Religion and Commerce

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Religion and Commerce

Postby anon » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:58 pm

Secularism has traditionally referred to a kind of matrix, within which a variety of religions are tolerated. Thus, the U.S. government is a secular government - it is "separate from religion...not being exclusively allied or against any particular religion" (wiki). But "religion" isn't neatly defined, and religious beliefs often do conflict with the laws which the government upholds. This has always occurred.

An interesting thing to me lately, though, is governments holding religious teachers and institutions accountable for their claims as if they are selling something. Religious critics have of course always claimed that religious figures and institutions are "selling something", but they haven't traditionally acted on this claim. In another thread recently I posted this excerpt from a recent NYT article:

Angola's government has suspended a Pentecostal church from conducting any activities for 60 days after a New Year's Eve stampede during an overcrowded religious vigil killed 16 people, the presidency said in a statement.

The incident took place at the Cidadela Desportiva stadium in the capital Luanda, where the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD) organized a Pentecostal Christian vigil.

The death toll included three small children. Another 120 people were injured.

The presidency said in a statement issued late on Saturday that an inquiry commission had concluded that IURD had attracted 150,000 people to a venue with capacity for 30,000.

It added that the church had caused the overcrowding by marketing the event as "The Day of End - come to end all your problems in life: illness, misery, unemployment...


The Angolan presidency blamed the church to some degree for the deaths of 16 people, due to false marketing.

Another NYT article, A Psychic’s Legal Problems Grow, Perhaps Not Unforeseeably, provides evidence of this same trend of holding people accountable for what they claim to sell. Psychics will of course be rejected by many as not truly religious, but they share the trait of promoting belief in claims that can't be substantiated.

What does this trend (I see it as a trend, but maybe it's nothing new at all) mean for the future of 1) faith, and 2) noble lies (i.e. "untrue" stories that serve a function)? After all, that is the question at the heart of this whole thing, isn't it? I assume most religious people would agree that a greedy religious leader, with no interest in spirituality, who runs his religious organization as a business whose sole purpose is to make money, should be held accountable and pay the price (i.e. perhaps some jail time for swindling people). But religious institutions, in order to survive, must make money. And direct donations are the lifeblood of most such institutions. I don't think they make most of their money selling trinkets, like Virgin Mary statues or prayer beads. Also, psychics are usually protected by the fact that they make so little money and can always claim that their business is a form of entertainment. Is there, then, a limit to how much money they can accept from people, before it becomes obvious that there is a victim, who can make a claim?

If this method for regulating the claims of religious leaders and organizations gains traction, how would religion as currently practiced have to adapt? And would this adaptation be a good thing or a bad thing (or neutral)? Again, what will this mean for the future of faith, or if you believe that religion involves noble lies - say, "belief in heaven creates harmony on earth, therefore it is a good belief to hold, whether or not it is true" (whether the claim that belief in heaven creates harmony on earth is true or not is beside the point here, point being that it is a reasonable claim that can't be falsified)?
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Jayson » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:56 am

(forward note...I'm making pretty sweeping generalizations here, so these statements aren't absolute, nor universal...just pretty common)

We're in the middle of a form of cultural revolution.
This one is the one that pulls religious sectors of secular societies up to speed to the times of the people, rather than continuing to leave them silently off and 'ignored' (by "ignore", I mean that they are often discounted from involvement in most official avenues of governmental requisites of societal debt and balance; typically [imo] because it has functioned to just not bother the nest of would-be very angry wasps, as people tend to become rather emotionally angry if they perceive any threat to their religious culture on mass).

Why is it happening now?
Well, for one (and not the only factor, but a rather large one), while religions were off being officially ignored, there is a record, which just about every religious affiliation has left in their wake, of not staying out of attempting to be involved in societal governance evaluation and sway.

So on one hand, they are left alone because they are conceptually in an abyss of non-society, but on the other hand, the reality eventually surfaces that there is no such thing as an abyss of non-society, and the constant interest of religious institutions to have a governmental voice while at the same time lacking societal debt through governmental check equally eventually, and logically, doesn't sum up too well to a balanced sheet of good societal budgeting.

After a considerable time, the societal concept of harm starts to work its way into the counter-voice against the societal debt exempt religious institutions, and eventually that voice starts to even get louder as each event of harm arises and serves as another example for the demand for societal balance of responsibility for action.

It's tedious because on one hand, the idea is that the individual is the responsible individual for choosing to follow the adherence and allegiance to the institution, while on the other hand it is often (in history, not just now) raised and pointed out that the institutions of religion themselves are a sociopolitical force that, if left unchecked by any measure, can spread ideologies counter to the good of the society in which they reside, and therefore serve as a societal detriment rather than a societal advantage.

So what happens if these institutions start being held to tighter responsibilities than current (which seems to be the question that you are interested in exploring, anon)?

In my opinion, based on what has happened in history, some form of unrest typically happens.
It usually comprises of one group being comprised of the religious institutions, even possibly in contention over each other and not unified into a singular group (sort of like all of Feudal Japan's territories all screaming at the Emperor for their individual recognition, while at the same time demanding negligence of recognition for all other representative and fragmented parties), and the other side being that of the government in question.

In the past, what tended to happen more often than not, was that the governments would select one winner and ban the rest, and then institute some form of legal tie between the selected religion and the government...except for the Mongols.

About the only clear cut relatable concept of a sort of religious institutional debt separate from the government in history that is more or less reasonably documented would be the Chinese concept of the so-labeled "Mandate of Heaven", where the leader would be tossed (in some manner) if everything went bad. Why? Because it was conceived that they were the representative of the people to the divine and if they performed poorly, then their sales pitch was in poor form to societal debt and therefore the heavens would remove their blessing of them so that they could be tossed or taken over.

(Again, I'm being rather sweeping and general here as it was far more complicated than this...as history always is)

Anywho...so that's about as close as we get to a working example...so what would it mean if people cannot make claims for people to follow along with, which contain the possibility of harm within them (e.g. religiously prescribed medical negligence that in turn causes avoidable death), without equally being held accountable for those claim's reactions?

Well, if history has any sort of example to offer, via the only closest proximity ("Mandate of Heaven"), then what it has the potential to cause to happen is what eventually happened in China with Wen of Han who more or less is representationally the "golden boy" of the Confucian "Mandate of Heaven" system because he avoided doing anything that could potentially tick off the divine as much as was possible.

Again...a sweeping generalization...because before that you also had a ton of really nasty and corrupt stuff taking place.
But, what was interesting about all of it was that all of these leaders were compelled to justify every action rather than simply just doing it without justifying anything at all (sometimes winning, and sometimes losing their pleas of justifications).


So what will happen, given this kind of example?
Allot of kicking and screaming and eventually a massive ton of legal cases, and also sermons that have about 100 asterisks akin to those late night commercial programs offering products which are not approved by the FDA for the claims in which they make, and are regularly accompanied by a sub-clause in tiny print of, "results not typical", for most of the extraordinary claims.



At least...that's my opinion on the matter.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby anon » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:02 pm

Jayson wrote:Well, if history has any sort of example to offer, via the only closest proximity ("Mandate of Heaven"), then what it has the potential to cause to happen is what eventually happened in China with Wen of Han who more or less is representationally the "golden boy" of the Confucian "Mandate of Heaven" system because he avoided doing anything that could potentially tick off the divine as much as was possible.

Can you maybe expand on this, Jayson? I'm not familiar enough with the subject, and I think because of that I'm not understanding your final point. Your post as a whole was a good read, so I'm definitely interested in how you wrap it up.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Ierrellus » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:57 pm

Churches should be taxed with exemptions for charity. That would affect the televangelists who solicit the pensions of the elderly who have been frightened into believing they can pay for their sins.
You can't separate church and state. People vote their religious convictions.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby anon » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:12 pm

Ierrellus wrote:Churches should be taxed with exemptions for charity. That would affect the televangelists who solicit the pensions of the elderly who have been frightened into believing they can pay for their sins.
You can't separate church and state. People vote their religious convictions.

I don't know. Let's add one more NYT article to the mix: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/busin ... d=all&_r=0
"Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries." - Blaise Pascal

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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby V-OutOfTheWilderness » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:31 pm

Ierrellus wrote:People vote their religious convictions.

People join political party's out of religious convictions. In fact, belonging to a political party is very much like a religious conviction.
Last edited by V-OutOfTheWilderness on Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby tentative » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:18 pm

Religion is always given a "pass". If you spent time looking at all the exemptions granted churches for their activities, you'd be amazed at how far we've bent over backwards to provide preferential treatment of all religious organizations. The dubious activities of televangelists is proof in point. They rake in millions of dollars "selling" promises they have no way of keeping. Beyond that, if we applied the same administrative cost/charitable work yardstick to religions as we apply to other non-profits, there wouldn't be a church group that could stand the test. The Salvation Army might be the only exception. The incidents of fraud and corruption in the religious media are too numerous to mention. Televangelists might be the poster child, but they're the tip of the iceberg. The millions raked in selling trinkets, CDs, DVDs, and books are the largest part of selling religion. It's a business and a damned BIG business.

The issue of religious belief in society is a far more complex issue. In the main, responsible government must remain staunchly secular, not only to protect those of religious conviction, but those who reject religion. It is to be expected that people will vote their values, but religion should be practiced in the home, the church, temple, synagogue, of choice. It should be the responsibility of every religion to avoid promoting their particular ideology any place where general society is affected. If you want freedom of religion, it follows that you must be capable of granting freedom FROM religion as well. Obviously, almost all religions fail that test.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Jayson » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:36 pm

anon wrote:
Jayson wrote:Well, if history has any sort of example to offer, via the only closest proximity ("Mandate of Heaven"), then what it has the potential to cause to happen is what eventually happened in China with Wen of Han who more or less is representationally the "golden boy" of the Confucian "Mandate of Heaven" system because he avoided doing anything that could potentially tick off the divine as much as was possible.

Can you maybe expand on this, Jayson? I'm not familiar enough with the subject, and I think because of that I'm not understanding your final point. Your post as a whole was a good read, so I'm definitely interested in how you wrap it up.

The mandate of heaven was a Chinese political philosophy for validating the legitimacy of the rulers.

The short and sweet of the system was that if good things were happening, then the ruler's societal methods were divinely right, and therefore no one could overthrow them. If bad things were happening, then the ruler's societal methods were divinely wrong, and therefore someone could overthrow them.

Originally, it is viewed through the historical lens, the Zhou dynasty established the Mandate of Heaven simply to justify why they were justified in taking over the Shang dynasty. So originally it was a terrible thing, because it was just yet another emperor declaring that they were divinely right, and retroactively (and fictitiously - because the accounts they claimed were of impossible conditions since their predecessors didn't believe in divinities as they did) declaring all before them were errant and that was why it was OK that they just killed your leader and now are in control of you.

But what eventually happened was that it turned into a political check and balance system (OK...more or less. We all know there's no such thing as a perfect checks and balance system as people will find ways to abuse any system for control), whereby the rulers, over time, ambitioned more and more to be the emblem of Confucianism (as it was held that the ideal of Confucianism was what the divine approved of the most), and that meant ruling with the ideals of Confucianism...which, on the whole, was a pretty good philosophy for political rule (Confucianism, that is).

So it gave the "people" (translation: rich [mostly] male land owning population) power to claim that the emperor was a pile of crap and overthrow them, by claiming that they abused society and violated the mandate of heaven; and therefore brought suffering upon their people.

This eventually popped up a "golden boy" (as mentioned before) of the system who reigned perfectly...I mean...you couldn't get more crunchy (in the Chinese way) than this guy.
He always consulted with the ministers and never disrespected their wisdom, and always took them very seriously into consideration. His wife, Empress Dou, was devoutly Taoist (she was said to be absolutely obsessed with Lao Zi's writings) and openly influential in compassion (in the Taoist way of non-action form of compassion), and she eventually even taught her son to be as his Father and rule with all the great ideals of the Chinese "golden age".


But the point is that all of this was a sort of check and balance of rulers where previously there wasn't really any check and balance except for that they were heirs and no one had killed them yet.

The comparison being drafted is that, in regards to religion, we don't really have an example of what we are gearing up for.
We have this history of a religion getting picked and championed and the rest wiped out; or all religions being wiped out and the government being absolute in enforcing secularism on the personal level.

Neither of these approaches has panned out very well, so I doubt any modern society of massively culturally mixed societies are in a rush to institute either of these options (considering after installment, the given society typically only lasts around a hundred or some odd years and then everyone is so pissed off with being told how to existentially feel that they just let slip all sense of their responsibility scales to society...more often implicitly than explicitly).

So, to me, the closest we have in comparison is this mandate of heaven bit in China's golden age.
It wasn't a separation of "Church and State", directly, but it is an example of a massive claims which people would believe in fully being counter-checked against the one making the claims - something the Western Culture hasn't really seen religion (as a whole) do...well...really, ever.

So if we go forward and start demanding that religious institutions are to be held to their claims in responsibility, then I would assume a similar form of human behavior would eventually arise as what arose in China under the Mandate of Heaven.
That is to say, the level of disregard would go down, and self-awareness of the societal responsibility to fulfill claims as proclaimed would be increasingly more common as more and more court cases began to arise in a newly permitted system of religious claim accountability.

It wouldn't remove all bad behavior and corruption any more than the Chinese Mandate of Heaven did, as those attributes will always exist in every facet of human society as long as humans exist in mass numbers as a single society.

However, what it would do is increase the motivation to be more careful about encouraging people to follow along with extraordinary claims that have any potential of harming the individuals, especially as "harm" from such interactions gets a wider birth of legal definition (as is beginning to take place).
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby V-OutOfTheWilderness » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:41 pm

Somebody has to fleece the sheep.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby tentative » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:35 am

V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:Somebody has to fleece the sheep.

Soooo.... what's your plan, Stan? 8)
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby V-OutOfTheWilderness » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:12 am

tentative wrote:
V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:Somebody has to fleece the sheep.

Soooo.... what's your plan, Stan? 8)
I plan on not getting fleeced ... any more.

How about U?
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby tentative » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:16 am

V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:
tentative wrote:
V-OutOfTheWilderness wrote:Somebody has to fleece the sheep.

Soooo.... what's your plan, Stan? 8)
I plan on not getting fleeced ... any more.

How about U?

I gave it up in my teens. Shaggy dog story: My mother was a dedicated hellfire and damnation sort of christian. As a teenage smartass, I decided to poke her in the ribs a little. One sunday morning I tuned the TV into some televangelist show and turned the sound off. I asked mom to watch for a few minutes and then I asked, "How is what you're watching any different than the Ed Sullivan Show? I got nothing but a stare, and ended up fixing my own dinner. She was not amused. I fought the war with the rest of family for another 10 years or so before they gave up.

Oddly, I married a girl who was a regular church goer, but not a religion pusher. I made sure that each of my children attended church with mom every Sunday until it was clear that they weren't satisfied with what they were seeing. Why? Because they needed to have something to compare when they began asking about dad's Taoism. It worked out OK for each of them. The wife still teaches Sunday School and I go about my business as usual. We accept each other's spiritual nature and we DO NOT talk religion...
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Moreno » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:38 am

anon wrote:Angola's government has suspended a Pentecostal church from conducting any activities for 60 days after a New Year's Eve stampede during an overcrowded religious vigil killed 16 people, the presidency said in a statement.
It seems very odd to me that they should be considered more to blame due to what drew people to the event, rather than simply to blame for not organizing well, providing the right security or whatever.

The presidency said in a statement issued late on Saturday that an inquiry commission had concluded that IURD had attracted 150,000 people to a venue with capacity for 30,000.

It added that the church had caused the overcrowding by marketing the event as "The Day of End - come to end all your problems in life: illness, misery, unemployment.
Look out politicians because your rallies at least should be next.

The Angolan presidency blamed the church to some degree for the deaths of 16 people, due to false marketing.
So if they had promised a free chicken to everyone and 150,000 came and got chickens they wouldn't be to blame?

Another NYT article, A Psychic’s Legal Problems Grow, Perhaps Not Unforeseeably, provides evidence of this same trend of holding people accountable for what they claim to sell. Psychics will of course be rejected by many as not truly religious, but they share the trait of promoting belief in claims that can't be substantiated.
One can test most psychic claims.

What does this trend (I see it as a trend, but maybe it's nothing new at all) mean for the future of 1) faith, and 2) noble lies (i.e. "untrue" stories that serve a function)? After all, that is the question at the heart of this whole thing, isn't it? I assume most religious people would agree that a greedy religious leader, with no interest in spirituality, who runs his religious organization as a business whose sole purpose is to make money, should be held accountable and pay the price (i.e. perhaps some jail time for swindling people).

i don't think you can put people in jail for not having their heart in the right place. If they break the law, then....

But religious institutions, in order to survive, must make money. And direct donations are the lifeblood of most such institutions. I don't think they make most of their money selling trinkets, like Virgin Mary statues or prayer beads. Also, psychics are usually protected by the fact that they make so little money and can always claim that their business is a form of entertainment. Is there, then, a limit to how much money they can accept from people, before it becomes obvious that there is a victim, who can make a claim?
Let's put this in perspective. Very few people have gone to jail for the financial crisis that radically damaged the lives of certainly thousands of people, and damaged the lives of millions and millions of others. There was systematic crime. But only a few really extreme, flashy criminals were prosecuted. It was a system of lies. Let's start with them.

If some psychic tells you you are going to meet a tall dark stranger before Christmas and you don't, who cares. If they tell you to give them all your money or you will not meet the stranger, send them to prison.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Jayson » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:54 am

Moreno,

The issue at hand that makes a difference is that of questioning, not just the example cases, but the general status of offering people a religious solution that ends up causing harm.

The reason that it is in question is because the standard up until now has been to leave it on the shoulders of those adhering, and to have no specific laws for religious institutions regarding their claims and whether or not they can fulfill those claims.

Let's just toss the two examples out for the moment and address the general concept.

Religious institutions generally are left alone when their prescriptions and claims do not work out for an adherent. This permits the environment whereby the religious institutions are free to make any claim, regardless of the outcome, and the fallout is generally left upon the feet of the adherent.

In commercial marketing, there is generally a set of laws regulating the ability to make claims that are incapable of being rendered in guarantee.
Because religion is seen as a willful act of the individual to adhere to culturally, it is generally not seen as the same as a marketed product.
However, there is no real difference between the two when harm comes into the result.

It doesn't really matter whether banks or politicians are or are not held accountable in like fashion in a given country, as to whether or not religious institutions should or should not be held to some fashion of responsibility for the claims in which they prescribe to an adherent.

Whether we think the individuals are idiots or not, they are trusting the provider to prescribe a successful remedy for their existential ailment in some fashion, and the provider is not required to adhere to a form of ethos regarding the general safety and care of the adherent due to the results of their prescriptions.
In fact, if the adherents are gullible suckers or idiots, then that is more of a reason to hold the one making the claims and prescriptions accountable; unless they too can prove that they are equally as ignorant of the consequences as the adherents - in which case they should be held accountable for offering prescriptions and practices without full knowledge of their trade.

I can easily start up a spiritual center and offer remedies for depression and link it to evil energy, and then prescribe people to change their diets and choices in their quality of living in the assertion that it pleases the divine right of good energy.
This may all seem benign, but I can also then later declare that I received a revelation from the divine energies that homosexuals were the absolute worst energy that will suck your soul dry and cause you all the ill in your life.
I can prescribe that every adherent do everything in their will to remove homosexual individuals from their lives so to attain right energy.

Now a bunch of adherents, after getting everyone emotionally invested at great length before the anti-homosexual decree, are going to cut off friends and family members from being part of their life.
I, the prescriber, have destroyed social unities by a claim.
The claim also asserts that in destroying social unity, the individuals will find good energy and be rid of their depressions.

Now, if even a single adherent increases in depression because they have an actual physiological variation of clinical depression and the adherence to the order to rid homosexuals from their lives removed them from proximity with their only remaining parent and caused them much suffering as a result, all the while believing that they will be alleviated from their suffering as a result of following this very difficult path that I repeatedly assure them is gainful spiritually for them, then it should stand to be of good measure that I should be held accountable for the harm caused by my reckless prescription which did not alleviate their existential suffering, but instead increased it many fold; not to mention damaged a portion of social stability in the community.

I don't see any fault in holding such laws, and I've always thought that it was odd that such laws were absent, considering the ramifications of unchecked cultural prescriptions on merely the grounds of unverifiable metaphysical authority for the alleviation of existential suffering.
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Spiritual: a set of neurological processes dealing with value placement, empathy, and sympathy through the associative truncation of relative identity, and which has reached a value set capable of being described as reverent to the individual, and from which existential experience and reflection is capable explicitly.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Ierrellus » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:57 pm

All the telefundies have to say when you did not get your miracle is that you lack faith.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby anon » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:14 pm

Jayson,

The mandate of heaven was a Chinese political philosophy for validating the legitimacy of the rulers.

The short and sweet of the system was that if good things were happening, then the ruler's societal methods were divinely right, and therefore no one could overthrow them. If bad things were happening, then the ruler's societal methods were divinely wrong, and therefore someone could overthrow them.

Originally, it is viewed through the historical lens, the Zhou dynasty established the Mandate of Heaven simply to justify why they were justified in taking over the Shang dynasty. So originally it was a terrible thing, because it was just yet another emperor declaring that they were divinely right, and retroactively (and fictitiously - because the accounts they claimed were of impossible conditions since their predecessors didn't believe in divinities as they did) declaring all before them were errant and that was why it was OK that they just killed your leader and now are in control of you.

But what eventually happened was that it turned into a political check and balance system (OK...more or less. We all know there's no such thing as a perfect checks and balance system as people will find ways to abuse any system for control), whereby the rulers, over time, ambitioned more and more to be the emblem of Confucianism (as it was held that the ideal of Confucianism was what the divine approved of the most), and that meant ruling with the ideals of Confucianism...which, on the whole, was a pretty good philosophy for political rule (Confucianism, that is).

So it gave the "people" (translation: rich [mostly] male land owning population) power to claim that the emperor was a pile of crap and overthrow them, by claiming that they abused society and violated the mandate of heaven; and therefore brought suffering upon their people.

This eventually popped up a "golden boy" (as mentioned before) of the system who reigned perfectly...I mean...you couldn't get more crunchy (in the Chinese way) than this guy.
He always consulted with the ministers and never disrespected their wisdom, and always took them very seriously into consideration. His wife, Empress Dou, was devoutly Taoist (she was said to be absolutely obsessed with Lao Zi's writings) and openly influential in compassion (in the Taoist way of non-action form of compassion), and she eventually even taught her son to be as his Father and rule with all the great ideals of the Chinese "golden age".


But the point is that all of this was a sort of check and balance of rulers where previously there wasn't really any check and balance except for that they were heirs and no one had killed them yet.

The comparison being drafted is that, in regards to religion, we don't really have an example of what we are gearing up for.
We have this history of a religion getting picked and championed and the rest wiped out; or all religions being wiped out and the government being absolute in enforcing secularism on the personal level.

Neither of these approaches has panned out very well, so I doubt any modern society of massively culturally mixed societies are in a rush to institute either of these options (considering after installment, the given society typically only lasts around a hundred or some odd years and then everyone is so pissed off with being told how to existentially feel that they just let slip all sense of their responsibility scales to society...more often implicitly than explicitly).

So, to me, the closest we have in comparison is this mandate of heaven bit in China's golden age.
It wasn't a separation of "Church and State", directly, but it is an example of a massive claims which people would believe in fully being counter-checked against the one making the claims - something the Western Culture hasn't really seen religion (as a whole) do...well...really, ever.

So if we go forward and start demanding that religious institutions are to be held to their claims in responsibility, then I would assume a similar form of human behavior would eventually arise as what arose in China under the Mandate of Heaven.
That is to say, the level of disregard would go down, and self-awareness of the societal responsibility to fulfill claims as proclaimed would be increasingly more common as more and more court cases began to arise in a newly permitted system of religious claim accountability.

It wouldn't remove all bad behavior and corruption any more than the Chinese Mandate of Heaven did, as those attributes will always exist in every facet of human society as long as humans exist in mass numbers as a single society.

However, what it would do is increase the motivation to be more careful about encouraging people to follow along with extraordinary claims that have any potential of harming the individuals, especially as "harm" from such interactions gets a wider birth of legal definition (as is beginning to take place).

I think that makes sense to me. What I see happening now is a basic process of moving from crudeness (“separation of church and state”) to a much closer and more subtle examination of what this slogan means and how it can occur in a politically and philosophically consistent way. And what that might lead to is something similar to yet different from what you’ve described as happening in China, i.e. “enlightened rule”: a natural and justified place for moral and intellectual virtues in the public sphere, with the extravagant claims of religions brought down to earth – a coming together or a finer parsing, depending on how you look at it. I believe that given the framework of “separation of church and state”, claims regarding right and wrong, causes of happiness and suffering, and probably all metaphysical claims, will always be protected given the current language of the Constitution. But claims regarding healing, for instance, may become untenable, given that money is changing hands (though the transaction is typically indirect). The “not enough faith” clause that Ierrellus points out might not hold up to scrutiny. In other words, a doctor and a priest may both fail to heal a person, but the priest, in recommending that the doctor is not consulted, may in the future be held responsible. I suppose this would depend on the kinds of tactics used by the priest – it is these tactics which would help a judge or jury determine whether any particular person is a “victim” or whether it is simply a lifestyle choice and the person in question subsequently changed their mind about their values and decisions.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby anon » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:52 pm

Tentative,

Religion is always given a "pass". If you spent time looking at all the exemptions granted churches for their activities, you'd be amazed at how far we've bent over backwards to provide preferential treatment of all religious organizations. The dubious activities of televangelists is proof in point. They rake in millions of dollars "selling" promises they have no way of keeping.

What kinds of promises, though? That’s the important point, I think. I don’t really know what televangelists promise. Promising an eternal afterlife seems protected to me, unless it can be reasonably shown that a person has been a victim of illegal methods of mind control. You could say all methods of mind control are bad, but I think that’s far too broad a statement to be anywhere close to reasonable. We expect people to have a certain healthy amount of independence and integrity.

Beyond that, if we applied the same administrative cost/charitable work yardstick to religions as we apply to other non-profits, there wouldn't be a church group that could stand the test. The Salvation Army might be the only exception. The incidents of fraud and corruption in the religious media are too numerous to mention. Televangelists might be the poster child, but they're the tip of the iceberg. The millions raked in selling trinkets, CDs, DVDs, and books are the largest part of selling religion. It's a business and a damned BIG business.

I don’t know about this “yardstick”. What is it? Also, can you clarify for me how the government regulates the sales of CD’s, books, etc. by religious organizations? Is the government hands off about it? Or do they regulate that aspect of the organization as a normal business like any other?

The issue of religious belief in society is a far more complex issue. In the main, responsible government must remain staunchly secular, not only to protect those of religious conviction, but those who reject religion. It is to be expected that people will vote their values, but religion should be practiced in the home, the church, temple, synagogue, of choice. It should be the responsibility of every religion to avoid promoting their particular ideology any place where general society is affected. If you want freedom of religion, it follows that you must be capable of granting freedom FROM religion as well. Obviously, almost all religions fail that test.

I’m confused by the bolded sentence. My religion (Buddhism) consists of certain beliefs, for instance that certain kinds of actions are healthy, wholesome, and lead away from suffering, while other kinds of actions are the opposite (I believe in karma). So far, so uncontroversial. But I also sometimes believe in a more or less literal version of reincarnation. The least controversial way of stating this? - genes and memes. The most controversial way of stating this? – “I” didn’t begin at birth, and “I” don’t end at death. Are you saying it is my responsibility to avoid promoting such beliefs in public? I’m not a missionary or anything – yuck – but you could say that just by having a discussion about such things on a website like this one I am “promoting” my “particular ideology”.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby anon » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:18 pm

Moreno,

Moreno wrote:
anon wrote:Angola's government has suspended a Pentecostal church from conducting any activities for 60 days after a New Year's Eve stampede during an overcrowded religious vigil killed 16 people, the presidency said in a statement.

It seems very odd to me that they should be considered more to blame due to what drew people to the event, rather than simply to blame for not organizing well, providing the right security or whatever.

I think it’s reasonable to place blame on the conscious lying and manipulation that contributed to the death of 16 people due to greed – even if it’s that special kind of greed that can be defended as “doing what it takes to keep on doing (some other) good”.

The presidency said in a statement issued late on Saturday that an inquiry commission had concluded that IURD had attracted 150,000 people to a venue with capacity for 30,000.

It added that the church had caused the overcrowding by marketing the event as "The Day of End - come to end all your problems in life: illness, misery, unemployment.

Look out politicians because your rallies at least should be next.

I don’t think so, in general. The nature of the claims is completely different. A politician claims to try and do what he can to solve messy problems, and his power is inherently compromised. Read again what that church claimed. Maybe it’s because we’re so used to such claims that we can’t see them with fresh eyes and see how completely disgusting they are.

The Angolan presidency blamed the church to some degree for the deaths of 16 people, due to false marketing.

So if they had promised a free chicken to everyone and 150,000 came and got chickens they wouldn't be to blame?

It depends. There are various factors and pieces of the puzzle that lead to any judgment of culpability. The various aspects of the situation present an overall picture – it is on the basis of such an overall picture that some decision is made. This is almost always true. For instance, criminals who provide strong evidence of a harsh upbringing will often receive a lesser sentence – in effect, more forgiveness.

Another NYT article, A Psychic’s Legal Problems Grow, Perhaps Not Unforeseeably, provides evidence of this same trend of holding people accountable for what they claim to sell. Psychics will of course be rejected by many as not truly religious, but they share the trait of promoting belief in claims that can't be substantiated.

One can test most psychic claims.

And? Are you saying that they should be held accountable for false claims? Interestingly, police departments have been known to consult psychics to help find missing persons.

What does this trend (I see it as a trend, but maybe it's nothing new at all) mean for the future of 1) faith, and 2) noble lies (i.e. "untrue" stories that serve a function)? After all, that is the question at the heart of this whole thing, isn't it? I assume most religious people would agree that a greedy religious leader, with no interest in spirituality, who runs his religious organization as a business whose sole purpose is to make money, should be held accountable and pay the price (i.e. perhaps some jail time for swindling people).

i don't think you can put people in jail for not having their heart in the right place. If they break the law, then....

I think maybe you misunderstood what I was referring to. Let’s take noble lies. This psychic may have changed her client’s jar of water to black using some additive. But maybe she knew something about this relative and used this deception in order to give good advice. And that advice just happened to cost a hell of a lot of money. So… was this deception legal? And, whether legal or not, was it right? Was it a good thing to do?

But religious institutions, in order to survive, must make money. And direct donations are the lifeblood of most such institutions. I don't think they make most of their money selling trinkets, like Virgin Mary statues or prayer beads. Also, psychics are usually protected by the fact that they make so little money and can always claim that their business is a form of entertainment. Is there, then, a limit to how much money they can accept from people, before it becomes obvious that there is a victim, who can make a claim?

Let's put this in perspective. Very few people have gone to jail for the financial crisis that radically damaged the lives of certainly thousands of people, and damaged the lives of millions and millions of others. There was systematic crime. But only a few really extreme, flashy criminals were prosecuted. It was a system of lies. Let's start with them.

Perspective is fine, but this subject happens to be what I decided to post about.

If some psychic tells you you are going to meet a tall dark stranger before Christmas and you don't, who cares. If they tell you to give them all your money or you will not meet the stranger, send them to prison.

What if they charge $10,000, and you’re a millionaire?
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby anon » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:32 pm

Jayson wrote:Moreno,

The issue at hand that makes a difference is that of questioning, not just the example cases, but the general status of offering people a religious solution that ends up causing harm.

The reason that it is in question is because the standard up until now has been to leave it on the shoulders of those adhering, and to have no specific laws for religious institutions regarding their claims and whether or not they can fulfill those claims.

Let's just toss the two examples out for the moment and address the general concept.

Religious institutions generally are left alone when their prescriptions and claims do not work out for an adherent. This permits the environment whereby the religious institutions are free to make any claim, regardless of the outcome, and the fallout is generally left upon the feet of the adherent.

In commercial marketing, there is generally a set of laws regulating the ability to make claims that are incapable of being rendered in guarantee.
Because religion is seen as a willful act of the individual to adhere to culturally, it is generally not seen as the same as a marketed product.
However, there is no real difference between the two when harm comes into the result.

It doesn't really matter whether banks or politicians are or are not held accountable in like fashion in a given country, as to whether or not religious institutions should or should not be held to some fashion of responsibility for the claims in which they prescribe to an adherent.

Whether we think the individuals are idiots or not, they are trusting the provider to prescribe a successful remedy for their existential ailment in some fashion, and the provider is not required to adhere to a form of ethos regarding the general safety and care of the adherent due to the results of their prescriptions.
In fact, if the adherents are gullible suckers or idiots, then that is more of a reason to hold the one making the claims and prescriptions accountable; unless they too can prove that they are equally as ignorant of the consequences as the adherents - in which case they should be held accountable for offering prescriptions and practices without full knowledge of their trade.

I can easily start up a spiritual center and offer remedies for depression and link it to evil energy, and then prescribe people to change their diets and choices in their quality of living in the assertion that it pleases the divine right of good energy.
This may all seem benign, but I can also then later declare that I received a revelation from the divine energies that homosexuals were the absolute worst energy that will suck your soul dry and cause you all the ill in your life.
I can prescribe that every adherent do everything in their will to remove homosexual individuals from their lives so to attain right energy.

Now a bunch of adherents, after getting everyone emotionally invested at great length before the anti-homosexual decree, are going to cut off friends and family members from being part of their life.
I, the prescriber, have destroyed social unities by a claim.
The claim also asserts that in destroying social unity, the individuals will find good energy and be rid of their depressions.

Now, if even a single adherent increases in depression because they have an actual physiological variation of clinical depression and the adherence to the order to rid homosexuals from their lives removed them from proximity with their only remaining parent and caused them much suffering as a result, all the while believing that they will be alleviated from their suffering as a result of following this very difficult path that I repeatedly assure them is gainful spiritually for them, then it should stand to be of good measure that I should be held accountable for the harm caused by my reckless prescription which did not alleviate their existential suffering, but instead increased it many fold; not to mention damaged a portion of social stability in the community.

I don't see any fault in holding such laws, and I've always thought that it was odd that such laws were absent, considering the ramifications of unchecked cultural prescriptions on merely the grounds of unverifiable metaphysical authority for the alleviation of existential suffering.

Excellent points Jayson, and I agree with you in spirit - but legally, isn't the claim that homosexuality is wrong exactly the kind of claim that is most specifically (currently) protected?
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby tentative » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:52 pm

anon wrote:Tentative,

Religion is always given a "pass". If you spent time looking at all the exemptions granted churches for their activities, you'd be amazed at how far we've bent over backwards to provide preferential treatment of all religious organizations. The dubious activities of televangelists is proof in point. They rake in millions of dollars "selling" promises they have no way of keeping.

What kinds of promises, though? That’s the important point, I think. I don’t really know what televangelists promise. Promising an eternal afterlife seems protected to me, unless it can be reasonably shown that a person has been a victim of illegal methods of mind control. You could say all methods of mind control are bad, but I think that’s far too broad a statement to be anywhere close to reasonable. We expect people to have a certain healthy amount of independence and integrity.
**********
Promising an eternal afterlife may be protected, but coupling it with a request for a "donation" raises doubts as to the agenda. Pleas to send money to "keep us on the air" relies on the gullibility of the listener. Granted, it is all a grey area, but only for those who claim to be religious. Part of the question should be: Why should an athiest or individual from a different religion be asked to grant tax breaks to any individual or organization simply because it is religion?
**********


Beyond that, if we applied the same administrative cost/charitable work yardstick to religions as we apply to other non-profits, there wouldn't be a church group that could stand the test. The Salvation Army might be the only exception. The incidents of fraud and corruption in the religious media are too numerous to mention. Televangelists might be the poster child, but they're the tip of the iceberg. The millions raked in selling trinkets, CDs, DVDs, and books are the largest part of selling religion. It's a business and a damned BIG business.

I don’t know about this “yardstick”. What is it? Also, can you clarify for me how the government regulates the sales of CD’s, books, etc. by religious organizations? Is the government hands off about it? Or do they regulate that aspect of the organization as a normal business like any other?
**********
This would take too long and too much space to answer directly. If you're interested, look at the IRS requirements and exemptions granted to non-profits compared to the same requirements and exemptions granted to religious organizations. Much of the profits generated by selling religious paraphenalia is claimed as support activities of "charitable" church work. Not only is all of this big business, but is a giant loop hole in tax structure.
**********

The issue of religious belief in society is a far more complex issue. In the main, responsible government must remain staunchly secular, not only to protect those of religious conviction, but those who reject religion. It is to be expected that people will vote their values, but religion should be practiced in the home, the church, temple, synagogue, of choice. It should be the responsibility of every religion to avoid promoting their particular ideology any place where general society is affected. If you want freedom of religion, it follows that you must be capable of granting freedom FROM religion as well. Obviously, almost all religions fail that test.

I’m confused by the bolded sentence. My religion (Buddhism) consists of certain beliefs, for instance that certain kinds of actions are healthy, wholesome, and lead away from suffering, while other kinds of actions are the opposite (I believe in karma). So far, so uncontroversial. But I also sometimes believe in a more or less literal version of reincarnation. The least controversial way of stating this? - genes and memes. The most controversial way of stating this? – “I” didn’t begin at birth, and “I” don’t end at death. Are you saying it is my responsibility to avoid promoting such beliefs in public? I’m not a missionary or anything – yuck – but you could say that just by having a discussion about such things on a website like this one I am “promoting” my “particular ideology”.

***********
In no way would I support curbing your beliefs or public discussion of the same. BUT... when you attempt to control others through political action based on your religious beliefs, then the government should have the responsibility to shut that down. You believe in creationism? OK. But pressuring law makers to pass laws forcing the teaching of creationism in schools? Supporting the passage of laws restricting gays from marraige because of your religious convictions? Your privately held values should remain silent when it infringes on others. In a pluralistic society, it is the responsibility of government to represent and defend ALL it's citizens - not just those of a particular religion. Religions that fail to honor their "freedom" to hold and teach their religious values in the home and church and at the same time, demand by law that others follow suit is wrong - dead wrong.
***********
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Jayson » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:48 am

anon wrote:I think that makes sense to me. What I see happening now is a basic process of moving from crudeness (“separation of church and state”) to a much closer and more subtle examination of what this slogan means and how it can occur in a politically and philosophically consistent way. And what that might lead to is something similar to yet different from what you’ve described as happening in China, i.e. “enlightened rule”: a natural and justified place for moral and intellectual virtues in the public sphere, with the extravagant claims of religions brought down to earth – a coming together or a finer parsing, depending on how you look at it. I believe that given the framework of “separation of church and state”, claims regarding right and wrong, causes of happiness and suffering, and probably all metaphysical claims, will always be protected given the current language of the Constitution. But claims regarding healing, for instance, may become untenable, given that money is changing hands (though the transaction is typically indirect). The “not enough faith” clause that Ierrellus points out might not hold up to scrutiny. In other words, a doctor and a priest may both fail to heal a person, but the priest, in recommending that the doctor is not consulted, may in the future be held responsible. I suppose this would depend on the kinds of tactics used by the priest – it is these tactics which would help a judge or jury determine whether any particular person is a “victim” or whether it is simply a lifestyle choice and the person in question subsequently changed their mind about their values and decisions.

Quite.
And so I'll respond after the following...
anon wrote:Excellent points Jayson, and I agree with you in spirit - but legally, isn't the claim that homosexuality is wrong exactly the kind of claim that is most specifically (currently) protected?

It's not the focal of the fact that homosexuality is or is not a protected theological clause that's in question, but instead what was gained in the adherence comparative to damages accrued from the same result.

Meaning, the point of the example that I compiled only serves to function as a problem if the individual does not receive elation as expected, and the prescription to sever social ties compounds further damages.

Before, in just about all ancient civilizations, any religiously affiliated group or individual (even in mixed culture societies) was judged by how much unity or destruction of unity they caused within the society.
Destruction of societal bond and unification was considered a strong threat of death to the civilization, and therefore a violation of social contract in some fashion (though, typically, too many instances occurring from one demographic typically also included death or removal of the adherents to that given group in violation).

Clearly, it cannot be said for our cultures today that all advice for avoidance of demographics of society are to be ridden of.
However, where there is needless (produced no evident gain) social destruction among a claim of harm; I would find that within merit of reprimand for, at the very least, negligent and non-gainful destruction of society.

Which brings me back around to the first post in response above.
I agree that there's no way to hold accountability for the metaphysical claims, nor do I think there's anything of the kind reasonably within question.

Instead, like you, I see it as applicable to hold responsible where religious institutions, or leading individuals, are using religion to command or offer endophysical (as opposed to metaphysical) prescriptions should those prescriptions result in any adherent's complaint of harm.

Essentially, the reason that I see this as making sense is because it's the adherent that must first claim harm.
It is from within the culture that the complaint should arise, and then at that point it is held accountable.

So, if no adherent claims harm, then there's nothing to process against the institution or leader; it only occurs when harm from within is claimed. At that point, the endophysical prescriptions are reviewed for damages, to include the consideration of damages upon unity of society in the prescriptions, should they apply in the claim of harm.


Ierrellus,
The consideration of faith, aside from not being universal in religious infrastructures, isn't capable of side-stepping the endophysical consideration, but only instead the metaphysical considerations.

What I mean by this is that if a party claims harm from adherence to a prescription from a given religious leader from a given religious institution, and that leader claims the harm fell upon the adherent due to a lack of faith; then the leader can be held accountable for willfully placing the individual within harms way without devoted effort to remove them from harm by using their trade to either increase the faith of the adherent, or increase the metaphysical or endophysical preservation of their adherent.

It's what I call a 'shepherd law', because it's like saying the sheep is responsible for securing its safety in the dark of night, and not the shepherd's.

This isn't the same as someone picking up a book of philosophy and taking from it whatever they want.
This is a question of social prescriptions that are actively engaged intimately.

It doesn't stand up well for a Doctor, for instance, to hand someone medication and not tell them how to take it, nor to follow up with them to ensure that solution is continuing.
The Doctor doesn't get to walk away from the event claiming that the individual didn't bother to read the dosage directions or make followup appointments if the Doctor never bothered to offer the information or the option for followup appointments.

Similarly, it doesn't follow for someone to offer prescriptions in sweeping fashion and then lack any actual follow-through with the individual in interest of preservation of the individual's metaphysical and endophysical safety.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Moreno » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:51 am

Jayson wrote:Moreno,

The issue at hand that makes a difference is that of questioning, not just the example cases, but the general status of offering people a religious solution that ends up causing harm.
I focused on the example case because it was the example. And in fact it was an exceptional one. Most religions do not offer universal cures for the woes of the earthly plane - to use a randomly made up neo-religious phrase, mostly for fun - like the one in the example did. Most religions are offering solutions on the spiritual side. Of course there are exceptions.

The reason that it is in question is because the standard up until now has been to leave it on the shoulders of those adhering, and to have no specific laws for religious institutions regarding their claims and whether or not they can fulfill those claims.

Let's just toss the two examples out for the moment and address the general concept.

Religious institutions generally are left alone when their prescriptions and claims do not work out for an adherent.
I don't know if that is the case or not. If the religious 'expert' or expert is directly making a practical mundane world based claim - I will heal your body, period or I will make you a million dollars if you..... - I am pretty sure they are open to being charged in many countries, especially if money changes hands.

This permits the environment whereby the religious institutions are free to make any claim, regardless of the outcome, and the fallout is generally left upon the feet of the adherent.

In commercial marketing, there is generally a set of laws regulating the ability to make claims that are incapable of being rendered in guarantee.
Generally because there is a direct financial transaction. I pay you for this product. There are specific, empirically testable claims made about the product.

Because religion is seen as a willful act of the individual to adhere to culturally, it is generally not seen as the same as a marketed product.
However, there is no real difference between the two when harm comes into the result.
If there is a clear pay for this and you will receive this testable for product, then there is no significant difference.

It doesn't really matter whether banks or politicians are or are not held accountable in like fashion in a given country, as to whether or not religious institutions should or should not be held to some fashion of responsibility for the claims in which they prescribe to an adherent.
Why? The recent crisis happened because systematically banks sold products they knew had little value while claiming they did have greater value. This systematic misrepresentation of products led to untold destruction and misery and the effects are still coming in, possibly increasing. I cannot see how that is not a parallel to the situation presented as an example in the OP.

The politician example, I think, is actually a better parallel to the religious ones. Here we have claims being made about the results of this or that policy or the future action of the politician. The results are much harder to track empirically, though easier to track than many of the claims made by religions on the more spiritual side of claims.

Whether we think the individuals are idiots or not, they are trusting the provider to prescribe a successful remedy for their existential ailment in some fashion, and the provider is not required to adhere to a form of ethos regarding the general safety and care of the adherent due to the results of their prescriptions.
I think if there is a purchase then secular laws should hold. I do understand that this can get fuzzy - were they pressured to donate in exchange for a guarantee of cancer healing, etc. But if there is a direct purchase promise and one can demonstrate that the promised result was not achieved by purchasers in general, then secular laws should be applied.

In fact, if the adherents are gullible suckers or idiots, then that is more of a reason to hold the one making the claims and prescriptions accountable; unless they too can prove that they are equally as ignorant of the consequences as the adherents - in which case they should be held accountable for offering prescriptions and practices without full knowledge of their trade.

I can easily start up a spiritual center and offer remedies for depression and link it to evil energy, and then prescribe people to change their diets and choices in their quality of living in the assertion that it pleases the divine right of good energy.
Or you can be a psychiatrist/pharmaceutical company and have managed to get the dominant paradigm in society and get a pass on precisely the kinds of consumer protection you are asking for in relation to religions.
A scientific critique of anti-depressants.
http://www.scientifica.com/2012/965908/

My response is not the response I would have in all contexts. In this forum the dominant paradigm is physicalist, science is the only way to knowledge, etc. In this context I am going to react defensively in a broader way than I might in another context. Here I am going to present secular crimes against consumers that get a pass because of the power of those who commit those crimes. Hence my examples coming from banking and now psychiatry/psychotropics. These people get passes regularly in Western society despite evidence of systematic criminal activity in the former and philosophical confusion and poor empirical support in the latter.

I would like have a more nuanced response, than I have here, in another context.

This may all seem benign, but I can also then later declare that I received a revelation from the divine energies that homosexuals were the absolute worst energy that will suck your soul dry and cause you all the ill in your life.
I can prescribe that every adherent do everything in their will to remove homosexual individuals from their lives so to attain right energy.

Now a bunch of adherents, after getting everyone emotionally invested at great length before the anti-homosexual decree, are going to cut off friends and family members from being part of their life.
I, the prescriber, have destroyed social unities by a claim.
The claim also asserts that in destroying social unity, the individuals will find good energy and be rid of their depressions.
1) As long as they are not advocating violence or crimes against homosexuals, it seems to me this falls under Freedom of Speech and should be responded to in other ways.

2) And then demonization is common in secular society. This is done in relation to anarchists by the mainstream media - and this would include people, say, who are well read followers of Murray Bookchin and social ecology. This is done in relation to communists by many actors in modern society.

People who follow non-dominant religions are subject to this kind of abuse.
In fact going against norms of pretty much any kind leaves one open to systematic abuse and prejudice by secular society.

Of course two wrongs do nót make a right, but will all these types of demonization and prejudice fostering also be attacked legally?

Now, if even a single adherent increases in depression because they have an actual physiological variation of clinical depression and the adherence to the order to rid homosexuals from their lives removed them from proximity with their only remaining parent and caused them much suffering as a result, all the while believing that they will be alleviated from their suffering as a result of following this very difficult path that I repeatedly assure them is gainful spiritually for them, then it should stand to be of good measure that I should be held accountable for the harm caused by my reckless prescription which did not alleviate their existential suffering, but instead increased it many fold; not to mention damaged a portion of social stability in the community.
Then you would be expecting to have more power here than you would in the same situation against a psychiatrist who gave your child anti-depressants and the child killed herself.

I don't see any fault in holding such laws, and I've always thought that it was odd that such laws were absent, considering the ramifications of unchecked cultural prescriptions on merely the grounds of unverifiable metaphysical authority for the alleviation of existential suffering.
Again, if there is a direct purchase, I tend to agree, though the results need to be looked at in general, since makers of over the counter meds, for example, need not be successful in all cases - and, as an aside, thousands die each year taking these and few family members will get recompense for this and criminal charges are out of the question.

Right now some religions have dominance status in the West: Christianity, Judaism, even Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism....
In some discussion forums, I would likely be more sympathetic to the OP or at least to how the questions the OP is raising could be used to attack religions and possibly lead to policy, given the behavior of the major religions and much of my distaste for them. Though frankly, I think they are generally careful to avoid direct claims about earthly woes in direct financial transactions. However in this context, I want to point out that other dominant organizations in the West get away with this shit all the time. I suspect that much of the sympathy for attacking religious misdeeds will not, here at ILP, will not lead to similar attacks on dominator organizations that are secular - this could of course be wrong on my part and I have no idea if the OP writer's position would be one I would be critical of. If people say, Oh, yeah, I would aim the same kinds of criticism at these secular organizations7actors, I know, at least that there is a certain level of fairness.

One strong concern I have is that the kind of logic that can come out of this line will lead to dominator actors going after minority spriritual religions/beliefs in society with the goal of eradicating them.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Moreno » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:06 am

anon wrote:I think it’s reasonable to place blame on the conscious lying and manipulation that contributed to the death of 16 people due to greed – even if it’s that special kind of greed that can be defended as “doing what it takes to keep on doing (some other) good”.
Would the same hold true if I said there was going to be a great concert, but in fact the concert sucked. I don't think you could ask for extra damages - if there was a similar stampede and deaths - due to the cynical promises of the concert promoters.

I don’t think so, in general. The nature of the claims is completely different. A politician claims to try and do what he can to solve messy problems, and his power is inherently compromised.
Politicians make claims that they will do things they then do not do. These can be easy to track. Of course new situations arise, but these could just as easily be evaulated by the courts, since they must often evaluate extremely complicated contexts and their effects on the agents involved.

Politicians make claims about the effects of a policy they are trying to convince the public is a good one, often without divulging there own cynical interests or who has lobbied them and who the real benefactors are. Nafta and GAtt are good examples. It was clear that US jobs would be lost to any rational analyst and the lobbying was clearly coming from those who would gain, corporations. The exact processes that ended up taking place and the effects on the jobs and wages of US citizens came to pass as the critics predicted. Of course some politicians believed the BS and had their hearts in the right place, but there were key politicians who lied, earned money via campaign contributions and later positions in industry.

Read again what that church claimed. Maybe it’s because we’re so used to such claims that we can’t see them with fresh eyes and see how completely disgusting they are.
Sure, the claims are ridiculous. But that is part of my reaction to the OP. Here we have an example that is the exception rather than the rule. Most of the major religions would not make claims anything like this. Most of the minor ones also. Buddhism might be the only one that makes claims so directly, but there the adherent is expected to make a lifelong committment to serious practice before their suffering will be eliminated (or not be the same problem it was).

So part of my reaction was that the OP could be seen as implicitly arguing this example is a good general one. I don't think it is. Here they were making specific secular claims. Ending misery could be interpreted fairly broadly and subtley and they might be able to slide away from that one in the way a Buddhist might. But unenemployment? Nah. And I cannot imagine most religions having a big meeting where if you come you are guanteed a job will arise in your life. Maybe the Na Myo ho Renge Kyo people come some steps in that direction, but most, not even close.

It depends. There are various factors and pieces of the puzzle that lead to any judgment of culpability. The various aspects of the situation present an overall picture – it is on the basis of such an overall picture that some decision is made. This is almost always true. For instance, criminals who provide strong evidence of a harsh upbringing will often receive a lesser sentence – in effect, more forgiveness.
I don't think that's really a parallel.

And? Are you saying that they should be held accountable for false claims? Interestingly, police departments have been known to consult psychics to help find missing persons.
Oh I believe some people are full on psyhics. I would want to see the power brokers in society held accountable for their claims and actions first. To me false psychics are a low priority.

I think maybe you misunderstood what I was referring to. Let’s take noble lies. This psychic may have changed her client’s jar of water to black using some additive. But maybe she knew something about this relative and used this deception in order to give good advice. And that advice just happened to cost a hell of a lot of money. So… was this deception legal? And, whether legal or not, was it right? Was it a good thing to do?
It might have been a good thing to do.

Perspective is fine, but this subject happens to be what I decided to post about.
Sure. You don't have to respond to my broadening issue questions. I explain a bit more why I raise them in response to Jayson. But to sum it up quickly...I think this line of reasoning will not make a dent on the dominator religions - if, say, it were to lead to laws and policy. It will certainly not touch any of the major secular players either who are causing damage and selling garbage. What it will do however, I would guess, is end up being a part of attacks on players who have relatively little power. IOW it will become a tool of oppression, though certainly in some cases will target assholes or dangerous idiots. I've seen how similar lines of reasoning have led to the suppression of alternative health care that worked as well or better than mainstream medicine, even leading to the incarceration of doctors successful at treating certain diseases.

The powerful escape the application, those not so powerful do not and do not have it fairly applied.

To me the power context is critical.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Jayson » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:55 am

Moreno,

I wasn't suggesting that other sectors of society shouldn't be addressed, so don't think I'm outlining a special case for the religious sector.
Instead, what I was saying was that I'm not going to hold back in ideals of what should be done regarding the religious sector based on a proposition that other sectors lack in successful articulation of like regulation.

Meaning, I'm looking at the religious sector and how it is held responsible for its actions regardless of other sectors of society and their temperamental statuses at current, as that is within line of address.

Mostly, you seem to be stating that if monetary exchange occurs, then legal precedent is established by the exchange of currency and that does satisfy the circumstances rather simply.
In fact, it does so well that such is our current system.

Where you seem to find me hard to agree with is when there is a lack of monetary exchange.
Here, you have difficulty drafting a difference between this sector and others by extrapolation of questioning similarities between such institutions as psychiatry.

Firstly, psychiatry can be legally pursued for the death of the child in your example: that is the nature of a malpractice suit.
In fact, a form of malpractice suit is precisely what is lacking in law regarding religious institutions.

Regarding the homosexuality issue; as I mentioned to anon, that was only compounded damage for consideration following the first and primary claim of harm: that the prescription against their depression was not accurate and neglected their medical classification of clinical depression - thereby causing the individual to pursue remedy of their depression through metaphysical adherence that I prescribed, which included removing their only remaining parent from their affiliation due to their parent being homosexual.

Meaning, I was not suggesting that the claim of harm was the prescription to remove affiliation with homosexuals, but instead that such was being prescribed as a remedy for what was actually clinical depression, and served, therefore, as a negligent medical prescription.


Perhaps that helps clear up a few things.
>jaysonthestumps.blogspot.com
>Hebrew, Greek, and more similar resources on ILP

Spiritual: a set of neurological processes dealing with value placement, empathy, and sympathy through the associative truncation of relative identity, and which has reached a value set capable of being described as reverent to the individual, and from which existential experience and reflection is capable explicitly.
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Re: Religion and Commerce

Postby Moreno » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:43 am

Anon,
since you are a Buddhist, imagine if the claims for the extinction of suffering were used as a basis for lawsuits against Buddhist meditation centers - who would in most cases refer, at least, to texts where this is stated as an end state of devoted practice. That this was taken as a false claim. Certainly Buddhists could fight this with evidence around the benefits of meditation, but these fall far short of scriptural claims.

There would also be inroads around anatma - my son was freaked out for a year that he had no real self - rebirth, karma, or even the benefits of sitting there 'doing nothing'. Should someone be allowed to sue if they felt they had wasted five years of serious meditation if they felt they were still suffering, perhaps even more and their knees were shot?

Imagine also if relatives of a practicing Buddhist claimed that the meditation and the philosophy had made their child, parent, spouse more detached, more judgmental of other people who 'did not control their emotions enough' or 'were too driven by desire' or had become apathetic in relation to politics or even family tragedies since these were seen as karmic events and strong emotional reactions as in some way pathological.

And when can I sue the makers of 'common sense' and middlebrow philosophies out there who have so much power and are so clueless?

Should we really be able to sue the writer of a book - a product one purchases - who says that poor people if they make the effort can achieve any economic goals? Should a working poor mother with a couple of jobs, who does try on the beliefs in such a book, does not succeed, and feels a lot of shame and increased loss of self-esteem until a good friend tells her the book is BS and she decides sue the asshole for two years of lowered self-esteem?

As far as I can tell I am surrounded by religious claims - they are implicit and very, very effective, using the latest cognitive science and extremely high level consultants in the advertising, they are being sold as common sense, as the way things are through the news, through books, through teachers in public and private schools - hence services paid for either directly or through taxes....

Much of these religious claims - and by this I mean philosophical claims based on the intuition of the believers - in secular society.

Do you think I should be able to bring these people to court if I have suffered from their half baked, manipulative, philosophically sloppy and often quite damaging philosophies?

This will clearly radically rearrange rights to free speech, much as I would love to sue and criminally prosecute a great many 'experts' out there, and not just for religious institutions and people.

Personally I would begin with the Neo cons and the advertisers...

I am rather excited right now thinking of it.....but....
I think it's a bad idea.

(and with advertising, I am not talking so much about the kinds of lies consumers do have some rights around, I am talking about the false philosophies of what the world is, what a person is, what one should hide, what one should be like, what is real, what is not....that advertisers create. And sure, our conscious minds may know much of this is BS - though many fall for it even there - but unconsciously these images and stories are very effective, much more effective than a lecture would be. And for the neo-cons, I want to sue them over the invisible hand of the free market.)
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