1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Human attitude towards Nature throughout History – interesting overview November 22, 2009


The earliest phase was characterized by a conception of the universe as extremely small and of the Earth as the only inhabited planet. The world, however, possessed, besides our physical plane, a number of other planes, also material but with a materiality of a different nature and possessing different properties than ours. None of the planes, including ours, were thought to evolve. They had been created once and for all and were inhabited by good and evil beings. Humans lay at the center of those beings’ interests and were, so to speak, their apple of discord. Humans were not conscious of Nature as something distinct from themselves and did not contrast themselves with it. Individual natural phenomena evoked, of course, one or another feeling-fear, pleasure, awe-but it seems that Nature was almost never perceived as a whole, or was perceived so in a purely aesthetic sense, and even then only by individuals who were highly gifted artistically. For that reason, one rarely finds among artistic works of those eras lyrical poetry about Nature, and even more rarely does one find landscape painting. In the main, the cultures of antiquity, as well as certain later cultures in the East, belong to that phase. As for religion, polytheism was typical of this first phase.

Typical of the second phase were the monotheistic systems, which either ignored Nature or else were hostile to it. The growth of individuality led to the conception that humans could grow spiritually. Nature, on the other hand, showed no signs of spiritual growth. It was stagnant and static; it was amoral and irrational; it was under the power of the demonic; and if the spirit itself was not to be vanquished, that part of a person’s being that was cosubstantial with Nature had to be vanquished by the spirit. This was the antinature phase. The Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu peoples all passed through it; Jewry (meaning believers in Judaism) still remains in it. The latter, however, like the Muslim peoples, did not so much declare war on Nature as simply snub it.
The Semitic attitude to nature has, generally speaking, been marked by a poverty of feeling. It has long been remarked how lacking the authors of the Bible and the Quran were in their feeling toward nature compared to those who wrote the great epics of ancient Greece and of India in particular. The Semites gave Nature what they considered its due, sanctioning procreation with the blessing of their religion, but in their religious philosophy and art they strove to ignore it, and with grave consequences.

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Religulous (religion+rediculous) – a film review April 9, 2009

 

Having an atheistic background I was naturally attracted by this poster – to see it in the middle of still catholic Vienna was a bit of a surprise. The poster was inspiring enough to visit cinema (which is a rare thing for me!).

Did I like it? Let me give you the detalis first and then I will deliver my opinion.

What is the film about?
The documentary RELIGULOUS is a film about organized religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, TV evangelism and even Scientology, with detours into pagan cults and ancient Egypt. Bill Maher, host, writer and debater, believes they are all crazy. He doesn’t get around to Hinduism or Buddhism, but he probably doesn’t approve of them, either. He wants to convince his audience that religion is not only ridiculous, it’s downright dangerous.

How does Maher do that?
Typically anyone trying to make a case against God goes right to the pedophile priests and the suicide bombers, but Maher makes it a point to focus on normal, reasonably sane religious people. He talks to truckers in a roadside chapel, he chats with random, middle-class tourists at a Christian-themed amusement park. He talks to religious shop owners, small town preachers, televanglists, Jews for Jesus, fundamentalist U.S. Senators, Vatican priests, religious scientists, secular Muslims, gay Muslims, people in America (Utah), Europe, and even in Jerusalem. Though those fumbling for an excuse to discredit him may claim otherwise, these aren’t extremists or lunatics. These are for the most part sane, rational, even intelligent people who believe something which Maher believes is insane.
To the film’s credit, Maher never engages in Michael Moore-style gotcha tactics, but rather asks questions that raise more questions, in the form of a Socratic dialogue.
Smart, hilarious and thoroughly entertaining. Although rather a hard-core at some points.

Highlights?
All in all, the film is often funny, frequently unfair, mostly simplistic, at times offensively unethical and ultimately limited. I found stunning Maher’s visit of the Holy Land Experience in Florida, a theme park where you can watch Christ being nailed up three times a day(!) – a kind of a Christian Disneyland. (more…)

 

 
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