Defining Religion

Cult victim recovery expert Alan S. Fine MD believes that reverence is a dangerous thing. Sarah almost gives the impression of wondering if her own branch of traditional Judaism needs to be defended against the critics alongside anthroposophy. The critics seem to be angry about anthroposophy being a religion, and confused about it being much more than a mere religion, and perhaps even a science. And Michael Kopp tries to explain what he means by "mumbo jumbo."

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From: Sarah Stein
Subject: defining religion
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 23:36:31 -0500

I came across this assertion on a web site the other day (I think it was Rick Ross' cult awareness site):

"Only recognized Jewish authorities have the right to decide the parameters of Jewish identity."

If I'm remembering correctly (I should double-check), this was Rick Ross speaking in reaction to Christian "Messianic Jews" (Jews for Jesus, et al) who assert that they are, indeed, Jewish.

His statement would seem to imply that there is some authentic, original definition of Judaism that supersedes subsequent interpretations. And, that there is such a thing as "recognized authorities" within a particular religion who set the standards.

This makes sense to me in terms of Judaism -- where "progressive" branches have altered their definition of Judaism to the point where it bears little resemblance to the original (i.e., no belief in G-d, no kashrus, little Shabbat observance, no blessings before or after eating, no moral standards in dating/marriage, etc.), and so would seem to have forfeited their eligibility to be "authorities," except in their new brand of religion (which probably should have a new name, avoiding the confusing use of the traditional terms "Judaism," "Rabbi," etc).

Does this also have any bearing on the discussion of (a) Orthodox vs. esoteric Christianity, or (b) the question of whether Anthroposophy is a religion?

Just wondering.

Sarah

*****

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 08:33:35

At 11:36 PM 4/14/99 -0500, you wrote:

I came across this assertion on a web site the other day (I think it was Rick Ross' cult awareness site):

"Only recognized Jewish authorities have the right to decide the parameters of Jewish identity."

[snip]

Does this also have any bearing on the discussion of (a) Orthodox vs. esoteric Christianity, or (b) the question of whether Anthroposophy is a religion?

I have tried to avoid the idea that only those within a given religious tradition can put forward the only authoritative definition for that religion. Granted, we should take into account the self-perceptions and self-definitions of adherents of a particular religious tradition, but other factors must be considered as well.

I have put forward definitions by primarily secular scholars of religion to help define the word "religion" itself, rather than providing an evangelical or orthodox Christian definition, to avoid charges of bias.

As I understand it at this point, we have a few definitions put forward, some resistence to these definitions has been offered, as well as examples of scholarly reference works on religion which include Anthroposophy as a religion, specifically within the Western esoteric tradition.I don't believe it has been demonstrated that anthroposophy does not meet these definitions and is not worthy of inclusion in these reference works. Perhaps we have settled on plank in the Waldorf critics argument, namely that anthroposophy is religious? Can we then move on to discussion of whether anthroposophy is the basis for Waldorf education, or found within it?

John Morehead
=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

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From: Sarah Stein
Subject: Re: Defining religion
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 13:56:49 -0500

In the interest of preventing any misconceptions of my recent statements about "classifying" Jews, I am posting this excerpt from an exchange that took place via private e-mail:

In response to my comment:

This makes sense to me in terms of Judaism -- where "progressive" branches have altered their definition of Judaism to the point where it bears little resemblance to the original (i.e., no belief in G-d, no kashrus, little Shabbat observance, no blessings before or after eating, no moral standards in dating/marriage, etc.), and so would seem to have forfeited their eligibility to be "authorities," except in their new brand of religion (which probably should have a new name, avoiding the confusing use of the traditional

...I was asked:

You seem to be implying that one is not Jewish unless one believes in God and follows Jewish customs.

No! G-d forbid! Please understand, there is a *big* difference between an individual *being Jewish* and a whole *movement* calling itself *Judaism* when it deviates substantially from very basic Jewish ideas.

To make this absolutely clear (I hope): a person who calls himself a "Reform Jew" is a Jew and will always be a Jew, no matter where on the continuum of Jewish practice he places himself now or in the future. The problem is with the Reform *movement* -- specifically its originators, and now its "Rabbis" -- who educate Jews with half-truths and omissions about their true heritage, which is, in my opinion, a form of "false advertising." How can a kid who grows up Reform decide if he wants to keep kosher, if kashruth is never presented to him as a viable option (if it is presented at all)?

In other words, my opinion is that someone who calls himself "Reform" is indeed a Jew if he was born Jewish, but what he is practicing is something other than Judaism.

I would make the same statement about the Conservative movement, which, as I mentioned, is the venue in which I grew up. My education was intellectually stimulating (if hyprocritical), spiritually fairly vacant, and ultimately confusing. But these are my criticisms of the *leadership* of these movements, who are, in my opinion, preventing people from making their own decisions by editing out the parts of Judaism that the *movement* has already decided are "irrelevant" to modern Jews.

But in another post, you said:

My opinion is that a Jew is a Jew, regardless of whether he or she is completely Torah-observant or utterly atheistic, or apathetic, or assimilated, or simply ignorant (no value judgment intended).

Now you can understand that there is no contradiction in my statements, I hope?

Thanks,

Sarah

*****

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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 15:30:57 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: John & Wendy Morehead

As I understand it at this point, we have a few definitions put forward, some resistence to these definitions has been offered, as well as examples of scholarly reference works on religion which include Anthroposophy as a religion, specifically within the Western esoteric tradition.I don't believe it has been demonstrated that anthroposophy does not meet these definitions and is not worthy of inclusion in these reference works. Perhaps we have settled on plank in the Waldorf critics argument, namely that anthroposophy is religious? Can we then move on to discussion of whether anthroposophy is the basis for Waldorf education, or found within it?

I wouldn't exactly say that the plank has settled, except to say that there's a disagreement.

Bob Tolz

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From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 08:05:00 -0600

To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction when they are challenged.

Alan S. Fine MD

Perhaps we have settled on plank in the Waldorf critics argument, namely that anthroposophy is religious? Can we then move on to discussion of whether anthroposophy is the basis for Waldorf education, or found within it?

I wouldn't exactly say that the plank has settled, except to say that there's a disagreement.

Bob Tolz

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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 10:35:12 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan S. Fine MD [mailto:asf@peakpeak.com]

To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction when they are challenged.

Have you ever noticed Michael Kopp's reaction when challenged?

Bob Tolz

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 16:40:10 +0200

Alan S. Fine wrote:

To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction when they are challenged.

Reverence is, I think, a healthy quality. It does not per definition denote religion, however.

I agree that anthroposophy is of a religious nature, and that the crucial question for those concerned with American public schools is whether or not Waldorf education is also religious. But the point is that reverence is healthy, and religious reverence is not to be frowned upon either, though the two are not synonymous.

Religion is healthy too. It's good for your soul, good for your health, good for your children. And nothing beats Steiner-inspired religion. It's the cream of the crop, and the shape of things to come.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 08:43:30 -0700

On 16 Apr 99, at 8:05, Alan S. Fine MD wrote:

To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction when they are challenged.

I've thought of that, too, but I've found it's not a very helpful indicator. For example, I bristle when people talk about Deadheads in derogatory terms, but my appreciation for the music of the Grateful Dead is hardly a religion (although I will admit to having experienced the spiritual aspects of Dead concerts - I'd elaborate on that, but it's off-topic). Sports fans sometimes react the same way when others assert that their favorite sport is stupid or pointless.

People tend to react strongly whenever anything with which they identify is challenged, whether it's their religion, their politics, their nationality, or their taste in music.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 12:28:20 EDT

In einer eMail vom 16.04.99 16:28:50 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt
Alan S. Fine MD:

To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction when they are challenged.

POPPYCOCK! <ggg>

Bruce

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 10:15:02 +1200

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan S. Fine MD

To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction when they are challenged.

Have you ever noticed Michael Kopp's reaction when challenged?

Bob Tolz

Of what "religion" am I an "adherent"?

To what do I show "reverence"?

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

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From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 19:02:38 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp
Sent: Friday, April 16, 1999 6:15 PM
Subject: RE: defining religion

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan S. Fine MD

To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction when they are challenged.

Have you ever noticed Michael Kopp's reaction when challenged?

Bob Tolz

Of what "religion" am I an "adherent"?

To what do I show "reverence"?

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

Precisely my point, Michael! Your lack of reverence or adherence illustrates my point that Alan Fine has made an illogical statement.

Bob

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From: "Luke Schelly"
Subject: RE:defining religion
Date: 18 Apr 1999 11:07:02 -0400

Alan posted,

To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction when they are challenged.

Alan,

Could you tell us what you consider to be the beliefs of its adherents? Please, make a distinction betwen what you feel are the universal beliefs (shared by all) and which may be particular to some or many (in your estimation). I don't think I will ask for some sort of physical evidence for your opinion, but can you tell us from what size of sample you would be making these distinctions? (the people around Denver, this list,...what?)

Secondly, I am unclear to your use of "reverence" (outside from the thinking that (for me) it adds more "religiousy' sounding words to a post). Do you think that people who are involved in groups that are serious about child nutrition or saving trees or bowling (for example) are in religious organizations. What, IYO, makes Anthroposophy different or moves one, in any group, across a threshold from "serious" to "religious"?

Luke

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 19:22:42 +0200

Alan S. Fine wrote:

To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction when they are challenged.

Bob Tolz wrote:

Have you ever noticed Michael Kopp's reaction when challenged?

Michael Kopp wrote:

Of what "religion" am I an "adherent"? To what do I show "reverence"?

Bob Tolz wrote:

Precisely my point, Michael! Your lack of reverence or adherence illustrates my point that Alan Fine has made an illogical statement.

Luke Schelly wrote:

Alan,

Could you tell us what you consider to be the beliefs of its adherents? Please, make a distinction betwen what you feel are the universal beliefs (shared by all) and which may be particular to some or many (in your estimation). I don't think I will ask for some sort of physical evidence for your opinion, but can you tell us from what size of sample you would be making these distinctions? (the people around Denver, this list,...what?)

Secondly, I am unclear to your use of "reverence" (outside from the thinking that (for me) it adds more "religiousy' sounding words to a post). Do you think that people who are involved in groups that are serious about child nutrition or saving trees or bowling (for example) are in religious organizations. What, IYO, makes Anthroposophy different or moves one, in any group, across a threshold from "serious" to "religious"?

Uncle Taz saith:

In order to dismiss the suspicion voiced by Dan Dugan that I am afraid to quote the Master of Truth ("Afraid to quote the master now, Tarjei?"), this may be an appropriate occasion to ask Saint Rudy what reverence, devotion, respect, and veneration is. So that's what I did: I asked the Master of Truth St. Rudy what he had on his mind about the subject. He suggested that I looked up a certain passage in KOHW. I told my beloved guru that the excerpt would be too long and that Dan Dugan would hit the ceiling if I posted it. St. Rudy said, "So let him hit the ceiling then."

If the length of the following excerpt is inappropriate, there are four reasons why I have not made it any shorter:

1) Short quotes by Rudolf Steiner are invariably twisted and abused by WE Critics. In a hostile environment one cannot do him justice without quoting him *in full*. Because nobody has been subjected to more ad hominems on this list than St. Rudy, he deserves a fair chance to defend his views.

2) The topic at hand also touches upon something that has been discussed in connection with Waldorf education, namely: What is critical thinking, and when and how is it appropriate for children to develop it?

3) If St. Rudy were alive today and was challenged to answer the the charges of cultism and uncritical, unthinking acceptance of his teachings and so on, I believe the following text illustrates quite clearly how he would have responded.

4) If this post is cluttering up too much space on anybody's harddisk, I have three suggestions:

a) zip disks

b) cd burner

c) delete, or trash

(Personally, I use all of the above. But if your harddisk is too small, get a new one with a 10 GB capacity.)

In "Knowledge of the Higher Worlds - How is it achieved?" der Doctor hat gesagt:

"A certain fundamental attitude of the soul must be the starting-point. The spiritual investigator calls this fundamental attitude the *path of veneration*, of devotion to truth and knowledge. Without this fundamental attitude no one can become an occult pupil. Anyone who is experienced in this domain knows what aptitudes are shown already in their childhood by those who later on become occult pupils. There are children who look up with reverent awe to certain venerated persons. Their reverence for these people forbids them, even in the deepest depths of their hearts, to admit any thought of criticism or opposition. Such children grow up into young men and women who feel happy when they are able to look up to anything that fills them with veneration. Many occult pupils come from the ranks of such children. If you have ever stood outside the door of some revered person and on this your first visit had a feeling of awe as you have pressed the door-handle to enter the room, which for you was a holy place, a feeling has come to expression within you which may be the seed of your later discipleship. It is a blessing for every maturing human being to have such feelings as foundations within him. But it must not be thought that this will lead to submissiveness and servility. What was once childlike veneration for persons becomes, later on, a veneration for truth and knowledge. Experience teaches that those of free bearing are those who have learnt to venerate where veneration is due; and veneration is due whenever it springs from the depths of the heart.

"If we do not develop within ourselves the deeply rooted feeling that there is something higher than ourselves, we shall never find the strength to evolve to a higher stage, The initiate has acquired the strength to lift his head to the heights of knowledge only by guiding his heart to the depths of veneration and devotion. The heights of the Spirit can be scaled only by passing through the gateway of humility. You can acquire true knowledge only when you have learnt to respect it. Man has certainly the right to turn his eyes to the light but he must first earn this right. There are laws in the spiritual life just as there are in material life. Rub a glass rod with an appropriate substance and it becomes electrified, that is, it acquires the power to attract small objects. This is a law of Nature, known to everyone who has learnt a little physics. Similarly, acquaintance with the elementary rudiments of Spiritual Science brings the realisation that every feeling of *true* devotion harbored in the soul develops a power which leads sooner or later to a further stage of knowledge.

"Whoever has within him feelings of true devotion, or who is fortunate enough to have them inculcated by a fitting education, brings a great deal with him when, later in life, he will encounter difficulties at the very first step, unless he undertakes by rigorous self-education to engender within himself this attitude of devotion. In our time it is of the utmost importance that full attention be paid to this. Our civilisation tends more to criticism, judgement, condemnation, than to devotion and selfless veneration. Our children already criticise far more than they revere. But every criticism, every adverse judgement passed, dispels the powers of the soul for the attainment of higher knowledge, just as reverent veneration develops these powers. This is not meant to imply anything against our civilisation. There is no question here of levelling criticism against it. To this critical faculty, this conscious sense of human judgement, this principle of 'prove all things and hold fast what is best' we owe the greatness of our culture. Man could never have developed the science, industry, commerce, civil rights, of our time if he had not everywhere exercised his critical faculty and applied the standards of his judgement. But what we have thereby gained in the way of external culture, we have had to pay for with a corresponding forfeiture of higher knowledge, of spiritual life. It must be emphasised that in the domain of higher knowledge it is *not* a matter of venerating persons, but of venerating knowledge and truth.

"We must clearly recognise, of course, that for an individual wholly involved in the externalised civilisation of our day it is very difficult to attain knowledge of the higher worlds. He can do so only if he works energetically on himself. In times when the conditions of material life were simple, the attainment of spiritual knowledge was easier. Whatever was worthy of veneration and reverence stood out in stronger relief from the things of the everyday world. In an epoch where criticism is universal, ideals are lowered. Other feelings take the place of veneration, reverence, worship and wonder. Our age thrusts these feelings more and more into the background, so that in everyday life they play a very small part. Whoever seeks higher knowledge must bring them to life in himself. He must himself instil them into his soul. This cannot be done through study; it can be done only through living. Whoever wishes to become a pupil of higher knowledge must therefore assiduously cultivate this attitude of devotion. Everywhere in his environment and in his experience he must look for whatever can capture his admirations and respect. If I encounter a human being and blame him for his weaknesses, I rob myself of the power of higher knowledge; but if I try to enter lovingly into his qualities, I muster this power. The pupil must bear this advice constantly in mind. Experienced spiritual investigators know how much power they owe to the circumstance that ever and again they look for the good in all things and withold critical judgement. But this must not remain an external rule of life; it must lay hold of our inmost soul. Man has it in his power to perfect himself and as time goes on completely to transform himself. But this transformation must take place in his inmost self, in his life of thought. It is not enough that I show respect to a person in my outward bearing; I must have this respect in my thoughts. The pupil must begin by bringing this devotion into his life of thought. He must be wary of thoughts of disrespect, of adverse criticism, and must endavor straightway to cultivate thoughts of reverence.

"Every moment that we set ourselves to discover whatever remains in our consciousness in the way of adverse, critical judgements of the world and of life - every such moment brings us nearer to higher knowledge. And we make rapid progress when in such moments we fill our consciousness with thoughts that imbue us with wonder, respect and veneration for the world and for life. Those experienced in these matters know that in every such moment powers are awakened which otherwise remain dormant. Thereby the spiritual eyes of man are opened. He begins to see things around him which formerly he had been unable to see. He begins to realise that hitherto he had seen only a part of the world. A human being standing before him now wears a quite different aspect. Certainly, this rule of life will not enable him to see what is described as the human aura. A still higher training is necessary for that. But he can fit himself for this higher training if he has previously undergone an unflagging training in devotional reverence.

"The treading of the path of knowledge by the pupil takes place silently, unnoticed by the outer world. No change need be noticed in him. He performs his duties and attends to his business as before. The transformation proceeds entirely in the inner recesses of the soul, hidden from outer sight. At first the pupil's whole inner life is irradiated by this basic mood of reverence for everything that is truly venerable. His whole life of soul finds its centre in this one basic feeling. Just as the sun's rays vivify everything living, so does reverence in the pupil vivify all sentient experiences of the soul.

"It is not easy at first to believe that feelings such as those of reverence, respect and so on, have anything to do with cognition. This is because we are inclined to regard cognition as a faculty by itself, unrelated to other happenings in the soul. We forget that it is the *soul* which exercises the faculty of cognition; and feelings are for the soul what foodstuffs are for the body. If the body is given stones instead of bread, its activity will die away. So, too, with the soul. Veneration, respect, devotion, are nourishing foodstuffs which make the soul healthy and vigorous, especially in the activity of cognition. Disrespect, antipathy, under-estimation of what deserves recognition, exert a paralysing, withering effect on the faculty of cognition. For the spiritual investigator this fact is visible in the aura. A soul that cultivates feelings of reverence and devotion brings about a change in its aura. Certain spiritual colourings, as they may be called, yellowish-red, brownish-red in tone, give way to bluish-red tints. Thereby the faculty of cognition opens; it receives knowledge of facts in its environment of which previously it had no inkling. Reverence awakens a power of sympathy in the soul through which we draw towards us qualities in the beings around us, qualities which would otherwise remain concealed."

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 23:05:47 -0600

Thank you Tarjei. It is apparent that reverence is not only my observation but is in fact promoted as part of the spiritual path of anthroposophy. As far as response to criticism, my experience both in person and on the list is that discussion of Steiner with an anthroposophist has little of the feel that I had discussing say Kant or Socrates in college. There is little interest in looking at the pros and cons and endless energy showing me the truth and wisdom of the anthroposophical way. I admire you Tarjei for being open and honest about the religious nature of anthroposophy. From what I am reading on the list, PLANS would likely not have gotten started if there was such openness in all the Waldorf schools.

Alan S. Fine MD

Tarjei quoted Steiner:

- He must be wary of thoughts of disrespect, of adverse criticism, and must endavor straightway to cultivate thoughts of reverence.

" But he can fit himself for this higher training if he has previously undergone an unflagging training in devotional reverence.

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 07:16:37

At 11:05 PM 4/18/99 -0600, you wrote:

I admire you Tarjei for being open and honest about the religious nature of anthroposophy.

Yes, I thank Tarjei too on this point. But note that there is a disagreement among at least some Anthroposophists here. Tarjei freely acknowledges the religious nature of Anthroposophy, while others, such as Stephen Tonkin, take issue with that descriptive label.

Perhaps the Anthroposophists on this list could provide some reasoning behind this difference of opinion.

John Morehead

=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

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From: Bruce
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 14:32:32 EDT

In einer eMail vom 19.04.99 17:40:20 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt
John Morehead:

Perhaps the Anthroposophists on this list could provide some reasoning behind this difference of opinion.

At the risk of being repetitive.......

Anthroposophists are not CLONES! What Stephen thinks or what Tarjei thinks has no sway on what I think. What an anthroposophist has to "believe" to sign up was broadly stated a couple of days ago, and says NOTHING about all anthroposophists having to agree about everything!

clear?

Bruce

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 14:28:21

At 02:32 PM 4/19/99 EDT, you wrote:

In einer eMail vom 19.04.99 17:40:20 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt John Morehead:

Perhaps the Anthroposophists on this list could provide some reasoning behind this difference of opinion.

At the risk of being repetitive.......

Anthroposophists are not CLONES! What Stephen thinks or what Tarjei thinks has no sway on what I think. What an anthroposophist has to "believe" to sign up was broadly stated a couple of days ago, and says NOTHING about all anthroposophists having to agree about everything!

Of course they aren't clones. Neither are skeptics, orthodox Christians, etc. But that doesn't answer the question about the discrepancy. Either Anthroposophy is a religion or it is not. We have a fundamental difference of opinion on this issue among Anthroposophists. This issue is paramount to the Waldorf education controversy. So I'd like to hear from both sides why they believe Anthroposophy is or is not a religion.

clear?

Crystal. Understand my valid point, Bruce?

John Morehead

=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 14:59:59 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce

At the risk of being repetitive.......

Anthroposophists are not CLONES! What Stephen thinks or what Tarjei thinks has no sway on what I think. What an anthroposophist has to "believe" to sign up was broadly stated a couple of days ago, and says NOTHING about all anthroposophists having to agree about everything!

clear?

Bruce

Methinks that the Waldorf Critics would have preferred that you anthroposophists walk in robotic lockstep.

Bob

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From: John & Wendy Morehead
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 14:29:24

At 02:59 PM 4/19/99 -0400, you wrote:

Methinks that the Waldorf Critics would have preferred that you anthroposophists walk in robotic lockstep.

Bob

Methinks you misunderstand the Waldorf critics. At least this one. See my response to Bruce for clarification.

John Morehead

=========================
John W. Morehead
Executive Vice President
TruthQuest Institute
P.O. Box 227
Loomis, CA 95650

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 19:33:01 +0200

John Morehead wrote:

Yes, I thank Tarjei too on this point. But note that there is a disagreement among at least some Anthroposophists here. Tarjei freely acknowledges the religious nature of Anthroposophy, while others, such as Stephen Tonkin, take issue with that descriptive label.

Perhaps the Anthroposophists on this list could provide some reasoning behind this difference of opinion.

Why should anthroposophists *not* have their differences of opinion without having to make excuses for it?

Besides, Stephen Tonkin's approach is that of a Waldorf teacher who is taking issue with the claim that every subject taught to students is imbued with anthroposophical-religious concepts. He has not denied, as far as I have noticed, the religious aspect of anthroposophy. So where is our difference of opinion?

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 21:41:22 +0200

Bob Tolz wrote:

Methinks that the Waldorf Critics would have preferred that you anthroposophists walk in robotic lockstep.

If we agree, we're brainwashed robots from St. Rudy's factory. If we disagree, we're illogical, irrational, and inconsistent, or somebody is being paid to lie by the Waldorf Criminal Conspiracy Committee.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 16:16:03 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Tarjei Straume
Sent: Monday, April 19, 1999 3:41 PM
Subject: RE: defining religion

Bob Tolz wrote:

Methinks that the Waldorf Critics would have preferred that you anthroposophists walk in robotic lockstep.

If we agree, we're brainwashed robots from St. Rudy's factory. If we disagree, we're illogical, irrational, and inconsistent, or somebody is being paid to lie by the Waldorf Criminal Conspiracy Committee.

It reminds me of the time when a Waldorf student sent a message to Dan to indicate that anthroposophy is not taught in the classes. The kid related his experience that when he asked his teacher to do a unit on anthroposophy, the teacher responded that it wasn't permitted. Dan's response was something on the order of, "Now don't you think that's a bit evasive on the part of the teacher?" I seem to recall "complementing" Dan's ability to twist any comment to serve his agenda.

The Waldorf Critics may be correct in rejecting attempts to characterize them as prejudiced, since they claim they have made their judgments "post" experience rather than "pre," but they'll never convince me that they are not close-minded, biased and unobjective. (To those of you Waldorf Critics who might complain about my over-generalization and wish to separate yourself from those who fit that description, I apologize in advance.)

Bob

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 17:30:12 -0400

John wrote:

Yes, I thank Tarjei too on this point. But note that there is a disagreement among at least some Anthroposophists here. Tarjei freely acknowledges the religious nature of Anthroposophy, while others, such as Stephen Tonkin, take issue with that descriptive label.

Perhaps the Anthroposophists on this list could provide some reasoning behind this difference of opinion.

From anthroposophist to anthropop, you'll usually find quite a range of opinion on most things anthroposophical. No matter how many study groups you work with or how many teachers' conferences you attend, you're still working on what is essentially your own personal understanding of Steiner's work and how it relates to your individual world-view.

I think this is why Tarjei says we're all anarchists at heart. What separates anthroposophists from the bomb-throwers is the realization that throwing bombs interferes pretty significantly with other people's freedom -- ideally, we each have a continuing *responsibility* to find the truth for ourselves, without compromising another individual's freedom along the way.

Bob Jones (should I start putting quotation marks around that name?) might say this extends to a complete disregard for all conventions of society, and cite instances of pot-smoking and underage drinking and irresponsible sex. . . . My own experience tells me that anthropops are generally pretty good citizens, because they recognize the truth and freedom that's built into much of modern society. Many anthroposophists would not, however, take to DARE (for the rest of the world, these are the Drug Abuse Resistance Education programs often associated with local police departments in the U.S.) because they might view it as heavy-handed, authoritarian and ultimately superficial.

Dan Dugan and Michael Kopp and Kathy Sutphen would all say that anthroposophists *are* homogenous--they get defensive when challenged and shun people asking tough questions and they're rigid and dogmatic. This reflects their experience with schools who took a "circle-the-wagons" mentality when strongly challenged. I think I have a pretty good understanding of what happened, after listening to their stories for all these years and watching how they relate socially on this list.

I doubt you'll ever find total agreement on the religious aspects of anthroposophy among anthroposophists. Survey fifty fifth-grade teachers in waldorf schools and you'll find fifty different ways to teach fifth grade (with a lot of commonality, too!). Ask me if I think I can delve into the past lives of my students and I would say no, but Rene Querido seems to have a different opinion about that. Roy Wilkinson would no doubt teach my class a *lot* differently than I do. Ask an anthroposophist what they think about computers for children or adults and you'll receive a wide range of opinions. Some anthroposophists are diagnosed with cancer and turn to Iscador, others immediately look for conventional treatments with chemo and radiation, while others might rely on prayer or a combination of all three.

Ask a group of waldorf teachers what they think about waldorf and public education (in whatever part of the world they live). Ask an anthroposophist for his personal opinion on Rudolf Steiner as an individual.

What are we? What do we represent as a group? Who speaks for us?

How can we be classified if we can't even say what anthroposophy represents or who is an anthroposophist?

Robert Flannery
New York

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 02:15:50 +0200

John Morehead wrote:

Of course they aren't clones. Neither are skeptics, orthodox Christians, etc. But that doesn't answer the question about the discrepancy. Either Anthroposophy is a religion or it is not. We have a fundamental difference of opinion on this issue among Anthroposophists. This issue is paramount to the Waldorf education controversy. So I'd like to hear from both sides why they believe Anthroposophy is or is not a religion.

Just in case there is any misunderstanding about this: I have not said, and I do not say, that anthroposophy is a religion. I have said that it has religious elements, or a religious aspect to it, because it is a synthesis of science, art, and religion. But by "religious" I really mean "occult." The latter expression is often so misunderstood that I have taken the liberty of using the former, but it is not always accurate, and now I recognize that it has been confusing.

Anthroposophy is first of all *an occult science*. The Christian Community (The Movement for Religious Renewal), which was established by Friedrich Rittelmeyer (a Lutheran theologian), is an anthroposophical church community, though Steiner said that the Christian Community was not anthroposophy; it was for those who could not quite embrace anthroposophically oriented spiritual science. It was a compromise between anthroposophy and religion.

At one point Steiner said to Rittlemeyer: "My task is occultism. Yours is religion."

So there is a distinction, but because this distinction is part and parcel of the cultural heresy that anthroposophy represents, just like the synthesis mentioned above, the word "religious" has been used by me more frequently than the word "occult" for sake of clarity on this list. So what you call "a fundamental difference of opinion on this issue among Anthroposophists" is not so fundamental after all. Your impression is derived from the different styles of expressions that we use as individuals due to different cultures and vocations.

For a clearer understanding of the relationship between anthroposophy and religion, I recommend the book by Rittelmeyer, "Rudolf Steiner Enters My Life." He was an orthodox Christian, so this book may answer some of your vital questions.

Dan Dugan should also be able to help you out with his often mentioned "Man and the World of Stars." The lecture held in Dornach December 30, 1922 (the night before the fire) is entitled, "The Relation of the Movement for Religious Renewal to the Anthroposophical Movement."

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Dan Dugan
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 23:24:05 -0700

I think PLANS is about as diverse as a group can get, at least in the polarity of skeptics and evangelicals working together. But I acknowledge that Anthroposophists I've met are often parties of one with regard to their interpretation of Steiner. What unites them is reverence for Steiner. Now Waldorf schools, they are much more alike!

-Dan Dugan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 17:59:27 +0200

Dan Dugan wrote:

I think PLANS is about as diverse as a group can get, at least in the polarity of skeptics and evangelicals working together. But I acknowledge that Anthroposophists I've met are often parties of one with regard to their interpretation of Steiner. What unites them is reverence for Steiner. Now Waldorf schools, they are much more alike!

Waldorf critics are, as I understand it, people who question Waldorf education, criticizing it, wanting to learn and understand more about it, etc. There is nothing wrong with that, and such critics may come from the most diverse of backgrounds, cultures, professions, and opinions. What I have tried to take specific issue with is what I call "hard core" WE criticism, which entails an aggressive crusade against anthroposophy and its founder,

I agree that reverence for Steiner is what unites anthroposophists. However, that does not make them ipso facto "parties of one" what interpretation of Steiner is concerned.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Luke Schelly"
Subject: RE:Defining Religion
Date: 20 Apr 1999 12:12:50 -0400

Dan Dugan posted:

I think PLANS is about as diverse as a group can get, at least in the polarity of skeptics and evangelicals working together. But I acknowledge that Anthroposophists I've met are often parties of one with regard to their interpretation of Steiner. What unites them is reverence for Steiner. Now Waldorf schools, they are much more alike!

Dan Dugan

Are there no other words for the way which anthroposphists regard Steiner? How about respect, admiration, curiousity, intrigue. Reverence is just empty political speech.

FWIW, When the diverse groups that you mention do get together, it only makes me feel as though the thing under scrutiny (anthroposphy, waldorf education, or Rudolf Steiner) has got something interesting about it. Standing in the middle one would expect to get critique from either end of the spectrum.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE:Defining Religion
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 18:34:06 +0200

Luke Schelly wrote:

Are there no other words for the way which anthroposphists regard Steiner? How about respect, admiration, curiousity, intrigue. Reverence is just empty political speech.

I disagree. Reverence is the most noble and precious kind of respect and admiration that a human being can possess. It is a great loss for those who have been deprived of it.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Bruce
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 13:38:49 EDT

In einer eMail vom 20.04.99 01:24:39 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit schreibt
John Morehead:

Of course they aren't clones. Neither are skeptics, orthodox Christians, etc. But that doesn't answer the question about the discrepancy. Either Anthroposophy is a religion or it is not. We have a fundamental difference of opinion on this issue among Anthroposophists. This issue is paramount to the Waldorf education controversy. So I'd like to hear from both sides why they believe Anthroposophy is or is not a religion.

I have no view on whether anthroposophy is a religion or not. I have no interest in spending time trying to assess what a religion is and is not, and then trying to relate to my view of anthroposophy. Maybe I would find that some aspects of anthroposophy are religion and others not. Since anthroposophy is the philosophy based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, and as we ALL know he is very open to interpretation, I cannot see how an answer is possible.

Bruce

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Luke Schelly"
Subject: RE:defining religion
Date: 20 Apr 1999 17:11:39 -0400

Tarjei Straume posted

I disagree. Reverence is the most noble and precious kind of respect and admiration that a human being can possess. It is a great loss for those who have been deprived of it.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Another "party of one" heard from.

It may be a really and truly wonderful concept but the critics implication/inuendo is that religions practice reverence. Therefore, if you have reverence you evidence that what you are involved in is a religion. You may not believe it, but they don't care what you think, the focus is on imparting associations that will cause nervousness, discomfort, and unease to the casual lurker or newly interested. That is why (in this case) it is empty political speech. (rhetoric).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE:defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 00:27:57 +0200

I wrote:

I disagree. Reverence is the most noble and precious kind of respect and admiration that a human being can possess. It is a great loss for those who have been deprived of it.

Luke Schelly wrote:

Another "party of one" heard from.

It may be a realy and truly wonderful concept but the critics implication/inuendo is that religions practice reverence. Therefore, if you have reverence you evidence that what you are involved in is a religion. You may not believe it, but they don't care what you think, the focus is on imparting associations that will cause nervousness, discomfort, and unease to the casual lurker or newly interested. That is why (in this case) it is empty political speech. (rhetoric).

I believe it is a common temptation for anthroposophists to become not only "defenders of the faith" but also "cult apologists," apologizing for the occult, or the religious-spiritual content in anthroposophy. So they play along with the implication that reverence is something negative, something indicative of cult brainwashing and the like, and they set out to argue that there is very little reverence in anthroposophy. This is bullshit, chickenshit, and horseshit all in one heap.

If you go along with the definition and negative connotations of reverence proposed by the critics, you're being manipulated by them. This needs to be confronted with no compromise.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Dan Dugan
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 17:36:28 -0700

Tarjei, you wrote,

Anthroposophy is first of all *an occult science*. The Christian Community (The Movement for Religious Renewal), which was established by Friedrich Rittelmeyer (a Lutheran theologian), is an anthroposophical church community, though Steiner said that the Christian Community was not anthroposophy; it was for those who could not quite embrace anthroposophically oriented spiritual science. It was a compromise between anthroposophy and religion.

Thank you for being so clear, Tarjei. This is exactly my understanding of the role of CC. In practice, however, CC serves as the ritual arm of Anthroposophy. A's typically use CC for marriages, baptisms, funerals.

At one point Steiner said to Rittlemeyer: "My task is occultism. Yours is religion."

By religion Steiner meant ritual worship. Fair enough, but understand that in U.S. law there is no distinction between occultism and religion, occultism is a religion, with all the privileges of a religion, if these are claimed.

-Dan Dugan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 06:24:38 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Dugan

By religion Steiner meant ritual worship. Fair enough, but understand that in U.S. law there is no distinction between occultism and religion, occultism is a religion, with all the privileges of a religion, if these are claimed.

-Dan Dugan

Would you please provide me with a legal citation so I can check your reference.

Bob Tolz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 12:26:27 +0200

Dan Dugan wrote:

By religion Steiner meant ritual worship. Fair enough, but understand that in U.S. law there is no distinction between occultism and religion, occultism is a religion, with all the privileges of a religion, if these are claimed.

Those definitions are based upon misunderstanding of anthroposophy and a subsequent rejection of it, because occultism is a science, a field of research, supersensible research - not religion. That is why Steiner made the clear distinction between the two.

Whatever is defined in American legal terms is completely beside the point, and should have no influence whatsoever on how anthroposophists define anthroposophy.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: RE:defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 21:33:31 +1200

Luke Schelly says"

Tarjei Straume posted

I disagree. Reverence is the most noble and precious kind of respect and admiration that a human being can possess. It is a great loss for those who have been deprived of it.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Another "party of one" heard from.

It may be a really and truly wonderful concept but the critics implication/inuendo is that religions practice reverence. Therefore, if you have reverence you evidence that what you are involved in is a religion. You may not believe it, but they don't care what you think, the focus is on imparting associations that will cause nervousness, discomfort, and unease to the casual lurker or newly interested. That is why (in this case) it is empty political speech. (rhetoric).

Michael KOPP says:

You, of course, are entitled to your opinion of what "the focus" of "the critics" is.

However, since the critics are a completely unaligned, individualistic group (except for the amorphous PLANS organisation), with no "ism", "y" or political creed (except perhaps the Constitution of the United States), I think it might be a tad presumptuous of you to tell the readers of this list what it is the critics are trying to do to them.

And if you want to say what "the critics'" agenda is, you might be a little more precise with the language than to say that they want to "impart associations".

Finally, for the record, this critic has only one goal (because I am not at this time a U.S. resident and cannot therefore share in PLANS' goal of separation of the religioius Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical educational movement from public schools and public money).

My goal is simply to have the facts of SWA practices and beliefs exposed to as much light of day as possible, because I have found SWA people duplicitous and secretive with prospective customers of their schools.

Contrary to your assertion, Luke, I want this exposure to produce in all people who have an interest in SWA, but who know nothing about it, the comfort that comes with foreknowledge of what they are getting into, a sense of ease that they can get more than one side of the story, and a certainty that they can control their decisions in an informed way.

Your statements are not helpful to the charter of this list, which is to criticize, not to have a nefarious agenda. You have no evidence of the motivation of "the critics", and your view of the critics' "focus" is not supported by the record in the archives, which newcomers are urged to read.

You're getting more and more petulant in your sniping, Luke -- you used to make reasoned contributions to the discussion. What's eating you?

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: RE:defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 21:36:05 +1200

Tarjei Straume writes:

If you go along with the definition and negative connotations of reverence proposed by the critics, you're being manipulated by them. This needs to be confronted with no compromise.

Michael KOPP says:

Please quote passages from critics' writings which support your assertion that the critics' definition of reverence has "negative connotations", and explain exactly what that phrase means.

Otherwise your comment is meaningless.

Michael Kopp
WEllington, New Zealand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE:defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 13:29:03 +0200

Michael Kopp wrote:

Please quote passages from critics' writings which support your assertion that the critics' definition of reverence has "negative connotations", and explain exactly what that phrase means.

Certain posts by Alan Fine are good examples of what I am getting at. Fri, 16 Apr, he wrote:

"To me the strongest indicator that Anthroposophy is a religion is the
reverence which its adherents attach to their beliefs and their reaction
when they are challenged."

The negative connotations are not spelled out, but they are clearly indicated.

And I will not explain to you exactly what the phrase means. If you don't see it, you don't see it.

Otherwise your comment is meaningless.

If any comment by me is meaningless to you, it is not ipso facto meaningless to all the subscribers, not even to all the critics.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Hirsch
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 09:19:19 -0400 (EDT)

Tarjei Straume writes:

Dan Dugan wrote:

By religion Steiner meant ritual worship. Fair enough, but understand that in U.S. law there is no distinction between occultism and religion, occultism is a religion, with all the privileges of a religion, if these are claimed.

Those definitions are based upon misunderstanding of anthroposophy and a subsequent rejection of it, because occultism is a science, a field of research, supersensible research - not religion. That is why Steiner made the clear distinction between the two.

See what I mean, Bob (Tolz)? There are people who go from calling it "spiritual science" to saying it is a science.

We've been through this, and anthroposophy fits no definition of science acceptable to anyone who knows any science.

--Michael

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 15:35:57 +0200

I wrote:

Those definitions are based upon misunderstanding of anthroposophy and a subsequent rejection of it, because occultism is a science, a field of research, supersensible research - not religion. That is why Steiner made the clear distinction between the two.

Michael Hirsch wrote:

See what I mean, Bob (Tolz)? There are people who go from calling it "spiritual science" to saying it is a science.

We've been through this, and anthroposophy fits no definition of science acceptable to anyone who knows any science.

People who know science are divided on this, because the Scientific Community does not have a monopoly on such knowledge.

The definition in question is perfectly acceptable to many people who know a great deal about science.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 10:19:54 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Hirsch

Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 1999 9:19 AM
Subject: Re: defining religion

Tarjei Straume writes:

Those definitions are based upon misunderstanding of anthroposophy and a subsequent rejection of it, because occultism is a science, a field of research, supersensible research - not religion. That is why Steiner made the clear distinction between the two.

[Michael Hirsch]

See what I mean, Bob (Tolz)? There are people who go from calling it "spiritual science" to saying it is a science.

We've been through this, and anthroposophy fits no definition of science acceptable to anyone who knows any science.

--Michael

I'm still with you Michael on the issue of "spiritual science" not being "science" in the ordinarily understood definition of the word, just like "social science" or "economic science." But I'm not sure that Tarjei is saying much different from that by saying it's "a" science.

I'm speculating here: Perhaps the word "science" is being used by the anthroposophists in the sense that the individual conducts "experiments" which can be reported upon to others who are doing similar research, notes can be compared, and when it turns out that the results can be replicated by more than one "researcher," the researchers have a fruitful area for further research. Since the results are based on personal observations rather than instrument observations, this science parts ways with ordinary science, but it may share at least some of ordinary science's methods.

To Tarjei: It would be useful for me and probably others on this list to hear from you on the methods of "spiritual science."

Bob

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 17:19:49 +0200

Bob Tolz wrote:

To Tarjei: It would be useful for me and probably others on this list to hear from you on the methods of "spiritual science."

"Spiritual Research: Methods and Results" - Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1981.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 09:01:17 -0700

On 21 Apr 99, at 12:26, Tarjei Straume wrote:

Dan Dugan wrote:

By religion Steiner meant ritual worship. Fair enough, but understand that in U.S. law there is no distinction between occultism and religion, occultism is a religion, with all the privileges of a religion, if these are claimed.

Whatever is defined in American legal terms is completely beside the point, and should have no influence whatsoever on how anthroposophists define anthroposophy.

As far as I'm concerned, the question of whether anthroposophy is a religion is relevant only in terms of whether it is legal to have public Waldorf schools in the U.S. Other than that, I don't really care whether Anthroposophists consider it a religion, or wish to pretend that it is a form of science.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 12:03:29 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Tarjei Straume

Bob Tolz wrote:

To Tarjei: It would be useful for me and probably others on this list to hear from you on the methods of "spiritual science."

"Spiritual Research: Methods and Results" - Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1981.

So there's an entire book on it....

Since we're just trying to get an appreciation of the methods and not trying to apply them for ourselves, would you care to summarize some of the salient points of the methods so that we all don't have to go out and buy the book.

Bob Tolz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 09:04:43 -0700

On 21 Apr 99, at 15:35, Tarjei Straume wrote:

Michael Hirsch wrote:

See what I mean, Bob (Tolz)? There are people who go from calling it "spiritual science" to saying it is a science.

We've been through this, and anthroposophy fits no definition of science acceptable to anyone who knows any science.

People who know science are divided on this, because the Scientific Cmmunity does not have a monopoly on such knowledge.

Sure, there are lots of people who know science, and even lots of people within the scientific community, who harbor all kinds of strange ideas. But any definition of science which is acceptable to the great majority of scientists whose work is published in generally accepted scientific journals would not include anthroposophy.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 09:08:21 -0700

On 21 Apr 99, at 17:19, Tarjei Straume wrote:

Bob Tolz wrote:

To Tarjei: It would be useful for me and probably others on this list to hear from you on the methods of "spiritual science."

"Spiritual Research: Methods and Results" - Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1981.

That's not very useful. Could you summarize the methods for us? Or could anyone out there do that?

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Hirsch
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 13:06:17 -0400 (EDT)

Tolz, Robert writes:

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Hirsch

Tarjei Straume writes:

Those definitions are based upon misunderstanding of anthroposophy and a subsequent rejection of it, because occultism is a science, a field of research, supersensible research - not religion. That is why Steiner made the clear distinction between the two.

[Michael Hirsch]

See what I mean, Bob (Tolz)? There are people who go from calling it "spiritual science" to saying it is a science.

We've been through this, and anthroposophy fits no definition of science acceptable to anyone who knows any science.

I'm still with you Michael on the issue of "spiritual science" not being "science" in the ordinarily understood definition of the word, just like "social science" or "economic science." But I'm not sure that Tarjei is saying much different from that by saying it's "a" science.

I think it is pretty clear that he is claiming it is a science, not just a field of study but of scientific study.

I'm speculating here: Perhaps the word "science" is being used by the anthroposophists in the sense that the individual conducts "experiments" which can be reported upon to others who are doing similar research, notes can be compared, and when it turns out that the results can be replicated by more than one "researcher," the researchers have a fruitful area for further research. Since the results are based on personal observations rather than instrument observations, this science parts ways with ordinary science, but it may share at least some of ordinary science's methods.

You're really reaching, Bob. We've been through this. That fact that the observations are not quantified is not the issue. The issue is that replicability and falsifiability do not enter into it. We've asked them multiple time "What if I do your experiment and I don't get your results?" This is the first question that must be answered by any science researcher and the only reply is "Do the experiment (which usually involves years of training) and ask me them."

This is not science. It might be something else, though I don't know what. I'm sure someone else could offer some suggestions for a suitable noun. <g>

--Michael

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 11:19:25 -0600

[Steve Premo:]

As far as I'm concerned, the question of whether anthroposophy is a religion is relevant only in terms of whether it is legal to have public Waldorf schools in the U.S. Other than that, I don't really care whether Anthroposophists consider it a religion, or wish to pretend that it is a form of science.

[Alan S. Fine MD:]

I for one would feel much more comfortable if Anthroposophists considered it a religion. Considering matters of faith to be scientific realities is more than just a misnomer. It involves a loss of reality testing. I have repeatedly seen such lapses cause problems both for the indivdual involved and for the surroundings. Of course to some anthroposophists there is not problem, because the things I (and the vast majority of human beings) would call a matter of faith or belief, they would call objective reality. Am I the only one that feels that this is an unhealthy situation?

Alan S. Fine MD

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 10:42:33 -0700

On 21 Apr 99, at 11:19, Alan S. Fine MD wrote:

Considering matters of faith to be scientific realities is more than just a misnomer. It involves a loss of reality testing. I have repeatedly seen such lapses cause problems both for the indivdual involved and for the surroundings. Of course to some anthroposophists there is not problem, because the things I (and the vast majority of human beings) would call a matter of faith or belief, they would call objective reality. Am I the only one that feels that this is an unhealthy situation?

I don't know, Alan. You're the shrink. But it seems to me that religious people routinely consider matters of faith to be objective reality. To many Christians, for example, Satan is a real guy who really exists, Hell is a real place, and everybody who doesn't follow their religion is really going to go to Hell for all eternity when they die. I don't know that such beliefs are harmful for those who harbor them.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 14:36:48 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Hirsch

[Michael Hirsch]

I think it is pretty clear that he is claiming it is a science, not just a field of study but of scientific study.

[Bob Tolz]

It doesn't bother me if Tarjei considers it a scientific study, nor does it bother me if a sociologist considers a sociological study scientific -- just so long as they both recognize that a scientist would not consider it "science" within the meaning of the word as used by scientists.

Nor, as a matter of fact, does it matter much to me whether someone calls anthroposophy a religion or not. My own personal opinion is that it is not, but my opinion doesn't count for anything. The only person whose opinion matters on that issue is the judge.

I think we're getting into definitional questions on this list that people are simply not likely to agree upon. Witness, for instance, the discussion of the anthroposophists on this list on the question of who is and who is not an anthroposophist.

If I call something purple and my wife calls it magenta, what does it matter? I know that's a trivial example, but I'm getting a similar feeling on some of the other issues.

[Bob Tolz]

I'm speculating here: Perhaps the word "science" is being used by the anthroposophists in the sense that the individual conducts "experiments" which can be reported upon to others who are doing similar research, notes can be compared, and when it turns out that the results can be replicated by more than one "researcher," the researchers have a fruitful area for further research. Since the results are based on personal observations rather than instrument observations, this science parts ways with ordinary science, but it may share at least some of ordinary science's methods.

[Michael Hirsch]

You're really reaching, Bob. We've been through this. That fact that the observations are not quantified is not the issue. The issue is that replicability and falsifiability do not enter into it. We've asked them multiple time "What if I do your experiment and I don't get your results?" This is the first question that must be answered by any science researcher and the only reply is "Do the experiment (which usually involves years of training) and ask me them."

No, I don't think I'm reaching at all, because what I've described is not significantly different from what I and others on my own spiritual path go through, though we don't call it science (nor do we aim to enter into many of the things that have been described by anthroposophists on this list).

Replicability and falsifiability of this type of "experiment" are impossible to predict, because the observer of the experiment is the subject of the experiment, and how the heck are you going to get a control group out of that??? Another obstacle to replicability and falsifiability is that so much depends on the differences between each individual subject; e.g., their innate tendencies, their cultural background, what they understand rationally and intuitively.

It's also difficult to say that the "experiment" would be replicable or falsifiable on even a single individual. If I tried an "experiment" on myself that I think is appropriate today, it might not have been appropriate last year because it just would have gone completely over my head if I was not then prepared to interpret the experience and the results. And next year, my understandings will be different from what they are now, so I might be exploring something quite different.

All the foregoing is based on my own experience, not Tarjei's, so I don't know whether it has anything to do with how Tarjei would explain his "science."

Bob Tolz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 14:51:19 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan S. Fine MD

[Steve Premo:]

As far as I'm concerned, the question of whether anthroposophy is a religion is relevant only in terms of whether it is legal to have public Waldorf schools in the U.S. Other than that, I don't really care whether Anthroposophists consider it a religion, or wish to pretend that it is a form of science.

I am in 100% agreement with you Alan.

[Alan S. Fine MD:]

I for one would feel much more comfortable if Anthroposophists considered it a religion. Considering matters of faith to be scientific realities is more than just a misnomer. It involves a loss of reality testing. I have repeatedly seen such lapses cause problems both for the indivdual involved and for the surroundings. Of course to some anthroposophists there is not problem, because the things I (and the vast majority of human beings) would call a matter of faith or belief, they would call objective reality. Am I the only one that feels that this is an unhealthy situation?

Don't we get back to the same difficulty that hampers a lot of discussion on this list? If I have verified for myself the existence of something which I cannot prove to you because it cannot be touched or measured, it is easy for you to judge it (if you have not verified it for yourself) as being based on pure faith. How can you know that? How can you dismiss it as being unhealthy?

I have not verified for myself whatever the anthroposophists feel they have verified for themselves. That doesn't give me the right to push it aside as being pure faith.

Bob Tolz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 21:20:39 +0200

Steve Premo wrote:

As far as I'm concerned, the question of whether anthroposophy is a religion is relevant only in terms of whether it is legal to have public Waldorf schools in the U.S. Other than that, I don't really care whether Anthroposophists consider it a religion, or wish to pretend that it is a form of science.

But that was what the question was raised in connection with, somehow blurring the distinction that you describe. If Waldorf representatives or other anthropops are playing around with definitions like religion, science, occultism, etc. to make critics "comfortable" with it, perhaps with the view of winning a court case, they're compromising honesty.

If they're not willing to lose battles, they won't win the war.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 21:30:29 +0200

Bob Tolz wrote:

To Tarjei: It would be useful for me and probably others on this list to hear from you on the methods of "spiritual science."

I wrote:

"Spiritual Research: Methods and Results" - Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1981.

Bob Tolz wrote:

So there's an entire book on it....

Since we're just trying to get an appreciation of the methods and not trying to apply them for ourselves, would you care to summarize some of the salient points of the methods so that we all don't have to go out and buy the book.

How relevant is this to WE and the American constitution? The reason I ask is that I have to say no to a lot of effort-and-time-consuming requests made to me on this list. The answer to your question is best answered by "Occult Science," "Knowledge of the Higher Worlds" and other basic books, and the epistemology behind it is found in "Truth and Science" and "Philosophy of Freedom."

I may get back to the summary you're asking for if I can find the time and feel in the mood to respond to the three or four or perhaps six and seven looooong posts by Michael Kopp and others that will probably follow. It can easily become a very tedious thread.

[The post was written: Anthroposophy as a Science, not a Religion]

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 21:35:18 +0200

Steve Premo wrote:

Sure, there are lots of people who know science, and even lots of people within the scientific community, who harbor all kinds of strange ideas. But any definition of science which is acceptable to the great majority of scientists whose work is published in generally accepted scientific journals would not include anthroposophy.

Neither do these journals have a monopoly on the word "science" nor on the claim to scientific knowledge. If they did, they could sue the AS and similar organizations. They can't, because they have no such authority.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 21:36:50 +0200

On 21 Apr 99, at 17:19, Tarjei Straume wrote:

Bob Tolz wrote:

To Tarjei: It would be useful for me and probably others on this list to hear from you on the methods of "spiritual science."

"Spiritual Research: Methods and Results" - Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1981.

Steve Premo wrote:

That's not very useful. Could you summarize the methods for us? Or could anyone out there do that?

Please see my response to Bob Tolz on the same question. I may get back to it.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 21:47:31 +0200

Alan Fine wrote:

I for one would feel much more comfortable if Anthroposophists considered it a religion.

Alan, you're always telling us what would make you comfortable. Unfortunately, I can contribute nothing to your feeling of comfort - especially in relation to anthroposophy. Quite the opposite, I'm afraid.

I consider anthroposophy a science, not a religion. Be as uncomfortable as you may.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 12:50:12 -0700

On 21 Apr 99, at 14:51, Tolz, Robert wrote:

From: Alan S. Fine MD [Steve Premo:]

As far as I'm concerned, the question of whether anthroposophy is a religion is relevant only in terms of whether it is legal to have public Waldorf schools in the U.S. Other than that, I don't really care whether Anthroposophists consider it a religion, or wish to pretend that it is a form of science.

I am in 100% agreement with you Alan.

For the record, that was me; Alan was quoting me, and responding to what I had said.

Alan did write the rest of his post, regarding confusing faith with objective reality.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Stephen Tonkin
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 20:52:40 +0100

Steve Premo wrote:

Sure, there are lots of people who know science, and even lots of people within the scientific community, who harbor all kinds of strange ideas. But any definition of science which is acceptable to the great majority of scientists whose work is published in generally accepted scientific journals would not include anthroposophy.

I agree that this is true. As I think I have said before, the orthodox definition of science has narrowed over the recent centuries. Something that derived from the Latin "scio" = "I know", has been redefined so that it means that which relates not broadly to knowledge but to what is commonly known as "scientific method". When an anthropop speaks of science in relation to the spirit, it is not in any way in the sense that an orthodox scientist uses the term -- it is a way of "knowing" the spiritual realities which we believe underlie the physical realities.

It is really a dead end for either side to pretend that they are speaking of the same thing -- each has defined "science" in a different way. I write this as one who has a foot in each cam ... (Comments about the effect of the intervening fence are unnecessary <g>)

Noctis Gaudia Carpe,
Stephen

--
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
+ Stephen Tonkin | ATM Resources; Astro-Tutorials; Astronomy Books +
+ (N50.9105 W1.829)
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Hirsch
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 16:20:44 -0400 (EDT)

Tolz, Robert writes:

[Michael Hirsch]

I think it is pretty clear that he is claiming it is a science, not just a field of study but of scientific study.

[Bob Tolz]

It doesn't bother me if Tarjei considers it a scientific study, nor does it bother me if a sociologist considers a sociological study scientific -- just so long as they both recognize that a scientist would not consider it "science" within the meaning of the word as used by scientists.

Yet the statement came from someone's suggested PR blurb for Waldorf: "a scientifically valid understanding of human nature" is, I believe, a quote or at worst a very close paraphrase. Should they be required to put in a footnote ("*This use of 'scientific' is a use not in accord with the standard usage of scientists")? Much better to oppose the language in the first place.

Nor, as a matter of fact, does it matter much to me whether someone calls anthroposophy a religion or not. My own personal opinion is that it is not, but my opinion doesn't count for anything. The only person whose opinion matters on that issue is the judge.

I have always agreed that they can call it anything they want amongst themselves, but when speaking with (or writing brochures for) members of the general public they should avoid characterizing it as science.

If I call something purple and my wife calls it magenta, what does it matter? I know that's a trivial example, but I'm getting a similar feeling on some of the other issues.

If I call red green and green red, am I justified in telling a new driver that red means go and green means stop without explaining my usage?

No, I don't think I'm reaching at all, because what I've described is not significantly different from what I and others on my own spiritual path go through, though we don't call it science (nor do we aim to enter into many of the things that have been described by anthroposophists on this list).

Exactly, you don't claim it is science, so I don't take issue with you. That is the significant difference.

Replicability and falsifiability of this type of "experiment" are impossible to predict, because the observer of the experiment is the subject of the experiment, and how the heck are you going to get a control group out of that??? Another obstacle to replicability and falsifiability is that so much depends on the differences between each individual subject; e.g., their innate tendencies, their cultural background, what they understand rationally and intuitively.

A very good explanation of why it is not and probably can never be a science.

--Michael

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 17:18:43 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Tarjei Straume

I may get back to the summary you're asking for if I can find the time and

Believe me, I understand about time constraints.

Bob Tolz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 22:06:01 -0600

On 21 Apr 99, at 11:55 AM, Steve Premo wrote:

I don't know, Alan. You're the shrink. But it seems to me that religious people routinely consider matters of faith to be objective reality. To many Christians, for example, Satan is a real guy who really exists, Hell is a real place, and everybody who doesn't follow their religion is really going to go to Hell for all eternity when they die. I don't know that such beliefs are harmful for those who harbor them.

Ideas such as Satan and Hell are relatively functional for many faithful. Other ideas are much less so. What of the suicide of the Heaven's Gate community? the Children's Crusade? or on a smaller scale, the heart is not a pump? Mixing spiritual beliefs with objective reality can spell trouble in my book.

Alan S. Fine MD

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 17:20:50 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Premo

For the record, that was me; Alan was quoting me, and responding to what I had said.

Sheesh. First Kopp confuses me with Flannery. Now I confuse you with Alan Fine. Must be a variant of the Melissa virus going around. No, couldn't be. That one didn't hit our office. "Happy99" did.

Bob Tolz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 16:02:48 -0700

On 21 Apr 99, at 17:20, Tolz, Robert wrote:

From: Steve Premo

For the record, that was me; Alan was quoting me, and responding to what I had said.

Sheesh. First Kopp confuses me with Flannery. Now I confuse you with Alan Fine.

It's an understandable error. My wife's last name is Fine.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 23:30:34 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Premo

[Bob Tolz]

Sheesh. First Kopp confuses me with Flannery. Now I confuse you with Alan Fine.

[Steve Premo]

It's an understandable error. My wife's last name is Fine.

I knew there was a good explanation!

Bob Tolz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 23:26:56 +1200

Michael Hirsch writes:

This is not science. It might be something else, though I don't know what. I'm sure someone else could offer some suggestions for a suitable noun. <g>

Michael KOPP replies:

We have a perfectly good term for it, used to describe such nonsenses long before I brought it to this list:

MUMBO JUMBO

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: RE: defining religion
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 14:24:33 +0200

Michael Hirsch writes:

This is not science. It might be something else, though I don't know what. I'm sure someone else could offer some suggestions for a suitable noun. <g>

Michael KOPP replies:

We have a perfectly good term for it, used to describe such nonsenses long before I brought it to this list:

MUMBO JUMBO

Sounds like some Disney character, lending credence to the impression that Mickey Mouse belongs to the skeptics' pantheon of deities.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 08:38:37 -0700

On 21 Apr 99, at 22:06, Alan S. Fine MD wrote:

Ideas such as Satan and Hell are relatively functional for many faithful.

And quite destructive for others, I think. I imagine thinking that your child is bound for hell because he doesn't follow your religion is pretty distressing, and not conducive to a good relationship.

And the idea that only Christians go to heaven, and folks of other religions are being duped by Satan, can lead to a feeling of moral superiority and has been used in the past to justify all kinds of bad acts meant to "save" the poor heathens from their fiery fate.

Other ideas are much less so. What of the suicide of the Heaven's Gate community?

Well, yes, the idea that Comet Hale-Bopp was being followed by a spaceship which would take the faithful who shed their bodies at the appropriate time is a highly destructive belief.

I agree with you that mixing spiritual beliefs with objective reality can spell trouble, depending on the beliefs and on how they are used.

I don't agree with your supposition or implication that children educated in Waldorf schools are more likely than other kids to massacre their fellow students and their teachers.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 18:54:19 +0200

Steve Premo wrote (to Alan Fine:)

I agree with you that mixing spiritual beliefs with objective reality can spell trouble, depending on the beliefs and on how they are used.

There are also many examples of materialistic beliefs taking an ugly, destructive turn when mixed with objective reality. There are people who use such a belief system to support a nihilistic, hedonistic, and cynical egoism with no moral responsibility.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 10:20:51 -0700

On 22 Apr 99, at 18:54, Tarjei Straume wrote:

Steve Premo wrote (to Alan Fine:)

I agree with you that mixing spiritual beliefs with objective reality can spell trouble, depending on the beliefs and on how they are used.

There are also many examples of materialistic beliefs taking an ugly, destructive turn when mixed with objective reality. There are people who use such a belief system to support a nihilistic, hedonistic, and cynical egoism with no moral responsibility.

Can you give us some examples, Taz?

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 20:10:04 +0200

On 22 Apr 99, at 18:54, Tarjei Straume wrote:

Steve Premo wrote (to Alan Fine:)

I agree with you that mixing spiritual beliefs with objective reality can spell trouble, depending on the beliefs and on how they are used.

There are also many examples of materialistic beliefs taking an ugly, destructive turn when mixed with objective reality. There are people who use such a belief system to support a nihilistic, hedonistic, and cynical egoism with no moral responsibility.

Can you give us some examples, Taz?

The philosophy is question is sometimes revealed by young people charged with unpalatable crimes; on other instances by certain tycoons and mafia-type individuals, and occasionally by the Pentagon. You meet them on various usenets, news groups, the cynical people who believe that all ethical considerations whould yield to pragmatic goals, and that your life isn't worth anything more than squashed fly if you believe anything else. And they despise and scorn religion.

There are also many suicides among young people who feel that life has no value and that there is nothing spiritual. So they believe that suicide puts an end to it all once and forever.

The philosophy I'm getting at is masterly described by Jack London in the closing chapters of "John Barleycorn," when he is having dialogues with "The White Logic."

Jack London's "White Logic" is the seductive and persuasive voice of atheistic-materialistic nihilism.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Alan S. Fine MD"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 22:04:21 -0600

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Premo
Date: Thursday, April 22, 1999 9:52 AM
Subject: Re: defining religion

I don't agree with your supposition or implication that children educated in Waldorf schools are more likely than other kids to massacre their fellow students and their teachers.

I am definitely not trying to imply that. I am sorry my statement came across so poorly. What I am feeling is that people in ever greater numbers, are abandoning their centeredness and and their sense of reality, and commending themselves into magical heirarchies of every conceivable form. I do not see this phenomenon as particularly healthy, and I think we should have an organized approach to making young people less vulnerable to these tendencies. I am in favor of fostering in young people a firm sense of reality, a healthy skepticism for occult matters, and solid independent thinking. My albeit limited experiences make wonder if WE is particularly strong in this regard.

Alan S. Fine MD

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 19:05:18 +1200

On 22 Apr 99, at 18:54, Tarjei Straume wrote:

Steve Premo wrote (to Alan Fine:)

I agree with you that mixing spiritual beliefs with objective reality can spell trouble, depending on the beliefs and on how they are used.

There are also many examples of materialistic beliefs taking an ugly, destructive turn when mixed with objective reality. There are people who use such a belief system to support a nihilistic, hedonistic, and cynical egoism with no moral responsibility.

Can you give us some examples, Taz?

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California

Like the Crusades? The Inquisition? The Moral Majority? Christian Ronnie RayGun?

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 04:52:21 -0400

Alan Fine continues:

What I am feeling is that people in ever greater numbers, are abandoning their centeredness and and their sense of reality, and commending themselves into magical heirarchies of every conceivable form. I do not see this phenomenon as particularly healthy, and I think we should have an organized approach to making young people less vulnerable to these tendencies. I am in favor of fostering in young people a firm sense of reality, a healthy skepticism for occult matters, and solid independent thinking. My albeit limited experiences make wonder if WE is particularly strong in this regard.

If these are your concerns, I would consider the influence of modern culture, as driven by the engine of electronic media. This is the real issue in the Denver murders, in my opinion.

Robert Flannery
New York

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 14:39:28 +0200

Alan Fine continues:

What I am feeling is that people in ever greater numbers, are abandoning their centeredness and and their sense of reality, and commending themselves into magical heirarchies of every conceivable form. I do not see this phenomenon as particularly healthy, and I think we should have an organized approach to making young people less vulnerable to these tendencies. I am in favor of fostering in young people a firm sense of reality, a healthy skepticism for occult matters, and solid independent thinking. My albeit limited experiences make wonder if WE is particularly strong in this regard.

Robert Flannery wrote:

If these are your concerns, I would consider the influence of modern culture, as driven by the engine of electronic media. This is the real issue in the Denver murders, in my opinion.

For many years, I have been asking myself the question: Do the macabre fantasies occuring as ideas and expressing themselves in movies manifest in real life, or are such movies simply reflecting latent social pathologies?

I never forget the author of thrillers whose own daughter was murdered in the same manner he had described in one of his fictions. This is a riddle, the relationship between media and social behavior. Sometimes the copycat factor (inspired by violent movies) can be obvious; in other cases, such associations are speculative.

From a certain perspective, we may say that the creators of nasty movies get rid of their own demons so to speak by giving them artistic expression. But these same demons may take possession of weak souls who watch the movies. This is a highly relevant topic for future research, including spiritual-scientific research.

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 09:24:22 -0700

On 22 Apr 99, at 22:04, Alan S. Fine MD wrote:

I don't agree with your supposition or implication that children educated in Waldorf schools are more likely than other kids to massacre their fellow students and their teachers.

I am definitely not trying to imply that.

Thanks for clearing that up!

I am in favor of fostering in young people a firm sense of reality, a healthy skepticism for occult matters, and solid independent thinking.

Yes, I am in favor of that as well.

My albeit limited experiences make wonder if WE is particularly strong in this regard.

I share your concern.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

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From: Tarjei Straume
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 18:57:00 +0200

Alan Fine wrote:

I am in favor of fostering in young people a firm sense of reality, a healthy skepticism for occult matters, and solid independent thinking.

Steve Premo wrote:

Yes, I am in favor of that as well.

I have strong suspicons about what kind of lack of respect and understanding for children may be implied here. I recently saw an episode of an adventure TV series for kids. A little boy was talking to his deceased mother. An adult friend came by and asked why the boy was talking into thin air. When the boy explained that he had been talking to his mother, the man said: "Of course, that explains it. I'm sorry, I didn't see her."

I suspect that Alan would have sent the kid to a shrink and suggested medication for schizophrenic behavior.

Children, especially very young children, often have occult-spiritual experiences and perceptions that are later suppressed under the influence of evolving intellect. Insensitivity based upon materialistic bias may be psychologically harmful.

Alan:

My albeit limited experiences make wonder if WE is particularly strong in this regard.

Steve:

I share your concern.

Perhaps the concern in question is a fear of the reverence for children and their inner world that is recognized by Waldorf teachers? I am much more concerned about the lack of such reverence, but maybe the crime rate has not yet reached sufficient proportions for the skeptics to recognize this possible connection.

Cheers

Tarjei Straume

Greetings from Uncle Taz

http://www.uncletaz.com/

Anarchosophy, anarchism, anthroposophy, occultism, Christianity, poetry,
plays, library, articles, galleries, marijuana, criminality, death, skulls,
skeletons, banners, links, links, links. Big section in Norwegian.

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From: "Steve Premo"
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 10:40:27 -0700

On 23 Apr 99, at 18:57, Tarjei Straume wrote:

Alan Fine wrote:

I am in favor of fostering in young people a firm sense of reality, a healthy skepticism for occult matters, and solid independent thinking.

Steve Premo wrote:

Yes, I am in favor of that as well.

I have strong suspicons about what kind of lack of respect and understanding for children may be implied here.

Speaking for myself, I believe your suspicions to be unfounded. I am in favor of fostering the imagination of children, and I believe that one should carry that imagination throughout one's life. Put another way, I don't think anyone should ever grow up if growing up means putting aside such childish things as humor, imagination, a sense of wonder, and so on.

I don't think this is inconsistent with a firm sense of reality, a healthy skepticism for occult matters, or solid independent thinking.

I recently saw an episode of an adventure TV series for kids. A little boy was talking to his deceased mother. An adult friend came by and asked why the boy was talking into thin air. When the boy explained that he had been talking to his mother, the man said: "Of course, that explains it. I'm sorry, I didn't see her."

That is a good response, and I would probably respond in a similar way.

Alan:

My albeit limited experiences make wonder if WE is particularly strong in this regard.

Steve:

I share your concern.

Perhaps the concern in question is a fear of the reverence for children and their inner world that is recognized by Waldorf teachers?

Not at all. I share that reverence, and I think that as the child matures, it should be balanced with a facility for critical thinking. I like the way Waldorf nurtures the imagination of young children, but I am concerned that this may not be adequately balanced in later years by nurturing the child's ability to critically evaluate different ideas.

I am much more concerned about the lack of such reverence, but maybe the crime rate has not yet reached sufficient proportions for the skeptics to recognize this possible connection.

In the U.S., the crime rate has been steadily declining for many years, in spite of a few sensational crimes which make the news.

Steve Premo -- Santa Cruz, California
"There is a right and a wrong in the Universe and
that distinction is not difficult to make." - Superman

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 15:51:51 -0400

In the U.S., the crime rate has been steadily declining for many years, in spite of a few sensational crimes which make the news.

The decline in the U.S. crime rate over the last few years is coincident with a construction boom in prisons. We're warehousing the issue.

Robert Flannery
New York

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From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 14:49:01 +1200

Robert Flannery says:

Steve PREMO said:

In the U.S., the crime rate has been steadily declining for many years, in spite of a few sensational crimes which make the news.

And FLANNERY replied:

The decline in the U.S. crime rate over the last few years is coincident with a construction boom in prisons. We're warehousing the issue.

Michael KOPP says:

Not Q.E.D. Robert.

The crime rate in the U.S. is declining for a number of reasons, the most prominent of which, I suggest, it the incredible domestic properity, but also because of better policing and a move towards greater community efforts at crime prevention, including a return to community policing (the New York City "Zero Tolerance" idea being only the most radical of them, and not necessarily the best).

New Zealand is also building more prisons, and getting tougher in sentencing, and putting more cops on the street, and even embracing community policing (again -- it's been in and out of fashion three times in the 18 years I've been here), but NOT "Zero Tolerance", though the NZ Minister of Police has visite NYC recently and was highly impressed.

But the crime rate in Godzone is INCREASING, and has been for the last decade.

Which is about the amount of time right-wing governments have been waving bigger sticks and moralizing to the hoi-polloi about enforcing family values through law, and ensuring that the rich stay rich while the poor get poorer, and selling off the crown jewels to rich multinationals, and cutting social and educational benefits so radically that people now literally die in the street.

And, though none havet been in schools (so far), and NZ has tougher gun-control laws than New York State (absolutely no-one except highly controlled collectors and sport shooters may own any form of hand-gun or semi-automatic weapon, and all automatics are completely forbidden), there have been at least four mass murders in the last decade, one of which took 14 lives, the most recent six. And the incidence of rape, especially of older women in their homes, and serious felony assault, has gone through the roof, to the extent that Parliament has toughened the sentences for "home invasion" crimes.

But, all that said, it's still a lovely place to live -- the newspapers don't print pictures of the mass murders (though they do print pics of the bashed old ladies) or of those living in the gutter and dying for lack of medical care.

Crime is related to social and economic problems, Robert. It's that simple.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: defining religion
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 00:31:23 -0400

Michael Kopp weighs in:

The crime rate in the U.S. is declining for a number of reasons, the most prominent of which, I suggest, is the incredible domestic prosperity, but also because of better policing and a move towards greater community efforts at crime prevention, including a return to community policing (the New York City "Zero Tolerance" idea being only the most radical of them, and not necessarily the best).

Check your facts, Michael. New York City has moved completely away from any community policing model, under Commissioner Safir. He's now catching a lot of heat for this in light of the Diallo shooting.

But the crime rate in Godzone is INCREASING, and has been for the last decade.

As you've pointed out so well, NZ is not the U.S. Note my original post -- I referred to the situation in the *U.S.*, specifically to avoid such confusion.

Crime is related to social and economic problems, Robert. It's that simple.

No argument from me on the first sentence. But it's not that simple.

Robert Flannery
New York

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: defining religion (Tolz Amendment)
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 13:42:13 +1200

[Reasons for re-edited post snipped, first version deleted.]

Robert Flannery writes:

John wrote:

Yes, I thank Tarjei too on this point. But note that there is a disagreement among at least some Anthroposophists here. Tarjei freely acknowledges the religious nature of Anthroposophy, while others, such as Stephen Tonkin, take issue with that descriptive label.

Perhaps the Anthroposophists on this list could provide some reasoning behind this difference of opinion.

From anthroposophist to anthropop, you'll usually find quite a range of opinion on most things anthroposophical. No matter how many study groups you work with or how many teachers' conferences you attend, you're still working on what is essentially your own personal understanding of Steiner's work and how it relates to your individual world-view.

I think this is why Tarjei says we're all anarchists at heart. What separates anthroposophists from the bomb-throwers is the realization that throwing bombs interferes pretty significantly with other people's freedom--ideally, we each have a continuing *responsibility* to find the truth for ourselves, without compromising another individual's freedom along the way.

Michael KOPP says:

The whole "Anthropops are really individualists" idea has been rehashed many times on this list, and many times the apparent similarities and adherence to Steiner's thought and Anthroposophy [whether they call it a religion or not], have been evidenced by the concerted effort of the Defenders of the Faith [TM] to drive off criticism through any means possible.

The best indicator of solidarity amongst all these "anarchists" is that they still call themselves Anthroposophists, or say they think Steiner was right, or teach in Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical (SWA) schools, or have or had their children in SWA schools, or in some way write apologia for SWA or attack its critics.

As well as a number of Steiner's other idiosyncratic (polite, today, ain't I) views of life, the Universe and everything (was there anything he didn't have an opinion of or lecture about?) Anthroposophy contains the roots of Rudolf Steiner's political and economic and social creed, "the three-fold order". We don't talk much about this on this list, but it is apparent in the behaviour of the community of Anthroposophists in Viroqua, Wisconsin (if the reports are accurate, and we have only Bob Jones' word on that, not the reporting of a good investigative journalist).

It is also apparent in the behaviour of a community of Anthroposophists in a small town in New Zealand who recently tried to expand their school significantly in number of students and area and buildings, to the detriment of the town's character and serenity. They went all the way to the Planning Tribunal -- and finally lost, due to concerted effort by the [truly individualistic, typically Kiwi] town folk.

As to being "anarchists", Flannery is using the hyperbole technique of propaganda, painting "the other" anarchists as "bomb-throwers". But that's a false picture that real anarchists would deplore. Anarchy (as I'm sure Taz would agree) does not equate with bombs. Tolz doesn't help us understand the nature of the Anthroposophist, he deflects us from thinking about it while we argue about bombs.

Real anarchists have an aversion to _anything holding sway_ over them, but they don't dismiss all need for order in society.

Anthroposophists do not have an aversion to the overarching fundamentals of Anthroposophy and Rudolf Steiner's world-view: they all embrace it to varying appearances.

I say appearances because I think this "anarchist" label is contrary to the real nature of Anthroposophists.

If they were anarchists, there would be no SWA movement and schools, there would be no SWA "industry", in fact. There would not be "notional communities" like the ones in Jarna and Virogua. And there would not be the socio-economic, political, cultural and educational degree of similarity we see on this list, despite the faux individualism. Nor would SWA schools everywhere adhere more or less to the general dogma and pedagogy of Rudolf Steiner to the extent that they tell parents who are uncomfortable with some aspects of the education -- a we were -- to take it or leave it, and "you will never change our minds".

That's not anarchy: it fits in quite well with Steiner's "three-fold" plans. To me, it's a form of fascism in the sheep's clothing of "freedom" and anarchy.

FLANNERY:

Bob Jones (should I start putting quotation marks around that name?)

KOPP:

Not unless you want to reopen the matter of truly hidden and anonymous apologists for Anthroposophy, like "the mysterious -el" from times of old, who may have resurfaced as the "newcomer" to the list, "redon", who signed one of its posts "-El", and used an epigram as a signature line, in similarity to the "-el" of old. They both spouted Anthroposophical dogma like real pros -- especially where the pedagogy and schools are concerned. Almost as good as Robert Flannery. The only difference is that the previous incarnation (pun intended) signed itself with a small letter e and the current one with a big E. Bob Jones has told us more about himself that either -el or redon.

FLANNERY:

Dan Dugan and Michael Kopp and Kathy Sutphen would all say that anthroposophists *are* homogenous--they get defensive when challenged and shun people asking tough questions and they're rigid and dogmatic. This reflects their experience with schools who took a "circle-the-wagons" mentality when strongly challenged. I think I have a pretty good understanding of what happened, after listening to their stories for all these years and watching how they relate socially on this list.

I doubt you'll ever find total agreement on the religious aspects of anthroposophy among anthroposophists. Survey fifty fifth-grade teachers in waldorf schools and you'll find fifty different ways to teach fifth grade (with a lot of commonality, too!).

KOPP:

But survey fifty fifth-grade teachers' curricula and lesson plans and the work done by their students and I think you'll find enormous similarities that mark them as not just Anthroposophically-inspired or based, but as embodying the world-view and mumbo jumbo that Steiner believed in and enshrined in his made-up religion called Anthroposophy, wearing the sheep's clothing of a philosophy.

How do I know? Well, there's enough similarity in the account of the critics here on this list and private correspondence I and others have had. Certainly Robert Flannery, as an entrenched member of the Anthroposophical elite, knows more fifth-grade teachers than I do (there are only a handful of SWA schools in New Zealand which have "fifth grades", and I haven't made a personal survey). But this does not mean that Flannery has a better view of the elephant: he sees one end, I see the other (not the trumpeting one).

What is needed is academic research in a large-scale study of the curricula, lesson plans, teaching methods, teacher training and student output.

Dan Dugan has asked everyone who has ever said their children or their students are wonderful to send him their lesson books.

I recently approached a former classmate of my son's, who had completed 12 years at our former Steiner school, with a request to study her entire output for that time, as I had never been able to get a clear picture of the curriculum of our school, even by making a legally-binding official information request. Unfortunately, my son's friend (like my son, still) has a strong identification with the school (though my son agues with his former teachers, who say he's just talking with my mind) and did not acceed to my request. I understand her loyalty to the school. But someday, there has to be an accounting, at least in those schools which are publicly funded or integrated with the state schools in any way, wherever.

FLANNERY:

Ask me if I think I can delve into the past lives of my students and I would say no, but Rene Querido seems to have a different opinion about that. Roy Wilkinson would no doubt teach my class a *lot* differently than I do. Ask an anthroposophist what they think about computers for children or adults and you'll receive a wide range of opinions. Some anthroposophists are diagnosed with cancer and turn to Iscador, others immediately look for conventional treatments with chemo and radiation, while others might rely on prayer or a combination of all three.

Ask a group of waldorf teachers what they think about waldorf and public education (in whatever part of the world they live). Ask an anthroposophist for his personal opinion on Rudolf Steiner as an individual.

What are we? What do we represent as a group? Who speaks for us?

How can we be classified if we can't even say what anthroposophy represents or who is an anthroposophist?

KOPP:

The similarities are greater than the differences.

The commonality is Steiner.

As a group you represent Steiner. It is Steiner who speaks for you.

You are, in my opinion, a group of believers in mysticism, occultism and spiritualism, whatever you call it and yourselves, and however you practice it.

Your alleged inability to characterize or identify yourselves does not negate the fact of your existence as a group of people all focused on Rudolf Steiner's metaphysics and pedagogy as religion and mission.

Those traits are, in my opinion, just what Steiner wanted his believers to display to the world as a smoke-screen, while they went about the business of promulgating his world revolution, often without even knowing it.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Robert Flannery
Subject: Re: defining religion (Tolz Amendment)
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 22:40:54 -0400

Michael Kopp posts:

As well as a number of Steiner's other idiosyncratic (polite, today, ain't I) views of life, the Universe and everything (was there anything he didn't have an opinion of or lecture about?) Anthroposophy contains the roots of Rudolf Steiner's political and economic and social creed, "the three-fold order". We don't talk much about this on this list, but it is apparent in the behaviour of the community of Anthroposophists in Viroqua, Wisconsin (if the reports are accurate, and we have only Bob Jones' word on that, not the reporting of a good investigative journalist).

It is also apparent in the behaviour of a community of Anthroposophists in a small town in New Zealand who recently tried to expand their school significantly in number of students and area and buildings, to the detriment of the town's character and serenity. They went all the way to the Planning Tribunal -- and finally lost, due to concerted effort by the [truly individualistic, typically Kiwi] town folk.

How is the threefold social order "apparent in the behaviour of the community of Anthroposophists in Viroqua"?

If what Bob says is true (and my limited experience with Bob tells me he says a lot without being clear on all the facts), it sounds like like-minded people organizing to implement or maintain their own standards. I don't know much about the threefold social order, but I don't think that I've read anything about cultural, economic, and rights spheres being delineated in Viroqua by the anthroposophists.

What's the NZ situation got to do with 3-folding?

Remember, just because anthroposophists may be involved in an initiative that goes beyond a waldorf school doesn't mean there's any threefolding going on. Very few anthroposophists understand it well enough to practice it, from what I've heard.

Robert Flannery
New York

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: Re: defining religion (Tolz Amendment)
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 16:00:09 +1200

Robert Flannery says:

Michael Kopp posts:

As well as a number of Steiner's other idiosyncratic (polite, today, ain't I) views of life, the Universe and everything (was there anything he didn't have an opinion of or lecture about?) Anthroposophy contains the roots of Rudolf Steiner's political and economic and social creed, "the three-fold order". We don't talk much about this on this list, but it is apparent in

[snip]

Remember, just because anthroposophists may be involved in an initiative that goes beyond a waldorf school doesn't mean there's any threefolding going on. Very few anthroposophists understand it well enough to practice it, from what I've heard.

Michael KOPP says:

My point was that they don't have to know anything about it to fulfill Steiner's aims. They just follow their "open-minded" way down Anthroposophy's highways and byways, and they are doing his work as well as they could if they were conspirators (which I am not saying you or they are).

Cheers from Godzone

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion (Tolz Amendment)
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 09:44:05 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp

Michael KOPP says:

My point was that they don't have to know anything about it to fulfill Steiner's aims. They just follow their "open-minded" way down Anthroposophy's highways and byways, and they are doing his work as well as they could if they were conspirators (which I am not saying you or they are).

Which would you complain more about, Michael? Open-mindedness or blind faith?

Bob Tolz

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Michael Kopp
Subject: RE: defining religion (Tolz Amendment)
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 10:25:41 +1200

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp

Michael KOPP says:

My point was that they don't have to know anything about it to fulfill Steiner's aims. They just follow their "open-minded" way down Anthroposophy's highways and byways, and they are doing his work as well as they could if they were conspirators (which I am not saying you or they are).

Which would you complain more about, Michael? Open-mindedness or blind faith?

Bob Tolz

Impossible to say, Bob, as for Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical people they are the same thing. Did you not see the quotation marks around "open-minded"?

SWA people are open-minded to SWA, and little else, especially not scepticism or criticism of their guru, their religion, or their educational dogma.

Cheers from Godzone,

Michael Kopp
Wellington, New Zealand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Tolz, Robert"
Subject: RE: defining religion (Tolz Amendment)
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 22:47:25 -0400

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Kopp

Which would you complain more about, Michael? Open-mindedness or blind faith?

Bob Tolz

[Kopp]

Impossible to say, Bob, as for Steiner/ Waldorf/ Anthroposophical people they are the same thing. Did you not see the quotation marks around "open-minded"?

SWA people are open-minded to SWA, and little else, especially not scepticism or criticism of their guru, their religion, or their educational dogma.

May I borrow a line from you, Michael? Your "little else" comment is based on assumptions of fact which are not in evidence. How would you know that they are open-minded to little else? You have absolutely no idea. It's just another one of your over-broad strokes of the brush.

You make it sound like they have their hackles up and their teeth bared. On the contrary, Michael. My sense from listening to the comments of the Waldorf teachers on this list is that they are deeply saddened that you or any of the other Waldorf Critics had to go through your negative experiences. If they were close-minded about your criticism of Waldorf education, they'd deny, deny, deny. But that's not what they're doing.

In contrast to your close-minded approach, where you believe that it is reasonable to extrapolate from your personal experience to say that all of Waldorf Education is the same as what you experienced, the teachers on this list do not over-generalize. They have very explicitly stated what they do in their own classes, and they have indicated they can imagine how some teachers who are poorly trained might provide the "experience" that you had. In short, they have acknowledged that there can be shortcomings. That's open-minded in my book.

Bob Tolz

P.S. What the heck does "Tolz Amendment" mean?

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