On Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 4:09 AM, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>  While some modern groups hold views similar to Arianism, it does remain true that belief in a triune God is central to Orthodox and Catholic belief as well as to churches of the Protestant Reformation. A description of Christianity should IMO take this on board.

Surely you only mean that trinity is an aspect (... and a minor one,
vs. the whole "only through Christ" thing) of those sects of
Christianity that hold it? A thorough description of the family of
religions as a whole would include description of this, certainly. But
I kinda doubt that the *name* of them would, in a system like Louie's
proposal, simply because AFAICT it's not all that *definitionally*
important, or spiritually salient, to average adherents of those

And surely in sects that don't believe in that would not have it in
their description/name at all, save as part of an essay contrast
against their siblings?

(I thought that we were primarily discussing how such a conlang
religious belief naming system as Louie's might work - i.e. an ad hoc
terse but flexible naming system for personal religious belief -
rather than what one might bring up in an exhaustive article, so the
above is presuming that framing.)

> Absolutely! Gender has the extra ambiguity in that it may refer to sexual orientation.

Really? To me the two are quite separate.

Certainly sexual orientation *refers* to gender, definitionally. But
this seems to be conflating social behaviors, presentation, roles, etc
(which, as a whole, ~= gender) with what presentations one finds
attractive in others.

I'm curious how you see differently here. (ObCL, does anyone have a
system that actually does mesh them?)

> Nor is biological sex as straightforward as some people make out either. I recall seeing a program about a young girl who outwardly had all the physical characteristics of a female, but instead of ovaries had male testes.

Quite. That's much rarer than social queerness, though, AFAICT.

ObCL: anyone have interesting gender systems?

> I think if we were having a serious discussion (and I don't think this list is the place for that), then particular beliefs would be more carefully defined. For example, one would defined more closely the particular variety of Christianity or of Buddhism - and possibly with regard to individuals - define more closely positions within that particular variety (e.g. liberal or conservative). Likewise, with 'atheism' which, as this thread has shown (and similar ones in the past have shown) does not have a single, universally agreed precise meaning.

Exactly. Which is why (ObCL again) I was construing this thread as a
discussion around how one might create the vocabulary around such
things - to be able to succinctly and accurately state one's own
beliefs without having to buy in to a standard (and thus overbroad, as
we've seen) term.

It would be nice (for this purpose alone - one can imagine other
drawbacks!) if e.g. people had more names for their gods, and more
cultural readiness to split naming. Cf. Islam's renaming of Yahweh to
Allah - though they claim to be referring to the same entity, in a
different metaphysical context. Many gods - Yahweh being no exception
- have a stupendous amount of names in certain traditions. (Buddha
certainly does too.) Perhaps each sub-tradition could take one of them
as their particular name for the god?

This would both allow them all to refer to the same entity (since they
agree that these are merely various names), and strongly imply the
theological context of the namer - just as much as one can be fairly
sure that someone purporting to believe in Allah is not a Jew. ;-)

Of course, this naming-based system would probably fail for more
subtle variants that don't have established traditions, or indeed for
nontheistic religions or quasi-religions (e.g. Daoism).

> The Buddhism I saw in China was rather more than practice of meditation! In any case, meditation has always figured seriously in many varieties of Christianity and, indeed, AFAIK is found to a lesser or greater degreed in (nearly?) all religions.

Indeed! It would be interesting if our naming system could take that
into account - to identify e.g. meditation-heavy Christian traditions
with similar Buddhist ones.

So perhaps the naming system would be something like:

[general metaphysical stance, eg theistic strong agnostic] [specific
name of primary god, pantheon, or kind of god] [degree of involvement
in practice] [specific practices, eg church / prayer / breath
meditation] [(if not defaulting to parents' religion) reason for

I would be fairly surprised if Louie's suggestion of including deific
gender is actually salient day-to-day for most people. (I suspect that
most would be hard pressed to even defend a claim to
not-merely-grammatical gender of a monotheistic god.)

I also suspect that the vast majority of religious dogma is quite
irrelevant to most non-theologians' actual practice of their religion.
It would be nice if the conlang religion (or areligion!) names were
about what the particular person actually *did* find salient.

- Sai