LOFF56 ON THE RICK-PL "DEBATE" ABOUT "INSTITUTIONS, FAITH AND HYPOCRISY!"/PL RESPONDS!

Here's LOFF56:

I've been listening in on this debate for some time, and let me just butt in here for a moment if I can because I think both of you are sort of spinning your wheels in different patches of mud.

Let me rephrase the question at hand here to get to the root of what I think the debate here is really about.

Is an institution defined by its principals, documents, laws etc... or is an institution defined by its members?

I think what Rick is saying is that despite the fact that there's a lot of people in the Church that are really bad apples, that doesn't change the words in the Bible, it doesn't change the teachings of Jesus. And it also doesn't change fundamentally how those principals and teachings are SUPPOSED to effect the members within the Church. The fact that so many people are not listening to what those teachings are SUPPOSED to be telling telling them is not the fault of the institution as it's defined by it's laws, teachings, values and principals.

However on the other hand, Pete makes a good argument that you can't separate the institution from its members. After all it's the members that have the power to disseminate whatever information they want about the laws, teachings, values and principals. Often times this information is heavily tinged with their personal biases, opinions, fears and problems. So, what's the point of teaching anything from the Bible if it's never taught in an unbiased way?

I mean my take on it is this, humans are humans. We misinterpret things all the time, we hear what we want to hear, and we abuse power... any power. Buddhism is not a very mainstream religion at this point, and it's not very centralized either. But who's to say, that if it were both of those things that there wouldn't be power hungry people who would hijack that centralized access and use it for their own self serving purposes. We would all decry those that abused that power, but it wouldn't change the teachings of Buddhism. On the other hand we all have to be stewards of our own institutions. We have to stay involved and make sure that the good people stay in and the bad people get out. My sense is that if Jesus wasn't hijacked by Christianity the guy would seem much cooler to us hipster liberals.

I don't know, I think what I'm saying is that you're both right, but you're both suffering from thinking that only one of you can be right.


Here's PL:

Well, as usual, especially when I'm having at it with our friend, Rick, you choose the "middle way," L56. And as usual, I find that approach at times to be a bit too accommodating when the truth of a matter is being discussed.

Let me address something you say up front: "I think what Rick is saying is that despite the fact that there's a lot of people in the Church that are really bad apples, that doesn't change the words in the Bible, it doesn't change the teachings of Jesus."

BUT... L56, the Church does in fact attempt to change those teachings to serve its ego aims. The Church isn't entitled to a pass because they are a purveyor of the words in the Bible or of Jesus. Putting those words out there and distorting them is at least as bad, if not worse, than not putting the words out at all. History, except as told by the Church itself, does not support a view of the Church as having honorable and spiritual principles. Its history is mostly an example of the worst of theocratic corruption.

You also say this, which actually inadvertently makes my point: "Buddhism is not a very mainstream religion at this point, and it's not very centralized either. But who's to say, that if it were both of those things that there wouldn't be power hungry people who would hijack that centralized access and use it for their own self serving purposes."

I would say, L56, that the fact that Buddhism, after all these centuries, isn't "mainstream" or "centralized" isn't a coincidence, but rather a very different example. Maybe in Buddhism, unlike Catholicism, the teaching is more important than the institution.

Finally, you say this: "We have to stay involved and make sure that the good people stay in and the bad people get out. My sense is that if Jesus wasn't hijacked by Christianity the guy would seem much cooler to us hipster liberals."

Well, first of all, Jesus' teachings being "hijacked" by a church purportedly representing him is about as heinous spiritually as you can get, don't you think?! And secondly, sometimes the best way to deal with a corrupt institution is to abandon support of it and let it die its own long-overdue death, which, of course, is what's been happening to the Church over the last few decades, as fewer and fewer people practice Catholicism, and even fewer join the priesthood.

Good riddance, I say, to the Pontiffs and snake-oil salesmen of false spirituality!

Thanks, as always, L56!

1 comment:

loff56 said...

Whoa... well hold on a second here, Pete. I'm gonna' take you back to our previous back and forth about relativity. You said once in a post that just because long ago the best evidence we had told us the Sun revolved around the Earth, which was believed by close to 100% of the world, it didn't mean that it was True (with a Capital T). What about your own argument here? You said "...the Church does in fact attempt to change those teachings..." Yes, exactly... and by definition it doesn't make THEIR teachings True. My point is is that TRUE does exist somewhere. That's what I'm asking. Is that real Truth the institution of Christianity, or is the fake truth the institution of Christianity?

I'm not disagreeing with you at all on your assessment of the Church's heinous history, or present, for that matter. I'm just saying that that history is the fault of humans. I think you really need to draw a direct line between Jesus's actual teachings and the problematic Christian history in order for you make an argument that Christianity as a whole is worthless. Can you draw that line?

Here's the thing... you're probably right that at this point we should just throw that baby out with the bathwater. But I think it might be irresponsible for us to not put the blame on anything other than humanity for that action. We always destroy good things and blame it on something else other than ourselves, but what would we learn if we did that again? I don't think it's fair to blame the demise of Christianity on the TRUE beliefs, morals, teachings of Jesus. Our distortion of those on the other hand, yes, yes, yes!!

 

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