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Old 07-28-2006, 05:40 PM
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I'm challenged

This forum is interesting and stimulating for me in lots of different ways, but even though we have laid out some starting definitions of terms - things like "secular" and "humanist", I feel quite at odds with the way they're used sometimes. They feel often like shorthand for "I hate everything to do with religion and there's nothing I like better than having a good go at it". More, it feels like Buddhism and Taoism and Shinto and Paganism et al are somehow considered to be honorary humanisms, full of enlightened information, but the Judeo-Christian tradition is dismissed. It's simply wrong.

Humanists have famously embraced the motto of the Roman historian Terence - "I am human, and nothing of humanity is foreign to me". All human experience is a marvel - being able to disentangle ourselves emotionally from other's experience of course is a big deal for us alcoholics! - and humanism to me means being open to explore our shared experiences and our shared solutions.

"Secular" means something quite specific to me. It means "public". Secular, public experiences are those we explicitly share, those that allow us to set light upon our common humanity. Secularism is and always has been a joyful part of my life, and never more so since I was broken into AA (lol), and I began to be better at sharing the public space with people who were very different from me, but were always looking for the shared, the common, rather than the different and the prejudiced. Of course, we alcoholics in fellowship are very lucky, because we discover a whole wealth of experiences, emotional states, human crises, which we share very specifically with other alcoholics - and we discover a response to the existential crisis so beloved by some - alone with our choices in the universe? Not in AA. I am not alone. Not any more.

So I'm challenged. And I suppose I'm challenging everyone else here too. As I have said elsewhere I was a great fan of Karl Popper. He gave this wonderful instruction - I quote from memory -

"If you are going to criticise another's philosophy, find it's strongest point and criticise it there. To criticise it's weaknesses is just sophistry"

Let's use the secular forum to talk about what is wonderful about humanity, not about how much we hate religion, or how clever we imagine we are for dismissing it.
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Old 07-28-2006, 06:34 PM
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Let's use the secular forum to talk about what is wonderful about humanity, not about how much we hate religion, or how clever we imagine we are for dismissing it.

(no pun intended...lol!)

Shalom!
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Old 07-29-2006, 02:40 AM
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I dont think I am clever for critisicing religion, I think some religiouns are grotesque crimes against humanity - and the last thing I am thinking about is 'how clever I am'.
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Old 07-29-2006, 02:47 AM
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Paul - I think your take on it is very subjective.
"I hate everything to do with religion and there's nothing I like better than having a good go at it".
I don't doubt you feel this but it isn't what I'd call factual - I haven't heard anyone say that. I get the feeling your discomfort is more about not wanting people to be clear about what they do and don't believe.

I posted about human rights and expressed I feel more emotion about defending them than my nation, friends or family. If ANYONE, even those nearest and dearest to me sought to ban a religion or even to 'cleanse' religion from a programme that relies on it - I would argue against them and do everything I felt possible to protect the right for people to gather and share their own beliefs.

Secondly, how do you deal cognitively with seeing that I freely quote the Dalai Lama and Ghandi? Not only that but I don't get any negative response to doing so from other aithiests - although I have had support.

I don't believe in god. I'm secular in my way of life so much so that aitheism doesn't define the whole of me. My lack of belief in god matters far less to me than my positive belief in human rights and kindness.

I'm saying that I think your post is a very narrow view of what's been shared in this forum - and perhaps a views heavily flavoured by your own discomforts and beliefs.
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Old 07-29-2006, 05:17 AM
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Equus said:

I'm saying that I think your post is a very narrow view of what's been shared in this forum - and perhaps a views heavily flavoured by your own discomforts and beliefs.
Perhaps you're right. I perhaps have very different expectations of what secualrists are. And perhaps they are simply wrong. But I think I read the same forum as you and I think I have read a lot of people saying "isn't it great that I can say contentious stuff here which I'm not allowed to say anywhere else". And what I want to know is, what branch of secularism is contentious?
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Old 07-29-2006, 05:40 AM
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Who is the "What is Recovery?" forum for?
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Old 07-29-2006, 05:46 AM
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Autumn,

The "What is Recovery" Forum is a forum for those searching for answers. What is Recovery? is an open discussion and support group?

If you have any questions just PM me anytime.
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Old 07-29-2006, 05:53 AM
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Autumn;
All forums on SR, with the exception of the women's room and the men's room, are open to all SR members.
I don't understand your question in the context of this thread? Is there a connection? Please let us know if your question has been fully answered.

Shalom!
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Old 07-29-2006, 05:56 AM
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Can the "secularists" (how ever it's defined here - sounds like everyone is; after all, everyone worked their 12-step programs differently) go into the AA forum unabashed and speak freely about how their program isn't based on a higher power? How would that be welcomed? Or if people went in there and told AAers that they're arrogant and prideful for believing how a possible figment of one's imagination runs the show? How about in the "Christians in Recovery" forum? Why not just make this a family, narcotics and alcohol abuse forum and be done with it?

Was/is it too much to ask to be free of AA/NA rhetoric, EVER??

Never did the phrase ring truer than it does now: "You can run, but you can't hide."
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Old 07-29-2006, 06:04 AM
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Hey Paul,

I think that people who parade as athiests for the sole purpose of being seen as superior are pathetic, and you shouldn't worry about them.

Anyone who is that superficial and pompous probably doesn't mean what they say, anyway. They just want to be noticed. Their beliefs aren't threats to you, I promise.

People who really believe in something actually live it, as opposed to just talking about it. That's been my experience/observation, anyway. A true athiest would probably be too busy working on their projects to announce that they're an athiest 24/7 (unless, of course, they try to put the ten commandments in schools. I'd have something to say about that ... but it would have little to do with how I'm an athiest, and everything to do with the first ammendment).

Take care,
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Old 07-29-2006, 06:08 AM
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Fair enough Autumn. I think I expressed that confusion for myself a few weeks ago. But I think this thread is about secularism isn't it?
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Old 07-29-2006, 06:09 AM
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Well, Autumn,
I think if you went to an AA meeting or forum and expressed that the idea of a HP was poppycock, that would not be received very well. It doesn't prevent one from doing it though, now does it? I think it's really a matter of respect.

Are you saying that talk of religion/G*D is AA/NA rhetoric? If so, I would disagree honestly and respectfully.

I think, as we navagate the paremeters of this new forum, there's a lot of people who don't understand it too. It seems as if many have different thoughts on what secularism means. Some, as Paul points out think it's a place to bash religion.

I'm clearly a person who believes in and practices a particular faith. And I have no problems stating the fact that I believe in G*D. Yet, intellectually, I am satisfied searching for secular solutions and meanings in this world. Ironically, it "fits" with my faith. And it's a great mental exercise too.

And, until we reach a conclusion about what *secular* means to us, there will continue to be confusion as to how it's expressed on the board. Right now, I look to how things are expressed -- ie, is it respectful disagreement? Is it a bash against a particular religion? Is it a legitimate questioning of an aspect of faith? Or, is it a humanistic concern without reference to religion at all? (More to my mind of what it should be to begin with.) It's also likely that we won't ever come to a perfect definition of secular, as these boards are fluid; new members with the same misunderstandings will continue, (G*D willing), to grace our boards and search with the same tools for meaning in their lives.

It is also likely that our members need to vent out their disappointments in their religious experience too. Many of us have experienced it alone. With the added issue of drug and alcohol addictions, I think it's a great idea to give a safe haven to explore these issues. I've seen it happen on this forum already; I've seen a better understanding and a growth result from that questioning; letting go of poisonous beliefs and tentatively accepting new ideas -- subject to further investigation. So, positive things can come out of that questioning based in disappointment. I know my path took a sharp turn as a result of that questioning myself.

Does this help? I hope so. IF not, please continue to post your concern until it is addressed.

Shalom!
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Old 07-29-2006, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by paulmh
Let's use the secular forum to talk about what is wonderful about humanity, not about how much we hate religion, or how clever we imagine we are for dismissing it.
Right. Let's use it for discussing things other than calling people who don't believe in god or a HP arrogant and prideful.

How would it sound to call Christians that? They believe in an absolute, don't they? Is it presumptuous?
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Old 07-29-2006, 06:26 AM
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Btw Paul, I haven't seen anyone on this forum say they HATE religion.

I don't hate religion, spirituality, AA, nor am I an Atheist. I keep an open eye and ear.

I take secular to mean a "secular" program of recovery. Secular in the way Webster's defines the word.
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Old 07-29-2006, 06:46 AM
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Paul - I like you, quite a bit actually. So none of this is personal.

I'm confused by a lot of things you have written here over the last day or so..... especially defining people as prejudiced who are unable to digest the language of a specific program (my interpretation of what you wrote).

How can you imply that? It's like telling someone to become Christian, but not to bother reading the Bible. Language is a fundamental aspect of knowledge.

I don't read tabloids. Many of the lies in them are contained within the English language. I don't want that garbage stuck in my head, to possibly later be mistaken as fact.

There are many, many aspects of the language to which you refer that I interpret as untruths.

And, sorry to bring this up here, but I didn't want to disrupt **** Ma's thread further.
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Old 07-29-2006, 06:56 AM
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Secular is not about religious bashing, though by definition it does reject every religious faith and worship.

Secularist (also secularism): One who rejects every form of religious faith and worship, and undertakes to live accordingly; also, one who believes that education and other civil matters should be without religious element.

In my quest for understanding I consider any and all religious viewpoints, to try to see them for what they are, and recognize why I reject organized religion. There's a HUGE philosophical difference between religion and spirituality. As neatly defined in a passage at Spirituality forum yesterday:

Buddhist thought of the day 7/28/06
Until a radical change takes place and we wipe out all nationalities, all ideologies, all religious divisions, and establish a global relationship - psychologically first, inwardly before organizing the outer - we shall go on with wars. - J. Krishnamurti

As one who takes that seriously, and actively undertakes to live accordingly, I think we have to rise above focus on subjective differences and objectively concentrate on the reasons behind the differences of perspective. If everyone was open to freely express their position, removing all elements of dogmatic religious judgment, there could be learning and understanding, rather than defending and disagreement.

I've had to remove myself from my extremely fundamentally religious-minded family and several close relationships because I couldn't live according to their preset concepts, and they certainly weren't going to consider mine. Made isolation in drugs Almightily appealing. But that's (now obviously) not the answer either. I'm still hopeful this forum can rise above all matters of ego and get to the heart of the matter. That being, how to live BETTER on a level of mutual understanding and respect at the core. That requires internal understanding of how everything works together, and how each of us play role within the Whole. Again I restate, Interconnectedness is my definition of God. That puts the responsibility for understanding, respect, interaction with others squarely on the shoulders of every individual, to seek their OWN definition of the god of their understanding. No religion necessary. It's really very freeing.
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Old 07-29-2006, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Autumn
Paul - I like you, quite a bit actually. So none of this is personal.

I'm confused by a lot of things you have written here over the last day or so..... especially defining people as prejudiced who are unable to digest the language of a specific program (my interpretation of what you wrote).

How can you imply that? It's like telling someone to become Christian, but not to bother reading the Bible. Language is a fundamental aspect of knowledge.

I don't read tabloids. Many of the lies in them are contained within the English language. I don't want that garbage stuck in my head, to possibly later be mistaken as fact.

There are many, many aspects of the language to which you refer that I interpret as untruths.

And, sorry to bring this up here, but I didn't want to disrupt **** Ma's thread further.
Perhaps this should be on it's own thread then? Or maybe even in a PM. This thread is about secularism, not about **** Ma's thread....
Thanks for understanding...

Shalom!
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Old 07-29-2006, 10:46 AM
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Rabbi Avraham Itzchak HaCohen Kook (1865-1935) is considered by many to be the most significant Jewish mystic sage of this epoch. He taught that the essence of Judaism 'is the passion to overcome separatism, the severance of the human from God, human from human and human from nature. It is the passion to perfect the world through awareness of our links to all else in existence.'
Alone;
You're Buddist thought reminded me of this saying. I'm going to a retreat on the 7th to study Rabbi Kook's teachings. I am really looking forward to it, and could not agree more with both of these great teachers.

Until I recognize you in me and me in you, we will continue to be divided/torn.

Shalom!
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Old 07-29-2006, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by historyteach
...This thread is about secularism, not about **** Ma's thread....
Thanks for understanding...

Shalom!
Actually, I think this thread is about Paul's discomfort.
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Old 07-29-2006, 12:01 PM
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"....[Rabbi Kook]taught that the essence of Judaism 'is the passion to overcome separatism, the severance of the human from God..."

As such, his teachings are not secular. Secularism is about that which is apart from religion and god. Secularists generally aren't interested in a religious interpretation of events, conditions, or beliefs. I'd really look forward to anything you have to post about the retreat. I'd just suggest that this isn't the forum for it. The Spirituality Forum would be ideal.
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