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关于宗教话题讨论的一点想法

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

来源: 葉鎏澐的日志

最近有一篇文章引起了我的强烈反感:

《天涯神文。-告诉你一个真实的基督教~ 跟基督教相比,我们的“文g“ 简直 弱爆了。》(以下简称《天》)

如果还没有看过,请点击这里

 

 

 

宗教向来是三大禁断话题之首,其他两大分别是政治和色情。可见宗教的涉猎知识的复杂程度和矛盾的尖锐程度,远远超过了其他两大话题。人们往往对宗教缺乏足够的了解,却很轻易的可以就此夸夸其谈,因而造成更加多的误解和冲突。这点在大陆背景的人身上尤为显著,因为历史原因,很多人对宗教的认识可以说是一片空白,出于好奇或者卖弄或是纯粹的顺应潮流,想要了解一定的宗教知识,但又缺乏广泛阅读的耐心。于是他们迫不及待的扎入一些篇幅短小的“科普”文章。然而,这些文章又往往良莠不齐,且带有强烈的个人偏见,甚至是常识性的谬误,但是这类文章的优点也是显而易见的,可以让读者快速的把观点转化成自己的语言进行输出。这种“科普”的误导在我看来是非常可怕的,不但失去了“科普”的意义,而且还埋下了日后冲突的潜在因素。

实际上大部分宗教的知识都是艰涩枯燥的,需要的阅读量非常之大(所以基本上在网上看到的文章,哪怕上万字,也在篇幅短小之列),特别是很多神学理念之争。就早期基督教而言,从耶稣去世之后,到第一次尼西亚大公会议的召开,再到西罗马帝国的灭亡,这段历史的复杂以及造成影响的深远,可以说在基督教历史上是举足轻重的;但是,我几乎没有看到过任何关于基督教的文章对此有过比较细致的介绍。很多文章的关注点都在“十字军东征”、“中世纪”、“宗教改革”之类的话题上,而忽略了前因后果。即使如此,这些话题也太过宏大:“十字军东征”持续了两个世纪之久,大规模的就有十余次,小规模的不计其数;“中世纪”更是长达十个世纪,期间天主教会亦发生了巨大变化;“宗教改革”自马丁路德开始,延绵至今。但是这一连串的,错综复杂的历史往往被压缩删改成一些简单的印象,灌输给读者。但是简单的印象,往往就是和事实相悖的。

 

 

我个人在谈论宗教话题的时候,总是很小心翼翼,不论是观点,还是措辞,尽量做到不冒犯别人,这不单单是社交的礼仪,也是一种态度。尊重他人,他人才能尊重你;同时,讨论才可以高效平和的展开。

尊重的第一点是要尊重事实,比如《天》一文中提到“其实这是的耶稣也没多少人信他,统共才13个信徒”,“最后,总算买通了耶稣13个信徒中的一个名叫犹大的人”,“《新约》里说耶稣知道第二天会被抓,头天晚上特意请13个信徒一起晚饭”,就犯了至少三个常识性错误:第一,耶稣受死时候信徒完全不止十三人;第二,根据语境以上信徒应该是“门徒”或者翻译为“宗徒/使徒”(即Apostle),是耶稣从信徒中拣选的;第三,也是最荒谬的,门徒始终是十二个,不存在十三个的说法。值得注意的是,有很多人都认为耶稣有十三个门徒,犹大是第十三个,并把西方人认为十三是不详的数字归咎于此。

如果上面的错误,还勉强可算无伤大体的话,接下来的就可以算是恶意的歪曲了:“当第一公元一千年到来之际,基督教世界相信世界将会毁灭,只有重新夺取基督教的圣城耶路撒泠才可以避免世界的毁灭,所以数以十万计的基督徒踏上了东征的路途”。十字军东征的原因是因为拜占庭帝国(也就是东罗马帝国)向罗马教廷求援,请求同属基督信仰的西欧共同抗击入侵安纳托利亚(即小亚细亚)的穆斯林。由教宗乌尔巴诺二世号召开始了第一次东征。而不是因为重夺耶路撒冷才能避免世界毁灭的荒谬理由。

其次就是态度问题,宗教这个话题上每个人都有各自的立场,这本无可厚非;我见过各色讨论中,最后以互称异端结束的也不在少数。站在各自的立场上,任何人都可以拥护,赞成,反对,嘲讽甚至攻击;但是立场归立场,态度归态度。如《天》一文中有下列文字:“1993年,在瑞士我曾经参加过一个基督教会组织的滑雪活动,一周时间,包吃包住,还包衣服,滑雪板的租费,还有所有滑雪缆车,教练的费用加在一起不过200瑞士法郎,极端便宜,参加者绝大部分都是外国学生,图的就是便宜,中国学生特多……早上的故事,虽然像极文革期间的“学毛选立竿见影”的神话,好在不长,耐着性子忍个半小时就过去了,晚上这几个小时的查经班实在难熬。……平常这样也就混过去了,到结束的最后一天晚上学习,这小组长一定要大家提意见。这如何是好呢,要按咱的真实想法,就是这晚上的查经学习压根就是胡扯,但这如何好说呢!”很明显,作者的行为纯粹是为了省钱而去参加教会的活动的,这种态度在我看来就是无耻。就如同我前几天的日志里所讲的一样,通过宗教获利本就是一直令人诟病的行为,《天》一文的作者也表达了这种主张,因此,如果反感某种宗教,更不应该通过宗教获利。而作者一边反感到了极致,一边为了获利在教会里惺惺作态,还批判教会敛财的行为,这种态度实在是太没有态度了。

 

 

本文并不是要为基督教或者罗马教廷辩护。实际上我曾经花费大量的精力翻阅罗马宗教裁判所(The Inquisition)的资料,对当时罗马教廷各类触目惊心的行径有着充分了解。本文只是想提供一些关于宗教讨论方面的原则,我认为是重要的,并且应当恪守的,即:尊重事实,尊重各方观点,保持态度

而撰写科普宗教话题的文章,更应该遵守这些原则,因为无论面向的受众多么狭窄,文章的阅读量多么小,公开发表的文章如果存在对事实的歪曲,或者展示没有底线的态度,造成的影响是恶劣的,也违背了这类文章的初衷。

如果是为了宣扬或者驳斥而非科普,那么我在此借用这么一句话:“我们不需要用谎言去打击敌人,因为事实已经足够的有力”。

源地址:http://blog.renren.com/GetEntry.do?id=820297544&owner=307686761

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Categories: China Observation, Society Tags: ,

The varieties of belief

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Democracy in America

via The varieties of belief.

Science, religion and policy

The varieties of belief

Apr 18th 2012, 14:27 by J.F | ATLANTA

MY COLLEAGUE wrote a characteristically thoughtful poston the non-binarism of scientific and faith-based belief systems. As it happens, my piece in this week’s paper is about Tennessee’s newly enacted law protecting teachers “from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner”. I spent a large part of last week discussing this bill with scientists and civil-libertarians, many of whom see the bill as a Trojan horse for the teaching of creationism and intelligent design; with the bill’s supporters in Tennessee’s legislature, who seem genuinely amazed that the bill has stirred controversy; and with a representative from the Discovery Institute, whence the bill’s inspiration came. In this battle generally—that is, in the battle over whether humans evolved through natural selection or were created ex nihilo by God a few millennia back, and in the battle over whether the latter theory has a place in science classrooms—I side with the first camp.

But I found it difficult not to feel a measure of sympathy for the bill’s sponsors, Representative Bill Dunn and Senator Bo Watson, both of whom seemed genuinely surprised by the furore it had caused. The original bill, which Mr Dunn sponsored and which passed Tennessee’s House last year, said that “the teaching of some scientific subjects, including but not limited to biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy.” Mr Watson amended that language out, but to many, the shadow remains. The problem, of course, is that there is a difference between subjects that “can cause controversy” for reasons external to science and subjects that are genuinely scientifically controversial. Evolution is the former but not the latter. That it may upset some people who take the Bible as literally true in every word is not science’s problem, and ought not be the concern of science teachers. Mr Watson explained to me that distinctions such as this create great “teachable moments”, and he is right, of course. He also pointed out that the bill changes nothing in Tennessee’s curriculum, which includes evolution, and that it contains language expressly forbidding it from being used for religious instruction. Also true. If this bill is a Trojan horse for creationism, decades of court precedent have made sure it’s a pretty weak one.

The problem is that it sows doubt in the wrong places. To be sure, there is continuing research into how people evolved, and Darwin’s theory may not be correct in every particular (I wonder whether that’s why the Discovery Institute so frequently uses“Darwinism” or “Darwinian evolution” rather than simply “evolution” or “evolution through natural selection”: as a way to suggest that every quibble with Darwin amounts to a fatal flaw in the concept of evolution). There is also continuing research into gravity: how it works differently and unexpectedly on different bodies, but there is little clamour to throw out Newton’s theory of gravity (oops: I spoke too soon). That is how science works: through observation, testing, empiricism. There is very little “this is how it is, in saeculum saeculorum“, and a whole lot of “this is the best we can determine from observable evidence right now.” There is relatively little certainty. On the other hand, significant amounts of observable, scientifically tested data and evidence support the theory of evolution through natural selection. The theory of ex nihilo creation cannot make the same claim.

None of this should be read as a denigration of religion. I notice I got a few comments on my post last week on Ross Douthat accusing me of loud-mouthed, aggressive atheism. For what it’s worth, I am not an atheist. I do think, however, that religion is principally a matter of conscience, and that it should have far less direct influence on politics than it does in America today. That is a distinction worth preserving. It would seem to me entirely possible to be a faithful Jew, Christian, Muslim or other believer and still believe wholeheartedly in human evolution (that theory says nothing about the “unmoved mover”), just as it ought to be possible to be devout and still wish religion and politics to be kept as separate and far apart as possible. That is not just for the good of a multi-confessional polity, but also for the good of faith (faith as individual belief and as collective institutions) which cannot but be corrupted by too close a relationship with earthly power.

(Image credit: Photograph of Charles Darwin taken by Leonard Darwin; God from Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo)

Categories: Culture Tags: ,
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