no evolution for you...

Discussion in 'Spirituality & Religion' started by msilverstein47, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. benztown

    benztown Member+

    Jun 24, 2005
    Club:
    VfB Stuttgart
    Bin Laden might not have been a household name as it is today, but the threat was real back then to those in charge.
    I admit that these things have been muddied a bit in this thread, but then my point was to argue that there is a connection between radical islam, human rights violations and eventually even terrorism, both through core beliefs as well as through the effects radical islam has on society when it wields political power.

    Since this started out as a thread about religious beliefs in the US, maybe this is as good a chance as any to return to tis topic. I think the main difference is that the US is fundamentally secular, despite attacks on secularism by the religious right that come up every now and then, like for instance the thing about creationism/intelligent design. As I said before, this is also directly linked to religion. I can see no possible reason why a conservative politician would push for creationism in public schools if it wasn't for his religion or rather the religion of the constituency he is pandering to.

    In many muslim countries however, religion is part of the foundation of those countries. In such a society, a secular movement is seen as attacking the foundations not only of religion, but also of the country as a whole. It's like a political group in the US that want's to abolish the constitution which could easily be interpreted as high treason (as it did happen during the McCarthy era). Therefore critics of that religion are also critics of the natural orders in those countries and have to be taken out of the game. Which is why I constantly go back to my point that you can't look at these countries with a secular Western view. These countries are not secular and that changes the entire game. You can't easily distinguish between religion, culture, tradition, society, politics, law, etc. because it's all one big soup.
     
  2. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So hilarious coming from Mr. "You're way above your pay grade" himself.
     
  3. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    let's leave "interpretation of Christianity" out. let's not talk about denominations. those things are what Man does with what Jesus said. let's stick with what Jesus said.

    start with the Great Commandment: Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The Golden Rule is the only prescriptive principle among those that are commonly cited: "Treat others how you want to be treated." pretty simple concept. and when asked who our neighbors are, Jesus cited an example of an individual who would have been roundly condemned by Jews as unworthy of God's grace and Jesus says that the Samaritan behaved as anyone who claims to love God must behave if the claim is to be taken seriously.

    then there is the specific statement: "If you love me, keep my commandments." do what Jesus said to do. when statements are to specific people they only apply to that person. Jesus didn't mean for everyone to sell all he has and give to the poor. if that were the case, the would have made the statement to his disciples rather than the young man to whom he made the statement.

    in Luke 6:40, Jesus states that every fully trained disciple will be able to replicate what his teacher does. that's the standard. get training. do what your teacher did.

    if he made a statement to his disciples, it applies to all those who chose to follow him then and those who follow him now.

    people are exposed to the teaching that they either are brought to as children or pursue as adults. Scripture tells us that teachers are responsible for the spiritual maturity of their students. but if a person is taught other than what Scripture states, that person has the Bible as the source to consult to see whether teaching squares with God's word.

    so it's less a matter of being liars and hypocrites than being deceived by false teachers, often those who have their own personal agendas. it should be no surprise that dozens of "preachers" are obviously in the business of making money off the spiritual ignorance of those who blindly follow them. God made us with a yearning to know him, so it's a common phenomenon that people wind up in churches or movements that are run by self-promoting charlatans.

    this is what you prefer to believe because it fits your world-view. but it's a wrong view because the lens you are looking thru is clouded.
     
  4. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You know, the Golden Rule fits perfectly with your assertion that "no absolutes" require a specifically prescriptive form of behavior.

    First, you don't realize that all you're doing is calling your own subjective reality the "objective reality." You say things like "let's look at the words of Jesus" and yet at the same time deny the legitimacy of any Christian who has done that and come to different conclusions than you.

    Second, the Rule itself is flawed. It assumes, thanks to belief in the concept of "objective reality," that everyone would want the same thing.

    Don't do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don't treat others the way you want to be treated. Do unto others as they wish. Treat them the way they want to be treated. They're different than you. They don't see the world the same. It's the perfect microcosm of the evangelical Christian worldview. They think they have the keys to life's understanding, when in fact they're just projecting their own culture and desires upon their religion.

    It is not in any way groundbreaking that you are the one whose lens is clouded. I certainly wouldn't have realized that either until I took honest stock of all of my beliefs. But that doesn't make it any less depressing how representative of the human condition, and our flawed minds, it is.
     
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  5. Chesco United

    Chesco United Member+

    Jun 24, 2001
    Chester County, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The US Constitution is a secular document. The Confederate Constitution was not.
     
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  6. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    what in the world does that mean???

    what gives you the notion that i am denying the legitimacy of anyone in particular, or any group in particular? i'm putting forth the clear-cut statements of Jesus as what a follower of Christ is told to do as a disciple. that is "Christianity". anything else is not "Christianity". I don't even like the term "Christianity". that's what people call the organized phenomenon of groups of people who ostensibly are believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. the problem with such an appellation is that people can identify themselves as believers in the Gospel without ever doing anything that Jesus tells us to do. they assent to the truths that are reported in Scripture but they don't practice any spiritual disciplines other than occasional prayer and attending worship services.

    disciples of Jesus submit to discipline training so that they can ascertain what God's will for them is and then carry that out by the power of God's Spirit. that's what Jesus did and that's what his followers are told to do. that's not a matter of subjective interpretation. that's what he said.

    you're splitting hairs. you know how you want to be treated. that's all you are responsible to.

    that's simply rhetorical claptrap. you want to be treated with kindness, honesty, gentleness, mercy, evenhandedness, empathy...those kinds of outward expressions of concern and consideration. everyone wants that kind of treatment. there may be certain nuances that are personal and cultural. for example, Middle Eastern people don't have the same notions of personal space as Westerners, so they stand closer together when the speak. but there is a common understanding about what is kindness and what is honesty, so those kinds of values predominate. respecting differences between peoples leads to treating people the way they want to be treated, but for me to insist that a Middle Easterner step back when he talks to me means that i am imposing my cultural preferences upon him. i don't want people imposing their cultural preferences on me. i want to be treated as if my views are valid, so it is my responsibility to treat others as if their views are valid...up to the point where their views specifically conflict with the common good. that's why i ask where your values are sourced. are you concerned with the common good or what's good for you particularly? do you understand what the common good involves?

    this is tangential in a way, but to give an example of the kind of nonsense we encounter from certain quarters let me point to a couple of real scenarios. there are two homes. one utilizes the maximum amount of "green" technology. the net carbon footprint is negligible. the other home uses enough carbon-based energy to run 900 average homes.

    one home belongs of George W. Bush and one to Al Gore.

    what is the source of your beliefs and values?
     
  7. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #57 Justin Z, May 24, 2014
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
    It means you were going on about how Ted Bundy and the like were the symptoms of the disease of subjective morality.

    They're not clear-cut. They're self-contradictory in many respects. People interpret these "clear-cut" things differently than you. That you cannot see this is exactly the point.

    This goes on in your brain. It is therefore necessarily a subjective interpretation.

    If that is so, it's an inferior attempt at morality.

    Speaking of rhetorical claptrap, could you have chosen a more vague way to explain what it means in real-world terms? Furthermore, there are plenty of philosophies, religions, etc., many of which predate Christianity, that prescribe these exact sort of vague ideas to incorporate into our lives.

    This is actually rather prescient of you, so full kudos.

    um, wat

    My human brain taking the entirety of my education and experience and coming to conclusions that I understand are the most moral. Since it is evidence-based, as my education and experience increase, my beliefs adjust to fit the new information (at least with some effort--human beings are notoriously bad at letting go of preconceptions). So basically, same as yours. Except that I don't have to reconcile or go into cognitive dissonance mode about things like, say, Jesus healing the slave of a Centurion in Luke 7 without taking the opportunity to denounce the slavery that is well defined in the Jewish law he very plainly, by your own "clear-cut" standard, states his followers must adhere to in Matthew 23. In fact, he says that in much the same way you have above--follow what you're taught about the law (in your case, follow the words of Jesus) while ignoring what they do (in your case, your reference to being deceived by false teachers).

    I'm concerned with both. I'm not going to pretend I know with certainty what the common good involves because that's a ridiculously complex question. Happily, the impression I've gotten from what little I do know is that contributing to the common good tends to affect me positively as well. Regardless, I still make efforts even when it's clear I'm deriving no tangible personal benefit. Pro bono legal work is a decent example.
     
  8. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What you've said in your last post indicates that your morality and value sets are essentially subjective, processed thru your sieve, the workings of your brain, intuition, common sense, analytical abilities, etc. ultimately, you are using a flawed system to make determinations of what is the single right thing to do in various kinds of situations. i say "flawed system" because our thinking, cognitive processing -- call it what you will -- is subject to error. you are fully capable of deceiving yourself. in fact, the boldest lies are the ones we tell ourselves. mostly we call those "rationalizations", ways to explain, excuse, apologize ( in the sense of giving a reason ) for our decisions/actions.

    you say that what Jesus said isn't clear-cut, but you haven't given any example. please do so in order that we can discuss your specific objections.
     
  9. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #59 Justin Z, May 24, 2014
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
    So are yours. You solely rely on several scriptures. None of the authors of these scriptures ever claims to be writing history (with the arguable exception of Luke, which can be easily demonstrated as ahistorical all over the place), as opposed to allegorical literature. Many of them admit to not having been there to witness the events in the first place. Scriptures that can be demonstrated to have changed numerous times in the 1,850-2,000 years since they were written. And you're concerned with what Jesus SAID. As if scribes decades and centuries later could accurately report word-for-word quotes. Then you pretend they are objective, and that you somehow have magical powers of objective thinking about them.

    I said exactly the opposite of what you just claimed I did--I said the examples in Luke 7 and Matthew 23 were quite clear-cut instances of what Jesus is reported to have said. Which forces you to handwave away Jesus' very clear admonition that his followers subject themselves to Jewish law, which sanctions slavery, as well as ignore an opportunity Jesus had to tell the Centurion that slavery is wrong.
     
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  10. Karloski

    Karloski Member+

    Oct 26, 2006
    England
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Indeed. Like reading something and convincing yourself it is true....and that within the million different versions of the 'truth'...yours is the right one. Do you ever question where the workings of your brain have brought you?
     
  11. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Jesus was specifically apolitical except as it touched on the politics of the governance of the Jewish hierarchy; you want him to have been political, denounce slavery? that wasn't his mission. and most slavery in Jesus' day amounted to debentured servitude, which was the most effective way of settling indebtedness, given the fact that people tend to ignore their debts even after courts make judgments.

    as far as the veracity and reliability of Scripture is concerned, you're traveling over roads that have been pot-holed for years. oral tradition in the days of Jesus was the most common method of conveying information. young Jewish men, studying under rabbis, would commit to memory huge amounts of what we now refer to as the Old Testament. add to this the concept that Scripture is inspired and the problem of whether Jesus said XYZ is a subject for academic inquiry, but the notion that he didn't really say those things is unsustainable.

    you did say what was clear-cut, but you failed to give examples of what isn't.
     
  12. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    of course. and i have come to the conclusion that when Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life", that is a reliable statement.
     
  13. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
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    Justin Z is not asking for him to be political, just for him to be moral. As it is, he's clearly immoral and you're rationalizing it away with the eternal status quo rationalizer: "oh, it'd be a political thing to do and he wasn't a political guy"
     
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  14. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Have you never played the game Telephone before? Whether something was the most common method doesn't say a thing about its reliability, especially when we have documented proof in the thousands of instances that it has changed over time. That you can't even entertain the idea that those scriptures might not contain non-direct quotes, while appealing to "the concept that Scripture is inspired," a supposition for which you provide zero evidence, kind of sums up what trying to get you to take stock of your own beliefs (while you're saying everybody else's lenses are clouded) is like.

    Ombak already covered the first part of your post better than I would have.

    True. Sorry, I must have misunderstood you. This depends on how deep you want to go. There are lots of little things that by their lack of consistency call into question the reliability of the scriptures from the beginning, before we even get into scribal redaction. Take when Jesus told his disciples to go out preaching. In Mark 6, he tells them to bring nothing but their shoes, a walking stick and one coat--no money. In Matthew, he tells them to walk barefoot and without a staff. In Luke, he says nothing either way about a staff, but confirms the no sandals rule. Now though this has little impact on present day life, it's still something Jesus is supposed to have said, and we have three versions of it in three gospels.

    If we want something more meaty as far as application to our present-day lives, we can look at any of the parables. Parables are by definition vague and open to interpretation, being that they're allegorical stories. Not only that, Jesus goes out of his way to say that he specifically intends his parables not be understood!

    gMark 4
    4:10
    And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
    4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
    4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

    I dunno what Jesus has against everybody except Stilton. 4:12 sums it up--they can see and hear these things and not get them so that they'll not be forgiven. Of course, under Christian theology, no forgiveness = no heaven = hell. That dovetails quite nicely with what Ombak just said about Jesus' lack of morality actually.

    In fact, I just sort of had an epiphany. Maybe you really are one of the Elect who's been granted magical powers from above so you can understand these clear-cut things. Well now that you know, please understand that they're not clear to us. At all. Apparently by design.
     
  15. Solid444

    Solid444 Member+

    Jun 21, 2003
    I cant see any way that morality can be objective in any acceptable defenition of the world objective. Usually, the argument is that without god, morality is simply just a subjective if/then statement, as in "if i want to stay out of jail, i will not steal". However, if there are moral norms that god wants us to follow, then this still leads to a subjective if/then statement, which is either "if i want to follow god's morality, therefore I must so X" or "if i want to go to heaven, I must do Y".

    However, the idea that Jesus endorsed slavery because he didnt take the opportunity to denounce it in the Centurion story is ridiculous. Even if this story is literally what happened, the author is free to include and exclude whatever he chooses, in order to comunicate whatever he wants to. This goes beyond bilbical innerancy, these are conclusions drawn from what was not said.

    This guy has a different translation of the story all together: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-michaelson/when-jesus-healed-a-same-sex-partner_b_1743947.html
     
  16. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    True solid although that's just one instance. There's another place or two in the gospels where Jesus specifically tells slaves to serve their masters. But I'm on the phone and watching the CL final so I'm not gonna cite. :D
     
  17. Solid444

    Solid444 Member+

    Jun 21, 2003
    Now that we are on the subject of morality, is it objectively immoral to get so much satisfaction out of seeing Real Madrid suffer? What did Jesus say about this?
     
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  18. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
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    Haahaha, ahh, so good.
     
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  19. Justin Z

    Justin Z Member

    Jul 12, 2005
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Club:
    Heart of Midlothian FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Apparently the Hindu concept of Karma is in fact the correct religious worldview. ;)
     
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  20. Solid444

    Solid444 Member+

    Jun 21, 2003
    And the meek do not infact inherit the earth, Bible debunked.
     
  21. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    dude! he said "will"...
     
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  22. StiltonFC

    StiltonFC He said to only look up -- Guster

    Mar 18, 2007
    SoCal
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    debentured servitude is immoral? in whose world?
     
  23. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
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    Mine. And most people's.

    But that's already a slight moving of the goalposts:
    Slavery is immoral. And I'm not buying the "most slavery... amounted to debentured servitude" in his time. That's a bs apologetic that sheds more light on your (and apologists') willingness to excuse immorality than on anything else.

    And finally, the "he didn't deal with that because he wasn't political" is also immoral.
     
  24. Ombak

    Ombak Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Irvine, CA
    Club:
    Flamengo Rio Janeiro
    Nat'l Team:
    Brazil
    I agree.

    It's only objective once you establish the system - the system itself is not purely objective.
    I wouldn't argue he endorsed it, but he clearly did not condemn it and that's a significant problem for people who claim the bible as a source of good morality, or see Jesus as the greatest example of a moral entity.
     
  25. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
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    Argentina
    #75 argentine soccer fan, May 24, 2014
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
    My understanding of the Roman world in which Jesus was born is that the idea of slavery being immoral was not even considered. Slavery was such an integral part of the fabric of society that even slaves themselves did not question it on moral grounds. Judaism had its own moral rules for slavery -how to treat slaves, how and why to free them and so on- and I believe all other cultures that interacted with the Roman empire at the time accepted slavery as well. So, even slaves who were brought from other cultures were unlikely to question slavery on moral grounds.

    As far as the morality of Jesus -as it survived in the writings of the New Testament- I would argue that the principles espoused by Jesus, of compassion and charity towards the downtrodden, logically lead to the conclusion that slavery is immoral. Of course, the same certainly could be argued about the moral principles of some 'pagan' philosophies of the Roman era -like the stoics for example. (ie Seneca the Younger).

    But while a moral Stoic might have personally chosen not to own slaves on moral grounds, there was no real anti-slavery movement in the Roman Empire until the early Christians started to speak up against slavery. My understanding is that some Christians first began to introduce the concept of slavery as sin around the fourth century AD. (Saint Gregory of Nisse being a pioneer in this).

    http://www.andrewfullercenter.org/blog/2013/06/the-first-abolitionist-gregory-of-nyssa-on-slavery/


    Of course, most Romans including Christians continued to accept slavery, and when the Roman Empire became Christian, little changed in terms of slavery. But I would argue that the anti-slavery moral principles are embedded in the teachings of Jesus, and if we really take the time to understand what Jesus taught in terms of how to treat others, and how to treat the poor and downtrodden in particular, I think it's fair to say that we can conclude that his teachings are incompatible with slavery.
     

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