I find it really interesting to hear about different religions. I wonder how people (and young people at that!) can know so much when it seemingly requires an encyclopeadic knowledge of a vast quantity of texts! It would be like studying full time for a degree in addition to everythig else you have to do!
I just find it quite fascinating (growing up in an atheist society, I am learning about my religious heritage as I go along). In truth, all the rules, especially the ones from the Leviticus and Deuteronomy, are quite obscure to say the least! However, I believe that in their totality they teach us something essential - that in a civilized society there are laws that govern how we have to behave to one another, and that we all, from illegal immigrant up through the president, have to live by it.
At the same time, it is quite amazing how many rules are still relevant. For example, my friends and I were recently discussing a potential moral dilemma. Say a friend asks you to keep some money for him, and you get robbed. Do you have to reimburse your friend? Well, apparently Judaism has answered this question centuries ago - yes if you received anything for keeping the money, no if you did it for nothing
I think it's easier to know so much about your religion when you either grow up with it... but most religions also encourage daily meditation and study... so yeah... it's not that hard... and they have degrees for them too
What good does it do for the World, for other people if you study the Bible / Koran / Thora like an hour a day - but don't do anything selfless or helpful? And some of those oh-so-believing Christians / Muslims start spewing nonsense around, about "real" marriage, and God's laws etc. Take the Pope, a highly intelligent man, fluent in Latin, good pianist, spent his entire life learning and reading about Jesus and God - and what does he these days? Says that there shouldn't be any condoms distributed in Africa. Hurray! What a freaking waste of time, energy and resources. And all those evangelical organisations in the US, in other countries, waste all that money and energy on stupid campaigns that protest something that actually would never affect them.
Even if I did think that I have a problem with stuff like gay marriage (which I don't), as a good Christian (which I am not) wouldn't it be better to make a priority list, like:
1. End all wars
2. Cure all diseases
3. Help all the orphaned children
4. End domestic violence
5. Help disadvantaged people all over the world
6. Save the environment
4783. Develop floors with an ecological automatical cleaning device, so vacuuming will be outdated
11985. Try to rebreed Dinosaurs (creatures of god, after all)
19873689906. Get gay marriage banned
What I would like to see from lots of religious people in the world: read the important parts of your scriptures, and not some outdated footnote and stick to the basic rules, like altruism. Less talk - more meaningful altruistic action.
Last edited by Medusa; 05-01-2009 at 10:49 AM.
I have never thought that the state belonged in the marriage business at all, but since it has chosen to do so, the distinctions are not meaningless.
Favoring marriage is embedded in the tax code, not to mention a huge number of other statutes.
For example, some companies extend health coverage to spouses of employees, but not to significant others of employees. If gay marriage is enacted, those spouses who were previously not coverd would have health insurance.
So gay marriage is not just about love, or a piece of paper. It's about money, and the law.
Medusa - I think you're advocating an almost medieval approach to religion. Commoners were not suppose to understand the word of G-d, but to blindly follow the directives they got from the clergy. In fact, it was considered dangerous to allow commoners to read Bible for themselves (Judaism is different in that all males are obliged to read the Torah).
Study and meditation provide a path to enlightenment. Meditation provides us with a way to examine ourselves, be honest with ourselves about ourselves. Study allows us to internalize the morals of the religion. In theory, the person who engages in both those pursuits will have internalized inherent morality and act accordingly, whereas someone without that benefit would only perform good acts out of fear of retribution in this world or the next.
Doris - if both heterosexual and homosexual couples formed "civil unions" as opposed to "marriages", than the difference between the two would indeed become meaningless. While I agree that in a perfect world there would be no need for legally-defined marriages (however you want to call them), I wouldn't advocate it just yet in our society. The truth is that there have been numerous studies showing how marriages benefit society; it appears that people (especially men) indeed start acting more responsibly with that piece of paper.
I don't think this business of having gays getting lesser advantages and services is right. Either gay marriage or the government out of the marriage business satisfies a need for equality for all.
Relgious marriages can meet the 'keep the guys from straying' needs. I would think that having God involved would be more sobering than the justice of the peace in any case. Do you know whether any studies have shown whether religious marriages are more effective than civil in the straying department. If they are the same, is it the threat of the financial debacle of a divorce that is the actual deterrent?
The topic was supposed to be about Miss California.
It's irrelevant what you or I think about gay marriage. The truth is that a majority of Californians voted not to allow gay marriage right now. That means that Miss California's position wasn't radical or unusual. On the contrary, it represents the MAJORITY OPINION. Her answer was also phrased nicely so as not to offend people. For her political beliefs to make her lose the competition, or even to affect the results, is not only disgusting but essentially a criminal act. She has been discriminated against for her beliefs, that is unconstitutional. And I guarantee you that if there were some kind of situation where someone was FOR gay marriage, and THAT made them lose the competition or hinder their chance, you'd have mobs of angry screaming protesters in the streets.
- The panel was terminally stupid for even asking that question
- Any judge swayed by some beauty pageant contestant's opposing political beliefs should be permanently banned from judging
- Perez Hilton should crawl back until the slimy rock he came from
- Pageants are stupid.
Do the same conditions apply if one of the parties is a bank rather than of an individual?
Would it be regarded as extra-virtuous if the person who was robbed decided that, even though the law does not require it, I want to give you your money back out of my own pocket?
(I am sure the Talmud has considered every possible variation on this theme. )
Last edited by Mathman; 05-01-2009 at 06:26 PM.
I don't know of any studies like that because I think it's too difficult to keep track of religious marriages - far more so than of civil ones. And no, it's not the thread of "financial debacle". Somehow, there is something in our culture that is very ingrained that says that the fact that you're married means you ought to be more responsible.
Last edited by Ptichka; 05-02-2009 at 12:54 PM.