thread: 2007-02-13 : Exorcism

On 2007-02-19, Ian Burton-Oakes wrote:

The trouble I had with religion was never that I couldn't get into it, that it didn't make sense to me, but that they *all* made sense to me.  I talk to sincere, thoughtful believers for very long and I can appreciate their faith.

For that very reason, I had a hard time investing in any one faith.  I had more than one encounter with someone who mistook understanding and appreciation for me being a potential convert—at least one person was literally scared of me once they understood how I actually worked.  I think most sort of walked away mildly baffled but usually kindly disposed.

I stumbled on the 700 club not too long ago, listened for like 5 minutes, and was nodding along with the woman who found Jesus after having an abortion and now opposes it in all its forms...I understand, even appreciate, how that works even if I don't agree. It's weird. The way in which emotion, intellect, cosmology, community's pretty darn complicated.  I really feel like most of it goes awry not in the content of belief but in its execution in a community, in the emergence of an overly rigid hierarchy which turns counsel into command.

For a while, I thought I could get along with some Joseph Campbell / Carl Jung Ur-mythos, but that really doesn't get you very far.  Most of the comparisons end up pretty bland and reductive not very far in—usually one side coming away enriched, the other reduced.  Which is fine, really, as long as the side you are interested is the one coming away enriched.

On the tricks:

Most empathic tricks are more than 'tricks.'  You can surely use it like one, something nifty you can do at parties, what have you.  But people like missionaries get taught those tricks as part of an enormous practice of care and attention (why, too, I think parents and partners tend to develop some of these tricks 'unconsciously').

It sort of sounds to me, Vincent, like you may have retained the form of that practice even though you have radically altered the content of it, stripping away most all of its cosmological and otherwise overtly religious baggage.  (And with that 'sort of sounds to me' language, we can clearly see where my family was in the ask/guess camp—talk about old habits;)


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