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Old 19th March 2019, 02:10 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I don't think just making supernatural claims (I think Geller has backed off from some of these recently), having a show, and selling tickets makes you a cult. I think what makes Falun Gong a cult is primarily what they do outside their shows, with their shows primarily a funding and recruiting tool for the cult itself.
I think around the 70s/80s that was what he was trying to do. Didn't take though.
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Old 19th March 2019, 08:59 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Tormac View Post
I actually know someone who practices Falun Gong. She is Chinese and immigrated to the USA. I have spoken with her a little bit about religion in general, and hers specifically (I have always been interested in how different religions seem to get along in Chinese culture better than they have in the west). My impression is it sounds very much like “New Age” beliefs with heavy emphasis on meditation, stretching and breathing exercises, and prayers. She believes in the ability of prayer and meditation to make physical changes in the world, and holds that positive thinking can make positive changes, and negative thinking can make negative changes. It does not seem particularly dangerous to me, as far as religions go.

From my impression of her, Falun Gong seems non-violent and harmless, except to the extent that its members do actively cultivate a sense of “magical thinking”. In general this sense of “magical thinking”, being inherently irrational, can lead one to irrational acts. I don’t think it is any more dangerous that the other “qigong” style beliefs. The whole idea of “qi” is irrational, and has no proof, but neither does Karma, Original sin, God, or Valhalla, so who can say which one is a cult and which one is a religion.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all an expert in Falun Gong, but to a westerner her belief sounds similar to much “New Age” fluff of an Asian flavor. Outside of her religious beliefs I would say she is a very pleasant, intelligent, hard working person. Her immigration to the USA is China’s loss. I would be happy with her as a neighbor.
QFT.

To put atheism ahead of human rights re freedom of conscience and religion, seems terribly wrong to me. By that standard Chinese oppression (including violence) of Falun Gong is okay, along with oppression of Uighurs because they're Muslim. Daesh persecution, torture, rape, and killing of Yazidi is wrong because religion vs. religion, but if it were a secular group, okay? Hardly.

So in this instance, isn't the moral choice, regardless of atheistic beliefs, to side with Falun Gong who are generally peaceable and seeking to communicate - not force - their beliefs on others? Whether or not one wants to go to see the show is of course another matter and I can empathize with unwanted religious/new age/whatever content. I'm Catholic but it certainly doesn't mean that I want to go to every show/movie/whatever merely because it's put on by a Catholic group! Nor would I want to go to see a show only to have unexpected prosletyzing in the middle of it, even if I agreed with the content.
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Old 19th March 2019, 09:02 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
If there is some really, really, deep message contained in these words of yours Belz then it's too deep for me.
It's both a reference to Excalibur and a personal statement about dishonesty. Nothing more or less.
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Old 19th March 2019, 09:03 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Global Memberships...

Bahá'í: 7 million

Shinto: 4 million

Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million

Neo-Paganism: 1.0 million

Rastafari: 600,000


Scientology: 40,000

Children of God/ Family International: about 10,000

The Peoples Temple Agricultural Project: 909 (all deceased at Jonestown, Guyana)

Branch Davidians: Approx 100 (76 deceased at Waco, TX)

Heaven's Gate: 43 (41 deceased at San Diego CA)


The top five (green) are all accepted as bona-fide religions
The bottom five (red) are generally accepted to be cults.

Draw a line into which you fit Falun Gong as a cult based on their number of members: between 10 million and 70 million.
Wow it's pretty cool that Zoroaster still has a good number of followers.
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Old 19th March 2019, 09:04 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
QFT.

To put atheism ahead of human rights re freedom of conscience and religion, seems terribly wrong to me.
So the Chinese are atheists+?
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Old 19th March 2019, 09:17 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
So the Chinese are atheists+?
? Not sure what you mean. Not the poster I replied to, but it seemed to me that Chinese oppression didn't really get paid attention to, because of disagreement with Falun Gong's beliefs, even if they're not the reason for Chinese oppression (i.e. more the political and/or a large organization aspects).
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Old 19th March 2019, 09:19 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
? Not sure what you mean. Not the poster I replied to, but it seemed to me that Chinese oppression didn't really get paid attention to, because of disagreement with Falun Gong's beliefs, even if they're not the reason for Chinese oppression (i.e. more the political and/or a large organization aspects).
Atheism+ was the notion that you had to be an atheist plus a social justice crusader in a take-no-prisoner way. I was drawing a nonsensical parallel for humour. It's a silly reference, forget it.
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Old 21st March 2019, 11:20 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Tormac View Post
The whole idea of “qi” is irrational, and has no proof, but neither does Karma, Original sin, God, or Valhalla, so who can say which one is a cult and which one is a religion.
The concept of "qi" has a great deal of evidence for it, depending on how one understands it. As a supernatural force, I agree that it is utterly superstitious. In its core meaning as "current" or "flow", it is a valid metaphor for vascular health.
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Old 21st March 2019, 11:28 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by leonAzul View Post
The concept of "qi" has a great deal of evidence for it, depending on how one understands it. As a supernatural force, I agree that it is utterly superstitious. In its core meaning as "current" or "flow", it is a valid metaphor for vascular health.
Exactly zero of the descriptions of qi bear any resemblance whatsoever to the vascular system.
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Old 22nd March 2019, 12:41 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
but it seemed to me that Chinese oppression didn't really get paid attention to, because of disagreement with Falun Gong's beliefs,
It's a separate issue. One can decry oppression and also realize that Falun Gong is a dangerous cult. Perhaps not as dangerous as Christianity in the US, but still...

Quote:
even if they're not the reason for Chinese oppression (i.e. more the political and/or a large organization aspects).
Religious and political groups are largely the same, though religions are generally worse because they are more impervious to reason. China oppresses these groups because they are not naive enough to think that they won't metastasize if ignored.

The framers of the US constitution were keenly aware of the danger of government being taken over by religion, but they were also paranoid about being oppressed so they came up with the brilliant idea of keeping religion and state separate. But then they stuffed it up by allowing voters to join the religion of their choice - and then be told by the church who to vote for. The result was predictable - a government infiltrated by and beholden to religious nutcases who are quite happy destroying the world to get a bit of imaginary god magic. And the sad part is most of us can't even see it.


Originally Posted by smartcooky
Originally Posted by thaiboxerken
Around 1 or 2% of China's population.
I don't expect to see this ...
No goalpost moving, since no scale was specified for 'based on their number of members'. However one of the defining characteristics of a cult is 'unusual beliefs', which fits well with 'around 1 or 2%' of the population.

This also brings up another point - everybody gets outraged about the number of people being oppressed in China, without considering her massive population. 100, 1000, 1 million - without scale these are nothing more than 'scary numbers'.
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Old 22nd March 2019, 01:41 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Exactly zero of the descriptions of qi bear any resemblance whatsoever to the vascular system.
********

You are ignorant of the literature.

It is no more mystical than I=E/R or F=MA.
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Old 22nd March 2019, 02:58 PM   #52
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It's an irregular verb situation: I belong to a church, you're in a sect, he's joined a cult.
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Old 24th March 2019, 04:51 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by leonAzul View Post
********

You are ignorant of the literature.

It is no more mystical than I=E/R or F=MA.
Qi is not blood. It's "energy". It flows along meridians that don't exist in the body, which don't follow the same paths that blood does.

Unless you're being sarcastic and I just haven't picked up on it, qi is nothing but mysticism.
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Old 24th March 2019, 07:10 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Qi is not blood. It's "energy". It flows along meridians that don't exist in the body, which don't follow the same paths that blood does.

Unless you're being sarcastic and I just haven't picked up on it, qi is nothing but mysticism.
I've heard similarly nonsensical defenses of other supernatural/religious claims where scientific facts are retrofitted into fantastical stories such as creation.
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Old 25th March 2019, 01:28 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Qi is not blood. It's "energy". It flows along meridians that don't exist in the body, which don't follow the same paths that blood does.

Unless you're being sarcastic and I just haven't picked up on it, qi is nothing but mysticism.
I am not being sarcastic at all. The word "qi" is the same word used by electrical engineers to refer to electric current. That is a fact that purveyors of woo use to legitimize their nonsense.

Since Everyone Knows™ all claims of quantum this and quantum that are pseudoscience, I would be equally justified in stating categorically that Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, and their ilk are full of crap.

Because you are not ignorant of the English language and the history of the word "quantum", you immediately twig the lack of critical thinking involved in that last statement.
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Old 25th March 2019, 02:06 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Wow it's pretty cool that Zoroaster still has a good number of followers.

With a mortality rate like Heaven's Gate's, there's really no need to worry about herd immunity. Little risk of contagion.
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Old 25th March 2019, 11:06 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by leonAzul View Post
The concept of "qi" has a great deal of evidence for it, depending on how one understands it. As a supernatural force, I agree that it is utterly superstitious. In its core meaning as "current" or "flow", it is a valid metaphor for vascular health.
Hello leonAzul,

Sorry it took me a while to get back to you, my weekends are busy carpooling people around.

I am curious about your notion of "qi". I have spoken with different practitioners of qigong, and they absolutely are not talking about documented cardiopulmonary plumbing or the nervous system as the west understands it, but something non-materialistic. I will admit that I am not a native mandarin speaker, and understanding is difficult, but believers I have spoken to do not think of "qi" as a metaphor for vascular systems in the body, but nonmaterial, supernatural system.

Have you heard of systems of qi that are meant to be metaphors for the description of the physical vascular system of the human body? Would you mind sharing them with us?

I have a curiously about Chinese spirituality, and I would love to learn more about systems that I am not familiar with.
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Old 25th March 2019, 12:12 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by leonAzul View Post
I am not being sarcastic at all. The word "qi" is the same word used by electrical engineers to refer to electric current. That is a fact that purveyors of woo use to legitimize their nonsense. . .
I am also curious about this. The words commonly used for electric or electricity in Chinese is "dian" (as in "diannao" directly translates into "electric brain", or a computer). I have always heard "dian" used in reference to electricity. The only time that I am familiar with "qi" is in "dianqi".

The "qi" in "dianqi" is the same character as the one in "qigong", but it is not referring to electricity directly but air, breathing, or "vital energy", indicating the sense that electricity flows like breath. Are you sure that electrical engineers use the word "qi" as electricity? I am not saying you are wrong (I don't know any Chinese electrical engineers), but "dian" is always the word referring to electricity that I have heard, with a modifying word like "dianli" for electrical power, "dianhe" for electrical charge, or "dianliu" for electrical current.

Thanks for expanding my knowledge of Mandarin if so.

(Sorry I do not have a good way to display these Chinese characters here, and there are frequently half a dozen to a dozen Chinese characters attached to a single pinyin spelling separated only by the tones.)
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Old 26th March 2019, 01:26 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Tormac View Post

Have you heard of systems of qi that are meant to be metaphors for the description of the physical vascular system of the human body? Would you mind sharing them with us?
What I am speaking of is not so much different systems, per se, but rather schools of interpretation. For whatever reason, I have always found a greater affinity with those who take a no-nonsense approach to traditional martial arts, with those who appreciate the poetry of the classics as representing best practices in training and applications through colorful language that helps it stick in the mind better, but certainly does not represent a supernatural point of view.

Of course, like so many other things, this often gets misinterpreted by superstitious or manipulative groups for their own purposes, so I completely understand that most people today would only be aware of the unnatural claims. Empty barrels make the most noise, as it's said.

Back on topic, I'd like to thank those up-thread who offered good observations from their own experiences of these shows. I had considered going to one of them for the entertainment value, but am grateful for the advanced warning that overt proselytizing might be involved.
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Old 26th March 2019, 02:52 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Tormac View Post
I am also curious about this. The words commonly used for electric or electricity in Chinese is "dian" (as in "diannao" directly translates into "electric brain", or a computer). I have always heard "dian" used in reference to electricity. The only time that I am familiar with "qi" is in "dianqi".

The "qi" in "dianqi" is the same character as the one in "qigong", but it is not referring to electricity directly but air, breathing, or "vital energy", indicating the sense that electricity flows like breath. Are you sure that electrical engineers use the word "qi" as electricity? I am not saying you are wrong (I don't know any Chinese electrical engineers), but "dian" is always the word referring to electricity that I have heard, with a modifying word like "dianli" for electrical power, "dianhe" for electrical charge, or "dianliu" for electrical current.

Thanks for expanding my knowledge of Mandarin if so.

(Sorry I do not have a good way to display these Chinese characters here, and there are frequently half a dozen to a dozen Chinese characters attached to a single pinyin spelling separated only by the tones.)
First, to be clear, I make no claim to expertise in Mandarin. My observations are based on instructors I know to be fully bilingual, including one acknowledged master who is a retired electrical engineer from Taiwan. Based on his successful career as an engineer along with his demonstrated proficiency I have a great deal of confidence in his interpretations.

Indeed, he has established a second career in the critical examination, translation, and publication of the so-called martial arts classics in English that elucidate the techniques without doing violence to the metaphoric language that reflects the cultural and societal milieu in which they were written.
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Old 26th March 2019, 03:41 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
I've heard similarly nonsensical defenses of other supernatural/religious claims where scientific facts are retrofitted into fantastical stories such as creation.
Except that this is not a defense of supernatural claims, and only a dogmatic un-critical reading of what I have written would state so.

Even if I were a minority of one, the fact that I assert this point of view falsifies the claim that the concept of "qi" has only ever been used in defense of the gormless and never metaphorically as roughly analogous to the abstract concept of "flow" or "current".

I can assure you that I am much too slow and stupid to have arrived at this understanding on my own, and that I have acquired this understanding from a lineage of like-minded persons.
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Old 26th March 2019, 07:23 PM   #62
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Your understanding is just apology. Qi, in the context of use of Falun Gong and other supernatural claimants, is nothing like the vascular system of the body. Nice try, though....I take that back, it wasn't even a nice try. You fooled no one.
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Old 27th March 2019, 11:01 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by leonAzul View Post
What I am speaking of is not so much different systems, per se, but rather schools of interpretation. For whatever reason, I have always found a greater affinity with those who take a no-nonsense approach to traditional martial arts, with those who appreciate the poetry of the classics as representing best practices in training and applications through colorful language that helps it stick in the mind better, but certainly does not represent a supernatural point of view.

Of course, like so many other things, this often gets misinterpreted by superstitious or manipulative groups for their own purposes, so I completely understand that most people today would only be aware of the unnatural claims. Empty barrels make the most noise, as it's said.

Back on topic, I'd like to thank those up-thread who offered good observations from their own experiences of these shows. I had considered going to one of them for the entertainment value, but am grateful for the advanced warning that overt proselytizing might be involved.

Ahh, I think I see the root of the confusion. The word “qi” is a fuzzy word in Mandarin, and even more so in English. It has specific meanings that vary from different religions, and different meanings yet from the devote to its common use by everyone else.
The “qi” in “qigong” is very different than the way it is used in your martial art school (?). I have spent much time in China, and attended lectures of “qigong” adherents in academic settings, as well as spoken with adherents on the street there and in the USA. These people believe in qi as a supernatural energy that can directly change the material world. It is not at all metaphorical to them.

I was using “qi” in the same sense as the Falun Gong adherents. It sounds like you are the member of a martial art school that used to use the trappings of Chinese mysticism, but has pulled back from it now that martial arts are again seen in terms of practical application. Unless you are learning Ninjitsu from a school certified by Ashida Kim the use of “qi” by your instructors is very different than the use of the word by Falun Gong followers. They would find your instructor’s use of the word “qi” patronizing and insulting.

(Assuming I understand correctly that the instructors in your martial arts school use “qi” as a metaphor for things based in the material world, you are being rather coy about all this, and I am not 100% sure I understand you.)
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