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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  302 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: More Religious Leaders Challenge Silence, Isolation Surrounding Suicide

    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  ·  302 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  ·  301 days ago  ·  link  ·  

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

OftenBen  ·  302 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  ·  302 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  ·  302 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  ·  302 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  ·  301 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  ·  301 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  ·  302 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  ·  302 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  ·  301 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.