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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:49 am 
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kitoba wrote:
This points to the main reason I agree the picture doesn't belong in the school. American Christianity has reduced Jesus to a brand mascot. People wear their Jesus t-shirts and put religious bumper stickers on their cars, and buy WWJD wristbands and send their kids to schools like this one --but no one ever stops to ask themselves if they're actually following the lessons of Christ. How many Christians can even name the six Christian duties or the Greatest Commandment(s)?

Seriously agree, and it's not just the US. When I was in Mexico, I was astounded by how many people professed to be Catholics or Pentecostals, yet were distressingly ignorant of their own church's teachings.

The Pew Forum U.S. Religious Knowledge study found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons were the groups with the highest knowledge about religion; not just Christianity, but world religions in general. (Specifically, Mormons had the highest Christian knowledge score, Jews the highest world religions score, and atheists/agnostics the highest score on religion in public life; though they all did better in these categories than the others.) The groups that did the worst were Catholics and non-evangelical Protestants: each of the groups in those categories averaged less than 50% on the knowledge quiz.

The results of this study made me wonder what it was about these various groups that resulted in more or less religious knowledge. Being a Mormon myself, I figured the main reason their scores are higher on average would be due to the fact that many young Mormon men and women serve missions, which entails a lot of scripture study, as well as exposing them to people from other religions. (Many missionaries grew up in Mormon enclaves in Utah and Idaho, where so many share their religious beliefs that they don't get much exposure to other religions. That all changes when they go on a mission.)

Having served in Mexico, I also met a lot of Hispanic Catholics, the group that did the worst in the study. My observations there indicated that Catholicism was considered to be more of a cultural thing than a spiritual thing. It was extremely common to meet families that had an image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in their home, but that only go to mass on Easter and Christmas and generally knew little of Catholic teachings.

Jews and atheists I'd be less able to speculate on. I'd imagine that atheists did well because they have spent a significant amount of time studying religion, either as part of the search for truth that ultimately lead them to choose atheism, or in search of ammunition to use against theists.

If you're interested in seeing how you'd fare on the quiz, you can try it out here.

Of course, knowledge of one's faith is not quite the same as following its teachings, but it's hard to follow Jesus's example if you don't really know what He did.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:58 am 
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IMO intent and what reasonably can be understood as the intent by a contemporary spectator of the same culture is all that matters. Symbols are a method of communication and the important thing is, what they are communicating.

What symbols meant in the past, or what they mean in other cultures is interesting, but it is of accademic interest.

And i don't have an objection to public buildings having religious symbols per se. If for instance the state happens to get some buidling full of religious symbols (like via tax debts or something) and turns it to a school and keeps some religious symbols to save money, then i have no problem with that.

What is a problem however, is if goverment officials use thier office for propaganda for a private cause of theirs, and if called out on that express, that their cause is more important, then them showing proper professional conduct.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:32 pm 
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waffle wrote:
The hypothetical addresses the original article that kicked this off. Our posts crossed each other, I was composing my post while you posted yours.


Ah, right. Then I think I owe you an apology - I could have picked that up if I'd checked the post times.

waffle wrote:
And I just got slammed with a feature change and have to get to work schlepping bits again. I'll see what I can come up with later.


I'll be patient.

waffle wrote:
Unfortunately, we have a small, extremely vocal and extremely dedicated group attempting to replace education with religious indoctrination. And after twenty years of putting up with garbage, my tolerance for willful ignorance and deceit in the name of one's deluded, egotistical interpretation of religion has worn quite thin.


I quite understand that. I still think you're overreacting a bit, but I can see how such an overreaction could easily happen. I've seen some of the claims made by some protestant groups, especially those that lock themselves up in one small community and ignore everyone else except to condemn them.

Jorodryn wrote:
Besides like I said earlier I am being intentionally obstinate about this make a point.


As a general rule, this is a dangerous tatic to use in argument. First of all, you run the risk that, in a future argument in which you are being serious, you will be dismissed as being intentionally obstinate again. Secondly, you run the quite likely risk of persuading everyone else to merely give up arguing and walk away in frustration, which is unhelpful.

AlternateTorg wrote:
If you're interested in seeing how you'd fare on the quiz, you can try it out here.


Nice quiz. I got 28 out of 32 (didn't know when Mormonism started, what religion Maimonides was, the dominant religion in Indonesia, and I hadn't heard of the First Great Awakening). One or two of the others that I got were various flavours of informed guess as well, where I was uncertain but could (generally) eliminate at least some of the possibilities.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:37 pm 
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I got 28 of 32 correct. So according to the results I scored higher than the average for all groups listed. Of the 4 questions I missed, one was a court ruling, 2 were about people that I honestly had never heard of, and the last was about nirvana that I had a 50 50 chance on guessing based on the multiple choice answers that I narrowed down to two. So I don't think I did too shabby.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:37 pm 
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Jorodryn wrote:
That is not what I am saying in the least. I don't pray to a picture, or any other physical representation of my God. Besides like I said earlier I am being intentionally obstinate about this make a point. Because, to me, the reaction I am getting from people here is same that I see atheist or non-christians get when they bring up the removal of religious symbol X from public location Y.


I understand now. Your argument is:

If Christian belief is meaningless, then why aren't Christian symbols treated like all other symbols?

The overall goal of the argument, I assume, is to push secularists to reexamine their views on Christianity.

If I've assessed this correctly, I find it a disingenuous and self-defeating line of argument. If you think Christianity should be taught in public schools, then say so. If you don't, then don't.

To me, this argument starts by conceding to the secular view that religious beliefs are just different flavors, and then proceeds from there. To actually win this line of argument would be a victory for the symbols of Christianity, but a loss for the substance of the religion.

In my opinion, what threatens Christianity in America is not "them" taking Christianity out of the schools, but "us" taking Christ out of Christianity. The rise of atheism here is not a reaction to weaknesses in the faith of Christianity, but it is almost certainly a reaction to weaknesses in how American religion embodies that faith.

drachefly wrote:
Oh man, Kitoba. That's... I mean, it'd awfully convenient for me to find that 'convincing', but it's certainly from an unanticipated direction.


Well, that's the whole point, isn't i?. You're the one arguing that the portrait of Jesus should be viewed as something powerful and sacred. Jorodryn is the one arguing that it shouldn't be viewed as anything of any particular meaning.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:41 pm 
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CCC wrote:
Jorodryn wrote:
Besides like I said earlier I am being intentionally obstinate about this make a point.
As a general rule, this is a dangerous tatic to use in argument. First of all, you run the risk that, in a future argument in which you are being serious, you will be dismissed as being intentionally obstinate again. Secondly, you run the quite likely risk of persuading everyone else to merely give up arguing and walk away in frustration, which is unhelpful.


I realize that, but I was trying to illustrate two comparitive points of view. I tried to point that out from the beginning. Maybe it didn't translate well in this mode of communication.


Also, I am not advocating the teaching of Christianity in schools at all. I don't think it should be. Except as a historical or sociological class. My whole argument is still based on items that can be construed as passively promoting a specific religion by the US government because of their placement in government buildings.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:04 pm 
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Here is about the best way that I can break down my view point.

No matter how we slice things there is a status quo in the US. I am sure that there is a status quo every where, but I am only dealing with my country at the moment.

My stance is if we do something that changes the status quo that something has to be applied equally across the board no matter how trivial it may seem. So in the case of one depiction of a religious deity being removed that has to apply to all depictions of religious deities no matter how far their symbology is removed from the religion. In the case of marriage, if we change the rules to allow gay marriage then we have to allow for other alternative marriages like polygamy or even group marriage even if the later group is very minute in scope.

What I see happening a lot of times however is that the status quo is changed specifically for one group of squeaky wheels and a new set of double standards are put in place. So the best time to fix the problem of those double standards is to take care of it when you are changing the status quo.

Does that make sense?

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:01 pm 
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Jorodryn wrote:
Does that make sense?


No, it does not. Because the heart of your argument is equating a depiction of a classical roman deity with Jesus. And as Kitoba eloquently pointed out, that is a false equivalence. Put simply, you have not put forth a compelling case that these two are equal. And from there, your argument falls apart.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:11 pm 
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CCC wrote:
AlternateTorg wrote:
If you're interested in seeing how you'd fare on the quiz, you can try it out here.


Nice quiz. I got 28 out of 32 (didn't know when Mormonism started, what religion Maimonides was, the dominant religion in Indonesia, and I hadn't heard of the First Great Awakening). One or two of the others that I got were various flavours of informed guess as well, where I was uncertain but could (generally) eliminate at least some of the possibilities.


30/32

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:14 pm 
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AlternateTorg wrote:
Nice quiz. I got 28 out of 32 (didn't know when Mormonism started, what religion Maimonides was, the dominant religion in Indonesia, and I hadn't heard of the First Great Awakening). One or two of the others that I got were various flavours of informed guess as well, where I was uncertain but could (generally) eliminate at least some of the possibilities.


Jorodryn wrote:
I got 28 of 32 correct. So according to the results I scored higher than the average for all groups listed. Of the 4 questions I missed, one was a court ruling, 2 were about people that I honestly had never heard of, and the last was about nirvana that I had a 50 50 chance on guessing based on the multiple choice answers that I narrowed down to two. So I don't think I did too shabby.


waffle wrote:
30/32


I got 32 out of 32, but then, I'm Mormon. :sasha: I freely admit that I wasn't 100% sure on a couple of them, though. FYI, Mormonism started in either 1820 or 1830, depending on whether you consider the movement to have started with the year First Vision or the year the church was officially organized.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:17 pm 
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waffle wrote:
Jorodryn wrote:
Does that make sense?


No, it does not. Because the heart of your argument is equating a depiction of a classical roman deity with Jesus. And as Kitoba eloquently pointed out, that is a false equivalence. Put simply, you have not put forth a compelling case that these two are equal. And from there, your argument falls apart.


from a secular point of view they should be treated as equal.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:17 pm 
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Why? 'Secular' doesn't mean 'completely blind to all relevant differences'.

AlternateTorg wrote:
If you're interested in seeing how you'd fare on the quiz, you can try it out here.


That is one seriously obnoxious quiz. 65 page-loads?

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:21 pm 
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drachefly wrote:
That is one seriously obnoxious quiz. 65 page-loads?

Agreed! I got 31. Although, I took a shorter (and less obnoxious) quiz first that was only 15 questions. I got 100% on that and then I took the 32 question quiz which used a lot of the same questions.

(Raised Catholic, for what it's worth.)

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:57 pm 
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So you honestly can't see it from my point of view or are you just unwilling to see it from my point of view?

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:58 pm 
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drachefly wrote:
Why? 'Secular' doesn't mean 'completely blind to all relevant difference'.

It's classic binary thinking. People of faith don't put them on the same level so that must mean secularists believe they are identicle.

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