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Passions in Poetry

The Answer To My Riddle

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Robin Goodfellow
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since 06-29-99
Posts 26


0 posted 02-21-2000 01:15 AM       View Profile for Robin Goodfellow   Email Robin Goodfellow   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Robin Goodfellow

I really like Trevor's response. It brought up another thought in my mind. I'll only mention it quickly  before moving on to mine because they somsewhat relate.
"How can we be judged by a being who has yet to understand our lives? He is completely ignorant of temptation and modern sin."


The question I put before you was "What do we have as humans that god does not, nor ever will have?"
Obviously this is assuming there is a god.
Answer?"A worthy leader"
Its not possible for god to have someone to look up to. He is the highest power. If he were the follower of something greater he would guide us to it, not to himself. In all monotheistic religions that I know of God is all supreme. He is giver of laws and convictor of crimes, against family, fellow man, and self. So we can safely say that god is a ruler who leads by a system of "Follow my example" But no one seems to realize that for starters he has no consept of right or wrong.

What is right? Well the best definition is a combination of popular oppinion and conscious guidance. If one were to take away the popular oppinion there would be no such thing as right or wrong. Only personal inclinations and preferences would be one's boundary. He would be a great example of a psycopathic personality.

So what you have is a person with sumpreme control and influence doing nothing more then fufilling whims. He has suffered no consequences, so he cant possibley concieve what is a reasonable punishment because there is no pre-occuring judgement other then his own. He has never felt oppression, so he can have no sympathy for our own suffering if we bare any. He has never been humbled because he has no higher authority to correct him. He commands life as we know it with no relation to it.

Imagine your a parent, and you never got in trouble as a kid. You were the embodiment of an angel. One day your son comes home in a cop car and you find out he was drinking and smoking at a party. It is completely unheard of in the neighborhood. No one you know has ever had to judge such a case. You are left with the burden of giving sentence. What do you do? And when you do it, how will you know if it was to harsh? You won't. But since it is your first punishment, it will be your new basis for the rest of his life. You know in christianity, God's first sentencing was the banishment of both Adam and Eve for the eating of an apple. The first defing of God earns denile of euphoria to the entire planet for eternity. Is that the basis he still lives by?

Have you have been really upset when someone kept turning the conversation towards themselves, completly ignoring what you wanted to talk about? So you told a friend and the first thing they said was "Oh I know! The same thing happened to me! I was sitting there the other day....." They cant even realize they are doing the same thing. They are trying to be your source of comfort and end up repeating the process. God has felt no pain because there are no other supreme beings to converse with. So why assume he feels any pity or remorse towards our pains?

If one were to look back in time at the most powerful rulers, for example the Roman Emperor you find there are two kinds. You have your Octavian rulers. Who try to raise the quality of life for all*admitted Octavian had prejudices but you get my meaning* Then you have your Nero rulers. Who simpley indulge themselves and remain rather oblivious to the people in any other sense than as pawns and tools for amusement. God could fall into either category and we would have no idea. Of course when one see's the acts of god and the aggressiveness of his various religions one in highly inclined to think of him as the latter. It is still as big an uncertainty as random chance though. Truly a coin to be tossed.


 "The one-eyed view of our universe says you must not look far afield for problems. Such problems may never arrive. Instead, tend to the wolf within your fences. The packs ranging outside may not even exist" ~ The Azhar Book; Shamra 1:4
Trevor
Senior Member
since 08-12-99
Posts 744
Canada


1 posted 02-21-2000 03:52 AM       View Profile for Trevor   Email Trevor   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Trevor

I loved the concept, excellent idea. The only problem with it is, by a Christian viewpoint, God knows everything and can do anything. Therefore he knows how every human experience feels and why it feels that way. That would mean He would know how a teenager would feel if he/she were to get drunk, go home late, get grounded and vomit the next morning. He would also know if the parents punishment was the "right" amount. God would have already felt everything there is to feel and know why everything feels the way it feels..etc...etc. He would even know what it is like to suffer consequences even if He never has. He would have to be  the Supreme empathetic God by "definition". He knows everything without ever doing it....such a lazy God the Christians have   That's the Christian loop-hole with their definition of their God....He knows everything and can do everything thereby making it impossible to find a negative aspect of God. Anyways, once again, great idea. Now this is just my opinion, but have you thought of working this idea into a story of some kind, I think it would be a great read. Thanks for making me think, take care,
Trevor
rich-pa
Member
since 02-07-2000
Posts 325
New Orleans, Louisiana


2 posted 02-21-2000 03:22 PM       View Profile for rich-pa   Email rich-pa   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rich-pa

i just want to say one with thing that you said about the agrresiveness of god's religions, god did not establish an aggressive religion, people did.  jesus taught love and tolerance in the bible so anyone who acts violently in the name of christ is not a christian at all.
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


3 posted 02-21-2000 04:34 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Robin:

You've said a mouthful here and I don't exactly know where to start.  So I'll begin with, and limit my initial response to, your first question and then if you want any clarifications you can let me know:

"How can we be judged by a being who has yet to understand our lives? He is completely ignorant of temptation and modern sin."

Your questions actually beg several questions.  (1) You assume that God does not understand our lives and temptations and (2) that modern sin is essentially different from ancient sin and (3) that one must have been "in the shoes of the offender" in order to pass judgment.

(1)  Christian theism maintains that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, that he was subjected to the same temptations we are (lust, power, etc.), but that he did not give in to those temptations. Therefore, atleast in my belief system, Jesus Christ (the God-man of Christian theology) knew first-hand mankind's temptations to do what he [mankind] knew to be wrong and an essential element of your first question/objection becomes difficult to maintain.  

(2)  What compels us to do the "wrong" thing?  Lust 3000 years ago is no different from lust today.  Hatred and murder then is no different from hatred and murder today.  They expressions of both may be different but I think that the feelings that draw us into such behavior do not change with time.  So "modern sins" is merely a convenient qualification that proves to be illusory.

(3)  Does a judge who sits on his bench have the right to pass judgement on a thief or murderer even if that judge never stole or murdered?  What if the thief was hungry and stole food and the judge never knew what it was like to have to steal for food?  Is the judge, then, disqualified from passing judgement on the offender?  Of course not.  Why?  Because the law condemns the offender and makes that judgement justifiable.  In the same manner, God's law, summarized in the Ten Commandments in Judeo-Christian teaching, condemns the sinner of violating its tenants.  God, then, as Judge is justified in passing judgement on those who violate these laws EVEN if He had never been subjected to the thoughts and temptations that led to the sinful act.  Even if someone has never heard of these laws he is not absolved of responsibility just as a thief who didn't know you shouldn't steal isn't spared punishment because of his ignorance.  Even if one was completely ignorant of the Ten Commandments, chances are he or she would "know" that either killing, adultery, theft, dishonoring parents, and lusting (greed and lasciviousness covered here) is or are wrong.  If the question you assume to be true IS in fact true, how can justice ever be done?  How can someone be punished by a person or a system that never "felt the pain" of the punished?

Let's see where this goes, shall we?




 Jim

"If I rest, I rust." - Martin Luther

Robin Goodfellow
Junior Member
since 06-29-99
Posts 26


4 posted 02-21-2000 06:39 PM       View Profile for Robin Goodfellow   Email Robin Goodfellow   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Robin Goodfellow

Trevor, Thank you for your kind words. I try my best to earn my place around here. The respect of a scholar is truly a gift to be sought after. I hadn't thought of making it a story. I am presently working on my first book under the watchful eyes of my dearest friend. I have a few qualms about my transitions and dialoge but she seems to love it.

Rich-pa, well if you take a step back god is indirctly responsible. *chritian* God created man, placed him in Eden and talked to him. God lead Adam and Eve to worship him. He preached honoring of ones elders and betters. And who would be older or better then God himself? So God would be the epitome of someone to honor and defend. Defend from what? Any religion that would contradict that which they hold to be true. Hence the conflicting emotions between religions. And over time they became more aggressive and spiteful e.g. the Holy Land.

Jbouder, you cant compare our laws to his. We developed ours by conversing with several other people to decide. What was right for our world? What is fair for as many people as possible? If it is unfair to someone then it will be changed. If it is unfair to someone in god's eyes......eternal damnation. Judges don't make decisions based on souly on their own experience. It is based partly on that and partly on the advice of others. God has no one to seek advice from, so he makes decisions based on expierences he never had and advice he'll never hear.



 "The one-eyed view of our universe says you must not look far afield for problems. Such problems may never arrive. Instead, tend to the wolf within your fences. The packs ranging outside may not even exist" ~ The Azhar Book; Shamra 1:4
jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


5 posted 02-22-2000 11:02 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Hello again.

Robin:

"Jbouder, you cant compare our laws to his."

Why not?

"We developed ours by conversing with several other people to decide. What was right for our world? What is fair for as many people as possible?"

Modernly, I would have to agree with you.  But western jurisprudence leans heavily on Judeo-Christian law (The Ten Commandments) and on Roman law (Cicero, for example).  Even the American Declaration of Independence cites "The Laws of Nature" and "The Laws of Nature's God" to defend the document's legality and authority.  Fairness (equity) always took a back seat to right and wrong in common law (the courts of equity were afterthoughts).  Therefore, I do not believe it is acurate to say that "We developed ours by conversing with several other people to decide" because the sources of "ours" had little to do with what the framers "felt" was best and everything to do with what the framers "thought" was right.

"If it is unfair to someone then it will be changed. If it is unfair to someone in god's eyes......eternal damnation."

Why is it unjust for God to damn those who violate the laws God set?  If He is the Creator, who are we to dictate what is fair and what is unfair?

"Judges don't make decisions based on souly on their own experience. It is based partly on that and partly on the advice of others."

Actually, a good judge will base his decisions primarily on the rule of law and the authority of prior legal decisions.  Philosophical biases may cause some divergent interpretations of the law but the right application of the rule of law and prior legal decisions to the facts, not the advice of others, determines how a good judge reaches a decision.

"God has no one to seek advice from, so he makes decisions based on expierences he never had and advice he'll never hear."

As if He needs our advice.  If God is all-knowing, all-just, and all good, what advice can the finite, corrupt, self-seeking human mind offer?  I can assure you that such advice will not be, with all likelihood, in the best interest of the masses but, rather, it will be in the best interest of the prideful, human advice-giver.  Again, I direct you to what I mentioned earlier to your incorrect assertion of "experiences he never had".  I still don't think that "experience" is a necessary prerequisite to pass judgment but, as I mentioned earlier, I think that Judeo-Christian teaching of Christ being the God-man, subjected to every temptation we have been (See the Letter to the Hebrews, New Testament), satisfies your prerequisite for such an "experience".

JMHO






 Jim

"If I rest, I rust." - Martin Luther

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


6 posted 02-27-2000 10:54 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

The basis for Natural law is a whole thread in itself but what I find intriguing is that I really do think that both Jim and Robin have a point here. God as an absolute being means He/She can do anything and is everything. This necessarily means that He/She can never be perceived by us (at least in terms of language and philosophy). You can always appeal to him and he's always right. Nevertheless, this also allows him the nifty ability of being finite and infinite at the same time. As Trevor said, he can feel and understand everything that everybody feels in its separateness and its wholeness.  This means he is also a personal God (I know that's a code word for some people but if you follow my definition maybe we can separate that from any specific sect). Would not a personal God wish to guide us in a certain way?  And how would he do that in the modern world except through history? Would the old burning bush actually work for us today? Would a big face in the sky?  I don't think so -- at least, I would be very hesitant to believe in big special effects. No, it's up to us to define our own morality and our own reality and his very disappearance as a 'voice' means that theology must be researched and discussed through our minds AND THE MIND'S OF OTHERS THROUGH TEXTS AND CONVERSATION.

Okay, I got off the point there for a minute but Jim's God/man idea is very similar to Hegel's view of Christianity and the Spirit.
And believe it or not, this also falls into Robin's idea of God having no leader. This idea is actually what Francis Fukuyama calls 'reciporical recognition' -- the final stage of history for man is the end of leaders.  Leaders, not in the sense of Presidents, not in the sense of Fathers or Kings but in the sense of recognizing ourselves equally as beings with no other human beings above us.

Huh? I don't think I'm making myself that clear yet. But Robin's point and Jim's point are practically the same thing on two different levels. Should we follow God's guidance? Are we not made in his own image?  If this is true, isn't it time to consider the idea that each individual is both 'not an island' and that each of us as individuals should respect the other. Easy to say that, I suppose but how many people actually do it?

Jim, if I'm following your argument correctly, isn't that what Western civilization is based on?

Okay, guys, I'll try to clean this mess up later,
Brad

PS An extremely tentative addition here.

jbouder
Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


7 posted 02-27-2000 09:57 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

Well said.  You actually threw me off for a sec when you compared by view to Hegel's (until tonight I had never read much of Hegel).  What I think you are seeing is the influence of Martin Luther's writings on both Kant and Hegel.  Hegel (like Luther) was an outspoken apponant of those who would overthrough centuries of thought and wisdom with subjective opinions and personal feelings.  

"Are we not made in his own image?  If this is true, isn't it time to consider the idea that each individual is both 'not an island' and that each of us as individuals should respect the other. Easy to say that, I suppose but how many people actually do it?"

Brad, these are excellent questions (they actually cut directly to the real point).  You cannot have true freedom and anti-constructionism as bed-fellows.  True freedom requires that we recognize the effects our actions have on our neighbors.  Anti-constructionism is focused primarily on selfishness.  You are right in that Western civilization is largely founded on the notion that "no man is an island" and that we ought to keep our neighbor's interest in the forefront of our thinking when we exercise our freedom.  It is the existance of this moral restraint that makes real freedom flourish and it the absence of this moral restraint that causes me no small amount of apprehension when people start talking about freedom.  Usually, nowadays, when someone brings up the subject of freedom, more emphasis is put on that person's selfish right to do what he/she wants to do while little, if any, consideration is given on how this exercise of personal freedom is going to affect his/her neighbor.

The ripples of the Reformation had a tremendous influence in the Colonial Americas during the First Great Awakening and this thought, by the way, greatly influenced those who would frame our Constitution.  The early 19th century marked the beginning of a much more subjective Second Great Awakening in the Americas that placed personal experience and subjectivism on the forefront.  Suddenly "self" was more important than the neighbor.  It became more and more difficult for people to love their neighbors as they loved their selves.  And now we have a culture of selfishness.  Maybe more on this later.

"No, it's up to us to define our own morality and our own reality and his very disappearance as a 'voice' means that theology must be researched and discussed through our minds AND THE MIND'S OF OTHERS THROUGH TEXTS AND CONVERSATION."

YES YES YES!!!  What tears me apart is not that people have differing opinions from mine.  I can handle differing opinions.  What bothers me is the disregard of many for the lessons of antiquity.  Why do we continuously fall victim to the same philosophical and religious mistakes that flourished in the times of Socrates, of Augustine, or of Hegel for that matter?  The reason is that we are so willing (and eager) to ignore the lessons learned in those times.  Socrates had to deal with the Sophists, Augustine had to face the Pelagians and Gnostics, and Hegel had to confront bone-heads like Fries.  Now it seems as though there are more sophists, Pelagians and subjectivists than there were in centuries past.

Thanks for the post, Brad.  Good points.  

Jim




[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 02-27-2000).]
 
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