sessions and political correctness

Re: sessions and political correctness

Never seen that behaviour at any session I’ve been at in Scotland. Were abouts have you seen that here?

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Bogman makes a good point - do we see intolerance among the participants of these discussions? No, I don’t think so

But we should keep in mind that when we post a reply here our age, ethnicity, and gender can be invisible.

This is a great way of imposing impartiality in these discussions, but certainly wouldn’t work in a real life session unless everyone was wearing a disguise - a previously unrecognized benefit of Halloween events?

Another sampling bias may be that Irish traditional music is generally played by white Christians, so opportunities to observe intolerance, at least towards other players, are likely to be rather rare.

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I ain’t seen it anywhere in England I’ve been either in the last 35 years. I’m an old git. Anyone for Wales or Northern Ireland?

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"Irish traditional music is generally played by white Christians"

What an interesting observation. I have found that most participants in sessions are agnostic, educated, generally quite cynical, and with a broad based sense of humor. However, I have yet to met an overt bigot, and I am usually the only regular church-goer in the room.

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don’t need anymore politically correctness(is that a word…?) then there already is. What you mentioned (sexism, racism, homophobia etc) kinda sounds like a breach in common politeness.
wouldn’t it be awfully hard to enforce anyway?

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My experience is precisely that described by JNE (except that I’m a rampaging atheist meself, unlike him). Whilst I acknowledge that many people keep their cards close to their chests, and see going out and playing tunes in the pub as entirely separate from their personal views on all manner of things, I wouldn’t play with an overt racist/sexist/bigot. I don’t think I’m alone, not by a long chalk. .

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Perhaps your friend was just hoping for an evening of civil discourse, both musical and otherwise. That should be the norm, whatever one’s ethnic background, political leanings, or religious baggage. Whatever happened to good manners?

I work in what is still quaintly known as a ‘male dominated profession’, which gives me the opportunity to experience some real ignorance/bad behavior. I try to write a lot of it off to the clubby atmosphere in this closed little universe, but when it crosses a line, you have to call them on it. Since I’m a little old lady with glasses, no one is likely to beat me up, but people do bluster a bit when embarrassed.

If people keep getting away with being jerks, do you blame them for continuing?

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"Another sampling bias may be that Irish traditional music is generally played by white Christians" I never looked at it like that before, dfrost but you’re right. I’m outta here right now. right wing fascist scumbags the lot of you. Play some real music, written by real people about real issues, get a life you sad feckers, diddley aye de di doh, smash the stranglehold of the elite, line them up and make them pay, yeah, no prisoners here. Sign up now for the Black underground marxist-maoist existentialist retro soul party or BUMMERS for short. As they say, the cats in the bag and the bags in the river

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Sorry Steve, but I think Strayaway has just wrested the crown of "rampaging atheist" away from you with his last response. You seem more of a relaxed, casually seated atheist by comparison.

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up here in Northern Ireland / Tuaisceart Eireann … I’ve been to and played at several sessions where those playing the music come from the main religious backgrounds and no religion at all. Some folk are Irish, Northern Irish, English, Scottish, the odd yank or German dropped in too.

Recently, Ptarmigan pointed out that the first chief of Comhaltas in Ballycastle was also the head of the local orange lodge at the same time.

To me, living up here, I have found sessions a place where bigotry stays outside the door - and long may it continue.

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Catholics and pagans are prominent in the sessions I go to. Some people seem to be both.

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Huh, not like that at all here in SoCal… Fairly diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds among the players…

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I see a darkness

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My session’s nothing like that. We’ve got people with PhDs,
teachers, public service managers etc (mostly). Everyone’s
of european extraction - usually - mostly irish or scottish background. I give it most of the ethnic diversity being a
German-Jewish Yank.

Re: sessions and political correctness

We discriminate at our pub…


against people who think it is a drum circle.

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when I go into a session I dont go round asking people what their religion and political views are, so most of the time I never know, nor care.
Jonny Ward, im not a bitter man,but that is one type of discrimination I can sign up to!!!!

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I reserve the right to discriminate thoughtlessly, intemperately and mindlessly against piano accordion players.

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I have never seen any bigotry in any sessions I have been to. Just cheerful banter, really.

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Never seen it here in da Souf’ of Americay, the home of cowboy hat wearing Sarah Palin lovers. Haven’t seen it in any recent session travels in the US either.

Most folks willing to sit around a pub for several hours playing or enjoying a ‘Traditional’ musical form aren’t the kind of folks you’d normally find casting racial aspersions.

Casting ethnic or cultural musical aspersions on the other hand? Well, that’s a different story.

[:-P :-) etc etc]

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All joking aside though, every session that i have been to has been full of extremely liberal people. The session would be the last place I would expect to find any of that.

But are you talking about they crack a few jokes about that stuff, or are they blatantly rude and nasty about it? I mean some people have thin skin and get offended at the slightest jokes.

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We have no problems here. Every now and again I’ll be the only woman and the conversion will turn er… politically incorrect. The embarrassed expression of tipsy guys who realize what they just said in front of a woman is well worth the price of admission!

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dont have a political correctness problem here,just got someone who wants to show eveyone how important he is by giving someone a flute lesson in the middle of the session!

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The neat thing about great music is that it can easy trancsend race and ideology.

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*err, easily.

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@Hup. I’m 50/50 Celt/Chinese.

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Well I am a Northern Ireland Prod, And I’ve been all around
Ireland, Mostly you would say in Catholic Circles… Met many new friend’s there..They all knew what I was, But never was that dispair ” Sectarianism ” Brought up or into the conversations..
And that was through 33 year’s of playing Irish Traditional Music,,, And some very bad Day’s..
jim,,,

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I believe the OP says more about himself than any sessioneer I have met.

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We don’t need the "thought police" thank you. Just good manners and common decency. Oh yes, and FUN !

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"Do we see intolerance among the participants of these discussions? No, I don’t think so" …
Err…. unless you happen to have been ‘classically trained’ or use notation to learn tunes!

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"I believe the OP says more about himself than any sessioneer I have met." (gam)

Yep - and OP has no history here, other than posting this ‘discussion’. I think I’ll submit a new Discussion on "Health and Safety in sessions".

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Not only are we completely tolerant in our sessions, we even admit Americans ! ( Ok, I’m married to one of them. )
And people worship any variation of God or none at all.
And we have women too.
Couldn’t get Zina Lee along to one of our trad sessions when she was over here, I’m sad to say, she just popped in briefly to the eclectic one in the back of the Thai restaurant. Sans fiddle.

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I should add I have met the odd intolerant person at a session, but that was chiefly a personality problem, and, if one was honest, we all have personality problems - this obsession with ITM for a start……

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I’ve never been to sessions such as the OP describes.

Yes, over the years I’ve met and played with people with different outlooks in life and even encountered some "old fashioned" views but never outright bigotry. Generally, most musicians are very tolerant and friendly.

Just because another human being doesn’t appear to be as "enlightened" as yourself or "politically correct" as yourself, it doesn’t mean that he or she is a bad person, racist or whatever,

Good people have always existed long before such terms were ever invented. Also, tolerance has to work both ways.

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How would a PC session describe itself??? - "No bigots, acists, sexists, ageists, sizeists etc. etc. etc. allowed" Surely that would be discriminatory.

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oops I meant racists - acists probably attend card sessions

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domnull -

"Health and Safety in sessions". Good post — First DONT,
Rosin your bow with someone else’s Rosin,, in a Cross shaped Manner,, You may get it Broken — And perhap’s your Nose - lol..
jim,,,

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Give them a bar of duelling banjos!!

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In all social situations it’s best to not only immediately and vociferously lay out all of your political beliefs, but also to reveal any titillating stances you take on race, religion, and the relative (un)deservedness of past Nobel Prize honorees.

Then your new friends will want to know your favorite color.

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It’s quite common to run into national or ethnic prejudice in sessions very thinly disguised as distaste for that nation or ethnic group’s music. English music, rap and (in the US) polka music are commonly used for that sort of coding.

On the other hand, expressions of homophobia are pretty rare (though I heard one in a Scottish session a few days ago), but so are overtly gay session-goers. I’m not sure why that is. There are a fair number of gays in the ceilidh dance scene.

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"…tolerance has to work both ways."

Couldn’t disagree more (proving that I’m intolerant, I suppose).

Tolerance for baseless, erroneous beliefs that oppress or harm others is called aiding and abetting. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

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True Jack, but you also have make sure and not mistake "distaste for that nation or ethnic group’s music" for racism when it is actually just a distaste for that music. I play regularly with several English players but despite every effort I can’t bring myself to like English folk music, morris music in particular.

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My experience? The most ribald comments, in sessions, have come from a couple of women. I don’t recall anything homophobic being said during a session. Some random racist/nationalistic statements have been made by a highly educated player with whom I play. Racist, sexist, bigoted statements are consantly being made, throughout society, without it even being recognized as such.
I do my best to let people know what I think about inappropriate stereotypical prejudices.

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I always felt that because you play Irish Trad some people expect you to have have a leaning towards republicanism and Catholicism. Like playing the Irish National Anthem following a session in an Irish pub for instance. I’m talking Irish pubs in London in the 60s 70s 80s for instance. My argument was that if we had to play a national anthem it should be ‘The Queen’ as we were in Britain, and a spell in casualty didn’t make me change my mind either. I also hated having to sit quietly while someone sang a dirge about people dying in my name. Never seemed to happen with some of the ‘non traditional’ combos I played with. Mind you I often came across musicians who acted and played like a ‘bunch of old women’ so yes….I plead guilty to having being sexist in the past.

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i am on the U.S. Left Coast, and while it is true that the "majority" of sessioners here are very liberal, multi-culti, and tend to be very educated (a not unrelated factor to the phenom being discussed here, imho)……..it is no less true that the ONLY racist remarks/jokes i have EVER heard fellow "northern-european-americans" (i loathe the term "anglo" when used inaccurately as a catch-all for any fair-skinned white person) make in social situations i have been in, ANYWHERE, in well over ten years, have been made by white members of the irish session scene, often of irish ethnicity, but not always. that goes for anti-gay and crass, ugly remarks about females as well……it nearly put me off irish music altogether at the beginning. the people you’d hear this crap out of were what passed for heavyweight players at the time i joined this little subculture, and they were ugly and belittling when you objected to it. thank god, one does not cross paths with them as much in recent years……

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having played a few gigs where it was hard to get leaving with the crowd wanting more etc i find the Irish anthem to be a great tool for putting an end to the evenings music. Every1 stands to attention as best they can and claps respectfully at the end. No one would dare challenge this for fear of been seen as un patriotic

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I have a question, which is off topic. Something to do with beginning or ending sessions with a song. There is a poem written by William Blake which has been set to music. A while back I was looking online for someone singing this one ("Jerusalem"). Apparently it has been adopted by a number of groups. How prevalent is, or was, this song? Or am I merely following an internet myth?
I 1st heard it recited by a character in a film ~ "Music by Chance" {technically Emerson, Lake & Palmer; but that’s a different state of mind.} It’s all to do with how the words are delivered.
Sorry for disrupting the conversation. Carry on.

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I love Niamh Parsons recording of "Reconciliation" at the end of the "Loose Connections" album.

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"i find the Irish anthem to be a great tool for putting an end to the evenings music. Every1 stands to attention as best they can and claps respectfully at the end. No one would dare challenge this for fear of been seen as un patriotic"

That might only work in Ireland or with an expat Irish crowd. Most Americans would be like, "Huh? And just don’t do that in Glasgow, ever. I’ve seen it happen once, and while it didn’t incite any sectiarian idiocy, the landlord wasn’t impressed.

Re: sessions and political correctness

Loosen up ~ that’s the name of the CD.

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I don’t know what YOU do at your sessions - we just get on with it and play. No idea what people’s political attitude are.

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"There is a poem written by William Blake which has been set to music."

I think they’ve all beeen set to music, several times.

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One of the best night’s I ever had was in the early 70’s -
Late in McGann’s pub Doolin -Co, Clare - The bar owner wanted people out, so the Guy’s There played there National Anthem,,, Of course me an many others stood up, as a mark or respect.. But after the first verse - the guy’s lashed Into the Foxhunter’s Reel — And that started the session all over again — The Bar owner was ” NOT ” a Happy Bunny — LOL….
jim,,,

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A distaste for hip-hop and rap is hardly an indication of racism. Nor does a dislike of any form of music necessarily indicate anything other than one doesn’t like that kind of music. I don’t know where people get these ideas.

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Taocat - some people (i.e The Ignorant) get that notion because they transfer a social uniform to a music style, and similarly some people are drawn to a music style because it fits into their chosen social identification. Haven’t we all met at least one person who was drawn to Irish music because they felt it somehow validated their "Irishness?" - I know I have.

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All the sessions I’ve been to, folks are generally too busy playing music for talking smack about anybody’s ethnicity or politics or sexual preference. We comes in, we leaves, we go home. Anyway, I prefer keeping my political incorrectness safe within the confines of my own home.

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"busy playing" that just smacks of oxymoronity.

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Played in England and Ireland and found that most session goers may be from a "traditional" working class background but many/most had a middle class education and white collar type job.

And i haven’t encountered much racism, bigotry or the rest.

Must admit you must have at least a Masters Degree to be in our "group" but apart from that snobbery, ain’t seen a session like the original post.

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The only bigotry I’ve encountered here in Aus (and it’s happened several times) has been false sectarian sh*te attempted by random blow-ins. Almost invariably they claim Irish descent, but have clearly never been there in their lives and haven’t a feckin’ clue beyond repeating trite learned (and often mis-learned) phrases. They get very short shrift from all players, whatever their nationality, and usually leave very soon afterwards. Not always under their own steam…

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I have encountered un-PC-ness. I was quite shocked. Then I got used to it and laughed it off. I should have taken a stance, but regrettably didn’t.

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But then again, I blend quite well. If I were outside the obvious "standard," well, maybe I’d have a different experience.

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Well said, Sara. ;)

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I don’t take too much notice of people’s views and comments - everyone’s got something we wouldn’t like if we dig deep enough. When they’re playing music they’re expressing their humanity and that’s good enough for me.

Dojo says "i wouldn’t take a black or gay friend"
Why not? Let them make up their own mind if they’re shocked or offended, don’t do it for them. Or are you more worried about your own embarrassment at old-fashioned people, than your friend’s feelings?

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Anyway, OP, what have you got against those of us who wear sandals?

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gam


You would’nt get to wear them much in the Glen’s of Antrim..
lol..

jim,,, : )

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hmmm……….a single post, then conspicuous by absence.

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Bren,

I more or less agree with your comments as long as really strong opinions are generally kept under wraps. After all, it’s the music which is important.

Will,

I realised you posted quite a while back but I thought I’d better respond.

Of course, I wouldn’t tolerate out and out bigotry, racism, sexism etc from anybody and it might even be necessary to "vote with my feet" in such situations if things were to get bad. However, as I have said, I’ve not encountered such a situation.

The playing and enjoyment of traditional music spans the generations though and many older people, while not intrinsically evil or prejudiced, do hold some old fashioned views and may feel uncomfortable about many aspects of modern life and attitudes which we now accept and take for granted.

Within reason, we should still be prepared to accept them in our company while not necessarily agreeing with their views as long as everyone is polite and civil. Most reasonable people can surely manage this.

As I say, although it’s not unheard of to encounter obnoxious people in many situations, they are usually not tolerated in any case. That’s a bit different from reaching an understanding with your musical colleagues so that the session can run smoothly.

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Maybe we should just wait to see if "dojo" ever comes back?

Only one post ever, and a post like that, kinda suggests someone who doesn’t actually have any black or gay friends to bring along. Or any white straight ones.

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I don’t know about you guys, but while I’d be content to sit and have a few tunes with anyone, regardless of what kind of a person they are, if they didn’t share my politics, religious intolerance and sense of humor, it would stop there.

Sure it’s fun to make a purely musical connection with a stranger now and then, but the people you play with regularly, the people you really make music with, are people you’ve been good mates with for years. And you can’t be mates with bigots, racists homophobes and sexists etc. And age/generation is no excuse.

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Random,

Have you never heard of the WI?

A truly sexist organisation if ever there was one - Womens Institute - known as the "Jam and Jerusalem" brigade.

It would stand a very good chance of becoming Englands National Anthem if it was ever put to a vote. Much better than that dirge we ended up with. Especially so since they now seem to miss out all the "good" verses.

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How do we know that the "gay friend" isn’t racist or the "black friend" isn’t homophobic~?? or racist as well for that matter.
Some pretty clichéd assumptions on display

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If they are your friend, you’ll know.

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I’m puzzled why ormepipes believes that the Women’s Institute is a sexist organisation. In what way does it discriminate against men?

There’s a related issue. How does one deal with a prejudiced landlord/landlady?

I recall one North London pub where the session moved away pretty rapidly once its members discovered that the landlord was an out-and-out racist. And I know of another here, close to home, where musicians simply won’t play.

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Whoops, the last sentence should have concluded with ‘because he expects everyone to laugh at his racist jokes’.

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MacCruiskeen,

From their own website :-
"Welcome to the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK"

Surely thats discrimination?

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ormepipes, for heaven’s sake, how on earth is the WI discriminating against men?

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"Surely thats discrimination?"

For heaven’s sake indeed.

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I don’t thin k the WI is sexist. However, that’s by the by. They’re feckin tories and that’s worse.

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Is there such a thing as "toriesism" ? - too easy to mistake it for tourism I suppose. And I bet you’d eat their jam!

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Michael, you’re just reinforcing a long-outdated myth about the WI, and I note that ormepipes hasn’t responded to my direct question.

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Hi MacCruiskeen,

Perhaps we should conduct a straw pole - amongst their male members (If you’ll excuse the term!). ?

Agian, from their own website :-

"Please note, only women can become an NFWI Associates".

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Ah ha, yes, i did notice that maybe a quarter of them were liberals. ha h ah ah ha ha (choke on my jam)

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You’re completely missing the point, ormepipes, but perhaps you simply don’t understand the term sexism.

Michael, please do grow up.

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OK, so its Wikipedia and therefore perhaps not 100% correct but :-

"Sexism, a term coined in the mid-20th century,[1] is the belief or attitude that one gender or sex is inferior to, less competent, or less valuable than the other. It can also refer to hatred of, or prejudice towards, either sex as a whole (see misogyny and misandry), or the application of stereotypes of masculinity in relation to men, or of femininity in relation to women.[2] It is also called male and female chauvinism. Sexist is the adjective form of the noun sexism. Sex discrimination is discrimination on the basis of sex or gender."

I presume your definition is close to that?

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Just so you don’t feel alone, MacCruiskeen, you’re right.

Other than that, I can’t be bother to argue - it’s pointless. You’re arguing against prejudice and misguided preconception.

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I have witnessed sessionism ~ the attitude one session is superior to another.

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Ormepipes wiki definition

So, is your take the NFWI is discriminating, with their membership policy, according to #2 in the definition … or in the stronger form defined by #1?

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Ha, there’s no greater compliment in my book than someone complaining that I should "grow up". Thank you

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I just can’t see any logical reasons why the WI should bar men from membership. I fail to see any logical reason for it, or why it should be tolerated.

The web page on your link would seem to give only historic reasons that have no relevence to a modern and equal society.

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You definitely don’t show any sign of growth in your personality. Cheers, Kiddo!

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Q2: I can’t believe that in this day and age the WI is allowed to have only female members? Have men ever demanded their right to join?
Q3: Why are there men working for the WI?
http://www.thewi.org.uk/standard.aspx?id=12474

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When you argue…that since fewer men make good jam this justifies their total exclusion, you are taking a position analogous to that of the racist — I might call you in this case a “sexist”… Both the racist and the sexist are acting as if all that has happened had never happened, and both of them are making decisions and coming to conclusions about someone’s value by referring to factors which are in both cases irrelevant. [p. 3]

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For my post to make sense, please see the link thoughtfully provided by Random.

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would that be my most recent post? if so your case is disolving.

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That’s EXACTLY what’s wrong with my jam making! - you must have sneeked in by the back door Random.

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Please pass on the secrets of perfect jam - though I can’t promise not to spread it if you do

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I dub thee the "New Purveyor of Crypticism" over the Kingdom of Mustard.

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I am deeply honoured. Perhaps I’ll leave the jam making to the wife after all then.

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I prefer dried fruit. It’s easier to prepare & doesn’t go bad, over time. You can easily carry some along on a hike in the woods.

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I note that, in ormepieps’ world, following the same logic, the suffragettes were clearly sexists.

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You could say they were a sexist movement seeking a non-sexist outcome. (if indeed they excluded males from joining as the pernicious WRI do - I never heard about that)

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Ethical, I’m not biting - unless it has jam on it !

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If you want to spend all day googling "suffragette and jam", thats up to you. How do you find any time for practicing? - or don’t you need any?

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Sometimes I think people who are so afraid of racism/sexism etc are fearing something in themselves. My extended family spans the cultural landscape of America from Asian to Hispanic to Irish(recent immigrants and old) to German and fully Native American,gay, straight and bi. We also span the religious gammit from Catholic to raving lunatic atheists. Bunch of boring Lutherans too(:)). When any segment of us get together the jokes are fantastic and no one is crying about hurt feelings. I’ll play music with anyone if there’s a connection. I would imagine that a fair few of these tunes were originated by people with some fierce bigotries. Who cares?"I don’t need no politics to make me dance" as the song goes….

I Won’t play music with people who are mean to animals.

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Depends what you mean by "mean", I suppose. Personally, I find them very tasty.

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I’ve met raving lunatic atheists. And extreemly sensible atheists too. And raving lunatic theists of course, bet never an extreemly sensible theist. How bonkers do you have to be to believe in spooks?

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It’s a hard concept to understand, llig. My wife is a sensible theist. She has married me, a (sometimes) sensible atheist. She has taught me that ‘faith’ is something that one ‘works on’ and that it is not always absolute. When given the view that theism is just another attempt at answering life’s mysteries, and leaving aside all the fanatics, you are left with a good many sensible theists. I don’t believe they are all bonkers.

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What do you call a grown up with an imaginary friend?……Religous.

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:)

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If you are of the opinion that theism is just another attempt at answering life’s mysteries, then you are neither a theist or an atheist, you are an agnostic. Get off the fence

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I am a theist, and have always prided myself on being sensible. But it sounds like some think I must make a choice between the two…

Sense & sensibility

Al, sensible or not at least you don’t believe you’re a 900 year old Jedi master. Do you?

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Go on llig - prove it.

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Agnosticism and atheism or theism are not mutually exclusive. Agnosticism is the opposite of Gnosticism.

It doesn’t mean you’re sitting on the fence, it means you believe that one can never know whether or not a deity exists. You might believe this, but still be an atheist - or theist. You might be an atheist but take no part in the Gnostic/Agnostic debate. It’s a separate philosophical debate

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And against that view "Get of the fence" is close to "If you are not with us you are against us" . The sort of thing that fundamentalists say.

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Bad wording, sorry. "against" as in "when seen against the backdrop of that view".

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I don’t really understand that Bren.

If one is of the opinion that the existence of a deity cannot, under any circumstance, be correct, then surely that rules out the possibility that one’s opinion could be that one can never know for sure?

And conversely, if one is of the opinion that a deity does exist - i.e. you follow a doctrine that purports faith to be central to belief, i.e. where any doubt may exist, you replace this with faith, or to put it more accurately, blind trust - then surely that rules out the possibility that one’s opinion could be that one can never know for sure?

When Jesus says to Doubting Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" he puts faith on a pedestal, he places it firmly at the centre of the argument. It laughs in the face of proof.

So again, how can agnosticism and atheism or theism be anything other than mutually exclusive? You either believe, don’t believe, or are of the opinion that it is impossible to ever know.

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Which ism is it when you think that there might possibly be a reason for us all being here(God?) but you know you will never know what it is and you are just as certain noone else knows either no matter how much dogma(sh*te?) they feed you?

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Religious debate… it must be Sunday.

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llig, can you backtrack and explain why the opinion that theism is just another attempt at answering life’s mysteries makes someone an agnostic. Glad you dropped the fence business.

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Can I come out from behind the sofa yet ? Is the little green guy OK ?

I guess we shouldn’t get the thread deleted though…

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David, I think I meant that if you are of the opinion that theism is just another attempt (among many other attempts) at answering life’s mysteries, then that makes you an agnostic. i.e. you can entertain the possibility that theism may be the truth, but something else might be the truth instead.

I think there’s two way you can take an agnostic. one is that they keep an open mind, the other is that they think atheists and theists are both fools because it’s not possible for either to be sure.

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Michael - I can offer you a third way. They might be pretty sure of what they think, but too polite to insist that others are wrong, too stubborn to concede the point, and too secure in their own ideas to be bothered trying to convince anyone.

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Bren - I’ve never heard "agnostic" used as the contrary to "gnostic". In my experience, it’s always used to mean one takes the position that there is no way of deciding the question.
"Gnostic" on the other hand, usually refers to a particular mystic set of ideas under Christianity but not part of any of the main streams of that group of faiths. Are you sure you’ve ever heard anyone using "agnostic" to mean "opposed to gnosticism"?

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That’s not a third way.

Your first option, "pretty sure of what they think, but too polite to insist that others are wrong" is the same as thinking atheists and theists are both fools, but just keeping shtum about it.

And your second option, "too stubborn to concede the point" is the same also.

And your third, "too secure in their own ideas to be bothered trying to convince anyone" is a strange kind of non-active agnostic evangalist. But none the less, still thinking atheists and theists are both fools.

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One can work on faith as a ‘discipline’. That is the nature of ‘faith’. You are not born with ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ but from seeking out Christ he will reveal himself to you. This is not dogmatic blind belief, nor fanaticism. Mother Teresa, at times, I’ve read struggled with belief and faith.

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I don’t know, I find it’s not so hard to disagree with someone and not think them a fool. Some of my best conversations are with people I disagree with, about things we disagree about - as long as we’re both okay with just understanding the other guy’s ideas better, and not changing them, it’s a great way to pass the time over a few beers.

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I find myself, an atheist, defending theists quite a bit. Makes me wonder… I guess I just don’t like the condescending attitudes of many atheists.

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I agree with you Jon. It’s simple respect for a different opinion.

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Did god respect the majority of the sons of Adam when he drowned them in the flood?
Did Jesus respect the Pharisees?
Did Richard the Lion Heart respect the muslims?
Did ratzinger respect the jews when he was in the Hitler youth?

But getting back to sessions and political correctness, While I may show respect to anyone (or at the very least, a polite removal) I’m not gonna get anywhere near being mates with someone who believes that if they blow themselves up and take out a few infidels with them, they’ll live in heaven with a dozen vestal virgins … or any such supposedly watered down versions of such preposterous nonsense as life after death.

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I think Jesus did respect the Pharisees—the arguments he had with them are not a sign of disrespect on either side, merely a part of the rabbinical tradition of discussing the Law. After all, only a few decades before Jesus, the Rabbi Hillel reputedly rose to lead the movement on the strength of his arguments. The role of the Pharisees in the death of Jesus, in my opinion, was greatly exagerated by early church leaders interested in courting favor with the Roman establishment.
I agree that, when people go so far as to justify murder in the name of religion, that they lose the right to our respect for their beliefs…

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Does god lose the right to your respect then because of the great flood?

Does ratzinger lose the right to your respect then because he peddles false science supposedly proving the condom is no barrier to the aids virus?

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"I think I meant that if you are of the opinion that theism is just another attempt (among many other attempts) at answering life’s mysteries, then that makes you an agnostic. i.e. you can entertain the possibility that theism may be the truth, but something else might be the truth instead"

Surely even an athiest can regard theism as just another attempt at answering lifes mysteries. They can do that without themselves having to entertain the possibility that theism may be truth.

The agnostic need not regard the theists and atheists as fools but just as wrong to be so confident. In my experience it is usually athiests who regard theists as fools. Many theists regard athiests as less foolish than some other sorts of theists.

I don’t understand why athiests get worked up about the god aspect, that they dont believe in, when there are so many political and cultural issues of religion to worry about and fascinating evolutionary angles to explore.

It will be a miracle if this thread survives.

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ha, there are no miracles.

You are right david in your analysis of what I say there. I’m gonna have to think about that some more.

How about if I say that while an atheist can regard theism as just another attempt at answering life’s mysteries, he knows it to be unsuccessful, and vice versa. And while the agnostic need not regard the theists and atheists as fools but just as wrong to be so confident.

And yes, you are right again in that I do regard theists as fools and I find it hard to respect a fool. But I only get worked up about it when the theists use their deities as excuses for murder (ratzinger’s condom lies including). And I think it’s telling that the theists regard other factions of theism as more dangerous that atheists. It belies the origins of religion as to do with the factions of power and control.

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Michael - you’ll enjoy the last novel by Jose Saramago, which will probably be out in translation some time next year. It’s called "Cain" and it takes that personage through the events of the Old Testament, casting most of the familiar events of that book in terms of the sacrifice of innocents (fittingly enough, since that was the sin for which Cain was, in the story, sentenced to wander the earth).

Again, though, I don’t see how it’s up to me to approve of or disapprove of the actions of someone’s deity of choice. If they find that the rites and the stories suit them, that’s fine. It’s how someone behaves that concerns me.

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I disapprove when someone has a dogma and tell me they know exactly who or what deity is. Its impossible to have a real friendship of sharing with someone who thinks they have any inkling of what drives this unbearably massive ,scary universe. I do be only pretending to love them!

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I’ll look out for that book, thanks.

Yes, of course it’s the actions of behaviour that should concern. But so much behaviour is "in the name of …….", where as all behaviour should be in one’s own name.

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big tab, I have very little inkling of what drives this almost un-measurably massive and fabulously beautiful universe. So much of it is mystery. However, what I do know is that it ain’t invention of a bloke with a magic wand.

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May the force be with you.

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Yeah.. it is fabulously beautiful here in Co Clare tonight with the full moon shining and happy musicians in Doonbeg(Willie Keane festival), Lisdoonvarna(Micilín Conlon festival) and just over the Galway border in Gort(Cooley,Collins festival).

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♫ Gimme that ole time religion
Gimme that ole time religion
Gimme that ole time religion
And that’s alright by me

O we’ll worship with the druids
And drink fermented fluids
And waltz naked through the woo-ids,
And that’s alright by me ♫

<hic>

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We will worship Aphrodite, though they say she’s rather flighty
She never wears a nighty and that’s good enough for me…

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Yeah, and maybe a miracle will happen and this extraordinarily good natured thread will not be deleted … by the only deity I know that does exist.

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llig, To answer your questions above, I think the great flood is folklore, as are much of the early tales in the bible. If God had behaved as he described in many points of the Old Testament, I would think less of Him than I do….
And I agree that the Church’s position on contraception is hard to defend.
But a ‘theist,’ as you call it, I remain.
You would probably like the Christopher Hitchens book I am reading now…I disagree with much of what he says, but he makes a strong argument, and makes me think…

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It’s been a characteristic of the modern theist for hundreds, probably thousands, of years to downgrade the teachings of their deities from "the word of god" to mere folklore. Christians and Jews in particular are well practiced in doing this progressively and systematically, mostly in the face of scientific breakthrough, but also in the face of a more tollerant and democratic society. And this of course is the basis of religious factionalism. Have you not ever wondered why the great monotheist religions of the world can’t unite under their one god’s word?

As an atheist, what continues to astonish me is why your average, so-called, intelligent theist cannot see the continuing logic of downgrading god’s word into folklore?

Every theist has their own cut off point as to where they stop with their folklore. Adam and Eve? Great flood? Feeding of the five thousand? (… most schools now teach this one as a nice story of people at one end of a crowd offering to share their food and the spirit of sharing being passed through the crowd). Was Mary a Virgin? Did she float up into the sky and is still their now, in heaven, being the only person in heaven to have never died? Did Jesus rise from the dead. Ask yourself where your folklore ends and your faith begins. Then ask yourself if this would be the same point if you were living three hundred years ago?

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I have faith that Jeremy is not a deity.

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Yeah, he may be only an avatar.

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Oh, is this still going. Couldn’t find it this mornign and thught it had been ‘tidied up’. What was I going to say ?

I think it is only in the presentation to the masses that the stories have been downgraded. Doesn’t the old material show the Jewish and Christian texts have been repeatedly re-written with a ‘spin’ appropriate the the moment. Whoever wrote the early books of the bible must have know they were cobbling together of old stories from oral history. I remember hearing an anglican bishop say that there are three creation stories (he may have used the work myth) in there. Later Pontius Pilot gets gets good coverage because its "hey folks, this guys in history, you can look him up"

A 5000-person bring and share might have been quite an acheivement in those days.

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While I was playing hit & run with this thread I was also checking out various tangents. Actually read quite a bit offsite. One of which was the following book which deals with how stories are perceived, interpreted, passed along … over & over again;
"Doubting Thomas" Glenn W. Most
http://books.google.com/books?id=ngxMxwv8_uoC&printsec=frontcover&dq

Also reading about the love between Radha & Krishna.
Hope this clip makes up for the previous youtube. No warfare in this one.
Holi - festival of colors
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPDR0ZMwSag


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Religion is power. It is control. And what astonishes me about this fact is that the religious leaders make no attempt to disguise it. They openly expound it.

When Razinger came to Scotland he apologised for priest pedophilia. I think his apology was genuine, I think he is genuinely appalled by it. But will he hand over the evidence he has collected to the police? No. And the reason is power. He’s in charge. In the same speech he openly talked about how he must "fight the rise of aggressive secularism" and to him, withholding his evidence of priest pedophilia is one of the weapons he uses in this fight. It openly brandishes his power. It openly brandishes his priority of power over justice.

And this is why I will not play this lovely music with defenders of faith.

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aargh

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tee he

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Thanks for introducing me to Utah Phillips David_h
An american socialist never seen one before

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I’d agree if you said religion ‘used’ to be power. With the majority of the western world being quite secular no religion exerts much power over anyones daily life. The best it can do, in the US , is exert some influence during elections and the biggest influence here is a disorganised protestant evangelical movement consisting of many differing groups that loosely unite around the abortion issue. Power, nowadays, belongs to the wealthy and thier political bitches in power.

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I agree that the Christians in the West are losing their fight against secularism. And this is a god thing of course. But they’ve not lost yet, And globally, christians are still very powerful. And if you include all the other theisms, they hold an overwhelming majority of the power across the globe.

But power and wealth have always been bedmates. And religions, especially the christians, are still very wealthy

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Yes, llig, I suppose it might be a god thing. He does, after all, move in mysterious ways …

:-D

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> And this is why I will not play this lovely music with defenders of faith

Really? So if someone walks into your session wearing a cross, you pack up and go to the bar?

Has it occurred to you that a lot of those who created and sustained this music over the years would (and do) identify themselves as people of faith?

Is it possible that in your haste to condemn religion that you’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater?

Ed
(atheist)

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Ed, I did say earlier up the thread that:

"While I’d be content to sit and have a few tunes with anyone, regardless of what kind of a person they are, if they didn’t share my politics, religious intolerance and sense of humor, it would stop there."

"Sure it’s fun to make a purely musical connection with a stranger now and then, but the people you play with regularly, the people you really make music with, are people you’ve been good mates with for years. And you can’t be mates with bigots, racists homophobes and sexists etc. And age/generation is no excuse."

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Thesession forum & theism

I don’t go to church or follow any particular religion, religiously. I have learnt things from people, both religious & secular, who have never forced their way of thinking on me. My best mates seem to be those who surprise me, not simply people with whom I agree. I find the generalized use of the word *theist* to be a bit vague. It seems that when it has been specified, in this thread, it is meant to mean monotheism. More specifically Christianity & Islam(ism). BTW, llig one of the most resource people I have ever met was in Mexico, an atheistic jewish woman who was living on a kibbutz in Israel. If ever there were a great power in a small package, I met her.
As much as I would like to discuss the diversity of Jewish culture, I digress. It was in college, thanks to a roommate, I began listening to Martin Luther King Jr. & Malcolm X. What I have learned from each of their philosophies is a strong sense of community. IMHO nonviolence, such as it is used through civil disobedience, is not an act of God. It is a power within people. With a sense of community it have proven to be successful. I’m not saying the community has to be religious. It may be secular or it may be mixed. Just the same, each time I listen to one of Dr. King’s sermons (or read the letter below) I appreciate his words more.
"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=100

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"Use of the word *theist* to be a bit vague." What?

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.. just saying theism is a broad term, implying religious philosophies other than monotheism. Yet, when I read the posts using theism it is referring quite specifically to Christianity, except one case ~ "I’m not gonna get anywhere near being mates with someone who believes that if they blow themselves up and take out a few infidels with them, they’ll live in heaven with a dozen vestal virgins."

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implying not just monotheism, but other theistic beliefs as well.

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It is a fairly broad term, since it encapsulates any belief in a personal deity. Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Billy Graham all qualify, as do your favorite imam, rabbi, and unitarian minister. Finding some theological issue on which all of those people agree would be difficult, unless it’s simply "there is a deity who has a personality".

From the atheist’s side, this is a monolithic argument. From the theist’s side, however, the support for the theistic position might come from someone you agree with, or someone you don’t, and nobody’s argument stops at simply establishing "there is a god" - they all want to put a nametag on that god. So if you’re not on the atheistic team, it can look like the atheist is arguing with a bunch of varying positions, all at once, but if you’re an atheist, you’re making one argument against one claim.

It must be because I’m at work, but I’m seeing this in terms of abstract classes and object-oriented hierarchies right now, and it’s a very peculiar way to conceive of an argument. I guess that means I should get back to work, doesn’t it?

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Cross-posted with the archivist, and the two posts say more or less the same thing.

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I’m only referring more often to christians because it’s a frame of reference most people here are likely to share. But I also say stuff like "if you include all the other theisms, they hold an overwhelming majority of the power across the globe.

I’m not prejudiced in my disliking of any one particular theism, mono or poly

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Sorry for the confusion. I’m using monotheism where others are choosing theism. From my perspective theism (sometimes, though apparently not here) includes more than just monotheism.

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I get your point about power llig, I would be living in a shell if I did not. I am more interested in what you think of civil disobedience or the letter from a Birmingham jail. We can slam religion from now until the day we die. Seems redundant.

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Not that it makes any difference, but most christianity is practiced by christians as polytheism anyway. What with their devotions to Saints and the crazy compromise of the holy trinity.

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I have to go to work. Cheers!

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Civil disobedience is a longstanding and nobel tradition which relies on the unity of the oppressed and should therefore have nothing to do with the divisiveness of religion

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I find it striking that there don’t appear to have been be any ardent "faith-based" contributions to the discussion so far…

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I’m glad there aren’t

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Ben - Work is it’s the curse of the drinking class. Enjoy yourself.

Michael - that’s a nice "should" you’ve got there. Now, what do you want to do with the various civil disobedience traditions that have drawn from religious beliefs? There are plenty of people who do good work and claim that their inspiration comes out of their religious background. How do you incorporate them in the noble tradition, or do you?

Islam…

As Islam slowy becomes the main culture/ religion of Europe (and maybe eventually the rest of the Western world) over the next century or so (as it plainly is), how do you think the development of traditional Irish music will be influenced?

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yhaalhouse . Have you been reading the Daily Mail

you know it rots your brain

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"I’m glad there aren’t"

Maybe, but it does seem strange given that many core "faith" values are being called into question in a fairly public arena.

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"Not that it makes any difference, but most christianity is practiced by christians as polytheism anyway. What with their devotions to Saints and the crazy compromise of the holy trinity."

Michael - many of your comments regarding Christians and Christianity seem to relate more to Roman Catholicism then other denominations. Is that coincidenece?

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Yes, llig, but if the oppressed are a bunch of folk who have just managed to get out of generations of oppression as slaves then one way of forging some cohesion, some unity, for the tough times that remain is religion. Moses or Martin Luther King. Or some guy called Ugg who has the job of inspiring his band to stick together so they can nick their neighbours territory. Cohesive - divisive depends on the scale ofthings.

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crossed with Jon and what followed.

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Bring it on I say! Islam (& the Judaism for that matter) seems a purer nonsense than the Christian variety of the Abraham stuff.
Look at the parable of Elijah’s leaky hot water bottle and Samson’s unfortunate episode with a below par tube of SyrupStik when his wig was whipped.
The Daily Mail? Good grief no! I’m a dye in the wool pinko faggot Grauniad reader!

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I suppose they could get together and sing about how they were going to work together on the five-year plan.

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I’m off to the session at B B King’s Wig Museum (Finchley, Tx) tonight. I’ll be the one with bloomin’ great ukulele. I shall test the water at an actual session and see how the plimsoul line of political correctness is hanging. What we do in South London today is what the whole world will be doing eventually.
Potato peelers at the ready!

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grego. No-one is being particularly ardent, people are being rather measured. Assuming the guy with the delete button is not on holiday that may be why he has not hit it yet.

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So don’t mention his name. Its a bit like rubbing a magic lamp.

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The name one should never utter aloud…Je…(Zapp! Arghhh!)

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Or say something like that in the first couple of lines of a post :-(

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..Wah!

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..Remy!

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‘Sandal wearing poppicock’
as long as socks aren’t involved I think all decent standards will be upheld.

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Ok yhaalhouse Flute players will be ok . rest easy

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>Remy!

Are you saying this site needs more unicorns?

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Or islamic iranian flute playing sufi saints

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Ah - ITM - Iranian Traditional Music.

The Americans are wrong, they did’nt invent it after all !!

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Couple of points …

"There are plenty of people who do good work and claim that their inspiration comes out of their religious background."
Yes. Historically in the West and still currently in much of the rest of the world it’s been culturally impossible to do anything, good or bad, without reference to to the inspiration of a deity. And it’s a shame that the fact that all the good that has come out of religions is massively eclipsed by the bad.

"many of your comments regarding Christians and Christianity seem to relate more to Roman Catholicism then other denominations. Is that coincidence?"
No, I simply speak in detail of what I know. And in relation to talking on a website of Irish music, it surely has a grater relevance than Islam, But my reference to the characteristic of the modern theist for hundreds, probably thousands, of years to downgrade the teachings of their deities from "the word of god" to mere folklore is a direct reference to the factionalisation of religion. For example, Catholics believe that the blessed communion host really is literally the body of christ. Anglicans have downgraded this to folk law.

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Is it funny to anyone else that passions on this sight are *not* stirred up with the subject of religion. Yet mention metronomes, sheet music or performance in a session and verbal fisticuffs break out!

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llig, some of the things that you are regarded as being downgraded may only have been included in the first place due to the policy of "inculturation" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inculturation). Some cultures (e.g. the Romans) that adopted Christianity were still into hacking up animals on alters so the communion host was a less messy alternative especially for those who were getting squeemish about old fashioned stuff like that. So, I suppose, cultures that are not into animal sacrifice do not need it even as a metaphor, so it could be a ritual of rememberance.

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Oops, sorry if any forum members with belief systems that require animal sacrifice are offended by that.

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Yes, that’s a big part of it. And the roman catholic preference towards polytheism comes directly from the preceding roman religion.

Razinger is having non of this inculturation of course. His stress is firmly on the "word of god" being the word of truth.

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Never seen any bigottry either at sessions in Dublin.

The only thing thats not stood for is rebel songs or any sectarian crap.

One of the biggest cheers i ever heard was when one african sang a kenyan song.

Still alive & grand

Cheers! Last night I enjoyed our Tuesday night session. Today, I finished work & am having a few pale ales.
Ben

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That dogma is a real bitch, isn’t it?

Laurence

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Hi, Laurence.

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