Jack of Spades

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Everything posted by Jack of Spades

  1. Now that I think of it, every Christian I've talked to from Aus has probably been either Anglican or Catholic, so, makes sense. When it comes to SSM I guess I am guilty of some projecting. Personally, marriage doesn't mean very much to me as a concept, so it's kind of natural for me to think it means as little in the society aswell. On the Putinist-conservatism, it seems to me like USA will be in trouble with this movement for decades to come. Thanks to their anti-journalistic attitudes, the conservatives in USA are so isolated from the news media that there is little hope of them gettingan objective look on the situation anywhere in the nearby future.
  2. Over the last three or so years, I've noticed an alarming trend with religious social conservatives in the internet; these people have begun to adapt increasingly anti-democratic ideals and narratives, and seem to have found their new global hero in Russian president Vladimir Putin. At first this seemed to me like a random fringe phenomenon, but especially with Americans (where there are particularly lots of religious social conservatives) this seems to be on it's way to become the new mainstream of social conservatism. Lately also media has begun to pay more attention to this, which has convinced me that this is happening for real, and it's not just my bad luck of running into this Putin-conservatism. My thoughts on what is happening with religious conservatives: 1) The repeated losses at culture wars are taking their toll. Whenever the religious social conservatives have tried to push the culture backwards in the democratic world, they have usually failed in the end. I believe that this repeated losing has alienated religious conservatives, not just from the mainstream culture, but from the ideals of democracy as it seems to favor their perceived enemies. Why would they continue loving democracy, since it seems to place secular and liberal ideals at power? By contrast, when the conservatives look at Russia, where the cultural clock has been seemingly successfully turned backwards (feminist protesters at church are jailed, gay activism has been banned, even beating ones wife has become less of a serious crime and so on), they realize that conservatism can win, just not in a democratic context. This is actually a centuries old European idea made new; The church wanting a Christian king to rule a nation, in order to keep the nation Christian. 2) The massive information - and critical thinking - vacuum created by anti-intellectualism and anti-journalism by social conservatives has effectively made the whole group intellectually helpless sitting ducks for ruthless propaganda efforts, like the ones taken in recent years by Russian government. Conservative anti-intellectualist efforts have left the group as a whole with no way of sorting the credible news from mere propaganda and thus, they will end up believing the propaganda of Putin's Russia being the promised land of religious conservatism. Not unlike the western workers of the old world believed Soviet Union being the mythical paradise of the working class. Thoughts? Observations?
  3. Even if Australia were to vote no on it, I think being against SSM while sticking to democratic process is the classic type of social conservatism, rather than the new, dark, Russia-sympathetic, authoritarian version of it that I was trying to bring up. As for SSM per se, I personally feel like it's sometimes made to be a bigger deal than it, in fact, is. For example, in Finland it was passed this year after being delayed due to political quirks for years, but it was for years inevitable that it's going to happen. While still in the process, the law was promoted as if there were a major human right crisis going on when gays can't marry. The state already recognized gay civil unions, so to say that SSM gave them right to love is a propagandist overstatement, imho. It's not as if the state forced gays to closet and then one day opened the door by passing the marriage law. In my eyes, the move from civil unions to same-sex marriage was more of a legal technicality and a cultural symbolic step rather than anything that turned around the lives of gay people here. But, I do realize I'm talking about my country here and all political and cultural issues have lots of unique local elements and nuances in them. I am sure that Australian and Finnish politics or cultural topics are not totally comparable. For example, the big outrage over SSM here was pretty much done with by the time the law was being passed this year. The outrage moments came earlier, one in 2010 (the great liberal outrage - 40 000 resigned from the state church) and in 2014 (conservative outrage - 20 000 people resigned from the church). Out of curiosity, does Australia have a state church? Or anything resembling state church like European countries do (and US doesn't)? One of the main anxieties of social conservatives in Finland was that legalizing gay marriage would end up putting pressure on the state church to accept it theologically. Technically they were right, now that the law has been passed, the church is forced to take position on whether to formally bless the marriages or not. Needless to say it's a massive hot potato in the church, and is bound to cause lots of fighting and lots of people resigning their membership in the church regardless of what they do with it. The church is forced to take a public stance on an issue it would most likely just want to keep under the rug.
  4. I think it comes down to whether a fetus is considered a human or not. The most convincing argument I have heard so far is the "reverse death - argument", which means that the logic medical science defines a death of a human individual, can be in reverse used to define when a human is born. I don't think religious dogmas - such as when human gets a soul - should be arguments for or against it's legality. I think legislation should be based on secular arguments. Abortion is a difficult topic because the stakes are so high. It's not like gay-marriage etc. where the right call is quite simple to make. Pregnancy is also a rather unique phenomenon so I can't really use any other comparable cases for support of any position. I usually consider "pro-life" movement people to be hypocrites who are driven by other motives than what their claimed motives say. This is because of the massive inconsistencies in their positions. In my experience, large ideological inconsistencies are always a sign of ulterior motives hidden behind a facade. For example, these people have so far not presented any ideas for efforts to save all the zygotes that fail to attach to uterus. If conception is the beginning of a human life, then failing to attach to a uterus would be the overwhelmingly most common cause of human death and there would be an urgent demand to start efforts to save all those poor zygotes. Due to the massive amounts of deaths, this would be a far more urgent cause than stopping abortions would be. Since the pro-life movement doesn't care about this at all, I think their real motives are anti-sexual and political, rather than actually caring about unborn zygotes and fetuses.
  5. You're right, it's not global in sense that it would exist everywhere. I was trying to make a point that it's not just an American phenomenon. Calling it global was a bit of a stretch. I think that this kind of social conservatism that exists in US and Europe, is a counter movement to the liberalism of the West. So it can't really be replicated in places where the Western liberalism has not been a dominant force, like f.e. in China. It's mostly European and American phenomenon. If what you say is true, then I think Australia makes a curious exception case here. How do you think Australian conservatives (not in sense of economic conservatives, but particularly religious social conservatives) are different from their European and American counterparts? I can recall talking to an Australian earlier this year who complained that his movement (conservatives) have picked up the worst elements from American political conservatives lately. But I can't say what he was particularly referring to.
  6. PaulS I think Trump & Trumpism in the US is just one part of this phenomenon. Globally, this is much larger than Trump. If you google "social conservatives Putin", you'll find opinion pieces and articles dating back years before Trump was making the news. I personally think that the idea of Trump as the Christian king is little more than a fantasy of the religious right. In reality, the clock is ticking against the Christian theocracy enthusiasts in USA. Christianity is losing ground in the US at an astonishing phase, I remember reading that statistically, average of 5 000 Christians leave the faith every day. Every generation is more secular than their parents were, so it seems unlikely that the theocrats are ever going to succeed in the long run. I think that the real danger here is to have so large part of the population becoming hostile towards democracy, and thus ignoring any attempts to damage the system. As long as the US democracy itself stays intact, any short term theocratic policy gains will be simply reversed by the future administrations in an increasingly secular country. As far as Europe is concerned, having a revolutionary, anti-democracy, demagogue-fueled, pro-Russia political movement within the West is nothing new, it's just a do-over of the Cold War. There used to be very influential communist parties in the Western Europe, working to undermine the democracy for decades. Now it's just the political right finding their savior in Russia, back in times it was the political left. What's new is the huge success of Russian propaganda campaign in the US. I think the tragedy of the story is the way how the religious social conservatives made the groundwork for this influence campaign themselves, with their overblown anti-intellectualism and anti-journalism that has effectively stripped them of the capability to discern between a truth and a lie. People who make a virtue of ignorance, are very easy targets for ruthless propaganda campaigns.
  7. If this was proposed by some serious leader, it would be worth analyzing the pro's and con's of the decision from the military point of view. But, in this case, given the character and the track record of the current US president, the default assumptions should be that 1) The actual facts and the real world consequences on the matter have not been given any serious thought 2) The motive behind the announcement is something else than what it is claimed to be 3) The timing of the announcement is likely a product of entirely short-term political reasons and 4) At least something related to the announcement itself is either completely untrue or at the very least, presented in a hugely misleading fashion. Those factors have been true for about everything done by pres. Trump so far, so until proven otherwise, those factors should be assumed to be true in this case as well. And due to this, I don't have much of a motivation to try to analyze the issue itself in terms of actual military realities, since the actual military realities are most likely irrelevant for the decision making process behind this. I would rather analyze this in terms of political image building, as an attempt to control the media attention or very simply as a yet another petty decision to reverse something Obama has done, rather than as a fact-based military decision, since those are more likely the actual reasons behind this announcement.
  8. This is a concept of "Virtue pairs" I've had in mind for a while, I'd like to ask for some opinions and insights on the concept. I think virtues should exist in pairs. If we fix our mind in practicing only one virtue, it easily gets derailed to some extreme and by doing so, has risk of becoming something else than a virtue. Like, for example: - Trust should be paired with wisdom, to avoid putting ones trust in wrong things/peoples. - Being just should be paired with being careful, to avoid hunting down innocent people who only appear to be guilty. - Being merciful should be paired with being responsible, to avoid putting other people in danger, "letting wolves run among sheep".
  9. That's a good way to put it. I intentionally simplified my view on virtues a bit in the OP. I think in such ideological clashes, there often comes a somewhat complicated psychological clash of loyalty versus humility. Voice of loyalty says I shouldn't praise my enemys virtues ("enemy", in ideological sense in this case), but it can actually be an act of humility to at least be ready to recognize them. I think anyone who is honest with themselves, have to, at some point in their life ask themselves the question "What if I am one of the bad guys?". It's really not an easy place to go, but in hindsight, I think historically things would have been much better if more people had asked themselves that question.
  10. What people, who identify as Progressive Christians, think about supernatural spiritual gifts? Such as healing, prophecy, tongues and stuff like that. Is there such thing as Charismatic Progressive Christians? I'm asking because my views are somewhat liberal, but I also believe in experiencing active, supernatural stuff and it's key element of my own spirituality. In Christian communities I know of, it seems to me like I have to choose between being liberal and being charismatic (for lack of better word for a person who believes in or practices that kind of stuff). Those two just seem not to co-exist very often (at all?) in my experience, but I'm pretty sure if I found church/community which is both, I'd like to give it a try.
  11. Our experience in Neopagan stuff appears to be a bit different, I never met much hostility towards my Christianity - influences. Since Neopaganism is so vague and individualistic, there are plenty of Pagans around who practice Christianity to some degree along with their Pagan practice. It might also be that I intentionally kept my Christian-side toned down a bit there after finding out that plenty of Pagans are ex-Christians. About masculinity, I actually felt like my experience of having for a while to deal with feminist Pagans who saw men as spiritually inferior beings, was just a healthy reminder for me about the reality of attitudes and beliefs so many women have to live with in the world of conservative Christianity (and even more so in the world of Islam). I hope that short "role reversal - experience" gave me a tiny doze of understanding for struggles many women face in trying to distance themselves from that. For me, realizing that there are people who see me as spiritually inferior being only because of my sex, and treat me as such, was something of a micro-enlightenment. Obviously, compared to the big scheme of things, my experience of spiritual gender-discrimination was ridiculously easygoing one, but nevertheless it was something I'm thankful of having experienced.
  12. My answers to the sticky thread. Info for starters: I'm still a bit unsure where I stand regarding Christianity, so my answers are more of speculation than rock solid statements. Still trying to figure it out! 1. What problems might arise in a church community that has no dogmatic beliefs? - I haven't really been part of such community, so it's difficult to answer. Many problems only become apparent after a while. I feel like I should experience it before having a reasonable opinion about it. 2. How do we deal with our differences in a healthy and positive way? - As for myself, I believe it can be done by making my personal goal to understand others better and by showing some respect to them. It usually works well if other participants share the same goal. However, we live in an imperfect world and from time to time in a community, I might have to deal with someone who's goal is not to get along with me, but rather to change me to be like they are. What to do in such situation is the most difficult dilemma for me. If it only happens now and then, the solution is to just ignore it, but if it's habitual and continuous, there is a limit for how much I'm capable or willing to tolerate, and when that limit is reached, there are few good solutions left. 3. What are some of the ways we can demonstrate our understanding of the “great commandment” when it comes to loving our neighbor? - As a mystic, I tend to emphasize the essence of love over the idea of love as a collection of actions. I think, if I have love in my spirit as a driving force, it will eventually manifest in my attitude and actions towards others. I feel that trying to make a list of actions which are loving is reducing love to something that is little bit mechanical. In practice, love can be things not said and done as much as things said and done. 4. Create a list of Christian values that you think are reflections of your faith today. - I appreciate most classic Christian virtues, such as love, kindness, patience, wisdom, faith etc. But I must say, there are some classic Christian virtues I can't really embrace, like modesty and self-denial, at least in sense of what I understand them to mean. I'm more into "life is short, have some fun and embrace what you are" - attitude on that area. I must say, I might have some translation difficulties with understanding the question because it seems wierd to me. 5. Do you believe that you behave as a follower of Jesus most of the time; some of the time; or now and then? - I might have some Christ-inspired moments now and then, but to claim that's what defines me as a person would be a huge overstatement. I'm more of a "I mind my own business" - kinda guy than someone who's actively trying to make the world a better place for everyone.
  13. JosephM No problem, I'm glad this got sorted out. My apologies for taking creative liberties with the thread name!
  14. I thought answering the questions in the sticky thread on the area is related to the point?
  15. Thank you Realspiritik! To be honest, I'm still a little bit confused about should I be posting on this points-area at all or not. Is it for PC people only? I am interested in knowing more about PC and the points but I wouldn't (at least yet) go as far as call myself a PC. If you have any comments on anything I said about the points, or if you want to clarify something about them, I'd be glad to read it!
  16. Thank you Realspiritik. The experience you describe is only too familiar for me. Couple of years ago I used to be a member of a somewhat open-minded online religious community (which is now closed) myself. Over time, the community got slowly overtaken by atheists and the "others" kept being met with ever-increasing barrage of hostile and belittling comments and eventually left. It was very discouraging experience for my faith in functional, open-minded online communities, but it made me realize one thing: Hellfire-preaching fundamentalists are not the only ones relying on the usage of emotional rhetoric in trying to force their views on others. Whereas fundie Christians preach and judge others loudly, atheist version of the same missionary attitude is a bit more subtle; continuous usage of belittling and ridiculing remarks, like "Yeah of course you can believe in tooth fairies if that makes you feel good". You speak of having an open mind and an open heart. My personal, somewhat similar thing is an idea of having 1) a heart (listening to my human feelings and experience), 2) a brain (using reason and study) and 3) a spirit (seeking personal spiritual guidance and experience). It might be that the idea is not really that different from yours, but same thing said in a different way? TL;DR: I think I know what you mean!
  17. I'm not offended by atheists beliefs per se, but nevertheless I'm rather disinterested in trying to argue about supernatural with people who don't believe that there is such a thing. The reason for that is, my beliefs and practices regarding supernatural are not really a question of having certain intellectual constructions. Rather it's a deeply personal and experiential journey, somewhat comparable to that of a love relationship with the opposite sex. Because of that nature, there is little to gain for me in discussing supernatural in strictly intellectual terms, without having the dimension of shared experience. For comparison, trying to talk about supernatural with someone who doesn't believe in it in first place is as productive as an attempt to discuss ideas of how to spend a romantic holiday with a woman I love, with a psychopath who doesn't believe there is such a thing as love. (It was the first example which came to my mind, no further comparison between psychopathy and atheism intended!). I'm sorry if my disinterest in arguing about the concept of supernatural offends you. I wish you well in whatever path you follow, and my intention is not to mock it. I'm just simply disinterested in arguing about meaningfulness of my path regarding supernatural. It is meaningful for me and I'm very interested in sharing thoughts about it with other people who find it meaningful to seek personal contact with the supernatural.
  18. Yeah, there is no harm in keeping an open mind.
  19. JosephM I see. So, in your view, in PC, there is room for both views on supernatural/gifts of spirit? I realize that apparently focusing on supernatural and/or spiritual gifts seems not to be the best path for everyone and I'm not trying to suggest it should be. It just happens to be the path for me, and I feel like I'm able to breath much more freely in communities in which supernatural is welcomed. If it's not welcomed, the conclusion in those peoples minds would be that because I experience such things, I must have some serious mental problems. Hanging around with people who are convinced that I'm nuts is not exactly the ideal state of things when trying to build a connection... This has been one of my biggest and most painful dilemmas for me in trying to fit in in Christianity. Unfortunately for me, Christian communities which are openly welcoming to supernatural, usually have very different overall view on life generally than I do. In Neopagan and New-Age circles on the other hand, I've found a lot of people who have both positive view on supernatural stuff, and at the same time, rather liberal overall view on life. Last time when I did some spiritual gifts practices together with some other peoples, it was actually with some New Age - peoples.
  20. I wasn't referring to the film of that name. I meant "shades of grey" in sense of seeing more options than just the absolutes (moral action vs immoral action). Like for example, scale from 0 to 100 would be much better. I was referring to the fact that you seem to insist that morality must be decided in a on/off - manner when an action is either moral or not. "Being honest" is not same thing as "agreeing with you". Just for info. Chamberlains decision was, in hindsight, at least poor judgement of the situation. I don't know what his motives were, and from moral point of view, that's usually what makes a lot of difference. Like for example, was he a peace-loving person, or a coward, or simply a calculating, cynical pragmatist who thought war would be too costly for his other goals and thus wanted to avoid it. Nobody probably will ever know that side of the story, since participants have been dead for a long time and we can only guess.
  21. What about shades of grey? Real life morals aren't, imo, a cases of "right" and "wrong" but rather cases of "How messed up this is in a scale from 0 to 100?". Historically these situations are decided by force. Philoshopically, I can't really say much about it. If we try to keep it practical, with some implications to everyday life, such cases are rather rare. Usually, like in case of murderous psychos, the case is not so much that one individual have very different idea of morality, but rather that the individuals are uninterested of following *any* standards of established morality. I think ownership of land is a good historical example, when two cultures with different view on ownership of land encounter (one nomadic, and other one which believes that individuals can own a piece of land), there will be a conflict. But even in those conflicts, to me it's clear that some individuals acted in more moral fashion than others. Like for example, by trying to find a compromise or by trying to make agreements between different views to avoid violence.
  22. I don't think "morality" equals mechanical dualism with ritualistic beliefs in actions which are "sin" or "not sin". Morality might aswell mean belief in some kind of guidelines or principles. There is a lot of ground between "morality doesn't exist" and that of ritualistic dualism where everything is either sin or holy. Actually, I think the greatest things taught by Jesus are all more or less relative in nature, like "Treat others as you would want to be treated". I personally like the symbolism in the story about the two trees of paradise in the Genesis. One tree offers precise knowledge about good and evil (like ritual morals and commands), whereas the other one seems to offer little concrete answers, just being a "tree of life". But the one with no uncertainty is not the one which keeps man in close relationship with God.
  23. It's been a while when I saw The Lion King, so I actually had to watch some of the scenes again. I got two things in my mind. I was thinking about the scene in which Simba and Nala argue. I actually feel for Simba in it, because while Nala is technically right, she doesn't have the emotional baggage Simba does. In Nalas mind, going back is easy, she can just walk there and go on from where she left. For Simba on the other hand, it's unclear is he even wanted back by the pride, or does he have right to go back at all after what he (in his mind) has done. I think there can be seen a hidden lesson about lecturing a friend. One doing that should realize it's important to see the situation through the friends eyes to understand why someone who is seemingly doing something obviously wrong, might want to choose it. Sometimes there might be an explanation which actually makes sense. Another thing that came to my mind, which might be a bit far-fetched but reading through your review I actually got a moment of inspiration. In Simbas exile, it's possible to see an allegory about Christianity-escapees, like myself. I think it's possible someone can end up turning their back on their religion as a result of believing wrong accusations told by "Scar", someone who has no right to represent the opinion of the king. And hearing those lies can make me wrongly believe that I'm a screw-up who has no place in the pride. Is my allegory making any sense?
  24. If there's no spoiler option, then how about making one thread for each movie, with the name of the movie in the title? That way it's possible to decide whether I've seen it or not before reading more. You know, one of the reasons for my spoiler-phobia is that I very often watch movies only years later than everyone else, and by then everyone has forgotten about the possibility of someone having not seen it Lion King sounds good! Have you watched animated X-Men series? There are couple of them around and I love them all! If those happen to be on your list, I'm going to be the first one to read it!!
  25. I think it would be interesting to read/talk about the view on life in fiction. But I have to mention one technical thing, usually in forums, the fear of ending up reading spoilers is what keeps me away from threads which are about movies and tv-series and that kind of kills the discussion before it even started... So, I hope you have some sort of "spoiler safety policy" in place if u start doing those, so me and other as paranoid people actually dare to open the threads. Is it possible to add spoiler tags here which hide the text inside them? I couldn't find those in options when I tried to look...