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There has been a lot of talk and discussion about respecting others opinions and whether or not it is right to say someone else's beliefs are wrong. At one time or another cannibalism was practiced in many parts of the world. Those practitioners often BELIEVED that by eating certain parts of their enemy's body, that they would gain their enemy's courage and strength. This can be inferred to be a spiritual belief. Are there any here among us who would defend these beliefs in our "all encompassing" Universal Life Church or would we say that that is just wrong and indefensible. I think that if it is wrong and indefensible, it is only so because OUR beliefs on the subject are so strong as to override our "all encompassing" Universal acceptance of other's beliefs. Furthermore, if any can accept cannibalisms spiritual foundations as wrong and should not be allowed, then why cannot any of us say that any other belief is wrong and should not be accepted?

Just how accepting are we, really, of other's beliefs and spiritual paths?

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I can accept that it is thier belief and in a historical context can see that it is valid. Having said that, the ULC doesn't support illegal activities and cannibalism is illegal, at least in the US. If someone wanted to petition the government to change it and there were people willing to donate thier bodies after death for reasons other then specifically cannibalism, I would support thier right to push for the change. I personally do not agree with it on a moral level. Christians practice symbolic cannabilism all the time.

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Let us close our eyes and imagine the ULC existing in a time before cannibalism was outlawed. What would our response be? Would their belief be supported? It was outlawed because it was considered too gross to be legal. The people were already dead. Enemy casualties of war. It was not just because your neighbor was fat and you were hungry and killed him specifically to eat him.

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I have mentioned on this forum before, context is everything. What in one time and location was completely acceptable might be viewed now as completely horriffic. Based on the ULC Doctorine, and going to a point in time and location it was socially legal and acceptable, I feel the ULC would full support an individuals belief to do so and would not interfer with the practice. This really isn't any different then it's current stance now. They support your right to believe as you do, but will not allow you to use thier name as justification to commit a crime.

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A very interesting topic, thank you.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see 3 questions...

1) Are there any here among us who would defend [Cannibalism].

2) Should the ULC support those who embrace cannibalism [or other taboo practices].

3) If there is a line to be drawn, how can we justify excluding some [possible] faiths.

My own views on each of these...

1) Cannibalism is a term which covers a wide variety of acts. I generally think that circumstances alter cases. I do not believe that eating human flesh is in itself absolutely wrong. There is a world of difference between killing someone for food (which I would consider wrong), and reverently eating the already departed as you describe; or using corpses as a food supply in a survival situation.

This is a different question from whether cannibalism should be legal. In a society where people may become food, there is an added risk (however slight) that people may be murdered for the dinner table. Would "I was starving" become a valid homicide defence? The cost of that risk needs to be carefully weighed against the loss of freedom in making it illegal.

2) I think we need to draw a clear line between belief and practice. I think all people are entitled to believe anything at all, however repugnant or stupid I may think it. Since the ULC was founded as a Universalist church, I would hope that it is open to all, too.

When it comes to practice, though, I do not think that there is an inherent right to act out your beliefs. As (I think) Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." Mutual informed consent is the gold standard here. Above and beyond that are the legal issues, but Dorian has already covered that very well.

3) My answer here is largely covered above: I see a line in acceptable practice, but not in acceptable belief. The one case I might have a problem with is a belief that informed consent was not necessary for acting in ways which would harm another. There are many other beliefs which I consider wrong, but that one seems to me to undermine the foundations of moral behaviour.

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A very interesting topic, thank you.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see 3 questions...

1) Are there any here among us who would defend [Cannibalism].

2) Should the ULC support those who embrace cannibalism [or other taboo practices].

3) If there is a line to be drawn, how can we justify excluding some [possible] faiths.

My own views on each of these...

1) Cannibalism is a term which covers a wide variety of acts. I generally think that circumstances alter cases. I do not believe that eating human flesh is in itself absolutely wrong. There is a world of difference between killing someone for food (which I would consider wrong), and reverently eating the already departed as you describe; or using corpses as a food supply in a survival situation.

This is a different question from whether cannibalism should be legal. In a society where people may become food, there is an added risk (however slight) that people may be murdered for the dinner table. Would "I was starving" become a valid homicide defence? The cost of that risk needs to be carefully weighed against the loss of freedom in making it illegal.

2) I think we need to draw a clear line between belief and practice. I think all people are entitled to believe anything at all, however repugnant or stupid I may think it. Since the ULC was founded as a Universalist church, I would hope that it is open to all, too.

When it comes to practice, though, I do not think that there is an inherent right to act out your beliefs. As (I think) Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." Mutual informed consent is the gold standard here. Above and beyond that are the legal issues, but Dorian has already covered that very well.

3) My answer here is largely covered above: I see a line in acceptable practice, but not in acceptable belief. The one case I might have a problem with is a belief that informed consent was not necessary for acting in ways which would harm another. There are many other beliefs which I consider wrong, but that one seems to me to undermine the foundations of moral behaviour.

Thank you for your well thought out response. It would seem that (were it legal) human sacrifice would be ok if the one being sacrificed was informed and good with it. Am I correct?

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I would feel pretty uncomfortable about it. I think any belief system which supported that would be suspect, and would not hesitate to express my opinion on the matter. I would still think that they should be welcomed within the ULC, and were entitled to their beliefs.

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I support cannibalism, with a few restrictions. If the corpse lawfully belongs to you, in my opinion, you should be able to treat it as your possession. Eat it, have sex with it, I don't care. If it belongs to someone else, it would be stealing to "use" it. Having said that, I believe most human bodies are incredibly toxic and might not be healthy for human consumption.

As an aside, Ed Gein was quite resourceful with his use of corpses. Although, to my knowledge, none of them were lawfully his. I am still incredibly curious about what he planned to do with those 9 vulvae in a shoebox. Perhaps make a sash to wear with his nipple belt?

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I personally don't care what is done with my dead body. Dog food, people food, who cares? I will be dead at the time so I sure won't care. The question, if I formed it right, was, is the spiritual belief behind cannibalism of your enemy ok and acceptable and due all the respect of any other spiritual beliefs?

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wait, how does a corpse, other than your own that is, belong to you ?!?

If cannibalism were legal in the United States then I imagine lawful ownership of a corpse would be given to the person responsible for the funeral services, burial and/or cremation, such as a surviving spouse or relatives.

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Lets see if my personal belief is that "all other belief systems are asinine and false" besides my own and seeing as there is nothing illegal or immoral about said belief then doesn't the ULC support my right to believe such "truths" ;)

Which would confirm what I already believe ;)

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Lets see if my personal belief is that "all other belief systems are asinine and false" besides my own and seeing as there is nothing illegal or immoral about said belief then doesn't the ULC support my right to believe such "truths"

You were ordained without question of what you believe. Yes, the ULC will support you. That does not mean that individual ULC ministers, congregations or bookstores will do the same. The freedom to consider things asinine is, after all, a two-way street. ;) Edited by mererdog
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You were ordained without question of what you believe. Yes, the ULC will support you. That does not mean that individual ULC ministers, congregations or bookstores will do the same. The freedom to consider things asinine is, after all, a two-way street. ;)

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is the spiritual belief behind cannibalism of your enemy ok and acceptable and due all the respect of any other spiritual beliefs?

~ Yes Bro. Kaman, I believe it is a belief deserving of respect, though illegal by virtue of various societal restrictions,

As a religious belief practiced in that manner it is probably extremely rare if not extinct.

You can realise that the concept of cannabalism is an uncomfortable concept & so can cause some rather innapropriate humor :dntknw:

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Let us close our eyes and imagine the ULC existing in a time before cannibalism was outlawed. What would our response be? Would their belief be supported? It was outlawed because it was considered too gross to be legal. The people were already dead. Enemy casualties of war. It was not just because your neighbor was fat and you were hungry and killed him specifically to eat him.

This might be comparable to the American Indian Church that has a dispensation from the government to use Peyote.

If there were actually a church group that practiced canibalism as a sacrament -- they might well petition the government for permission to practice their rite, only among their own group. After that, it would be up to the government and the courts.

I can't predict the outcome. A Jamaican church was refused the rite of ganga.

:)

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