ve always liked this Christmas poem. To me it is sobering.

    Christ Ran Stumbling

    Christ ran stumbling down the street
    on little twisted feet;
    small blue hands over the place
    where someone had bruised his face.
    His starved, thin body shook with tears
    and quick short gasps of fear.

    Bitter the December day,
    streets and sky an equal gray;
    no brightness, but the neoned pub
    where city men with Christmas grin
    forgetfully went out and in.

    When did we see you? folk will say
    at the last day.

    --The Rev. Anthony Ross, Lord Rector of the University of Edinburgh

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  6. #546
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I´ve always thought that there are very few true atheists. The more intellectually honest description is agnostic, since the existence or non-existence of any deity is unprovable. I admire a great many agnostics, some of whom are close friends.
    Very much agree. Religion itself has such a strong imprint of being a product of human beings. The ridiculous stories, rituals and rules don't invalidate the ultimate question of what happens next.

    In my experience, there is reason to be hopeful, yet in so many instances, religion squeezes faith out of people, when they look more deeply at what they've signed up for.

  7. #547
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    The ridiculous stories, rituals and rules....
    Technical foul! Two shots, I get possession of the ball afterwards. 😀

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  8. #548
    Every great Christmas story needs a stop motion animation:


  9. #549
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    A Believer Thread

    This will be quite the subject of discussion for some time. I’m pretty excited.



    LDS Church changes temple ceremony; faithful feminists will see revisions and additions as a ‘leap forward’

    https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/01/02/lds-church-releases/


    (Note for those who aren’t familiar with Peggy Fletcher Stack: I’ve known her for decades. She does interview her friends and acquaintances for her articles, and she’s done that here. I still think it’s a good article.)
    Last edited by LA Ute; 01-02-2019 at 09:39 PM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  10. #550
    There is a thread on both the "mormon" and "Ex-mormon" subreddits that go over the changes. Apparently they have cut about 20 minutes of run time down. I like that a lot as I felt the new ones dragged on way too long with needless theatrics. I guess I need to get to a session soon. Apparently all 3 temple ordinances saw changes.

    Quick PFS story: A friend of mine was an early returned missionary around the time that she wanted to do a feature on such folks. She contacted him and interviewed him about his experiences. In the article, he wasn't mentioned or quoted (which no doubt happens often). When he reached out to ask why, he was told that his story didn't fit the narrative of what she wanted to portray. I have had a bit of a struggle taking her seriously since then.

  11. #551
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    This will be quite the subject of discussion for some time. I’m pretty excited.



    LDS Church changes temple ceremony; faithful feminists will see revisions and additions as a ‘leap forward’


    https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/01/02/lds-church-releases/


    (Note for those who aren’t familiar with Peggy Fletcher Stack: I’ve known her for decades. She does interview her friends and acquaintances for her articles, and she’s done that here. I still think it’s a good article.)
    Loved this line:

    With the latest changes, temple attendance is sure to surge in coming days as faithful members, eager to see the ceremony for themselves, flock to one of the faith’s 161 operating temples around the world.

  12. #552
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Applejack View Post
    Loved this line:
    Hey, attendance at stake conference is always higher when people know a charismatic GA is visiting. This is much bigger!

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  13. #553
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Thought piece:

    From Astrology to Cult Politics—the Many Ways We Try (and Fail) to Replace Religion

    https://quillette.com/2018/12/27/fro...lace-religion/

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  14. #554
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Interesting statistics on hate crimes against religious groups. The crimes against latter-day Saints seem like a drop in the bucket.

    https://www.deseretnews.com/article/...heres-why.html

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  15. #555
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    Interesting statistics on hate crimes against religious groups. The crimes against latter-day Saints seem like a drop in the bucket.

    https://www.deseretnews.com/article/...heres-why.html
    The FBI obviously didn't attend the rivalry game in November then.

  16. #556
    Senior Member Scorcho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Schr-Ute View Post
    The FBI obviously didn't attend the rivalry game in November then.
    since you're too humble, I'll do it for you

  17. #557
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    American Karni

    Jewish Commentary

    FEB, 2019 BY MEIR Y. SOLOVEICHIK

    All is in the Hands of Heaven, except for the fear of Heaven.

    —Rabbi Hanina, the Talmud, fifth century C.E.

    Jews don’t believe in heaven.

    —New York Times Reporter Annie Karni, Twitter, 2019

    Amidst the torrent of nonsense and invective that comprises so much of social media today, one single tweet perfectly captured the tragic assimilation of American Jewry, and the ignorance of the American media.

    It came in the middle of the State of the Union—at a rare moment in the speech at which all assembled, Democrat and Republican, rose in rapturous applause. President Trump quoted Joshua Kaufman, a Jewish survivor of Dachau, describing the arrival of American liberators. “To me,” Joshua recalled, “the arrival of the American soldiers was proof that God exists, and they came from the sky.” The president then added: “They came down from Heaven.”

    It was a moment with which no one could find fault—except for New York Times White House correspondent Annie Karni. She believed she had caught the president in a theological error and decided to inform her 75,000 followers. “Trump just ad-libbed ‘they came down from heaven’ when quoting a Holocaust survivor watching American soldiers liberate Dachau,” she tweeted, and then she added an assertion: “Jews don’t believe in Heaven.”

    They don’t?

    The Bible describes a heavenly realm as the throne room of God. “Look down from Thy holy habitation, from Heaven,” Deuteronomy beseeches, “and bless thy people Israel.” The mystical visions of this realm of angels open both the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel, and similar images are found throughout the Bible. For the rabbis of the Talmud, it was in this celestial realm that souls abide after death, until the ultimate resurrection of the dead predicted in the book of Daniel, when “many who sleep in the dirt shall awake.” So central is the concept of Heaven, in the Talmud, that the word became synonymous with God himself; the central virtue in the Talmud is known as Yir’at Shamayim, fear of Heaven, and Providence is described as occurring bidei Shamayim, by the Hands of Heaven.

    Karni’s tweet, in other words, was utterly untrue. Eventually, she posted a half-hearted addition, without any apology for error. “This,” she wrote, “was sent to me by a reader: ‘While it’s true that the Bible does not mention an afterlife, there is a complex eschatology that includes a very detailed map of the Jewish afterlife contained in rabbinic, kabbalistic and Hasidic literature.’” Leaving aside the explicit biblical descriptions of Heaven, as well as its predictions of resurrection, Karni need only have paid attention during a traditional Jewish service once in her life to realize how wrong she had been.

    Isaiah’s and Ezekiel’s celestial visions are brought to life in the kedusha, the central communal prayer recited in synagogue every day. At funerals, a memorial prayer speaks of the ascension of the soul to the Garden of Eden; the Kol Nidre prayer begins by describing the “assembly above” joined with “the assembly below.” Later, during the Day of Atonement, the souls of loved ones are remembered in the Yizkor prayer. Only a person with no familiarity with the Jewish liturgy of the past two millennia could so matter-of-factly tweet out the calumny that Jews do not believe in Heaven.

    Meanwhile, Karni’s original posting remained, garnering several thousand retweets and over 10,000 likes. The tweet thus reveals that many in the media know little, and care even less, about accurately understanding the beliefs of millions of religious Americans. Karni is herself Jewish; her father is an Israeli.

    Last year, when Benjamin Netanyahu referenced the biblical tale of Moses drawing water from a rock, the press quoted him as describing the prophet drawing water “from Iraq,” betraying total ignorance of one of the central texts of Western Civilization. This was, at least, a simple error; now, one of its reporters opines, without learning or experience, on whether Jews believe in Heaven.

    Of course they do, and the president’s ad lib was entirely apt. Traditional Jews believe that the Americans were indeed sent by Heaven to liberate Dachau, and they believe as well that those who died in the camps are now in Heaven. The murdered millions are remembered in services throughout the Jewish world on Holocaust Remembrance Day, as well as in many synagogues during the Yizkor service on Yom Kippur. There, the traditional prayer, known by its opening words as the El Maleh Rahamim, is soulfully, and sorrowfully, sung:

    O God, Full of Mercy, Who Dwells on High

    Find a sustaining repose under the wings of the Divine Presence,

    With the ascent of the holy and pure

    Shining as rays of the heavens

    The souls of the six million who were killed, murdered, slaughtered, gassed, who died sanctifying the divine name

    For we pray, and pledge charity, in memory of their souls,

    In the Garden of Eden be their repose.

    Therefore, may the Master of Mercies,

    Hide them in the shelter of His wings for all eternity

    And bind up their souls in the bonds of eternal life,

    The Lord is their inheritance; and may they rest in peace where they lie and let us say Amen.
    In 2019, a correspondent for the most powerful newspaper in the world has hit upon a scoop: that the prayers of these multitudes of mourners are in vain, that despite the testimony of hundreds of pages of liturgy, and thousands of years of prayer, Jews do not believe in Heaven.

    It is true, of course, that the Jewish notion of Heaven differs from that of Christianity. Judaism denies the doctrine of original sin; we believe the afterlife can be earned, rather than granted purely by grace. We further believe that even as the soul endures, an equally important immortality is achieved through transmission of Judaism to the next generation. Sephardic Jews beautifully refer to the anniversary of a loved one’s death as a nahala, an inheritance. The soul is in Heaven, but the continuation of the lives we lived also depend on the choices of our posterity.

    The immortality of those who have died thus lies, at least partially, in the hands of the living. “All is in the hands of Heaven,” Rabbi Hanina opined, “except for fear of Heaven.” The idiom emphasizes the dialectic between providence and free will. Jews believe that Heaven has chosen the Jews as an eternal people and vouchsafed them a faith to be transmitted throughout history. But whether the Jews of every generation continue to believe is up to them; assimilation, and rejection of the past, is always possible. We believe in Heaven; but Jews can so easily lose their fear of Heaven.

    This tragic fact is embodied in a single perverse proclamation: “Jews don’t believe in Heaven.” May Heaven forgive a generation that could so eagerly accept, so readily retweet, such an ignorant untruth; and may we, with fear of Heaven, live lives worthy of our ancestors who are in Heaven.

    Meir Y. Soloveichik

    Meir Y. Soloveichik is the rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City and the director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

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