Thursday, June 09, 2005

Religious shenanigans and crackpottery

Today, I read three articles that discussed religion and I decided to comment on them.

I am not religious. I can respect the work that many religious organizations do (and thank my university, a small 'c' Christian institution, for giving me a place to work) but I personally am not interested in joining any religious group. I went to church as a child but as soon as it was my choice, I stopped going. These days, I go to church for weddings (well, in Canada; they don't do weddings in churches in Korea) and I would probably go with my mom on Christmas eve, if she asked.

When first I traveled to Buddhist counties, I was interested and excited in the temples, the cultures and the doctrines. Now, I simply find them interesting subjects for study, not to join.

Still, I think I understand the basics of religion. One of the key points for me, one of the things I admire most, is the search for something unchanging. God's unchanging law: I wish there were such a thing. That's why I have problems with these women complaining about the their exclusion from the RC Church.

nine women to defy Vatican to become priests

"It is an immensely wounding part in our Catholic
history to block women's ecclesiastical participation
in orders. I think people have been closed to a
deeper, fuller expression of their faith by having,
in the hierarchy and levels of authority and
decision-making, a male-only church," she said.

Fourteen women have already been ordained in
similar river ceremonies in Europe in recent
years and 65 others are planning to join their
ranks soon.

The Vatican has refused to allow women becoming
priests and reacted by excommunicating the first
seven women ordained on the Danube River between
Germany and Austria in 2003 after they refused
to retract their vows.

But, two of the women, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger
of Austria and Gisela Forster of Germany, were later
secretly ordained as bishops by their male
counterparts in the Roman Catholic church, insists Birch-Conery.

I believe that women have as much right as men, in general, to lead a church. However, once a church is established, how can you change God's laws? If you think that one law or rule is wrong, how can you accept the others?

I accept that breathing exercises could be useful and that exercise with stretching motions is a very good idea. I do a little yoga myself. Still, I find this article about a form of Ki-gong or meditative breathing to be really over-the-top, with the kind of earnestness that usually comes from ultra-nationalist Koreans (The author name, R. Sheppard, doesn't appear to be Korean).

'Seon-do' Practice

Yoga uses a chakra to describe the location but
doesnÂ’t use methods to store energy there: which
is the main point of using the Dan-jeon, located five
inches below the navel.
Meditation in the ``lotus positionÂ’Â’ is not emphasized
until your breathing point has been found, and it
takes six months of lying down breathing just to
find the location. No wonder gurus just give up!
To use an analogy: regular meditation is like walking
to America and meditation with Dan-jeon breathing
is like driving a steam engine.
From Buddha to others, including Jesus and famous
Koreans, such as King Sejong, Yi Soon-shin and
KoreaÂ’s most famous geisha Hwang Jin-yi _ all are
known to have practiced it
I wanted to comment on how strange the first sentence I quoted was but my knowledge of, and usage of grammar made me choose to let it go.

(sarcasm font) I would much prefer to drive a steam engine than walk to America (/sarcasm). What kind of stupid-assed metaphor is that? I guess you have to wait until winter and walk or drive over the north pole. I suppose the author didn't want to exaggerate his claims. The difference isn't as big as that of walking and flying, nor of walking and taking a boat; walking and driving (an obsolete vehicle) around the world's largest ocean would both take work and the author does go into detail about the difficulties of learning seon-do.

Learning that Jesus used seon-do is also pretty cool. I'd sure like to learn how they came up with that.

Finally, an article about Jehovah's Witnesses and blood transfusions from the Korea Herald. The article discusses the issues pretty evenhandedly. The background is JWs, and others, disapprove of blood transfusions and more than one person has died when transfusions might have saved their lives. The key words for the article are 'might have'. What if the government forces the sick person to have a transfusion but he dies anyway? Would the government be at fault?

This part of the article surprised me most:

Choi said he obtained signatures from more than 5,000
doctors from general hospitals saying they can
perform surgery without blood transfusions.

Kim Mun-seol, chief doctor at the bloodless surgery
center at Baik Hospital, said, "I will not let my child
have a transfusion. It is no good having another
person's blood." Kim is not a Jehovah's Witness.

But many medical experts say bloodless medical
treatment cannot fully take the place of a transfusion.

"It is no good having another person's blood." Without knowing more about Dr. Kim, I have to wonder if this is the same mentality that makes adoption almost unheard of in this country ("can't have another person's blood[line] in my family").
I don't know if this relates or not: Koreans all know their bloodtype and frequently make predictions based on bloodtype.

As for me, I think the blood transfusions should be required when necessary and that JWs should be taught the facts about evolution and be reminded that the world did not end in 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994 nor whatever other dates they previously predicted so they should give up their silly-assed religion.


Anonymous said...

The truth is we did NOT say the world was going to end on any of the dates you mentioned.Charles Taze Russell,an early Jehovah's Witness,predicted from dates in the Bible that there would be a war in heaven in 1914 in which Satan would be cast down to the Earth,& World War 1 started in this year because of his influence.

Anonymous said...

We can have any form of medical treatment we want except from abortion,which we think is a form of murder & blood transfusions,because blood in the Bible is sacred.Also,there are some of us who disapprove of organ transplants on the grounds that they might be viewed as a form of cannibalism.

Anonymous said...

For any further information,look up

kwandongbrian said...

Thank you for your comments.

I am now looking at the watchtower website and others. Perhaps my opinion will change.

I do have to admit that i spoke from common knowledge which can be described as plenty common but possibly lacking in real, factual knowledge.

kwandongbrian said...

This is what i found regarding Watchtower reports about the end of the world (I stopped after the first few):

Regarding 1914:
The date of the close of that ‘battle’ is definitely marked in Scripture as October, 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October, 1874.

*** The Watchtower Reprints, July 15, 1894, p. 1677 ***
We see no reason for changing the figures — nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.

Regarding 1925:
*** Watchtower 1923 April 1 p.106 ***
Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge.

These quotes satisfy me that Jehovah's Witnesses did indeed claim the world would end on at least two of the dates I listed.

Anonymous said...

Actually,the Witnesses NEVER said the world was going to end.They said that this system,which is ruled by Satan,will end.They may have said it would happen in 1925,but that was a long time ago when the religion was small & only in development.There wasn't many of us then.We used to have blood transfusions & celebrate Christmas,birthdays & Easter then,which we don't do now.There have been several changes in our teachings since then,but you can't just point your finger at imperfect humans & label them 'false prophets' just because they change their teachings.I know there are some websites which say that God is going to burn us all in hell,but what proof have they got that the hellfire doctrine is true anyway?
The "fiery Gehenna" to which Jesus referred to in the Bible was a place in which the dead bodies of executed criminals were thrown.
No-one living was ever thrown into it.Pagans used to burn their children,& the hellfire doctrine has its origin,like Christmas,in pagan religion.