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Comparing Rand's and Religious Morality

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Brad
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25 posted 07-07-2007 08:41 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
......why did the lady say "why are you being selfish?"   "regardless of others." who is the others here.


As far as I can tell, she was referring to 'you' -- my friend -- did she use the word incorrectly. That you make your own judgements is not relevant to the question.

quote:
why you want to interfere something only related to your mother, your wife.


Because that's my job. I was entrusted by both my wife and my mother.

quote:
It is not yours at all.


Indeed, I did not open it.

quote:
You have no right to say that She was behaving selfish.


Why not? Did I use the word incorrectly? See above.

quote:
You might ask her to call her grandma or her mother if she could open it.


Why would I do that? The rules of gift giving are, for the most part, clear in my family. My mother indicated her wishes by writing my wife's name on the box, my wife's by her past actions. If I called either one of them over this minor incident, they would think that I  had been shirking my responsibilities as a father.

I would agree with them.

quote:
A kind mother might just let a sweet girl to have a peek.


Then that kind mother would not understand the rules of gift giving at least in my family -- and I dare say in most families.

quote:
Sorry,  she has a such a self-interested father who put his nose into other's business.


It's my business. Teaching my daughter how to  behave responsibly is my job. To pretend otherwise is not to understand how families -- or at least how my family -- works.

quote:
simply because he wanted to.


I take my role seriously. I'm not perfect, but I rarely, if ever, have made a decision concerning my daughter arbitrarily.

quote:
"regardless of others."...others=Sir Brad


This is confusing agents again. The others in this case must be my wife and my mother. My   daughter did show concern by asking for my permission first. It makes no sense to equate me with the 'others' of the definition.

Brad
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26 posted 07-07-2007 08:58 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
"In Japan, a whale is called a fish,"
.....no, it is called クジラ(ku ji la).


Okay, but then a whale is not a mammal, it is, well, a whale.  

quote:
"There is no reason for me to call it a fish,"
....no, you are right because it is not a fish.


Of course not, it is a whale.

quote:
"there is no reason for them to call it a mammal."
why? that is their business.


We agree. In different conditions of course, it would help them to use the accepted terminology. But I guess you've given up on your common concepts across the board thesis.

quote:
"We both understand each other,"

...I don't think so.


Why not? We understood each other in that as far as both sides could tell the interaction was a successful one. Is there a secret that you're not telling me?

quote:
"not because we 'have to' use common words or concepts, but because we understand each other's concepts."

...because you will draw the same pictures.


Yep, that's indeed a good start.

quote:
so, selfish will have the same picture when 10 people draw it. But you want to draw it differently based on your own interest.


Selfish, I suspect, would have ten different pictures drawn. Selfish is not a whale. But yet again, we have the beginning of a Randian discussion. Do you wish to continue?

quote:
get yourself into trouble again


I don't mind getting into trouble. It's a little difficult to keep a conversation going  when one has deep doubts about whether the other even believes what she is in fact saying.

Drauntz
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27 posted 07-07-2007 09:09 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Dear  Sir Brad
"Selfish, I suspect, would have ten different pictures drawn"...

it is indeed a suspect. But there are dictionaries that define it.

You may continue your fishy selling and I will continue to judge if I shall buy it.
Drauntz
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28 posted 07-07-2007 09:22 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Sir Brad,
"Why would I do that? The rules of gift giving are, for the most part, clear in my family. My mother indicated her wishes by writing my wife's name on the box, my wife's by her past actions. If I called either one of them over this minor incident, they would think that I  had been shirking my responsibilities as a father."

they are right.

let the girl call to ask. If mother says no, then it is no.  

why don't you grant your daughter's "self-interest" or "selfish" by Rand meaning?
Drauntz
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29 posted 07-07-2007 09:40 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Dear Sir Brad

"Anecdote B (yesterday's story): A package from my mother comes yesterday while my wife is at work. My daughter and I open it and most of the stuff is for my daughter. Still, there is one little box with my wife's name on it. My daughter wants to open it, she badgers me to open it. Finally, I tell her to stop being  selfish and to wait for her mother."

"I take my role seriously. I'm not perfect, but I rarely, if ever, have made a decision concerning my daughter arbitrarily."

Tell me how you define "selfish" based on your own words? good or bad?

with a glass of Vodka, i saw a clearer picture of you.
Brad
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30 posted 07-07-2007 09:42 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Who is a suspect?

Didn't we already cover the dictionary thing? It is you who have not addressed the issue, I already have.

I'm not selling anything. In a certain sense, from what you do here, you are probably the most Randian character I know. My only guess is that it hits a little too close to home.

quote:
If mother says no, then it is no.


Which mother? My mother or her mother? Let's see, do I call her mother during her teaching hours to ask this question? Do I call my mother at two o'clock in the morning to ask her?

quote:
why don't you grant your daughter's "self-interest" or "selfish" by Rand meaning?


I am. You always seem to forget what Rand is talking about when she talks about selfishness. This transaction has nothing to do with my daughter, it is between my mother and my wife.

Brad
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31 posted 07-07-2007 09:56 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Tell me how you define "selfish" based on your own words? good or bad?


See above, it's been posted twice (thanks, Ron)

quote:
Selfishness ... is a functional concept designed to install guilt in others whereby you get them to do what you want.


That's exactly how I see it. I happen to think it was the right thing to do -- a good thing.

quote:
with a glass of Vodka, i saw a clearer picture of you.


Vodka? Nah, my cocktail of choice is gin/tonic tall. Mostly wine these days with the occasional beer and soju on family occasions.

Ahh, I have to take that back. I have a good friend who makes a mean white russian.

Drauntz
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32 posted 07-07-2007 10:11 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Sir Brad,

Tell me how you define "selfish" based on your own words? good or bad?

How Do you use this word on your own daughter?

as good or bad?
Brad
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33 posted 07-07-2007 10:45 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Those are my words.
Drauntz
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34 posted 07-07-2007 11:08 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Sir Brad,

good! last nail of your rthought.
Stephanos
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35 posted 07-08-2007 08:57 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

So Brad, you're actually closer to my view than I suspected.  You recognize the idea of "selfishness" is not invalid, untrue, or without usefulness.  Rand apparantly would have disagreed.  

Stephen.
rwood
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36 posted 07-08-2007 09:07 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

quote:
Her concern is with those who berate and shackle the great in order to console their own mediocrity.



Bravo, Sir GalaBrad.

reminded me of this quote.

quote:
Great innovators and original thinkers and artists attract the wrath of mediocrities as lightning rods draw the flashes. (Theodor Reik)



Thanks for passing your perceptive cup.


Balladeer
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37 posted 07-08-2007 11:05 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

it is plain enough to see that there is some manipulation going on here with language
But Rand, having already demolished the credibility of traditional morals,
How far is too far, in making language say what you want it to say? Can there be a kind of deception involved?


BTW, lest anyone feel that I am picking on Ayn Rand,

Now how could anybody come up with that conclusion, Stephanos?  

In my opinion, your problem with her - which has become evident in many of you comments,- is her views on organized religion and not really so much whether or not she changed a word definition. You question her views on reason and logic by quoting Jesus, Paul and excerpts from a book that includes apples and snakes, a big boat holding two of every animal in the world and which is about as far away from reason and logic as the mind can get. Rand did not discount to possibility of an "afterlife" or a superior force that created life in the first place. She simply rejected all of the ORGANIZED attempts to portray it, whether it be a child in swaddling clothes, a sitting man with a huge, protruding belly, a fellow in the desert wearing sheets or the Sun God Ra or the thousands of other images that have been fed to the populace by organizers profiting from such creations, either in the form of power, wealth or both.  This excerpt from the Fountainhead is a good example of her views...

"Every system of ethics that preached sacrifice grew into a world power and ruled millions of men. Of course, you must dress it up. You must tell people that they'll achieve a superior kind of happiness by giving up everything that makes them happy. You don't have to be too clear about it. Use big, vague words. "Universal Harmony"-"Eternal Spirit"-"Divine purpose"-"Nirvana"-"Paradise"-"Racial Supremacy"-"The Dictatorship of the Proletariat". Internal corruption, Peter. That's the oldest one of all. The farce has been going on for centuries and men still fall for it. Yet the test should be so simple: just listen to any prophet and if you hear him speak of sacrifice - run. Run faster than from a plague. It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there is service there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master. But if you ever hear a man telling you that you must be happy, that it is your natural right. that your first duty is to yourself - that will be the man who is not after your soul. That will be the man who has nothing to gain froim you. But let him come and you'll scream your empty heads off, howling that he's a selfish monster. So the racket is safe for many, many centuries But here you might have noticed something. I said, "It stands to reason". Do you see? Men have a weapon against you. reason. So you must be very sure to take it away from them. Cut the props from under it. But be careful. Don't deny outright. Never deny anything outright, you give your hand away. Don't say reason is evil - thtough some have gone that far and with astonishing success. Just say that reason is limited. That there's something above it. What? You don't have to be too clear about that, either. The field's inexhaustible. 'Instinct'-'Feeling'-'Revelation'-'Divine Intuition'-'dialectic Materialism'. If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn't make sense - you're ready for him. You tell him that there's something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must FEEL. He must BELIEVE. Suspend reason and you play it dueces wild. Anything goes in any manner you wish whenever you need it. You've got him. Can you rule a thinking man? We don't want any thinking men."

Her views on an "afterlife" were simple. We don't know if it's there or not and we ain't gonna find out here so why waste time worrying about it? The best we can do is to live our lives to the best of our abilities, our fullest potentials  while respecting ourselves and the rights of others, and if there IS a reward in a place called heaven or nirvana or anywhere else, we may qualify. If not, we'll never know, anyway.

Drauntz
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38 posted 07-08-2007 05:59 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Dear Sir Balladeer,

If not for your sound pen name here, I would think that those quoted words were screamed out by that naïve girly icon.

I know I would read some useless things but I have to say that her many presumptions were not true in life. Nobody is so out of biological characters to sacrifice anything just because he was asked for. There is no such circuit build in brain. She has a very imaginative mind. she should have written many poems.

Here is an example of her “sacrifice” of real life.  Alisa Zinovievna Rosenbaum was brought up by her loving parents with night feeding, day dapper changing and being played with and grew up in a very good financial environment. she was well loved by her siblings. She was given a free college education. she was a very gifted writer and she was so warmly welcomed in America and she was well treated by many Americans and was well respect by many Americans too. Then, a beggar wanted 1 dollar from her for a meal. She scorned “ Sacrifice is wrong and I have a rule of rational self-interest”. She here was against human nature because her build-in conscience would have urged her to give out the 1 dollar(because she has had many, many, many love of human beings, of money and of if she identifies herself as a Jew--genetically truth, the God of her ancestors)  but she by her “self made” rule refused. This is a mentally self-torture.

She was talking about that in this world many people were screaming at a hungry child that he shall not eat.(her meaning of sacrifice)
Moral is talking about that if your have an extra cookie, or if you are not hungry, share the cookie out, which is the best that human being can behave. However most of the time, we would rather over stuff ourselves or simply throw it away than sharing. Nobody is as stupid as she thought.

And her philosophy is from Communism teaching.

[This message has been edited by Drauntz (07-08-2007 10:07 PM).]

Stephanos
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39 posted 07-09-2007 02:42 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Balladeer:  
quote:
In my opinion, your problem with her - which has become evident in many of you comments,- is her views on organized religion and not really so much whether or not she changed a word definition.


It's not only her views about Christianity, but also the fact that she has attempted to personally (for all of us) redefine something with a very poignant usage and history, by saying it is something else.

If that didn't bother me, I wouldn't have mentioned it.  Of course it goes without saying that I'm interested in why she did such a thing, which is obviously inseparable from her philosophical views.


quote:
You question her views on reason and logic by quoting Jesus, Paul and excerpts from a book that includes apples and snakes, a big boat holding two of every animal in the world and which is about as far away from reason and logic as the mind can get.


Whether or not things Jesus and Paul taught, or whether stories (didactic or absolutely literal) in scripture are as far away from reason and logic as the mind can get, is another matter of discussion altogether, and each instance would have to be discussed.


You may disbelieve a reported event.  But you cannot rightly call it illogical.  There's no logical necessity in the fact (or description) that you have two eyes or three.  It's not logical that you have two lungs and one liver.  It is simply a statement of what is.  Likewise, what the Bible reports as miraculous may be said to be alogical but not illogical.  It is simply reportage.  If you want to say that it is illogical to imagine that natural law may be violated (or superceded) in the form of miracle, then you have also stepped outside of the role of logician.  The question is not whether it is logical that natural law should be contravened, but whether or not it ever has been, or ever is.  Now you may believe so philosophically, since there is a pre-committed philosophical belief which tacitly denies that miracles can happen.  That belief had its most vocal expression in the 19th century.  But that has little to do with logic either, but with the devotion of presupposition.

quote:
Her views on an "afterlife" were simple. We don't know if it's there or not and we ain't gonna find out here so why waste time worrying about it? The best we can do is to live our lives to the best of our abilities, our fullest potentials  while respecting ourselves and the rights of others, and if there IS a reward in a place called heaven or nirvana or anywhere else, we may qualify. If not, we'll never know, anyway.



Pardon me, but the ideas contained in this are not at all simple.  Even the small sentence "We ain't gonna find out here", is chock full of epistemology.  How does she know that?  There are certainly those who have claimed to have found out "here".  You can call them all deluded or unintelligent.  But history doesn't bear that out.  I know many brighter than you or myself who are convinced of Eternal Life.


If it's even remotely possible to know, then the assumption about "wasting time" also becomes questionable.  


The problem presented by the Judeo-Christian worldview is that none of us "live life to the best of our abilities, or our fullest potentials".  No one always properly respects themselves, or the "rights" of others.  So  in one sweep, self-merited heavenly reward is questionable (apart from something called Grace).  And how one can come to the conclusion that there are real "rights" in a naturalistic universe (without God), is still a question I'm unsure of.


quote:
The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master. But if you ever hear a man telling you that you must be happy, that it is your natural right. that your first duty is to yourself - that will be the man who is not after your soul. That will be the man who has nothing to gain froim you. But let him come and you'll scream your empty heads off, howling that he's a selfish monster.



It seems like Ayn always comes (in her descriptions of religion) from the standpoint of distrust.  Could it be possible that someone who speaks of sacrifice could at the same time speak of God's sacrifice toward us?  And could it be possible that any sacrifice we're called to, is light by comparison?  Could it also be possible that a man who recommends these things to others is not doing it for personal gain?  The highest things are the most perverted, and in their purest form, the most rare.  Ayn speaks from personal pain, no doubt, but personal pain can sometimes cloud our objectivity. (or in this case objectivism )


I can't help notice the tension in this passage you quoted.  Ayn accuses the religious priestly types as being out for personal gain (ie selfish), using the very idea that she seems to be discrediting: that people may really be selfish in an immoral way, that should be disdained.

quote:
You tell him that there's something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must FEEL. He must BELIEVE. Suspend reason and you play it dueces wild. Anything goes in any manner you wish whenever you need it. You've got him. Can you rule a thinking man? We don't want any thinking men.


Actually Ayn herself goes "above sense" with her philosophical egoism.  It was by sense, that most have believed that people may be either unduly self-concerned, or admirablly self-forgetting in their relations with others.  To chalk all of the traditionally virtuous up to varying forms of self-interest, even to the point of bending the very language, comes from a metaphysical kind of statement:  All human motives come from self interest.  And this premise is not derived empirically, from mere sense.  The proof is that where sense seems to contradict it, the dogma kicks in and suggests that what we see is not what it seems.  


I actually have no problem with that, since I also hold to a view which states that what is seen may be deceptive, and that there are realities which are not immediately obvious, the "unseen" things.  I'm just noting that Ayn's philosophy itself seems to go beyond reason, and certainly beyond empiricism.  Let's be honest about that much.  And her statement that the religious are unthinking?  She admired Fyodor Dostoevsky for both his profound philosophical mind, and his literature, but vehemently disagreed with him because of his Christianity.  There's little to back up the statement that religious commitment correlates with lack of thinking.


Stephen.        

      
Balladeer
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40 posted 07-09-2007 05:13 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

but also the fact that she has attempted to personally (for all of us) redefine something with a very poignant usage and history, by saying it is something else.
She simply defined it for herself and printed it publicly. She didn't waste her time trying to change anything for "all of us", whoever that is. She simply called it the way she saw it. No one was under any obligation to change their own definitions.

You may disbelieve a reported event. But you cannot rightly call it illogical. Likewise, what the Bible reports as miraculous may be said to be alogical but not illogical. It is simply reportage.
  

J.K. Rowlings reported many events concerning the life of Harry Potter. Does that mean then that we cannot refer to them as illogical?

There's no logical necessity in the fact (or description) that you have two eyes or three. It's not logical that you have two lungs and one liver.
Here I'm afraid you have lost me completely. I read that part several times and still have no idea what the connection is between logic and how many body parts we have or why it would be illogical that we have the number we do.

There are certainly those who have claimed to have found out "here". You can call them all deluded or unintelligent. But history doesn't bear that out. I know many brighter than you or myself who are convinced of Eternal Life.
That is your response, that people have "claimed" to have found out here? And that people smarter than us are convinced of Eternal Life? People smarter than us were also convinced that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.  History does not bear WHAT out? Has anyone in history actually offered proof of a life after death? Has anyone come back to report it? Yes, of course, you will find people who will say yes and claim to have spoken to their loved ones beyond the grave. Is THAT what you wish to use to combat her view that no one knows?


The problem presented by the Judeo-Christian worldview is that none of us "live life to the best of our abilities, or our fullest potentials". No one always properly respects themselves, or the "rights" of others. So in one sweep, self-merited heavenly reward is questionable (apart from something called Grace). And how one can come to the conclusion that there are real "rights" in a naturalistic universe (without God), is still a question I'm unsure of.
I agree that none of us live life to our fullest potential. Does that matter? It's the attempt that counts, whether we fall short or not. At least In Rand's world people have the chance. The Judeo-Christian view makes that impossible with their yoke of "original sin" which makes you guilty from birth and obligates you to live your life trying to atone for the sins you had no choice but to be born with. The meaning of life does not have to be in the destination. It can be in the journey.  Ayn Rand believes in the journey.

Could it be possible that someone who speaks of sacrifice could at the same time speak of God's sacrifice toward us? And could it be possible that any sacrifice we're called to, is light by comparison?
  
  
The sacrifice they are requesting of you is real. Calling it light by comparison to a sacrifice which may or may not be mythical  is quite a feat, one they are very good at.

Ayn accuses the religious priestly types as being out for personal gain
Not really. The church I attend (yes, I do) is a wonderful organization. They do all they can to help people. They have fundraisers, they set up soup kitchens for the poor, they welcome people into the neighborhood with loaves of bread and food, regardless of their religious views, they send teams of doctors and dentists to poor countries to offer aid, the list goes on and on. The pastor is an incredible man, tireless in his efforts who does it for belief in his faith and a strong desire to help others. Could  he be more financially successful in another field? I have no doubt, but I doubt that any other field would give him more personal satisfaction. I am a part of it because of what they do for others. The pastor knows that I do not share their religious views but it doesn't matter. I do my part because I want to and I believe in their goodness and applaud their kindness. Whether or not I think their beliefs are logical or reasonable, the fact remains that their belief is what drives them on to help others and that's jake with me. I'm sure there are thousands of such churches across the country who do the same thing. If Ayn Rand would have a problem with this, then I would have a problem with Ayn Rand in that regard. I believe that her stance against religious leaders are those who use sacrifice as a weapon against the givers, the ones who do their utmost to implant shame and humility in the victim in order to extract as much wealth or power out of them as possible, those who would cause people to beat themselves with whips to atone for their sins (hey, it doesn't happen much anymore but it used to!) She is against religious leaders who do their best to tear down the human spirit instead of lifting man's spirit up. She is against religion when it turns it's followers into victims from which it feeds. Anyone check the value of the Vatican lately? How many people could be fed with those hundreds of millions of dollars? What about the multi-million dollar cathedrals in New York and other major cities, paid for by people being constantly told they are not worthy and must give, give, give to have any kind of chance to enter this "Kingdom of Heaven"? According to Rand, when anyone or any organization uses victims to achieve their personal gain, they are wrong.  

Personally, I don't care what one believes in.  You may think that God is a giant turtle crawling across the sky and, if your belief in that turtle causes you to live your life in a rational, moral way without interfering with the rights of others, then be my guest. I will not join you in your belief, nor will I allow you to make me feel guilty for not believing the same, but I will not condemn you for yours. How can one live one's life in a rational way while believing in a giant turtle, you say? Good question...substitute "bible" for "turtle" and I could ask the same.


Drauntz
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41 posted 07-09-2007 05:25 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

So very good and powerful, Stephanos!!!!
Drauntz
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42 posted 07-09-2007 06:20 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

My dear Sir Balladeer,

do you mean that because Rand(and all of us)saw clearly that  many people were extremely selfish, in religion or out religion or in Russia so she tried to tell other sides to be selfish but in a different meaning? (or self-interest)

Vatican asks money to forgive sinner's sins.
Sinners pay to get rid of sins. All in their BELIEF and to their own best-interest. Why did Rand bother?  

Do you mean that Rand was like that yours is false, mine is true? Does she know that to shake one's belief is to shake violently one's own personal self-interest? ..it is like to try to turn off one's inner "light"?..means that it is not that simple if she did not start from the need of human life.

Do you know how your pastor wanted to be a CEO and reluctant to be a pastor? ask him if he has the struggle. He will tell you a big YES.

100% Christians, (not other religion though) are reluctant to help, to give or to do extra for others and many  are worst than average people, but they help, they give and go extra step for others. why? can't help. it is out of control of oneself.

if it is out fear, or for the reward, what is the difference between a well trained dog and people of any religion?

not doubt, Rand did saw a distorted world. And the truth is that this world is ugly. But the ugliness is not because some people. it is because all of human beings, or most of them, except Drauntz though.

PS.
My dear sir Balladeer, i have 100 sorry prepared here if any time I make you upset under the hot Florida sun.

Balladeer
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43 posted 07-09-2007 06:28 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

fear not, Drauntz. Nothing you can say would upset me.
Stephanos
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44 posted 07-09-2007 07:38 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Balladeer:
quote:
She simply defined it for herself and printed it publicly. She didn't waste her time trying to change anything for "all of us", whoever that is. She simply called it the way she saw it. No one was under any obligation to change their own definitions.


Mike, she was a philosopher who published.  She was also vociferous, made a calculated effort to utilize fiction as a way to communicate her philosophy to the droves who would never read philsophical works, and made use of main-stream talk-shows, and radio interviews, among other things.  How can you say that she was not strongly broadcasting her views with an absolutist kind of persuasion?  By the way, I don't think that's wrong to do.  I simply think she was wrong in some of what she said.  But c'mon, she surely wasn't just  quietly publishing her views with the purpose of expressing private thoughts with the epithet "this is just my opinion".


quote:
J.K. Rowlings reported many events concerning the life of Harry Potter. Does that mean then that we cannot refer to them as illogical?


For one, Rowling admits them to be fiction before hand, and is therefore NOT making historical claims.  Secondly, if they were, that doesn't mean that they are of the same as historical claims in the Bible.  You can't cover historical credibility, or logical coherency, of particular claims with such a general statement.

quote:
Stephen: There's no logical necessity in the fact (or description) that you have two eyes or three. It's not logical that you have two lungs and one liver.


Mike:Here I'm afraid you have lost me completely. I read that part several times and still have no idea what the connection is between logic and how many body parts we have or why it would be illogical that we have the number we do.



Mike, that's my point exactly.  Likewise I have no idea what the connection is between logic and the resurrection of Christ, or why it would be illogical for Paul to claim that all men have sinned and fallen short of God's glory, and stand in need of mercy and grace.


quote:
That is your response, that people have "claimed" to have found out here? And that people smarter than us are convinced of Eternal Life?



Um, yes, that is my response.  I'm not saying you have to believe it.  I'm only pointing out that your (or Ayn's) claim that no one really knows is itself questionable, and anything but a simple statement.  It forces a kind of agnosticism upon others, that it isn't willing to accept for itself.  She sounds more sure of unsurety than many preachers sound of religion.

quote:
People smarter than us were also convinced that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.


Yes, and they were acting upon the information they had.  The thing is, there are people smarter than you and I both who believe thoroughly in eternal life, who are acting upon the same general data that we have at the present ... No large gap of time to paint them as ignorant due to past limitations.  

Of course there are people smarter than you or I both that don't believe.  But I wasn't making the false appeal to intellectualism.    I was responding to Rand's quote which equated religious belief with lack of thinking.  

quote:
Has anyone in history actually offered proof of a life after death? Has anyone come back to report it?


Jesus did.  

quote:
Yes, of course, you will find people who will say yes and claim to have spoken to their loved ones beyond the grave. Is THAT what you wish to use to combat her view that no one knows?


Of course not.  But I don't rule out the possibility of a supernatural world.  I happen to think that Divine revelation is valid.  I also happen to think that historical reconstruction which attempts to explain the New Testament without the miraculous, is much more problematic than taking at it's own claims.  They wouldn't have braved being ostracized, and killed, for the corpse of a person they were merely claiming to be raised from the dead.

quote:
I agree that none of us live life to our fullest potential. Does that matter? It's the attempt that counts, whether we fall short or not.


Is that a theological statement?  Those are our standards, but does the same hold true when it comes to God's standards?

quote:
At least In Rand's world people have the chance.


In God's world, people have the chance.


quote:
. The Judeo-Christian view makes that impossible with their yoke of "original sin" which makes you guilty from birth and obligates you to live your life trying to atone for the sins you had no choice but to be born with.


Actually the culmination of the Judeo-Christian view, is that we can't make atonement for our sins.  That's why Christ did so on Calvary.

quote:
The meaning of life does not have to be in the destination. It can be in the journey.  Ayn Rand believes in the journey.


Christianity also affirms that the journey is important, but not without the reality of the destination.  It would be ludicrous to take a "trip to the mountains", if there were no mountains, wouldn't it?  I will at least point out that the word "journey" denotes a destination.  

quote:
The sacrifice they are requesting of you is real. Calling it light by comparison to a sacrifice which may or may not be mythical  is quite a feat, one they are very good at.


It is light by comparison to what Christ did for us.  

Let me ask you a question, do you believe in God?


quote:
If Ayn Rand would have a problem with this, then I would have a problem with Ayn Rand in that regard. I believe that her stance against religious leaders are those who use sacrifice as a weapon against the givers, the ones who do their utmost to implant shame and humility in the victim in order to extract as much wealth or power out of them as possible, those who would cause people to beat themselves with whips to atone for their sins (hey, it doesn't happen much anymore but it used to!) She is against religious leaders who do their best to tear down the human spirit instead of lifting man's spirit up. She is against religion when it turns it's followers into victims from which it feeds.



Good, then it is a certain kind of religious expression that you doubt.  Rand seems to disparage religion as a whole.  Of course I have much more to read.


quote:
How can one live one's life in a rational way while believing in a giant turtle, you say? Good question...substitute "bible" for "turtle" and I could ask the same.


Mike, you can ask anything you want.  That doesn't make the answers the same, or even the same kind.  And don't pretend your reference to the turtle was not to disparage Christian beliefs (if not Christian charity).  Therefore your statement of egalitarian belief is kind of suspect to me.  It's almost as if you're saying, "I respect anyone's belief no matter how stupid and irrational they happen to be."  


I've actually asked on this forum how one can be sure of a real "rationality" without believing in God.  If you are merely reconfigured matter, how are you sure your rationality holds truth?  The conferring of these kinds of powers upon an impersonal cosmos (for mere parts of it to come to the point of a "big" kind of insight about the whole) is one of the most fantastical notions I've ever heard.  If I didn't believe in God I would have to go with the anti-rationalists like Schopenhaur, Nietzsche, (and later in life) Bertrand Russell.  They are the most relentlessly logical and honest philosophers I have seen, in keeping with their atheism.  Ascribing to a "goodness" and a "rationality" that simply stands upon our particular biology for the moment, out does the most primitive animism in my opinion.


Enjoying the talk,


Stephen.
  
Balladeer
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45 posted 07-10-2007 02:38 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Stephanos, I applaud your faith but you are arguing a philosophy that deals in reason and logic by stating as fact Christian biblical happenings, which literally are suspect to say the least. Your line of defense is that "one cannot know". So be it. There is no way to really continue a discussion where one participant uses belief in a form of mythology, where nothing can be proven, as his rebuttal.
It's almost as if you're saying, "I respect anyone's belief no matter how stupid and irrational they happen to be."
No, what I am saying is that I will be my own judge as to what I feel is the validity of their beliefs. I will respect their beliefs in their beliefs without necessarily respecting their beliefs (now THAT'S a tongue-twister!) just as I respect your belief in Christianity without necessarily believing in it myself. It reminds me of an old Peanut cartoon strip where Snoopy is laying on top of his doghouse and the caption reads, "It doesn't matter what you believe in as long as you are sincere." You think my use of a turtle is disrespectful? The Indians thought the world rested on the back of a huge tortoise. Many religions have used animals to represent their gods. The Egyptians thought cats were gods (and the cats have never forgotten it!). But then I suppose that's different because they don't believe in YOUR religion.  They say religious wars are those fought to find out who has the strongest imaginary friend and i consider that a good analogy.

Do I believe in God? I have to say I do. The complexity of life, of the human body, the way everything fits together so well, consciousness...there are so many things in life that are orchestrated so perfectly that it is almost impossible to imagine it was not created by some grand design. Do I believe in organized religion's creations as to what this great creator is? No. I believe organized religions were founded for one reason....power. The crusades are an excellent example of that. Throughout history leaders have used religion as the base to get what they want, from the Inquisition to the suicide bombers of today. I have not found a religion that portrays our creator, or God, in a manner I can believe in. If I ever do, it will be a religion that exalts man, not preaches that he get down on his knees and beg for forgiveness.

I've actually asked on this forum how one can be sure of a real "rationality" without believing in God.
Believing in God or believing in Jesus? One can use a rationality for belief in God for the same reasons i gave in the preceding paragraph. That doesn't make Jesus any more real than Buddha, Mohammed, Tao, the druids or the hundreds of gods the Egyptians, Inces, Aztecs and who-knows-else believed in. They are all figureheads, all concoctions of whatever religion created them.

Ayn Rand made it very clear. Since no one can know if there is their particular brand of God or if there is an afterlife, why not direct your efforts to your life here on this planet? Sounds reasonable to me....

Actually, in my own personal opinion, I believe Ayn Rand DID believe in a God or afterlife of some kind, else why would she advocate anything? She preached that man should live his life to the best of his abilities, that he strive to be the best he could be, that he did not impose on the rights of others to do the same.....why if it were only to end in the grave anyway? She preached purpose and yet what purpose would be served if life were to terminate being covered by earth in a grave and nothing more? She simply did not feel the need, or reason, to expound on something impossible to prove and belived that life here was what should be focused on and that those who tell you to sacrifice your life here for rewards on some afterlife level are evil.

Brad
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46 posted 07-10-2007 03:18 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
The Egyptians thought cats were gods (and the cats have never forgotten it!).


Wow! So that's why!

Any thoughts on the enigmatic Korean woman?



Stephanos
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47 posted 07-10-2007 11:50 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Balladeer:
quote:
Your line of defense is that "one cannot know". So be it. There is no way to really continue a discussion where one participant uses belief in a form of mythology, where nothing can be proven, as his rebuttal.


Actually I never said that "one cannot know". That seems to be your (and according to you Rand's) take on questions of spirituality.  Remember?  

Biblical historicity can be only be proven to the degree that any ancient history can be proven.  The miraculous aspects I believe because I have known miracles myself.  In the New Testament the miraculous becomes more central to the analysis of history, and therefore the history becomes more difficult to explain without it.  But whatever the case is, it is different than "mythology" where "nothing may be proven".  I can recommend some books by historians who demonstrate the historical cogency of Christian belief.  Perhaps you've only assumed that it is too fantastical for historical consideration.

quote:
You think my use of a turtle is disrespectful? The Indians thought the world rested on the back of a huge tortoise.


The obvious difference is, they believed it.  So yes, when you said that "bible" and "turtle" were interchangeable, you were making an essentially negative statement.  There's nothing wrong with that, other than you are assuming that the two beliefs are proportionate and perfectly comparable.  We could have a separate thread about how Christianity history differs from mythology if you wish, though the thread has been done before (some time before you started hanging out here in philo 101).          

quote:
The Egyptians thought cats were gods (and the cats have never forgotten it!).


Actually due to my Christian belief, I would have to say cats are idols.  My wife subscribes to the idolatry by catering to their every whim.  I just exist in a kind of smouldering prophetic protest, (quietly of course for fear of excessive scratches).  


quote:
I believe organized religions were founded for one reason....power. The crusades are an excellent example of that.


There's one problem with that.  Organized religions were all at one time unorganized.  And often their "organization" led to a veering from their original standards.  The first Christians were a handful of fishermen who followed a man who denied (to his followers amazement) the then-contemporary Jewish view of the Messiah as a military conqueror.  He emphatically refused to be made king, on more than one occasion.  He warned his disciples against viewing leadership and power the way the "gentiles" did, as lording power over others.  He spoke about the greatest among them being a servant.  He warned Peter that "those who live by the sword will die by the sword".  So your appeal to the Crusades as a proof of the corruption of religion, is just that ... proof that something good can be corrupted.  Proof that something straight can be twisted.  It shouldn't be used as an excuse not to consider the revelation given by Christ on its own terms.  Jesus himself said that few would follow the purity of that revelation to the end.  But, as much as I point out that it is no reason for avoidance, being offended at religious apostasy is a problem that I sympathize with.


quote:
Throughout history leaders have used religion as the base to get what they want, from the Inquisition to the suicide bombers of today.


Yes I agree with you.  Religion has been used selfishly.


quote:
I have not found a religion that portrays our creator, or God, in a manner I can believe in. If I ever do, it will be a religion that exalts man, not preaches that he get down on his knees and beg for forgiveness.


If your conception is that the Bible devalues and belittles mankind, I think you ought to reconsider that view.  Man was created in the very image of God (no small epithet of honor).  The eighth Psalm in the Old Testament psalter muses "What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than God, and crowned him with glory and honor".  Mankind (not only mankind, but every indivdual man woman and child) is considered worth God sending his own son to die for.  


So why all the reprimanding, all the rebuke of sin, etc ...?  Because the Bible recognizes the truth that the greater they are, the harder they fall.  The higher the being, the more convoluted and lamentable is its corruption.  You may disagree with that assessment but it is realistic.  All of the compaints you issued above, about crusades, power plays, and despicable tendencies to oppress others for personal advantage, are in line with my view not yours.  I am permitted to view man as a King and a Tyrant.  Why?  Because that what he is.  Blaise Pascal once wrote:

"What a chimera, then, is man! what a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! A judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depositary of the truth, cloaca of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe"

And whether you realize it or not, this fits your typical approach to humanity (in discussion and otherwise).  You certainly don't act and speak as if everyone,  every act, and every motive is exalted and noble.  Christian theology of fallen greatness matches the realism of observation.  Don't get stuck with a false philosophy that doesn't take all into account, but only half of man's condition.  The greatest loves can turn into the stormiest kind of hate.  But indifference can do neither.      


Oh and by the way, this nobility only needs to get down on his knees and beg forgiveness if he really needs to!  I know this one does, at least!          


quote:
That doesn't make Jesus any more real than Buddha, Mohammed, Tao, the druids or the hundreds of gods the Egyptians, Inces, Aztecs and who-knows-else believed in. They are all figureheads, all concoctions of whatever religion created them.


You want to demonstrate (beyond a general statement) that either Jesus, Mohammed, or Buddha were mere only concotions of the religions that created them?  You can start with Jesus if you wish.  Make another thread.

quote:
Ayn Rand made it very clear. Since no one can know if there is their particular brand of God or if there is an afterlife, why not direct your efforts to your life here on this planet? Sounds reasonable to me....


I suppose it would be reasonable, if it were true that "no one can know".  But the conclusion definitely depends upon that premise, which oddly involves an absolute knowledge of the agnosticism of everyone else.  Also there's no reason to think that God doesn't help direct our "efforts here on planet earth".  Being "heavenly minded" doesn't have to mean being "no earthly good".  Time is partly the determiner of our eternity, and presents our greatest challenge here and now.  

quote:
Actually, in my own personal opinion, I believe Ayn Rand DID believe in a God or afterlife of some kind, else why would she advocate anything?


I'm pretty sure she claimed to be an atheist.  Upon what are you basing your personal opinion of her theism?  Why advocate anything if there is no God, is an argument I've been using for years.  But I assure you not everyone sees it that way.  They take the Imago Dei they possess (which can't dispose of telos and purpose, despite their philosophy) quite for granted.


quote:
She simply did not feel the need, or reason, to expound on something impossible to prove and belived that life here was what should be focused on and that those who tell you to sacrifice your life here for rewards on some afterlife level are evil.



But there again, that depends upon the premise that the present always outweighs the demands of the future, and the premise that the demands of the "life to come" cannot be known.  I've already demonstrated that these are questionable.  It also depends upon a cynicism that is thoroughgoing and non-negotiable.  I'm cynical myself of much, but I don't think everyone telling me to "lay up treasure in heaven" is doing so with an evil intent.  If there's a Heaven, then it sounds pretty reasonable to me.  And hey, I have to point out that if you think we're not going to just die and rot, you're already on your way to having a definite religious article of belief.


later,

Stephen.    

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (07-10-2007 12:26 PM).]

Drauntz
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48 posted 07-10-2007 12:52 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

My dear Sir Balladeer,

"I have not found a religion that portrays our creator, or God, in a manner I can believe in. If I ever do, it will be a religion that exalts man, not preaches that he get down on his knees and beg for forgiveness."

....why? Human's fault or God's fault?

"Ayn Rand made it very clear. Since no one can know if there is their particular brand of God or if there is an afterlife, why not direct your efforts to your life here on this planet? Sounds reasonable to me.... "

.....How?
if every one is so greedy. even A nice person like Drauntz is bothering you now. How can you have peaceful life here in the planet?  Sir Brad has already bothered his little daughter in many ways.  So, how can we have our own way in this Planet?

Drauntz
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49 posted 07-10-2007 01:03 PM       View Profile for Drauntz   Email Drauntz   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Drauntz

Sir Brad,

"Any thoughts on the enigmatic Korean woman?"

....You do not want to get into trouble again and again, sir. I have dozen of Korean Lady friends.
next time I will talk Pip with them. If they read your words. they'll eat you alive no matter how demure they look. They all have strong characters, as you know. Some do complain about their husband as either sleeping in front of TV with remote in hand or being caught in internet the remote fantasy land . no time at all for children and other family members.

the right thing is that I shall see less of you here.
 
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