Some questions from a passer-by

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8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #219724 by
Replied by on topic Some questions from a passer-by
I wasn't going to post anymore here as I've mostly gathered quite a good understanding about this whole thing, but then there was this interesting response:

SeventhSL wrote: If I had to try and define the most commonly held belief system here at TOTJO then it is this:

"Religion is just a myth. There is no super human controlling power. No god. As such there is no truth or lie, no right or wrong, no absolutes and no meaning to life. Thus these things are in the eye of the beholder. Or as they say a matter of perspective."


Ok, so this is official "TOTJO" doctrine? Thank you for clarifying this. But if this is so, then it presents problems, because if there is no "truth" there is also no "good" or "bad" and telling people to act in "right" ways is contradictory because there is no such thing.

SeventhSL wrote: To extrapolate the belief system: "Jediism is a religion because it says it is", "You are a Jedi if you say you are" and "The force is what you think it is".


But this ludicrous. If I say "I am a KGB agent" does that make me one? no. If I say that building sandcastles is a religion, does that make it so? no, and it would never be considered such on Wikipedia for example which has a standard of definitions or by any definition in the real world.
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8 years 1 month ago #219729 by
Replied by on topic Some questions from a passer-by
Sorry but nothing I say is official. I'm just a member with a lot to learn.

In my mind there does exist right and wrong, truth and lie so like you I logically conclude that the belief system I stated is ludicrous. The thing I love about TOTJO though is that I can try and define it, say it is ludicrous and instead of hateful emotion I get heart felt reasoning and genuine debate.
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8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #219731 by Adder

Reneza wrote: Ok, so this is official "TOTJO" doctrine?


Not that I'm aware of.

Reneza wrote: But this ludicrous. If I say "I am a KGB agent" does that make me one? no. If I say that building sandcastles is a religion, does that make it so? no, and it would never be considered such on Wikipedia for example which has a standard of definitions or by any definition in the real world.


There are plenty of definitions which Jediism meets. Which definition of religion do you prefer?

If the person does builds sandcastles 'religiously', at which point does it become their religion? It could be the most religious thing for that person. Do you need more then one person for a religion to exist? Who has the right to dictate someones experience of building those sandcastles as not being worthy of called their religion!? What happens if you get a few people together who have the same experience of building sand castles, is it a religion then? A million people perhaps? I'd argue it only takes one. Try replacing the work religion with spirituality, it might sit easier for you - remembering religion is supposed to be about spirituality
:side:

I'm not sure of the relevance of the KGB Agent, as its not equivalent to the use of Jedi IMO.

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8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #219732 by Br. John
There is Right and there is Wrong. There are Truths and Falsehoods. I can accept the notion the Life had no Meaning but only if you show me something that does have Meaning. God's not the problem - she works. It's all the idiotic things people believe about her that are the problem. Since there is no general consensus on what God wants it's highly likely that nobody knows so it's best to leave it out of issues and use our inbuilt sense of right and wrong.

This site is a Koan.

We have concrete beliefs. They are on the Front Page.

Jedi Believe

In the Force, and in the inherent worth of all life within it. (This could be the Force for Good people working together can create. It might be more.)

In the sanctity of the human person. We oppose the use of torture and cruel or unusual punishment, including the death penalty.

In a society governed by laws grounded in reason and compassion, not in fear or prejudice.

In a society that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or circumstances of birth such as gender, ethnicity and national origin.

In the ethic of reciprocity, and how moral concepts are not absolute but vary by culture, religion, and over time.

In the positive influence of spiritual growth and awareness on society.

In the importance of freedom of conscience and self-determination within religious, political and other structures.

In the separation of religion and government and the freedoms of speech, association, and expression.


We're not quite the strange platypus we appear to be. Have you looked at modern Unitarian Universalist Association or Bishop John Selby Spong or Progressive Christianity ?

Can you tell me what the Tao is? What is it like to experience Satori and how do you do it?

Founder of The Order
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8 years 1 month ago #219737 by TheDude
Sorry, I'm a little late to this, but I'll try to answer your questions as best I can. I'm sure other people have gotten to it but I'll say what I can.

Reneza wrote: Nevertheless, my point is that considering you're attempting to educate people on world religions (which is actually a very wonderful thing to do, I'd like to say!), it seems rather odd to be recommending such a thing when people expect to learn about history/religious philosophy and not opinions masked as legitimate works. I don't ever want to sound like I'm telling your particular organization what to teach and what not to teach but I'm just wondering whether it (anti-monotheism/organized theism in general) is official doctrine? There are plenty of wonderful (and even free!) informative and historical books/writings for any beginner to read on the subject of world religions or Abrahamic faiths in particular which aren't so snide.


I believe that this is the result of the vast majority of people coming from an Abrahamic background and not taking into account that others may need education on their religion of origin as much as they may need education on less popular and often misunderstood religious traditions such as Shinto or Vedanta. Bias is found in most places and should rightly be uncovered and removed. You should be delighted to find, however, that the TOTJO library does include religious texts from these traditions as well as a decent collection of works from Eastern and Western philosophers, some (Spinoza, for example,) coming from an Abrahamic background. The expansion of the library is, in my opinion, a wonderful thing, and there are members that you can contact if you have suggestions for the library.

Regarding books, why is the selection of books a sporadic collection of writings from new age people and 60s orientalists such as Alan Watts and not any official works written by actual Jedi faith people (I haven't found any other than posts on these forums and elsewhere)?


I can't speak on behalf of the people who designed the IP, but those writings are well in line with the doctrine of Jediism. TOTJO's own doctrine is available on the top of the page and the library contains both works on Jediism and pieces from TOTJO itself; in addition, there is a vast collection of sermons which come out on a regular basis meant to be representative of what you're looking for. Sadly, there are few if any published and well publicized Jedi faith people, likely for a multitude of reasons.

The whole initiate program seems mostly filled by asking people for their opinions and to conduct independent research on concepts like etiquette/ethics/etc. rather than instructing them on it with any sort of actual doctrine.

I can safely say that the majority of classes I've taken in philosophy and theology have taken this approach. As a college student, I think that the main approach of education is teaching someone to teach themselves; that goes back over 2000 years, with Socrates promoting much the same thing in Plato's dialogues.

If it is true that people who call themselves Jedi seek legitimate state religious recognition and from what I read, regularly complain that governments are not taking it seriously as a religion, why then are you promoting anti-theism (and simultaneously promoting a metaphysical concept)?

Anti-theism deserves its spot just like everything else. Metaphysical concepts and religion are not one in the same. For example, the law of cause and effect is itself a metaphysical concept, strictly speaking. An anti-theist may or may not be accurate in asserting that God(s), often specifically Abrahamic, is a failed metaphysical concept, but that is a discussion for another time.

Furthermore, to the self-proclaimed atheists on this forum: how do you reconcile your own firm disbelief in the metaphysical and at the same time believe in a metaphysical concept like the qi/ki/élan vital/vril/etc. (i.e. the Force)? Considering you have to believe in this concept as it's the fundamental foundation for this faith. Even if you claim that the Force is not "God", you'd still have to grapple with the fact that it is metaphysical and has not been scientifically proven by any measure as of yet, so I'm rather curious.

The only requirement of Atheism is that they don't believe in God(s). It has nothing to do with science; indeed, long before science as we know it existed, the subfields of philosophy (specifically ethics, metaphysics, and natural philosophy) were filled with people who rejected any Gods. The association of Atheist and scientifically minded itself is false, though it is part of the popular image that has come along with the "new Atheist" movement.

Another question is that if you actually expect to be treated seriously as a religion, why is it necessary to maintain Star Wars terminology such as "Jedi" and "the Force"? If you really believe in these ideas/concepts/etc. you could easily just continue to use the superficial image of it (robes, colored swords, etc.) while using different terminology as not to be seen simply as people who are playing games from a series of children's flicks. For example I notice that many people practice sword arts and meditation which is all rather nice, but why is it necessary to act as if you are role playing rather than breaking off and create something new inspired by it? Or is it that you are really focused on the image rather than the substance as is somewhat common in this world today? I don't mean to sound demeaning or come across as hostile, and I do understand that this was born from Star Wars, but George Lucas himself has said that it's a children's film so most adults without much of an interest in it see it as such.

If I remember correctly, the Campbell section of the IP (the first "real" lesson) included a lot of information about exactly this. Lots of stuff on religious metaphor. Star Wars presents a fiction with ideas that are easy to understand and which are responsible for many of us becoming more interested in theological questions; which was, after all, part of Lucas's intention for Star Wars in the first place. Personally, I couldn't care less how seriously people take Jediism. Let the actions of members of the community speak for the qualities of the community, on all sides. But I think if two Jedi want to get married and they take their religion seriously, they should be able to have a Jedi wedding ceremony -- and when they die, they should be allowed to have a Jedi funeral.
Also, I don't own any robes or lightsabers. The fiction has little to do with what I personally believe.

In regards to what I can only call "theology," what is the definition of the dark side and the light side of the force?

These are not necessarily a part of Jediism.

As these concepts are part of its dualistic nature, you need to define that certain things are objectively "dark" (i.e. evil) and certain things "light" (i.e. good).

Alan Watts does well to communicate basic Chinese and Indian principles that recognize duality and at the same time recognize how trivial duality is. His book in the IP only takes 2 hours or so to read, and there's an audiobook version. I get that it's a little preachy, but it's a basic approach to the metaphysical aspects of some eastern religions and could provide you with some direction to understand why duality is unimportant, at least in the opinions of others.

If you can define them, this presents a problem to atheist members "objective morality" is non-existent within the atheist material paradigm.

Nah. Like I said before, there are plenty of old and new philosophical arguments in the fields of ethics and metaethics which provide reason for objective morality without the necessity of any Gods. And there are plenty of good arguments for subjective moral standards. To insist that (1) God is necessary for objective morality and that (2) subjective morality is a problem, seems unreasonable to me without further argument.

There are plenty of Taoist writings on this topic which define certain boundries as naturally objective, but I wonder if the people here can help me to understand whether there is an objectivity or not? And if not, how does the idea of the force as a dualist principle hold up? To jump the gun and assume that one might say "darkness is the absence of light" this is a fundamentally Christian theological concept and suggests that evil does really exist and therefore isn't a dualist concept (i.e. suggesting that there is no "dark side", negating the entire concept of the Force as it exists in its fictional representation).


Jediism isn't necessarily dualistic. Reading the Watts book will answer a lot of your questions about that, though; winners don't exist without losers, losers don't exist without winners, both require each other to exist at all. That general kind of thing. It's not that darkness is the absence of light, it's that without light the concept of darkness loses all meaning.
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8 years 1 month ago #219739 by
Replied by on topic Some questions from a passer-by

Br. John wrote: There is Right and there is Wrong. There are Truths and Falsehoods.


How do you define them?

Br. John wrote: I can accept the notion the Life had no Meaning but only if you show me something that does have Meaning.


I never said that it or it didn't. I have written none of my own beliefs on this web forum.

Br. John wrote: God's not the problem - she works.


Why do you use the feminine pronoun for God when the masculine has been established and used by all of monotheistic tradition in recorded history? What are you trying to imply?

Br. John wrote: It's all the idiotic things people believe about her that are the problem.


What is "God" to you? What makes God feminine? (I have not stated any of my own beliefs in regards to God nor whether the concept is masculine or feminine but traditionally it has used masculine pronouns in languages that have them so I'd like to know how you think God is more feminine than otherwise)

Br. John wrote: Since there is no general consensus on what God wants it's highly likely that nobody knows so it's best to leave it out of issues and use our inbuilt sense of right and wrong.


Can you show me this "inbuilt sense of right and wrong"?

Br. John wrote: This site is a Koan.


What does koan actually mean to you?

Br. John wrote: We have concrete beliefs. They are on the Front Page.


No, they are filled with circular logic, unexplained concepts, and intense ambiguity. It is a patchwork of common western notions of what is right and wrong, "chivalry", and meaningless concepts like "The Force" which only one person has given me what they say is an official definition but I can't find it anywhere on the site in any "official manner" so I'm still somewhat unsure.

Br. John wrote: Jedi Believe

In the Force, and in the inherent worth of all life within it. (This could be the Force for Good people working together can create. It might be more.)


"Could" - this is your opinion. There seems to be otherwise no definition of what "the Force" is by this organization at all.

Br. John wrote: In the sanctity of the human person. We oppose the use of torture and cruel or unusual punishment, including the death penalty.


Why?

Br. John wrote: In a society governed by laws grounded in reason and compassion, not in fear or prejudice.


I thought this was a charity and not a political organization. What is a society free of "fear or prejudice" to you?

Br. John wrote: In a society that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or circumstances of birth such as gender, ethnicity and national origin.


Oh here we go. So it is a political organization, ok.

Br. John wrote: In the ethic of reciprocity, and how moral concepts are not absolute but vary by culture, religion, and over time.


So is female circumcision a good thing or a bad thing? is it wrong or right? it's a huge part of another culture and is seen as completely legitimate.

Br. John wrote: In the positive influence of spiritual growth and awareness on society.


What is "spiritual growth"?

Br. John wrote: In the importance of freedom of conscience and self-determination within religious, political and other structures.


Ok so this answers my before-last question. It's completely legitimate if other cultures practice certain things considered barbaric in Western culture. Interesting.

Br. John wrote: In the separation of religion and government and the freedoms of speech, association, and expression.


What do you mean by "freedom of speech/expression"?

Br. John wrote: We're not quite the strange platypus we appear to be. Have you looked at modern Unitarian Universalist Association or Bishop John Selby Spong or Progressive Christianity ?


What's your point?

Br. John wrote: Can you tell me what the Tao is?


Oh, Tao Te Ching here we go. The Tao according to Taoists is unknowable but is the origin and source for all life and everything (Muslims describe God in exactly the same manner in the form of Tawhid) and the natural order of the universe and all in it. If "the Tao" was entirely undefinable, it would not exist as a concept. "the Force" however seems to have absolutely no agreed upon definition as the Tao does, and almost certainly seems to be a synonym for "personal belief" unlike the Tao.

Br. John wrote: What is it like to experience Satori and how do you do it?


If you know about Satori then you know very well that much has been written on the subject and it is quite well defined (again, otherwise it would not exist). The path to it is very complicated and many have different opinions but as a word it actually has an agreed upon definition unlike "the Force."
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8 years 1 month ago #219741 by
Replied by on topic Some questions from a passer-by

TheDude wrote: Sorry, I'm a little late to this, but I'll try to answer your questions as best I can. I'm sure other people have gotten to it but I'll say what I can.


Hi there! Nice to meet you :) (first of all thanks for the lengthy reply, I really appreciate it)

TheDude wrote: I believe that this is the result of the vast majority of people coming from an Abrahamic background and not taking into account that others may need education on their religion of origin as much as they may need education on less popular and often misunderstood religious traditions such as Shinto or Vedanta. Bias is found in most places and should rightly be uncovered and removed. You should be delighted to find, however, that the TOTJO library does include religious texts from these traditions as well as a decent collection of works from Eastern and Western philosophers, some (Spinoza, for example,) coming from an Abrahamic background. The expansion of the library is, in my opinion, a wonderful thing, and there are members that you can contact if you have suggestions for the library.


This is a good thing and I appreciate the attempt to share such knowledge with people.

TheDude wrote: I can safely say that the majority of classes I've taken in philosophy and theology have taken this approach. As a college student, I think that the main approach of education is teaching someone to teach themselves; that goes back over 2000 years, with Socrates promoting much the same thing in Plato's dialogues.


Yes, Socratic dialog is extremely important and it's what I'm trying to establish here among others and myself. Nevertheless, you are right that philosophy courses do this, but a philosophy class does not claim to be a religion in and of itself.

TheDude wrote: Anti-theism deserves its spot just like everything else. Metaphysical concepts and religion are not one in the same. For example, the law of cause and effect is itself a metaphysical concept, strictly speaking. An anti-theist may or may not be accurate in asserting that God(s), often specifically Abrahamic, is a failed metaphysical concept, but that is a discussion for another time.


This is all well and good, but you're just providing more evidence that this organization is sort of just a eclectic learning platform rather than a religion in its own right as it claims to be.

TheDude wrote: The only requirement of Atheism is that they don't believe in God(s). It has nothing to do with science;


Atheism is heavily intertwined with scientific method because it only accepts things measurable by said method of being worthy of any consideration or belief.

TheDude wrote: indeed, long before science as we know it existed, the subfields of philosophy (specifically ethics, metaphysics, and natural philosophy) were filled with people who rejected any Gods. The association of Atheist and scientifically minded itself is false, though it is part of the popular image that has come along with the "new Atheist" movement.


They rejected God/gods because to them they were absurd/meaningless/un-measurable concepts. You are kidding yourself if you think atheism is not heavily reliant on only accepting measurable (scientific) things.

TheDude wrote: If I remember correctly, the Campbell section of the IP (the first "real" lesson) included a lot of information about exactly this. Lots of stuff on religious metaphor. Star Wars presents a fiction with ideas that are easy to understand and which are responsible for many of us becoming more interested in theological questions; which was, after all, part of Lucas's intention for Star Wars in the first place. Personally, I couldn't care less how seriously people take Jediism. Let the actions of members of the community speak for the qualities of the community, on all sides. But I think if two Jedi want to get married and they take their religion seriously, they should be able to have a Jedi wedding ceremony -- and when they die, they should be allowed to have a Jedi funeral.


Yes, but this is not what Campbell means by myth though. He does not mean superficial appearance in the form of funeral practices, but rather myth as story-driven explanation of why/how things exist in the world as they are.

TheDude wrote: Also, I don't own any robes or lightsabers. The fiction has little to do with what I personally believe.


May I ask then, do you call yourself a "Jedi"? and if so, what does it mean to you? Do you consider it your religion? If so, why?

TheDude wrote: These are not necessarily a part of Jediism.


Surely you can understand why someone coming into it would assume such? Especially since the site within its maxims mentions "the Force" but fails to define it in any meaningful way.

TheDude wrote: Alan Watts does well to communicate basic Chinese and Indian principles that recognize duality and at the same time recognize how trivial duality is. His book in the IP only takes 2 hours or so to read, and there's an audiobook version. I get that it's a little preachy, but it's a basic approach to the metaphysical aspects of some eastern religions and could provide you with some direction to understand why duality is unimportant, at least in the opinions of others.


I have read much of Alan Watts, but are you suggested that Jediism is in fact "Alan Wattsism"? If not, why mention him?

TheDude wrote: Nah. Like I said before, there are plenty of old and new philosophical arguments in the fields of ethics and metaethics which provide reason for objective morality without the necessity of any Gods. And there are plenty of good arguments for subjective moral standards. To insist that (1) God is necessary for objective morality and that (2) subjective morality is a problem, seems unreasonable to me without further argument.


Yes, but I'd like to know what the Jedi faith defines its ethics/metaphysics (if applicable) as and from what type of logic it comes.

TheDude wrote: There are plenty of Taoist writings on this topic which define certain boundries as naturally objective, but I wonder if the people here can help me to understand whether there is an objectivity or not?


You tell me. So is Jediism actually just Taoism with Star Wars dress-up games? You mention a lot of these things yet I don't see how it has anything to do with Jediism since none of these things are listed as official doctrine.

TheDude wrote: Jediism isn't necessarily dualistic. Reading the Watts book will answer a lot of your questions about that, though; winners don't exist without losers, losers don't exist without winners, both require each other to exist at all. That general kind of thing. It's not that darkness is the absence of light, it's that without light the concept of darkness loses all meaning.


Again, is Jediism actually just Alan Watts/loose Tao philosophy with Star Wars trappings?

Thanks for the response :)
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8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #219742 by Adder
Some local case law concluded that;
"We would therefore hold that, for the purposes of the law, the criteria of religion are twofold: first, belief in a supernatural Being, Thing or Principle; and second, the acceptance of canons of conduct in order to give effect to that belief, though canons of conduct which offend against the ordinary laws are outside the area of any immunity, privilege or right conferred on the grounds of religion.

Those criteria may vary in their comparative importance, and there may be a different intensity of belief or of acceptance of canons of conduct among religions or among the adherents to a religion. The tenets of a religion may give primacy to one particular belief or to one particular canon of conduct. Variations in emphasis may distinguish one religion from other religions, but they are irrelevant to the determination of an individual's or a group's freedom to profess and exercise the religion of his, or their, choice.
"

Well the Force is that first criteria, and its capacity to be defined for you is therefore limited by its supernatural element. So given its supernatural nature, a strict definition is not required IMO in the above conclusion.

Regardless, a loose definition of the Force is provided in the Doctrine, but the focus of practitioners is the personal relationship to the Force and not the Doctrine, and therefore is left open for the individual to develop, explore, experiment, walk etc. A more dogmatic religion forces people to develop a relationship within a stricter path. This is really the only main area of difference here, and instead invites exploration in more Eastern ways to foster an experimentally driven shift in ones perception and worldview - through personal growth, in a more maximized real world capacity (by not limiting the framework to some specific established dogma).

The second criteria is covered by the other guidelines within the Doctrine which serve to allow an individual to inform contemplation of action about conduct in this regard.

Reneza, if your argument is that it is not a religion, then its not been presented in anyway which has relevance to my local legal interpretation as far as I can tell, hence why I disagree with you, and your subsequent assessments about our motivations..... and why I asked earlier how you prefer to define religion?

Knight ~ introverted extropian, mechatronic neurothealogizing, technogaian buddhist. Likes integration, visualization, elucidation and transformation.
Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med ~ Dis
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu
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8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #219744 by Br. John

Reneza wrote:

Br. John wrote: There is Right and there is Wrong. There are Truths and Falsehoods.


How do you define them? ....

I was not talking to you.

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So close to God atheists don't believe in me either.


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8 years 1 month ago #219745 by Br. John

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