WooWoo Stuff - All Things Woowoo

I consider most sheep dumb - Muslims included. I’m an equal opportunity hater.

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You’ll have to take me for my word on this, but how would you woosplain my observation that nearly all of the most accomplished people I know personally are religious, specifically Christian and Jewish?

By “accomplished”, let’s go with an all-inclusive woo-friendly definition. Mental accomplishments, spiritual satisfaction, physical accomplishments, sexual conquests, channeling the outer realms, reading the stars, whatever.

What makes you reach your conclusion that these people are dumb sheep?

And what makes the woo sheep less dumb?

I wonder if they claim to be Christian or Jewish for other purposes - like not being attacked by the moral majority - who clearly do not fit into the “accomplished” category.

I believe speaking in gross generalizations is wasteful so I am not sure if this is a valuable discussion.

I would be better served by rephrasing my lack of approbation for specifically fundamentalists.

I don’t believe that’s the case with the people I’m referring to. If they aren’t genuine in their faith, they are sure putting up a good act.

I think it is even more apparent in the lower and middle class religious people I know, compared to the non. I’d say the Christians are generally more sorted out in life overall. Not always, of course, just on average.

Setting the actual theology aside, it makes sense. It is a very good set of life instructions, especially if you have access to a religious person who is much more intelligent and accomplished than you are to serve as a stark reminder that he’s obviously discerning things about the world around us that you are not.

Atheists (including myself when I was one) seem to have a tendency towards a less organized life. More navel gazing, more aimlessness in career and relationships, more bad habits, that sort of thing. When you come to understand that you are an instrument of God’s will, more action with more purpose can often follow.

As far as the fundamentalists go, they’re a mixed bag for me. My opinion would depend on the type of fundamentals they are promoting.

If I put my secular atheist progressive hat back on for a minute, the woo crowd still takes the cake for the most far-fetched ways to explain the world around us out of everyone. Most, but not all. It depends on the woo.

Speaking of woo, we were just having a conversation at work today about the negatives of patchouli oil scent and the positives of aligning some chakras on the gals who wore it back in the 90’s. Kinda like yin and yang, but with my boner.


A few that I’ve known seemed overwhelmed with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and some severe control/ocd type stuff going on.

Being a little more right sized in a spiritual sense and relationship with a higher power wise seems to alleviate a lot of that stress and desire to control.

This then frees up a lot of mental space to function with a greater ease and confidence that the direction you’re steering your life is a good one, even if its difficult in a given moment.

There is a great deal of research supporting that people who are part of a faith community have higher levels of happiness, lower suicide rates, improved old age, etc. One would imagine that the “fool the sheeple” motive would not account for this.

I moved from Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX to an outdoorsy/touristy part of New England, where hippies and woo abound. It was a tremendous culture shock. (I was born in Queens, grew up in Long Island, then Jersey, then Connecticut as my very conservative father garnered promotions, ultimately ran away and wound up in the south, where my liberal lesbian mother lived post-divorce. My mother was a secular Jew and my father an angry-at-the-church lapsed Catholic.) One of the things that makes me grit my teeth about woo in general is its tendency to smug superiority and sweeping judgment of the Christians, but not the Jews or Muslims, who are protected under Woo policy.

Mindfulness = Auntie Nora, the prototypical old Catholic lady, counting/praying her rosary beads. One with all = the delivery of meals to families who’ve lost a loved one. Morality/integrity = I work with a shaken baby syndrome adult who is blind and paraplegic. Church and my office are her sanctuaries, as her family is absent - they were abusive early and are indifferent now. She made it to and through college and is employed, though unfortunately not such that she is surrounded by people. Faith is what keeps her from utter despair. The church people are who keep her from utter isolation. Everyone else she spends time with is paid.

There are fundamentalists in every large grouping of labeled people (i.e. “Christians,” “gym bros,” “recovery workers.”) Woo has them, too. You’re exhibiting what I think of as the problem with them in these posts against the Christians, whether Fundies or generally.

Some of the best people I know are cradle Christians. Curious, discerning people will take what they need and leave the rest. They’re capable of thoughtful conversations about their sects. I worked with a young man who grew up in a Fundie family and came to believe that the view of God held by the congregation suggested Him to be sociopathic. Still, these were his family and friends. It was complex for that guy. Just like it is for you.

Smug liberals - the party of inclusion and tolerance - are the worst. Don’t be one; it’s blazing hypocrisy.


Edit: so it’s early, I’m on my first pre-gym coffee and I meant to quote the assertion that most “put together” “accomplished” people are Christians in your observation.

Interjecting but I’m not sure who you’re referring to specifically. Accomplished historical figures, at least from Europe, existed under fairly oppressive monarchies who existed under papal blessing, and Christianity was as much of a political force as it was a religious belief. Flying under a Christian banner didn’t necessarily mean a genuine belief in a biblical God, it just meant you were willing to play the politics of the day.

This isn’t entirely untrue in recent history or even today in some regions of the west and especially US. Christian backed political leadership may not excruciatingly torture you to death for not professing a belief anymore, but you’ll potentially be shunned, “passed over” (see what I did there) et cetera. In my observation many, many people claim Christianity as an identity without showing any real sense of belief or adherence, and I’m not talking about a one off sin or their “thorn”. It’s just not something they live by but wear it like an NFL jersey.

I disagree. I grew up Southern Baptist, by my parents design, in Texas. Specifically the Houston area, and in a nice section predominantly populated by oil - but corporate (lawyers, commodity traders, high level engineers et cetera), medical professionals et cetera. Many very successful people across religions (including Christianity) and non-religious or non-practicing. Lots of broken people in church from what I recall, which I understand is the point. Or one point. Push arounds looking for strength, horrific histories of abuse looking for acceptance and redemption, inability to control self looking for outside help…. crutch after crutch. I wouldn’t say they “had it together”, but they did learn how to wear uniform masks and project problems on a third party.

There is definitely a set of instruction for life in religion. But setting aside theology and the binding belief that it is the “right way” because a one, true God said so makes it one way to live. It defines its own good and bad, rights and wrongs, but who cares? You can’t separate theology if it’s going mean anything more than personal choice.

I am curious how wide your net is for this observation? There are atheists as wrapped up in their beliefs as there are Christians, they even make it an identity, and just like a Christian looking for a crutch it’s probably an extension of abuse or deep disappointment of some kind. I don’t think they define the majority though. Most atheists probably don’t even talk about religious belief much, because they don’t have one. They live very normal lives, certainly have a moral code and just don’t believe in an angry father like figure in sky who sent his hippie son to his loving & forgiving bidding on his behalf.

I think both are silly for the most part, but have you objectively looked at what Christianity asks you to believe, assuming you take the Bible literally?

I’m just taking about people I’ve come to know in my life.

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Now I’m stuck with the image of a religious figure wearing ornately embroidered underwear depicting Renaissance art works with gold piping around the band & whatnot.

“Fundies” . :rofl:. I have a new word! Thanks!

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Are you just referring to the guy with a virgin mom who rose from the dead or other things as well?

Right. Necromancy in multiple instances, splitting oceans with snake sticks and multiple other fantasy flick realm content, plus the overarching premise itself.

Figured I would show up and apologize for showing my ass, and provide some background - FWIW. I figured I would do this not because I care what others think (but I do), but rather because this community has been good to me and I appreciate it.

I get triggered. I have learned that triggers are the universe sending me a message that I still have work to do, and letting me know where I need to focus. I learned this from The Presence Process. In IFS they call it a trailhead.

I would ask you a similar question, but both would be anecdotal and neither prove anything. I do think that people that have a higher power are more successful - I don’t think success = intelligence.

I wasn’t precise in my diction, my apologies. I was responding to another poster that quoted scripture as evidence. As if the word of “God” was the final word. Frankly, anyone that quotes scripture in a secular context triggers me - see my acknowledgement above.

Einstein was a religious non-believer, an agnostic - think he was intelligent - and successful. Pretty sure we could both go down the list of successful believers and successful non-believers.

Which kind of brings me to a point - I do believe in a higher power. It’s just not a god constructed by man. Follow me on this. Shamanism has been around for longer than organized religion, and I believe I have read, cause I am not smart enough to figure this out on my own, that those connected to nature, the seasons, the seeds, the wildlife, developed leadership positions in their tribes based on their knowledge/spirituality/connection to nature. They guided the tribe on when to move to better hunting grounds, better weather, and naturally became leaders.

When tribes learned to farm and became less nomadic, certain tribe members were able to accumulate wealth and co-opted the shamans as “deputies” to help control the members of the tribe. This developed into the priesthood. Naturally, it was important to obscure this information to control the plebes and to retain power. Hence Latin mass - bit of a stretch, I know.

So let me ask a question of the room - do you believe in the Virgin birth, that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and all loving?

Or, do you believe in the esoteric nature of religions? That these are metaphors?

Almost every major religion has an esoteric counterpart - Kabbalah in Judaism, Sufism in Islam, Tantra in Hinduism, Essenes and Rosicrucians in Christianity. The esoteric counterparts are woo woo. Long stretch there, but I feel okay with it.

These would be the less educated for which the bible would be a good model for living. Live like Jesus.

A shaman or a priest - the problems with the power differential are obvious.

I agree.

Is this a bad thing? If you give credence to Buddhism and the idea of reincarnation, then the navel gazing will shorten your suffering in this physical world. Is that too woo?

I would agree. When I first got into the woo I was not about the woo - manifestation, the spiritual charlatans that pretend to be grateful for cancer - not my kind of woo.

For me, these days, woo has come down to meditation - settling my mind. I could go on about manifestation, law of attraction, frequency, vibration, but I feel that is all just woo charlatanism. What you focus on grows bigger - focus on gratitude, that grows. Focus on victimization, that grows.

Woo sheep are as dumb as organized religion sheep - sheep being the key adjective (not a noun) here.

To be clear, if you have considered all options, thought critically, and still decide to believe in scripture as the literal word of god, then you are not sheep. If you take it as fact that it is the word of god and don’t ask questions, follow blindly, then you are sheep (noun and adjective this time).

Did not know we had that in common (I lived there, didn’t grow up there). My son will be attending UConn in the fall.

Smug superiority is my trigger with organized religion. My woo policy does not exempt any religion.

My wife had a grandma Nora - came over on a boat as an infant. Probably an Irish thing. I think the Rosary and prayer are mindfulness.

My brother used to go hold crack babies in the NICU on his ER Shifts. He never told anyone this. I didn’t know until the nurses talked about him at his memorial.

Faith is what keeps me from utter despair. I do have faith in a higher power, I assume her faith was in “God.”

The Sikhs would tell you that we have the same god.

Yes, not my best behavior. The difference (maybe) is that I am not righteous, am reflective, and am trying to be better.

My mother in law calls them cafeteria Catholics and counts herself as one of them. I have had many discussions with her about this, and it is clear that the Catholic church does not allow you to pick and choose what you want to eat - you buy the whole plan or you are not a Catholic.

These discerning people are not sheep in my eyes.

I feel bad that you might even think that I am a smug liberal - I am neither smug, nor liberal (unless you think a woman’s right to chose makes me liberal). I think this is not the place to share my politics, but I am at best a moderate, and too wide eyed to be smug. Part of waking up, according to Jon Kabbat-Zinn, is the recognition that you were asleep. If that makes me woke, I guess I am.

He goes on to say that part of waking up is the realization that you are ignorant - I identify with that.

Not a great sample to prove a point. I respect the observation though, and don’t disagree.

So, apologize if I offended anyone. Love this community, appreciate all of the conversation and compassion.


Love you bro.

Now lets shake it off by shooting m-80’s out of a slingshot at the neighbors or something.

So cool! Love you too.

I’m going to meditate on shooting m-80’s.

Funny story - my paternal grandfather was pretty religious, career Navy, was the Chief Petty Officer on the Enterprise in WWII, was in all but two of the Naval battles. Claimed to be the first person to serve flapjacks on an aircraft carrier.

He retired, worked for a bank, had a home in a nice hood in Richmond Beach outside of Seattle. Neighbor had a cat, cat shit in my grandpas yard. My Gramp would throw it over the fence into the neighbor’s yard.

Then, got a slingshot and a pack of BB’s. Would sit upstairs in his house and wait for that cat to come over to his yard and start to take a dump and he would peg that cat with a BB all sniper like.

Think the cat got constipated.

@Brant_Drake , who’s the asshole?

The cat.

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Its always the cat.

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I am not not constrained by worry over the disapproval of people with whom I disagree. Your MIL seems to think the Church speaks with one voice - which officially, it does. Unofficially it’s a hot mess of confusion and disagreement. (Though I am not Catholic, so I’m more speaking in the abstract here and about pretty much any topic that speaks to rigidity and doctrine. Do you not practice therapy the way I do? That’s okay, I believe in my efficacy doing it the way I do. Judge away.) My Catholic friends and cousins value the Church and its traditions, while acknowledging outdated and often destructive thinking in its leadership. The Church is being forced to make changes to maintain its membership (and income) but the Catholic Church does not change course quickly or easily. My people seem to accept that.

But you often quote, and in fact have just done so above (“I learned this from The Presence Process. In IFS they call it a trailhead.”) (not quoted, exactly, but close enough). If people believe the Bible best describes what they’re trying to say/prove, why shouldn’t they use it? The problem is that you bristle at the rigidity of thought you think is displayed, but your response is an equal opposite rigidity of thought.

Personally? Neither.

It is sometimes easier for me to work with less intelligent people as a therapist because they are inclined to trust me to know better than they do - an authority. They are more inclined to follow. So then the question becomes “who or what is your authority,” which then determines outcomes. Gangs? Trouble. Church? Do-gooding and keeping nose clean, hopefully.

God and the literal teachings of the Bible. I am probably the only one in her life who walks with her into the gray area. But I don’t dispute any of what she believes, because I have no interest in upsetting her foundational support system. You just can’t sit in a room with me for an hour year after year listening to gospel music (this is an odd thing we do for reasons) without me questioning things.

Not thinking it so much as warning you that you’ve stepped in that direction. I wouldn’t have bothered if I didn’t think you’d care. Which is respect.

Aristotle was also quoted as saying “True knowledge consists in knowing that you know nothing” in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

Thank you.

I think you know that I respect you as well. Probably more than you realize.

This allows continued abuse in the church. Your Catholic friends and cousins are abetting continued abuse. I find it difficult to understand this - to understand that the church is a fraud, that priests are abusing kids, that the church holds so much wealth, to know it is a fraud, and to stand by and watch it happen. They are complicit.

I quote a published piece of dreck, and don’t have any illusion that it is the word of god. When others quote scripture thinking it is the mic drop of credibility, I get pissed.

Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t quote scripture as the word of god and the end all be all. I quote stuff I read to make a point - not as the final word.

Yes, it is easier to manipulate the less intelligent - that was my point. The same point Alduous Huxley made in Brave New World, the same point Orwell made in 1984.

I guess they are not intelligent according to @twojarslave - certainly both not believers.

Gospel is on my play list, for sure.

I think smug is the last word I would use to describe myself. Liberal is also not a good adjective for me.

I am the father of a LGBTQIA daughter and a communist son. I am proud of both of them.

I think Aristotle was right.

I never said that only religious people are intelligent, just that most of the highly accomplished people in my life are also religious. As far as intelligence goes, my brain-o-meter indicates that there’s only one non-religious person I know well whose intelligence easily surpasses my own. He’s the aimless son of the two most accomplished people I know. He hasn’t been able to translate all of his advantages, which include a genius-level IQ, into a stable and productive adulthood. He’s not a sociopath or anything, just someone who has lived off of mom and dad for his whole adult life and seems trapped in his own thoughts, anxieties and material abundance.

His parents are both retired physicians and Roman Catholics who diligently practiced medicine in the same small town in the middle of unremarkable farmland for their entire careers. While quite wealthy, as one would expect from a lifetime of high six-figure earnings, they own a modest home, drive modest cars and have dedicated their lives to improving the world around them through being generous with their time, their skills and their resources. Not to me, I haven’t asked for a penny from my wealthy relatives, but to people who actually need their generosity.

All of those good outcomes came about by living in accordance with the Roman Catholic faith. Their parenting efforts might not have panned out into a PhD who invents new mathematics of statistics and probability for a living, but he’s still got time to bring his talents to bear in the economy and begin assuming adult responsibilities. At age 44, that’s on him, not them.

You could poke around some of my posts from 10 years ago or so and see that I was a rather staunch atheist at the time. That’s something I do occasionally, revisit my old thoughts. Is it possible that I’m experiencing premature cognitive decline as I begin to embrace faith? Perhaps, but it doesn’t seem so whenever I revisit my thoughts from years past.