A hammer?

Oct 2014
1,781
Stockholm
#35
Look up Monty Python's The Four Yorkshiremen. So much of that game in religious discussions.

gnat

Eric Idle: Who'd a thought thirty years ago we'd all be sittin' here drinking Chateau de Chassilier wine?

MP: Aye. In them days, we'd a' been glad to have the price of a cup o' tea.

GC: A cup ' COLD tea.

EI: Without milk or sugar.

TG: OR tea!

MP: In a filthy, cracked cup.

EI: We never used to have a cup. We used to have to drink out of a rolled up newspaper.

GC: The best WE could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.

TG: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.

MP: Aye. BECAUSE we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, "Money doesn't buy you happiness."
 
Mar 2015
25
North America
#36
Has anyone ever had their mind changed by a belief debate on the internet?
On a serious note, I have never understood why some people seem to think these types of discussion forums are intended to "change" other people's minds and beliefs. Isn't the point to share differing views, and to learn from one another, and maybe see a different perspective? Okay, I realize that is not the point for many people, who instead look at discussion forums like this as a sort of game or competition.

While I do not know if I have ever "had my mind changed" by a belief debate on the internet, I certainly have had the following experiences as a result of internet discussions:
  • I have learned something new.
  • I have better understood a different perspective, even if I did not share that same perspective.
  • I have thought about things in a different way.
Why do we want or need or even expect to change others' beliefs? And why would we be concerned that our own beliefs might change or develop?
 
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Mar 2013
520
_
#37
Well as Baha'is we are instructed to engage in interfaith discussions.

"Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship." (Tablets of Bahá'u'llah Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas)


But that is to promote and reach unity. It is certainly not to try to get individuals to accept our point of view. That would be at the very least, approaching proselytizing, which for us is prohibited.

All too often, at least from my experience, many discussions begin with an adversarial tone, even if it is passive-aggressive. I am not laying the blame on any one person or group or persons. I think we are all capable of it And maybe even from a more adversarial conversation, things can be learned, but there is a better way.
 
Mar 2015
25
North America
#38
"Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship." (Tablets of Bahá'u'llah Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas)
There is a parallel here:
Growth in essentials can be done in different ways, but all of them have as their root restraint in speech, that is, not praising one's own religion, or condemning the religion of others without good cause. And if there is cause for criticism, it should be done in a mild way. But it is better to honor other religions for this reason. By so doing, one's own religion benefits, and so do other religions, while doing otherwise harms one's own religion and the religions of others. Whoever praises his own religion, due to excessive devotion, and condemns others with the thought "Let me glorify my own religion," only harms his own religion.
(Words that the Buddhists at DhammaWheel.com should heed instead of criticizing Baha'i and other faiths.)

Let me ask you this: Would "followers of all religions" include those who have some idiosyncratic view that does not actually align with the religion he or she purports to follow, for example a person who claims to be Baha'i but who insists that belief in "God" is optional and personally professes a lack of belief in God? Is such a person actually a "follower" of Baha'i, or is such a person a follower of no religion?

If a person who holds and expresses idiosyncratic views is not truly a "follower" of the religion he or she professes to follow, then does the instruction to consort with that individual "in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship" not apply? (The question is rhetorical; of course it still applies.)

People come to discussions like this with their own bundles of beliefs, and my sense is that the concept of a "religion" is illusory. A pure religion might exist in some academic sense, with all core beliefs and dogmas defined with precision, but it seems to me that very few, and perhaps nobody, truly follows every nuance of dogma and doctrine of the religion they purport to "follow." Blessed be idiosyncrasy!
 
Mar 2013
520
_
#39
No one makes the same pot of coffee twice, but we still call it coffee. It's understood that no one follows a religion in the same way as another. And who follows any religion perfectly or has a perfect interpretation, personally? None, as far as I know. As far as who is and is not a Baha'i, that is not for me to say.

But for instance, it would be hard to accept someone as a proponent of Judaism who is constantly argueing for belief in Dagon and chewing on a bacon and cheese sandwich. I think we can get lost in the joys of relativism until we do not think that anything means much of anything beyond whatever our elastic desires permit at a given time.

However, I could not be a blue furry six legged methane breathing creature from a distant planet and make a valid argument that I was a penguin. I realize people sometimes enjoy splitting hairs and the freedom of having opinions etc etc, but in the end, there are commonalities. Nevertheless, we should try to find commonalities and unity.

Abdu'l Baha says “To be a Bahá'í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it."
 
Jun 2014
1,021
Wisconsin
#40
On a serious note, I have never understood why some people seem to think these types of discussion forums are intended to "change" other people's minds and beliefs. Isn't the point to share differing views, and to learn from one another, and maybe see a different perspective? Okay, I realize that is not the point for many people, who instead look at discussion forums like this as a sort of game or competition.

While I do not know if I have ever "had my mind changed" by a belief debate on the internet, I certainly have had the following experiences as a result of internet discussions:
  • I have learned something new.
  • I have better understood a different perspective, even if I did not share that same perspective.
  • I have thought about things in a different way.
Why do we want or need or even expect to change others' beliefs? And why would we be concerned that our own beliefs might change or develop?
I don't know the cause, but the, for lack of a term "proselytizers" seem to take over many religious forums. I've ventured on a few for the purposes you state, to learn other perspectives, but a lot of the people drawn to the topic of religion seem unfortunately super-combative. On one notable one I joined a while back, it seemed like weekly someone posted an "Is Islam evil?" post just to provoke others. And, despite the frequency of such posts, the provocation attempt almost always worked.

I am still searching for an interfaith discussion forum where the people who show up to post aren't looking for a fight.