Projectionism in religious criticism
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06-08-2017, 12:11 PM
Projectionism in religious criticism
I thought I would throw this subject up for discussion because I've noticed a tendency in discussing religion to project one's own idea of what religion is, from one's own background, onto other religions.

For instance, some religions have a god who is anthropomorphic, a big guy with a lousy temper, eg, Allah, Yahweh. The tendency is for those whose background is in these "faiths" to criticize Christianity on the basis that it is also a ritualistic religion. Of course, Xtianity has a lot of rituals, particularly Catholocism. but the NT seems, to me, to be distincitive in presenting as a starting point, a definition of its god as the "logos" and follows up with a moral precept.

I first noticed what I call projectionism when reading Ralph Ellis' book. Throughout it, he says that Josephus, who he says masterminded the NT, developed Christianity as "simple Judaism" which has, he says, only two rituals. Presumably, the "gentiles" weren't too bright and couldn't have coped with any more than that. I struggled with what he was saying because I have never heard of anyone describing Christianity that way, so I wrote to him asking what he meant. He replied, saying there were two rituals in one of the Letters or some other book, which I had never read, which were simple Judaism. I had never read the particular text he referred to and after reading it, I was even more mystified as to how or why he portrayed Xtianity that way. I now think it is just someone projecting their own view of what a religion is, based on their experience of what a religion, ie., their religion, appears to them to be.

I also think it works the other way, that Xtians tend to think that other religions, ie., Islam, being, no doubt, just like Xtianity, must have the same moral principle at their core, and that the stuff about Mo and Al are just like the Jesus and God story, or maybe Mo was another Buddha.
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06-08-2017, 02:31 PM
RE: Projectionism in religious criticism
I'm always careful to make allowances for each religious person to engineer their very own crock of horse shit.

It's fine to criticise any substantial group of people who share a particular set of religious beliefs, as long as you don't imply that everyone from that religion is going to have the same beliefs. But trying to pretend no one in a particular religion has certain extremely stupid ideas at the core of their beliefs is just as misguided. They are the ones we hear from the most and the loudest, sadly misrepresenting their religion's population in negative ways in the process.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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06-08-2017, 03:53 PM
RE: Projectionism in religious criticism
(06-08-2017 12:11 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I thought I would throw this subject up for discussion because I've noticed a tendency in discussing religion to project one's own idea of what religion is, from one's own background, onto other religions.

I think a lot of the projection comes from people believing that the same God inspired all the various monotheistic religions, and that all the sects represent deteriorations of the "original teaching" or some such. People don't want to give up on the idea of ecumenism no matter how often it gets slapped around by realities.

Of course, many believers love to project on atheists. According to their beliefs we must be awful to deserve an eternity in hell, so they too often approach us that way.
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06-08-2017, 06:39 PM
RE: Projectionism in religious criticism
(06-08-2017 12:11 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I thought I would throw this subject up for discussion because I've noticed a tendency in discussing religion to project one's own idea of what religion is, from one's own background, onto other religions.

For instance, some religions have a god who is anthropomorphic, a big guy with a lousy temper, eg, Allah, Yahweh. The tendency is for those whose background is in these "faiths" to criticize Christianity on the basis that it is also a ritualistic religion.
I think it totally understandable that one addresses what one knows. I know what I came out of best -- fundamentalist Christianity. I admittedly have a tendency to think of religion in terms of that particular ideology. In fact because of my operant conditioning in fundamentalism, it's hard for me to even see, e.g., liberal Christianity as relevant to the discussion, as it seems to have such loosely-held beliefs that I can't really see it as a coherent religious belief system to even engage with. Fundamentalism is about correct dogma, not about symbolism or general principles.

I don't think I'm that far off-base in practice because it is religious fundamentalism of any stripe that poses the greatest harm to society because of its inherently controlling, fascistic nature. While I don't agree that belief in deities (regardless of the deity and regardless of the sect) is justified, I don't really give a fig if you want to have some nebulous belief in a benevolent, avuncular sky wizard who allows you to pursue a live-and-let-live relation to people like me who believe differently or not at all.

I would suggest that you're projecting, too -- using scare quotes around the word "faiths" which implies that your more liberal sort of religious faith is more legitimate than the more conservative kind.
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06-08-2017, 10:49 PM
RE: Projectionism in religious criticism
Even though Christians are increasingly eager to distance themselves from the OT, I find the NT to contain ideas that are far worse. The OT is just plain unashamed thuggery, whereas the NT smuggles in new levels of fearmongering under the guise of a "loving God". I'm talking about such things as thought crime, and the introduction of a literal Hell.

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07-08-2017, 05:29 PM
RE: Projectionism in religious criticism
(06-08-2017 10:49 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  Even though Christians are increasingly eager to distance themselves from the OT, I find the NT to contain ideas that are far worse. The OT is just plain unashamed thuggery, whereas the NT smuggles in new levels of fearmongering under the guise of a "loving God". I'm talking about such things as thought crime, and the introduction of a literal Hell.
It's questionable what the NT is really trying to say about hell. 95% of current notions about hell come from Dante, not the NT. Most of it is mistranslation or overdetermined exegesis.

But I'll go along with you on thought crime, the unpardonable sin, and probably a few other things.
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08-08-2017, 02:31 PM
RE: Projectionism in religious criticism
(07-08-2017 05:29 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(06-08-2017 10:49 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  Even though Christians are increasingly eager to distance themselves from the OT, I find the NT to contain ideas that are far worse. The OT is just plain unashamed thuggery, whereas the NT smuggles in new levels of fearmongering under the guise of a "loving God". I'm talking about such things as thought crime, and the introduction of a literal Hell.
It's questionable what the NT is really trying to say about hell. 95% of current notions about hell come from Dante, not the NT. Most of it is mistranslation or overdetermined exegesis.

But I'll go along with you on thought crime, the unpardonable sin, and probably a few other things.

I look at the NT as a work directed by Romans since nothing could have been written in Greek in those days, and "published" in and around Judea without their permission, and that is what Paul does. It's central motif is a god who is the "logos" and it's ethical principles flow from "do unto others". It's distinct in that it sets out a way of looking at the rest of the text, ie., rationally. Or, one can accept it because it has miracles and a "god-man". I think that's part of the craft of writing religious works. I don't see that in Judaism, which seems to try to set out the history, cultural practices and beliefs of a people. Islam I see as a manifesto of the Arab people who were the underclasses of the Christians and Jews who ruled Judea at the time of Mohammed. Judaism contains the Golden Rule, of course, but the OT doesn't attempt to set it out pedagogically within a superman story. The Koran and Islam reassert pre-Christian ideas and undermines the Judeo-Christian tradition in the Near East.

The "gods" of each one represent the ideologies of the religion and they may have some connection in a literary, historical sense, but they are conceptually different, and, ultimately, they are no more than concepts. The religions are similar in that they are intimately connected in their historical development and they are monotheistic, but one has, I feel, to look at what these books are and to see how they fit into their historical and political context.
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08-08-2017, 02:34 PM
RE: Projectionism in religious criticism
Projectionism isn't a word, you silly goose.
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08-08-2017, 02:38 PM
RE: Projectionism in religious criticism
(08-08-2017 02:34 PM)Angra Mainyu Wrote:  Projectionism isn't a word, you silly goose.

No?

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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13-08-2017, 06:06 PM
RE: Projectionism in religious criticism
I have to say that I've come to the conclusion that the ancient religions of the Near East were highly sexual in nature. The OT begins with creation and then focuses on how Adam and Eve created a "royal line" by having two sons. The only way this royal line could continue is through incest. Then Caine slays Abel...fratricide. Abraham is told to have many "wives". Man is created in God's image, so we are told, so presumably God "created" life in the same way men do.

Ancient Egyptian religion was highly sexual, as was it's aristocracy. I found this article about the Turin Papyrus which describes the sexual nature of Egyptian religion and culture: http://fontes.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents..._egypt.htm

Here's a drawing from the Turin Papyrus. NSFW

http://www.viewzone.com/state-of-mind/turin.ex.jpg


Or, maybe this is me "projecting".

On a serious note, the Romans who conquered the Near East had turned to Epicureanism which was a rational and scientific. I think this explains why Christianity arose, because the Romans wanted to supplant the prevailing religion in the Middle East with something which had a rational foundation, ie., the "logos". They then mould Christianity into a religion based on a moral principle, "do unto others" rather than rituals which stem from whatever old religion the "gentiles" adhered to.
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