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 the ignorance of faith

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glorfindel

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PostSubject: the ignorance of faith   Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:01 am

A few days ago I had a conversation with a Christian. The subject came to Creationism. She was of the opinion that it was a good idea to teach children this world view. I expressed my opinion that it was damaging to lie to children about the physical universe and that religion was best when used as intended (studying the Unknowable, rather than making up stuff about the empirical universe). Her resistance to even listening to my thoughts was almost physically tangible. I told her about how blue shift and red shift allow us to observe how matter in the universe is moving apart and how this can be inversely mapped to a point in time and space.

She responded that science was flawed.

I responded that the scientific process embraces its flaws. By its very nature it seeks out its flaws.

At this point there was a flash of hatred and the wall of ice came down in her eyes.

Since then her and her husband have engaged in a character assassination of me on facebook! They have made up a load of completely untrue sexual misendeavours about me (as erroneous as their god) in an attempt to slander me!

It is the kind of cultish behaviour that often gets spoken of on this site (especially in the links posted by jcbaran).

I find this fascinating, I thought I would share it here as you guys are some of the most open minded people I know.

I asked my brother (an atheist) about how to communicate with such people, his response was:

"You can't"

What do you guys think? Is it a waste of time even saying "hello" to a person of "faith"?

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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: the ignorance of faith   Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:59 pm

This is just tribe worship. A very common method of assuaging the inadequacy of the human condition.

Questioning it is an act of war. The more credible your questioning is, the stronger the counter attack.

My sympathies.

Personally I find the complexities of such exchanges best left to the realm of meditative skillful means over logic or just more suffering results. By this I mean letting go of enough of any investments I have in the interactions so that a wider range of possibilities unfold. This brings it away from an invariable adversarial result and just allows two beings to meet without invoking the polarities of tribal labelling.
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: the ignorance of faith   Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:37 pm

Thanks Howard! That was completely what I needed to hear. I've actually been more upset by the smear campaign than I admitted to myself, especially when they started bringing my children into it! It really reminds me of how Scientologists deal with their critics.

As ever the Dharma seems to be the proper medicine. I left meditation behind after coming across this site but if you can manage it whilst maintaining your intellectual faculties than I guess I might be able to.

Thanks!
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jack



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PostSubject: Re: the ignorance of faith   Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:37 am

Howard wrote:

Questioning it is an act of war. The more credible your questioning is, the stronger the counter attack.

Nicely stated, and true across religion, politics, and other aspects of culture. Even science is not immune, though with time, science tends to be self-correcting, where other genres of culture are not -- probably because they are not confined to testable facts.

Buddhism as a religion is also not immune, except for its often deliberately ignored proviso that the only truth worth knowing is that truth you can know for yourself -- a truth rooted in an open mind filled with wonder, but one that also fully accepts reality for what it seems to be.
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: the ignorance of faith   Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:09 am

Hello glorfindal. Without knowing exactly what was said, I should imagine it is very painful and frightening to be attacked in those way, and to realise how powerless one often is in dealing with it. As Sartre realised, the greatest philosophy can be reduced to nothing by the harshness of life. (in his case it was him standing watching children die of starvation in Africa while the world did nothing).

What they have done is, from what you say, extremely cruel and vicious, specially if it involves your children. It has the potential to cause you much harm if many people read what they have written. I lost half my friends once over something maybe similar.

I don't know if u you have recourse on Facebook or with the police, but my experience of these avenues is that you may find out that nothing will be done . This can heighten the feelings of powerlessness and fear and pain, as well as being a bit of an eye opener. If you live in USA having a good lawyer can be very effective in stopping people like this.

Re the initial argument, science in its pure form is obviously flawed, though not many are aware of this. In scientific theory, Inductive and deductive logic are not the only types of logic, one can never prove anything, and one can never be objective, as the observer is part of what is observed. Also, as Einstein said, there are very few real scientists in the scientific world. In many ways science is the modern religion. Strangely, there is a parallel re christianity (and revealing itself in zen). I would say everything Jesus said is wonderful, but how many real Christians are there?

I would say that the real argument for this couple underneath was having to be right, because if they were not right, terrible things would be done to them by a rageful person more powerful than them. This they know to be true because it is what happened to them when they were small. So they attack with life or death massive force. Inappropriately to now of course, but appropriate to then. We all behave inappropriately , some are just more obvious than others.

Re what to do, this for me is not an easy thing. In your situation, I have done my best to follow gandhi's example and keep my heart open to them, and keep calling them 'friend'. (with mixed success). I have also found it very useful to listen to my emotional reactions, which usually if allowed out, lead me to my child inside and let me be more aware and loving with myself and maybe loosen my holding a bit.

I also try and listen to the other person and understand their position. I don't mean their aggression and violence, I mean what led them to behave like this. I can guarantee that both these people had extremely violent childhoods for them to react to you as they have. Therefore in acting like they are they are revealing the pain and terror inside them. We are only as aggressive and violent as the fear and pain inside. This understanding can give me a "there but for the grace of God/the universe go i" realisation, which softens my heart.

We all act out in our lives, we all superimpose ourselves more strongly than we realise. In this sense these two people are teachers. I have come to this realisation after years of violent aggression aimed at me.

Practically speaking, my experience of people like this is that they are unlikely to stop being like this unless the threat of force is used. You cannot change a lifetime of conditioning any time soon. Without using the threat of force or legal action, you can only do what you can do to ameliorate what they have done, then walk away. And sometimes in life we cannot walk away even, and that can be very painful to endure. Something a zen teacher many centuries ago said that still helps me is:

"When you cant go forward, can't go backwards, can't go sideways, can't stand still, then you learn compassion"

I am still amazed that so many centuries ago he knew this. In my life, for me, he says it how it is.
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: the ignorance of faith   Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:57 pm

Thanks for your usual lucidity Jack.

David so much of what you said means a lot to me. I've not the time to write much until tomorrow but I wanted to say thank you. And I absolutely love the quote. I think in all this I can see some hardness within myself that has to go.
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david.



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PostSubject: Re: the ignorance of faith   Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:16 am

Hi again Glorfindal. Rereading my post i feel i sounded a bit "holier than thou". i should add that the way i learn all this is nearly always very painful and arduous. I have to reach the place of despair, after trying desperately to do something that will stop what is happening. An example of this is the recent ending of a very painful 5 year relationship. I still feel bruised and am gradually making the connections with my childhood that explain my part in it. I have made a big connection recently, which has, it seems, immediately and permanently straightened my posture a lot and relaxed and opened my throat and upper chest, feeling less trying to protect and more open to the world in front of me. This posture had been with me since i was a child.

Also, the residual effect on me can be long standing. Many years ago I knew a woman who invented a rapist who was going to kill me and her. "he" contacted me regularly in true horror movie style. There was police involvement for a year and i slept with a baseball bat next to my bed, until the police finally found a fault in her lies and she confessed. Many year later i could say its just history, but i still sleep with my bedroom door locked.. I still dont know what led her to do this, as after a "sorry" email from her i have heard nothing more from her. She was not charged by the police. I am pretty sure she was playing out something real from her childhood.

Life is gradually softening me through the aggression of others. I am still amazed at how Gandhi kept his heart open in the face of extreme violence to him and his family. Also, I'm more understanding of other people's situations, of how much violence there is in the world, and how much more difficult it is to deal with than most of the media, guide books and preaching of "gurus" suggest.

The way out is bring it all into the open from inside, but who's doing that? Look at the zen sex scandals, where the communities, many of the women, and the wider zen teaching community are obviously just as involved as the main culprits, bit it seems they are too frightened to be honest, so they feel they have to aim at others with blame than to soften and listen to themselves.

Its a family affair.

I feel a song coming on....


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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: the ignorance of faith   Mon May 27, 2013 3:32 pm

Hey David, sorry about the delay, I've been the main "looker afterer" of 2 young ones over the last period so I've had little time. I didn't find you "holier than thou" at all. You were just throwing it out in your style. Interestingly a lot of what you wrote turned out to be incredibly presient, The whole situation got quite intense for a while and I had to let go of the whole thing and just deal with my own responses to it all.The things I learned at Throssel Hole were hugely helpful to me, which leaves me confused, considering I am a regular attendee of this awesome forum. Your quote from the Zen master was like a mantra to me. Anyway the whole thing has blown over now and I'm chilled again. Though I kind of miss the intensity and the awareness and self analysis it causes!

Thanks!

And thanks Howard and Jack who both made pretty much the same point concisely. Gotta go, my knees are being attacked from all directions!!
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