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Stephanos
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200 posted 11-24-2002 11:02 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

I think Jesus was of Jewish ethnicity.  I doubt he had blue eyes and blonde hair.  I never liked those pictures either.  And the cardinal claim of Christianity is that God does not send men to hell for not believing in one religion, but for rejecting the only personal and relational means to get to heaven, his son Jesus Christ.  Your apparant anger at what you percieve to be narrowness, misses the eternal benevolence in the actions of this Jesus that were undertaken for you and me.  He was willing to die for us, in our stead.  How can you continue to blame him for that?  God's not being egomaniacal in his exclusivity here.  No one else was able or even willing to do what he did.  Will we revile a man who builds a stable bridge over a chasm, just because it is the only one?  Remember rather, the man's labor and sacrifice.  I can't communicate this to you Opeth.  If you don't see love in what Christ did for you, then what can I say?  We can agree to disagree here if you want and stop.  All I can do is pray, and that I will do.  It's not that I don't want to talk.  We're just hitting the same point over and over.


Stephen.  
Stephanos
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201 posted 11-24-2002 11:46 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 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"


If I take what you are saying to be true, why couldn't I just reverse your words and say "I still maintain that person cannot reach a decision that is anything other than the wrong one for that person at that time".  What I am trying to say?  You are making a statement against free-will which seems to me fatalistic.  If we are to really look at things this rigidly, why do our criminal justice systems punish criminals?  Why do we have a sense of "justice" that seems universal?... (I'm not saying that we all agree on what is just, but that the concept itself is pervasively present).  Why do people strike back at others?  Wouldn't it be a logical fallacy to do so?  Why do people get angry at the "unjust" deeds of others, wouldn't it be illogical?  Why should someone feel anger that his grandmother was gassed to death at Auschwitz?  A mere irrational reaction?  If Hitler was only doing what was "right" at the time, why the moral indignation?  In other words, "everything just is,  everything just happens, period" seems to be where you are heading philosophically.


"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?"


Firstly, again I don't see the necessity of "at another point in time".  The distinction I think you may be overlooking (or denying) is that people have two distinct things working inside them, will and conscience.  The will may indeed think that something is "right for me", and then choose to do it for that reason.  But this is often over and against the insight given by the conscience which speaks of something being "right or wrong" in another sense altogether.  So can't your use of the words "right one" be taken in two totally different ways?  One moral, and one personal?  The conscience speaks a more fundamental "rightness" or "wrongness".   The will can contradict this moral voice of the concience through reasoning... "I can escape the consequences of this action being morally wrong, so even if it's wrong in that sense, I'll be okay.  So this is the right thing for me".  You are right in one sense.  There is a reasoning that justifies ones own actions to oneself.  But this does not mean that a person did not act against the moral voice of conscience inside.  A person can even learn a thousand times that the conscience tends to be right, and yet violate it out of a selfish preference for his desires.  That's why actions can be deemed immoral.  "Immoral" is not just another name for something someone did that was right at the time, but wrong later.  If it is just another name, it is an "unjust" name isn't it?  Why the negative connotation?  But we used the word "unjust"... hrmmph,  we're contradicting ourselves again.


concluding, these are the points I want to make:


1)  To admit no reliable insight is possible before wrong choices leads to a fatalistic denial of freewill.  (note, I'm not denying the existence of honest mistakes)

2)  What is "right" is considered on two different levels, the personal (will) and the moral (conscience).  And these two don't have to synchronize in decisions.  It is possible to say in effect to the moral voice, "I've heard you out, and I know you're right.  But temptation wins out" and send will in the opposite direction.  


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-25-2002 12:15 AM).]

Opeth
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202 posted 11-25-2002 09:13 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"I think Jesus was of Jewish ethnicity.  I doubt he had blue eyes and blonde hair.  I never liked those pictures either."

~ Stephanos, you again fail to understand. So many people of various cultures have been taught by evangilists that a white man with brown hair and blue eyes is the only way to salvation. Not that you or I believe these physical characteristics of christ, but this is what was taught them.

"...God does not send men to hell for not believing in one religion, but for rejecting the only personal and relational means to get to heaven, his son Jesus Christ."

So...Stephanos, this American Indian Chief, was approached by an evangelist, and this evangilist attempted to save this Indian Chief by explaining that a brown haired blue eyed white man from Jerusalem died on a cross for sins that this Indian Chief cannot even understand. This Chief ponders this white man, whom he doesn't trust to begin with, because he trusts no white man. And through utilizing his own reasoning, he decides this evangilist is full of $hit and rejects his teachings.

He dies a few days later.

And don't add anything to this example. From what the information I provided...

What say you? According to christianity, his fate is the lake of fire?  
Essorant
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203 posted 11-25-2002 11:42 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

The days of Christian aggression and superiorism are far bygone, if there is a God the people involved in those forcings, assimilations, blackmailings, excesses to evil extents, were punished for their acts.  They are part of history and won't be forgotten, but People shouldn't uphold aggressive thoughts and spites against Christianity as a whole long of those particular groups of Christians of the past who used their faith arrogantly to get a hand of power with greed. It is not due to the Faith, nor the ways of today's Christianity.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (11-25-2002 11:43 AM).]

Stephanos
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204 posted 11-25-2002 12:06 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

     I am not pretending to be able say what God would do in every varied and theoretical situation you might be able to present.  He is God.  The Bible tells us that he will "judge men's secrets", and that he "looks upon the heart".  God knows the real reasons why a man would reject anything.  This Indian in your example would be no exception.  I think God has much patience with honest misconception.  It only becomes dangerous when you begin to wonder if your doubts are misconceptions after all, begin to see evidence that they are, and then begin to dig your heels in.  God knows the real reasons why you reject Christianity also, whether they are honestly concieved or not.  C.S. Lewis once said that a man rejecting Christianity for honest reasons may be closer to Christ than someone sitting in church who attends out of mere tradition.  I agree with him.  However, there is a dishonest unbelief as well.  It's called denial.  Be careful not to confuse one with the other.


If enough of the distortion of truth is because of this "white man", then he will be the one most  accountable to God.  But only God knows.  I think God could and does work around the fallacy of suggesting certain physical characteristics of Christ.  I agree with you that it should not be done.  But you make it sound like it was common practice among Christian Evangelists everywhere.  You'll have to give me some support for this, other than showing me European art where Jesus looks European.  Everyone in their art looked European.  I want to hear it in their teachings, sermons, or writings.... in what they said, not what they painted.  


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-25-2002 12:08 PM).]

Phaedrus
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205 posted 11-25-2002 04:14 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Stephan,

I’ve tried to answer each question you raised succinctly and in context with the discussion, in doing so my reply may seem off-handed or arrogant at times due to brevity and the slice and dice method of reply, I’d like to point out that neither was intended.

quote:
If I take what you are saying to be true, why couldn't I just reverse your words and say "I still maintain that person cannot reach a decision that is anything other than the wrong one for that person at that time".

Because if the person didn’t believe it was the right one he/she wouldn’t have made the choice.

quote:
What I am trying to say? You are making a statement against free-will which seems to me fatalistic.

No, I was explaining why I believe that every action undertaken by a person is the right one for that person at the time they make the decision, the fact that this raises questions about free-will is purely coincidental.

quote:
If we are to really look at things this rigidly, why do our criminal justice systems punish criminals?

Because people do things that are judged to be contrary to the ethical and moral standards set by society.

quote:
Why do we have a sense of "justice" that seems universal?... (I'm not saying that we all agree on what is just, but that the concept itself is pervasively present).

Because ethics, morality and a “sense of justice” have evolved due to necessity.

quote:
Why do people strike back at others?

Because they believe the person has done something wrong.

quote:
Wouldn't it be a logical fallacy to do so?

No, if a person struck back at another that would be the right choice for that person at that time, if they did not strike back then that must have been the right choice for that person at that time.

quote:
Why do people get angry at the "unjust" deeds of others, wouldn't it be illogical?

No, I, or society can judge a person’s deeds to be unjust or just regardless of whether it was the right choice for that person at that time.

quote:
Why should someone feel anger that his grandmother was gassed to death at Auschwitz?

Because they believe it to be an unjust and heinous crime against humanity in general and their Grandmother in particular and I’d agree with them.

quote:
A mere irrational reaction?

No, a very rational reaction.

quote:
If Hitler was only doing what was "right" at the time, why the moral indignation?

I never said Hitler was doing what was “right”, my point throughout has been that Hitler was making what he believed to be the right choice for him at that time. People do not do things because they believe them to be the “wrong” choice they always do them because they are right for them at that time. Hitler did not wake up one morning and think, “this is the worst possible thing one human being could do to another – I’ll do it.” It was the right decision for him at that time otherwise he wouldn’t have done it.

quote:
In other words, "everything just is, everything just happens, period" seems to be where you are heading philosophically.


Yes.

Thanks for the chance to read and reply.
Stephanos
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206 posted 11-25-2002 05:44 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Stephanos: "If we are to really look at things this rigidly, why do our criminal justice systems punish criminals?"

Phaedrus: "Because people do things that are judged to be contrary to the ethical and moral standards set by society."

You are evading the question here.  That is my question, after all, stated differently.  Why are actions which people do that are "right for them" at the time, judged as unethical or immoral by society?  In other words, why should actions which are done out of ignorance, and out of a sincere belief that they are right, be thought of as morally wrong?




Stephanos: "Why do we have a sense of "justice" that seems universal?... (I'm not saying that we all agree on what is just, but that the concept itself is pervasively present)"

Phaedrus: "Because ethics, morality and a “sense of justice” have evolved due to necessity."

First of all, social Darwinism is a theory.  If a sense of justice arose merely as an evolutionary trait, then it only describes our biology.  We can't say justice is more "right" than injustice, any more than we can say a moth which unexpectedly develped black wings rather than white ones is "better".  Do you feel justified in your anger about Hitler, or a child molester, when his actions are merely the result of genetic mutations?  




Stephanos: "Why do people get angry at the "unjust" deeds of others, wouldn't it be illogical?"

Phaedrus: "No, I, or society can judge a person’s deeds to be unjust or just regardless of whether it was the right choice for that person at that time."

Yes.  But I'm not asking if an individual or society can or cannot do so.  Of course they can.  I'm asking how doing so can be justified, seeing that all choices to do wrong things are made in sincere ignorance?  Why the immense responsibility placed upon those who really, from your standpoint, could do nothing else?  It's like asking a leopard to rid himself of spots, and when he can't, killing him for it.




Stephanos: "Why should someone feel anger that his grandmother was gassed to death at Auschwitz?"

Phaedrus: "Because they believe it to be an unjust and heinous crime against humanity in general and their Grandmother in particular and I’d agree with them."

Websters says unjust is "not just; lacking in justice or fairness".

Show me how moral indignation to Hitler can be fair, if he was choosing what was right for him at the time.  Did he have a choice to do otherwise?  If no, then I don't see how moral indignation can be fair.  Please explain this.

Websters says heinous to be "utterly reprehensible or evil; odious; abominable"

You used this word in your description of what Hitler did.  But I thought that "evil" is what you didn't really believe in.  Why is it so evil, if Hitler was acting uprightly and choosing sincerely the only viable option for him at the time?  Is this an odious thing?  An abominable thing?  You might as well call people odious for having red hair.




"I never said Hitler was doing what was “right”, my point throughout has been that Hitler was making what he believed to be the right choice for him at that time. People do not do things because they believe them to be the “wrong” choice they always do them because they are right for them at that time"

Again, you are denying the possibility of a division in the meaning of "right".  Right can be taken to mean, "what I judge to be personally preferrable to me", or "what is morally right to do regardless of my preference or feelings".  These two types of right are both a part of consideration.  They can and do both exist at the same time.  Therefore one can choose to allow one to override the other.  If these both exist (as most people will attest that they do... in their conciences), then a person would certainly be able to choose what is "wrong" despite the moral insight offered by his conscience.  This would give cogency to the term "unjust".  Otherwise our outcries against anything at all are unjust.  But then again, we can choose no other way I suppose...  Ah, the dilemmas of a naturalistic universe.




"Hitler did not wake up one morning and think, “this is the worst possible thing one human being could do to another – I’ll do it."

I don't deny that the process of self deception in Hitler's heart and mind took years and years to get to the point of being able to commit atrocities without blinking.  You can "sear" a conscience much like cauterizing a bleeding vessel.  But that doesn't mean you never heard it.  That also doesn't mean that you did not choose to do it, consciously and with full responsibility.  The murder of concience is an inustice in itself.  But it's more like a strangulation.  It usually (thank God) won't die easily.  




Stephanos: "In other words, "everything just is, everything just happens, period" seems to be where you are heading philosophically."

Phaedrus: "Yes."

Then why the debate?


Stephen.    


[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-25-2002 06:00 PM).]

Phaedrus
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207 posted 11-25-2002 09:54 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Stephan,

Hope this answers some of your questions.

Why are the actions that people do right for them? Because they have weighed the choices, however ineptly, and reached a decision that they perceive is the best they can attain. Why are they judged unethical or immoral by society? Because society weighs the choices, however ineptly, and reaches a decision that they perceive to be the best they can attain. Why are the actions of the individual believed to be morally wrong by society? Because they ARE wrong according to the standards laid down by society.

I’m not sure I evaded the question the first time round, the judgement of society before during or after the event is of little consequence beyond adding another argument to be weighed by the individual. My assertion was, and still is, that a person can never make a choice that they perceive to be the wrong choice at the time they make it. Refuting my claim suggests that people can knowingly make the wrong choice while in full possession of a more prefferable one. I see no evidence nor justification of the latter only the former. The fact that moral indignation exists at all is proof that people make choices and that they believe the choices they make are right. Can you give me an example of any person who has acted upon a decision they did not believe at the time to be the right one? If you can I’ll happily reassess your assertion that a person can purposely commit an act that they believe at the time is the wrong choice for them.

With regard to theories, we all have them, they’re what we put our faith in until the facts arrive and each is valid and useful in some degree until proven otherwise.

Your question about evolutionary processes and justification is an interesting one, I was wondering how a morality that didn’t evolve could actually function. A fixed moral code would necessarily have to be all encompassing at its conception to be able to cope with new dilemmas as they appear but most of all it would have to be uniform, everyone would surely have know and use the same one. Any deviation would risk the creation of new moral standards, which although useful for dealing with new dilemmas, would risk morality being put under the banner of Evolved.

As to the justification of judging another persons actions the answer is simple, take the child molester you mentioned. That person had a choice to molest a child or not to, he/she weighed all the options, including the consequences of such an action and decided that molesting the child was the right choice. Most people would agree that the act was wrong and that he/she should suffer the consequences of his/her actions. I see your point with the leopard and its spots though, if it’s the right thing to do it’s the right thing to do and they can’t help it, right? Well not quite, remember back to when the child molester was weighing the options? That choice was not made in “sincere ignorance” he/she weighed the urge to molest the child against the possible consequences and the urge to molest won. Everybody is judged on their actions and everybody is responsible and accountable for those actions, if a leopard, spotty or otherwise, started molesting children it would face the same judgement.

Did Hitler have a choice? Yes, I’m not sure how much he considered the choices but he definitely had them but still decided to do what he did.

Sorry my use of the word heinous threw you so much, words have a funny habit of having several meanings or definitions, I was using the Collins New English Dictionary definition:

Heinous: Extremely wicked; atrocious; odious.

There’s a fair chance Webster might say that any of these mean evil too but it’s not what I meant. Hitler had a choice and he made an atrocious decision in my opinion. People born with red hair didn’t have much of a choice and red hair isn’t atrocious in any case (in my opinion of course).

Regarding the definition of “right”, I thought I’d stated my position clearly on numerous occasions “People do not do things because they believe them to be the wrong choice they always do them because they are right for them at that time.”  I have at no time asserted that the choices made were correct judged by any standard other than decision of the individual to act upon the choice he/she deemed to be the right choice for them. It is almost certainly correct that some choices made are morally, ethically and legally “wrong” but that they are chosen and acted upon attests to the fact that the person making the choice chose the right one for them at that time.

Why debate?

It fills the time between things happening.



Ron
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208 posted 11-26-2002 12:30 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Phaedrus said Sorry my use of the word heinous threw you so much, words have a funny habit of having several meanings or definitions

As I think becomes particularly evident when you consider the way you use the word "right" to determine a person's choices. It seems to me it would be equally valid to say a person's thought processes are always logical, at least for them, at least at the time they are made.

FWIW, I agree that a person's choices are always motivated solely by self-interest, as seen at the time the choice was made. I would not define that as right, however, not even necessarily right for the individual. There are frequently too many unknown variables, especially in the most important decisions we make, and as with simultaneous equations, each variable must be known before a "right" answer can be found. There is often a conflict between short- and long-term self-interest, a conflict between self-excluding interests, and of course the ever-dangerous always-present unrecognized self-interest, all of which overlap and mix and obscure the reasons behind each decision we make. Toss in a good dollop of emotion, which very rarely serves our best self-interest, and it becomes something of a crap shoot. Choices are rarely right or wrong until long after the time they're made. Usually, they're just a gamble. Throw the dice and hope it's not snake eyes this time?

Everything we do is done either in pursuit of what we want or to escape what we don't want. Granted. But life isn't that simple, and most of us know we can't have everything we want, nor can we escape everything we don't want. Choices are always made with incomplete knowledge, sometimes by weighing what we do know, sometimes on gut instinct, frequently I fear, based on little more than expediency. And, yes, each of those is ultimately driven by self-interest. But, right? Even within the sense that the individual feels they've made the "most right" decision? Sorry, but I don't see it. Mostly we just spin the wheel and watch the ball bounce around.

Our choices are rarely without conflict, and I think that's where morals and a code of ethics come into play. We make our decisions before we are faced with the inevitable conflict. Joe decides he won't cheat on his wife, no matter how great the temptation, no matter how little risk there seems of getting caught, because thousands of years of human experience have convinced him there is an inevitable cost that is higher than he is willing to pay. It's still self-interest. It's still gambling, because there's no possible way to actually know what is right or wrong for Joe. But I think it's playing the odds. Never draw to an inside straight and NEVER intentionally hurt another person. Because in both instances, you'll lose a lot more often than you win.
Stephanos
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209 posted 11-26-2002 03:11 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Phaedrus,

you wrote, "Can you give me an example of any person who has acted upon a decision they did not believe at the time to be the right one?"


Yes.  Me.  I am taking "right" here to mean "morally right", not necessarily "the thing I want to do".  I have violated moral insight countless times, even knowing the probability of consequences.  I have done this many many times as I also suspect you have.  You are still not addressing the difference between the moral and the personal voice as to what "right" means.  I see this differentiation in myself.  There are always two totally different levels upon which I am considering what "right" is.  


Ron also brought out the point of the adulterer who might choose to ignore thousands of years of human experience which suggests certain consequences.  But I don't think conscience is so easily explained as a "corporate memory".  Or even an individual learned memory.  Men have feelings of conscience, even when they are not aware of thousands of years of testimony.  But even if there is such as a "corporate memory", or there is always an educated individual memory at work, it should also account for potentially thousands of people who committed adultry and did not get found out.  


I am pointing to a deeper philosophical question perhaps.  Is the wrongness of committing adultry the same as "consequences".  Did the man who committed adultry against his wife, and did not get found out or suffer any painful consequences, do the "right thing" for himself?  My assertion is that there is a moral question asked by the conscience that is beyond mere consequences.  If it were not so, then the conscience would be hushed when we "get away" with something.  The fact of the matter is, that's when the conscience is the hardest to hush!  And I think the theory that all moral considerations are based on self interest is false.  In fact, the conscience in certain instances, speaks in such a way as to suggest that a person ought to primarily consider the interest of someone else over themselves.  That's why we can have moral insight pertaining to how others behave when no personal gain or loss is attached.   For example,  "It is wrong for person A to mistreat person B".  Let's assume that I don't know either person, but I still have moral convictions about what A does to B.  This is not "self interest" in any convincing way that I can see.  It is an interest in what is just, fair, or right.  What does it matter to me in the way of self interest what A does to B?


Stephen.


[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-26-2002 03:29 AM).]

Stephanos
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210 posted 11-26-2002 03:27 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Phaedrus,

I can't let you slide on this one.  You have not adequately answered this question . . .


How can we or anyone be justified in calling someone's action "immoral", if they did it with no knowledge of any better choice?  This seems to me too arbitrary to be fair.  How is this justified?  You have not yet answered this question.


Stephen.
Opeth
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211 posted 11-26-2002 07:24 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"C.S. Lewis once said that a man rejecting Christianity for honest reasons may be closer to Christ than someone sitting in church who attends out of mere tradition."

~ If that were true, then my views as an agnostic makes me closer to christ than anyone who practices mainstream christianity.

"If enough of the distortion of truth is because of this "white man", then he will be the one most accountable to God."

~ But in that example, the white evangilist sincerely believes that Jesus was a white man with blue eyes and long brown hair. How would he be at fault?

"But you make it sound like it was common practice among Christian Evangelists everywhere.  You'll have to give me some support for this,..."

~ I have not been to one church, I have not seen one crucifix, I have not seen one movie on tv or in the children's bible or in other forms of media, that doesn't take for granted that Jesus was of the white man's race.


Now, back to my biblical fallacies...no takers on my trinity questions, I see. Don't feel bad, when I first began to seek the truth about christianity, I asked numerous preachers, priests, called on evangilist hot-lines, etc. I always received the same bogus responses, that to me didn't make sense at all and didn't answer my question with authority and rationality.


The next christian and biblical fallacy...

III. The possession of an immortal soul by man.

~ do the words "immortal soul" appear in the bible, and if they don't why not...as important as an issue that this is, and it is very important because the immortal soul belief is connected to existence of heaven and hell, in that their are dead humans now either in one of the two?

~ Where did the idea of an immortal soul originate? Was it a Judaism belief?

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-26-2002 07:27 AM).]

Sudhir Iyer
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212 posted 11-26-2002 08:37 AM       View Profile for Sudhir Iyer   Email Sudhir Iyer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sudhir Iyer

Critical States:

1. The boiling point of water, when it is just about to turn from liquid to gas.
2. The moment when a bubble of air reaches the surface just before exploding. (I wonder if the bubble do that just to join its family of air?)
3. Silence particularly when there is a tremendous strain between a couple during a stressful relation. How much do we wish that words were spoken and everything in mind is spit out then be stored inside...

sorry to have tried to say something else than was expected...

regards,
sudhir
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213 posted 11-26-2002 09:21 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Sudhir,

Were you commenting on my previous reply?
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214 posted 11-26-2002 10:53 AM       View Profile for Sudhir Iyer   Email Sudhir Iyer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sudhir Iyer

No, I was just mentioning what came to my mind when I read the title of the discussion, once again after so many days... In fact, I haven't had the time to read all the 200+ posts on the topics...

Regards,
Sudhir
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215 posted 11-26-2002 01:14 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Opeth:

In Brad's thread, you wrote:

quote:
Jim,

So what is your explanation to these biblical statements, as they do relate to each other.

That Satan deceives the "entire world."
That Christ calls his true flock a "little flock."
That there will be "another Christ" preached.
That Satan appears as a minister of righteousnes.
That there will be false churches.

How does Satan deceive the whole world?
Is all of christian faiths one little flock?
Which churches are the false ones?


I don't have a concordance handy, so if you could provide me with the Biblical references, I might be able to get to this by day's end.  Thanks.

Jim
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216 posted 11-26-2002 01:37 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

"If that were true, then my views as an agnostic makes me closer to christ than anyone who practices mainstream christianity."

I pray that you are close to Christ in way of seeking the truth.  But Jesus also spoke of motes and specks in the eyes.  With one sweeping statement you are seeing alot of specks in a lot of eyes, most of which you've never actually seen.  Lewis did not imply by his statement that all doubt of Christianity is the honest kind.  


"I have not been to one church, I have not seen one crucifix, I have not seen one movie on tv or in the children's bible or in other forms of media, that doesn't take for granted that Jesus was of the white man's race."

You should come to the South.  There are African-American portrayals of Jesus as well.  Every race wants to paint him in their own colors.  There is a danger in this.  For we can end up just worshipping ourselves and losing sight of the historical reality of Jesus.  How much of self is projected on to Christianity?  Alot I am afraid.  And yet there is a beauty in this as well.  He was the incarnate God who became what we are.  In a sense, spiritually speaking, he did become the white man, the black man, the red man, the yellow man, etc...  He is the God who "understands our thoughts from afar" and who is "aquainted with all our ways".  He created all the different racial characteristics of men and is intimitely familiar with them.  He was also called "God with us".  Is it a mortal sin to paint Christ as a white man, or a black man?  I don't think so, though I admit a danger.  But I have never met a Christian group that did not explicitly teach in their doctrine that Jesus was Jewish.  Just because I draw my mommy with a black crayon doesn't necessarily mean I think she looks like that in reality.  It's just a big assumption on your part to say so.  And you are ignoring the fact that all cultures where Christianity has spread, have ethnic expressions of Christ in their art.  You can't pin that charge on "White Europeans" alone.  You have a conspiracy theory of sorts and want to affirm it.  But there is no way to affirm it with this assumption.  You'll have to give me more to go on.


No, the words "immortal soul" is not present in the Bible.  But neither are the words "Mortal soul", or "Temporal soul".  But you'll never see me arguing my point based on the abscence of two distinct words.  Why?  Because the argument is fallacious.  Logically speaking, the essence of what is expressed may be taught in different words right?  Ever hear of synonyms?  The right way to go about this is to look at many scriptures which might support or refute this point and then judge if it is really taught or not.  But it can't be based on the abscence of words or we are in a stalemate.  I could just as easily say that the temporal soul doctrine is not taught because the words aren't there.  Now I do believe it is not taught, but it would be fallacious for me to argue it from that point.  It is just not a valid argument.  The same goes for the "Trinity".  An abscence of the word does not mean that the triune nature of God is not taught.  


Stephen.  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-26-2002 01:40 PM).]

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217 posted 11-26-2002 02:10 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Within context, Jim  

Rev 12:9

This verse provides a description of Satan as one who deceives the whole world.

And so, within context, Satan is the deceiver of the whole world.

2 Cor. 11:13-15

Paul is explaining to the Corinthians to be aware of false apostles. These false apostles transform themselves into apostles of Christ/righteousness. He furthermore states that this should be expected because Satan himself appears as an angel of light/righteousness.

And so, within context, Satan deceives the whole world, but how? By appearing as a horned demon preaching hatred and wickedness? To a smaller extent, yes, but to deceive the whole world, he comes in the form of ministers preaching Christ.

Matt 24:4-5, 11

Concurs with the above passage…

Christ tells the people that many will come in his name, preaching his word. In concurrence with the 2 above quoted passages, Christ states that false prophets will deceive many.

Gal 1:6-7

Paul states how already in such a young church, new religion, that the false perverted gospel of Christ is already creeping into the Galation Christian church.
[/b]

Can one imagine if this was occuring already then, just how much it has happened now?


2 Cor. 11:4

Agrees with all of the above passages, as Paul warns the Corinths about the preaching of another Jesus: false prophets preaching a false Christ as Satan deceives the whole world, making for the beginning of false Christianity.

Jude 3-4

Confirms the beginning of false Christianity, creeping into the Church without being detected.

3 John 9-10

Is a clear example of how true Christians were already being forced out of the Church.  A beginning to what Christ calls his “little flock” which is persecuted.

Luke 6:46

Well, even Jesus says that not everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved because they do not do what He tells them to do.  And this makes sense because as we read in…

1 Cor. 15:1-2

Because there are Christians who worship in vain, as Paul relates to the Corinths.

But Christ says it himself…

“In vain do they worship me, believing in doctrines of men.”

False Church-false Christianity-created by false prophets who preach a different Christ because Satan deceives them.

Acts 5:29

Confirms what Jesus says, Christians believing in traditions of men, and not God.

And what of the Christian Church today?

II Tim. 4:3-4

He is talking about a time to come, our time, when sound doctrine is refuted, and many will not be able to understand the truth: False Church, false Christianity, False prophets, as Satan does deceive the whole world.

Luke 12:32
  
Maybe this why Christ calls his true followers a little flock.


[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-26-2002 02:12 PM).]

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218 posted 11-26-2002 02:27 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

no offense here, but I weary of constant allegations against others.  I do not deny that much of Christianity is religiosity and traditions of men.  God has always spoken of a "remnant" people.  So I too agree with the presence of a "little flock", a "chaste virgin" dedicated to Christ.  However, judging from things Jesus said, the dividing line is not so much doctrine as it is living.  He said of the Pharisees to his followers, "Do as they teach, but not as they do".  There is the concept of a form of godliness while "denying the power thereof".  There is the example of the church of Ephesus, which Christ in the book of Revelation charged with having "lost your first love"... but just before he lays this heavy charge, he said, "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.  And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars".  This suggests a more common malady of correct doctrine, but lack of Heart for Christ.  This is the sickness of the Church in many ways that you are seeing.  But I think the enemy can decieve you as well into thinking that they are all wrong doctrinally, for two reasons.  1) That you might not believe doctrinal truth, and 2) so that you might be critical and loveless in your rebuke.  You don't have to approve of all that Christendom presents in order to accept her cardinal truths.  Plus, if you have a problem with these cardinal truths, what is there to replace them?  Give me an alternative other than atheism.  You revile the cardinal doctrines of Christianity, but only present angry atheism to take its place.  To come from the Christian worldview (as you are doing in this particular instance, though you go back and forth), you must present a viable alternative to the points you criticize.  You have not come up with a viable understanding of Christianity for me to agree on.  There is indeed a remnant of true believers.  But their difference is not in doctrine so much as it is heart ... love, humility, and Christ-likeness.  And you can't convincingly charge the nation with heresy, if you are not the "remnant" yourself.  Is atheism and denial of Christ and God an example of your "little flock"?  


Interestingly enough, examples of the "remnant" mentality in scripture showed a great love for Israel.  Jeremiah was called the "weeping prophet".  Simeon was called a "just and devout" man who was "waiting on the consolation of Israel" (Luke 2:25).  And Considering the ravaged condition of Jerusalem, the Psalmist says "Your servants take pleasure in her stones, and show favor to her dust".  There was a love for the people of God that intensified with the apostasy.  Coupled with speaking the truth, this is what it means to be the "remnant" in my eyes.  I've a long way to go, but I don't hate my "fathers" in the faith either.


Sorry to sound so heated, if I did.  But I just wanted you to consider these things.


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-26-2002 02:49 PM).]

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219 posted 11-26-2002 05:58 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Opeth:

Before I finish, perhaps you would provide me with you definition of orthodox, "true" Christianity.  That would be helpful to me.

quote:
Rev 12:9

And so, within context, Satan is the deceiver of the whole world.


I would advise you to be careful when interpreting apocalyptic literature NOT to "over-literalize."  Revelation is a difficult book to interpret and very often uses rhetorical devices that are not intended to be taken literally.  Satan is also characterized as Deceiver, Tempter, Enemy, Angel of Light etc. in Scripture.  Satan's temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden, according to the Genesis account, is how sin entered the world, after all.

quote:
2 Cor. 11:13-15

And so, within context, Satan deceives the whole world, but how? By appearing as a horned demon preaching hatred and wickedness? To a smaller extent, yes, but to deceive the whole world, he comes in the form of ministers preaching Christ.


Yes, this happens, but these "false teachers" are identifiable.  That is one of the reasons why the early church fathers wrote the Creeds … so that error would be exposed and avoided.

quote:
Matt 24:4-5, 11

Concurs with the above passage…[quote]

I agree with you.

[quote]Gal 1:6-7

Paul states how already in such a young church, new religion, that the false perverted gospel of Christ is already creeping into the Galatian Christian church.

Can one imagine if this was occurring already then, just how much it has happened now?


I agree and disagree.  I agree that apostasy exists in the modern day church.  But Paul was writing to a specific problem … that of Gnosticism in the early church.  The Gnostics denied justification by grace alone through faith alone.  They were dualists who considered material things evil and the spiritual good.  If you read the rest of Galatians, you will see that Paul goes on to teach one of the clearest didactic works on the Gospel in the New Testament.  If apostasy is rampant today, Paul provides us with a roadmap out of it.

quote:
2 Cor. 11:4


Yes, but he also exhorts them to remember what he taught them about the Gospel.

quote:
Jude 3-4

Confirms the beginning of false Christianity, creeping into the Church without being detected.


Yes, apostasy is an ever-present danger to the church.

That is all I have time for now.  More later.

Jim
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220 posted 11-27-2002 08:11 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Well, I would have to say this to you, Jim. Everything about your last reply confirms my beliefs and findings even moreso.

Example...

So, those who are deceived, those who are in a false Christian church would not believe that they are being deceived?

The only answer is a resounding, yes.

Therfore, Christ's true followers are of the "little flock."  

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

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221 posted 11-27-2002 08:16 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Stephan,

"You revile the cardinal doctrines of Christianity, but only present angry atheism to take its place."

~ "Angry atheism?" Now that is an original phrase, indeed. I am not angry. I am not an athiest.

"To come from the Christian worldview (as you are doing in this particular instance, though you go back and forth), you must present a viable alternative to the points you criticize."

~ Give me a specific. An alternative to what? The Trinity? The Immortal Soul? Ask me, and I will give it. You are the first to ask, btw.  
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222 posted 11-27-2002 09:45 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Stephan-

'Why are actions which people do that are "right for them" at the time, judged as unethical or immoral by society?  In other words, why should actions which are done out of ignorance, and out of a sincere belief that they are right, be thought of as morally wrong?'

Most are harmful to another person. In my opinion, right and wrong are relative, but there are some things that other people, or a society, cannot tolerate. It is intolerable for one person's version of right to interfere with another person's pursuit of what is right.

My personal opinion is that rules that are meant to keep us from harming ourselves or to preserve the 'moral integrity' of a community(like seat belt laws, prostitution laws, not legally allowing gays to marry, and more debateably, drug laws) are more suspect- I suppose that if the majority of members in a given society feel that a certain practice is unwholesome, I can see why it's illegal. That doesn't mean I agree with it. Legalize and regulate prostitution, gambling, and drugs, and there you go- where'd all your organized crime go? The black market becomes obsolete.

'"Why do we have a sense of "justice" that seems universal?... (I'm not saying that we all agree on what is just, but that the concept itself is pervasively present)"'

Because, we know when somebody is intruding on our rights. Having something taken away without good reason (or due process) obviously offends the victim. We eventually know how it feels to have something done to us that is unpleasant, and often, even if these things are just, we rationalize them that they're not ("I got an F because the teacher hated me!").

It's only a mater of application. I know that intruding upon someone's rights is something that I, and society, consider wrong. Hitler did this to and extreme degree. Therefore, I feel that it is injust.

I do think that the idea of justice is strongly motivated by the question, conscious or unconscious, of "How would I feel if I were them?"

'That also doesn't mean that you did not choose to do it, consciously and with full responsibility.'

I completely agree. Unlike Phaedrus, I don't think that always making the best choice possiblenegates free will. When people are faced with decisions they just can't make, they find other alternatives. Some are innovative, and think of a choice that is better that the first two. Some can't think of any that that find better, and end up inevitably choosing between the original two (or more...) Some people decide that suicide or running away or denial or lying are good choices, given the circumstances.

Opeth-

Following this thread, it seems to me that you are afflicted with the same bias you accuse Christians of- except objectivity, extreme literalism, and critical thinking seem to be your flawless gods.
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223 posted 11-27-2002 10:10 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Hush,

"Following this thread, it seems to me that you are afflicted with the same bias you accuse Christians of- except objectivity, extreme literalism, and critical thinking seem to be your flawless gods."

~ It would appear that way, and I can understand how you arrived at that conclusion.  It is too bad that the Internet forum such as this, is not a good source for communicating. With the many directions that this thread has taken and my limited time available, it is difficult for me to keep up.  

But let me answer your reply this way...

When I first started out being a Christian (in my adult years that is), I was shown a scripture that said to "prove all things" and that a christian must grow in knowledge, lest they become duped by the traditions and doctrines of men. I took that to heart, literally.  I became able to open my mind without any subjectivism and bias, and truly question my beliefs (trinity, immotral soul, eternal suffering in hell, etc) even at the point of myself becoming a piriah, which of course did happen, because although I was being taught by preachers these doctrines, when I read the bible on my own, at home, I found scriptures that didn't support what was being taught...and so I began to investigate, combing all the various christian religions and finding out why they believe in certain docrtines and asking for biblical support to back those doctrines up.

I don't know if Stephan, Jim, etc ever did what I did, but I know this, I was once on their side of the fence. Have they ever really looked at my side with an open mind and without bias? I don't believe so.


[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-27-2002 10:59 AM).]

Opeth
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224 posted 11-27-2002 10:53 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Stephan,

"But their difference is not in doctrine so much as it is heart ... love, humility, and Christ-likeness."

~ To which Christ? Whose doctrines, Christ's or man's?

Since Satan deceives the entire world, and false Christianity was already established thousands of years ago, and our generation was warned about Satan appearing as a minister of righeousness, preaching "another Christ," and this was foretold, indeed. And that Christ himself says that they call out to me "Lord, Lord," but they believe in doctrine of men (immortal soul, trinity, pagan holidays, etc), implemented by the Deceiver and his false prophets...and yes these Christians may be sincere, but sincerity does not make a difference here, because they don't do what the true Christ says...these are not my words, they are your lord's words.
  
Read the story in the OT about Azazael, the goat. It has much to do with false christianity today.

  

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-27-2002 10:56 AM).]

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