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Passions in Poetry

Honor

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Bob K
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25 posted 06-27-2009 11:04 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



I could not love thee half so much
     Loved I not honour more. . . ?

     Roughly.
Huan Yi
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26 posted 06-29-2009 08:11 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


"Risking life for life where death is most likely is less compared to certainly being able to live on and serve the world in a much longer term way and in a way that may help use learning and teaching, strong morals and laws and to try to prevent both the attitudes that lead to such acts of violence and stronger ways to react when the violence is present"


I can't find a response
fit for mixed company . . .

.
Stephanos
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27 posted 07-06-2009 02:03 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess:
quote:
Unfortunately often much backwardness.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24)


Essorant, it's easy to take things out of context.  A "losing of life" is necessary in all of our gains, though they be large deaths or incrementally small ones.  A grain of corn must die before there can be a stalk of corn.  This theme is found in nature through and through.  

If by "backwardness" you mean violence and warfare, you've just quoted the wrong person.  Because, in context, Jesus was referring to, yes, the willingness to die (both metaphorically and literally) for a higher cause, but not at all about the willingness to kill.  There is a difference.  Have you ever read Les Miserables?  

Whenever you quote a person, you should consider the whole edifice of their teaching/philosophy, rather than making a text say what you want, whether positively or negatively.  

Though, you are right to suggest that people have twisted the sayings of Christ, for freedom to do all kinds of things, for all kinds of personal, political, and questionable ends.  But you only quoted the scripture, making no distinction, and so you sounded as if you might be making the same interpretive mistake.    

later,

Stephen  
Essorant
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28 posted 07-06-2009 11:54 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

No, I didn't mean that at all, Stephanos.  I meant the way it seems to treat saving life as the opposite of saving life and dying the opposite of dying.  It treats, in effect, choosing to save our life as if it is no more than choosing death, but that choosing death in the name of Christ is equivelent to choosing and saving life instead.  When people start to treat choosing life as if it is choosing death and choosing death as if it is choosing life, that to me seems very backward!

Stephanos
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29 posted 07-09-2009 08:48 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

Could there be something beneath the overt paradox that you're not catching?  It would, of course, be nonsense to confuse and conflate two opposites.  But I don't think that's what we have here, though as with many parables, the surface has to be scratched a little deeper for the meaning.  

I think that Jesus was saying that often what seems like "life", primarily in a self-centered context, is really not life at all.  He is juxtaposing a counterfeit with the real, for contrast.  The reason for the paradox, is the simple acknowledgment that two superficially like things are not so easily differentiated and discerned.  I think we get a similar meaning from the Proverb which says "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its ways end in death".  You might say that the proverb steers clear of the paradox, and is therefore preferable;  But there's a reason for the paradox of Jesus' words. If someone gets a bit dizzied from the reading, not being sure any longer about what is what, and which is which, I think the intended effect was produced.  To be complacent about life is to lose what it means to be alive.  Socrates, in concord with this, said that the unexamined life is not worth living.  And nothing goads us into self-examination like someone calling into question things we never really have.  

To give you a literary example ... I mentioned Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables".  Jean Valjean, the reformed ex-convict, when presented with a simpleton who was being tried in court for being Valjean himself ... had a choice.  Either he would reassume his old identity to save another man, and so be really free.  Or he would shun that identity to retain his own personal freedom and success, and so be bound by something more terrible than chains.  He chose life through a difficult but virtuous deed rather than what appeared so obviously and alluringly as life, but really wasn't.  Not all such choices in our lives which require a kind of dying, appear so dramatically or singularly as that in Les Mis.  Our choices are rather smaller than not, and cumulative.  Still, I think you understand what I'm getting at by mentioning Valjean.    

Stephen
Huan Yi
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30 posted 07-10-2009 07:02 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

This Lydian earth
covers Amyntor,
Phillip’s son,
who often engaged his hands in iron battle:

no painful disease
led him to the House of Night,

but he perished
covering a comrade
with his round shield.


Anyte
(c. 300 BCE)

.
Bob K
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31 posted 07-11-2009 12:34 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Whose translation, Huan Yi?  That was a magnificent piece of poetry.
Huan Yi
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32 posted 07-11-2009 04:34 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


From a book I read long ago . . .


.
Essorant
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33 posted 07-12-2009 01:23 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos

I understand your explanation.  I just don't understand whence you get all that from the literal text itself.
Stephanos
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34 posted 07-13-2009 05:35 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess,

It's about context.  Good exegesis means balancing the things Jesus said with other things he said.  It just doesn't make sense to think he was conflating life and death.  It does make sense to think that he is telling us that we often do.

Stephen  
th1nktw1ce
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35 posted 07-17-2009 12:40 AM       View Profile for th1nktw1ce   Email th1nktw1ce   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for th1nktw1ce

Are we talking about honor as a virtue or honor holding to an uncompromising creed?

_

Many have posted saying the meaning of honor has changed over time. I don't believe the definition has changed, but the number of things people choose to honor has.

Honor an action. It's how honor is where and how honor is applied to a which areas of a person's life they are exhibited. And to go further it isn't honor itself that has changed but what a person is honoring. A person can honor his family by actions,  using words, to uphold the legacy of his family, to change his family's legacy, to change his own legacy, to adhere a mission statement of the job he works at, or to keep with the morals he stands and religion he stands for).

Personally, coming from the post confucian, post socrates, world of defined human virtue. I believe all men are born with the knowledge of virtue. And with a base of matured virtues, an adult acting in humble (not seeking honor) to service something or someone else for the better is honorable (the actions noticed by others). What is honorable is something those who live in virtuous honor don't think about.

Character, integrity and courage all play large parts in true honor.

That is what true honor is to me anyway.
Bob K
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36 posted 07-18-2009 04:40 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Mr. Thinktwice,

quote:


Personally, coming from the post confucian, post socrates, world of defined human virtue. I believe all men are born with the knowledge of virtue.




     This may be why each of them must be taught their own society's individual notion of virtue as they grow up.  Apparently the virtue they are born with has nothing to do with the virtue of any particular society.  Gott mit uns and God save America, at least on the political scale, seem to have clashed at least a couple of times.  The mores that stand behind each of them, and the cultures are also quite different.

     Nor do you get away with saying that you are post Confucian, or post Socratic so easily as well.  The Confucian notion of honor is not simply personal, but very much societal.  It comes to bear most heavily on the rulers and on their ability to do the right thing at the right time.  It is said that one ruler avoided catastrophe for the empire by facing North.  At this remove, that sounds silly.  But at that time, the emperor didn't the the variety and power of the choices our emperors do today, did they?

     In Confucian thought, the change from dishonorable to honorable thought and behavior could be instant; a change in behavior could change a person's status from one to the other, and the nature of virtue and its practice should be ever in one's mind.  To those of us who have made occasional idiots of ourselves, this point of view makes a certain amount of sense.  A lifetime of virtue is absolutely no bulwark against impulse or self deception.

     As for Socrates, we get the story mostly through his pupil Plato.  You might try reading The Trial of Socrates, a book that I've mention in these pages before, for an alternate view.  I think you'll find that, at least in I.F. Stone's view, that this sort of thinking is very much with us still.  Even if you disagree, I think you'll find that a large part of educational method is based on "The Socratic Method."   You may dislike it, but it's part of your bones.

Yours,  Bob Kaven
GBride
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37 posted 10-19-2009 09:11 PM       View Profile for GBride   Email GBride   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for GBride

There is much to think about here that has merit.
I remember a saying of my friend when I was in the Army.
"Now, take it easy, lad. The time to be a hero is when the battle is orer and done and all the brave men safely buried in their graves God rest um."
The victor writes the history and,therein, justifys his cause.
I do not have the education, no doubt, that the rest of you have.
Bravery, in my opinion, has caused many people to die early in their years,and the result has been no better that the one its replaced.
For a long time now I have believed that "Honer" is concept of usless and impotant old men. It doesn't exist outside of retoric. The powerful use it as a means to manipulate the powerless into doings things that they will not do themselves.
But I have to admit that I do attend the momorial services here each year on memorial day to "honer" those have given their share. So I must believe in "honer" at some level.
I will reread these comments to see if I can learn more.

[This message has been edited by GBride (10-19-2009 10:01 PM).]

Stephanos
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38 posted 10-19-2009 09:30 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
So now you are suggesting just because people put life first, they put everyone else's life last?  I don't agree.  The most important reason thousands would not give up their life in such a situation is because they care so much about the lives of others and still being there for them and to help them.


Essorant, John's statement of course would be situational.  He's not saying that valuing one's own life (whether or the sake of others or not) is bad, but that in a situtation which requires death for the sake of others, to choose to preserve one's own life then is less honorable.  There are/ have been situations where there would be no honorable way to save one's skin, in light of the demands of the situation ... and many who have recognized this truth.  For you to deny it is to homogenize all of life into peace-time, or crisis-free ethics.  In reality all of life hasn't fit this pattern that we are now enjoying.

Stephen
Bob K
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39 posted 10-20-2009 02:31 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Thank you, GBride.  It seems you're as solid as anybody here, and as honest, and perhaps more thoughtful than many of us.  I enjoyed what you had to say.

Bob Kaven
Essorant
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40 posted 10-20-2009 02:33 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos

I agree, for giving up life for another's life is still putting life first.  That is what I believe in.  What I don't believe in is giving up life for honor or religion though.  Honor and religion are very important to life, but are never more important than life itself.  

If honour and religion are a straight line,  I will always still admire stepping out of that straight line to save life.  Whether marching in a band or in an army, even stepping out of line to avoid a cricket one sees in front of his foot will always be more noble to me than carelessly killing the cricket.  Even such a small life is greater than sticking to that straight line of "honor" "religion" "normalness", "appearances" etc.  
 
Stephanos
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41 posted 10-20-2009 11:08 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

No different Ess.  Those who die for their faith in God (I'm not speaking of those who erroneously die in the process of killing for God) are dying for life too ... for the life of those who killed them, and the life of others who see them.  If I were to disown and deny Christ because of a threat (which is what many aggressors have demanded of Christian martyrs), I would really be saying to others that it doesn't matter ... that it isn't at all real, which is to say that death itself is absolute.  Therefore Christians should believe that it would be better to die than to leave everyone the impression that God and Christ are disposable, and not at all deserving of at least the human kind of honor you attach to others, especially if believing so means to forfeit eternal life.

So your wholly negative view about dying for religion only stands if the religions are equally false and languid ... only social practices that claim to be something more.  To believe that human life is practically more important than God, is to not believe that human fulfillment can only be had in God ... which is to disbelieve the foundation of religion.  I respect your right to believe so, but supposing Christianity were true on its own terms (not just the belief that it is as culturally and artistically relevant as anything else) you can easily see why a Christian should distrust any statement which says loyalty to one's own life is more important than loyalty to God and Christ.


Stephen
Bob K
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42 posted 10-20-2009 07:33 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Not easy to talk about what is required when you are asked to give up your religion or your life, perhaps the root of many christian notions of martyrdom.  At least one threat of Jewish commentary on the matter suggests that such a demand is illegitimate and unenforceable, and that the obligation for the faithful person is to agree to change, to go along with the change as long as necessary and to get away to a place where it's possible once again to practice one's religion freely.

     The question this raises in my mind is what does this say about those who place others in such a life threatening position?

     Questions of honor raise themselves from all positions.  The definitions of honor seem to become fairly slippery if they are not examined from within each specific cultural context.  It seems there is little cross cultural sympathy available to share.  Moslems don't like the passivity of Christian martyrdom, Christians don't like the aggression of Moslem martyrdom, and the Jews don't like the whole notion of being martyred at all.

     In fact they get accused of being martyred badly. both inside their own religion, and from without, as though there was some bureau of martyrdom standards and practices in Geneva that had the Golden martyrdom under lock and key in a vault for comparison and Jewish Martyrdom somehow fell short as being too passive or not fighting back enough or something.

     It'd be darkly humorous if it wasn't so grim.

     Now that I think about it, it's probably both at the same time.
Stephanos
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43 posted 10-20-2009 09:24 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob,

The healthiest views of Martyrdom within Christian history have been that Martyrdom is an evil thing, though if it must be in order to avoid treachery shame or faithlessness, it is not devoid of purpose, honor, or ultimate reward.  An evil thing out of which good may come.  If Jews don't like to be martyred at all that probably goes for the rest, as far as likes are concerned ... seems to be a fairly universal human trait not to relish dying.  Even Jesus prayed "Let this cup pass ..."

Stephen  
Essorant
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44 posted 10-20-2009 09:43 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos

quote:
No different Ess.  Those who die for their faith in God (I'm not speaking of those who erroneously die in the process of killing for God) are dying for life too ... for the life of those who killed them, and the life of others who see them


I meant such a death that would actually save someone's present life, Stephanos.   If I changed bodies with someone about to die, and therefore I died in his body instead of him and he lived on in my body, my death would save someone's life.   But if I died to keep my religion, it wouldn't save anyone's life and most likely wouldn't help anyone either.   That is a great difference.  


If you only had two choices right now, to live as a Muslim, or die, surely you wouldn't choose death?  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (10-21-2009 12:45 AM).]

Stephanos
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45 posted 10-21-2009 01:44 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess,

I can't say what I would or wouldn't do under extreme duress or Temptation.  Even Peter thought he would be willing to die with Christ, but was informed that he would deny him in the wee hours of the morning.  I know what would be right to do, and that would be never to renounce my faith in Christ to save my own skin.  

The way in which you juxtaposed "present life" only shows that you don't take "eternal life" seriously ... else why place the importance of present temporal life over the life-to-come?  Not that Christianity is only and all about post-mortem existence.  But if what the Bible says about it all is true, then it makes sense to look at things with a larger-perspective, as important or wonderful as this "hands-breadth" of a life, may seem.  

Again I respect you ... but I am trying to show that our disagreement flows from wholly different premises, or you wouldn't use the word "actually" where I would use the word "merely".  The history of Christian martyrdom has held testimonies of many who were greatly encouraged by people who didn't hold their lives too dear to speak and hold to the truth of the Gospel.  To say that no one is really helped by such examples, is simply to say you don't believe the Christian Gospel.  To suggest that I should be willing to be a Muslim to save my life, is to say that all religions are equally valid or invalid in spite of their fundamental contradictions regarding who God is, amounting to religious relativism, which trivializes religion altogether.  We're not in disagreement about whether life should be preserved when it may not involve treachery and denial to do so.  Life here is very dear.  Bunyan left his family for 12 years, with bitter tears, to enter a jail where "The Pilgrim's Progress" was written.  I say these things not at all to disparage you, but to clarify.  We're like two people who keep getting a different sum, adding a common amount to very different coins we already hold.  


Stephen

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (10-21-2009 11:33 PM).]

Essorant
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46 posted 10-23-2009 02:45 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

quote:
I can't say what I would or wouldn't do under extreme duress or Temptation.  Even Peter thought he would be willing to die with Christ, but was informed that he would deny him in the wee hours of the morning.  I know what would be right to do, and that would be never to renounce my faith in Christ to save my own skin.



But why do you put serving religion above serving life as being what is right?  Taken to an extreme, isn't that what also inspires people to treat other people's lives as inferior to their religion, that if others offend or act against their religion, their life should be acted against because the religion is more important?   How do we save and defend human life better if we put religion above it?  
quote:
The way in which you juxtaposed "present life" only shows that you don't take "eternal life" seriously ... else why place the importance of present temporal life over the life-to-come?  Not that Christianity is only and all about post-mortem existence.  But if what the Bible says about it all is true, then it makes sense to look at things with a larger-perspective, as important or wonderful as this "hands-breadth" of a life, may seem.



We may eternalize anything in an imaginary future Stephanos, and try to compare that imaginary "eternal" to the present, which thereby makes the present look inferior.   But that eternal future is still just an imagination until it actually happens.   Should I spend more of my limited money of the present because I hope to have an unlimited supply in the future?  Isn't this enough to explain why the the present life deserves to be put first?    


quote:
But if what the Bible says about it all is true, then it makes sense to look at things with a larger-perspective, as important or wonderful as this "hands-breadth" of a life, may seem.


You mean the ilk book that says the first woman was formed from a rib and whose genealogies suggest the Earth is only 6000 years old?   That is a big "if" Stephanos            

quote:
To suggest that I should be willing to be a Muslim to save my life, is to say that all religions are equally valid or invalid in spite of their fundamental contradictions regarding who God is, amounting to religious relativism, which trivializes religion altogether.



That is somewhat true, but only because of the context.   Religion in general to me is rather trivial in comparison to saving life.   People are struggling among violence, poverty, starvation, etc.  No such stipulation is in living as a Muslim instead of a Christian.  And the "as" is just that:  It doesn't mean you may do it perfectly, especially after being a Christian.  But in this "if" all you were to do is present yourself as a Muslim to the world, then you could live your life, see your family and friends, still be a nurse and do everything the same, except presenting yourself as Muslim would be incorporated.   I wouldn't want anyone to be cornered into that, but if he were, it is far from being as harsh as many other conditions people are cornered into.  I think I would certainly be willing to live under any religion if it meant survival.

 
Stephanos
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47 posted 10-24-2009 11:06 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
But why do you put serving religion above serving life as being what is right?  Taken to an extreme, isn't that what also inspires people to treat other people's lives as inferior to their religion, that if others offend or act against their religion, their life should be acted against because the religion is more important?   How do we save and defend human life better if we put religion above it?


If you wanted to take that logic all the way, Essorant, we should say that religion shouldn't be more important than any expression of human life ... which would lead to the rather obvious question of why have religion at all?  

The principle that God is more important than any human life, is a right principle, especially if God is source of human life, and the hope of its ultimate justification and restoration.  To bring up bad examples of killing people in the name of religion, doesn't cast doubt on that principle, but only upon the Theology of any particular religion that practices violence in the way you mentioned.  The Character of God is very important, and the question of whether human life is important to God is very important.  Remember that I am saying that Martyrdom is when the murderous deed (the evil) is on the side of the perpetrator, not the confessor of faith.  That's a significant difference that you're not acknowledging.

I know you would want to suggest that it might be better to deny one's faith to save one's life, for yourself and others ... But you are still not taking seriously the life-to-come, and what effect this denial might have on those observing.  (So Christians believe human life is better served by being faithful to God, and not denying him in the face of death- This does not mean to cast one's life away carelessly)

And also, with those who are murderous, there is no guarantee that one's "life" will be spared at the denial anyway, or that the circumstances of that life will be preferrable to an honorable death.  Since many have recognized this, they've gone ahead and done the right thing.  

Let me ask you a question.  If someone promised to let you live only if you would spit on your mother and insult her with unheard of expletives, would you do it?  How about assault her, or rape her?  Could you even be sure they would follow through with their promise?  My point is, you draw a line too, which could be questioned just as much as the line drawn by Christian Martyrs ... since anything within one's life can be deemed less important than life itself.  However I don't think most people deem sheer existence as the most important thing.  In other words, there are things worse than dying.


quote:
We may eternalize anything in an imaginary future Stephanos, and try to compare that imaginary "eternal" to the present, which thereby makes the present look inferior.   But that eternal future is still just an imagination until it actually happens.


Two points:  

1) By calling it "imaginary" you are simply telling me you don't believe it.  Which accounts for our difference.  If you knew it were true, beyond doubt, would you feel the same way?

2) If an "eternal future" is imaginary until it actually happens, so is any future that hasn't happned, including the future of the lives you say should count more than religion.  Using this standard does violence to your own argument as well.

quote:
You mean the ilk book that says the first woman was formed from a rib and whose genealogies suggest the Earth is only 6000 years old?   That is a big "if" Stephanos


The biggest "If" I see now, has to do with your own point.  I thought a lover of literature might be able to appreciate the power of parable, pathos, and metaphor to convey historical and spiritual truth, especially if one understands something of the characteristics of Ancient-Near-East writings.  Genealogies were seledom, if ever, comprehensive.  There's certainly exegetical room in the text to view the Universe and Earth as much older than 6000 years.  But instead you are acting as if Genesis should be read like a Western contemporary analytical account of chronology ... not realizing perhaps that an anachronism like yours is the only reason for rejecting it with any seriousness.    

quote:
Religion in general to me is rather trivial in comparison to saving life.


You're only reiterating what I said about your religious relativism trivializing religion altogether.  For you "religion" is a great generality, and does not in any way transcend or over-arch human existence.  It's the difference between "God as Art" and "God as Creator".  It's the difference that gives rise to the different sum we keep getting.  

From now on, it seems we're in repetition mode.  Wouldn't you agree with my last statement?

Stephen
Bob K
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since 11-03-2007
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48 posted 10-25-2009 12:44 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Stephen,

          It's good to hear you step away clearly from a literal interpretation of the Bible, even if you're speaking of the genealogies being incomplete.

     I was interested in the two points that you raised, which I'll quote below for reference.  It's not that I agree or disagree with them, it's simply that I have thoughts about them that your thoughts brought up that I'd like to share and hear your comments on, or Essorant's, or those of anybody's who's feeling in the mood.

quote:


1) By calling it "imaginary" you are simply telling me you don't believe it.  Which accounts for our difference.  If you knew it were true, beyond doubt, would you feel the same way?

2) If an "eternal future" is imaginary until it actually happens, so is any future that hasn't happned, including the future of the lives you say should count more than religion.  Using this standard does violence to your own argument as well.




     I have been in situations before where the answers that I thought I had suddenly proved to be wrong for me.

     When I was younger, I thought that it was everybody's right to make their own decision about living or dying.  If somebody wanted to die, you had no right in the world to stand in their way.  Philosophically, by the way, I still think this is a good position.  Unfortunately, when confronted with a situation where it was time to put up or shut up — to bring in a supply of pills or a razor blade for somebody who wanted to die, I simply couldn't do it.  I had the whole philosophical position worked out in my head, but I simply couldn't do it.  Sorry.

     I hadn't know that until the moment showed up.  When it was there, all my well worked out pieces of philosophy simply vanished in a sudden new understanding about who I was.  I hadn't known before, afterward I did.  Who I was  was actually somewhat at odds with my principles, but I found that I couldn't make things budge on either side.  I still believe that people have their right to make their own decisions, and I still find myself unwilling to help them do it.  Emotionally, I think it's wrong.

     Who knew?

     You can do a lot of imagining yourself into the future.   You can be very clear about your principles.  What you actually are needs to be revealed to you, I think.

     I don't say this is bad or good.  I don't say this is a relative statement, because I don't think it is.  I can't say it's that way for everybody, but I know it's that way for some people, and that I'm one of them.  I don't think bad or good applies to everything, and this is one of those things where the overlap may be accidental — sometimes it counts as bad or good, and sometimes, eh!, who cares?

     But I wanted to share this, and I was curious about your reactions, because this sort of certainty about what one is to do or should do or can do seems to me to be almost funny, as though you can really predict yourself as completely as all that.  The example of St. Peter you mentioned earlier comes to mind.  That was simply Saint Peter acting like a human being, surprising himself with his humanity, as though he were supposed to be something other than human and to magically become ideal.  What a wonderful thought, I suppose, and yet a thought that is so ruthless with one's self.  I don't think Jesus was surprised at find this sort of humanity, I think he saw it in himself as well.

All my best, Bob Kaven  
Essorant
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49 posted 10-26-2009 03:26 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos
quote:
If you wanted to take that logic all the way, Essorant, we should say that religion shouldn't be more important than any expression of human life ... which would lead to the rather obvious question of why have religion at all?  


But why would I treat other expressions differently?  A picture of a beautiful woman is just as much not the beautiful woman as a religious belief about life is not life.   Surely you wouldn't say the picture of the woman is more important than the woman herself?   Likewise the religious expression is not more important than life itself.   Both are equally as less than what they represent as they are representations instead of what they actually represent.  


quote:
The principle that God is more important than any human life, is a right principle, especially if God is source of human life, and the hope of its ultimate justification and restoration


Remember that you are talking about a "principle" or belief.   Therefore it is not actually God himself, just as the picture of the beautiful woman and the religious expression of life are not what they represent.  It an artistic expression of someone or something, or a confusion, but not the actual  being or thing itself.   It is inferior to beings and life because it is just a representation or an expression not the being or life itself.  
quote:
Let me ask you a question.  If someone promised to let you live only if you would spit on your mother and insult her with unheard of expletives, would you do it?  How about assault her, or rape her?  Could you even be sure they would follow through with their promise?  My point is, you draw a line too, which could be questioned just as much as the line drawn by Christian Martyrs ... since anything within one's life can be deemed less important than life itself.  However I don't think most people deem sheer existence as the most important thing.  In other words, there are things worse than dying.



When I was at work the other day I was thinking about that and began to rue taking my arguments and statements a bit too far.  Indeed I have a line as well.  I wouldn't do and adopt anything just for survival.   I somewhat lost focus bringing up the aspect of what one may be willing to adopt instead of something he is willing to give up.   One specification doesn't necessary demand the other.   The main point is about the willingness to give up an ideal or religion for survival, not the willingness not to be able to choose what you will do without your religion or what you will have instead of it.   Of course we have lines about what we would be willing to do.  But I am pointing out that putting the line at giving up religion itself is an extreme in the other direction    For not being a Christian, or Muslim, etc, is not something horrible. The choice to give up being Christian, Muslim, etc to save your life or someone else's from death, would be just as honourable as many other kinds of sacrafices one may make to save life.  Therefore I would argue there is much more by which it would be right than wrong.


quote:
1) By calling it "imaginary" you are simply telling me you don't believe it.  Which accounts for our difference.  If you knew it were true, beyond doubt, would you feel the same way?



I do believe in it so far as I believe it is imaginary.   But there isn't anything to suggest it is otherwise.    The transientness of the things is much more convincing.   Generally things eventually change and move on.   Therefore, it doesn't seem very likely that any kind of "eternal life" is coming our way.   Unless you consider being "recycled" into different compounds in the universe, as "eternal life".   But as far as being able to keep our soul, personalities, etc.   I can't see any likelihood.   All I can grant is that it is "imaginary" and may be "possible", but not probable by anything that life itself suggests.
quote:
2) If an "eternal future" is imaginary until it actually happens, so is any future that hasn't happned, including the future of the lives you say should count more than religion.  Using this standard does violence to your own argument as well.


But I am not talking about a life that is not already known and had.   This present life is already known and had.   It is not a question that it is the kind of life one has.  But the eternal life is a question.  And there is nothing to make it seem more likely that that is what the future shall have instead of the transient kind of life the present has.   All you are going by is the bible.   But how well do lifeforms themselves and life-conditions suggest that "eternal life" shall be coming in the future?  


quote:
The biggest "If" I see now, has to do with your own point.  I thought a lover of literature might be able to appreciate the power of parable, pathos, and metaphor to convey historical and spiritual truth, especially if one understands something of the characteristics of Ancient-Near-East writings.  Genealogies were seledom, if ever, comprehensive.  There's certainly exegetical room in the text to view the Universe and Earth as much older than 6000 years.  But instead you are acting as if Genesis should be read like a Western contemporary analytical account of chronology ... not realizing perhaps that an anachronism like yours is the only reason for rejecting it with any seriousness.


Don't you think that further confirms why the bible ought not be taken so seriously?   If one doesn't know exactly what it is referring to, the "days" referred to are not actually "days", the amount of years referred to are not actually "years", Eve was not actually a woman, Adam was not actually a man, the flood was not actually a flood, etc, etc, but these representations of some misty profundities, why should he be willing to take it seriously as a reference (instead of predominately art), let alone give up his life for something it speaks about as "eternal life"?    


quote:
You're only reiterating what I said about your religious relativism trivializing religion altogether.  For you "religion" is a great generality, and does not in any way transcend or over-arch human existence.  It's the difference between "God as Art" and "God as Creator".  It's the difference that gives rise to the different sum we keep getting.  


But you are avoiding the context.   If it weren't up against life, then your point would stand for many things.  Poetry is very important to me too.  But it would be ridiculous to try to say it is more important than life or that it is not worth giving up if giving it up meant saving life.    

I don't think there is much difference between "God as Art" and "God as Creator" unless you give evidence to distinguish one from the other.   Without giving evidence "God as Creator" refers to things we only learn from art and religious texts just as much as "God as Art".    


quote:
From now on, it seems we're in repetition mode.  Wouldn't you agree with my last statement?


Indeed.  Nothing wrong with repetition.   Do lovers get tired of repeating love?                    


[This message has been edited by Essorant (10-26-2009 04:41 PM).]

 
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