1. Standard memberknightmeister
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    05 Jan '10 17:32
    It's often said "oh if you were born in another country you would have been Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist/Christian etc " and it's said in a way as if to imply that a persons's set of beliefs (usually christian) is merely random , ill thought out and dependent on cultural background (rather than an honest assessment of truth).

    The problem is that this is a truism and applies to all beliefs , including Atheism.

    Basically saying that a person's belief comes from where they are born is a subtle way of saying that they have an unexamined belief. But why should this not apply to any belief system? Are there not Atheists who would have been Christians if born in a different country/family?
  2. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    05 Jan '10 17:59
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    It's often said "oh if you were born in another country you would have been Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist/Christian etc " and it's said in a way as if to imply that a persons's set of beliefs (usually christian) is merely random , ill thought out and dependent on cultural background (rather than an honest assessment of truth).

    The problem is that this is a ...[text shortened]... e there not Atheists who would have been Christians if born in a different country/family?
    Of course!

    But atheists dont spout on about "The Truth" ...

    Also many atheists come from religious backgrounds so have made a decision for themselves rather than be indoctrinated.

    I always have respect for those that have chosen their religion rather than those who have followed the family tradition. And of course one of the major rules of most (all?) religions is to get your kids into your church asap (baptism etc) and then keep them there!

    Also the reality of different religions in different parts of the world gives credence to the atheist case whereas the existence of other religions and atheism does not lend weight to any particular religion.
  3. Hmmm . . .
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    05 Jan '10 19:01
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    It's often said "oh if you were born in another country you would have been Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist/Christian etc " and it's said in a way as if to imply that a persons's set of beliefs (usually christian) is merely random , ill thought out and dependent on cultural background (rather than an honest assessment of truth).

    The problem is that this is a ...[text shortened]... e there not Atheists who would have been Christians if born in a different country/family?
    Of course. There are also some who leave the belief system that were “enculturated” into when young, but then but then resist any consideration that might challenge whatever their new, chosen, belief system is. This does not mean that either the former or the latter was “unexamined”. I’m thinking more of deep-rooted (and likely subconscious) influences that make one be afraid of being wrong—if not the first time around, then the second.

    It’s impossible to generalize because people are different. To put it metaphorically, some people have more fear of (or discomfort with respect to) ha’mizraim, the “narrow places” (the Hebrew designation for Egypt); others have more fear of ha’midbar, the desert/wilderness—again, metaphorically. That tension is just one of the themes in the exodus story.

    This is just an example—one that I chose because I recognize it in myself: I tend to be much more fearful of ha’mizraim. But at times, I am attracted to its promises of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic comforts. Now, is it my fear or my reasoned analysis that leads me to conclude that such attraction is a bit like the hypnotic rhythm of a swaying cobra…? And is my fear—whether thoroughly examined and reasoned over, or not—well-grounded? [Rhetorical questions here.]

    And so, I have to be vigilant and aware of those psychological tendencies; that’s part of my existential responsibility.

    I’m not saying that all who submit or cling to some designated authority do so out of fear; nor that all those who resist any such submission do so out of fear. I am saying that where fear (or some other psychological factor) contributes, one cannot say that it is necessarily more of a factor for the resister than the submitter, or vice versa.

    That enculturation that we all are subject to during our “formative” years (whether subtle or overt) likely affects not just what we (are taught to) think, but how we (are taught to) think—and to react. So, it’s not just our formed beliefs that we need to examine, but how we go about forming them: how much do we actually rely on strict reason, how much on pragmatic considerations, how much of our belief-formation is actually in-formed by aesthetic considerations (beauty and elegance)?

    I am a non-dualist—as you know. My metaphysical conclusion to what I call “gestaltic non-dualism” is not based on either pragmatic or aesthetic considerations. But how I express that non-dualism has very much to do with the aesthetic living out of my life—existential aesthetics, let’s say. Intellectually, I fall pretty much in line with Zen/Taoism. But I find that aesthetics there (and they are there) a bit spare for my taste.

    Well, I’m really just thinking “out loud” here, at your expense. I’ll let others wade in.
  4. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    05 Jan '10 19:08
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    Of course!

    But atheists dont spout on about "The Truth" ...
    Oh, they do. Although the most egregious wafflers are often converts.
  5. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    05 Jan '10 19:09
    Originally posted by knightmeister

    Basically saying that a person's belief comes from where they are born is a subtle way of saying that they have an unexamined belief. But why should this not apply to any belief system? Are there not Atheists who would have been Christians if born in a different country/family?
    Well, I was born into Presbyterianism, which undoubtedly contributed to my unbelief. But I wouldn't call myself an atheist. Of course I'm not a theist either ...
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    05 Jan '10 21:00
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    It's often said "oh if you were born in another country you would have been Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist/Christian etc " and it's said in a way as if to imply that a persons's set of beliefs (usually christian) is merely random , ill thought out and dependent on cultural background (rather than an honest assessment of truth).

    The problem is that this is a ...[text shortened]... e there not Atheists who would have been Christians if born in a different country/family?
    Well when you get right down to it most religions at one point were very tribal including Judaism. This is why I have said in these forums in the past that the Old Testament is the mythology of the people of Israel every bit as much as the Eddas and Sagas are the mythology of the people of Germania and Scandinavia.

    I think Christianity (and I suppose Islam) kind of changed the rules IMO in that religion is now more universal in the sense that it doesn't matter what your background you can be a Christian. You do not to pass some tribal initiation rite like :ahem: circumcision for example.

    Believe it or not, while ancestry is a non-issue in Christianity, for some people of other religions it is very much an issue.
  7. Hmmm . . .
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    06 Jan '10 00:571 edit
    Originally posted by Ullr
    Well when you get right down to it most religions at one point were very tribal including Judaism. This is why I have said in these forums in the past that the Old Testament is the mythology of the people of Israel every bit as much as the Eddas and Sagas are the mythology of the people of Germania and Scandinavia.

    I think Christianity (and I suppose Islam) ry is a non-issue in Christianity, for some people of other religions it is very much an issue.
    This is why I have said in these forums in the past that the Old Testament is the mythology of the people of Israel every bit as much as the Eddas and Sagas are the mythology of the people of Germania and Scandinavia.


    Agreed. David S. Ariel, in his introductory book What Do Jews Believe? calls the Torah the “sacred myths” of Israel. I just prefer the word “stories”.


    Rabbi Rami Shapiro tells the following story—


    One Shabbos afternoon, Reb Reuven called me into is study. He was sitting behind his desk and motioned me to take the chair across from him. A volume of the Zohar was lying open in front of him.

    “Do you know what the Zohar is?” he asked.

    “Of course,” I said. “It is a mystical commentary on Torah written by Moshe deLeon, a thirteenth century Spanish kabbalist who....”

    “Nonsense!” he yelled at me, half rising out of his chair. “The Zohar isn’t just a commentary; it’s a Torah all by itself. It is a new Torah, a new telling of the last Torah. You do know what Torah is, don’t you?”

    Suspecting that I didn’t, and afraid to invoke his wrath a second time, I waited silently, certain that he would answer his own question. I was not disappointed.

    “Torah is story. God is story. Israel is story. You, my university-educated soon-to-be a liberal pain in the ass rabbi, are a story. We are all stories! We are all Torahs!...Listen, Rami,” Reuven said in a softer voice. “Torah starts with the word b’reisheet,* ‘Once upon a time!’”

    —Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Hasidic Tales

    * Conventionally translated “in the beginning” or “with beginning.”

    ______________________________________


    EDIT: There are, of course, people who leave their ancestral ties; westerners drawn to Zen for example. (BTW, I have read the Eddas: good stuff.)
  8. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    06 Jan '10 06:221 edit
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    It's often said "oh if you were born in another country you would have been Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist/Christian etc " and it's said in a way as if to imply that a persons's set of beliefs (usually christian) is merely random , ill thought out and dependent on cultural background (rather than an honest assessment of truth).

    The problem is that this is a e there not Atheists who would have been Christians if born in a different country/family?
    Well, yes, but this is an easy enough point to answer. Why not admit that life experience is valid for informing beliefs, not at the expense of thinking things through or searching for truth, but in companionship with those things.

    There are other points that can be made by the "born in another country" argument, including:
    - If there is one 'right' religion, then the saved are primarily from countries that believe this 'right' religion, while those who don't follow it get the shaft;
    - There are many plausible ways to search for The Truth, not just your favorite one;
    - The fact that each faith has sincere followers who have tried their best to find Truth and yet still reach [radically] different conclusions shows that the search is not as easy as some claim.
  9. England
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    06 Jan '10 11:45
    where your born does affect your belief and your thinking. americans do not have the same way as russians, africans have a differ fron chinese but one thing we all share is earth
  10. Standard memberknightmeister
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    07 Jan '10 23:31
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    Well, yes, but this is an easy enough point to answer. Why not admit that life experience is valid for informing beliefs, not at the expense of thinking things through or searching for truth, but in companionship with those things.

    There are other points that can be made by the "born in another country" argument, including:
    - If there is one 'right' ...[text shortened]... ach [radically] different conclusions shows that the search is not as easy as some claim.
    There are many plausible ways to search for The Truth, not just your favorite one;
    - The fact that each faith has sincere followers who have tried their best to find Truth and yet still reach [radically] different conclusions shows that the search is not as easy as some claim.
    ----------swissG-----------------

    Good points.

    So is the Truth knowable? If not , then how do we identify un-truth?
  11. Joined
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    09 Jan '10 10:04
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    It's often said "oh if you were born in another country you would have been Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist/Christian etc " and it's said in a way as if to imply that a persons's set of beliefs (usually christian) is merely random , ill thought out and dependent on cultural background (rather than an honest assessment of truth).

    The problem is that this is a ...[text shortened]... e there not Atheists who would have been Christians if born in a different country/family?
    and it's said in a way as if to imply that a persons's set of beliefs (usually christian) is merely random , ill thought out and dependent on cultural background (rather than an honest assessment of truth)....Basically saying that a person's belief comes from where they are born is a subtle way of saying that they have an unexamined belief.

    It could be meant in this way. As you say, that would really not be a very forceful objection. But, also, the objector is not necessarily committed to the idea that being "dependent on cultural background" thereby precludes the belief's being the product of "honest assessment of truth". These are certainly not mutually exclusive. One can hold both (1) that belief-building is significantly influenced by antecedents beyond active control, such as milieu and cultural conditioning among many others and (2) that the deliberative belief-building is nevertheless carried out responsibly and based on genuine examination and "honest" deliberations. The lesson there is that, even given that the belief-building proceeds responsibly and is genuinely proportioned to honest evidential deliberations and reflection, our interpretations of the evidence are still colored in significant ways by many factors beyond our active control, such as our cultural conditioning. But, then, as you also point out, the general idea will apply to us all, theist and atheist alike.
  12. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    10 Jan '10 00:59
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]This is why I have said in these forums in the past that the Old Testament is the mythology of the people of Israel every bit as much as the Eddas and Sagas are the mythology of the people of Germania and Scandinavia.


    Agreed. David S. Ariel, in his introductory book What Do Jews Believe? calls the Torah the “sacred myths” of Israel. I j ...[text shortened]... ncestral ties; westerners drawn to Zen for example. (BTW, I have read the Eddas: good stuff.)[/b]
    Classic vistesd!!!!! That story was not lost on me. I'm still on the floor...😀😀
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