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Learning about the stories and communities of religions

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Jim, May 7, 2019.

  1. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    One way I see to help reduce prejudices and animosities across religious divides is by learning about the stories and the communities of other people’s religions, from their points of view, across the widest divides, for example across a liberal/conservative divide within a religion, or across a Muslim/Christian divide. Find some way to participate in the community life at its best, and read the stories that children grow up with in that community.

    Does anyone have any other ideas about how to get to know the stories and the communities of others people’s religions, as they see them?

    (edit) I want to emphasize “as they see them” in that question, that is, their stories and communities as they see them.
     
    #1 Jim, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  2. Native

    Native Natural Philosopher

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    Yes, study Comparative Mythology and Religion

    We all live on the same planet Earth; in the same Solar System; in the same Milky Way galaxy and in the same local part of the observable Universe.

    These cosmological conditions constitutes our common Story of Creation and this story is embedded in all mythical and religious tellings.
     
    #2 Native, May 7, 2019
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  3. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    I want to emphasize “as they see them” in my question. That is, does anyone have any other ideas about how to get to know the stories and the communities of others people’s religions, as they see them?
     
    #3 Jim, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  4. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    Matthew 5:9 New International Version (NIV)
    9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
     
  5. Native

    Native Natural Philosopher

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    Hi Jim,
    Yes, I notised and of course it is important to recognize the entire ancient cosmological story as our ancestors saw these.

    But this cosmological story is very much the same as we can observe today since the astronomical and cosmological conditions have not changed significantly.
     
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  6. dingdao

    dingdao The eternal Tao cannot be told - Tao Te Ching

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    I agree with comparative Mythology & Religion.
    I would also point out that their children's media, ie. books, tv, etc., makes for an interesting and non-argumentative introduction.
    For instance, on Netflix, is the Buddha-Sutra. It's kind of hard to keep up with the subtitles. The language used appears to be Hindi with English thrown in, and not just for for the stolen concepts.
    Magika No Kenshi To Shoukan delves deeply into the Shinto mythology (and a few others) with the 3 Treasures of the Chrysanthemum Throne (Japan) introduced as weapons. The setup is highly sexist, it's a harem where he gains power by having the women fall for him.
     
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  7. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    It is very insightful of you to raise this point, as it's not one I see often enough. I suspect you are remarking upon the difficulty of understanding religious mythology as a cultural outsider? This is a significant obstacle. Cultures have different foundational assumptions about the world and how it works, which influences interpretation of their cultural narratives (as well as narratives outside of their culture).


    Whether or not it is really possible to understand religious narratives as a cultural outsider is debatable, but to attempt it at all one must learn how to paradigm shift. Paradigm shifting begins with knowing your own map of the territory well. This by itself isn't as easy as it sounds, as often our foundational assumptions are so foundational we don't think about them or question them. It's a box we think inside that we don't realize we are thinking inside. The best way to start figuring out your box is to ask questions and entertain as many answers to them as your imagination can come up with no matter how absurd you feel they are. Suspending judgement is a crucial part of this process as well. Explore instead. As you start figuring out the box you think inside, you'll also get better at recognizing the boxes other people think inside. Over time, you can start discarding your usual assumptions to think from a different perspective. That's paradigm shifting in a nutshell - casting aside your default map of the territory to navigate using a different map instead.

    Ideally, you can find individuals within a culture that are pretty good at paradigm shifting already. They might be religious leaders in that tradition, or they might not, but if they have a decent multicultural education and have done interfaith training, they can be in a position to tell cultural narratives in a way that helps outsiders understand them. They might draw comparisons between their stories and your stories, even though it is not quite the same. They'll be sensitive to the biases you bring to the table, and point out where their people think differently at key points of the tale.
    If you can find these people, you might not need to go to the work of paradigm shifting yourself.
     
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  8. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    I’ve been looking for Muslim children’s stories to read online, and I found some videos of children’s stories to watch also. Maybe after I read and watch some more, I’ll have some ideas about what to do next.
     
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  9. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    I was doing some research on what Gautama Buddha said and didn’t say about God, and considering what I read about that, and what I read recently in the Baghavad-Gita, it seems more clear to me than ever that all the religions are telling the same story: The best life we can live, for ourselves and for all people everywhere, is in freeing ourselves from the dictates of our narrow and short-sighted self-serving interests, by surrendering ourselves to loving, trusting, devoted service to one of the characters in the story, because of the good we see in them and what they're promoting. That requires detachment from all the beliefs and practices that define the religions in popular thinking, and subordinating them to the purposes and prescriptions of whichever master teacher we're following. I think that's what every person needs and is searching for, and what the world needs most of all, and that the more that people do that, and the sooner they do that, the better it will be for all the people of the world.

    I haven't thought of any ways to describe that loving, trusting devoted service that frees a person from the dictates of narrow and short-sighted self-serving interests, without thinking of it as service to an ideal person, but I would like to find some ways to do that.
     
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  10. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    For example, maybe it could be what a person thinks of as herself at her very best, in an affectionate and admiring way as it it were another person, or as her better self. I think of it sometimes as wanting to do all the good I can do, and be the best person I can be.
     
    #10 Jim, May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  11. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    Maybe it could just be a person's evolving vision of an ideal person, based on experiences with people he has known. In fact, that might be what it is for everyone, including those of us who have chosen a master teacher. Part of what we see in our master teacher is a projection of the best that we've seen in all the people we've known. Even so, part of it is from our actual experience with the master teacher.
     
  12. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I agree with a whole lot of what Quintessence said in post #7. Stories are from within paradigms, and difficult to understand from outside. Not impossible, just difficult. So one has to toss out their own coloured glasses, and try to see it through the eyes of the people who own the story. I see it very much like acting. A good actor will 'become' the character after some hard work. He/she will see the world through the eyes of that character, if only temporarily. Still it can bring great understanding. Actors, whenever possible, will find a real person that is similar to the character they intend to portray, to shadow for awhile, and ride along, so to speak.

    For example, I taught myself to drive on the other side of the road by doing this. (Canada is right side drive, Mauritius is left side drive) I was afraid, and my dear spouse (as a passenger) was even more afraid. So afraid that it seemed we would never be renting a car to just go exploring. So I took to riding the buses, sitting right up front, watching the driver, and visualising myself 'being' the driver, turning the wheel, going through roundabouts, and more. Then when we did rent the car it seemed almost easy.I 'understood' it.

    The other thing to learn of a culture is to ask many questions, and listen attentively. So much dialogue is filled with people just talking past each other, and at the end of it, neither person learning a darned thing. If you learn to truly listen, it can really help. This all provided there is a real honest desire to learn to begin with.
     
    #12 Vinayaka, May 24, 2019
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  13. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Read some books about cultural anthropology.
     
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  14. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    What I’m saying about the story that all the religions are telling might be clear and obvious to anyone after a few hours of research, but that doesn’t make it true, and knowing that it’s true doesn’t make it happen. What needs to happen is for each person to learn from experience to love, trust and follow that evolving personification of the best possibilities in life. Some ways that I see for me to help with that are what I’ve said before: continually improving my own practice, learning to be a better friend to more people, learning to tell stories, helping with the growth and spread of healthier, happier and more loving communities, and bringing all that into my conversations with people.
     
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  15. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    I’m looking for people who have been using the stories and scriptures of one or more religions, for many years, to help them learn to live the best life they can and help bring out the best possibilities in all people and in society.
     
  16. dingdao

    dingdao The eternal Tao cannot be told - Tao Te Ching

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    I understand what is behind a lot of religions. Count me in.
     
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  17. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    Thank you.

    Do you know of any others here who might fit my description?

    What do you see those stories and scriptures saying, about how to live the best life we can, and help bring out the best possibilities in all people and in society?
     
    #17 Jim, Jun 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  18. Samana Johann

    Samana Johann no member (former tolerated guest)

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    One has, for the most, to visit they homes or wait till one of their parents appears, since those "back-yards", religious forums, are not different then children meeting each other and boast with their parents and claim borred possessions of them being their... but it's not easy that one does, since children fear authorities and prefer to play just arround with like-minded, Brahman Jim. And when will he risk to invite in his home or does he feel ashamed for his parents or his playmates in such a case?
     
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  19. dingdao

    dingdao The eternal Tao cannot be told - Tao Te Ching

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    I don't know of any other poly- ???

    Play nice with your toys. Play nice with other children. Play nice with their toys.
    Other then that, children will duplicate the behavior of their parents.
     
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  20. Jim

    Jim Nets of Wonder

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    Maybe Windwalker.
     
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