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God-fearing....or not.

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serenity blaze
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25 posted 12-09-2007 08:14 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Marge "gets" it.

And I'm not saying that just because she and I happen to agree on this--we have disagreed on many things before, but I think our friendship is a testament to understanding, respect, and tolerance.

I'll have to recuse myself from the part of "devil's advocate" in this conversation now--any atheists who feel a need to voice an opinion must speak for themselves--but I suspect it's a weary argument by now.

No one's preferences bother me--unless their preferences hurt others.

And Essorant? hon? Every year I watch not just one, but most of "my" holy days turned into cartoons. And I don't really mind. I used to wear the pointy hat.

Now? I wear a tiara...

We will never see through the same pair of eyes.

Well, it's possible, through modern medicine, but the brain interprets things differently--individually.

I felt the need to qualify the statement, because...sigh, sometimes I feel like anything I type is going to be pounced upon for another argument. It gets frustrating.

You do surprise me though, because you know through your studies how intermingled it all actually is...

But I think that respect for differing beliefs is an ultimate sign of faith. Perhaps the "Lord" knows what "he/she" was doing when the "Lord" created me (and others) as I am? Perhaps the creator knows more about language than even you? Maybe that creator chooses to speak to me (and others) in languages and symbolism that I can understand?

You can disagree with me--and any of the above--but to do so is to question the omnipotence and wisdom of the "God-of-your-understanding."

If you believe there is a plan, you should trust that, then, and trust that it includes the provocative thoughts and statements of disbelief as well.

Now.

Happy Holy Days...or Hollydaze, or even the simple, all-inclusive "Season's Greetings."

I just don't want to exclude anybody. Now if someone as simple as me feels that, then how much greater is that love from "The Lord"? (With, or without the capital "L.")

Sheesh.

With extra hugs for Marge.

Um, I won't be back to this thread either.

I wanna listen to Christmas Carols. *smile*
rwood
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26 posted 12-10-2007 08:09 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Ess~

True, preference should not be a factor to reinforce extremism and intolerance. As Karen stated: "unless their preferences hurt others." Usually, extremists feel the slightest nuances of an opposing idea will corrupt the minds and hearts of current like-believers, or the new prospective believers being raised into the fold of their beliefs. This supposedly justifies intolerance.


Example: Just 5 years ago, Christians were gathering to burn Harry Potter books, recruiting all who were interested from the college I attended. I don't know why I was shocked. The new target is "The Golden Compass." I'm not shocked anymore, nor am I excusing any other violent or incorrigible acts from other slayers of humanity/humanities.

I believe everyone in the sea of life can become overzealous about who the captain of their ship is, even if it's one's own person.

Again, Karen's wisdom on faith gets my vote: One's faith should be all that's needed to get through the storms, though I do see too many people creating a human storm to oppress or annihilate other's beliefs. This isn't an act of God to me, it's a destructive act of human disregard, for the power of their god, the power of love, the power of tolerance, and the art of preserving life.

everyone needs love, a blessing, some luck, some type of good cheer, some sort of inspiration, and something to smile about, through life, not just on some certain date, and if this were expressed more all through the year, perhaps a holiday wouldn't present an offense.

Stephanos
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27 posted 12-10-2007 07:46 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
I have no personal preference of religion--I find them divisive--as evidenced by this thread.

But okay.


Sorry Karen, but I've got to call you on this one ...

The current exchange between you and Mike are both coming from pretty much non-religious perspectives.  It is a discussion about religions (as far as I can see) from the outside.  As far as being divisive, this is the Alley, what's NOT divisive here, as topics of discussion?

But, as always, I believe that we like each other a lot here, and even in the Alley I suspect there is an undercurrent of mutual respect and affection.




Stephen
Stephanos
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28 posted 12-10-2007 11:36 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I just wanted to add that I feel that Karen and Mike are both right.  The word "Lord" does not historically guarantee a reference to any particular deity.  In the ancient Near East, it was a word that could be used to refer to any exalted personage, human or otherwise.  

However, in a culture as immersed in the Judeo-Christian ethos as our own, and considering the fact that the word "Lord" was transformed to be synonymous with "The One True God" by the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is usually a clear reference to the Christian God.


And Karen,

for the record, I'm not trying to pick a fight.  

Stephen
TomMark
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29 posted 12-11-2007 12:16 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"I just wanted to add that I feel that Karen and Mike are both right."

Why? I think that both of them were wrong.

Sir Balladeer here was again as habitual as always to "ill" judge (has done to people--a list, group--democratic party, now expended to), this time, the Congress. He mainly wanted to say that If you said that you were a Christian, then behaved like one by staying away from earthly things.  If Lord allows human to be weak and disillusioning, why can't you? If God has not take Christmas tree away then there must be some usages. Communist countries and Muslim countries are erecting Christmas trees and celebrate the commercial Christmas(could because what US congress was doing). I believe  truth will get in through this to some sensitive hearts.


And My dear lady SB, I will tell you why you were wrong later.

[This message has been edited by TomMark (12-11-2007 12:48 AM).]

hush
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30 posted 12-11-2007 07:02 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

'I feel religious piety is only good and necessary during the opening of a congressional meeting if all beliefs are given an equal platform of supplication or non-supplication due to non-belief.'

Right, but regina, as you point out later, regarding Kennedy, to do that would be to peg yourself as an outsider. And while it's easy to say "who cares what other poeple think," imagine the feeding frenzy at election time... "Candidate so-andso doesn't believe in God... do you really want to vote for him?"

The point is, there shouldn't be a situation where an individual has to step out, or decline to pray, and identify themselves as an outsider.
rwood
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31 posted 12-11-2007 07:42 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Hey, hush. Good to see you again.

quote:
Right, but regina, as you point out later, regarding Kennedy, to do that would be to peg yourself as an outsider. And while it's easy to say "who cares what other poeple think," imagine the feeding frenzy at election time... "Candidate so-andso doesn't believe in God... do you really want to vote for him?"


Well, first of all, please let me say: There are many God believing Presidents who sucked at running this country. So that doesn't really afford much merit for me. Outsiders and nobodies can be very right for the job, too. Human fortitude is underrated and overlooked all too often for religious stature or churchian affiliation. All I have to say for that is if religious affiliation is a hardcore component in a person's presidential/personal worth, then there's a lot of churches that may be guilty of lawlessness by association.

and besides that: I could say I'm any faith, just for faith's sake, and your vote.

quote:
The point is, there shouldn't be a situation where an individual has to step out, or decline to pray, and identify themselves as an outsider.


Very true, and I agree. But since that doesn't seem to be the case, my only resolution is for some type of equality.

I know well what it feels like to be an outsider, even from my own family.

I'd rather be the "black sheep" than the wolf in sheep's clothing.
Balladeer
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32 posted 12-11-2007 09:52 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

So that doesn't really afford much merit for me. Outsiders and nobodies can be very right for the job, too.

I'm with you, regina, but obviously Democrat and republican presidential hopefuls don't agree with you, hence the overt and covert pounding of Romney's mormonism.  

One of my customers told me she could never vote for Romney because he is a Mormon and Mormons have to wear special underwear and any religion so fanatical as to make members wear special underwear is way too off-the-wall for her.

(she should recover from the bugspray in a week or two)
Essorant
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33 posted 12-11-2007 12:11 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

What I was trying to say is that there is nothing wrong with one religious mannerism (for example Christian instead of Buddhist) being used most instead of another in a public gathering.  The English language is used more than other languages as well.  How should that be taken as insult to the other languages?  It shouldn't. If people take it as an insult, I think it is more like an insult to people that use the English language, for it wrongly blames them simply for using the English language instead of some other language.  Likewise a business, etc, may use one manner of uniform for everyone.   What insult is that to people that don't wear that uniform?  None.  If most people present use a Christian mannerism because they are familiar with it, understand it, and are more sentimentally attached to it, and therefore, the overall expression is more Christian than anything else, how and why should that be an insult to those of other religions?

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-11-2007 12:45 PM).]

Stephanos
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34 posted 12-11-2007 12:34 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
The point is, there shouldn't be a situation where an individual has to step out, or decline to pray, and identify themselves as an outsider.

I don't know that that is realistic.  Nor do I think it is harmonious with the basic assumptions of our Government, where human rights themselves are said to be based upon, not Government, but a very Judeo-Christian understanding of God (ie, the Declaration of Independence, "endowed by their Creator").  Separation of Church and State to the degree some secularists desire, would require an entire overhaul of Government.  I don't think its what the FFs intended at all.  


The last statement may be startling, but I don't really know that there is a solution.  Religion and ideology always create a separation of sorts.  Even syncretism ends up trivializing the unique claims of religious traditions where they differ and contradict, by trying to force them (or their adherents) into a generic we-are-the-world kind of religious mood whose highest virtue is "tolerance" ... unless of course you are tagged as intolerant.  Then you're simply intolerable.  


Stephen
hush
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35 posted 12-13-2007 08:41 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

The founding fathers didn't intend for me to vote, or for a black man to live freely. I think it's important that what they wrote may be different than what they had in mind- that they  knew times would change, and their worldview would not last forever. I mean, you might interpret "Creator" as the Christian god... to me, it's my parents. That, to me, is the beauty of what they did- they purposely left it open-ended for interpretation.
Stephanos
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36 posted 12-13-2007 03:24 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

There is nothing in the constitution about voting, or about the treatment of Blacks, per se.  But there are principles to guide us.  During the pre-Civil-rights era, treating black people as property was a violation of the constitution ... not another interpretation of it.


Interpreting the "Establishment of Religion Clause" as a total divorce of religious ideas and government is not merely another interpretation, it is wrong.  How can you possess universal rights given by your parents?  If they die, do your rights die also?  The bottom line is, any transcendent personal rights must come from a transcendent personal God, or the State IS god.  And the kind of God which would ever care about personal justice, is a God of the Judeo-Christian kind.  

Sure some of the founding fathers were deistic, (subtracting attributes from an already-present theology)  but they weren't agnostic, else the certainty of personal rights granted by a Creator would never have arisen.

Amy,

Is there any transcendent reason that you should have "rights" at all?  Or is this all mumbo-jumbo for human determination?  I'm glad to doubt that the worldview which plants justice higher than human government will not last forever.  At least the founding fathers knew the danger of thinking that humanity is the sole arbiter of these rights.    


Stephen
Ron
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37 posted 12-13-2007 05:30 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
The bottom line is, any transcendent personal rights must come from a transcendent personal God ...

Yea? And where does your transcendent personal God come from, Stephen?

Before you answer that, you might want to be very certain that my transcendent personal rights couldn't come from the same place.


Stephanos
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38 posted 12-13-2007 07:37 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

The thing is, rights are contingent, whereas God can never be so.  Do you disagree?


quote:
Before you answer that, you might want to be very certain that my transcendent personal rights couldn't come from the same place.


Actually I'm sure they do come from the same place ... or more accurately, person.


Stephen
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39 posted 12-13-2007 10:29 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

You're the one who called them transcendent rights, Stephen. To my mind, transcendent rights are no more contingent than is a transcendent God.

You shouldn't confuse the rights, which are not contingent on anything, with the recognition of those rights, which indeed may be contingent on many things. Just as one shouldn't confuse God with the recognition of God, which again can be contingent on many things?

The whole point, of course, is that you don't need God in order to justify human rights. If you did, that need would either prove that such rights aren't necessarily inalienable OR it would prove that God exists. Neither proof, in my opinion, will ever be tenable.


serenity blaze
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40 posted 12-13-2007 10:41 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'm so glad I waited.

Thank you Ron.

My head hurts again.

contingencies of 'The Lord'??? (Big L or little "l"--let me hit the dictaphone again?)

it wouldn't have even passed me olde transcript skills.

sighing

Steve? Y'gotta let people have their own eyes.
TomMark
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41 posted 12-13-2007 10:56 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

right---rights. that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.: women's rights; Freedom of speech is a right of all Americans.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/right

Transcendent rights. They are not rights that are given or taken away by government(or other individual or group), but are rights that come from God.
http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5630

"To my mind, transcendent rights are no more contingent than is a transcendent God."

The comment is  right. Both of them are not contingent.

"You shouldn't confuse the rights, which are not contingent on anything, with the recognition of those rights, which indeed may be contingent on many things."

Right
Abortion right
Homo-right
voter's right
copy right

All granted by human or organizations.---contingent

Recognition of right. (except the rights form God) Only happens under the same law. Typical one  "human right" one country does not follow another country's "human right" definition....contingent

I did not read out that there was a confusion.


"Just as one shouldn't confuse God with the recognition of God, which again can be contingent on many things?"

God is one. gods are many. People in India can tell you the difference.

"The whole point, of course, is that you don't need God in order to justify human rights."

That depends on how you define your "human right".


"If you did, that need would either prove that such rights aren't necessarily inalienable OR it would prove that God exists. Neither proof, in my opinion, will ever be tenable."

?

[This message has been edited by TomMark (12-14-2007 05:17 PM).]

rwood
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42 posted 12-14-2007 08:09 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

quote:
The English language is used more than other languages as well.  How should that be taken as insult to the other languages?  It shouldn't. If people take it as an insult, I think it is more like an insult to people that use the English language, for it wrongly blames them simply for using the English language instead of some other language.


Ess~ Iíve insulted myself and others, in many different languages. My primary language is English. Logically, Iíve made more mistakes with its usages than any other language. I have warranted correction, even from you.

So, insults and injury can manifest; Ingles a Ingles. And especially when someone shouts at you with this: ďLearn English! Or get out (Insert offensive slang term)!Ē or ďRhyming poetry is inferior to Free Verse!Ē Which I donít support either notion, but I donít feel I can control how other people feel nor can I impose my ideals as being supreme above all others, without suffering the rule of ďassumptionĒ or being stunted in my growth as a person due to closed-minded ideals. Iíve never felt blamed for using English, but I have been frustrated for not being able to get my point across, which isnít a crime, but it does compel me to find a better way to communicate. I do feel that itís unrealistic for people to be hard-pressed for communication to be devoid of negativity and political incorrectness, because this will never be flawlessly achieved, and I donít think anyone really wants expression to be that strong-boxed.

quote:
If most people present use a Christian mannerism because they are familiar with it, understand it, and are more sentimentally attached to it, and therefore, the overall expression is more Christian than anything else, how and why should that be an insult to those of other religions?


All I can say is that the history of Christian mannerism isnít as pretty as any language spoken or any cloak worn, and the crimes against humanity range from persecution to barbaric torture, and massacre to cannibalism, as with many other beliefs or practices. Many people are sentimentally attached to the atrocities committed against nonconformists, and consider ďthe overall expressionĒ of Christianity to be nothing but a continued negative effort to conform or convert all others.

Again, I think itís humanistic for people to fear and fear alike, or to remove themselves from the fire completely, just to find themselves in some other pot of backlash & persecution. In fact, if one is NOT being persecuted for their beliefs, then one might not be as ďon fireĒ for a specific faith as he/she should be, according to some systems of religion.
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43 posted 12-14-2007 10:32 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

quote:
I'm with you, regina, but obviously Democrat and republican presidential hopefuls don't agree with you, hence the overt and covert pounding of Romney's mormonism.


Yep. Truly sad and perhaps one of the worst symptoms of intelligence impotence and infertility suffered by politicians.

quote:
One of my customers told me she could never vote for Romney because he is a Mormon and Mormons have to wear special underwear and any religion so fanatical as to make members wear special underwear is way too off-the-wall for her.

(she should recover from the bugspray in a week or two)



Interesting! Doesnít she know that some of us ELECT to wear special underwear? What itís for or who itís for isnít any of her business, but maybe she secretly wishes that it was?
rwood
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44 posted 12-14-2007 11:26 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

quote:
The bottom line is, any transcendent personal rights must come from a transcendent personal God ...


I believe there are some serial killers who have set out to champion this notion.
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45 posted 12-14-2007 11:30 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Who qualify to be a president  in not really based on his personal merit but his faith and circles.

A president is not working alone. He has his cabinet  and all his appointees, which are sometimes very important to the policy making.

Saddam had his circle of dictatorship.
Gore has his Globe warming care group
Bush has his oil interests organizations.

That is why I think the candidate faith and view of the society and humans are very important to take into consideration.
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46 posted 12-14-2007 11:43 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

About the rights

To be a woman and man is granted with X or Y chromosome. But now, there is a bill waiting to be passed in California which makes gender a self-claimed character. So, the boy/girl in School,  man/woman public bathroom signs will be redefined too.
So if a man felt like a woman in certain day, he could go to woman's bathroom without any hesitation. And those kind of education will be in elementary curriculum if the bill get passed. And the voting  date is 2008.  Only the right Governor can veto this kind of Bill.

"210.7.  "Gender" means sex, and includes a person's gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not
stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth."
http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/sen/sb_0751-0800/sb_777_bill_20070510_amended_sen_v97.html

one can be kind and fair and self-righteous  but if one let them override one's faith or principle, there will be disaster.  

My thought.
  
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47 posted 12-14-2007 12:56 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

'The bottom line is, any transcendent personal rights must come from a transcendent personal God, or the State IS god.  And the kind of God which would ever care about personal justice, is a God of the Judeo-Christian kind.'

I guess it comes down to a matter of perspective. I see my rights as inherent (and NOT contingent on anything, as Ron pointed out). I see them as inherent with my humanity- along with my body parts, my ability to reason, etc. I don't think you need God to have rights, just as no government gives right to you... you are born with rights, and you have them until someone tries to take them away. The degree to which you resist is the degree to which you are free (can't remember where I heard that quote recently). I don't see how it has anything to do with god. But that's obviously part of your worldview, which is fine, so long as I'm allowed to have mine.

You don't think any other gods/deities care about justice or rights?
Stephanos
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48 posted 12-15-2007 12:09 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
You're the one who called them transcendent rights, Stephen. To my mind, transcendent rights are no more contingent than is a transcendent God.


How could transcendent personal rights not be  contingent upon a transcendent personality?

By "transcendent rights", I meant transcendent and universal in relation to humanity, not self sustaining.  This definition of transcendence doesn't rule out contingence, it just rules out contingence upon us.

quote:
You shouldn't confuse the rights, which are not contingent on anything, with the recognition of those rights, which indeed may be contingent on many things.


I don't believe there is such a thing as personal rights not contingent upon anything.  But I will concede that there may be a recognition of those rights without acknowledging the source.  I think the framers of our Government felt strongly that to hold such rights autonomously without a recognition of God, would be to eventually undermine them ... that to recognize that they come from above, would see them better served and and protected.


quote:
The whole point, of course, is that you don't need God in order to justify human rights.


It may be a quibble, but you do in fact need God to justify human rights.  Are you also now confusing God with the recognition of God?

And again, it goes without saying that the authors of the Declaration of Indepedence disagreed with your statement about God and the justification of rights.  You call it antiquated perhaps, I say it was insightful and wise.    


quote:
If you did, that need would either prove that such rights aren't necessarily inalienable OR it would prove that God exists.


How would that prove that rights aren't necessarily inalienable?  

And the fact that people believe in a human dignity and ethos that is more than opinion (including corporate opinion), IS a proof of God.  Not proof in the sense of incontrovertible or inarguable (again how many western philosophers argued for their own non-existence??), but proof in the sense of 'darn good evidence'.

quote:
Steve? Y'gotta let people have their own eyes.


Of course Dear Karen, I know.  I'm really not into taking "an eye for an eye", though I've had to pluck mine out a time or two (paradoxically to gain vision).  I guess I'm just reminding that signing the papers for such a surgery is sometimes needful.    


quote:
I don't think you need God to have rights, just as no government gives right to you... you are born with rights


So you get them as you pass the exit door from the womb?  Why not hours, days, or weeks before?  I'm not wanting to rehash the abortion debate.  But I'm wondering if you were going to say 'because they aren't citizens'.  Because if you think the kind of rights spoken of in our founding documents are not granted by government, it seems strange that you wouldn't be staunchly pro-life, seeing that legal protection of little ones is now dependent upon a birth certificate.  

quote:
and you have them until someone tries to take them away.


But the whole point of rights is that they are intractable.  They do not cease to be when someone violates them.  They are still rights.  This is the meaning of "inalienable".  Remember what Ron about the confusing of rights with the recognition of rights?

quote:
I don't see how it has anything to do with god.


Well if you are willing to view personal rights as transcendent (not dependent upon age, race, opinion, etc ...) then you are at least leaning in a curious direction.  I think it should at least make you wonder where such personal absolutes of justice and rightness come from, if not from the human mind.  If you're born with rights, the mind never had a chance to conjure them up or author them like poetry or sentimental fiction.


quote:
You don't think any other gods/deities care about justice or rights?


Ideas of justice and rights were present in the pagan gods too, though it was less of a focus even than it was with Greek philosophy.  

Maybe the distinction can be put like this:  Pagan deities sometimes cared about justice and rights like humans might do so.  But the God of the Bible is said to be their very source and final judge.  Among religious expressions, this personal transcendence is unique.  


Stephen

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-15-2007 12:41 AM).]

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quote:
How could transcendent personal rights not be contingent upon a transcendent personality?

How can a transcendent personality not be contingent on a prior transcendent personality, Stephen? That is essentially the same question you just asked. And when you answer my question you'll find the answer to yours.

quote:
And the fact that people believe in a human dignity and ethos that is more than opinion (including corporate opinion), IS a proof of God.

Ah, now that's a real pity, Stephen. Proof of God, after all, makes your faith redundant and meaningless.

quote:
Not proof in the sense of incontrovertible or inarguable (again how many western philosophers argued for their own non-existence??), but proof in the sense of 'darn good evidence'.

Oh. Okay. You mean like when you look out the window and see all kinds of darn good evidence for a flat Earth? You have a very strange definition of "proof," Stephen.

If you want to say that human rights implies the existence of God, we can call that potential evidence and explore where it takes us. If you say that human rights requires the existence of God, that is proof, not evidence, and there is little enough to discuss. You are arguing "If A, then B," and any acceptance of A necessitates an acceptance of B. My contention is that your argument is, at best, illogical and, at worst, incredibly dangerous. I would just as soon not give every non-Christian in the world a good reason to deny the existence of my human rights. My rights, your rights, and their rights, are not contingent on a common faith. That's part of what makes them rights and not privileges.

quote:
And again, it goes without saying that the authors of the Declaration of Indepedence disagreed with your statement about God and the justification of rights. You call it antiquated perhaps, I say it was insightful and wise.

Antiquated? On the contrary, Stephen, I think human rights go back a little bit farther than 1776. I think they go back farther than Jesus, and back farther than Moses. Jefferson didn't invent human rights when he penned the Declaration of Independence, any more than the Greeks invented lightening or the Norse invented thunder. Attributing observable phenomenon to either God, Zeus, or Thor doesn't prove the existence of God, Zeus, or Thor. Personally, I believe human rights is an obvious and very necessary corollary to God's gift of free will; you can't have one without the other. Belief, however, doesn't make it so . . .  and much more importantly, being wrong doesn't negate the very real existence of either lightening or human rights.

A Christian need only open their eyes each day to see God. He's there in the beauty, in the love, in every small miracle surrounding the greater miracle of Life. Everything that exists, everything good or bad, everything tangible or ephemeral, exists to support and confirm the Christian's faith. Nothing, however, exists to obviate the need for that faith, Stephen. We can attribute those streaks of jagged light in the sky to a powerful god or to the inevitable consequence of a Big Bang, and we'll probably never really know, in this life, which supposition is right or, indeed, if both are right or both horribly wrong. And that's okay, I think, because when we walk out into the storm carrying a big metal pole it isn't going to matter much. The existence of lightning is its own argument.

I believe the existence of human rights, whether they stem from God or an exploding singularity, is equally obvious. Every choice we make is an invocation of those rights, just as too many of our choices are infringements of those rights. It's only in recent history that humanity has come to recognize human rights, and sadly, we have yet to find widespread respect for them.

We have harnessed the lightening in the night sky without ever once conclusively proving its source. But that was just a baby-step. The journey continues, and I think everyone -- Christian or not -- still has a whole lot of ground to cover together.


 
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