Labels and "in the name of"

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Snowshy, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. Snowshy Registered Member

    I'm having trouble understanding what a person means when they say "people were killed 'in the name' of God" it makes absolutely no sense to me. What makes the deed, or any deed done as a deed done in the name of anything? Also I just saw a thread about how the pope is "slamming Islam for what the Vatican and Christianity used to do" I don't see how a religion can literally do anything physical. Sure, I guess it's impact on a person could lead to that persons physical actions. But the concept is merely just that... A concept. What is it with labels? Why do we have these kinds of labels? I've been called Christian, Muslim and even atheist. Clearly not everyone has the same notion of what makes a person a Christian a Christian, or a Muslim a Muslim. I feel like I'm talking to myself. Am I talking to myself?
    Anyway I was gonna put this in the religion section but I want to hear an intelligent and respectable response.
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    When a person or organization says they are doing something "in the name of XXX," they want you to understand that they are doing it because of their attachment, respect, memory, obligation, etc., to XXX. A typical, peaceful example is, "I am planting this garden in the name of my mother, who died last month, because she was a tireless advocate for green spaces in America's cities." In this case the garden might actually have a sign over the entrance, naming it the Mary Smith Urban Garden.

    When people do things in the name of God, they are telling you that their interpretation of their religion and their holy book causes them to believe that God wants (or has actually ordered) them to do these things. The current killings in the Middle East (and in New York, Paris and other cities) are a perfect example. A large minority of Muslims honestly believe that Allah and/or the Koran urge them to kill people who (in their interpretation) have insulted their religion, dishonored their people, threatened their ability to proselytize, etc.
    Yes, people often use sloppy language. We all know that it was the Crusaders who murdered thousands of Muslims (and many Jews), not the Catholic Church itself. We all know that it was the members of the German government and their soldiers who murdered millions of Jews, not the churches in Germany which are merely buildings. We all know that it was the incompetent, foolish, uncaring, selfish (and often corrupt) Soviet officials who destroyed the economy of the Soviet Union and its satellite countries, not Communism itself.

    Almost everyone has language skills that are more than adequate to interpret these statements correctly. These are (sloppy) metaphors. When we say that a church does something, we mean that its members did it, and everyone understands. (Well almost everyone, see my comments on this below.) Metaphor is one of the oldest, most common, and most widely used figure of speech.

    However, there is also a cognitive issue in the interpretation of metaphors. Joseph Campbell (the most successful interpreter and popularizer of the work of seminal psychologist Carl Jung) discovered this when he traveled into the backwoods of the American South. He presented the people with the statement, "The moon is a silver chariot carrying the stars across the sky." He asked them what kind of a statement that was. Many of them said, "That is a lie." They simply could not understand the concept of metaphor.

    It's a shame that these people are allowed to vote.
    When the vast majority of the members of a movement, the believers in a fairytale, etc., commit horrible deeds and justify them by citing the rules of the movement (communism) or the parables in the fairytale (religion), it's a reasonable shorthand to hold the movement itself or the fairytale itself responsible, and to say that the movement itself or the fairytale itself did it.

    Everyone understands this, except for the illiterate hillbillies in Arkansas. I'm quite sure that you do too.

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    Because labels are a shorthand that makes our speech and writing more concise. It's a form of efficiency.
    That's remarkable. I wonder what you say to people that results in such amazing confusion. Perhaps you need to improve your own communication skills.
    A Christian is a person who claims to believe in the Christian mythology about Jesus. A Muslim is a person who claims to follow the teachings of Mohammed (however you want to spell it), which include the Old Testament but place more emphasis on the theology and directives promoted by Mohammed. These notions are virtually standard worldwide.

    In both popular and academic discourse, we often say that so-and-so is not really a Christian, even though he goes to church, wears a cross and celebrates Easter, because his actions violate the teachings of Christ. And we say the same things about professed Muslims who similarly besmirch the teachings of Mohammed. But in public discourse, we all accept the (obviously flawed) standard that a Christian is a person who calls himself a Christian and claims to follow his teachings, even if he doesn't. And ditto for Muslims.
    Talking is not quite the same thing as communicating.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    I have a feeling that there is one or more medical conditions that also have this as a symptom, possibly some autism disorder, Asperger syndrome etc. but don't know for sure.

    But it does remind me of the joke: "It's difficult to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they take things literally."

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  7. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Modern Christianity is a blend of Christianity and Roman due to the merger in the 4th century AD. Rome made Christianity the official religion. It was not Christianity making Rome the official secular. The modern Christian is also Roman deep down. The Christian is not about mythology but also about history.

    Part of being a Christian is carrying forward aspects of Rome that are consistent with the teachings of Christ. The Catholic church invented the modern university system due to this being a good aspect of Rome who were scholarly. Science was part of Rome and tis became part of the church, albeit, in the underground at first. The alchemists were clergy and physicians who had been trained by the church for other duties.

    If you look at the modern world, many of the empires that stemmed from the Holy Roman Empire carried on Roman tradition while helping to spread a modern composite to backwards places. If you consider christian baby bells like England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Russia, France, Portugal, they collectively, controlled and change the world to usher in modern times. Even atheism came from Christianity, with atheism reflecting a much higher percent of Rome.

    I think it is cool to be part of all this. Render onto Caesar what is Caesar's and render onto the Lord what is the Lord's. This is Christianity; finding balance in the conflict of opposites; wealthy countries that bless the poor with their basic needs; Rome/Christianity working in balance.
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  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Atheism came from Christianity only in so much as the atheist refers to the Christian deity.
    Atheism was around long before Christianity raised its head. Atheos in Ancient Greek, and atheus in Latin, means "godless, without a god" and was applied to anyone who either simply did not believe, or did believe but turned their backs on their gods.
    To claim that it came from Christianity is simply nonsense.

    The modern trend of identifying oneself as an atheist, however, is certainly prevalent in Christian societies, but to claim that atheism thus comes from Christianity is simply fallacious: rejection of belief in god arises from the individual against whichever person or religion pushes for belief in that god. It just so happens that Europe is mostly Christian, so modern atheism in Europe could be seen as a push back predominantly against that religion. But it did not come from Christianity: atheism, and atheistic notions, existed during the Vedic period, and certainly among the ancient Greeks and Romans.
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    The Crusades were military campaigns sanctioned by the Latin Roman Catholic Church during the High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages. In 1095, Pope Urban II proclaimed the First Crusade with the stated goal of restoring Christian access to holy places in, and near Jerusalem. Many historians and some of those involved at the time, like Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, give equal precedence to other papal-sanctioned military campaigns undertaken for a variety of religious, economic, and political reasons, such as the Albigensian Crusade, the Aragonese Crusade, the Reconquista, and the Northern Crusades.[1] Following the First Crusade there was an intermittent 200-year struggle for control of theHoly Land, with six more major crusades and numerous minor ones. In 1291, the conflict ended in failure with the fall of the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land at Acre, after which Roman Catholic Europe mounted no further coherent response in the east.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    But there are much more recent accretions as well. The modern concept of Heaven, as a place where people who haven't sinned unforgivably wake up after death and spend eternity playing harps and enjoying the company of all their ex-spouses (yet denied the company of their loyal pets), was developed in the 19th century.
    Yet as the United States becomes more Christian, after the compulsive secularism of the "counterculture" of the Baby Boomers in the 1960s and 70s, the country is at the same time giving the finger to the poor, shooting the descendants of the slaves, and closing its borders to the much poorer citizens of the countries whose governments and economies we destroyed as collateral damage in the battle against communism--a political system that actually tried, with some success, to eradicate abject poverty, until it collapsed after decades of the "negative surplus" that communism invariably produces until it's alloyed with other philosophies, such as the Confucianism and quasi-capitalism of China and Vietnam.

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