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What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

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What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

Drealm
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This post was updated on .
I've slowly... (alright very slowly)... been reading Sex and Culture by Unwin. One thing he consistently reemphasizes, is that primitive people should be judged by their rites. Imploring primitives to explain their beliefs are fraught with error due to language and interpreters own biases.

So if someone was to observe all religions in practice, which religion would most closely meet the definition of CoAlpha values? What denomination of that religion? And which religion is least CoAlpha?

By my own litmus test I'd say a religion would require the following things:

- Monogamy
- Modesty for women
- Patriarchy

Off the top of my head, Islam permits polygamy. Not sure about others.
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

Ardia
Im (nominally) muslim.
I really don't know about Islam. Polygamy is allowed, but I didn't see much of it.

Maybe they exist but just dont go out much.

At any rate the 'Islamic' world is a big big place.
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

Drealm
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In reply to this post by Drealm
I did some follow up research to my question. I read God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World and Why Their Differences Matter. This book is my first study into major religions. The book explains religion, but only superficially. So I plan to do more research on the religions I liked best. Eventually I think we should add a single book to our "resources" section that serves as a comparative religion book. Should I find a really good comparative religion book, I'll add it there. For the time being I'll leave this one out as I felt it was only mediocre.

While reading this book I refined my criteria for a good religion. Here's my criteria:

- Male lead/dominated.
- Gender segregated.
- Group oriented.
- No separation between public/private practice.
- Visible customs.
- Expansive religious law for governing human affairs.
- Less philosophical, more concrete.

The book covered the following religions:

- Islam
- Christianity
- Confucianism
- Hinduism
- Buddhism
- Yoruba
- Judaism
- Daoism

Out of the above religions I found these to be the best match:

- Islam
- Confucianism
- Judaism


 Islam

Islam is thee most gender segregated religion bar none. Islam theology is heavily based on the idea of gender as an essential rather than accidental characteristic of human beings. In practice this means women are segregated in Mosques or outright banned from them. Some Muslim websites even segregate forum access according to gender. Islam also has thee most extreme modesty code of all religions. Nothing rivals the Hijab or the more notorious Burqa. What I further like about Islam is that it doesn't separate a private religious life from public life. Another strong point of Islam is it's expansive religious law. Sharia law is far more expansive than say, Cannon law. Islam is thee largest and fastest growing religion in the world. This must mean the cultural rites of Islam are geared towards reproduction, which means stable families.

Confucianism

Confucianism is very grounded in gender and family roles. Men and women have roles. Father and mother have roles. Husband and wife have roles. Son and daughter have roles. Boss and employee have roles, ect. This provides a very practical model for creating strong families. In fact Confucianism is so well suited to fostering family unity and group thinking that communist China was recently looking into Confucianism as a viable ideology to replace it's outdated state philosophy. Confucianism is heavily group driven. Confucianism is probably the antonym of individualism. Confucians believe people can only become whole as a group. In a nutshell, Confucianism is a hard line cooperation philosophy. To top it off Confucianism doesn't believe in a god. So I think it's more secular friendly.

Judaism

Ultra orthodox Judaism is very patriarchal. Judaism is more concerned with practice than belief. Judaism also focuses on the community before the individual. I also like how rites of passage such as birth, adulthood, marriage and death are communally ritualized. All of these attributes make Judaism one of the three religions I liked most in this book. However from a practical standpoint Judaism is thee least friendly to outsiders and thee most most difficult to convert to. Just to convert to Judaism, you'll have to be rejected three times by a Rabbi. So I don't think Judaism is a viable religion to become a part of.

Note on Christianity

Christianity is the most watered down of all the major religions. Most Christians today reject institutions governing Christianity and instead prefer a highly individualized notion of Christianity.

Note on the other religions

The other religions seemed to blend together. I had a hard time remembering the differences, perhaps because I'm not trained as a theological academic. I'd say for the most part though, I found rampant individualism in many. Buddhism and Daoism seem to value retreating from society. Many of the other religions didn't distinguish themselves by outward concrete rites, but merely by very fluffy philosophy.

So I'll probably read up more on Islam and Confucianism.

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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

fschmidt
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Is Confucianism still alive?  I don't see much evidence of active Confucianism on the web.

I wouldn't write off Christianity.  Most variants are watered down, but not all.  Eastern Orthodox seems like an option and is quite big.

Islam certainly needs to be investigated.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

Drealm
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In reply to this post by Drealm
fschmidt wrote
Is Confucianism still alive?  I don't see much evidence of active Confucianism on the web.
The list below is from greatest to least active practitioners. At least that's the claim of the author. So Confucianism ranks third in population, according to the author. However I don't know how the author measured active practitioners. Confucianism was originally outlawed by communist China so this complicates the picture. Furthermore Confucianism is often bundled with Buddhism and Daoism. There may not be too many pure Confucians left.

On a side note I think it's interesting that the religions which foster reproductive values the most have the largest populations. Judaism being the anomaly due to it's xenophobia.

Drealm wrote
The book covered the following religions:

- Islam
- Christianity
- Confucianism
- Hinduism
- Buddhism
- Yoruba
- Judaism
- Daoism
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

fschmidt
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Drealm wrote
So Confucianism ranks third in population, according to the author. However I don't know how the author measured active practitioners.
The practical test is simple.  Try to find a Confucian community where you live.  If you can't, it's too small.
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

fschmidt
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In reply to this post by Drealm
Drealm, have you tried reading the Quran?  I have read 5 chapters / 81 pages and I am giving up on it.  It is not a co-alpha document.  It is pure alpha, much more so than the Bible.  It honestly makes me uncomfortable with Islam.  Has anyone else read the Quran and have any comments?
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

Drealm
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fschmidt wrote
Drealm, have you tried reading the Quran?  I have read 5 chapters / 81 pages and I am giving up on it.  It is not a co-alpha document.  It is pure alpha, much more so than the Bible.  It honestly makes me uncomfortable with Islam.  Has anyone else read the Quran and have any comments?
No I haven't. But shouldn't our concern be with the real world application of the Quran such as Shari'ah law rather than the holy book itself? Here's a book on Shari'ah law for laymen, I plan to read this.
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

fschmidt
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I suspect there are many real world applications of the Quran, but regardless, I also assume that every serious Muslim has read the Quran.  The tone of the Quran is not friendly to atheists in my opinion.  So I find it hard to imagine Islam tolerating CoAlphas in their community.  And this fits with my one experience at the local Islamic Center.  I starting reading the Quran hoping to find a basis for tolerance of CoAlphas.  I didn't find it.

By the way, the book you mention is here.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

Ardia
Ive only read a bit of the Qu'ran when I was young.
But I find it bizarre that any religion would be tolerant to atheists.

If youre not going to fake being a muslim, I dont see them accepting you.
(But Im about as muslim as many westerners are christian - not much experience).
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

fschmidt
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Islam is tribal.  You join the tribe by submitting to their virtual alpha, Allah.  If you don't submit, you aren't part of the tribe, so you are an outsider.

Christianity isn't fundamentally tribal.  It was a movement created in an Empire (like Buddhism).  Christianity tries to spread its vision of universal truth however it can.  If you don't accept Christianity, it is only because you haven't seen the light.  So Christians can accept atheists with the assumption that atheists are just misguided people who Christians need to educate.
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

TheTyrannicide
In reply to this post by fschmidt
fschmidt wrote
Drealm, have you tried reading the Quran?  I have read 5 chapters / 81 pages and I am giving up on it.  It is not a co-alpha document.  It is pure alpha, much more so than the Bible.  It honestly makes me uncomfortable with Islam.  Has anyone else read the Quran and have any comments?
I read the Quran, and many of the Hadith, I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion. You could never base a CoAlpha community on the precepts of Islam. Islam attempts to guarantee polygamy and large harems for the men at the top, but as we all know, this cannot be accomplished without other men going without. Islam's answer to this has been either the taking of non Muslim women as sex slaves through piracy, raiding, and expansionist wars, or the removal of the excess men by turning them into Jihadi warriors or suicide bombers, promised an eternity of lascivious pleasures in the arms of the Hooris when he gets to paradise, after his probable/inevitable and horrific death.
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Jehovahs Witnesses

Drealm
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In reply to this post by Drealm
Jehovas Witnesses came to my door today. Very coincidental I might say, seeing as this is the first Saturday I've had off in a year and a half and I find witnesses at my door step. Anyways I saw this as an opportunity to probe some lingering questions. In spite of my own brother being a witness, I never immersed myself in the witness community. And at the time I was living with my brother, I had no interest in religion whatsoever.

Observations right off the bat. It was an elderly couple, a man and a woman. They'd probably been married for some time. On parting, the lady identified herself by her husband's last name (good). I was not ogling the lady, but I respectfully took note of how she was dressed: conservative, modest, feminine (ie long skirt, no pants). I think it's important to note that this is how Witnesses dress when doing service and attending meetings. Like much of Christianity this is the draw back. Christians in general, dress up for church and slack off outside of church. Most Witness women wear jeans other pants outside of church.

When I left I conducted a test. As I was seeing them off, I waited to see if the woman would offer to shake hands. This is a superficial test which, at best is complicated by modern conventions. However I know Hasidics and Muslims even frown on innocent contact between men and women (such as a hand shake). I personally like the idea of not making contact with general members of the opposite sex, even if it's a innocent handshake, as this blurs the line of what's acceptable and not acceptable. Furthermore sleazy men will use this as a way to touch your wife and loved ones.

Anyways, I found out from them that there's a kingdom hall nearby. Meetings are held on Thursdays and Sundays. This would be an easy intro into church hopping, seeing as I'm more familiar with Witnesses. I might go to this Sunday meeting for further research.

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Re: Jehovahs Witnesses

fschmidt
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I hope you went today and can tell us what you found.

Besides visiting churches, I urge you to read the Bible.  I think one cannot really understand religion without reading the Bible.  The Bible should be read from beginning to end, skipping the boring parts.  But one should read at least one section every day so as not to lose the flow.  I recommend the HCSB Bible.
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Re: Jehovahs Witnesses

Drealm
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fschmidt wrote
I hope you went today and can tell us what you found.
I did not. Maybe next Sunday.
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Re: What religion aligns with CoAlpha values the most?

fschmidt
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In reply to this post by Drealm
To my knowledge, Orthodox Judaism and Anabaptists are the only 2 cultures today that support stable monogamous marriage.  Are there any others?  Please let me know.

Note to Drealm, Jehovah's Witnesses don't seem to qualify.
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Re: Jehovahs Witnesses

Drealm
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I visited Witnesses today. I didn't go last week was because my brother wasn't available. I wanted to go with him to ask questions. Now I'll report my findings.

Meetings take place on Thursdays and Sundays. Each meeting lasts one hour and 45 minutes.

Sunday meeting format:

1) Sing a song.
2) Pray.
3) Public talk.
4) Sing a song.
5) Read Watchtower.
6) Sing a song.
7) Pray.

Items used during meetings:

a) Bible: "New World Translation Holy Scriptures".
b) The Watchtower (monthly publication).
c) Song book.

Songs are a couple minutes long. Everyone stands and reads from a song book. Song books are written by Jehovas Witnesses. Songs reference bible scripture but aren't direct scriptural quotes, they're usually scriptures reworded to be more lyrical.

Prayer is short. A speaker says a prayer at the podium and everyone listens in silence.

Public talk is the most interesting part of the meeting. This segment involves someone preparing a speech based on a specified theme of the week. The speaker then constructs a half hour speech. The speech is usually a story, or set of stories, often revolving around real Witnesses. For example today the speaker discussed how Witnesses in Panama aren't allowed to practice Witnessing without going to jail. Scriptures are then quoted from the bible to relate to the story. The point of the public talk seems to be to illustrate a problem a Witness will face and then reference scriptures, which provide antidotes to the problem. The antidotes in general seem useless, they're all themed around praying. Starving? Pray. Unemployed? Pray. Stabbed to death? Pray. Witnesses advocate prayer for solving all problems.

The Watchtower is the longest and dullest segment. It's roughly an hour. This portion involves reading The Watchtower. The Watchtower is produced once a month and is broken up into segments for reading each week. The content of the Watchtower is written by Witnesses but each paragraph or set of paragraphs references a scripture. The Watchtower follows the same format as the public talk. Describe a problem, then reference a scripture for the antidote. The difference between the "public talk segment" and "The Watchtower segment", is the public talk is more informal. Both emphasize prayer as the main solution for any multitude of problems.

Other observations:

The Kingdom Hall itself is built like a fortress. My brother said new Kingdom Halls have strict building codes in accordance with scripture. For example windows are limited or elevated for security purposes, because Witnesses believe they'll be persecuted in the "last days". The perimeter of the Kingdom Hall has a metal fence that is locked during meetings. My brother says this is done in bad neighborhoods. They even have a member from the congregation acting as security in the parking lot during the meetings. Similiar practices are done at larger conventions. For example when witnesses hold conventions at some questionable rented locations, they'll have women and children only walk to cars while being chaperoned by male Witnesses who volunteer to do security. So to their credit, I'll say they're very organized.

Another thing I noticed, many Witnesses at the Kingdom Hall I attended were from out of town. One Witness was even from San Diego. Transferring from one Kingdom Hall to another seems easy. So if anyone wants a highly portable religion, this is it. The meeting formats are standardized and performed the exact same way at the exact same time in every location. By the same token, it seems very easy to establish a network when you're a witness. Anywhere you go, Witnesses will try befriending you.

Now for the only thing I really care about: The Women.

I was disappointed. While all women did wear skirts, this was the only obvious difference. Most women wore flashy high heels, a few had dyed hair, many wore big earrings. I will say, older women dressed more conservatively than younger ones, but not by much. It's a woman's job to dress in a way that doesn't excite men. If a woman excites a man besides her husband, she's the one to blame. The meeting wasn't gender segregated in any way whatsoever. In fact many women offered to shake hands with my brother and myself since we were new.

Anyways, that's my recap. I'm going to try researching one new place every weekend. I think the bar for a strong conservative religion is gender segregation. If it doesn't meet this bar, it's far below the acceptable threshold.
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Eastern Orthodox Church

Drealm
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I attended an Eastern Orthodox church this evening, Russian Eastern Orthodox to be specific.

Two services are offered: Vigil and Liturgy. The Vigil is what I attended and therefor what I'll base my observations on.

The Vigil seems to be a long elaborate ceremony. The minister is the main focal point. Throughout the ceremony he reads from several different documents, I couldn't tell what they were from far away. The reading is done in almost an opera like way. At different parts of the ceremony, the minister walks around with a censer to wave smoke around. While the minister is dashing smoke around, participants move out of his way - I'm not sure if this is done out of custom or practicality. There's also a whole complex sequence of opening and closing doors, moving candles, ect. This is all interspersed with chorus that goes on and off intermittently. You're suppose to stand throughout the vigil.

The Church building itself couldn't be more different that the witness kingdom hall. The Witness kingdom hall could be described as a sterile, boring, beige building that's completely spartan. The Eastern Orthodox church on the other hand was magnificently traditional. All around the walls were old paintings and wood engravings. The room itself was fairly small and had makeshift chairs. The room consisted of two chambers. The main chamber is where the audience sat. Towards the front of the main chamber is a raised stage. At the back of the raised stage is a wall with three doors that leads into a small room with lots of religious paraphernalia and ornaments. The doors on the left and right have religious illustrations. The one in the center is painted a gold like color. Throughout the ceremony the minister entered and exited through the three doors in what seemed to be a set ceremony sequence.

There weren't that many attendees, so I almost feel it's too small a sample to draw conclusions from. In total there were 10 people in attendance. Five of which were on the stage involved in the ceremony. So I think this parish is too small to be of any value. Perhaps more attend the Liturgy than the Vigil. From the photos on the website I thought there would be a lot more people.

Almost all of the people are Russian, from Russia. The minister himself is from Saint Petersburg. He has a heavy Russian accent and doesn't speak English that much. Most of the ceremony was done in old church slavonic. Some portions were English. His wife also has a heavy Russian accent. She's completely unamerican. She wrote down some books on Eastern Orthodox for me to look into. There was one black lady there - she didn't seem to be Russian.

Outside of the ceremony there wasn't much dialogue between the minister and the audience. In a way the minister wasn't even speaking to the audience. Since most of the ceremony was in slavonic, I couldn't tell what was being said. But at certain times members from the audience would come forward and pray. None of the audience members had a bible or reading material of any kind - the minister was the only person who read anything.

In general my impressions were good. The women all wore long skirts, long sweaters and had head coverings. None wore flashy clothing. Of course I viewed only a small sample of the attendees, so in all likelihood there's probably many women whom don't wear head coverings. As for the seating arrangement, I couldn't tell whether it was gender segregated or not. While I did like this church more than the witness church, much of this probably stems from liking foreign people more, as opposed to like the religion more.

The Liturgy, which I did not attend may have more people. The Liturgy consists of a early morning service and communal meal. I think communal meals are a good idea for religious gatherings. But based on this Vigil service, I don't think there's enough people here for this church to be worthwhile. Also, there's not much in the way of practical guidance. At the end of the ceremony there is a confession booth for one on one sessions, but there's basically no dialogue exchanged between the minister and audience whatsoever. Perhaps the liturgy has more dialogue. Lastly I was told you can't attend some Liturgy's unless your baptized. So compared it's easier to coast as an atheist and blend in with the community witnesses than with the eastern orthodox.

Christianity is far too much about belief. I need to go to Islam next. Or Judaism. Then maybe circle for another round of Christianity. For the moment I just can't stand this emphasis on faith and praying.

- Ardia, if you want to meet pleasant Slavic women - I think you can find some in local Eastern orthodox churches.
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Re: Eastern Orthodox Church

fschmidt
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I suggest you attend a Liturgy to get the full picture.  There will be many more people.  At the Greek Orthodox church that I attended, there was no requirement to be baptized.

Islam and Judaism are less about belief, but all these religions emphasize prayer.  There is no getting away from that since this is the basic supplicating behavior to their virtual alpha male god.
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Re: Eastern Orthodox Church

Drealm
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In reply to this post by Drealm
I think I accidentally converted to Islam tonight.

In my opinion my conversion isn't valid though because I wasn't aware I was doing it. And if my conversion is the standard for how converts are brought into Islam, then I seriously question the integrity of this religion. I felt this was deceit. I'm very turned off by Islam now.

Long story short, I went to a Muslim mosque tonight. I contacted three local mosques over the weekend and one responded. Of the three, I happened to be contacted back by the most conservative one. The other two were more liberal. One was a youth mosque built by students at UC Berkeley and the other was some mosque run by women. Anyways, I happened to end up at a mosque that's straight out of Iran.

I went for research purposes. Right after I arrived the sheik met me outside. I was told I was going to be met by a translator and I just assumed this was him. He had a heavy accent, so I couldn't understand half of what he was saying. He brought to a main room with about a hundred other men who were eating on the ground. He kept rambling on and on about what I think were scriptures.

Finally without really signaling any transition whatsoever he asked to hold my hands. He then said repeat after me. I repeated what he said and apparently this was the conversion to Islam. I wasn't aware I was converting, he made no indication this was a conversion whatsoever. I thought it was just a prayer. I should of done more research before going in person. After the prayer lots of people surrounded me and congratulated me. This made feel really sick.

I'll post more later because I think there was some value in this visit. I went through a full three hours of extra long Ramadan prayer. Much to report. But in short, I think Islam is a very dishonest religion. I cannot see myself going back there after they sprung this conversion on me. I can see how it's easy to grow this religion though.
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