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Thread: There IS an Eastern Solution

  1. #1 There IS an Eastern Solution 
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    In his book, "God is not Great" Hitchens devotes a chapter to explaining why religions in the East are no better or valid than those in the West. Has he ever read the I Ching, or considered Buddhism? I've read many passages of the I Ching especially and much of it struck a chord with me as an amateur scientist.

    There are some interesting ideas presented (and a few unwittingly mentioned simple scientific facts), especially for philosophers and scientists:

    -we are always in between a state of being and non-being

    -creativity is successful when one is correct

    -advice on dealing with the unenlightened and ignorant (useful advice)

    -balancing wisdom with concentration..needing both to be successful

    -creative potential embodied in the symbol of a dragon is inspiring, I find

    -the passages concerning leadership (how to be fair as well as just, etc)

    Even if you aren't religious the book can change one's life. Much of it is common sense, yet the beautiful poetry of it all is what has made it a classic. Also, though we may know many of the things presented in the back of our minds already, it's easy forget those simple thoughts that can brighten one's day.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure you can make an equivalent value for there being some useful lessons to be learned in Western religion. The point is that when it comes to validity of metaphysical claims, Eastern and Western religions stand on equally unstable ground.


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    I am an Asian of Chinese descent (living in Asia) if anyone has questions about my culture or the various "spiritual" belief systems. Although I do not subscribe to any known religion, I have been exposed to them since my childhood. For those interested in the subject, please feel free to ask away, and I will try to answer them as best I can.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    I'm pretty sure you can make an equivalent value for there being some useful lessons to be learned in Western religion. The point is that when it comes to validity of metaphysical claims, Eastern and Western religions stand on equally unstable ground.
    Yes, but Christianity and Judaism seem to have political agendas (raising one family/group's heritage above another,etc.) and have stories of rape and plunder. They can be downright barbaric at times. I only feel inner peace when reading the I Ching. I feel that it speaks directly to whomever reads it. Most of it's teachings can be applied solely to the physical. It mentions "heaven" but it's a metaphor for creative forces (aka the unknown) and to me that's ok. It's not Creationism because the "creative force" can be interpreted as one's intellectual powers come to fruition.
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    There's plenty in Eastern religion used to control people also. Shinto Buddhism placed the emperor of Japan as a deity. Hinduism's relationship to the caste system in India isn't so great either. I think the only measure of whether or not a religion will be used for political purposes is if the people who practice it are in positions of power.

    Here's an article on Buddhism's involvement in Sri Lankan politcs:
    http://www.c-r.org/our-work/accord/s...m-politics.php

    I don't think there's much value in any religion, Eastern or Western.
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    I agree that people have unfortunately used religion as a front to attain power. Everyone knows that. But I feel that most people need some form of spirituality in their lives. There is a reason why religions evolved..probably because it promoted cultural unity and therefore pooled resources and allowed for a greater chance of survival for individuals. There is power in numbers. Also, there is a need (for me personally and for many others) to believe in a greater purpose..in something transcendent..in an eternal truth.
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    You'll notice that I put this in General Discussion rather than Religion to avoid the rantings of religious Rod of God worshippers. It can be moved to Philosophy though, mods willing.
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    Are there any Western religions?
    Eat Dolphin, save the Tuna!!!!
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  10. #9  
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    True. Christianity comes from a mesh of ancient Sumerian and Babylonian myth stories and Judaism also has Middle Eastern origins.
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    Music is spiritual.
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    I agree. I often listen to the Sacred Spirit (Native American chants) albums when meditating.
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    It also doesn't require language.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1
    I am an Asian of Chinese descent (living in Asia) if anyone has questions about my culture or the various "spiritual" belief systems. Although I do not subscribe to any known religion, I have been exposed to them since my childhood. For those interested in the subject, please feel free to ask away, and I will try to answer them as best I can.
    Thank you. Noted.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    True. Christianity comes from a mesh of ancient Sumerian and Babylonian myth stories and Judaism also has Middle Eastern origins.
    Nonsense.

    What makes you think that?

    And why is this not posted in the religion forum?

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    [quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    True. Christianity comes from a mesh of ancient Sumerian and Babylonian myth stories and Judaism also has Middle Eastern origins.
    Nonsense.

    What makes you think that?

    And why is this not posted in the religion forum?[/quote

    It goes like this:

    Do you know anything at all about religion?

    Mesopotamian Mythology
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesopotamian_mythology

    Middle Eastern Mythology:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle-Eastern

    ...and the Western religions derived from them in modern times.

    It can be moved to the Philosophy section; I meant to post it there...
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    From Columbia Encyclopedia:

    Middle Eastern religions, religious beliefs and practices of the ancient inhabitants of the Middle East. Little was known about the religions of the city-states of W Asia until stores of religious literature were uncovered by excavations in the 19th and 20th cent. The picture is still incomplete, although from the available information it appears that the various religions shared many beliefs and concepts. It was from these roots that three of the world's major religions-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-developed.
    The Gods

    Probably the most important of the Middle Eastern religions was that which was developed by the peoples of Mesopotamia (i.e., the Sumerians, the Babylonians, and the Assyrians). These peoples, besides spreading their influence, absorbed contributions of the Hittites, the Phrygians, the Ugarites, and the Phoenicians. It was in Mesopotamia that the Sumerians implanted reverence for the sky and for high places. Later, when they came into contact with the Semites, new gods were absorbed into the pantheon. The result was a blend of religious thought, Sumerian and Semitic, in which everything-a tree, a stone, a fish, a bird, a person, or even an abstract idea-had a particular significance in the universe.

    The highest authority was the triad of gods: the sky god Anu, the storm god Enlil, and the water god Ea, or Enki. Later a second triad arose: the moon god Sin, the sun god Shamash, and the goddess Ishtar (sometimes replaced by the weather god Hadad). As Babylon rose to supremacy in the 2d millennium B.C., the local god Marduk became important; a thousand years later Ashur of Assyria took his place. Thus many deities were determined by political conquest as well as by interchange.

    There was a gradual development among the Middle Eastern cultures toward belief in a supreme god. One of the most widespread cults was that of the mother goddess (Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, Cybele; see Great Mother Goddess). She was considered as more kindly disposed toward humans than the other deities but was also capable of cruelty and vengefulness.

    The Role of Humans

    People were, according to Middle Eastern beliefs, created for the benefit of the gods: they were to serve and obey, provide the gods with food, clothing, and shelter, and offer them reverence. There were personal gods who were protective of the individual and linked humans with the great deities, but essentially the ancient Mesopotamian peoples were at the mercy of gods whose behavior was arbitrary and often abusive. In response to this belief in negligence on the part of the gods, various city-states enacted public laws or codes of ethics (in addition to promulgating a large body of wisdom literature) that sought to promote justice and truth and to destroy wickedness. Of these law collections the most famous was probably the code of Hammurabi.

    While originally the functions of priesthood were borne by the city rulers, in later times priests became a separate group and were assigned special and significant duties: some pacified the gods with hymns and liturgy; others were trained in divination and astrology (special functions in Middle Eastern religion that indirectly contributed to the growth of science); others-perhaps the most important-were concerned with protecting people from demons, who were considered actual creatures with distinct shapes and names and were to be repelled by magic, daily recitations, and exorcism.

    Other Beliefs

    Some beliefs-the story of creation, the perpetuation of life, the inevitable fate of humanity-have come down to us in Sumerian and Babylonian mythology, which was preserved in cuneiform writing on clay tablets. The epic of creation, the Enuma elish (2d millennium B.C.), describes the battle between the young gods (forces of order), led by Marduk, and the old gods (forces of chaos), led by Tiamat and her consort Kingu. Another well-known myth, symbolizing the death and rebirth of vegetation, is that of Ishtar's descent to the underworld in search of her lover Tammuz and her triumphant return to earth. Here is the resurrection theme common to later religions. Perhaps the most famous of all Babylonian myths is the story of Gilgamesh. Although the people of the ancient Middle East conceived of a sort of after-existence, they generally believed that a person's fate was decay and dust. Their beliefs foreshadowed the change from polytheism to monotheism, faith in some sort of divine benevolence, and even the idea of salvation so important in the religious mysteries and later in Christianity.

    Bibliography

    See T. Jacobsen's essay in The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man (ed. by H. Frankfort, 1946, repr. 1957); S. H. Hooke, Babylonian and Assyrian Religion (1953, repr. 1963); I. Mendelsohn, ed., Religions of the Ancient Near East (1955; tr. of texts); S. N. Kramer, Sumerian Mythology (rev. ed. 1972); L. R. Farnwell, Greece and Babylon (1977).
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  18. #17  
    sox
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    Yes actually I do.

    Christianity is the fullfillment of Judaic prophecy.

    It has nothing to do with mythologies from ages past.

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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    Yes actually I do.

    Christianity is the fullfillment of Judaic prophecy.

    It has nothing to do with mythologies from ages past.
    See... Christianity is the mythological fulfillment of judaic mythological prophecies.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  20. #19  
    sox
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    Can you prove that Judaic prophecies are myth?

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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    Can you prove that Judaic prophecies are myth?
    Can you disprove any religion? No, I don't think so. I guess that means they're all valid.

    I'm disappointed in you...I thought you were much wiser than this.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    Can you prove that Judaic prophecies are myth?
    Can you disprove any religion? No, I don't think so. I guess that means they're all valid.

    I'm disappointed in you...I thought you were much wiser than this.
    What have I said that was unwise exactly?

    And why think I was much wiser??

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  23. #22  
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    Christianity is the fullfillment of Judaic prophecy.
    That. There are no prophecies that come to fruition other than self-fulfilling or coincidental ones.



    You're a student of Physics, so that's why I assumed you'd be a halfway sensible person. But I realize that many physicists live in a world of mathematical abstraction and sometimes lose touch with reality. Maybe you're having one of those moments.
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  24. #23  
    sox
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    Justify that statement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    Can you prove that Judaic prophecies are myth?
    no, but that burden isn't on me. I made a non-existential claim, in that those stories are just that, stories. We know Christian doctrine is a story, because we retell it again and again, and I stop my assumptions there, with what I know. You continue the assumptions into the realm of reality, and make the claim that the stories are more than just stories, something that is existential and provable, and as such the burden of proof is on you. Can you prove they are fact?
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sox
    Justify that statement.
    Justify your faulty assumptions first.
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