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 Religions - The Benefits

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Mon 24 Aug 2015, 12:31

Voltaire is having a go at faith itself in that passage. He goes on "Faith consists in believing not what seems true, but what seems false to our understanding. The Asiatics can only by faith believe the journey of Mahomet to the seven planets, and the incarnations of the god Fo, of Vishnu, Xaca, Brahma, and Sommonocodom. They submit their understandings; they tremble to examine: wishing to avoid being either impaled or burned, they say: “I believe.”"

He also cheated. When he said "evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme and intelligent being" he infers that he has examined evidence. All he meant was that he was open to the idea. Not the same. Naughty Voltaire, though I can see why you would quote him. A lot of people never have read the whole chapter he wrote on faith.

Divine faith, about which so much has been written, is evidently nothing more than incredulity brought under subjection, for we certainly have no other faculty than the understanding by which we can believe; and the objects of faith are not those of the understanding.

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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Mon 24 Aug 2015, 12:35

OK, I admit defeat. It's stopped raining so I shall go and cultivate my garden.

I'll read the chapter on faith sometime, but not today.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Mon 24 Aug 2015, 17:12

Nordmannn, you wrote that rationality is not a one way ticket to despair. Does anyone think it is? Is it not logic applied to using the blocks of human knowledge with which we feel secure...... only can we be certain that what we are certain about, really is certain?. It needs human rationality to decide  - mmm - and that quavers; law is constsntly temepered to fit shades of circumstance. The human condition is not fully understood so no one can really apply the truths about life as they see them to everyone else. The concept that some people need a spiritual dimension cannot be denied and there are those that don't - and  there are those that waver between them both. Not what my thread is about but the nature of  other's "faith"  keeps cropping up.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 08:15

Priscilla wrote:
Nordmannn, you wrote that rationality is not a one way ticket to despair. Does anyone think it is?

Yes, we have already established that Carl Jung thought it. He falsely presented rationality as simply an alternative mythology, but one built on despair.

Priscilla wrote:
The human condition is not fully understood so no one can really apply the truths about life as they see them to everyone else.

And yet this is precisely what organised religion attempts to do and even disorganised religion encourages people to believe is desirable.

As to what your thread is about (it is called "Religions - The Benefits") then the nature of people's "faiths" is of primary importance since if that "faith" includes the presumptions contained in your OP then this must be acknowledged before either the "bene" in benefit or what religion means as an originator of good things can be addressed. Personally I do not share your presumptions in the slightest - for me religion is a misattribution as a root of good as it also is a product of the creative process, an essentially human activity. The buck stops further back in the causality chain for both good and bad things we do, though it is obviously not in the interests of those who invest in religious "faith" to acknowledge this rather truistic fact.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 08:36

This Voltaire's dead good, isn't he? I didn't know about the Philosophical Dictionary - thanks for pointing me in that direction, nordmann. Read  a few bits so far: did "Faith" first, and "God" just now. Got a lot of other things to dip into! He's very funny, but he is a deist, isn't he? God+Reason - excellent combination, and it is possible.



The Philosophical Dictionary
           Voltaire
Selected and Translated by H.I. Woolf
New York: Knopf, 1924

Scanned by the Hanover College Department of History in 1995.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.





God



DURING the reign of Arcadius, Logomacos, lecturer in theology of Constantinople, went to Scythia and halted at the foot of the Caucasus, in the fertile plains of Zephirim, on the frontier of Colchis. That good old man Dondindac was in his great lower hall, between his sheepfold and his vast barn; he was kneeling with his wife, his five sons and five daughters, his kindred and his servants, and after a light meal they were all singing God's praises. " What do you there, idolator? " said Logomacos to him.
" I am not an idolator," answered Dondindac.
" You must be an idolator," said Logomacos, " seeing that you are not Greek. Tell me, what was that you were singing in your barbarous Scythian jargon? "
" All tongues are equal in the ears of God," answered the Scythian. " We were singing His praises."
" That's very extraordinary," returned the theologian. " A Scythian family who pray God without having been taught by us! " He soon engaged Dondindac the Scythian in conversation, for he knew a little Scythian, and the other a little Greek. The following conversation was found in a manuscript preserved in the library of Constantinople.
LOGOMACOS:
Let us see if you know your catechism. Why do you pray Cod?
DONDINDAC:
Because it is right to worship the Supreme Being from whom we hold everything.
LOGOMACOS:
Not bad for a barbarian! And what do you ask of him?
DONDINDAC :
I thank Him for the benefits I enjoy, and even for the ills with which he tries me; but I take good care not to ask Him for anything; He knows better than us what we need, and besides, I am afraid to ask Him for good weather when my neighbour is asking for rain.
LOCOMACOS:
Ah! I thought he was going to say something silly. Let us start again farther back. Barbarian, who has told you there is a God?
DONDINDAC:
The whole of nature.
LOGOMACOS:
That does not suffice. What idea have you of God?
DONDINDAC:
The idea of my creator, of my master, who will reward me if I do good, and who will punish me if I do ill.
LOGOMACOS :
Trash, nonsense all that! Let us come to essentials. Is God infinite secundum quid, or in essence?
DONDINDAC:
I don't understand you.
LOGOMACOS:
Brutish fool ! Is God in one place, beyond all places, or in all places?
DONDINDAC:
I have no idea . . . just as you please.
LOGOMACOS:
Dolt ! Is it possible for what has been not to have been, and can a stick not have two ends? Does He see the future as future or as present? how does He draw the being out of non-existence, and how annihilate the being?
DONDINDAC:
I have never examined these things.
LOGOMACOS:
What a blockhead! Come, one must humble oneself, see things in proportion. Tell me, my friend, do you think that matter can be eternal?
DONDINDAC:
What does it matter to me whether it exists from all eternity or not? I do not exist from all eternity. God is always my master; He has given me the notion of justice, I must follow it; I do not want to be a philosopher, I want to be a man.
LOGOMACOS:
These blockheads are troublesome. Let us go step by step. What is God?
DONDINDAC:
My sovereign, my judge, my father.
LOGOMACOS:
That's not what I'm asking you. What is His nature?
DONDINDAC:
To be potent and good.
LOGOMACOS:
But, is He corporeal or spiritual?
DONDINDAC:
How should I know?
LOGOMACOS:
What! you don't know what a spirit is?
DONDINDAC:
Not in the least: of what use would it be to me? should I be more lust? should I be a better husband, a better father, a better master, a better citizen ?
LOGOMACOS:
It is absolutely essential you should learn what a spirit is. It is, it is, it is . . . I will tell you another time.
DONDINDAC:
I'm very much afraid that you may tell me less what it is than what it is not. Allow me to put a question to you in my turn. I once saw one of your temples; why do you depict God with a long beard?
LOGOMACOS :
That's a very difficult question which needs preliminary instruction.
DONDINDAC:
Before receiving your instruction, I must tell you what happened to me one day. I had just built a closet at the end of my garden; I heard a mole arguing with a cockchafer. " That's a fine building," Said the mole. " It must have been a very powerful mole who did that piece of work." " You're joking," said the cockchafer. " It was a cock-chafer bubbling over with genius who is the architect of this building." From that time I resolved never to argue.


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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 08:50

I'm more Dondindac than Logomacos - but, oh dear, is that still not good? Will go away and ponder. Do not want to be a blind, unthinking mole. The  Church and the stupid masses who refuse to think? Don't want to be a member of either.

"From that time I resolved never to argue " - a conclusion I should note, perhaps.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 09:33

And the servants, waiting outside, said to each other, "How we wish they would stop arguing and go to bed. We have still to clear the tables, wash the dishes and sweep the floors before we can sleep. Tomorrow will be another long, hard day of toil and none of their gods will help us with that".
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 10:05

George Herbert disagreed. Nice poem this - made into a hymn - the sentiments of which will no doubt provoke much mirth and snorts of derision from folk in Northern parts.

I feel a right idiot this morning: I have been reading the wrong bits of Voltaire, have misunderstood what I have read and am generally an ignorant mole.

I like Voltaire (mock on, by all means -  you are very funny and very wise), but I like George Herbert too: he was a good man and a good priest - like Chaucer's Poor Parson (although Herbert was not exactly poor). There have been a few such in the history of Christianity. A great benefit to their poor parishioners who were/are not all as stupid as some wise men might think.



The Elixir


Teach me, my God and King,

        In all things Thee to see,

And what I do in anything

        To do it as for Thee.


        Not rudely, as a beast,

        To run into an action;

But still to make Thee prepossest,

        And give it his perfection.


        A man that looks on glass,

        On it may stay his eye;

Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,

        And then the heav'n espy.


        All may of Thee partake:

        Nothing can be so mean,

Which with his tincture—"for Thy sake"—

        Will not grow bright and clean.


        A servant with this clause

        Makes drudgery divine:

Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,

        Makes that and th' action fine.


        This is the famous stone

        That turneth all to gold;

For that which God doth touch and own

        Cannot for less be told.


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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 10:25

Ah, yes, ferv, that could be applied to all conferences, symposiums, conventions where the staff wait patiently for the yatter to end and the leaders disperse - including those discussing workers' rights and remuneration - the irony has hit me personally several times after such a battle for my employees going on late into the night. But when such staff have  paid employment  in uncertain times and climes  they accept the conditions - without complaint. Those then getting better terms,  in my own experience and after battling hard for them, considerable complaint. And I digress from the thread no end. After shooting myself in the feet so often I ought wear collanders.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 10:48

On which note, gulp, I introduce what perhaps ought end this thread. Here goes. What words of wisdom culled from the world's religions do we think have been - or still are - of benefit to our well being?
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 11:40

You mean what words of wisdom culled from other sources by the world's religions, don't you?

The "Do unto others ..." golden rule, lifted wholesale (but not acknowledged within Christianity) from the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, is of great benefit if followed up on. It is nearly but not quite on a par with Wobbleweapon's "This above all ..." rule. The Jews managed to insert quite a bit of practical food and personal hygiene instructions into their religion which must have been of enormous benefit to or'nery folks back in the days of dodgy soap and poor refrigeration. Though they ruined the effect somewhat by mixing it up with totally nonsensical garbage instructions too.

My own favourite however is "Go forth and multiply". It has been of enormous benefit to me when searching around for a polite way to tell someone to go f*ck themselves.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 13:48

Priscilla wrote:
On which note, gulp, I introduce what perhaps ought end this thread. Here goes. What words of wisdom culled from the world's religions do we think have been - or still are - of benefit to our well being?


Gosh, all that literature to choose from - the Psalms, Isaiah, the Book of Job, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, the Gospels, Saint Paul on a good day, the Bhagavad Gita etc. etc. etc. - and all we can come up with is a useful way of saying, "Go f**k yourself"?

What was it you said about a mourning bell, Priscilla?

Sad way for a really interesting thread to end, but there you go.


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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 14:28

At least, unlike the bible, it doesn't end with a deity issuing morbid threats. (Always reckoned that was only fitting though).

But seriously, if you eliminate all the loaned stuff in these so-called holy books how much original material is left? Well, original material of any value at least? If they have been of any benefit it has been primarily as repositories for much ancient wisdom that otherwise would have been lost to posterity (not least because the same buggers often destroyed the source material - but that's another thread's work).
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 14:31

Aye, a sad end. Dong..........dong.........dong....nordmann you are on, by , with, of or from - pick a preposition 0 the tolling bell. Silence in the aisle? Sad you have nothing of worth to make us reflect but what you offer says much of, with, ,y or from you.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 14:33

Wanna dire threat matey? Could do that but can't be bothered. Dong.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 14:42

Not sure I could handle you reflecting, P. You're brilliant enough as you are, I think.

Ding dong.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 15:28

Before the thread dies, could someone please propose one benefit of religion (any religion will do) that could not possibly have evolved without it? That was P's original question, wasn't it?
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 16:28

It can be a source of consolation and comfort .... but only for those that have complete faith in it.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 16:59

Dong.  Any  more last rites and wrongs,  before the ferv's godless requiem plays us out? Oh Ding Ding
                                                           Dooooooooooooong!
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 17:07

OK then, I'll have this.

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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 17:11

You're welcome. Dong.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 17:26

Priscilla wrote:
Dong.  Any  more last rites and wrongs,  before the ferv's godless requiem plays us out? Oh Ding Ding
                                                           Dooooooooooooong!


... well if it's to be a Godless finale then what better than that sublime music of Mozart ... "Contessa perdono" from the finale of "The Marriage of Figaro", which I need not remind you was a secular work: a baudy vaudeville piece, in plot quite akin to a 1960s Brian Rix stage farce, and certainly not a religious work ... the music however is still sublime.

The most well-known interpretation of this is probably courtesy of Hollywood's "Amadeus":



Though the idea that God is talking though Mozart is of course words put into the mouth of Salieri by Hollywood scriptwriters for the sake of the whole improbable, though nevertheless entertaining, storyline.

Yet the whole opera, and remember it was written as a comic opera, is still about love and forgiveness ... and that's not the pius love of God/forgiveness of sins guff ... but rather the true gritty stuff of human emotions. Salieri actually understates the message of forgiveness in the Countess's role ... yes (earlier in the opera) she hears the first words of tenderness said to her by her husband simply because he thinks she is the maid who he's constantly flirting with ... but she is still touched.  He, later, accepting that he's been foolish as an old man flirting with the young maid, realises that he truely does love his wife, and he forgives her all her previous perceived shrewness and finally realising that it is actually his wife in disguise, he asks her forgiveness. She, now realising that he knows that she knows that it's him, and that he's been a silly old goat ... who, she now realises she has always truely loved despite all his faults, offers her true forgiveness. And so all are reconciled in true love, the love of humankind .... with God nowhere to be seen.

(The above much quoted Contessa perdono refrain actually lasts a mere 20 seconds and occurs at the very end of the final act, only about 60 seconds before the very final chord and closing curtain).


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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Tue 25 Aug 2015, 18:20

A non religious wake is most appropriate, MM, and well chosen. Mark you, as an act of faith I might have a come back!!  Not with tinfoil brilliance, of course but in an effort to raise a dead horse -doomed before it even reached the hill.

                                                           Dong!
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Wed 26 Aug 2015, 11:17

From my legal secretarial days, expressing a wish for burial in a woodland glade but without a religious ceremony seemed to be popular among humanists.  Mind you the rate at which the countryside is disappearing under buildings these days woodland glades look like they could become somewhat rare.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Wed 26 Aug 2015, 17:24

Sanctuary? That was a benefit to some, wasn't it?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2151213.stm


The idea of escaping from persecution in a church in Britain is a medieval one, dating back to King Ethelbert's rule in 600AD.

If you were fleeing the law in those days, all you had to do was make for the nearest church, grab the sanctuary-knocker or sit yourself on the frith-stool and you were home and dry.

There was the small matter of taking an oath of abjuration before heading for the nearest port and lands beyond the realm, but in those bloodthirsty days, at least you could avoid the sword.

Claiming sanctuary in a church to avoid being punished for a crime was abolished in 1623 but the idea persists to this day.

That a holy place should be a source of refuge is a widely-held belief.


PS What was a frith stool?

PPS Yes, we come back for more - unhuffed to the end. Sorry about that.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Wed 26 Aug 2015, 20:05

Sweet sister temperance,

http://findwords.info/term/frith-stool
https://goo.gl/37v63j


Your friend, Paul.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Thu 27 Aug 2015, 15:58

Any archaeologist of ancient culture should know something of the music that were part of religious rites; but not me - not here, anyway. I know me place. I assume people found it a benefit because in ancient cultures people got somewhat more than a sarky response if they erred beyond the leader's tolerance. I ought be grateful. Is tolerance a religious benefit? Dong. I hear that bell again.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Thu 27 Aug 2015, 16:09

Cheers  





(So that's where the dong noise is coming from!)
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Thu 27 Aug 2015, 17:23

Paul, thank you for your reply and for the helpful link. Would you believe I have gone all these years without coming across "frith stool"?

The woolly old Church of England provided sanctuary as recently as 2001 to the Smakaj family who were refugees from Kosovo. They had been through a terrible ordeal and were desperate to stay in the UK.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1449051.stm


A family of Kosovan refugees has sought sanctuary in a church after being threatened with deportation.
The Smakaj family moved in to the church of St John and St Stephen in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, after they lost their legal battle to remain the UK.
Friends and supporters of Luan and Rruke Smakaj and their two children feared that officials would move in swiftly to seize the family.


The thought of police or officials "moving into" a church is still shocking somehow - whatever the rights or wrongs of the case.

Sanctuary as a benefit offered by the Church against political tyranny was high on Sir Thomas More's list of priorities - see his The History of King Richard the Third. That king, I hate to admit, was involved in the violation of sanctuary that happened after the Battle of Tewkesbury.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Thu 27 Aug 2015, 18:35

I'm not sure that the Right of Religious Sanctuary was quite the 'Get out of Gaol Free' card that it has come to represent in popular (Hollywood) culture, although I admit my principal source for this is the Cadfael series of books by Ellis Peters, and quoted from memory too. But I always thought that in the 11th to 13th centuries at least, someone seeking sanctuary in a church had to first surrender all wealth and weapons, make immediate holy confession to a priest, and then accept being placed under strict supervision by the head of the church or abbey to where they had fled (that person being legally responsible for the accused actions, as well as their protection from the mob).

They then had just forty days to make one of two choices: to surrender to the secular authorities with whatever legal assistance, witnesses, alibis etc that they could muster, and then stand trial for the alleged offences; or to 'adjure the realm' and go into exile ... and that meant to quickly get away abroad by the shortest route. It was illegal, 'on pain of death' for anyone else to knowingly support, help, or aid the exile in their flight, and the exile forfeited all legal rights to any property, land or inheritance (they were effectively making themselves outlaw ie outside the law). Should they ever return without the King's permission they could (like an outlaw) be executed without trial.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Thu 27 Aug 2015, 20:49

Meles meles,

"I admit my principal source for this is the Cadfael series of books by Ellis Peters"

yes me too a fan of brother Cadfael and Ellis Peters, both the novels and the TV series...

Nowadays no time anymore, so busy Wink ...

Your Belgian neighbour, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 07:41

Meles meles wrote:
I'm not sure that the Right of Religious Sanctuary was quite the 'Get out of Gaol Free' card that it has come to represent in popular (Hollywood) culture, although I admit my principal source for this is the Cadfael series of books by Ellis Peters, and quoted from memory too. But I always thought that in the 11th to 13th centuries at least, someone seeking sanctuary in a church had to first surrender all wealth and weapons, make immediate holy confession to a priest, and then accept being placed under strict supervision by the head of the church or abbey to where they had fled (that person being legally responsible for the accused actions, as well as their protection from the mob).

They then had just forty days to make one of two choices: to surrender to the secular authorities with whatever legal assistance, witnesses, alibis etc that they could muster, and then stand trial for the alleged offences; or to 'adjure the realm' and go into exile ... and that meant to quickly get away abroad by the shortest route. It was illegal, 'on pain of death' for anyone else to knowingly support, help, or aid the exile in their flight, and the exile forfeited all legal rights to any property, land or inheritance (they were effectively making themselves outlaw ie outside the law). Should they ever return without the King's permission they could (like an outlaw) be executed without trial.



Yes, I think the "adjure the realm" you mention was the taking of the oath of abjuration, noted in the original BBC link I gave.

There was the small matter of taking an oath of abjuration before heading for the nearest port and lands beyond the realm, but in those bloodthirsty days, at least you could avoid the sword.

I looked this up - here is the rather magnificent wording of the oath:

I swear on the Holy Book that I will leave the realm of England and never return without the express permission of my Lord the King or his heirs. I will hasten by the direct road to the port allotted to me and not leave the King's highway under pain of arrest or execution. I will not stay at one place more than one night and will seek diligently for a passage across the sea as soon as I arrive, delaying only one tide if possible. If I cannot secure such passage, I will walk into the sea up to my knees every day as a token of my desire to cross. And if I fail in all this, then peril shall be my lot.

"Then peril shall be my lot" - that's a line to remember.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 08:16

So the real beneficiaries of "sanctuary" were in fact the civic authorities, and in fact the more despotic, non-civic, ruthless and self-serving such authorities were the more they could make the sanctuary system work to their material advantage. One finds this a lot with so-called "benefits" accruing from organised religion. The stated or implied benefit according to the religion is almost never the important one - or even the actual one - and the real recipients are (surprise surprise) those who facilitate and guarantee its function.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 09:02

I find myself in a state of confusion, as ever.

Didn't Sanctuary rest on the ancient claim of the Catholic Church to be free from the authority of secular government? In England, so I believe, Sanctuary was considered a liberty of the Church and was recognised by Magna Carta? Obviously it was open to corruption and crafty debate - that's the whole point of the Sanctuary Scene in More's History ot King Richard the Third, mentioned above - that interesting exchange between Buckingham and Queen Elizabeth.

And didn't Augustine report that Christians who fled to churches during the Sack of Rome in 410 were spared by Rome's invaders? A local church clearly a benefit when dealing with nasty, marauding Goths?

No doubt I have it all wrong as usual, as with everything I ever post on this site. It does get wearisome at times. "Keep coming back for more" indeed. The tragedy - or complete idiocy - of the religious mindset, no doubt.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 09:53

Temp wrote:
Didn't Sanctuary rest on the ancient claim of the Catholic Church to be free from the authority of secular government?

Yes, it did. Though in legal terms it also claimed direct pedigree back to pre-Christian Roman Law. At the risk of you confusing my differing with your opinion with me declaring it wrong (goodness!) I would still say that what you ascribe to corruption and crafty debate was often simply a case of pragmatic application on the part of the church. However the effect was the same .

Secular grith (frith's companion in Britain) also applied. While it mostly still related to areas in and around specific churches the griths in London (all in Southwark) lasted up until early Victorian times and represented agreed "no-go" areas for agents of the law.

Terry Jones and Alan Ereira's "Medieval Lives" made the very valid point regarding what religious sanctuary meant in relation to a rich availer of the facility as opposed to a poor one - basically it cost you to use it (normally at the point where you had to leave it) and if you had nothing to offer then it was not a service normally extended to your type.

PS: The same authors also coincidentally pointed out in their book and TV series "Barbarians" how Augustine rather neglected to mention the Christian piety of the so-called "sackers" of Rome in that incident (he was of a different heresy to them so he tended to play up their barbarity, even despite all evidence to the contrary). The locals did well to occupy the two main basilicas as Alaric recognised them as important to his own faith and instructed his troops not to defile them. Lesser basilicas however were looted during the three days of occupation by these devoutly Arian Christian besiegers.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 16:16

Well, he would, wouldn't he? Augustine, I mean. Old hypocrite.

In my innocence I thought Sanctuary was a nice idea. But then I think Christianity is a nice idea too.

I'm with Sebastian Flyte on this -  the power of an idea*, I mean. And believing in "a lovely idea" has been thought by others (Greek chaps perhaps?) to be - er - quite a good idea, if not a positive benefit.  


‘“I suppose they try and make you believe an awful lot of nonsense?”

“Is it nonsense? I wish it were. It sometimes sounds terribly sensible to me.”

“But my dear Sebastian, you can’t seriously believe it all.”

“Can’t I?”

“I mean about Christmas and the star and the three kings and the ox and the ass.”

“Oh yes, I believe that. It’s a lovely idea.”

“But you can’t believe things because they’re a lovely idea.”

“But I do. That’s how I believe.”’


Brideshead Revisited (2011), p.109, Penguin Classics.


PS Don't mean the star and the donkey and all literally, but I think you know what I mean.

PPS Priscilla, please start your thread on Cactus Hunting Through the Ages. This thread is heading for 3,500 views - let's see if we can beat that with one about cacti.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 16:33

Temperance wrote:
In my innocence I thought Sanctuary was a nice idea.

Actually I think that for the time (ie a couple of centuries either side of the Norman Conquest) Sanctuary was indeed quite a good idea. It gave the accused immediate relief from the baying lynch mob, allowing all parties a period of cooling off, thought, reflection, consultation etc, all within the law ... and before the due process of law, for all its mediaeval weaknesses, still inevitably took effect. All parties were forced to submit to a higher power: God, the King, the County Sheriff ... does it really matter ... to honour the legal precedent of the 40 days sanctuary. Not really that bad a system given the violence of the times and all the other abuses of power and priviledge that were then so prevalent, neh?
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 18:53

No sanctuary in this thread, is there?. Beware what you PM to Temps! I doubt cacti collecting has an interesting history - the point is ( ugh1) it would have no religious content - a prickly subject here.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 19:14

Priscilla wrote:
No sanctuary in this thread, is there?. Beware what you PM to Temps! I doubt cacti collecting has an interesting history - the point is ( ugh1) it would have no religious content - a prickly subject here.

Oh, cacti do have an interesting history - see Aldous Huxley and his adventures with the peyote cactus. Or, alternatively, you could watch Five Go Mad On Mescaline.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doors_of_Perception


 Do not chew this plant.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Fri 28 Aug 2015, 19:59

Oh, cacti do have an interesting history

Oh, they certainly do and one intimately connected with religious practice and experience but that takes us into Meso and South American religions. Now there's some varieties of which the benefits are pretty hard to discern amid the blood and beating hearts and the drugged children dying on mountain tops.
What a good job the Christians arrived to stop..........  

Ah. Oh well..........
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 09:50

Speaking of beating hearts and doing something awful with children, the benefit of church fetes in keeping community rivalry and angst going and parting with cash in the pouring rain to keep a roof on an ancient heap is very good for the soul. I bet raising funds for the Humanist Hall is never such  satisfying misery.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 10:54

Hanging basket and lemon meringue pie competitions invariably bring out the Beast in most Christians - certainly in English villages.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 13:08

Priscilla wrote:
Speaking of beating hearts and doing something awful with children, the benefit of church fetes in keeping community rivalry and angst going and parting with cash in the pouring rain to keep a roof on an ancient heap is very good for the soul. I bet raising funds for the Humanist Hall is never such  satisfying misery.

Oh, I can assure you it is, having been to the local allotment produce show last weekend - entirely secular and every bit as beastly as anything the church goers can muster. Even I, rational and humanitarian as I am, couldn't help announcing, "My courgettes are better than the winners.".
Great cakes though.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 13:22

Hmm. rationality would drive you made in the east. Think irrational there to get a gist of how things might pan out. Perhaps that's why I succeeded and survived. But I stayed away from knives on the table bridge, how ever good the benefiting cause.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 15:23

ferval wrote:


Oh, I can assure you it is, having been to the local allotment produce show last weekend - entirely secular and every bit as beastly as anything the church goers can muster. Even I, rational and humanitarian as I am, couldn't help announcing, "My courgettes are better than the winners.".



Ah, by their fruits shall ye know them - or, in ferval's case, by her vegetables.

NET Bible Proverbs 21:4
Haughty eyes and a proud heart--the agricultural product of the wicked is sin.


Smile


PS "Agricultural product" is a wonderful translation, I think. The KJV gives "the plowing of the wicked is sin", which is probably nearer the intention of the compiler of Proverbs, but probably not considered as effective by the NFU. "The tillage of the wicked is sin" is also offered online - I think the Americans favour that version.


Last edited by Temperance on Sun 30 Aug 2015, 15:48; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sat 29 Aug 2015, 15:45

And I bet throwing wet sponges at  the Allotment Chairman never happened there; not as many a vicar suffer at a church fete. a good fundraiser that. And very much a religious benefit and rather C of E. Perhaps other faiths worldwide do similar but even imagining them is funny.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sun 30 Aug 2015, 14:32

I bet throwing wet sponges at Stalin never happened either.

I'm still mulling over the implication of Kit Hitchens's chapter "In God's Name - the Inquisition's Use of Torture in South America, Spain and at Little Peover village fete."

 Vicar discusses with two parishioners the most effective torture implements.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sun 30 Aug 2015, 18:38

And fetes leads me to include Carnivals. We have many in this area and not religious but the religious origin cannot be denied for the great Carnivals that developed around easter festivals. A benefit? Yes - surely. Not to religion but for fun and an excuse for excess. Parades and processions worldwide surely have a religious origin? Whether of benefit is moot, however. Thinking Stalin and Hitler for starters; theirs were non religious. Was a Hitler a humanist? Wide -eyed gulp. I'll shut up. For today.
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sun 30 Aug 2015, 19:13

I think Hitler was deist, with himself if not exactly as God but at least with an exclusive hot-line to his version of the almighty deity. Although actually he was brought up and always professed to being a devout Catholic and regularly attended mass ... I'm not sure if that factoid is ultimately a plus or minus against his character, or indeed the Catholic church.

But your mention of festivals, carnivals and the Nazis in the same post, did immediately make me think of this:



... and then the obvious question: where were all the portaloos and how accessible were they?  ... I mean, one didn't want to get caught short and be having to push backwards through the adoring crowd, just as Der Furher finally arrived ... and like Putin he was always late!
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sun 30 Aug 2015, 19:57

Darn, your picture is showing for me and I really can't imagine what it might be of!
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PostSubject: Re: Religions - The Benefits   Sun 30 Aug 2015, 20:10

It doesn't show? ....then just imagine what you might get if you were to type into Google Images: "Nazi Nuremburg Rally" ...
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