I like your post overall, but I must say I totally disagree with this. This is O-Sensei we're talking about. How are we possibly NOT to argue about what he was doing, how he was doing it, and how to reproduce it ourselves? And if part of the argument is that the core of what he was doing has been largely lost, how can that argument be made at all without saying "Most of you missed it"? Particularly when the argument has been made over the years with extensive research into the founder's actual circumstances, language, videos, training, and the reactions others had to his budo.
It's telling that you have to go to religion for your parallel. If you're seeing Aikido as a religion, you've got a problem. Other areas of human experience are
supposed to be debatable.
Arguing in the alternative, have you ever hung out on religion boards? Speaking as a follower of one of those prophets, let me tell you that telling each other that the other hasn't understood the prophet at all is a major source of entertainment and refreshment for all.
I was going to get back to this since you adressed me, lots of stuff been said since, some very good, but here we go:
I think I can see where you coming from, but still, I also – with much respect! – think that this kind of reaction may be part of the problem. Especially when it comes from people who are neither the ones who have done the original research, nor the ones who can go out there and demonstrate IS. Like myself, who can do neither.
Note that I said “impolite and pointless” in my earlier post; I did not say don’t ever mention it, don’t discuss it with like-minded people and don't point it out to the less like-minded, I did not say the stuff is factually wrong. I personally think it’s right, actually, and have said so in the past.
However, internet forums, IMHO, are not a very good place to go missionary (for some reason, we love doing it though...). When the ideas and texts of Ellis Amdur, Peter Goldsbury, Chris Li have been brought to somebody’s attention, when they have been invited to attend some IS event, and they still don’t engage with all this, I personally see little point to continue pressing the issue with them when it apparently just pushes their buttons and they go into digital hyperventilation. Who am I to make their world, I am not the official representative of eternal truth. So for me its about politness and constructive discourse, first of all, rather than my truth.
With the possible exception of some stuff Peter Goldsbury has written, there is no scholarly opinion about all this, and we are still at the starting point of research, interpreting scattered findings that may again be interpreted differently in ten years, they likely will be. I have drawn my own conclusions and I am following them through, I just do not think it’s worth pages and pages of predictably inconclusive disagreement, just because we all think we are right.
As for religion… I personally do not see aikido as a religion in the least, but take a sort of sociological stance there, to put it politely. So in my world my comparison is not so far flung necessarily. "Cosmologies of greater or lesser reach" is a label I like to think with. There is lot’s of civil religion, and as you say, maybe that’s a problem, but it’s true nonetheless. Try to have rational discusion about speed limits in Germany, or gu …. no, forget it
Again, all meant with respect,