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Tags christian point of view , religion

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Old 21st December 2012, 06:03 AM   #1
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Point of view....

I’ve seen a lot of commentary about the “Christian point of view” lately, especially in regards to the tragedy in Connecticut. There have been some prominent Christian “spokesmen” who have made statements which are sickening indeed and do nothing to ease the hurt of the general population who do not have their particular point of view. The problem is that the term Christian is not really applicable here. Not because the speakers are not Christian, but because there are as many points of view as there are Christian denominations. In fact, there are MORE points of view than there are Christian sects, since the larger a sect is, the more dissention there is in the ranks.

I feel the same way when people talk about “The Jewish point of view,” “the Gay point of view,” hell, even the “Freemason point of view.” There’s no such thing. There can be a Westboro Baptist Church point of view because there are only 40 members.

Let’s take the group I’m most familiar with, the Jews. My dad used to say, “two Jews, three opinions,” meaning that it was hard to get Jews to agree with each other about anything.

According to Pew Research, there are about 15 million Jews in the world. There are:

Orthodox
Conservatives
Reform.

Wait! Let’s not leave out the Chasidim and the Reconstrucionists.

Oh, golly, if we’re talking about the Chasidim, we need to remember that there are Lubavitch and those guys in Brooklyn who thought Rabbi Schneerson was the messiah.

But wait, there’s more.

How about the differences geographically and racially? Here in Baltimore there has been a long standing hostility, fading now, between the German Jews who emigrated during the 19th century, the Russian Jews in the early 20th century, and the refugees from the Holocaust.

There are the differences in liturgy between the Sephardics and the Ashkenazics. Of course, the Ethiopian Jews think they have the real liturgy.

Do you really think these 15 million people all have a unified point of view?

Now, the Christians, all 6.9 billion of them….

Seriously?
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Old 21st December 2012, 06:11 AM   #2
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Agreed but I think your figure for Christian numbers is out. About 2.3 billion according to wiki.
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Old 21st December 2012, 06:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by DrDave View Post
Agreed but I think your figure for Christian numbers is out. About 2.3 billion according to wiki.
Pew Research has different figures: http://www.pewresearch.org/2011/12/1...-christianity/

Maybe you were thinking American Christians?
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Old 21st December 2012, 06:17 AM   #4
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You're quoting their figure for world population

Eta: the smilie was meant to be friendly but ended up looking sarcastic...

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Old 21st December 2012, 06:20 AM   #5
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LL,

You forgot the Satmars and all the other splinter groups, including Indian* Jews.

xterra,
who remembers listening to the Baltimore Jewish community proving that LL's father was absolutely correct. I can't imagine it's changed.


*Subcontinent, not Native American -- although there may be some of those also.
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Old 21st December 2012, 06:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by LibraryLady View Post
Pew Research has different figures: http://www.pewresearch.org/2011/12/1...-christianity/

Maybe you were thinking American Christians?
Definitely not 2.3 billion Christians in America alone.
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Old 21st December 2012, 06:33 AM   #7
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I forgot -- do we count the messianic Jews among the Jews or the Christians?

I once taught a couple of courses for a Wesleyan college near where I lived. I was sitting in the office of the Academic Vice-President, just chatitng. A bus pulled in with "Jews for Jesus" painted on the side. I started chucking and Wayne asked me what was funny. I pointed out the window. He turned to look, and turned back with a puzzled expression on his face.

I asked him, "Do you know what Jews call those people?"

"No. What?"

"Christians."

He started laughing also.

It's significant that if a non-Jew converts from, say, Catholicism to Protestantism she's a Protestant. If she converts to Buddhism, she's a Buddhist.

But if a Jew converts to Cristianity, she's a Jew who has converted to Christianity.

So in which group is she to be counted? What is her viewpoint?

Sorry, LL, I'm not trying to hijack the thread, just pointing out how much more complicated the situation is than even your OP indicates.

xterra
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Old 21st December 2012, 06:38 AM   #8
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No, no, no, you're helping me prove my point. These monolithic points of view do not exist!

I thought about going even deeper into all the different Jewish sects, but decided it would sidetrack things.

My father was a very smart man.
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Old 21st December 2012, 06:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by DrDave View Post
You're quoting their figure for world population

Eta: the smilie was meant to be friendly but ended up looking sarcastic...
Which is what I intended.

That's not a sarcastic smiley. This is a sarcastic smiley:
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Old 21st December 2012, 07:29 AM   #10
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Agreed on the original post. Can't think of anything to add.
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Old 21st December 2012, 08:22 AM   #11
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1. Monolithic points of view don't exist, as you said.

2. Critically examining your own point of view, and attempting to see things from other people's points of view, is supposed to be part of being an adult.
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Old 21st December 2012, 08:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by godless dave View Post
1. Monolithic points of view don't exist, as you said.

2. Critically examining your own point of view, and attempting to see things from other people's points of view, is supposed to be part of being an adult.
Tell that to the Christians... <--- means I am joking.

Very well put LibraryLady and godless dave.
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Old 21st December 2012, 09:06 AM   #13
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It would seem the OP argues against the label signifying whose point of view. But doesn't the point of view apply to groups (usually more than one individual) but it's mislabeled when the label is too broad?

Surely groups of people have similar points of view and some of those points of view can be categorized. More importantly, many of those points of view significantly influence how people perceive the world around them so that we all too often end up with conflicting beliefs that cannot be reconciled as they are based on vastly different underlying premises.
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Old 21st December 2012, 09:20 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by godless dave View Post
1. Monolithic points of view don't exist, as you said.
Monolithic as in: all Christians, all Jews, etc. But how about monolithic as in: a subset of Christians or a subset of Jews?

Actually, I think religious groups are as bad a way to look at this as all blacks or all whites. It simply leads to bigoted stereotypes.

I do think of the points of view themselves, though, as having a group of adherents. There is a group of people with the same point of view who think Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand were right. This point of view affects how this group of people perceive the evidence they examine. There is a group of people with the same point of view that the NRA was right this morning with their belief the only solution is to put armed guards at all schools. That point of view is that no laws stop criminals.

People who hold the above points of view are frustrating to people who don't and vice versa. I think it's important for critical thinkers to address the point of view and not just the resulting beliefs.
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Old 21st December 2012, 09:30 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Monolithic as in: all Christians, all Jews, etc. But how about monolithic as in: a subset of Christians or a subset of Jews?

Actually, I think religious groups are as bad a way to look at this as all blacks or all whites. It simply leads to bigoted stereotypes.

I do think of the points of view themselves, though, as having a group of adherents. There is a group of people with the same point of view who think Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand were right. This point of view affects how this group of people perceive the evidence they examine. There is a group of people with the same point of view that the NRA was right this morning with their belief the only solution is to put armed guards at all schools. That point of view is that no laws stop criminals.

People who hold the above points of view are frustrating to people who don't and vice versa. I think it's important for critical thinkers to address the point of view and not just the resulting beliefs.
I agree with what I think you are saying, and the OP...

Observing a group, interacting with a group, can provide insight into practical values espoused by at least some members of a group.

Where is breaks down, at least for me, is the converse: "Oh, you are a 'Skeptic'? You are very insecure...". When metonymy becomes a substitute for reasoned exchange; when prejudice becomes an excuse not to listen...
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Old 21st December 2012, 09:40 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
You forgot the Satmars and all the other splinter groups, including Indian* Jews.

*Subcontinent, not Native American -- although there may be some of those also.
Well, of course there are - according to the Mormons, this is where the Twelve Lost Tribes of Israel ended up.
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Old 21st December 2012, 01:45 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Elizabeth I View Post
Well, of course there are - according to the Mormons, this is where the Twelve Lost Tribes of Israel ended up.

How could I have forgotten?


xterra, whose memory is clearly not what it was.
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Old 21st December 2012, 03:35 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Monolithic as in: all Christians, all Jews, etc. But how about monolithic as in: a subset of Christians or a subset of Jews?*

The question is how the subset is defined. If it is defined from the outside, it may be that the members would not agree with the definition. For example, all sophomores at this particular college are a set. The redheads within that are a subset, and the male redheads a subset within that set. Clear enough, maybe even for all the male redheads and all the redheads of whatever gender.

What about the sophomores who are seen by non-sophomores as geeks, or as jocks? Are they a subset? Consider the student with the very high grade point average who is also a great basketball player. How does he self-identify? How is he identified by non-sophomores? Which descriptor is valid or invalid?

I seem to remember that the Japanese language automatically assigns people to in-group or out-group membership. That's one of the points of the "-san" and similar endings. So if Mr. Tadano away, and someone within the group asks for him, the receptionist will talk about Tadano-chan, but if the interlocutor is from another group, the receptionist will refer to Tadano-san.

IT IS NOT POSSIBLE to discuss other people without assigning them to a group. The smallest group is one; and sometimes that's what the speaker indicates.

Quote:
I do think of the points of view themselves, though, as having a group of adherents.

Agreed. Here, it seems to me, people are of their own volition associating themselves with that point of view, and thereby taking on the identity of the group. "She is a Tea Party adherent." "He is a Luddite (again, by his choice, not by external ascription)."

But in the rest of their lives, they may have nothing to do with the other member of that group. Each of us has multiple "identities," not in the clinical sense, but as a result of our interactions. I am a father, and a friend, and a volunteer at the local Historical Society, and a member of several different social or avocational groups. How many me's are there?

Quote:
People who hold the above points of view are frustrating to people who don't and vice versa. I think it's important for critical thinkers to address the point of view and not just the resulting beliefs.

I think you are saying** that critical thinkers should address both the point of view and the beliefs. However, it is not clear to me how you differentiate those two concepts in practice. If I believe X, then my point of view is not just influenced by X; it is filtered through X.

That's the point of the adage, "to a person with a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

This is what makes the frustration: You can't see that I am looking at the world in a very different way than you are. My reality is not yours. It is relevant to repeat here a story I told in another thread.

I have a friend, a retired school social worker, whose politics are very liberal; I mean very liberal. When the Tea Party began to be newsworthy, she said to me in all seriousness, "Those Tea Party people are mentally ill." NO amount of my saying that their disagreement with her was political could shake what she saw as her professional judgement of the mental state of her opponents.

So here she was with a point of view and a set of beliefs built around that point of view (or maybe vice versa: a point of view resulting from her beliefs.

Can one separate the two in order to address one part without addressing the other part? If so, how?


xterra, who is finding this an interesting discussion, and who thanks you all for participating.

*LibraryLady's father said, "Two Jews, three opinions." We always said, "Two Jews, an argument.' Same idea. (Also, two Frenchmen, three political parties: a left, a right, and a coalition.)

**If you're saying something different, please correct me and let's continue this.
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Old 21st December 2012, 05:20 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
...
What about the sophomores who are seen by non-sophomores as geeks, or as jocks? Are they a subset? Consider the student with the very high grade point average who is also a great basketball player. How does he self-identify? How is he identified by non-sophomores? Which descriptor is valid or invalid?
Right off the bat you start with the opposite of what I was describing. If you claim two unrelated sets, red heads and what people believe, for example, you are going to be wrong as the OP describes.

I would name the group to include the belief. A group of right wing Evangelicals who believe the government should be Christian, for example, are a subset with a particular mindset. Note I did not say right wingers, Evangelicals or Christians had the mindset. And, having the belief does not mean everything else in their mindset is equal.


Originally Posted by xterra View Post
...I seem to remember that the Japanese language automatically assigns people to in-group or out-group membership. That's one of the points of the "-san" and similar endings. So if Mr. Tadano away, and someone within the group asks for him, the receptionist will talk about Tadano-chan, but if the interlocutor is from another group, the receptionist will refer to Tadano-san.
Fascinating how much culture is expressed directly within languages. In Spanish people don't break things, the things just get broken. So in Spanish you'd say, the glass broke, but rarely would you say, John broke the glass. [/digression]


Originally Posted by xterra View Post
...I think you are saying** that critical thinkers should address both the point of view and the beliefs. However, it is not clear to me how you differentiate those two concepts in practice. If I believe X, then my point of view is not just influenced by X; it is filtered through X.

That's the point of the adage, "to a person with a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

This is what makes the frustration: You can't see that I am looking at the world in a very different way than you are. My reality is not yours. It is relevant to repeat here a story I told in another thread.

I have a friend, a retired school social worker, whose politics are very liberal; I mean very liberal. When the Tea Party began to be newsworthy, she said to me in all seriousness, "Those Tea Party people are mentally ill." NO amount of my saying that their disagreement with her was political could shake what she saw as her professional judgement of the mental state of her opponents.

So here she was with a point of view and a set of beliefs built around that point of view (or maybe vice versa: a point of view resulting from her beliefs.

Can one separate the two in order to address one part without addressing the other part? If so, how?....
While it is all well and good to have an understanding of a person by examining their point of view, that's not exactly what I was getting at.

If, for example, you wanted to address a particular liberal view and you ignored the fact (hypothetical mind you) that the liberal person saw all corporations as greedy and inhumane, and you were discussion their anti-vaxxer viewpoint, you would be missing an opportunity to persuade them in the benefits of science because you didn't get to the core of the problem.

In such a situation, for example and again this is all hypothetical, just repeating the science gets nowhere because the anti-vaxxer believes the science is all corporate based. They don't have a knowledge deficit, they have a trust deficit. One way to address such an anti-vaxxer is to note how many non-profits support vaccine research.

The underlying premises comprise a point of view, corporations are evil and drug research is done by corporations. As you say, the belief acts as a filter when the person evaluates the drug research. Just knowing that is one thing, but if we want to address the uncritical thinker, we need to know what those filters are, not just to understand the false beliefs, but also to develop an approach to those false beliefs that has a chance at success.


To address your friend's view that TEA Party people were mentally ill, I'd need to know more.


As for the critical thinker themselves, one needs to know if your own filters are valid. You can believe something and be wrong because you don't consider your own filters are less than perfect.

OTOH, by understanding your own filters you can counter them when they interfere with valid interpretations of the evidence.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 03:20 PM   #20
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I think there's also the phenomenon that people tend to identify with larger groups when they perceive pressure from outsiders against the whole group.

Individual Christians may see themselves as part of the group "people with Judeo-Christian values" when fighting against the godless heathens who are taking over American society, but will self-identify as Christians when pressured by Jews, as Protestants when pressured by Catholics, and as Methodists when pressured by Baptists.

So I think one would find more agreement that there's a "Christian point of view" than one might expect, as long as it's perceived as a statement of the "Christian point of view" in comparison to the non-Christian view.

If it's supposed to be the Christian point of view about whether baptism by immersion is necessary, all bets are off.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 10:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
I think there's also the phenomenon that people tend to identify with larger groups when they perceive pressure from outsiders against the whole group.

Individual Christians may see themselves as part of the group "people with Judeo-Christian values" when fighting against the godless heathens who are taking over American society, but will self-identify as Christians when pressured by Jews, as Protestants when pressured by Catholics, and as Methodists when pressured by Baptists.

So I think one would find more agreement that there's a "Christian point of view" than one might expect, as long as it's perceived as a statement of the "Christian point of view" in comparison to the non-Christian view.

If it's supposed to be the Christian point of view about whether baptism by immersion is necessary, all bets are off.
I'm not so sure about that, seeing some of the hostility between Protestant and Catholic. I think there's more a tendency toward the "No true Christian..." type of thinking.
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