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Rocky

Is the Christian myth surrounding "The Adversary" at the root of sociological problems?

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There should be no doubt that much of "American" Christianity, or the people therein, have a (major) problem with "the other," despite Jesus' having taught that the "bottom-line" of all the commandments is to love God and love one's neighbor. 
 

 

Quote

Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

 

I suppose it's no great leap to recognize that people have a very hard time with that second commandment. But is it just human nature, or is there something insidious about what gets taught in (some, perhaps many) Christian churches that lights a fire under people to hate "the other?" Is there something (perhaps hidden) in Christian doctrine or dogma that catalyzes fear, anger and hatred of those not in one's own tribe?

I'm thinking along the lines of that old Walter Cummins class "Dealing with the Adversary." I guess that's now known in twi as "Defeating the Adversary."

Clearly, this topic is prone to veering off into political topics. But that doesn't have to be the case.

I believe there's plenty of room for discussion of the topic from the Bible, and from sociology, without making it political or partisan.

 

My thesis, I suppose, goes to the Judeo-Christian creation myth (story). In PFLAP, we were indoctrinated emphatically that the root of evil was related to not holding the "accuracy and integrity of God's revealed Word" in our hearts without questioning it.

We have come to realize, in a sense, that such indoctrination was intended to lay the groundwork for never questioning any teaching of or by VeePee Wierwille. But the creation story does something different.

It establishes the Christian dogma of the enemy ruling the world and keeping us from all the blessings of God.

Anyway, what say you about this notion?

Edited by Rocky
the html for the quote is wrong... quote ends after the quote from Matthew 22:40 can't fix it.

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Without going into too much detail, Satan is the Biblical enemy. And what does he represent? Evil? Lies? Sure. But what else?

Questions.

What was Eve's first mistake? Questions.

Considering a view other than the one dictated to her.

Curiosity is the enemy of religion. Resistance is the enemy of nationalism. Defiance is the enemy of the slaveholder.

 

To be clear: I do not worship Satan. He is as imaginary as the God who put the tree of knowledge in the same garden as the man and woman whose consumption of its fruit would lead to eons of unnecessary suffering.

Satan is religion's way of telling the skeptical theirs are not questions but unholy influences.

I worship neither your imaginary friend nor your imaginary enemy.

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It's a great topic for discussion. In my opinion, though, it's too broad in scope to give a fair treatment in a limited discussion forum. Maybe it can be broken down into smaller segments.

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1. We're in Questioning Faith. Might as well confine it to one thread.

2. If you want to break off a piece, feel free

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I'm unsure if you're saying PFAL is a valid interpretation of the Bible myth/story.  Are we conflating VPW's views/intents with something that is thousands of years old?

Tribal mentality is not confined to religion, or humanity.  It is sometimes beneficial and sometimes harmful.  One would expect to find this anywhere and everywhere?

 

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For us, as survivors of the TWI experience, it started with PFAL. Session 5 was a real turning point. It was in that session we were instructed to "STAND",  no matter what. We were taught to resist logical questioning and forgo the reasoning process in lieu of blind acceptance. I think you can trace some of the stubborn attitudes that have persisted all the way back to that session. Still, at that initial level, it was just an acceptance of evil's existence that we saw. The real solidifying lessons came a bit later, with classes like Dealing With The Adversary and Renewed Mind. In these classes we were exposed to the concept of evil not only existing but being pervasive. It's where we were schooled in the "En Gard!" mindset. These 2 classes  probably instilled much more damaging thought patterns than we may realize. Now, how this ties into sociological problems for non-TWI people, I'm not sure. That's where I think the conversation really begins to take  form.

Edited by waysider

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7 hours ago, waysider said:

It's a great topic for discussion. In my opinion, though, it's too broad in scope to give a fair treatment in a limited discussion forum. Maybe it can be broken down into smaller segments.

Feel free to do so. :wave:

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8 hours ago, Raf said:

Without going into too much detail, Satan is the Biblical enemy. And what dies he represent? Evil? Lies? Sure. But what else?

Questions.

What was Eve's first mistake? Questions.

Considering a view other than the one dictated to her.

Curiosity is the enemy of religion. Resistance is the enemy of nationalism. Defiance is the enemy of the slaveholder.

 

To be clear: I do not worship Satan. He is as imaginary as the God who put man and woman in the same garden as the man and woman whose consumption of its fruit would lead to eons of unnecessary suffering.

Satan is religion's way of telling the skeptical theirs are not questions but unholy influences.

I worship neither your imaginary friend nor your imaginary enemy.

Yes. My point is that it (for those who may prefer not to anthropomorphize the concept) is imaginary. For the record, I'm not atheistic nor agnostic. But if I was, I'd lean toward agnostic. I prefer Deist.

IT is more than religion's way of keeping skeptical influences suppressed (or trying to do so anyway). 

As Einstein posited, imagination is very powerful... or at least more important than knowledge.

What got me thinking about this was the fact that tribal conflict seems to have been around since early humans. Or, at least since history was first recorded, which seems to me to predate the Judeo-Christian tradition.

So, being curious, I asked myself... I said, "Self, why is that?"

Clearly, I'm not capable of answering that question with any sort of authoritative knowledge.

But I can imagine. I can wonder. And I can at least do some rudimentary and superficial research.

 

Edited by Rocky
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5 hours ago, Bolshevik said:

I'm unsure if you're saying PFAL is a valid interpretation of the Bible myth/story.  Are we conflating VPW's views/intents with something that is thousands of years old?

Tribal mentality is not confined to religion, or humanity.  It is sometimes beneficial and sometimes harmful.  One would expect to find this anywhere and everywhere?

 

1) I am most certainly NOT saying PFLAP is a valid interpretation of the Judeo-Christian creation story.

2) Indeed, tribalism is not confined to religion. Perhaps references to academic studies of zoology would also enhance this discussion.

3) I'd be reluctant to look for it outside Earth's atmosphere... until we find "intelligent" life there. :wink2:

4) I appreciate your perspective and agree that it's sometimes beneficial and sometimes harmful.

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5 hours ago, waysider said:

For us, as survivors of the TWI experience, it started with PFAL. Session 5 was a real turning point. It was in that session we were instructed to "STAND",  no matter what. We were taught INDOCTRINATED to resist logical questioning and forgo the reasoning process in lieu of blind acceptance. I think you can trace some of the stubborn attitudes that have persisted all the way back to that session. Still, at that initial level, it was just an acceptance of evil's existence that we saw. The real solidifying lessons came a bit later, with classes like Dealing With The Adversary and Renewed Mind. In these classes we were exposed to the concept of evil not only existing but being pervasive. It's where we were schooled in the "En Gard!" mindset. These 2 classes  probably instilled much more damaging thought patterns than we may realize. Now, how this ties into sociological problems for non-TWI people, I'm not sure. That's where I think the conversation really begins to take  form.

Maybe the first time we sat through that session we were "taught," as opposed to "taut," which may have been the case for those conducting the class. But even then, to the degree that we abstained from challenging it in our own minds, we were indoctrinated, IMO.

Indeed, one can, among devotees of twi, trace the stubborn attitudes to that session. But vpw was definitely not the first to come up with ideas on how to get people to give up their personal responsibility to exercise reason and critical thinking.

I wholeheartedly agree that Walter Cummins's two classes that you cited were fundamental to constructing the forms and pouring the concrete to solidify the mindset for us. Insidious, really.

Of course, those two classes may not have had far reaching influence outside of twi and/or offshoots thereof. But that's why I posed the question the way I did, regarding the biblical story of the various ways the Adversary is portrayed, starting with the first one.

 

Edited by Rocky

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On ‎5‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 11:45 PM, Rocky said:

There should be no doubt that much of "American" Christianity, or the people therein, have a (major) problem with "the other," despite Jesus' having taught that the "bottom-line" of all the commandments is to love God and love one's neighbor. 

Perhaps "American Christianity" itself is a problem.  Think of the number of inordinately rich televangelists, and those who teach that "prosperity" means "lotsa money." Which leads to the thinking that "I'm rich, therefore that means God has blessed me."  And the corollary, "You're poor.  You're out of favour with God."  That never has been the promise, message, offer, call it what you will, that God makes.  "Prosper" in its archaic meaning (=AV/KJV) means "thrive" or "do well" - animals, plants, and activities can all "prosper" and money has nothing to do with it.

More on topic with the opening post, it might be salutary to consider how other Christians' traditions fare.  Those in China or Saudi Arabia, for example, or even Christians in Israel.  Do they see non-Christians as "the enemy"?  I think not.  I think they "see" much bigger than that.  They see the spiritual intent - far bigger than tribalism.  The treatment meted out to such Christians can be so vicious that unless the victims were convinced of something much bigger than themselves, they wouldn't "take a stand;" instead they'd recant.  

On ‎5‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 11:45 PM, Rocky said:

...is it just human nature, or is there something insidious about what gets taught in (some, perhaps many) Christian churches that lights a fire under people to hate "the other?" Is there something (perhaps hidden) in Christian doctrine or dogma that catalyzes fear, anger and hatred of those not in one's own tribe?

Bullies will, however, always find some hook for their hat (or hatred), so it's no surprise that Christian bullies (aka legalists) find a "hate thy enemy" message instead of the real message, "love thy enemy."

Why are people bullies?  Ah well.  Let me count the reasons...!

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17 minutes ago, Twinky said:

Perhaps "American Christianity" itself is a problem.  Think of the number of inordinately rich televangelists, and those who teach that "prosperity" means "lotsa money." Which leads to the thinking that "I'm rich, therefore that means God has blessed me."  And the corollary, "You're poor.  You're out of favour with God."  That never has been the promise, message, offer, call it what you will, that God makes.  "Prosper" in its archaic meaning (=AV/KJV) means "thrive" or "do well" - animals, plants, and activities can all "prosper" and money has nothing to do with it.

I agree, that it IS a problem. Is it the root problem? Not in my opinion. But the issue you described is definitely a problem. 

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