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March 31, 2002
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Happy Easter! This morning, as Christians pray for peace in the Middle East, it's a great opportunity for everyone to celebrate the spirit of forgiveness and new life. Where on the web do you find inspiration, faith in human nature, and new beginnings?
posted by sheauga (94 comments total)

 
You mean besides porn sites?
posted by rhizome23 at 9:41 AM on March 31, 2002


Why is this morning a particularly great opportunity, and yesterday morning was not? IMO, the spirit of forgiveness is always a day late.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:42 AM on March 31, 2002


And a dollar short.
posted by crunchland at 9:45 AM on March 31, 2002


I don't really know what any of that stuff is, sheauga.
I generally just have an espresso and hit squirrels with my hockey stick. Got one in through the sunroof of my neighbor's Acura the other day, two yards over.
That was a good friday.
posted by dong_resin at 10:10 AM on March 31, 2002


i always listen to bill hicks on this day
posted by deftone at 10:12 AM on March 31, 2002


Wow, the Pope actually said something I agree with. Maybe this whole Easter thing isn't a total crock... maybe that bunny thing is true!
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:26 AM on March 31, 2002


Easter is just an excuse to eat Cadbury Eggs. And Peeps too, I guess, in the interest of being non-denominational.
posted by fleener at 10:34 AM on March 31, 2002


On this day every year I ponder the mystery and significance of Jesus Christ having been reincarnated as a rabbit.
posted by homunculus at 10:35 AM on March 31, 2002


*clearing throat*

"Bunnies aren't just cute like everybody supposes,
they got them hoppy legs, and twitchy little noses.
And what's with all the carrots?
What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?"

boffo finish..

"Bunnies!
Bunnies!
It must be bunnies!
...or maybe midgets."

It's Easter, I'm allowed one wee double-post and a Buffy reference.

Now back to the festivities.
posted by ebarker at 10:49 AM on March 31, 2002


I wish you guys would stop making fun of easter.

Today is the anniversary of the day that jesus christ came back from the dead as a bunny rabbit and laid many colored eggs to hide. It's something very special, because it represents uhh... uhm... it represents our diversity as a people, and how we uhh.. hide.. behind.. our... shrubbery?
posted by twiggy at 10:50 AM on March 31, 2002


goatse.cx.
posted by quonsar at 10:54 AM on March 31, 2002


metafilter: a non-stop flow of serious, insightful, respectful and meaningful discussion. what a great bunch of quality people we have become.
posted by greyscale at 10:55 AM on March 31, 2002


metafilter: a non-stop flow of serious, insightful, respectful and meaningful discussion.

Cynicism. Don't forget the righteous cynicism.

what a great bunch of quality people we have become.

Oh good, there it is. The comments of some 11 or so people don't represent a community of nearly 14000. Give it time, see what other people say. And try not to paint the whole mefi world with a single stroke because people decided to not get on the Good Feelings train. (No offense, Sheauga).

From what I've seen, MeFi discussions seem to spontaneously develop their own routes, often quite divergent from the subject and the spirit of the post that starts it off. I've seen plenty of seriousness, insight, respect and meaning in those discussions, so I'll keep reading those and will pass on this Hallmark moment, thanks.
posted by holycola at 11:09 AM on March 31, 2002


Where on the web do you find inspiration, faith in human nature, and new beginnings? Answer= Metafilter.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:19 AM on March 31, 2002


Do I infer correctly that MeFi'ers embody the 14 percent of the world that calls itself atheist/agnostic?
posted by fleener at 11:21 AM on March 31, 2002


peeps, like metafilter, are made of pure puffed evil.
posted by rhyax at 11:30 AM on March 31, 2002


...calls itself atheist/agnostic

We prefer the term "unchurched" Actually, when it's Easter-time, I generally say "Jewish" and I know there's at least two of us here. So, my initial response to all of this was "Why does anyone think only Christians are praying for peace in the Middle East?" My second thought was "7.1 billion pounds of candy".

Spring is a notable event no matter what your faith. My favorite part of Spring in my hood is all the cherry blossoms.
posted by jessamyn at 11:32 AM on March 31, 2002


...


--or is that ... ?
posted by y2karl at 11:41 AM on March 31, 2002


Do I infer correctly that MeFi'ers embody the 14 percent of the world that calls itself atheist/agnostic?
In most of these post, it is the atheist who often times heard most. From the few months of MeFi, it appears most users are atheist, have a very cynical outlook on religion/God, or the religious members don't speak out. As a religious member, i speak out sometimes, but most of what could be said has already been said (namely on evolution vs. anything else and religion in society).
posted by jmd82 at 11:41 AM on March 31, 2002


Let us turn to art then.
posted by semmi at 11:43 AM on March 31, 2002


I have always been amazed at how (American) Christians have always felt the need to water down their holiest days. By watering down, I mean, of course, taking any real mention of religion out of the holiday.

Perhaps this is due to their embarrassment of not knowing what the day is supposed to mean, biblicially or historicially other than what Headline News tells them.

With that said, on this day, I find inspiration on the web from searchable scriptures, horrifying photographs, and the hard rocking music of AC/DC - whose lead guitarist Angus Young turns 47 today.
posted by tsarfan at 11:45 AM on March 31, 2002


Have a little respect, fellas. To some people, today is a very important and religiously significant day. If you don't agree or believe it, just ignore it. No need to piss all over someone's faith.

But I guess that's de rigueur around here.
posted by evanizer at 11:59 AM on March 31, 2002


Happy Easter to all of you regardless of faith or non-faith!

Just a note: why do we Christians draw on symbols of decidedly pagan origin (i.e. Rabbits, Eggs, and the Oster Fest) to celebrate the Resurrection? Well, it's simple, really: they symbolize new life! And rabbits are just brimming with new life, aren't they? ;)

So, who's out wearing his new clothes?
posted by brownpau at 12:34 PM on March 31, 2002


(Sorry. Or her new clothes?)
posted by brownpau at 12:35 PM on March 31, 2002


For the record, I was poking fun at some aspects of how the holiday is celebrated by some people (bunnies and such) and did not mean to mock the spirit of the holiday itself. I am still perplexed that these themes have been merged into the same holiday. My apologies to anyone I may have offended.
posted by homunculus at 12:38 PM on March 31, 2002


I would respectfully submit that "ignore it if you don't like it" behavior is largely based in the ethos of what a bunch of people here are acting out against: the cult of Christianity.

That being said, I personally get solace from things a lot sillier than thinking that God sent his son to Earth to die for our sins, so knock yourselves out. Of course, I'm not a massively wealthy religion interested in controlling people's reproductive and sexual behaviors and in meddling with affairs of governments (speaking of being pissed on...) ;)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 12:44 PM on March 31, 2002


i love you, rjreynolds. let's not buy curtains or anything, though. :)
posted by pxe2000 at 12:51 PM on March 31, 2002


So, who's out wearing his new clothes?

The Emperor, clearly.
posted by rushmc at 12:55 PM on March 31, 2002


why do we Christians draw on symbols of decidedly pagan origin (i.e. Rabbits, Eggs, and the Oster Fest) to celebrate the Resurrection?

Because way back when, that was the best way to 'convert' pagans!
posted by dogmatic at 12:55 PM on March 31, 2002


Have a little respect, fellas. To some people, today is a very important and religiously significant day.

True, but most of those people are unlikely to be reading this site today. Can you blame the heathen for throwing a party?
posted by rcade at 12:59 PM on March 31, 2002


*sigh*

If only history's flow of events were as simple and formulaic as some make it out to be...
posted by evanizer at 1:00 PM on March 31, 2002


the cult of Christianity.

Which, of course, is COMPLETELY different from, oh, Judaism or Islam or any other major organized religion. Not.

I'm pretty agnostic, and if there is a God I pretty much despise Him right now, but it's obvious the only thing special about Christianity in the way it's treated around here is that a far larger number of MeFites feel the desire, and safety in numbers, to shit upon it. (Note, for contrast, the 100% pure respect MeFites gave to the last day of Ramadan in this thread.) The psychological reasons behind this will be left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by aaron at 1:11 PM on March 31, 2002


"... they (Australia) celebrate Easter the exact same way we do: commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night. Now, I wonder why we’re f***** up as a race. Anybody got any idea? You know, I’ve read the Bible. I can’t find the word bunny or chocolate anywhere in the f***ing book. Where do they come up with this shit? Why not goldfish left Lincoln logs in your sock drawer? As long as you’re making shit up - you know - go hog-wild. At least the goldfish with a Lincoln log on its back going across your carpet has some miraculous connotations: "Mum, today I found a Lincoln log in me sock drawer." That’s the story of Jesus... "

- Bill Hicks


I couldn't have said it better myself. ;-)
posted by twiggy at 1:18 PM on March 31, 2002


Curiosity- are our readers inspired by a wider repetoire beyond chat threads and good arguements? Lurkers, any links to lighthearted exuberance, impossibly difficult and stimulating material, intriguing photos? It's spring!

Will we post a few more links in this thread that are worth clicking on, or will we be deleted as drivel? A challenge.
posted by sheauga at 1:29 PM on March 31, 2002


aaron, explain to me how the original followers of Jesus were not a cult, by today's definition. They certainly were considered a cult during their time.
posted by fleener at 1:33 PM on March 31, 2002


It's beeen drivel so far.
posted by evanizer at 1:34 PM on March 31, 2002


I give it three days before sheauga's plan is blasted as "the new haiku/pancake" in a MeTa thread.
posted by aaron at 1:35 PM on March 31, 2002


aaron, right on, a great example of how biased and prejudiced a response this conversation is. I think it's fair enough, based on this evidence, to say that either the majority of Metafilter, or the vocal minority of Metafilter is pretty closed minded and intolerant. Definitely the latter seems true. And that sucks.
posted by greyscale at 1:35 PM on March 31, 2002


aaron, explain to me how the original followers of Jesus were not a cult, by today's definition. They certainly were considered a cult during their time.

First, your question is irrelevant, since RJ was calling today's Christianity a cult. Second, every religion starts with only a few people, and thus, by your definition, were considered a cult during their earliest days.

Besides, I don't care whether you think Christianity is or was a cult. If you do, fine. It's the posting duplicity that bothers me. Christianity? Oh, open season 24/7/365. Other religions? Anywhere between at least a modicum of respect to outright reverence.
posted by aaron at 1:40 PM on March 31, 2002


While you all take this opportunity to fight ....

"Where on the web do you find inspiration, faith in human nature, and new beginnings?"

I find it here.
posted by kristin at 1:50 PM on March 31, 2002


It's 280 years to the day since Admiral Roggeveen landed on "The Navel of the World" and named it after Easter. Happy holy and unholy days to all.
posted by liam at 1:55 PM on March 31, 2002


aaron - Interesting points in your link. I was unaware of how much crap Christianity seems to get around here as compared to other non-Jesus-related religions. The funny part is that the thread-starter doesn't even make reference to Jesus or the resurrection in her post; s/he just mentions praying for peace and an opportunity to reflect on new beginnings. But the mere mention of something related to the holiday makes it open season on Christianity -- again. As usual.

Well, these are the slings and arrows we Christian weirdos live with from day to day. Regardless, I absolutely insist on greeting you all a very Happy Easter. May your baskets be filled with colorful and fattening chocolate eggs. :)
posted by brownpau at 2:18 PM on March 31, 2002


I actually find it hard to find good Christian resources on the net for moderate mainline Christians. I find that the conservative evangelicals tend to dominate online, and the non-evangelical sites tend to be kind of wishy-washy new age-influenced stuff. It's hard to find a whole lot in between, which is a shame because the majority of Christians in this country fall between these two extremes.

Some spiritual sites that I do find insightful include:
-The Christian Century
-The Lutheran and the Journal of Lutheran Ethics -
Sojourners
-Beliefnet
posted by boltman at 2:30 PM on March 31, 2002


I found another, even better, example: This "Happy Hanukkah!" thread from only 3 1/2 months ago. Far more posts than the Ramadan thread and, again, 100% respectful, even worshipful ("Judaism is such an amazing faith"), and not a single negative post.
posted by aaron at 2:30 PM on March 31, 2002


Are you just here to grade the discussion, greyscale, or are you going to chime in at some point with an actual contribution?

I'll try to answer the question.

I'm inspired by the poor schmuck who created this community and continues to deal with all the hassles associated with keeping it around. I'm inspired by insightful, hilarious writers who pour their lives onto the Web, thoughtful webloggers, and inventive people who use the Web to devise bizarre new hobbies.

And I have faith that if I wade through all of the chit-chat, back-biting, and normal drivel that typifies most conversation here (or anywhere else on the Internet), I will find the occasional gem that makes the time well spent.
posted by rcade at 2:33 PM on March 31, 2002


If it helps, aaron, I'm equally unimpressed with all organized religion, all of which I find cult-like.
posted by dong_resin at 2:35 PM on March 31, 2002


I can't believe greyscale called me "insightful".

I always thought I'd be "grumpy", or at least "doc".
posted by dong_resin at 2:38 PM on March 31, 2002


Grumpy? No way. Good websites are supposed to be sticky. (Ugh!)

Count me as one who is very glad to hear nobody's being mean about Hannukkah! Judaism certainly deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt these days, and not lumped in with political criticism of Israel. Being upset with Christians is quite understandable, given the circumstances in the US. Don't worry about it, every true Christian is required to forgive you anyway.

Actually, my experiment is working about as expected. We are past comment #40, and braunpau was only the second person to directly addressed the topic article of this thread with any more than a passing remark. Everyone has been very respectful of the community's wishes to avoid revisiting traditional Christian theological debates. And a few people posted links that I would never have found on my own-- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and counting.

If we exchange quick remarks back and forth, with linked text that makes a somewhat opaque or indirect reference to the actual content of our linked sites, are we thereby exchanging links without making the site content very much more apparent in Google's search engine? Googlers, how does this work?
posted by sheauga at 2:42 PM on March 31, 2002


And Hanukkah is pretty stupid.
posted by Doug at 2:44 PM on March 31, 2002


Let's look at the difference between the FPPs.

For Ramadan, we have a simple statement of fact: "Eid Mubarak to all. Eid-ul-Fitr is the day of celebration marking the end of the Holy month of Ramadan, a month during which Muslims refrain from 'rather Earthly activities' from dawn till dusk. "

For Hanukkah we get a similarly low-key post, more of an alert, really: "Happy Hanukkah! Check out the online menorah. Don't know what the holiday is? Take a lesson in Judaism 101."

But for Easter, we get preached at: "Happy Easter! This morning, as Christians pray for peace in the Middle East, it's a great opportunity for everyone to celebrate the spirit of forgiveness and new life. Where on the web do you find inspiration, faith in human nature, and new beginnings?"

Rah-rah Christ! It's an Opportunity! EVERYONE should be celebrating the Christian spirit of forgiveness and New Life!

Thanks, no. Don't bother selling your religion to me.

I've already got a good religion. It worships a bloody Great Chicken that runs around leaving little chocolate bunny fetuses for the kiddies. But unlike certain other religions, it suggests that every day is a good day to be forgiving.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:45 PM on March 31, 2002


Oh, Aaron's totally right, brownpau. Christianity's a far too popular target, especially in this big blue den of iniquity. Besides, no one likes to look like an anti-Semite. I've always liked the Jews just a teeny bit more, simply because they're not supposed to recruit. But really, I have no problem making goofy blanket assertions like "Islam, Judiasm, and Christianity are responsible for half of what's wrong with this world."

Of course, the other half of the world's problem's are the fault of armchair complainers. *points finger, three hundred fingers point back*

So what am I going to do for my spiritual health and the world's for Easter? First of all, I'm going to enjoy argument and dissent. Everyone goes straight from mad to grumpy to dismissive around here! Anger's great, as long as you don't get hurtful. Anger means you're alive, whereas being chockful of resentment is something else entirely. So I'll be thinking about spiritual health and peace and relations with our peers all day, Sheauga. Sigh. If only I was willing to give up sex for esoteric Buddhism...

Mmm... *bites head off chocolate bunny fetus*
posted by RJ Reynolds at 2:48 PM on March 31, 2002


Googlers, how does this work?

Like this, dummy. I don't have to sit back and take your guff about oblique linking.
posted by rcade at 2:49 PM on March 31, 2002


Ahem.

Just cause I bit the ears off my chocolate bunny this morning doesn't mean I didn't take the rest of the day seriously.(For those of you that didn't already know I am a blazing on-fire born-again nondenominational Christian, among other things...)
Since I can't self link you can just go to my personal page here and check out my blog for my take on Easter.

Would it help if I said I understand why most of you have an attitude toward Christianity as it has been presented to you? took me years to get over that myself.

And yes, the bunnies have nothing to do with it.
Bunnies should be enjoyed year round as the magnificent creatures they are...
posted by bunnyfire at 2:55 PM on March 31, 2002


from a post of mine at foolishness.net:

Today is Easter Sunday. Whether you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ or not, you can't deny it's effect on history. People were put to death because they believed they saw Jesus alive, after he had been dead for three days. Millions have been persecuted since then. Today millions stake their faith in God, in life, in humanity, and in love, all based on their belief that this one event occured. I count myself among those.

Happy Easter.


You may think it's all a lie, or a fairy tale, or a fable or whatnot. I don't want to change your opinion on the resurrection. But I don't think anyone can argue that it hasn't affected history, whether for good, bad or both.
posted by wondergirl at 2:56 PM on March 31, 2002


it's obvious the only thing special about Christianity in the way it's treated around here is that a far larger number of MeFites feel the desire, and safety in numbers, to shit upon it.

Or, conversely (and equally obvious), to attempt to defend it.
posted by rushmc at 2:57 PM on March 31, 2002


But I don't think anyone can argue that it hasn't affected history, whether for good, bad or both.

And if we should happen to view its effect upon history as negative, then it is only logical that we should have negative feelings about the commemoration/celebration of same, surely.
posted by rushmc at 3:00 PM on March 31, 2002


"they (Australia) celebrate Easter the exact same way we do: commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night. "

Aussies are just as likely to get a chocolate Bilby as a chocolate wabbit. We tell our children that marsupials left them chocolate eggs in the night.

In the morning we get up early to steal easter eggs from the front lawns of families we know have children. Sometimes we have to look for them quite hard (they hide them!!) Then in the afternoon eat our ill-gotten gains whilst sitting on the front porch behind the fly-wire, with our feet in eskies full of ice and VB's. From far away, we hear the sounds of children wailing.

Ok, the latter was pure fiction. But the part about the Bilbies isn't.
posted by lucien at 3:10 PM on March 31, 2002


Happy Easter to all. Easter is the day that Christians celebrate the Resurection of Jesus, who they believed died on the cross as a sacrifice for sin.

Happy Easter! Check out this online cross. Don't know what the holiday is? Thake a lesson in Christianity 101.


FFF: are you suggesting that if the FFP had been one of the above lines instead then the thread would have gone differently? please. can't we just acknowledge that certain people on MF leap on any chance to denigrate Christians and the Christian faith? If they want to do so, that's their right. But please don't suggest that the problem is that the FFP was somehow inflamatory. If that FFP is inflamatory, than ANY FFP that mentions Christianity is inflamatory.
posted by boltman at 3:18 PM on March 31, 2002


Christians weren't just praying for peace in the middle east, although they are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (called rather than commanded note).

I personally decided against overpriced eggs this year, had a marvelous service in Church in the morning, sand exciting easter based hymns and then read all day before viciously striking my sister over the head with a pillow.

But she hit me first.

Just remember that forgiveness and new feelings shouldn't be just one day but you can have happy feelings all year!

Or words to that effect.
posted by nedrichards at 3:22 PM on March 31, 2002


Where on the web do you find inspiration, faith in human nature, and new beginnings?


Its diffcult enough to find these things in your own personal life, let alone the public and often just plain crappy web. sheauga, you're not getting answers because its a bad question. Why not just ask where you find these things in a box of chocolates? The cheesy sentiment is almost the same. Worse, it a very personal question, I doubt a lot of mefite posters want to be very open in a public thread to a complete stranger.

As far as the anti- this or pro- that goes. Sorry, I haven't seen any posts to really get upset about. If the thin skinned easily offended types want to complain then avoid anyone who disagrees with you or write something up in metatalk.
posted by skallas at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2002


Aw Boltman, face it, Christianity IS inflammatory. Always has been, always will be till Jesus comes back.

It's not just Metafilter. That's just the way the world is. Say "Jesus" and watch the world react......that's why I don't get all tied up in a knot about it. A Christian who is Bible literate understands this, and won't get bent out of shape. So to all of you who aren't Christians but who are concerned about justice, please understand that this is simply part of the deal, and we knew the job was dangerous when we took it, so to speak.

But a kind word IS always appreciated.
posted by bunnyfire at 3:27 PM on March 31, 2002 [1 favorite]


For the record, while I'm going around wishing everyone happy baskets of choc'lit eggs, I haven't eaten a single chocolate bunny all day. :(

*cries*

But I did wolf down a 1/2 lb. blue-cheese beef burger at Pepper's.
posted by brownpau at 3:28 PM on March 31, 2002


extreme bungee ascension

posted by quonsar at 3:36 PM on March 31, 2002


So to all of you who aren't Christians but who are concerned about justice, please understand that this is simply part of the deal, and we knew the job was dangerous when we took it, so to speak.

Part of the deal? Oh come on bunny, don't make me laugh. In the US being a member of a church means one is a positive and responsible member of society, engages in all sorts of socially approved events, is legitimized by politicians, and legitimized by holidays like today or Christmas.

The outcast, if there truly is one in this example, would be the irreligious. She always has to contend with a majority of believers. Stuff like figuring out the best way of not participating in religious holidays and not hurting the feelings of their friends weighs heavily on her. She also deals with the endless questions of why she doesn't believe, the thin skinned religious, and the occasional "youre going to hell" guilt trip.

Bunnyfire you're not a victim, regardless of how you want to paint your situation or the occasional ribbing you get from non-believers. In the meantime you've got a government that considers the division between chruch and state to be mostly illusional, politicians calling upon god left and right, and the billions of fellow followers. You're not exactly building the Church with St. Paul here or running from lions in the Colliseum.
posted by skallas at 3:40 PM on March 31, 2002


Why not just ask where you find these things in a box of chocolates?

In the Crunchy Frog, of course.
posted by aaron at 3:59 PM on March 31, 2002


The outcast, if there truly is one in this example, would be the irreligious. She always has to contend with a majority of believers

I agree with you skallas, but only to a point. It's definitely vice versa in a community that is considered (either by self or others) to be "intellectual". When you are dealing with people in a more intellectual setting, often time those that are religious are kind of looked at with a sense of pity, like 'oh you poor soul, you actually believe that?'. At least with regards to Christianity, as opposed to Islam or Judaism, which are both, for the most part, considered a race, or Buddhism or another Far Eastern religion, which are considered exotic and enlightened, and therefore exciting. I refuse to bash any religion, and i'm very hesistant to say where I stand b/c I know it's virtually pointless many times to take a stance. I would never play the 'victim' card. Hell, i can't, i'm a white male (and i don't buy into the 'reverse discrimination horseshit). But in intellectual bubbles, be it university, MeFi, or something else, often times the norm of society is reversed. I think this is also why many of the handful of MeFi conservatives (aaron, et al) have such a difficult time presenting their side of any argument, b/c they can often be looked upon with that same, pitied, 'oh you poor, naive, unenlightened little person' attitude. (btw, i'm just as guilty of doing it at times). Just my twopence.
posted by Ufez Jones at 4:34 PM on March 31, 2002


I'd just like to point out that major league baseball in North America starts today.

That's a pretty holy day in my religion of baseball.
posted by Grum at 4:41 PM on March 31, 2002


i, for one, have a great deal of respect for christianity and for the principles celebrated on this day--forgiveness, rebirth, peace, and the trancendental nature of humanity. i find that this central message of christianity is essentially the same as that of every other religious tradition.

what i have no use for are those people who claim to be christians (or jews or muslims or whatever) who are ignorant of the teachings of their faith and believe that they have a divine mandate to hate who they want to, attack who they want to, kill who they want to. the world is crawling with those fuckers.
posted by shylock at 5:15 PM on March 31, 2002


there definitely is a difference in the way christianity is treated on mefi than other religions, but i don't think it's very productive to just state that and act like it's horrible without thinking about why it's so. mefi is mostly US, or western world, where christianity is predominate. so, when people are confronted with each of the religions listed what would their likely reactions based on past experience be?

judaism: maybe they know someone who is jewish, maybe one or 2, they have almost certainly not been in a situation where the jewish person was trying to make them convert to judaism, and only have a dim understanding of the religion's beliefs. they probably don't see judaism as influencing their day to day life

islam: again, if they're in a big city, they probably know some islamic people, again probably no attempts would have been made at conversion, and islam is not seen to have much impact on day to day life.

buddhism: possibly know one buddhist, no conversion has been attempted again, no impact on daily life. further if you read much about buddhism it would appear to be very respectable, intellectually honest, and non-violent, which many intelligent people would not be opposed to, even if they don't understand the religion well.

christianity: the reader probably knows hundreds of christians through their lives, have almost definitely been in numerous situations where conversion is the goal, understand most of the basics of the religion, and see it as influencing their government and system of laws on a day to day basis. further, some of the audience may have been personally scarred at a young age by christianity, by it's (and therefore their parent's) views of birth control, abortion, homosexuality, or something similiar.

So yes, there is a difference in how the religions are treated, and that difference is based on the people doing the commenting as well as the actions of the religion itself. it's not "fair" or "unfair" it is just the consequences of how the religion has structured itself, and the proportion of mefi readers it has influenced. don't blame others when they are critical of your religion, it has probably effected them as much as it has you.
posted by rhyax at 5:32 PM on March 31, 2002


Skallas, don't be silly, of course I am not a victim. I don't HAVE to come to mefi, for one thing. But the climate for Christians has changed quite a bit over the last 30 years or so. Even in the US, it isn't as friendly in certain circles as it once was-if you are serious about it, and not just a cultural Christian. Of course there are tons of places where persecution is dead dog serious-like Indonesia has been lately, or Vietnam or Mainland China. But right now we are simply talking petty annoyance stuff.
posted by bunnyfire at 6:18 PM on March 31, 2002


So, Mrs. Jones, a Unitarian Universalist religious education teacher, is asking her sixth grade class if any of them can explain the significance of Easter.

Bobby: Um, Mrs. Jones, isn't that the day when all the souls of the dead walk the earth?

Mrs. Jones: No dear, that's Halloween. Jane?

Jane: Easter's when the lamp burned for eight days even though there was only oil for one, right?

Mrs. Jones: I think that's Hannukah, Jane, but I'm glad you were listening to something. Sue?

Sue: Easter is a Christian holiday. The Christians believe that Jesus was sent by God to save people and that some bad people tried him and then crucified him. He was buried, but three days later, he arose from the dead.

Mrs. Jones: very good dear.

Sue: And if he sees his shadow, we have six more weeks of winter.
posted by anapestic at 6:19 PM on March 31, 2002


When you are dealing with people in a more intellectual setting, often time those that are religious are kind of looked at with a sense of pity, like 'oh you poor soul, you actually believe that?'

Gosh, I wonder why.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:49 PM on March 31, 2002


easy cheap shot, fff
posted by Ufez Jones at 6:56 PM on March 31, 2002


Gosh, I wonder why.

Well, there you have it folks! Undeniable proof that there is no God. Never was...he was completely made up. Thanks five fresh fish, I owe you my soul.

On a more serious note, why argue something you can't prove? You can't even doctor statistics for proof. Honestly, if there was EVER, EVER a dead horse on MeFi, this has got to be it. Unless someone here can categorically state that there is or is not a God, why bother with all the semantics, bullshit, and blowhard rhetoric that fly in from all directions?
posted by BlueTrain at 7:10 PM on March 31, 2002


Not productive to sit around speculating about God? That would be Buddhism, Taoism, neo-paganism, or other philosophies. Any insights there will come from someone else tonight. Signing your soul over to five fresh fish over the Internet, and the consequences thereof, has potential as an award-winning remake of "The Devil and Daniel Webster." Glad now that your comments are copyrighted?

In American intellectual circles, it's amazing how many people have had a personal encounter with Judaism in their lives, even if they weren't raised Jewish. My prediction-- this religious tradition which actually encourages people to think and ask questions about right, wrong, and their history, not just "convert, believe and it will all be ok," will always be a presence wherever educated people gather.
posted by sheauga at 7:30 PM on March 31, 2002


The outcast, if there truly is one in this example, would be the irreligious. She always has to contend with a majority of believers
While I agree with this, i think it also depends on what kind of x-ian you are, and where. I say this only because I am a Catholic down in the good ole' Bible Belt (hour outside of Atlanta to be exact). While the irreligious are certainly in the minority around here, so too are we Catholics as there is a lot of animosity towards is. But, it is often times not by hand of the irreligious, but other Christians themselves. I say this not for sympathy ot to troll the x-ians, but i find it interesting that a lot of Christians have such hatred (yes, hatred) towards other Christians (well, that is if you consider Catholics Christians in the first place).
I am wondering if anyone else (pressumeably Christian of Catholic, if there are any on here) have felt the same way or seen this, or am i just unlucky?
posted by jmd82 at 7:37 PM on March 31, 2002


Okay, my two cents. Last night, the wife and I died eggs pretty colors. We did this not for our kids (we have none) or for anyone else (we will eventually eat them all, without anyone else ever seeing them).

Today, I got up late (on the computer too late - you know the feeling), read the paper, drank some coffee. Then, I grouted the tiles in the upstairs bathroom floor. After that, I went outside, pulled the bonsai out of their cold storage and gave them a good drink. I pulled some more mulch off the gardens and admired the crocus in bloom and the perennials just starting to show some green leaves above the surface. I wished that the daffodills were open, but I still enjoyed seeing them just ready to burst open, and I know they will be out this week.

Then I took a shower, shaved, packed up a couple bottles of good wine and the onions au gratin we had also put together the night before and drove the wife and I to a friend's house. We goofed around for a while, then got serious about baking the ham and grilling the leg of lamb that Jim had been marinating (this was the guy part). By the time we all sat down to dinner, we had one childless couple, a couple with two kids, and two elderly parents all sitting down together for the best meal I can remember for a while. After dinner, I got to show my host's young son how to hang a spoon off his nose, and introduced him to the wonders of science by observation of the application of microwave energy to Peeps (tm). This latter demonstration was a particularly big hit.

Driving home, my wife and I actually did talk a little about religion. I said that I didn't feel guilty about not going to church today, because I felt I glorified God in many ways today - I improved myself and my surroundings. I appreciated the bounty and beauty of nature. I came together with fellow souls, shared in our humanity, and even passed on something of myself to the future.

Boil it all down, and these are the fundamentals of all faiths.

Happy Easter, everybody. Of whatever faith you may be.
posted by yhbc at 7:39 PM on March 31, 2002


BlueTrain, I believe Ludwig Wittgenstein expresses your point quite eloquently in his Tractatus

"Scepticism is not irrefutable, but obviously nonsensical, when it tries to raise doubts where no questions can be asked. For doubt can exist only where a question exists, a question only where an answer exists, and an answer only where something can be said."
posted by boltman at 7:39 PM on March 31, 2002


Signing your soul over to five fresh fish over the Internet, and the consequences thereof, has potential as an award-winning remake of "The Devil and Daniel Webster."

Hey, whoa, hold up there boys! I don't want your souls.

for starters, i don't think ya got a soul anyway. hah!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:00 PM on March 31, 2002


My prediction-- this religious tradition which actually encourages people to think and ask questions about right, wrong, and their history, not just "convert, believe and it will all be ok," will always be a presence wherever educated people gather.

Why doesn't Catholicism apply here as well as Judaism?

(Very nice post, yhbc.)
posted by aaron at 8:41 PM on March 31, 2002


Why doesn't Catholicism apply here as well as Judaism?
While i'm not sheauga, my experience is that most people throw Christians and Catholics in the same boat. Consequeantly, people don't even think twice about considering Catholics as being different (though there are quite a few major differences).
posted by jmd82 at 9:11 PM on March 31, 2002


Unless someone here can categorically state that there is or is not a God, why bother with all the semantics, bullshit, and blowhard rhetoric that fly in from all directions?

because every community has to have something to pick on. MeFi happens to have picked Christianity, among other things. have there been erudite, intelligent discussions of Christianity? probably. but most of them descend into "how can you believe..."

well, how can you believe in quantum theory? it's based on something you will never see or understand [unless you are the 1% who grok the complex mathemathics like you were born to it]. the concepts are sure easy to wrap your mind around, but I betcha the scientists who eagerly put forth the theory of the four elements had a full explanation for cause-and-effect here, too.

for the record, I'm syncretic-Pagan, but it drives me nuts when atheists adopt a superiority complex because of what they do NOT believe in - pot, kettle, black, anyone? believe, don't believe, makes no difference - you're no less stupid for not believing in something intangible, believe me, and you're not automatically entered in Mensa because you've got Christ covering your back.
posted by Nyx at 12:05 AM on April 1, 2002


> Well, there you have it folks! Undeniable proof
> that there is no God.

An assertion can be very obviously very, very unlikely to be true, but impossible to prove or disprove. A leprechaun in your pocket, say, or pigs with wings. You tell us a pig flapped by on large feathery wings. We say bullshit. We cannot disprove your assertion, but from everything else we've seen, the odds lean very much towards you lying or being deluded, not towards pigs flying. And your odd assertion puts the burden of proof on you, not on the people who laugh at you.

You have as much right to believe in Christ coming back from the dead and so on as you have to believe that pigs fly, but everyone else has the right to be sure you're loony and, if your assertion is absurd enough and loud enough, even to mock you until you come up with solid evidence.

You shouldn't have to tread lightly when people make claims of the "I speak to invisible supernatural beings and I'm going to live forever" sort (though you should make sure they aren't carrying any sharp objects first). To the contrary, religious assertions pose special dangers (see the current Middle East troubles, for example) to fair and rational living, and so should be openly questioned more than equally absurd non-religious assertions.

> it's obvious the only thing special about Christianity in
> the way it's treated around here is that a far larger
> number of MeFites feel the desire, and safety in
> numbers, to shit upon it.

But it's not the sort of safety in numbers you are probably thinking of; it's safety in criticizing the majority, not in being a part of the majority. People here know that you have to be much more careful when you mock an absurd minority belief than when you mock an absurd majority belief. Metafilter appears to be mainly American and so mainly Christian. This doesn't mean that Judaism and Islam and all other systems based on belief in the supernatural and personal immortality and so on are any less a load of shite.

> well, how can you believe in quantum theory?

Because it's based on, is a part of, the same mathematics and science that explains the world to everyone's satisfaction, regardless of religion. It may be strange, it may require years of study, but, at least until believing in it becomes a life or death decision, it is a good bet.

If the quantum theorists instead made up quantum theory out of the blue and then, based on that arbitrary start and with no possible logical connection with the rest of science, started readjusting the rest of what is and is not true and what you are or are not supposed to believe and do, then quantum theory might be just another goofy religion like Christianity.
posted by pracowity at 7:19 AM on April 1, 2002


easy cheap shot, fff

Hardly. YOU are the one who suggested a correlation between education and disbelief. It is certainly reasonable to wonder at such a correlation if it exists.

I believe you will discover similar correlations between education and disbelief in any number of supernatural phenomena: ghosts; UFOs; leprechauns; etc.
posted by rushmc at 7:34 AM on April 1, 2002


You have as much right to believe in Christ coming back from the dead and so on as you have to believe that pigs fly, but everyone else has the right to be sure you're loony and, if your assertion is absurd enough and loud enough, even to mock you until you come up with solid evidence.

Secularism is a modern theory, less than 400 years of age. Before that, religion dominated every aspect of life. Suddenly atheists are enlightened and thousands of years of religion go out the window? I'm sorry, but atheists have JUST as much to prove as any given religion.

And your assumption that religious people are loony only reflects your arrogance. This type of attitude is why racism exists, why prejudice will never go away. You're an atheist...congratufuckinglations. Now, instead of saying that there is no God, which would pit you against every known religion, why not talk about more important things, like how to solve the hate in the world? The problem with the Middle East isn't religion: it's ignorance of other cultures. Which, in my mind, is the same ignorance you display today.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:17 AM on April 1, 2002


As an atheist, I've always had a pragmatic view of religion. If your faith helps you to be humbler, kinder, more loving, more forgiving, wiser, gentler and stronger - well then I say, hoorah for Jesus/ Allah/ Buddha/whoever. If it makes you into a judgmental asshole who wants to enforce your tribal taboos on everyone else, then I say forget it. I'm thinking about adding an addendum for my fellow atheists. If your atheism helps you to realize that humans aren't the center of the universe, that we have no access to universal truth and we'll have to overcome the crappy aspects of our human nature with only the benefits of the wondrous aspects of our human nature, then I say, go team! If it makes you into a judgmental asshole who wants to pick fights with anyone who mentions their faith, then I say forget it.

Save your arguments for fights that make a difference. If someone uses their religion as a justification for oppressing a minority or ripping off peoples money or teaching phoney science, then lay into them. If someone uses their religion as an impetus to be more loving or find a hopeful start in the morning, what's the point in getting upset? (And don't go on about the crimes done by religious types over the centuries as evidence of innate evil. Throughout human history, almost everyone up until recent years has believed in god(s). That means all the good as well as the bad as well as the mediocre has come from religious types.)

I thought this was a good thread for civilized discourse between the religious and non-religious.
posted by tdismukes at 12:07 PM on April 1, 2002


LOL BlueTrain! Great April Fool's post! You actually had me thinking, for a tenth of a second there, that you were as ignorant and clueless as your post demonstrates. What a hoot!
posted by rushmc at 12:27 PM on April 1, 2002


What a hoot!

Care to clarify, or should I label you the obvious troll?
posted by BlueTrain at 4:18 PM on April 1, 2002


> Secularism is a modern theory

Cosmology will always be with us. The latest and brightest and best cosmology is not religious. Religion is primitive cosmology.

Take the big monotheistic religions that dominate much of the world. They start with the absurd premise that a magic guy made the universe and has chosen mankind as the special animal of the universe, the annointed species. The magic guy constantly reads the mind of each member of that species -- no other species matters -- and, depending on what he sees, sends the magic invisible remnant of that animal either to eternal whoopy or to eternal roasting on a spit after the animal kicks the bucket.

OK, that's fine cosmology if you're still making your kitchenware out of unfired mud and wondering where lightning comes from and why it gets cold in winter. Let those folk have the magic guy until they can come up with something better. But you, where you are, if you are an adult of at least average mental abilities and education and you read the papers now and then, should know better.

> And your assumption that religious people are loony
> only reflects your arrogance.

OK, say I'm a grown person with a good education and years of experience in life. Say I am, if you go by grades and other common measurements, smarter than most people. I have read many books, been many places, spoken to many people. I have examined things. I have seen life. I have looked deeply into myself, pondered the meaning of things, and spoken to others about these things.

And what comes of it all? This: I believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Really. I believe in their existence like you believe in the existence of rocks and trees. I think they are, without a doubt, there. They do everything they are supposed to do: Santa lives at the North Pole, runs a crew of toymaking dwarf slaves, sneaks into your house once a year, checks out your kids while they sleep, etc. The Easter Bunny, that singular mammal with the eggs, delivers dyed eggs and store-bought candy and fake grass in baskets to our homes.

I believe this. I know this. I declare that my whole existence, my sanity, my everything depends on this being true. I cannot imagine a universe in which Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were not actual beings delivering me the actual goods once a year. Nothing could make me believe otherwise. I hate to hear people say anything to the contrary.

And I am not alone. People like me have taken to meeting once a week to discuss Santa and the Bun-buns. We read and write books about them. We have Santa-and-the-Bunny experts whom we revere as our spiritual Santa-and-the-Bunny masters. We speak to Santa and the Bunny, and we know they hear us and will do good things for us because we honor them and their sacrifice of toys and candy. The Easter Bunny, though he's not so hot in the present-delivery department, is a favorite among the more lax members of our group because the Great Bunny does not enforce sleep and goodness rules like Santa, while the more conservative among us prefer the hard rule and paternalism of Santa. The less literal among us sometimes think the Easter Bunny may not be a rabbit incarnate, and may not deliver actual chicken eggs, but that the One Bunny is still really there, but a spiritual entity, and is still listening to them and still delivering invisible eggs once a year.

Etc.

Well?

We've got a screw loose, that's what. Maybe not all the screws loose, maybe none quite missing, but at least one big screw needs to be cranked tight. Maybe it's stripped and should be replaced.

Of course, tales of Santa and the Easter Bunny can be (and are) used for nice things. That's fine. Anything you can do to be nice to kids is good. But grownups shouldn't really believe in these things.
posted by pracowity at 12:41 AM on April 2, 2002


Bravo, pracowity!
posted by rushmc at 8:05 AM on April 2, 2002


But grownups shouldn't really believe in these things.

I asked this question up above, a few comments ago, and I'll ask again, "Can you prove that there is no God?" or is atheism, like theism, just another theory?

Your entire response was horseshit. No offense, because I'm trying to be tactful. You have proven nothing to me except that you have a decent set of rhetorical skills.

The truth is this: religion serves its purpose in billions of persons' lives. It gives them confidence; it gives them a will to live and breathe; it gives them everything one could ask for, and in return, all a religion asks for is obedience to a standard of morals. Forget fanatics. Forget fundamentalists. Think of a middle American Christian. Or a standard, fairly poor, Chinese Buddhist. Or another fairly poor Indian Hindu. These people follow the morals set forth by their respective religions in hopes for a good life.

Here's my question to you...Who the hell are you, a man who can't prove anything, to tell them differently? What gives you the audacity to tell them THEY'RE living in a fantasy world?

It's true that all religions have their forms of fantaticism. Atheists have their share as well. They're called people. We're all human, and some misinterpret good ideas and become fundamentalists.

My point is that instead of looking down upon everyone with a religion, just focus on your own life. We all have different paths, different struggles. You are an atheist. Good. But don't tell others that they can't be religious when you can't prove your own values.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:17 AM on April 2, 2002


Who the hell are you, a man who can't prove anything, to tell them differently?

A non-believer, BlueTrain. Sheesh. You act like you've never met one before. And since when do religious people demand proof of anything?
posted by rcade at 10:53 AM on April 2, 2002


> "Can you prove that there is no God?" or is atheism, like
> theism, just another theory?

If you can ask that with a straight face, you understand neither religion nor science.
posted by pracowity at 10:09 PM on April 2, 2002


Brilliant, pracowity!

The sensible thing, of course, is to back away slowly and calmly from anyone who actually had such a belief. One shouldn't confront him with the lunacy of it. Such would be potentially dangerous. Let them continue their fantasy: after all, if it helps them be a better person, it's not an entirely bad thing.

Now, if this person were to persist in trying to convert you to his faith, then it may be necessary to expose Santa and the Bunny for what they really are: comforting stories told to the gullible in order to get them to behave a in a socially acceptable manner.

And, of course, if the debate ever arose on MeFi and he were to take part in it, then there's no need to play coy and try to avoid shattering his delusions. It's fair game once it's in the open.

Besides, pracowity, there isn't a chance in the world that you'd ever convince a True Bunny Believer that he should be checking himself into Sunnyvale Happy Home. "None are so blind as those who will not see." And the True Believer will poke their own eyes out to avoid seeing: it is that important to him.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:37 PM on April 4, 2002


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