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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: More Religious Leaders Challenge Silence, Isolation Surrounding Suicide

    I would ask you to please stop minimizing what is being preached.

I'm not minimizing what's being preached, I'm taking a more even tone, because I understand that both the issues of suicide and religion are touchy by themselves, but doubly so when combined.

    Pope Francis is a swell guy for a catholic, but he still preaches against birth control, keeping millions of people in poverty.

Pope Francis has his failings. The Catholic Church, as an institution, has its failings. That does not negate the beneficial aspects of Pope Francis' attitudes nor the beneficial aspects of the Catholic Church as an institution. Our government has its failings. Our economic system has its failings. Our individual cultures have their failings. We as individuals have our failings. These failings do not negate the good things we do nor do they imply that we are incapable of doing good.

Additionally, when we have trouble with the institutions we're a part of, we have multiple options that range from acceptance to abandonment. From attempting to change them to attempting to change ourselves. Someone can choose to not be Catholic. Someone can choose to try to change the Catholic church. They're going to find resistance and obstacles no matter their choice or how they go about it. This is true for every last thing I listed, including what we choose to do about ourselves.

I very much understand and accept and appreciate your hesitance towards religion. I have zero problems with that and you're more than welcome to discuss religion with me whenever you want, whether it's religion in general or my personal views. That said, because of my personal perspective of religion and my respect for people to choose and embrace their own beliefs, words of condemnation in regards to religion or religious attitudes will be few and far from me. It's not about rose colored glasses. It's about respecting that it's an issue that many people feel very strongly about, for better or worse.




OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I have no response.

user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's okay too.

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No. It's not.

I should be able to face this like an adult, articulate my points of disagreement and somehow make you understand the depth of harm perpetrated by religious people, for religious reasons. How the problem of suicide is unique with regard to Christianity because of the direct, causative link between suicide and eternal damnation, and that priests tell children about this link to their faces, even when their parents committed suicide.

But I can't. And that's not okay. And Christians just gonna keep on Christing along. God is good! All the time! All the time! God is good! taking fucking 'mission trips' to Veracruz and Panama City Beach and so on and so forth, forever and ever, amen.

user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Christianity isn't alone in vilifying suicide. Click the link. Even non-Abrahamic religions condemn it. Whether you believe in a particular faith or not, whether you believe in religion as divinely inspired or constructed by man, either way for the most part suicide is something that is recognized as harmful to individuals and/or society and needs to be addressed and discouraged.

I know you don't believe me, but I understand what you're saying and the perspective you're coming from. I'm not dismissing it, I'm not downplaying it, and I'm not saying you're wrong. What I am saying is that religious institutions are flawed because we're flawed, that their short comings are a result because of the limitations of our humanity, and that as we as societies and individuals change and develop, we can see reflections in the changes of our values in religious institutions.

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Also there is a difference between 'vilification' and 'If you do this you spend eternity on fire, separated from everyone you know and the only possible source of comfort.'

user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    “It is true,” she answered, “that we are all going to a Country of Souls but the wicked, particularly those who have destroyed themselves by a violent death, bear there the penalty of their crime; they are separated by it from the others and have no communication with them; that is the reason for my sorrow,” In like manner, Virgil assigns a separate corner of Hades to Dido and a number of others who had been the unhappy victims of their own despair.

A passage from one of the excerpts from Quatrarius's link.

    The Mahabharata talks of suicide stating those who commit it can never attain to regions (of heaven) that are blessed.

Under the Hinduism section of the Wikipedia excerpt.

I'm not sharing these things to frustrate you, I'm just trying to illustrate once again, Christianity isn't necessarily special or unique in its world view. That said, I'd like to point out that just because it might have a more severe position on the subject, it doesn't mean it takes a more severe position on every subject. Different religions take more extreme positions on certain subjects over others. Dietary restrictions, marriage, warfare, charity, what have you. These things tend to be indicative of what was or wasn't seem as culturally important at the time these world views were formed.

Do you wanna take a break for a bit? I'm gonna get myself some lunch. Dala got some kind of Pho Noodles that look amazing and I'm gonna give them a shot.

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Good for you, enjoy your lunch.

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I know you don't believe me, but I understand what you're saying and the perspective you're coming from

You are right. I don't believe you. I don't think you are capable of understanding my perspective because you haven't had a lifetime of massively negative experiences with everything Godly, God-like or Goddish.

You believe in people's ability to change their institutions. This is idealism, and is necessary.

I believe in institution's ability to resist change, and change people. This is practicality, and it just is.

user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    You are right. I don't believe you. I don't think you are capable of understanding my perspective because you haven't had a lifetime of massively negative experiences with everything Godly, God-like or Goddish.

I'd like you to know I'm not angry, but I am a little bit insulted that you think I'm not well aware of the negative effects that religious beliefs can hold on individuals, families, and societies.

    You believe in people's ability to change their institutions.

I believe in people.

    I believe in institution's ability to resist change, and change people. This is practicality, and it just is.

I believe that institutions change people and that people change institutions. I'm also well aware that institutions are resistant to change, that that's an actual function of institutions, and by and large that slow resistance to change is more beneficial than it is harmful.

We're mis communicating and spinning our wheels because you want to assume. Don't assume. Inquire. Ask something new and we'll get somewhere new instead of saying the same stuff over and over again. When I said you can ask me questions, I wholly meant it.

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I'm not well aware of the negative effects that religious beliefs can hold on individuals, families, and societies.

Awareness does not equal understanding.

We are miscommunicating because I am an easily triggerable, religiously traumatized, former fire and brimstone fundamentalist running on 10 hours of sleep across the last four days and you, well you said it yourself.

    I believe in people.

I believe in people too. In their capacity to do whatever hurts least or pleasures most.

I don't have any questions to ask you. If I thought you might have a new idea, theologically speaking, I might ask, but you haven't said anything that indicates that.

user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Awareness does not equal understanding.

Once again, I don't think you give me enough credit. Once again, I'm not angry.

    I believe in people too. In their capacity to do whatever hurts least or pleasures most.

Have you considered that, capacity wise, we're all limitless and that means despite our short comings we have near limitless potential to do immeasurable good in the world? That's my view on the matter and I have to say, even with day to day frustrations, there's a lot of comfort and encouragement that comes from it.

    I don't have any questions to ask you. If I thought you might have a new idea, theologically speaking, I might ask, but you haven't said anything that indicates that.

Once again, you're just assuming. I know you're tired and frustrated and if you want to stop for now, we can. Just know, my invitation's always open.

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    you're just assuming

I am making a conclusion base on available data. You have never surprised me, theologically. johnnyfive has presented me with ideas I have never heard before, as a contrast.

    Once again, I don't think you give me enough credit.

Once again, unless you have experienced the level of religious trauma I have, I don't think it's POSSIBLE for you to understand. It's not a dig at you, it's a compliment that you haven't been fucked up in my unique and colorful ways.

    Have you considered that, capacity wise, we're all limitless and that means despite our short comings we have near limitless potential to do immeasurable good in the world?

Yes, and I have discarded it years ago. Potential is meaningless unless it is actualized.

I wanted to stop a long time ago, but the train keeps on rolling with or without me.

user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I am making a conclusion base on available data. You have never surprised me, theologically. johnnyfive has presented me with ideas I have never heard before, as a contrast.

Let me be perfectly clear here. I have stated, openly, that I am a Baha'i. You never asked questions about how Baha'is view suicide, the afterlife, mental health, their beliefs on the human soul, spiritual development, or anything of the sort. You never asked why I view my religious background as an overwhelmingly positive experience. You know there will be nuances, because there are always nuances and that's what colors these worldviews of ours, you know there will be differences, because there are always differences, because we all have different beliefs, but you don't want to ask and I want to converse, not lecture. Hence our impass.

I haven't read it yet, but I look forward to seeing johnnyFive's response and if he welcomes it, I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions to ask him.

    Once again, unless you have experienced the level of religious trauma I have, I don't think it's POSSIBLE for you to understand. It's not a dig at you, it's a compliment that you haven't been fucked up in my unique and colorful ways.

I am continually insulted, but continually not angry, because you assume I lack any ability to understand, empathize, or exercise any degree of imagination. You're being dismissive. That's not okay in the sense that you're not giving me a fair shake, but that is okay in the sense that you're entitled to feel what you're feeling and I'm not going to tell you otherwise.

    Yes, and I have discarded it years ago. Potential is meaningless unless it is actualized.

    I wanted to stop a long time ago, but the train keeps on rolling with or without me.

Consider a healthier world view. We're all on this train whether we want to be or not, so let's make the best of it.

Edit: Apologies to johnnyFive, I thought you were in this thread. You were not.

johnnyFive  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No worries, I'm just not sure what response you and/or OftenBen may be looking for. But one thing I'm never shy about is my opinion :)

user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Feel free to chime in anywhere you want, if you want. The more the merrier. :)

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I wasn't looking for your input in this instance. I was citing you as an example of someone who has shown me a new idea. It was not my intent to ask you to join this discussion, as evidenced by my lack of shoutout in the post where your name was mentioned.

I think you are more familiar with my stance than most. If you are interested in commenting on any part of this discussion I am always curious to hear your thoughts.

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    You never asked questions about how Baha'is view suicide, the afterlife, mental health, their beliefs on the human soul, spiritual development, or anything of the sort.

Do you have something substantive to add to this description? link

    You never asked why I view my religious background as an overwhelmingly positive experience.

Irrelevant to the current discussion.

    You know there will be nuances, because there are always nuances and that's what colors these worldviews of ours, you know there will be differences, because there are always differences, because we all have different beliefs, but you don't want to ask and I want to converse, not lecture.

Irrelevant to the theological backdrop for most of the people in the US. Christians, Christian culture and pop-christian theology dominate. There is nothing your average priest can say that will go against the Vatican's official ruling on the fate of victims of suicide. People have heretical beliefs all the time, that doesn't make them orthodoxy.

    I am continually insulted, but continually not angry, because you assume I lack any ability to understand, empathize, or exercise any degree of imagination. You're being dismissive. That's not okay in the sense that you're not giving me a fair shake, but that is okay in the sense that you're entitled to feel what you're feeling and I'm not going to tell you otherwise.

My intent is not to offend, and I am sorry that you feel that way. The things that have happened to me, the things that I have described feeling at very young ages have been continually referenced to as 'unimaginable' by those in the know. There is no fair shake to give. I don't pretend to understand the experience of combat veterans because I have never been in a life or death struggle. I get that you feel empathetic, and that's a good thing. And empathy does not equal understanding. Shared experience is what does that, and we don't have any of that.

    Consider a healthier world view.

When I hear a new idea, you will be added to the list of people I have to tell about it.

Quatrarius  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

i know you dismissed it earlier, but if you look at the Catechism (2280-2283) they give some specifying details about suicide - it's not a mortal sin if your mind is clouded, which is the biggest loophole ever and totally an intentional one, and regardless of what happens, it's up to god to judge whether people deserve it anyway

the point of prohibiting suicide is to stop people from killing themselves to go to heaven quicker - that's why it springs up a long time after the bible, because you had martyrs galore back in the day killing themselves left and right, and modern christian views on suicide stems from works condemning those people - you need to do this (as a religion) to not be a death cult

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    it's not a mortal sin if your mind is clouded, which is the biggest loophole ever and totally an intentional one, and regardless of what happens, it's up to god to judge whether people deserve it anyway

Behold, apologia. If

    it's up to god to judge whether people deserve it anyway

was actually taken seriously in any way, there would be no church, and people would just trust God to reward and punish as he sees fit.

Quatrarius  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

again, if you read

    Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

    2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

that's literally the position of the catholic church on the issue

the point of "god is the ultimate judge" isn't that you can just do anything you want in life willy-nilly without needing to care about moral choices - the point is that it's not the place of people to say "this person is going to hell" or "this person is going to heaven" because it's taking away the authority of god to decide that. it's possible to both condemn suicide and allow for suicidal people to be forgiven.

i realize that you've had terrible experiences with christianity, and i understand why you'd want to reject all of it, but christians aren't necessarily unthinking drones or comic book villains

and you can call me an apologist if you want but i'd prefer it if you didn't - i'm not claiming this stuff is true, just that this is the position of the church on it

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I didn't call you an apologist. I labeled, correctly, the catechism you've cited as apologia.

I will leave you with a quote from Men In Black.

    A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

Any individual Christian I come across, I can likely find some common ground with and relate with them as an individual and not hate them, even if i disagree with their theology and cosmology.

AND.

Christians, writ large, are the largest force working against many of the public health goals that would see human suffering reduced to levels that were unimaginable for the vast majority of all of human history, because of their high levels of participation in national and international politics.

Both of these things can be true simultaneously. Reprehensible group behavior, like voting against the recognition of LGBT+ people as people, is the aggregate of choices made and actions taken by individuals.

user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Do you have something substantive to add to this description? link

Yes. A nuanced, open, dynamic conversation instead of a four point blurb.

    Irrelevant to the current discussion.

Conversations have segues. It's there as a thread in case you want it.

At this point though, you don't want to have a conversation. You want to state your case that religion is bad and I counter that it's more nuanced than that. We've done that, to death at this point, with nothing new.

    There is no fair shake to give. I don't pretend to understand the experience of combat veterans because I have never been in a life or death struggle.

There's a difference between understanding and knowing. I understand that war is bad, even if I don't know war first hand.

So now, unless you want to say something new, I think we should the conversation is done. Not because I'm angry, not because I don't want to talk to you, but because we've both said what we've had to say multiple times now and haven't gotten anywhere new, so there's no point in talking.

Let me be perfectly clear here though, because I don't want you to be upset. At least on my end there is no animosity between us, I appreciate the points we did share today and even though we don't see eye to eye I always appreciate your perspective. I don't ever want you to feel unwelcome in any conversation with me, religious or otherwise.

I hope you have a good day man and I really hope you can catch up on some sleep soon.

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Yes. A nuanced, open, dynamic conversation instead of a four point blurb.

So tell me something about the Bahai view of suicide that isn't encapsulated by the source I linked. Because that is my understanding of the Bahai view of suicide.

    You want to state your case that religion is bad

I want to state that written, orthodox theology is a force that actively works to undermine the efforts of reformers, and gives substantial power to the conservative forces that would see things kept exactly how they are. I know this because I tried to be a reformer and got burned for it in a big way. I want to point out how toxic evangelicals and mega church organizations are growing in power while general church attendance drops, which means that organized religion is becoming more concentrated and more radical, while private 'spirituality' is losing political ground.

That 'know' you put in italics is the part that causes the divide her. We can both say 'religiously motivated and shaped abuse is bad.' I react to that in a chemical way, you do not. Good for you. Empathy good.

I bet we agree largely about what the world 'should' be with regard to the relationship between people and religion. You think it's possible, I think it's idealistic hogwash, because I was once an idealist, and was told my ideas were hogwash, with biblical citations.

user-inactivated  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    So tell me something about the Bahai view of suicide that isn't encapsulated by the source I linked. Because that is my understanding of the Bahai view of suicide.

Cool. I've got no target to shoot at here, so here's a bunch of rambling.

In a nutshell, in specifics to suicide, there it is. I think it's more representative of Baha'i ideology as a whole, in quite a few different ways.

I think first and foremost, it reflects an attitude where Baha'is try their best to be non-judgmental and accepting as possible. We all come across tests and difficulties in life, both as individuals as well as societies, and that's partly because we live in an imperfect world and partly because tests and difficulties are how we learn, grow, and develop, once again as individuals as well as societies. So when we have problems and short comings, it's important to remember that we're not bad people, we're just people doing bad things. It's easy to lose sight of in the day to day though.

Looking back, my parents did a lot of things to embody and illustrate this philosophy when I was younger. To pick one from many stories, I remember a family friend had brought their children over to our house because their spouse was in an extremely agitated state. Somehow said spouse found out where the children were, because I remember looking out the window watching them pacing up and down the street visibly upset. My mother explained to me that they were going through a rough time, everyone goes through rough times, and that it's important to know and accept that while the person on the other side of the window is in a bad spot, they're not a bad person.

On a more personal level, that's a world view I tend to embrace for the most part. I do have a personal bias though, in that when it comes to individuals with an inordinate amount of money or power use their status to disenfranchise and take advantage of people beneath them, I view them much, much, less favorably. Personally, I think the more power you have, the more you should be held accountable for your actions. There's a difference between robbing a convenience store and cheating a large number of people of their hard earned money, for example.

As for this quote

    “He will be immersed in the ocean of pardon and forgiveness and will become the recipient of bounty and favour.”

If you want I can look up where that's written and give you more context if you want. Once again, this is my personal view and interpretation and can't be taken as gospel, but it really lines up with how I view God and His forgiveness. The way I see it is, if from our perspective as individual human beings God is infinite and all encompassing, than as far as we're concerned His compassion is limitless. That said, that doesn't mean our actions are without consequence and don't affect our spiritual development, so it's important to try and live as long and a good of a life as possible, both for our spiritual development as well as to help others in their spiritual development.

It's why Baha'u'llah forbids Baha'is from becoming monks and hermits and why Baha'is are encouraged to find fruitful careers. If people as individuals isolate themselves or engage in idle behavior, they're doing nothing to help their fellow man.

    I want to state that written, orthodox theology is a force that actively works to undermine the efforts of reformers, and gives substantial power to the conservative forces that would see things kept exactly how they are. I know this because I tried to be a reformer and got burned for it in a big way. I want to point out how toxic evangelicals and mega church organizations are growing in power while general church attendance drops, which means that organized religion is becoming more concentrated and more radical, while private 'spirituality' is losing political ground.

You didn't state all that earlier. I think in regards to Mega Churches, it's a new development and at the same time not. It was a while that in Europe, The Catholic Church had a ton of power, socially and politically. It's less now today, but a lot of that power and influence is still there. One of my religious history teachers used to say all the time "And such and such a religion stayed the same for centuries, until it hit America, and then it changed." I think in a lot of ways, Mega Churches strike me as similar behavior in a different environment.

While I personally don't see the appeal to them, it's obvious they appeal to at least someone, giving to their growing numbers. That they would use their numbers and developing influence to exert political change isn't surprising, because that's what big organizations do. Religious institutions, hospitals, banks, manufacturing industries, you name it. I'm not saying it's right and I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just saying it's pretty natural and unsurprising.

As to them becoming more powerful and exerting more political influence, there are counter reactions starting to form. As you said, general church attendance continues to drop and I think as the number of the non-religious population continues to grow, they'll provide a secular counter balance. I also think that as they continue to grow, people are gonna start seeking alternatives more and more. There's a local Presbyterian priest I've been fortunate enough to have a conversation or two with. He told me that for a lot of Mega Churches, a lot of members only stick around for a year or so before moving on. While I can't find any statistics to back that up, judging from my personal viewpoints about the impersonal nature of large groups and how I view spirituality as something quiet and intimate, I'm inclined to believe him.

    I bet we agree largely about what the world 'should' be with regard to the relationship between people and religion. You think it's possible, I think it's idealistic hogwash, because I was once an idealist, and was told my ideas were hogwash, with biblical citations.

The Bible says a lot of things. Judging from The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was pretty big on idealism. Either way, idealism isn't about getting everything you want, idealism is about striving for what you believe is right and not giving up hope.

Innat3vacillat3  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think that there are huge depths of harm deeply interwoven into cultures around the world. The perpetrating culture will just keep culturing on, just as Christianity does. I kinda think of this a cruise ship making minor adjustments as it goes, but still retaining the same general direction. It's both polluting the path behind it and pushing ppl of the boat as it goes, and yes, the ppl in the culture don't notice or can't /won't change it.

At least now the issue of suicide is being actively noticed by individuals within Christianity attempting to make a positive change. Yes, doctrine is still in place that leads to unfortunate circumstances. I'm just hoping that cultural circumstances for the next generation will be slightly more pleasant with society learning how to better help those at risk of suicide.

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The theology hasn't changed. Suicide = eternal damnation.

Let me know when that changes.

Innat3vacillat3  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, theology seems to be a constant in this case.

Considering it's the societal influence on a culture that can influence change. (what else influences change, I'm not sure haha).

What's the best we can hope for from society in this case? (I'm curious what you think).

(I think that social shifting to de-isolate suicide is a sign that we're on the right path socially, and all I can hope for is more small steps in positive directions).

OftenBen  ·  344 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    What's the best we can hope for from society in this case?

There are two answers to give.

Ideally: The influence of fundamentalist/literalist religion declines worldwide. The moderating forces already in existence within the Catholic church, various protestant denominations, etc claim the seats of power, and a reform takes place. LGBT folks get to go to church without having to hunt around to find 'The one with the rainbow flag outside,' without risk of being violently assaulted for something as banal and boring as who they choose to shag. We turn the page on this nasty portion of history and religion is finally something that is good and positive at the exclusion of judgement, fear, anger, hatred and bigotry, and those who exemplify those traits get kicked out of their respective religion, or at the very least they are not allowed to lead.

Practically: The culture war is going to continue. Christianity is going to fracture further. Christians that today ignore the text in favor of feel good 'God is good! All the time! All the time! God is Good!' culture will continue to do so. Christians who take their theology seriously will find a work around so they get to ignore the harsher parts of the text, like they do today. Evangelicals are still breeding like rabbits, and they have enormous political power. Their theology is going to affect the politics of the United States for decades to come, if not centuries. There are just too many of the fuckers, thanks to a lack of fact-based sexual education and direct religious orders to shun birth control and be fruitful and multiply. The best we can hope for with this group is stalemate, cordon off 'Christian territory' in the US and let them have their theocracy, separate from the rest of the world.

If I seem fixated on the LGBT+ thing it's because it's a good weather-vane for the temperament of a church in general. If they think that homosex is an abomination before the eyes of the Lord, they also likely believe that suicides are condemned to the fiery pit.