Have we found God yet? November 3, 2002 12:03 PM   Subscribe

Have we found God yet? Not picking on this post per se, but last week we had this (142 comments, so you'd think the issue had been pretty thoroughly hashed out), and before that a bunch more that I listed here, and I'm starting to wonder what the point is. NewsFilter posts get annoying, but at least the news changes; God's either there or He/She/It ain't, and I don't think we're going to find out by arguing about it on MeFi. If everybody else enjoys the never-ending discussion, fine, I'll just skip the threads, but I thought I'd ask.
posted by languagehat to Etiquette/Policy at 12:03 PM (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Well, I'm interested in what you could call Comparative Religion, or the Varieties of Religious Experience, perhaps, but anything I have to say just gets drowned out in the barrage and counter-barrage between the Saved's and Amazing Randi's here on the existence of God, et al.
posted by y2karl at 12:32 PM on November 3, 2002 [1 favorite]

I think religion posts can be interesting, but they have to be somewhat specific in their nature. Today's post is so open, it invites another saved v atheist flame-out. But other posts have been interesting, or could have been if people were more respectful of one another.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:45 PM on November 3, 2002

y2karl: Yes, I'm interested in that stuff too (and you notice I didn't put some of the more focused religion-oriented posts on the list), but these "I believe!" "Well you're a dummy!" exchanges seem even more pointless than the Iraq threads (where at least I occasionally get a useful link or sidelight).

On preview: What elwood said, and you notice I didn't complain about any of those threads.
posted by languagehat at 12:47 PM on November 3, 2002

I generally find them interesting. There is a large potential for them to spin out into petty bickering, and speaking as an agnostic who doesn't have much use for organized religion, even I can be put off by some of MeFi's more extreme animosity towards those of faith.

Still, I think those can be some of the best (or at least most interesting) discussion for discussion's sake threads on MetaFilter. Now, whether discussion for discussion's sake threads belong here is a bigger topic, but as long as we're going to have those I have no problem making religion one of the topics.
posted by willnot at 1:26 PM on November 3, 2002

Actually, I think Metafilter's good at religious discussions. I've learnt a lot about beliefs here, whether different (for instance, I respect Mormons and Protestants in general much more than I used to back in my ignorant days) or my own (Judaism - mainly its extraordinary variety).

I've also benefitted from a crash course in atheism, by being made to appreciate its sensibility and knowledge of the faith experience. In fact, if I died tomorrow and was asked the one valuable thing I got from MeFi it would probably be a flip-up between the varieties of American religious experiences (to borrow James's phrase) and the many wonders and possibilities of the Web.

I'm sure I'm not alone in thanking those longish contributions from believers or ex-believers which appear now and then, when you least expect them, and manage to blend a personal account with a patient (almost a dummy's guide) exposition of a particular faith.

As far as the threads originating from my religion posts are concerned (since one is cited by languagehat) I've always been amply rewarded. My favourite to date is still this one about the loss of faith.

So I don't at all agree that they can be compared to news posts or other sporadic and time-bound polemics.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:42 PM on November 3, 2002

I don't think its the MeFi threads by itself, but if you tend to frequent other internet discussions... this debate always happens. In fact, I would bet you'd probably see it once a day if you get around enough.

Its an internet inevitability that I'm surprised doesn't happen on MeFi more often.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:44 PM on November 3, 2002

languagehat: I didn't mean to imply anything, just trying to answer the question. If someone is going to post a religious thread they need to follow the guidelines. A religious post that isn't new, or interesting isn't going to go very far.
willnot: I too consider myself agnostic and I too get a bit irritated at athiest-orthodoxy.

One thing I noticed, however, is that religious threads are nearly always judeo-christian in nature. This thread about the 5% Nation was completely disrespectful in every way. It could have been interesting but all anybody could do was talk about pancakes or display their own intolerance and ignorance. I have to admit that I did make a useless comment but I didn't think anybody was going to respond well to my opinion on the matter. Oh, well, I guess I'm just bitching but still........
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:55 PM on November 3, 2002

my 2 ยข on that, elwoodwiles:

links with uppity negroes + Islam =
Knuckle Draggin' Troglodytes, C'mon Down!

Too bad it degenerated so fast--my recycled crack about owillis counts as useless, I suppose, but I was going to point out the whole 5% influence could be traced back to at least P-funk days--I mean, Mothership anyone?--but it was septic tanksvile when I checked back in to post that...
posted by y2karl at 2:30 PM on November 3, 2002

Well, this was well worth taking to MeTa, since it's led to Miguel divulging which of his religion posts is his personal favorite!

On preview: I too found the Five-percenters a fascinating topic (I remember being amazed by them when I first came to NYC) leading to a sad, sad thread.
posted by languagehat at 2:34 PM on November 3, 2002

I'm a non-denominational spiritualist.

Does that answer your question?
posted by feelinglistless at 2:50 PM on November 3, 2002

Calling GodFilter? Oh God...
posted by Shane at 3:17 PM on November 3, 2002

I said it in the last "God" post, but I'll say it again...I think that the religion posts here recently have been decent. When I first started here, they seemed to be all flame wars. I'de have to say that in the recent relgion posts, people have been fairly respectable and non-flaming as far as religious posts can go. Personally, I think the political posts break down much quicker than religion posts, but thats just my opinion.
posted by jmd82 at 4:27 PM on November 3, 2002

TheoFilter: you're dead! no, you're dead!
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:10 PM on November 3, 2002

altogether now:

posted by quonsar at 8:40 PM on November 3, 2002

Anywhere you look, you're going to find that religion will bring up all sorts of knee jerk responses, well-reasoned responses, hate, fear, paranoia, and love.

What can you expect, really, when you put a question of faith to few thousand of your closest friends?

All I can say is there is as much to be learned in people's responses to others as their own incontravertible faith. The subject is always there and always valuable for the debate. As far as I know, the Dalai Lama et al aren't here giving us their wisdom, so take the small seeds of knowledge where you can find them and build a little temple of those bricks.

Me, mine's built of Mr. Guinness and Mr. Heineken.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:27 AM on November 4, 2002

i feel as though a lot of the godfilter threads get hijacked
by people who just sit there and think that youre going
to waste time and energy proving to them that god exists.
i'd really like to take part in these discussions but i am not
going to waste time chasing after people trying to prove
my faith.
its really just attention seeking on their part.
i couldnt care less if people believe in god or not , really,
i could not give a flying fuck if someone is an athiest,
so what ?
i dont post on the new mac 100 released today threads
cause i dont have an apple.
anyway some of the posts are pretty good and there have been some interesting comments.
maybe matt can set up a sister 'godfilter' tm site where
you have to check a little box saying you believe there
is a higher power even if its matt hehehe
then we can complain about that becoming
vaticanfilter or watchtowerfilter.
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:06 AM on November 4, 2002

Was that a sonnet?

I'm pretty sure it's supposed to have a rhyming couplet in there somewhere.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:09 AM on November 4, 2002

The theme of things of late and on any topic at that. The pattern I see.

Meta-Filter:Your post's are an example more ways than one.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:07 PM on November 4, 2002

Sigh. On the front page now we have an op-ed, a double post, a trollish myth, a post that if not technically a double post is producing a discussion identical to a recent one I'm to lazy to look up, another myth that while well intentioned is still a myth, a PSA, and a Farkfest. I give up; I'm going to go read poetry with y2karl. GodFilter is fine with me. Peace, yo.
posted by languagehat at 2:43 PM on November 4, 2002

gee never meant it like that,
guess im the new william shakespeare...

from now on all comments at shakespearefilter must be made in iambic pentameter.

perhaps this is the only way to halt braindrainfilter
who knows maybe evanizer might come back once he sees
my top notch poems.
glad you like them kaf, hear youre a bit of a writer y'self.
dammit they must have trained me well at college.
looks good though eh?
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:19 PM on November 4, 2002

languagehat, uncork that there sphincter of yours. If you find MetaFilter so abhorent, maybe you shouldn't be here? Just thinkin' ;-)

Seriously, I found this post to be the most offensively phrased in my tenure at MetaFilter. Please notice, I neither dragged it to MetaTalk, nor commented in that dreadful thread, though I did read it in its awful entirety. I thought of emailing mathowie just to chew him out for not deleting it, but sometimes you just have to buck up and deal. GodFilter is just gonna be with us (although it might more appropriately be called GodlessFilter). Nothing to see here, Move along.

posted by Wulfgar! at 3:20 PM on November 4, 2002

Holy mother of pearl, I just reviewed my involvement in that thread and I *did* actually comment, though not actually on the link, itself.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:53 PM on November 4, 2002

Wulfgar!: Take it easy, there -- I obviously don't abhor MeFi; I love it and want it to be the best it can be, which (as many others have found) involves often getting depressed at what turns up on the front page. I don't like dragging threads to MetaTalk, either, and I tried to make it clear I wasn't attacking that particular thread, just wondering if we needed to be continually revisiting God: There or Not? On the one hand, life is easier if we all just "buck up and deal"; on the other, that means nothing ever improves. (And before you make the obvious retort, it seems to me that things do occasionally improve after a particular sin has been raked over the coals here at MeTa.) Anyway, after looking over the crap posts referred to in my last comment, I realized there was not much point belaboring GodFilter since there was so much worse going on. And I've thought of e-mailing Matt, too, except it always makes me think of ratting out your classmates to the teacher, which is repellent. But maybe I should get over fifth grade.
posted by languagehat at 9:58 AM on November 5, 2002

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