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Opeth
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175 posted 11-21-2002 07:17 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"I'm willing to continue answering your questions and objections as long as you are still interested in hearing them.  I am interested in your response to my previous rebuttal, by the way."

~ I believed I replied to that rebuttal, Jim. If not, rephrase or point to me which rebuttal you are talking about.

Overall, I thought that maybe I would have received new and refreshing rebuttals from what I have posted so far, but instead, every counterpoint that I have received so far, I have already heard by many others. This may be one reason why I seem so unwilling to listen. Each of your rebuttals I have already heard and have taken time to review before I eventually dismissed them for what they were = subjective biased reasoning from people who refuse to change their views on Christianity. I am not saying that, in itself is wrong, but only expected.

Again, why should one become a piriah in his or her families and communities when one can reason away logic, facts and common sense?  

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-21-2002 07:19 AM).]

Denise
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176 posted 11-21-2002 10:12 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
Again, why should one become a piriah in his or her families and communities when one can reason away logic, facts and common sense?  



Opeth, even if that were possible, why would someone want to reason away logic, facts and common sense?
Opeth
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177 posted 11-21-2002 10:23 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

So many studies have been conducted regarding your question, Denise.

One example was a study in which the controlled group were to purposely select the wrong line in a line matching test, even though it was obvious to tell which two lines were of equal length. Now there was more to this experiment, but in a nutshell, over 50% of the experimental group picked the same wrong line in order to fit in with the group. And even after being shown that this line was not the same length by one of those conducting the experiment, over 35% of the experimental group still believed in their minds that the wrong line was the correct answer, their minds influenced by wanting to be a part of the majority (controlled group).

I may have not explained this experiment well, but I believe you get the jist of it. If it were that easy for people to believe in an untruth regarding a simple line matching experiment, how much more can one be swayed to believe in a particular religion/god?

Your question has been answered. Indeed, it was difficult for me at first. I read these fallacies, heard the counterarguments, and even though I still wanted to believe in my religion, with an open mind, and without fear of becoming a piriah in my community, I could not ignore the common sense and logic of my findings.

I chose the correct line, even though I have been told by the majority that the wrong line is indeed the match.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-21-2002 10:25 AM).]

Stephanos
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178 posted 11-21-2002 07:05 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

Your beef with God is that he "created" evil.  First off, you are presupposing enough of the Christian worldview to admit evil exists ... at least to be able to argue against the veracity of God from that point, right?  Well, the Christian concept of "evil" is that of a perversion.  Remember the Genesis account?  Everything God made was followed by the epithet "very good".  So Christianity presupposes that God created everything good.  

Now we know that everything is not good in reality.  So I admit we have a problem.  The simplistic answer is that God must have created things bad, or evil.  But it is not necessary to say so.  He could have created good things with an inherent quality that would render them spoiled  under certain conditions.  

What are these conditions?  Well they are relational in nature.  They are like spatial relationships, only spiritual rather than physical.  Things retain their "goodness" only in proper relationship to their Creator.  Autonomous and severed from him, they become "evil".  

So your real problem with God is that he created us with an inherent dependence upon himself, and designed the nature of things in such a way, that if we willfully turn from him evil ensues.  This is not creating evil.  It is creating us, or angels, or whatever, with the potential to become evil and cause evil.  It is also creating physical things with the potential to be spoiled.  

I'm just trying to clarify here.  Because I think your insistence that God created evil, is a blame thing for you.  You are not arguing from metaphysics, logic, or even how God created, but from ethics.  You are saying that ethically God was wrong to create, if he knew beforehand his  creatures would choose the wrong way.  You seem angry that there is evil and want to blame it on God.  But what I am trying to show you and others is that this is not logically necessary.  Yours is an emotional reaction and not a purely logical one.  I sympathize with this, because I too am disgusted with the existence of evil.  Who likes it?  Who likes pain?


Now presupposing all of this as you are... the Christian concept of evil.  (Naturalism cannot say evil really exists, BTW).  You are opening yourself to consider at least the cardinal Christian explanations of the problem of evil.  I am not real familiar with the formal arguments.  But I can think of some things myself to answer the problem of evil.


1)  God created, knowing that evil would ensue from the fall, but chose to do so anyway... But  the glory he has promised through redemption is to be greater than that of an unfallen creation.  In short, he saw the triumph as well worth the tragedy.

2)  God can use evil for good, and takes opportunity to demonstrate his ultimate mastery over "evil" even in the lives of people.  One example is how a person facing great pain, can emerge with improved character and graces.  The world is full of books that describe such... by believers and unbelievers alike.  Other  examples include, how the death of Christ (the ultimate tragedy it seems) was turned to our very salvation, or how the Jewish rejection of the Gospel was turned into the opportunity for salvation for the Gentiles.

3)  God has a purpose in showing his wrath against evil and sin.  One reason that I can think of right off hand, is to turn people away from sin and the pain it causes.  Another is to demonstrate that he is a God of Justice as well as mercy... which is something people too soon forget.

4)  God uses evil in the world to demonstrate his great love for us.  The very fact that mankind (and creation along with them) fell, gave God opportunity to demonstrate his awesome love for us through the incarnation.  Think about it.  As evil as the world became, God was willing to suffer in the person of Christ  right along with us.  God can hardly be blamed, seeing he was willing to suffer the consequences of evil that he did not himself cause.  


These are just a few ideas.  


But if you are going to argue logically from the problem of evil (as defined by the Christian concept)  then these presuppositions must be kept in mind...

1) God created all things good.  But this goodness was and is conditional.

2)  Evil in Christian Theology is not a positive entity, only a perversion of what was originally good.  Evil has no original building blocks to work with.  It represents usurped power and giftings used contrary to the nature of God.

3)  Christ innocently suffered the evil of this world in a superlative degree.

4)  God's promise is restoration beyond a status quo of pre-fallen creation.


These things must be taken into account when using your logic.  If you don't, for example, accept the Christian concept of evil, then you must present your own and describe why it is more reflective of true "evil".  Or if you are a naturalist as you claim, you must show how evil can really exist in a naturalistic universe.  Unless you do this you will have to argue and reason from the revelatory knowledge that the Judeo-Christian heritage provides.


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-21-2002 07:11 PM).]

Opeth
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179 posted 11-22-2002 08:29 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"Your beef with God is that he "created" evil."

~ No, you are missing my point. I don't believe in god, so I can't have a "beef" with him. I am merely demonstrating one of the many glaring inconsistencies in christianity.

"First off, you are presupposing enough of the Christian worldview to admit evil exists"

~ No, I don't believe that evil exists. I am arguing the point of a belief that evil exists along with the belief of an all-powerful, all-good, and all-loving christian god.

"Well, the Christian concept of "evil" is that of a perversion.  Remember the Genesis account?"

~ Yes, I do. god created the heaven and earth in 6 days, then he created his day, the 7th day, the sabbath, and he put two naked teenagers into a garden, and having created sex, because god did create sex having created man and woman, expected them to live without sin...even though he gave them both a free-will to boot and allowed satan to tempt them. Of course, seeing each other's naked bodies and being sexual in nature they decided to romp, but hey, teens will be teens, especially when they don't have parents to provide them with any moral guidance...well, these two teens did have a snake to give them direction.

Btw...the Adam and Eve story is another biblical fallacy. There was never just two people on this entire earth.

"Everything God made was followed by the epithet "very good".  So Christianity presupposes that God created everything good."  

~ Okay. So far, so good.

"Now we know that everything is not good in reality.  So I admit we have a problem."

~ For sure.

"The simplistic answer is that God must have created things bad, or evil.  But it is not necessary to say so.  He could have created good things with an inherent quality that would render them spoiled  under certain conditions."

~ True, but he must of knew that these things would indeed spoil, yet he allowed them to. Therefore, he created things evil.

Example: If I created a Frankenstein, and although this Franky was created with good intentions, and Franky was good, at first, but if I knew prior to creating Franky, that he would wreak havoc on the masses, and created him anyway, I am guilty of created an evil Frankenstein monster.

"Because I think your insistence that God created evil, is a blame thing for you."

~ The christian god created evil. He knew that people would turn away from him and then he also knew that satan would turn away from him, yet he created people and satan anyway. It is illogical and completely irrational to suggest otherwise. How simple can this be. From the top...

1. God knows all. God is all powerful.

2. God created angels and humans.

3. God knew they would turn away from him before he created them. he knew evil would be brought into his universe by creating angels and humans, yet he created them anyway.

4. Therefore god created evil.

"Yours is an emotional reaction and not a purely logical one."

~ I couldn't be more logical in my ascertations.

"I sympathize with this, because I too am disgusted with the existence of evil.  Who likes it?  Who likes pain?"

~ I don't believe in evil. It is an illogical concept.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-22-2002 08:34 AM).]

Opeth
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180 posted 11-22-2002 08:39 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"...whom impregnated Mary with the jesus child. Was it god the father or god the holy spirit? It has to matter because if one says either, then jesus could of impregnated his mother with himself, yes? no?"

Any logical explanations out there?

What does the bible say?  
jbouder
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181 posted 11-22-2002 12:32 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Opeth:

So, if when you were a child, your father bought you a chemistry set, and you grew up to be a maker of illegal drugs, would that make your father a narcotics manufacturer?

Jim

[This message has been edited by jbouder (11-22-2002 03:23 PM).]

Opeth
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182 posted 11-22-2002 12:41 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"So, if when you were a child, your father bought you a chemistry set, and you grew up to be a maker of illegal drugs, would that make you a narcotics manufacturer?"

~ For an analogy to be successful, each player in the analogy has to have a direct representation to the question/argument at hand.

So, with that being said, before I answer your question, explain to me the following...

Who does the father, son, the chemistry set, which includes the act of giving, illegal drugs, drug manufacturer, and "you," all represent in our discussion/argument?


[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-22-2002 12:44 PM).]

Opeth
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183 posted 11-22-2002 01:01 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

So, if God is an actual Trinity: 3 Godheads equaling one God. All the same, yet all distinctively different (a mystery):

1. Which Godhead impregnated Mary?

2. Why is the Holy Spirit without name?

3. Why in the oldest ancient scrolls found, a certain verse in the bible was absent, yet this verse found its way into the bible during the middle ages and was later to be an embarassment to the Christian community. And this verse is, "...and these three are one."

4. Why in the beginning of the Gospel of John, only 2 Godheads are mentioned. "The Word (Jesus) was with God (The Father) and the Word was God (Jesus and the Father are one)." If the Holy Spirit is indeed an equal or even more-deserving Godhead, how come He is not mentioned in this passage?

5. How come in all of these passages, the Holy Spirit is not mentioned, which one would logically and common sensically include if the HS was indeed a part of a Trinity

Rom 8:17, ICor 11:3, Eph 5:5, Rev 7:10.

6. Col 3:1, Christ is with God, but where is the Holy Spirit?

  
After reading and studying the bible with an open-mind, I came to the conclusion that the Trinity is bogus.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-22-2002 01:03 PM).]

jbouder
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184 posted 11-22-2002 01:17 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Opeth:

1. Father = God
2. Child/You = Mankind
3. Chemistry Set = Instrumentality (i.e., "Free-will")
4. Illegal Drugs = Use of chemistry knowledge to create something harmful and illegal

Analogies are imperfect arguments, I know.  But what you are suggesting is that God is responsible for secondary causes.

There ... I explained it.  Now maybe you'll consider explaining your hermeneutic processes in the biblical verses you misinterpreted earlier?

Jim
Opeth
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185 posted 11-22-2002 01:32 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

1. Father = God
2. Child/You = Mankind
3. Chemistry Set = Instrumentality (i.e., "Free-will")
4. Illegal Drugs = Use of chemistry knowledge to create something harmful and illegal


~ However, your analogy still doesn't work. Important elemets are misssing.

1. After the illegal drugs are created, they become a separate entity, much like the father? This entity then is allowed to by the father to sway the child into creating more drugs?

or

2. Did god create the angels and these angels were in the same room with the child and the angels rebelled, not the child's fault, eh? And Satan the leader of the rebelled angels taunted and twisted truths around to confuse the lad and his chemistry set, of which he then created the drugs, where was the father when this child never heard the father's name or knew how to be saved, or was visited by the father's other children who confused the child even more, and lied to him, because Satan was behind it all, this satan, whom god knew would come into being, yet allowed him to exist and confuse the boy.  Now the father is going to take away the child's chemistry set and hang is ass over some hot fiery coals forever, just because the poor child did not understand and was duped by demons created by the father. Completely preposterous.

But let me answer your q...

"So, if when you were a child, your father bought you a chemistry set, and you grew up to be a maker of illegal drugs, would that make you a narcotics manufacturer?

Yes, it does. Because being an all-knowing father, I would of known that when I created the child giving him free-will, that I also created angels, of which evil was derived, separate from the child and his free-will, yes? Of course.  Therefore, I should either not created the angels or not created the child or not have given the child free will, if I were not be blamed for the illegal drugs created by the child, unless I did not blame the child for what he has done.
  
"God is responsible for secondary causes."

~ Read my above reply. Your god knew good and well that the angels would rebel and evil would then be created. That is not a secondary cause, period.

"There ... I explained it."

~ Like the Hertz commercial, "not exactly."

"Now maybe you'll consider explaining your hermeneutic processes in the biblical verses you misinterpreted earlier?"

~ What is there to explain. Be more specific. At least answer the first question, of which I have now asked 3 times and still have not received one valid and logical explanation. Who impregnated Mary, Jesus?


[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-22-2002 01:41 PM).]

hush
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186 posted 11-22-2002 03:19 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Stephen-

The idea of evil is probably my biggest problem with organized religions. It's a pretty universal theme throughout religions- necessarily splitting actions into two factions: good and evil.

I find this is ridiculous.

From my point of view (I know, I know, we're head-to-head here) that human beings will always act in a way that most benefits them, evil isn't an option. Or, to clarify, willful evil isn't an option. Evil does not have positive connotations, any way you put it. Nobody wants to be evil. When people do something, anything, they believe they are doing the right thing, or, at the very least, the least wrong thing.

I don't believe that fundamentalist, militant Muslims who suicide bomb populated places are evil. They believe that, by the (to us) twisted application of their religious texts, they are doing something righteous.

Of course, one can always offer the 'wide is the road to destruction' argument...

I think that one major example of people who on this road to destruction, to apply Biblical connotations to real life, are those who call other people evil. You know, my dad can't stand anybody who even looks Arabic. He seems to think they naturally gravitate toward 'evil.' In fact, he flipped out when I told him I talked to someone from Israel through e-mail. That's how dangerous he thinks it is... and a lot of people are like this. In fact, just after 9/11, at Thanksgiving, my family was having a pretty heated Osama Bin Laden-bashing session. Finally, disgusted, I spoke up and said that he wasn't evil.

After hearing my defense, they looked at me like I was somehow "with" him, like I supported the attacks or something...

My point is that some people adopt the fundamentalist "good" vs. "evil" tripe (or, as G.W. puts it, if you're not with us, you're against us) that if I even dare to step outside their standard moral highground, I attain enemy status. They distrust me for extending understanding and mercy to another human being. How much more can you misconstrue Jesus' message than that? Because regardless of the pain and suffering his plots have caused- Osama Bin Laden is an underdog in the U.S. And didn't Jesus specifically teach reaching out to the marginalized? To heal those who are in need of a physician, not those who are okay as it is? I mean, I think that if, instead of trying o smash this "evil" under our American big stick, we tried to understand and remedy it, we'd be far better off, and much less reviled worldwide.

My defense to the concept of evil is this:  Recognizing universally "evil" and "good" acts makes it pretty easy to label someone "evil" or "good" by their actions alone. This type of literal legalism leads to people discriminating on the basis of good and evil. A certain group becomes associated with evil, and there you go. They aren't people, they're terrorists. German soldiers, weren't people, they were Krauts.

Speaking of Germans makes me think of All Quiet on the Western Front. This book exemplifies the point I am trying to make much better than I ever could. The protagonist, Paul(?) finds himself stuck in a crater out in no-man's land (WWI trench warfare) with a French soldier he has fatally injured. Language barrier aside, he finds himself touched (and terrified) by the humanity of the 'enemy.' He realizes that he has mortally injured a man, not just a (disdainful tone) Frenchman.

The enemy is no less human, no more evil, than we, ourselves are.

I am convinced that "evil", much like "insane", is a term that we use as a comfort device. It tells me that I could never be so "evil" as to take another human being's life. But we justify it too- because our military is out there killing people so as to defeat Bush's (Anybody else notice the World War lingo?) Axis of Evil.

I guess I just went on a rant that's as political as it is religious- but when a simplistic right-winger is heading the oval office and "putting America to sleep with warm milk and cliches" (Ani DiFranco) of finding all "evil" that threatens our "good" American imperialistic tradition of stomping all over the globe like we own the entire thing... well, I guess then I see the idea of evil as far more dangerous than the actual "evil" itself- because we can use it to justify any atrocity, any new McCarthyism masquerading around as a "Patriot Act."

Rant winding down... I know I haven't made an entirely (or even mostly?) convincing argument against the reality of evil... because I can't answer the question "Why is there suffering in the world?" any more satisfactorily. I just find that the concept runs counter to my common sense perception of reality, and that it seems to be at the root of just as much wrongdoing as it tries to condemn.

BTW- I think the absence of God argument is... unsettling. Not because I think I am evil, for my lack of God in my life- but do other people? I'm not one for worrying too much what other people think about me- but that's a troubling thought.

thanks for the provocation.
Stephanos
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187 posted 11-23-2002 12:15 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

"Yes, I do. god created the heaven and earth in 6 days, then he created his day, the 7th day, the sabbath, and he put two naked teenagers into a garden, and having created sex, because god did create sex having created man and woman, expected them to live without sin...even though he gave them both a free-will to boot and allowed satan to tempt them. Of course, seeing each other's naked bodies and being sexual in nature they decided to romp, but hey, teens will be teens, especially when they don't have parents to provide them with any moral guidance...well, these two teens did have a snake to give them direction."


Is this really what you think the Genesis account states?  When did you read it last?  I truly suggest that you go back and revisit this.  Your suggestion that God forbade Adam and Eve to have sex is not even hinted at in the text!  Genesis 1:28 relates that "God blessed them and said to them,  'Be Fruitful and multiply'"  This was before they took the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was forbidden.  Your belief that the 'fruit' represented sexual pleasure is simply wrong if you read the text.  Perhaps you are assuming that because they realized that they were naked after they ate, that this must mean the sin was sexual.  Biblically and traditionally this was a graphic picture of shame.  Before they ate they were naked too, but "not ashamed" (Gen 2:25).  Their sin was rebellion against God by eating the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  God had forbidden this, and the serpent lied and said that they would "be like God" if they took autonomy and ate.  Their rebellion was the same as Lucifer's, in making  themselves out to be "Gods".  God created sex as a good gift to humanity.  Were you seriously entertaining this as an interpretation of Genesis, or just mocking?      



"he must of knew that these things would indeed spoil, yet he allowed them to. Therefore, he created things evil."

No, Jim's right here also.  This merely means he created things with the capacity to become evil.  You are insisting that this evil, in the sense of blame, connects back to the maker of what became evil.  Only if God were directly the cause of created things becoming evil, can he be said to have "created evil".  What makes it more fallacious is the understanding that evil is merely a moving away from the perfect standard of what is good.  It's like blaming drinking glasses for spills, when in actuality a spill is defined by that which did not remain in the glass.  The glass which is actually anti-spillish (neat word eh?) in nature, is blamed for spills.  God who is anti-evil in nature is blamed for it's existence.  Logically this is fallacious.  




An atheist whose argumentation is much better developed, Michael Martin, admits that "The Problem of Evil" is not a logical problem.  For if God has a sufficient reason for allowing evil to exist, then it is not contradictory to his nature of goodness.  I'll let you counter his argument first...  In the final analysis, I maintain that "The problem of evil" is actually proof for God.  Without an unmoving standard of what is evil or not, atrocities and the like can only be judged from the tribunal of human preference.  To explain that things are evil merely because they cause displeasure, is to make them too subjective and arbitrary.  The very fact that atheists admit that evil is a "problem" of universal scope, requires the standard of good and evil that is only found in a personal God.


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-23-2002 01:02 AM).]

Stephanos
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188 posted 11-23-2002 12:35 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush,

in your view of things, why do people feel remorse and guilt.  Is guilt pathological, or a proper emotion at times?  And what of the testimony of countless who do wrong things... "I Knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway".  . . "I went against my better judgement".  Does this not suggest a kind of knowledge of good and evil?  You would have to counter a person's own testimony to support your view.  Your assertion is that a person cannot wilfully violate his or her own moral knowledge.  I have a testimony myself that counters your view.  I have done wrong things with full knowledge that they were wrong.  How can we keep the cruelest acts from being justified, with such an amoral view?

Stephen.


(here we go again?.... )

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-23-2002 12:36 AM).]

Stephanos
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189 posted 11-23-2002 12:50 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Hush,

My previous response was off the cuff, and we've already covered most of that some time before.  I wanted to say something new here perhaps to get it flowing from a different direction.


"They distrust me for extending understanding and mercy to another human being. How much more can you misconstrue Jesus' message than that? Because regardless of the pain and suffering his plots have caused- Osama Bin Laden is an underdog in the U.S. And didn't Jesus specifically teach reaching out to the marginalized? To heal those who are in need of a physician, not those who are okay as it is? I mean, I think that if, instead of trying o smash this "evil" under our American big stick, we tried to understand and remedy it, we'd be far better off, and much less reviled worldwide."


I share so much of your viewpoint here that you would be surprised if you only knew.  People bashing someone else because they percieve them as evil disturbs me, especially when Jesus said things like "Pray for your enemies".  How many Americans are praying for Bin Laden, or the nation of Islam, or Arabs?  Even churches get into this nationalistic "Jesus" sometimes.  But I don't run into even many professed followers of Christ who pray for the enemies of the U.S.  This is what you would picture Jesus actually doing though isn't it?  I'm saying that you are absolutely right...

The only point of difference I have here is that I would actually call evil deeds evil.  I don't think this necessitates hatred at all.  Most people can't separate seeing evil, and hating those who do it.  Jesus was able to separate these two.  The woman caught in adultry?  All of the religious wanted to stone her according to Mosaic law.  Jesus said "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone", and they all left at his gaze.  But interestingly he didn't just wipe her tears and say "there, there".  He said rather, "Go and sin no more".  In all the compassion and mercy, there was still a calling of evil evil.  This is where I believe it is the best to stand... the most misunderstood place to stand.  Those like you run the risk of misunderstanding my recognition of sin as self-righteousness, while those who are self righteous may misunderstand my compassion as compromise.  So be it.  I think this is where Jesus stands.  It is where, by the grace of God, I will try to stand...  always loving truth, always loving people.   How often I still fail.


Stephen.


[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-23-2002 12:56 AM).]

Stephanos
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190 posted 11-23-2002 12:59 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron,

is this the longest thread in PIP yet?  

Stephen.
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191 posted 11-23-2002 08:03 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Of course you agree with Jim. I wouldn't expect anything different. It would be illogical for me to expect you two not to agree.

With the garden of eden story of mine. My intention was to show that when two "green" teens are together, alone with a snake, and the snake is much more wiser, it seems only natural to me, that these two would partake in the forbidden fruit. What else would god of expected? He must of known they would of sinned? So, why put the snake in the garden in the first place? Because of their free will?

That defense is full of holes. For free-will to exist is not predicated on the existence of evil.
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192 posted 11-23-2002 01:26 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus

Stephan,

quote:
in your view of things, why do people feel remorse and guilt. Is guilt pathological, or a proper emotion at times? And what of the testimony of countless who do wrong things... "I Knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway". . . "I went against my better judgement". Does this not suggest a kind of knowledge of good and evil? You would have to counter a person's own testimony to support your view. Your assertion is that a person cannot wilfully violate his or her own moral knowledge. I have a testimony myself that counters your view. I have done wrong things with full knowledge that they were wrong. How can we keep the cruelest acts from being justified, with such an amoral view?

Guilt is based upon historical knowledge and falls into the category of hindsight ďI went against my better judgement,Ē is a statement looking back on a decision with the benefit of additional knowledge made at a later date with time to reflect. People do not consciously decide to do something that they believe is anything other than the best choice given the situation and time allowed. A little scenario might explain what I mean:

At 10:55 I give you all the information about the strengths and weaknesses of two horses about to run in a race, the 11:00 at Sometown, based upon that information you decide to bet on horse A.  If I ask you at that time if you want to change your mind and you say no then I have to conclude that you believe that to be the correct choice. If you change your mind and select horse B instead my conclusion must be that you believe that to be the correct choice. The object after all is to select the winning horse, attempting to select anything other than the winning horse isnít an option. Letís say you choose horse A and bet on it but horse B romps home two lengths clear, you study the form of the two horses for an hour and confidently assert ď I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway,Ē or ďI went against my better judgement,Ē sound familiar?

If that isnít convincing try this:

Your friend has been bitten by a snake, you arenít sure but you think the snake is poisonous and your friend will die unless he gets to the hospital for an injection of anti-venom within 15 minutes. Luckily you have your car nearby and know it only takes you 10 minutes to get from where you are to the hospital. On the way you get stuck at some roadworks, you think you can still make it but decide to jump the temporary lights just to be sure. Unfortunately you hit a car coming the other way, in court you plead guilty to reckless driving claiming ď I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway.Ē Or ďI went against my better judgement,Ē but when you jumped the light did you think it was the right thing to do at the time based upon the evidence you had?

Btw, the snake that bit your friend was not poisonous and no one was injured in the car accident or the construction of this scenario.  


[This message has been edited by Phaedrus (11-23-2002 01:29 PM).]

hush
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193 posted 11-23-2002 02:13 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Stephen-

In regards to your first post: I said

'human beings will always act in a way that most benefits them, evil isn't an option. Or, to clarify, willful evil isn't an option. Evil does not have positive connotations, any way you put it. Nobody wants to be evil. When people do something, anything, they believe they are doing the right thing, or, at the very least, the least wrong thing.'

What most benefits a person is self-interest. In my opinion, self-interest dictates morality. Some people's idea of self-interest encompasses more universal ideals; conversely some people have more concern for their own comfort. Either way, acting in a way that most benefits yourself interracts directly with one's morality.

For example, the rich white business owner, morally, believes that poor people need to get off their asses and work. That's how he got to where he is, after all- work ethic! Because their morals collide with his, he can feel justified in calling their perceived laziness evil. Do you think his morality has anything to do with his lifestyle?

At the same time, the people he employs, in, say, Malaysia, make less than a dollar a day assembling his products. From their point of view, he is greedy and doesn't care that he is exploiting them, and they trash the factory. From their point of view, it is evil for him to live in a 30-room mansion while they live in hovels without utilities, and this is the only means they have of calling attention to their situation. Do their lifestyles have anything to do with their morality?

Both parties feel justifiedin their actions. Who's evil?

There's an Ani DiFranco song, and a line from it that I've been thinking about for the longest time: "Those who call the shots are never in the line of fire..."

The rich man doesn't have to live in a hovel in Malaysia- he doesn't have to deal with starving every night because he cut already scant wages. He cannot understand their plight. Similarly, the workers in malaysia can't understand the man's reaction to the destruction of his equipment. His rage and indignation are so completely different than their own that it becomes meaningless. They don't care about his pain, nor he about theirs. After all, both parties just got what was coming to them, right?

It's all about feeling justified. Feeling justified is all about living out your morals. If you aren't living out your morals, you eventually change your lifestyle, or your morals. We naturally seek this reconciliation. If we can't have this unity in morals and action, we cease to function properly as humans. I say this, with no hesitation or "I think" antecedents, because it is something I know from personal experience.

Now, okay, let's say the rich guy is my father and I inheret his business. I think what he was doing is wrong, and I want to raise their rates. However, raising their rates will eventually cut into profits to the point that I either have to give my American distributors a paycut (and lose business) or eventually, my business will fail, and not only will I be screwed, but the Malaysian and American workers will all be out of jobs. So much for my altruism, huh?

But this is really oversimplified. Let's say I can manage to pay the Malaysians American wages, so long as I give all my executive workers (myself included) a ten-percent salary cut. My vice president tells me if I do, he's going to have my husband and kids killed. He's rich, he can afford good lawyers, he'll be found innocent. I have no way to report this to the police, because I ahve no proof that he said it, but I really believe he's serious.

Which decision is right? Bad question- because there is no right decision in this case- only less wrong. I know that allowing my vice president to bully me, and allowing my Malaysion workers to starve, is terribly wrong. However, I can safely say the same about my family being butchered for some man's greed.

It boils down to what is most beneficial for me- what is in my best self-interest?

I'd opt for saving my family from impending danger. I'm  not willfully exploiting them- however, circumstances, in my case, dictate that that is the best option available to me. But the Malaysian workers don't know this- they only think I am as evil as my father.

[This message has been edited by hush (11-23-2002 02:16 PM).]

Stephanos
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194 posted 11-23-2002 11:07 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Phaedrus,

I see a crack in your reasoning here you will have to explain for me to follow you.

You wrote, "Guilt is based upon historical knowledge and falls into the category of hindsight"


What about simultaneous guilt?  I myself have sinned while knowing it was wrong and experienced guilt simultaneous with the execution of the wrong action.  Doesn't your assertion fall apart if simultaneous guilt is present?  After all, this guilt reveals a knowledge of sorts that the action is a wrong choice.  I've even felt guilt before I've done something immoral, from the moment I knew that I was going to do it!


The only way you can salvage your theory in my opinion would be to reassess your ideas about guilt.  You would almost have to say that guilt is invalid, or does not represent true knowledge.  But the acceptance of guilt as representing a genuine knowledge of wrong choice seems to me much more solid and grounded than your theory that wrong choices cannot be consciously made.


Stephen.
Stephanos
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195 posted 11-24-2002 01:16 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

" My intention was to show that when two "green" teens are together, alone with a snake, and the snake is much more wiser, it seems only natural to me, that these two would partake in the forbidden fruit. What else would god of expected?"


I think perhaps God, seeing that they were under the counsel of himself and the serpent, expected (in the sense of required) obedience.  I don't think it was evident that the serpent was wiser than God who created everything!  Was it unreasonable for God to require obedience, seeing he was not silent in counseling them about life in the garden?  They clearly had a choice between two different paths.  You seem to suggest that they had only one real choice.  Not so.


Now, while I chose "required" as a more proper meaning for "expected" in my previous point,  you are right to say that God expected (in the sense of predicted) Adam & Eve to take the forbidden fruit.  He knew it.  He knew they would greedily munch before he created them.  He is omniscient.  He chose to create anyway.  He chose not to forgo their very priviledge to live, just because they would fail.  This is mercy, not cruelty.  What if your parents had somehow known you would set the living room curtains on fire at age 4, and so had chosen to use rigorous birth control to avoid the flames?  No Opeth ... no burning drapes!  I know you can pick apart the problems with that question if you want, but it was merely to make you think.  Admittedly, this kind of scenario is impossible with human parents, but not with an all-knowing God.


Here also is a point where God's sovereignty comes in.  So seeing all the mess, he chose to do it anyway.  They chose evil.  He chose life anyway.  The problem of evil is not a problem at all with God, if he has a sufficient and merciful reason (revealed or not) for allowing evil to exist.  Which the Bible strongly relates that he does.  You cannot point to any logical fallacy here.  You can only say that as to the Christian worldview, you don't like God's choice.  Yet even so, you are enjoying your status as an "I", or an individual person, in order to say that very thing.  You must actually use the faculties that God gave you in life in order to say he shouldn't have given life.  Regardless of the trouble of evil (as bad as it is, I'm not making light of it), I am glad to be alive.  Are you?


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-24-2002 01:33 AM).]

Phaedrus
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196 posted 11-24-2002 06:41 AM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus

Stephan,

Guilt is only applicable and ascribable after the event, in this respect it is similar to remorse, both are reliant on the event having already taken place.

Iíd suggest that you didnít feel guilt before the act, you imagined or projected the guilt that you might feel after committing the act based upon reasoning, in this sense I readily agree, guilt, or imagined guilt, does play a part in the decision making process. However, irrespective of the process undertaken to reach a particular decision I still maintain that a person cannot reach a decision that is anything other than the right one for that person at that time.

Humans are fallible, sometimes they make bad choices and end up doing things that are obviously wrong. You say they know what is wrong but do it anyway, this presupposes that sometimes they are in possession of a better answer, one that is obviously more correct but make a conscious decision to ignore it. Strange as it may seem I completely agree, the friend of the snakebite victim was in possession of a better answer, he could have stayed and waited for the lights to change but he didnít. He made a conscious decision to ignore one choice in favour of another, once the decision was made he acted upon the choice that he perceived to be the right one at the time. The one he perceived to be the wrong one for him at that time he abandoned and did not act upon, given this how can you reason that the decision that that person made was anything other than the right one for that person at that time. Regardless of how wrong it may seem to you, me or even him at another point in time was his decision the right one?

This may seem an argument in favour of free will, it isnít, in fact itís possibly a very strong argument against it.
Opeth
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197 posted 11-24-2002 08:08 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"...This is mercy, not cruelty.  What if your parents had somehow known you would set the living room curtains on fire at age 4, and so had chosen to use rigorous birth control to avoid the flames?  No Opeth ... no burning drapes!"

~ This analogy is completely inappropriate for the subject matter. It just plain doesn't work. But I will answer your analogy this way...

If I created a son and I knew he was to burn those drapes, would I, me, Opeth, still create him anyway? Yes. However, I wouldn't want him to worship me every day in hopes of eternal life.

I wouldn't hang him upside down in a burning closet forever because of his actions.

Stephanos
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198 posted 11-24-2002 08:40 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

It was an analogy intended to compare  God's decision with an Earthly decision.  Analogies can never be comprehensive.  They are imperfect.  I just used that one to illustrate a point... that God's desire for us to live (benevolence) was his motivating factor in creating us, even with the knowledge of a fall... Remember, Hell, is not the only outcome here.  Remember, Christianity teaches that Hell is one's own perverse choice as well.   I see no reason why God is to be blamed for evil he did not do.  However he was willing to take the punishment in the person of Jesus Christ.  Weigh all these things together, and your accusation of injustice (actually hyper-justice) with God doesn't stand.  He was more than just, he was merciful beyond what we deserve.


Stephen.    

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-24-2002 08:42 AM).]

Opeth
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199 posted 11-24-2002 12:19 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Stephan,

"It was an analogy intended to compare  God's decision with an Earthly decision.  Analogies can never be comprehensive.  They are imperfect."

~ I disagree with you. Their are effective analogies and then there are ineffective analogies. Your analogy was not only ineffective, but not even close to the issue at hand: God, creation, evil, and an eternal fate in the lake of fire.  

"...Remember, Hell, is not the only outcome here."

~ According to Christianity, if one is not born again, one is destined for the lake of fire. Many of those who died as a non-christian are at fault? For what? For accepting another religion, that in their minds is the true religon? Who's fault is that, their own?  

"Remember, Christianity teaches that Hell is one's own perverse choice as well."

~ Your reasoning is clouded with subjectivism and bias of your worldview.  An American Indian is taught by some evangelist to accept Christ as his saviour, and to become born again in order to be saved, but this particular Indian doesn't trust this white evangelist.  He can't comprehend a long brown haired white man with blue eyes as the true god. In his mind, this religion of christianity, is bogus. So, he does not accept it, and believes what his ancestors have always taught him: the ways of his own people, his own religion.  He dies. Now, he is to suffer forever in a hellfire? This, according to you is a perverse choice? Truly, Ludicrous.

"I see no reason why God is to be blamed for evil he did not do."

~ I wouldn't blame him either, if he were to not throw people into a lake of fire for their "evil" doings. If he were not to throw people in the lake of fire just because they didn't believe in a Western European version of a white man god...with blues and long brown hair. That, this god was just in knowing that since he himself allowed evil to exist, and he himself created man with imperfections of the mind, that then he would not cast people into a lake of fire for not believing in ONE religion.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-24-2002 12:27 PM).]

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