OGerry will probably call me a liberal, but
by Karl(1of1) (2012-12-10 11:19:32)
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I'll post anyway. I've been reading about the incredible number of "nones" in America, somewhere around 20% who have no attachment to organized religion. That's an amazing stat for this country, which has always been reliably, albeit minimally, religious. Wow.

My question: as the Nones take their ascendancy, and the culture moves ever further from its religious roots, where will be found even a conceptual basis for unalienable human rights? It used to be God or the idea of God, over whose bounds the state would fear to tread. In other words, as was asked of the Honorable Elena Kagan, is there any limit at all to government power? What is it?

Something will slouch toward Bethlehem, waiting to be born; what do you think it will be?




By employing Rawls' veil of ignorance
by JPH  (2012-12-10 13:20:03)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I'm sure someone will point out a thousand reasons Rawls is terrible (I hardly have ever studied him, and that was a long time ago), but the veil of ignorance concept always struck me as a clever way to conceptualize "unalienable human rights." And though I don't advocate for this position, I think it could be used to support such rights even if there is no God or belief in one.


You're right about you're being wrong.
by OGerry  (2012-12-10 18:44:07)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Rawls is beautiful, at least according to Nozick. But his ideas certainly have terrible holes. Part of his deal is that he's hoping to construct a moral framework to legitimate the modern state without any reference to rights. Justice as fairness. Forget all the stilted nonsense of rights or utiles. Think of him as an Americanized version of Manny the Prussian. Instead of Spanglish, we could call in Merkassian.

The original position serves as an analog for the state of nature, but with Rawls we can determine correct behavior without butchering important anthropological questions like the libertarians littering this place do. At least that's the ambition and the conceit.


Keep studying and you'll find your answers. *
by Porpoiseboy  (2012-12-10 13:01:50)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


A book suggestion for nones and those trying to understand
by Therockkilledme  (2012-12-10 12:38:16)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I have always been Catholic but have found myself drifting to other churches and philosophies. My favorite spiritual author just came out with a book on prayer. Fair warning, Anne Lamott is unapologetically liberal but her insights into faith and prayer are amazing and have made me a better, kinder, more prayerful person. Her new book "Help, Thanks, Wow" is about her three essential prayers and how they fit into any or no religious structure. My favorite quote is her starting place for prayer.

"If I were going to begin practicing the presence of God for the first time today, it would help to begin by admitting the three most terrible truths of our existence: that we are so ruined, and so loved, and in charge of so little."


It's evolution, man.
by 84david  (2012-12-10 12:17:46)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

We as intelligent territorial carnivores, can only survive as a species
if we do what's good for the pack, pride, tribe or whatever.

The reason why laws exist is that the failure to follow the laws will
be destructive to the pack or ultimately the species.

So as long as we don't toss feces at each other to solve our
problems, it's all good.


Poo! (link)
by Karl(1of1)  (2012-12-10 12:36:53)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


As noted by anthro, lack of religion does not = lack of God. *
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 12:16:37)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Of course. Religion, at least according to Aquinas
by Karl(1of1)  (2012-12-10 12:34:07)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

comes from re-ligare: to tie back. Religion is the tying of oneself to a community and its obligations.

Some people are spiritual but not religious. My problem is that I'm religious but not spiritual.


Agreed. The number of self-described atheists is far lower
by sprack  (2012-12-10 12:27:44)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Incidentally, I read recently that the country with the highest percentage of atheists in the world is the Czech Republic. Interesting in that Communism did seem to have an effect there quite different than it did in neighboring Poland.


Is "none" a lack of religiousness or just organized religion
by anthro_domer  (2012-12-10 11:45:47)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I would probably ascribe myself to "none" in that I don't currently have an attachment to organized religion (I might be drifting back to Catholicism). I wouldn't say I'm not religious though. I frequently pray and thank God for the blessings He's given. I believe in Christ's divinity and the Gospels.

However, I drifted from organized religion in part because I'm not sure it's as needed in an age with easy access to religious texts. Do I need a church to guide me on contemplating the transubstantiation of the Eucharist? Not really; I can go read countless discussions about it. I surely don't need to go to mass to contemplate scripture, unlike the case probably less than a few hundred years ago.

I am strongly considering re-entering the Catholic Church, in part because I think my insistence on not needing a community for my faith was brought on by arrogance, but I think many people may decide that personal reflection on religion is sufficiently possible without an organized community. I'm not sure it makes them non-religious, but merely caught up in the individualistic spirit (for good and bad) of this county.


How do you tithe? *
by Rudy36  (2012-12-10 12:21:14)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I use my fingerthes. *
by ArasEra  (2012-12-10 12:29:45)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I give to myself. If only the government would recognize
by anthro_domer  (2012-12-10 12:23:27)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

me as a 501(c)(3) organization.


I think you have it pegged
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 12:04:21)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

You definitely aren't in a vast minority in your beliefs/opinions.

And I'm not trying to antagonize you, but it's a phenomenon that has often fascinated me.

I get people having a problem with organized religion. It can be an archaic and monolithic structure that doesn't seem to fit into modern times.

I also understand the fact that the Church, and specifically the men who run the Church (I'm substituting Catholicism for organized religion, but the points still stand), have done a host of things, including in the name of God, that are not Christian, can be viewed as hypocritical, etc.

But when it comes to individual revelation, are we as individuals not guilty of the same flaws? If not being perfect is a reason not to follow organized religion, and to go at it individually, doesn't that produce the same problems?

I guess my point/question is, don't we, as individuals, suffer from the same faults/issues that cause us to doubt the moral authority of organized religions?


Some insight.
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 13:10:51)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

This isn't to stir debate with you, just to provide you one point of view, given that you expressed interest in the phenomenon.

The difference for me is that I believe God is found within and that each of us must discover that for ourselves. My problem with organized religion is that it almost always includes some essential teaching which renders the individual impotent in this regard.

Put another way, the failures of the Church do nothing to bring me closer to God, whereas my own failures can, and should, lead to growth.


On your last point
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 13:39:56)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

"the failures of the Church do nothing to bring me closer to God, whereas my own failures can, and should, lead to growth."

I guess it depends on how one views those failures of the Church.

As to the last point, the fact that you included the word "should" is instructive in my opinion. A lot of things should happen. We should follow God without sets of rules. We should do a lot of things. Being human makes the world of "should" moot. And if you continue to repeat your own failures, what growth is there?

My sticking point with individualism and humanism, is that it is wholly incapable of divining the Truth. Good, smart and God fearing people read the Bible and come to different conclusions on an hourly basis. The Truth isn't relative to their specific contexts, it's an absolute Truth. The inability to answer these questions definitively is where the concept of Humanism always fails, and it's something I've never been able to get on board with.


While I certainly understand your last point,
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 13:46:02)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I would add that just because individualism and humanism often fail to diving Truth doesn't mean they are incapable of doing so.

And while I also believe in absolute Truth, I would hesitate to claim we are qualified to always see it manifest, such that it may sometimes appear to us as being "relative." I believe in the perfection of His plan. And yet "bad" shit happens all the time. So, either the plan isn't perfect, or I'm not qualified to see the big picture. I know which I believe to be the case.


Broken clock still right twice a day?
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 13:51:01)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

When do we know when we actually got it right?

Sure, humanism can get it right. But how do we know when it gets it right? And when it's wrong the rest of the time, does that even matter?


And whether we see it manifest is a contextual sidebar that doesn't change the absolute moral Truth. I'm not looking for manifestation, I'm looking for answers about the Truth. One perfectly good and Christian man has one answer, and another perfectly good and Christian man has another answer. If I'm seeking God's Truth, how do I find it, or is your contention that we never, ever see it manifest?


I would say my contention is that intent is everything.
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 14:06:14)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is the worst lie ever told.

So, ultimately I don't worry about whether I'm actually getting it exactly right. I know what is in my heart, and that is the intention to get it right, no matter how many times I fail.

The only Truth that really matters to me: Love one another as I have loved you.

I just don't believe it needs to be more complicated than that.


Sure
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 14:11:53)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

And I don't have a problem with any of that. But as we have shown, you and I have both read about this, studied it and asked for God's guidance. And we've both come to wildly different conclusions.

The idea that through God's Grace it doesn't matter if we get it right, simply reinforces my point even more. That's admitting that one of us is wrong, but that it's OK because God will judge the effort.

Again, given the stakes, I cannot bet on getting it right on my own. Especially when Paul tells us:

"For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till he comes.
Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait one for another.
And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that you come not together unto judgment. And the rest will I set in order when I come"

If Paul is right, there is a great risk to going it alone.


What about specific events?
by ty Webb  (2012-12-10 12:18:41)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But when it comes to individual revelation, are we as individuals not guilty of the same flaws? If not being perfect is a reason not to follow organized religion, and to go at it individually, doesn't that produce the same problems?

I guess my point/question is, don't we, as individuals, suffer from the same faults/issues that cause us to doubt the moral authority of organized religions?


Are all "flaws" the same?


I'm not saying the flaws are the exact same
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 12:21:47)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But what was their problem, with the priests who abused kids, or the bishops who covered it up?

If it's the latter, have they not lied and covered their own ass before?

Sure, what the bishops did is criminal negligence, but is that really going to be the line of demarcation here?

So I agree, the flaws are not the same, but they are similar in type (not magnitude), and if we're going to use flaws as a reason for straying from anything, shouldn't we go to something that is flawless?


It's true that we suffer the same faults. But by being a
by anthro_domer  (2012-12-10 12:18:16)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

religion of one, it's also a lot easier to change. If I realize I'm suffering from arrogance, it's a little easier for me to address that than an organization of millions with all the inertia of 2,000 years.

I think for a lot of people too it comes down to whether they'd rather trust their own instincts and logic or trust (and this is purposely hyperbolic) a bunch of old, white, out-of-touch men that also seemed to condone sexual abuse of children. As I suggested earlier there's certainly a degree of arrogance in that thought (and we as a society have no shortage of arrogance), but I think a lot of people are comfortable saying they can have their own personal relationship with God without the need of some other group telling me what I should or should not believe.

My main point though is to question whether not being a part of organized religion necessarily makes one non-religious. I would posit that a person can still be religious without the organization.


No doubt
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 13:58:50)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But I believe, at least for me, this is where faith comes in.

If I recognize that because of the nature of man, the Pope and the Church leaders are flawed, there has to be some faith that God won't let them get too far astray. It's the same faith that allows us to think that the individual can figure it out (because ultimately we don't know, we're just hoping to get it right). I find comfort in the fact that Christ stated that having faith in the organization, despite it's human failings, will not lead me astray.


Your second paragraph is where you & "nones" would depart
by ThreeD  (2012-12-10 14:59:15)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

agreement. Many would see the failings of the church leaders (and I'll switch to a more generic use rather than Catholic-specific) as far-enough astray to more than challenge one's faith in those leaders.

Where you find comfort others find skepticism and dissonance.

Now, I'm with you, so I'm not arguing my personal position, but you're asking me (a hypothetical "none") to take on faith that the institution via its institutional leaders, capable of succumbing to acts I find completely unfathomable in my mind will not lead me astray.

Its understandable why some would turn toward their own discernment.


I would agree
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 15:08:29)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I would however, simply point out, you are trading one flawed system for another flawed system.

The flaws are different, but both are flawed.

If we're honest and say that a flaw is why we don't listen to/trust/have faith in one of the above, then we should recognize that all vessels of God's Truth are flawed.

From there, it becomes an issue of faith. I cannot fault someone for not putting their faith in organized religion. There is logic to that position. But if I'm going to harp on the flaws of organized religion, I should also point out the flaws of individualism and humanism, because they have giant flaws too. Of a different stripe and nature, but big glaring flaws none the less.


Honestly, what's bringing me back into a church is community
by anthro_domer  (2012-12-10 14:18:01)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It's not necessarily the Pope or Bishops or other such religious leaders or authorities in the Catholic Church, but instead the community of Catholics around me such as my girlfriend and family. I think there is definite value in that type of community and organization; I'm not sure I find much value in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

I appreciate the insight the Catholic Church provides, but I am fully capable of assessing these things and determining my view on them. However, I've come to realize that a community is important. No man is an island, and all that. I think a community praying together is important and powerful, I'm just not sure it needs to be under the guise of a large religious organization.


Absolutely
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 15:11:54)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm trying to make sure I don't come across as the typical strident jackass that I normally am around here.

First, by no means am I perfect, and I don't have all the answers. Nor am I in a position to tell you that your opinion is "wrong". The community aspect is vital for a host of reasons, including lifting us up in times of difficulty.

I'm just trying to present the other side in the least antagonistic way possible.


I have to agree
by wetbird  (2012-12-10 13:14:11)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I played against a minister from Texas in a correspondence chess tournament while I lived in a ghost town in New Mexico.

At one point in our correspondence he asked where I went to church.

I answered that the nearest church was 80 miles away, but I had a bible and knew how to read.

He pointed out that I might be in danger of misinterpreting what I read which I acknowledged was indeed a possibility.


I just don't like being in groups. Call it social
by smcchick  (2012-12-10 12:16:18)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

anxiety or whatever. I don't like being in a group of people. Every time someone tries to get me to go to their church I explain it that way. I am not a member of anything, on purpose. It's not you, it's me.


And there really isn't anything
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 12:19:29)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I or anyone else can say to assuage that.

That's a legitimate issue.

So you wouldn't fit into my Venn.

But there is a large swath of people that assail the Church or organized religion for a variety of reasons, and espouse individualism and humanism for divine inspiration. My problem with that viewpoint is that everything they say about organized religion, in general terms, can be said about themselves and individuals.

If we're looking for a perfect vessel of God's divine Truth, it's only happened once in the history of mankind.


On your last line.
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 13:13:46)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Would you agree that although it's only happened once in history, it is in fact what we're all aspiring to?

Either way, it's worth nothing that the one man who achieved perfection did so without following an organized religion.


On your last line - it's wrong.
by OGerry  (2012-12-10 15:45:31)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Jesus was Jewish to his bones. The things he said or did would make none sense if you were to pry him away from the religion he professed and practiced. Being incarnate means being historical. The contours of human history are shaped by relationship. Jesus was not some esoteric spiritual guru. He was religious faith, hope, and love made flesh.

"I'm spiritual but not religious," empties the incarnation of its sacramental content, of its historical grist, and of its spiritual hope. Severing spiritual enlightenment from religious relationship renounces the sacred character of the world and the salvation God desires for it.


No, the Pharisees were Jewish.
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 18:01:18)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

At least in terms of organized Judaism at that time. How can you say Jesus was "Jewish to his bones" when he spent much of his time condemning conventional Jewish thought and was ultimately killed, at least in part, for being a heretic?


The Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, the Zealots
by OGerry  (2012-12-10 18:34:47)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

etc - they were all Jews trying to figure out how to stay Jewish in the face of Hellenistic culture's onslaught. Organized religion need not be as monolithic as you seem to assume. Maybe organized is the obscuring word. Think, instead, of religion rescued from the tide of now by a thick tradition. Anyone going forward must pay attention to and venerate what came before.

If you believe Jesus spent his time condemning Jewish thought in this sense, then you do not understand the gospels as well as you think you do. He was crucified not because he had abandoned the tenets of Judaism, but, rather, because he was so faithful to them, he became intolerable to a status quo and its guardians set in violation to the Jewish God's will. He was so conservative, he was subversive.


Your last line
by thehibernian  (2012-12-10 16:17:06)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

reads like you lifted it right from Ratzinger. Actually, the entire post sounds very much like PB16.


I doubt I have ever had an orginal thought. *
by OGerry  (2012-12-10 16:56:43)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Sure
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 13:35:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But aspiring to it doesn't make one right.

And if you believe that one man was perfect, we should probably listen when He founded an organized religion and said, specifically, listen to what this organized religion says, because what they say is bound in Heaven as well.

Just saying.


As I mentioned below, I do not grant that Christ
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 13:39:45)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

founded an organized religion. I believe that is a gross misrepresentation of his words and teachings.


Historically speaking, that's a tough position to hold.
by thehibernian  (2012-12-10 14:35:51)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

The twelve (and especially Paul) seemed to know what Jesus meant- whether we're discussing the Aramaic kehala, the Hebrew gahal or, of course, the Greek ekklesia.


And in case you're interested,
by thehibernian  (2012-12-10 14:40:30)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

here's what JPII had to say:


As is evident, all of Christ's preaching and his entire messianic mission was directed to gathering the flock. It is not merely a case of so many individual hearers, followers, and imitators. It is rather an assembly, which is expressed in Aramaic as kehala, and in Hebrew gahal, corresponding to the Greek ekklesia. The Greek word derives from a verb meaning "to call" (the Greek translation of "a call" is klesis). This etymological derivation gives us to understand that, as in the old covenant God had "called" his people Israel, so Christ calls the new People of God, choosing and seeking its members from among all peoples. He draws them to himself and gathers them around him by means of the word of the Gospel and by the redemptive power of the paschal mystery. This divine power, manifested definitively in Christ's resurrection, will confirm the words once spoken to Peter: "Upon this rock I will build my Church" (Mt 16:18), that is, the new assembly of the kingdom of God.

The Church-ecclesia-assembly receives from Christ the new commandment. "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.... By this all will know that you are my disciples..." (Jn 13:34; cf. Jn 15:12). It is certain that the "assembly-Church" receives from Christ also its external structure (of which we shall treat in the near future). But its essential value is the communion with Christ himself. It is he who gathers together the Church; it is he who builds it constantly as his Body (cf. Eph 4:12), as the kingdom of God on the universal level. "They will come from east and west and sit at table (with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) in the kingdom of God" (cf. Lk 13:28-29).

(Good luck on your journey.)


In fairness to Papa November, citing JPII isn't persuasive
by Howard Roark  (2012-12-11 09:08:03)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Because its the definition of circular logic: JPII's authority derived from his status as head of the Church, so you cannot use authority that is only legitimate BECAUSE OF the Church to provide A BASIS FOR the authority of the Church.


Well
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 13:48:05)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Here's the first test.

I think His words were as clear as crystal. You do not.

Who's right?

If we both are empowered to divine the Truth, and I have no reason to believe you have any flaws outside of the typical human being, where does this lead us? But having read and studied this topic for the better part of 15 years, I have come to a different conclusion.

Who's personal revelation is actually True? Are they both true? Does it depend on context? I would argue that only one of us can actually know the Truth and be correct here. How do we know?




As an aside, what did I misinterpret here?
Matthew 18:18 (King James)
"Verily I say unto you, whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be what has been bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be what has been loosed in heaven"

What does that mean exactly? If Christ is giving specific humans, here on earth, the ability to bind things in Heaven, how are we supposed to read that?


A couple things.
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 13:59:00)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

First, I do certainly believe that how Truth manifests for you might look and feel very different than how it would manifest for me. I do not condemn organized religion nor those who belong to one. If that is how Truth is being revealed to you, wonderful. I just don't believe organized religion is a sine qua non with respect to salvation, enlightenment, self-actualization, etc. Nor do I believe Jesus' intent was to found an organized religion. But again, I do believe in the Holy Spirit, and even if Christ did not found an organized religion, there's no reason to believe it cannot be a path to God.

As for the verse you quote, I'm failing to see the connection between it and organized religion. All it means to me is that rules on Earth work exactly as the rule in Heaven. It means we can use the physical world to achieve spiritual perfection. It means miracles exist within Natural Law, not outside them. There's a lot I read in that verse, but the need to belong to an organized religion isn't part of it.


Again
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 14:00:15)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Thanks for your interpretation.

We view it differently.

Who's right? We cannot both be correct.

Moreover, when taken with Matthew 18:17, it's pretty clear that your interpretation doesn't fit with what is being said in the lines before.


And to save us time
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 14:07:39)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

We can go back and forth on these all day long. Your interpretation will be different than mine.

I don't know who is right and who is wrong, but the fact that we interpret it differently is a failing of humanism that I cannot get on board with. This discussion is a textbook example of why I believe humanism fails.

I have no reason to doubt your sincerity and study of the topic. We come to different conclusions. And yes, by God's Grace it will get sorted out in the end, hopefully. But when searching for moral Truth here and now, it doesn't help me really get to the answer.


Hey, I'm right there with you.
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 14:16:13)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I would never insist anyone must jump on board with my beliefs. I don't even believe in right, wrong, or morality the way you do, so attempting to come to terms on their interpretation is doomed to fail from the beginning.

But it sounds like we can both agree that God's Grace will be integral in any event. And I sleep well knowing that His Grace trumps my understanding.

I appreciate the civil discussion.


No problem
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 14:17:13)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Cheers


And the line in Matthew immediately before
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 13:56:07)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Is always an interesting one:

"And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto you as a heathen man and a tax collector."

So remind me again where Christ was summarily against organized religion?


That one man started with perfection
by Howard Roark  (2012-12-10 13:25:12)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

He didn't "achieve" it in any sense that would be relevant to the rest of us human beings. It's also worth noting that He was explicitly following His Father's direction, and that He explicitly founded an organized religion while following that direction.


The notion that he "explicitly founded an organized
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 13:37:49)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

religion" is one I disagree with vehemently.

And the fact that he "started with perfection" (again, I disagree, but I'll grant it for the sake of argument) is beside the point. He blazed the trail for the rest of us to be perfect. That's what counts. And that's what makes it relevant to the rest of us human beings.

And, as you pointed out, he did so by doing one thing: explicitly following His Father's direction. Not by following an organized religion.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."


There's one small problem with your vehement disagreement
by HowardRoark  (2012-12-10 13:56:34)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Christ said so himself:

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."


Right, because there's no way
by Papa November  (2012-12-10 14:11:19)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

that those words could mean anything else other than "I hereby found an organized religion."

Do you think the Kingdom of Heaven is really a physical Kingdom?

Look, I have no problem with organized religion. I don't even have a problem with your interpretation of Christ's words. You will defend what you believe. I believe something else.


A couple of things
by Howard Roark  (2012-12-10 14:19:21)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

On the Kingdom of Heaven, Christ Himself says to Pilate that His Kingdom is not of this world, so while that might be an interesting question in isolation, it was answered for me a long time ago.

As a matter of interpretation, and given that every translation is the same in substance, I am genuinely curious as to what that could mean beyond the face value that I'm giving it.


Doing the right thing doesn't have to be attached to guilt
by smcchick  (2012-12-10 11:42:37)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

or a way to get to heaven. Of course this is where the Protestant and Catholic teachings diverge. (I'm not Protestant, I am just pointing this out)

On another note, civil rights have been ingrained in our heads. In fact I bet most people could quote their own civil rights more correctly than their Bible. The laws of civil rights have become their own sort of religion.


In many cases it is attached to what you can get away
by BAC69  (2012-12-10 12:06:15)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

with. Religion, or the fear of punishment by some all knowing being that is always watching, is what makes guilt based on religious principles more effective in preventing wrong behavior. Forgetting about God for a moment, how many kids have acted good because Santa Claus might be watching--still some all knowing potential punisher. Nowadays when I hear a caught criminal say "I'm sorry", I automatically hear the unspoken part, "that I got caught."


I think those that are without religion fear other things
by smcchick  (2012-12-10 12:13:38)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

that can be just as powerful. (and those with religion also fear these things) Such as being a social outcast, fearing the punishment from the government or another authority figure, fearing that what they do to someone could come back at them (either by something like karma, or that the person they do it to will come back for revenge.)


this is a good post and I am glad it was moved here *
by jt  (2012-12-10 11:35:26)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Time machine! *
by thehibernian  (2012-12-10 11:31:59)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I'm surprised it's not higher *
by Jimbo Irish  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


They will have to deny the "We hold these Truths" portion of
by Reagan  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

the Declaration of Independence.


Well, here's a question for you. We Christians and Jews
by BAC69  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

believe that there is only one God, Jehovah; Muslims believe there is only one God, Allah. Both denominations claim common roots in the religion of Abraham (and I don't mean Lincoln). So, theoretically, the one God should historically be the same God. Yet today we see very different demands from that one God depending on whether you are a Christian, a Jew, or a Muslim. Muslims believe we have the basic rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--but only if you are a Muslim; our Christian-rooted nation has no such limitations. So what are our "God given" rights? Are they Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or maybe something else, like "nones."


I have found in my discussions with Muslim students
by Karl(1of1)  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

that they are very much in the Divine Command camp. There's no necessary connection between God and rationality. This makes a big difference. The self-evident part of the Declaration wouldn't seem to make sense, given a Muslim starting point.


I'll make the argument
by Barney68  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

that religion is no defender of human rights. The Inquisition comes to mind as an example of my point but there are a lot of other ones.


That's not his point
by ndtnguy  (2012-12-10 15:00:57)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

You argue below about various historical events involving churchmen. But the thrust of Karl's question is not that "churchmen protect human freedom." Karl's point is that "theistic religion, particularly Christianity, provides the philosophical apparatus for justifying the protection of human freedom."

That's an entirely different matter altogether, one that does not depend on whether or not we can stack unfortunate (or fortunate) historical incidents in one pile or another.


Sure
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 11:25:14)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I think it simply reinforces the point.

Mankind is flawed, and all the thinking and humanism shows us is that mankind, when left to our own devices, are flawed and failed individuals.

It's like the argument in The Patriot. Why should I trade a tyrant one thousand of miles away (The Vatican/Pope/Church) for 1,000 tyrants one mile away?

The list of things the Church has been wrong about, is lengthy. But if we use the failures of people and institutions as a benchmark to disqualify them from demonstrating moral authority, then the individualists, humanists, and everyone else who is thinking and developing their own moral code, are just as flawed of individuals, just as hypocritical as the Church, etc.

It's fine, the Church isn't perfect, no one has ever argued it was. But if perfection is required for moral authority, we're pretty well fooked, right?

I see no reason to think individuals are better equipped or able to discern moral authority through thought and contemplation.


The Church's enablement of Fascism also comes to mind *
by Jimbo Irish  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


"the heavenly Father has provided for their souls...
by HoltzBeWithUs  (2012-12-10 12:18:41)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

what does he care what comes of their bodies?"


So if you saw an example that was contrary to that, you'd be
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

convinced otherwise, right ?

On a side note, can you explain why the Inquisition was so bad?


Well..burning folks at the stake because of their beliefs...
by ufl  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

..is a bit of a downer.


It would probably complicate matters too much
by ndtnguy  (2012-12-10 14:46:45)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

to point out that Church authorities never actually burned anyone at the stake, wouldn't it?

Murder is immoral, and in some cases a canonical crime. It's also punishable by civil law. Do we have a problem with the fact that states have executed countless people for murder over the years?


Is this true?
by ufl  (2012-12-10 15:25:59)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I thought Torquemada and his fellow inquisitors were clerics. Did they just condemn (sometimes after questioning under torture) those folks and then hand them over to the civil authorities to do the actual burning?

I didn't know that, but I don't see how it would absolve them.


How this worked
by ndtnguy  (2012-12-10 16:50:34)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

In Catholic countries*, certain acts that are fairly described as "religious" were civil crimes: publishing or preaching heresy, attempting to practice with craft, etc. Persons charged with these crimes were tried in canonical courts, because the civil judges lacked the expertise necessary to evaluate the charges, as well as the competence to determine orthodoxy. A canonical court would make its finding, ask the defendant if he wished to recant his position (if he was being tried for something like heresy that could be renounced), and enter a judgment accordingly.

The effect of the judgment was that the defendant was subject to penalties that were imposed by the law of the state and carried out by servants of the crown, not agents of the Church. So the Church didn't actually burn anyone at the stake, the state did. It was clear at the outset, of course, what the penalties for the crime were (these weren't always death).

The same was supposed to be true for interrogation techniques: clerics were prohibited from participating in torture. Did they sometimes? Almost undoubtedly, people break the laws in every age. But it was an actively reprobated abuse. I am inclined to say that torture of persons charged with canonical crimes was at some relatively early point prohibited altogether, but 1) I cannot recall the specifics and 2) because of secular involvement in these affairs the Church was not always able to enforce those rules.

I certainly think the distinction does make a difference. One, we don't go around ignoring jurisdictional lines when we discuss modern law. Nobody would say "I get my Medicare check from the State of Texas, and if I don't it doesn't make a difference because it's all the same." Furthermore, the imposition of the state's penalties, then as now, was fundamentally at the will of the crown: the monarch whose agents were carrying out penalties could, and surely from time to time did, commute or pardon persons convicted by ecclesiastical courts. (One might also note, as Austin did somewhere below, that although we find them crude today, the due process protections in ecclesiastical courts were far more advanced than those provided by civil systems until, in some respects, the 20th century.)

* England maintained a system of ecclesiastical courts long after Henry VIII's "problem," but I am not acquainted with whether they prosecuted religious crimes after that time or not. I think many of the recusant martyrs were tried by Star Chamber, although I recall some of them simply being tried at King's Bench. I know nothing of the judicial practice of Scandinavia and north Germany after the rise of Protestantism and very little of it before.


Religious trial followed by secular punishment sounds ...
by Debo  (2012-12-10 23:41:36)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

... vaguely familiar.


Sure
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

This is not a phenomenon confined to religious ideas or regimes though.


True enough...
by ufl  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

..but your question was what was so bad about it, not what made it unique.


The Inquisition is a weird topic on NDN
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

In that there are a lot of crazy ideas about it. For example, I still recall Thomas Schlidt several years ago lamenting at the "millions" of people wiped out by the Church during "that time", as though there is one monolithic entry here.

I was hoping Barney would provide some of his own views about it. Does he think the Church was actually burning people at the stake? What does he think the proceedings were like to determine heresy? What does he think the Pope's role was? And so forth.


Wouldn't 1 be too many? *
by Debo  (2012-12-10 13:58:07)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Depends on what you mean.
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 14:23:18)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Heresy was basically treason. Treason is still a capital offense. Should the Church have refused to act as fact-finder and judge? Maybe, but things were usually a lot worse when the Church wasn't involved since Inquisitors were supposed to have stuff like evidence, which wasn't as big a deal for civil law enforcement. Which is why more than a few accused criminals would try to commit heresy before their trials so that they could have them removed from the civil court to the Inquisition.

If you just mean that the Church being involved in the death of a person because of what they believed, then I do think numbers matter. When you have an organization so big with so many people involved, you expect crimes and evils and other badness. That is an unfortunate part of all those dark intellects and weak wills in action. Attempts to inflate the instances of these evils to absurdly impossible levels (millions being burned at the stake eg) for the purpose of gaining points in an argument is just dishonest.


I mean wouldn't the the Church being involved in ...
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 15:01:35)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

... the death of one person because of what they believed, if the death was under the authority of the Church, be an indefensible black mark on the Church? Whether it undermines their authority otherwise is a different issue, but wouldn't is render the Inquisition indefensible?


There has been lots of indefensible stuff in Church history.
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 15:14:27)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

The Pornocracy comes to mind.

Lots of stuff in the Inquisition was screwed up and yes indefensible as well. Was the whole concept bad? No, because (a) it was better than the civil courts of the time and (b) a lot of people wrongly accused were exonerated and spared from the punishment of the state.

I'm foregoing discussion of a lot of the aforementioned terrible things happening due to the secular power tending to overtake the ecclesiastical one's role. Nobody is going to say that there weren't evils committed by Church leaders during all this and I think that's where you are wanting to focus.


That's not where I wanted to focus.
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 15:26:16)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Didn't this sub-thread start with you question asking what was so wrong with the Inquisition anyways?

Isn't killing someone for their beliefs "so wrong"?


Note my response to ufl above
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 15:44:18)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

That was more a rhetorical question trying to get more info out of Barney.


Fair enough. But do you think it was "so wrong"? *
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 16:31:07)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Which part?
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 19:13:15)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Capital punishment? Punishment in general? A separate court system to determine such things? All of the above?

ndtnguy gives a good breakdown of the system at the link.


The first two. Also add in if you think it woul be ...
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 20:34:19)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

... wrong today.


Last one first.
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 21:24:24)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

The whole thing is predicated on having a Catholic confessional state where heresy is causing a major disruption in the social order. Hence the Inquisition's lack of jurisdiction over anyone who wasn't Catholic. I don't think anybody could or would justify this kind of system now, regardless of what the punishment measures were.

In fact, I'll go so far as to say that it would be outright condemned in a place like the US because trying to impose this on such a pluralistic society would create such upheaval.

On the other two. I'm assuming you'd agree that purely ecclesiastical punishments would be ok. Yes, given the circumstances back then, I think that civil punishments were licit. Capital punishment? No.

Of course, sometimes heresy might be a motive for another crime, which might open you up to the death penalty.

Ultimately, I can't say the Inquisition is some kind of intrinsically bad thing. It's abuses were bad, but the notion of a confessional state that has deemed heresy a crime to have separate courts for determining if a crime has actually been committed is going to yield better results than the alternative.


Gotcha *
by ufl  (2012-12-10 11:27:02)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


And nobody expects it *
by ufl  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I think you can do better than that!
by captaineclectic  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

The Spanish Inquisition was a joint Church/State affair, with the Spanish monarchy driving the bus.

Which institutions does that forever discredit as defenders of rights?

1) The Roman Catholic Church;

2) The Spanish monarchy;

3) All Christian churches;

4) All European monarchies;

5) Theistic religions;

6) Monarchies;

7) Religion; (what you originally said)

8) Government;

9) All of the above

10) None of the above -- it would be insanely stupid to cherry-pick any group or ideology's worst historical offense and hold it up as an exemplar of conduct for that group or ideology forever. I would never dream of slandering people who work hard for freedom and justice across the globe because people who happened to think the same things happen after death as they did did something terrible centuries before they were born.

You can pick any of these, except 10). You've ruled yourself out for that already, I'm afraid.


Playing Devil's Advocate ...
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 13:27:18)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Only one of your options participated, claims to be universal, and claims to have authority such that whatever it binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever it looses on earth will be loosed in heaven.


Ok...
by Barney68  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

if your point is that governments run by clerics may be worse than situations where the church and state are separate, you win. Power corrupts and all that.

But if your point is that religious organizations are protective of people's rights, well, let's go beyond the Inquisition to the Crusades, southern usage of biblical passages to justify slavery, forced conversions of folks from one religion to another (Jews to Christians, Christians to the Roman Gods), English Protestant oppression of the Catholics, the European religious wars after the Reformation, the...but you get the picture.

Churches and religious organizations have a mixed record at best when it comes to defending human rights. Believing otherwise is to ignore history.


What kind of record does government have in general?
by captaineclectic  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Pretty shitty, no?


Well, you could argue that...
by Barney68  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

governments like the Third Reich and Pol Pot's operation might not have been the best for human rights. Power corrupts.

The key issue, IMHO, is the difference between a government of laws that can be discussed and changed if necessary by the population at large, as we have in most modern states, and governments where absolute control is vested in a person or small group who get to make laws by fiat. Powerful kings are like that, especially those appointed by God. Theocratic states are like that as well. The Taliban is an extreme example.


"Gov'ts like the Third Reich...might not have been the....
by NDAlum1995  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...best for human rights."

I'll take "Understatements of the Century" for $5,000, Alex.


You've merely described the difference
by captaineclectic  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

between open societies and closed societies.

But of course there's no reason a society can't be open, democratic, and religious (either professedly or institutionally), and obviously no reason a society can't be secular and closed.


Correct.
by Barney68  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It's the open society that protects human rights, not the religion.


Never unestimate the sense of entitlement in this country.
by NDAlum1995  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

God may not exist, but inalienable human rights absolutely will.


Can you explain the correlation b/w religion & human rights?
by golden child  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm not sure what you're implying. How have the religious roots of America aligned with protecting unalienable human rights? Is this not counting all that slavery, genocide, war, and intolerance? Was the state fearing to tread somewhere when they built biological and atomic weapons or practiced torture in the 21st century?

If anything, the understanding of human rights and the legal protection afforded to ALL people has grown as the nation and the world have become more secular. So are we talking about the history or violence and exploitation that has always been part of human society or are we talking about the expansion of the size and scope of the federal government and how it effects white guys with money?


Natural law
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

What I find interesting, is that there is a subset of the populace, who believes that people, when given the choice, will not be charitable, will not take care of the least of us, and will only worry about themselves, because it's in mankind's nature.

Some of those people would then turn around and argue that our moral codes were developed by these same flawed humans as an offspring of a "just society" of laws, and that it was all human intellect that taught us to not kill, steal, etc.

Much of the laws of today, are based on natural law, written on our hearts. We know that killing is wrong, not because of some intellectual think tank, because this notion is seen throughout societies and throughout religious and non religious. It's natural law, it's written on our heart. It's not the offspring of human thought or intellect. It's not the result of some ideal and benevolence on the part of mankind. It's written on our hearts. That's what Karl is getting at. Much of our long held moral laws aren't based on human thinking, but on a deeply held belief in the natural law.


Good points
by BrianBoru  (2012-12-10 14:45:43)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Nature is, in terms of most human codes of ethics, in a terrible state. Even the animals we most admire and feel kinship with, e.g., dolphins, dogs, elephants, kill without remorse, have little or no sense of any right to property, and often live in social structures where roles are defined, and enforced, by sheer power. Mating is often, by human terms, nothing short of rape. What it boils down to is that most of nature acts in an almost purely selfish manner, and it does so with no sense of judgment or regret.

Yet humans have not lived this way in a long time. Even when we do so, we generally have qualms about killing our own species. We have a sense that a person who has been robbed has been wronged in some way. It doesn't mean that we don't do these things, but we have a sense that, in doing so, we are engaging in lesser conduct. The question is why?

One school of thought, the general libertarian way of thinking, is that our superior intellect has taught us that reciprocal agreements to enforce certain rights vis-a-vis one another benefits all of us. This is the general idea of the social contract. Utilitarianism as well.

Another is that humans are different than the rest of nature by our very essence. That humans inherently are designed to balance the needs of the self with the needs of the other. While not necessarily dependent on the existence of a God, this belief is dependent on some metaphysical belief that transcends a mere quid pro quo arrangement and depends on a belief in objective ethical or moral norms.

The problem with the first school of thought it that it is based ultimately not on a sense of right and wrong, but on a sense of effective or ineffective. Killing is not probited becasue it's wrong, but because it is effective in keeping social order. Well, what if that analysis changes? What if one with power decides that killing those that oppose it is actaully more effective in keeping social order? While we might cringe at such a position, it is actually perfectly defensible from a utilitarian standpoint. More importantly, though, what if we lose consensus altogether as to what is effective and ineffective. With no objective criteria to rely upon, chaos is just around the corner.

I'm trying to say far too much in far too few words here, but the crux is that societies stand only when there is general agreement as to most fundamental principles. An appeal to objective factors, as in theism generally as well is a natural law type theory, makes it much easier to maintain that consensus. One can point to any number of sins committed by any organized religion, but the fact remains that theism -- in the West, Christianity -- has reinforced the basic messages of the dignity and worth of the individual, regardless of power or social status, the existence of objective ethical norms, and of the need to balance one's own needs with those of society. That underlying and unifying message has been an indispensible thread holding Western society together for centuries.

It is no coincidence that the abolitionist movement and the civil rights movement were driven in very large part by devout theists -- Christians as to both, and Christians, Muslims, and Jews as to the latter. Even the labor movement leaned heavily on the support of the American Catholic Church to get any traction. The belief in higher, objective norms that overrode the previaling notions of effectiveness of the time, made it easier for these transformations. That is not to say that religion, or theism, or even natural law is essential in reordering a society's principles, but it's hard not to see how the inability to point to higher truth than effiency can thwart such efforts.

We live just a few decades removed from a time when Christian values were virtually synonmous with societal values in the Western World, so, today's non-theists grew up immersed in a society largely influenced by Christian values and have retained most of those values. As that changes, however, there is no reason to believe that society will not change more radically toward a state closer to the "natural" state where power relationships govern not just in practice, but in principle as well. If we only act differently than the rest of nature because we "know better," what happens if we get the sense that nature was right, and us wrong, all along? The society that this would produce could be one unrecognizable to us today.

Again, I'm saying this all far too quickly, and I apologize for that, but I think HT's point about relying on intellect to elevate us from more base principles is a very important one.


Agreed.
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 12:08:52)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I agree with this statement, and disagree with GC's assertion that humans "are products of randomness, truth is relative, there are no absolutes." But, I think there is room for debates as to whether that which is "written on our hearts" is spiritual or genetic in nature.


In regards to the last
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 12:13:42)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm inclined to say both. I don't think it's all religious, and I don't think it's all genetics.

But that's just the creationist in me speaking. I think God made us in His image, and put that into our hearts, and kicked off the evolutionary cycle that has brought us to today. I think God put it there, and it has evolved to where we are today.


USA: less religious than claimed. Nones: more religious.
by GreenManorite  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I find the American religious roots thing to be largely a farce. Founding American politics was about satisfying a diverse theological group. While language was somewhat religious, the ideas and structures were enlightenment. American government was free from the authority of an official Church-- one which would both raise moral concerns in a formally, manage charitable services and remind state of its limitations. Since then, American politics has paid lip service to religion but has not engaged a particular theology as an equal. Many of the European countries with many more non-religious people maintain a traditional relationship between Church and State.

I am fairly certain history is chalked full of non religious people. In many ways people are religiously non-religious; they look to science or scientists for answers to life's questions. Since science as seen as the "right" way of viewing the world, ethics come from interpreting scientific findings as oppose to interpreting holy writings. If you put "science" as a choice of religious affiliation, how many "nones" would happily take that choice and how many would find it absurd? That is an experiment I would be interested in running.


Correlation? *
by ufl  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Codependence *
by DakotaDomer  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I can't find the essay for free
by Starburns  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But if you can get hands on a copy of the book linked below, the first part of which is described thusly in the amazon blurb:

"The initial essay, which is animated by Perry's skepticism about the capacity of any secular morality to offer a coherent account of the idea of human rights, suggests that the first part of the idea of human rights--the premise that every human being is "sacred" or "inviolable"--is inescapably religious."


You're not going to get an objective audience back here.
by ndtim2005  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I admire the balls you seems to have, though.


Couldn't ask for better than CE, Austin, and Atticus
by golden child  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I know this is a Catholic board. I don't expect anyone to agree with me but they are smart guys who've spent a lot of time thinking about faith & theology. I like to challenge them and see how they respond, to see if it makes sense to me. I'm just trying not to go full Kanye and get the bad delete.


How have the responses thus far lacked objectivity? *
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


They might have the pretense of being objective.
by ndtim2005  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But they're all strongly willed to come to one conclusion. When people have their identities completely wrapped up in a belief system, you can hardly expect anything else.


I think you have your identity completely wrapped up in a
by sprack  (2012-12-10 12:45:09)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

belief system.


Another classic timfail *
by TJK1998  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Yup. One of many. *
by irish628  (2012-12-10 11:45:21)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Is objectivity a worthy goal here?
by GreenManorite  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

This forum is only useful because it provides a variety of perspectives through which to view a question or issue. I don't want ndtim2005 to perform a logical exercise or factual report for me, I want him to employ his introspection and experience. When you completely commit to a system of beliefs while engaging others outside that system, you strengthen your own understanding of your beliefs as well as your understanding of the alternatives.

You are not likely to change anyone's mind on this board, however posters have on occasion changed my thinking. If you are frustrated because people won't reaffirm your deeply held beliefs here, realize that there are plenty of boards that will do that while claiming "objectivity".


It is if the request is for historical analysis
by DakotaDomer  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Which I think many of the posters are providing objectively.


Wow, if we were all just as enlightened as you...
by tag86  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

the world would be such a better place.


Get used to it
by irish628  (2012-12-10 11:47:01)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


As arrogant as he is unenlightened.


Ha
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

You're talking about yourself here, right?

"When people have their identities completely wrapped up in a belief system"


Just out of curiosity, do you think so little of us to assume that our beliefs aren't held because someone told us so, etc, and we aren't capable of coming to those beliefs on our own?

Have you considered that we've weighed and measured all of the alternatives, gave them time, thought and consideration, and chose to believe they are wrong?

Or is it just easier to assume we're a bunch of lemmings?

If the latter, why do you associate with people here?


Is anybody ever objective then?
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Both GC's comments and your own seem to lean toward a specific conclusion. There's nothing wrong with that.


Completely objective? I would say no. However,
by snarlcakes  (2012-12-10 12:28:58)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

some are better than others. Full disclaimer I am not objective.


wait, people arent supposed to have strong opinions when
by bbill99  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

engaing in debate?


No
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Just not strong opinions he disagrees with. He's just as beholden to his beliefs as anyone here.


If we're harping on "identities", GC brought that one up.
by Manorcal  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

See: "white guys with money".


Mine had no pretense in being objective
by Atticus  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I disagree with another's viewpoint and try to express that disagreement in a reasoned, civil manner. My expression of disagreement is clearly and unapologetically tendentious. I argue to persuade. What do you do when you disagree with an opinion?

Other than resort to vulgarity, that is.


this sounds like the argument of a 10th grader *
by mintirish  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


The secular societies you admire
by captaineclectic  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

are the children of Christianity.

That they are benign today does not suggest that they should forget where they came from.


Depends, I think.
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 13:42:30)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm not sure which societies he admires. Moreover, I'm not sure how much post-revolution France (just an example) is a child of Christianity. Pagan cultures have more than chipped in as well.

I think it's best to just focus on the natural law angle without looking for the Christian patrimony. A lot of the folks looking will probably ascribe all the negative stuff to that side of the ledger anyway and ignore all the positives. As has already been done in this thread.


Ding ding ding! *
by BrianBoru  (2012-12-10 13:33:04)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Don't you have some shit to fix? *
by ndtim2005  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Now go disappear for a while
by irish628  (2012-12-10 11:51:23)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


As you've done the other times you have been mega-dissed.


I'm not arguing that secular societies are better
by golden child  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Only that they are no worse. I disagree with the assertion that being a godly nation somehow protects us from abusing human rights and whatever else was being alluded to above & below. Religion can accommodate all manner of evil, just as secular societies can.

The problem is you forget where religious ideas on morality come from. They come from within us. We have the same capacity for good and evil regardless of weather or not we consider ourselves religiously affiliated. Religion hasn't kept us from abusing human rights and secularism won't save us either.


Well, yes, you were
by Atticus  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

"If anything, the understanding of human rights and the legal protection afforded to ALL people has grown as the nation and the world have become more secular."

But moving on to this post, this good and evil that you speak of and that "comes from within us" -

Who is "us?"

By what mechanism does this "us" define, let alone differentiate, between good and evil?


Only pointing out the correlation
by golden child  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I didn't intend to claim that it is because of secularism. I agree with Karl below that it is "history marching progress-ward". I only point it out as a counter-argument to the fear that becoming less religious portends something terrible for mankind. Human progress gives me hope that we can be better. History tells me we can't do much worse.

By "us" I mean humanity. I think most people, regardless of their religious belief or lack thereof, are capable of moral reasoning (There are usually physiological explanations for those who aren't). You attribute it to something supernatural, and I do not.


Yes, I quite agree
by Atticus  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

That we are all capable of moral reasoning. If we continue to agree that said moral reasoning has an objective basis in reality, then all well and good. My only divergence on our agreement is my inability to see an objective basis of moral reasoning without rooting it in the god term, as Freud would say.


I think one point of divergence is objectivity
by golden child  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I don't think that our moral reasoning is consistent or uniform enough to have one absolute basis. It varies dramatically by time period, for one thing. Also by region. It can be influenced and shaped by experience, sure, but it also appears that genetics plays a role. How do you reconcile that variability with the idea that we are born with access to an objective moral code? And how to you explain so many people acting counter to this innate morality?

This is also why I don't see secularism as any better. I don't think that we magically become able to order society in a more perfect way just because we move away from theism. There will still be abuses of power and exploitation and imperfection... just like we've had for the last two thousand years and for thousands before that.


What role does genetics play in moral reasoning?
by captaineclectic  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm aware that evidence suggests a connection between higher levels of testosterone and violence, but hot-tempered acts are rarely the result of faulty moral thinking.


The nature side of nature/nurture
by goldenchild  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

It seems pretty clear that some extent of our personality, disposition, tendencies, the way we process information and the way we react is based on how we are wired when we are born. The extreme example would be sociopaths or the insane, but we can see it in "normal" cases too. From ADHD and bipolar disorder to being an introvert or an extrovert, we can see physiological differences in the brain and we know people process the world differently. Wouldn't that naturally impact the way individuals determine their values and approach moral reasoning?

Do you think it is possible to have moral reasoning that taps into something pure and objective? Is that what the Church is for? And even if we are flawed and can't reach it, which explains the individual variation in people and fits with religious teaching, you still believe it is out there? One absolute truth?

I don't see it. I think people are different (genetically different) and as a result of that (and experience) they will have differences in moral reasoning. So genetics impacts moral reasoning. We have some persistent themes but lots of variation around the mean, lots of different conclusions, and a whole lot of justifications for things that would otherwise be considered immoral.


Is that not more condtioning rather than genetics?
by tag86  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

If what you say is true would not all people with the genetic deficiencies you describe have the same moral compass? I don't think that is the case.


I think it is a result of both
by goldenchild  (2012-12-10 11:33:40)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

And genetics allows for nearly infinite complexity and variation so there is no requirement for two people with similar disposition to have the same moral compass. In fact I'm arguing close to the opposite-- no two people will have exactly the same moral compass, and there is no True North, so to speak.

Studying people with similar deficiencies/anomalies/abnormalities just makes it very clear to see how impossible it is to define anything that is consistent for all mankind, and the "natural law" becomes something more of an amalgam of human traits that are more or less pronounced in different people & populations and occasionally suppressed or re-routed entirely. Are the insane not human if their brains don't process empathy? Does that have theological implications?


Sounds like the basis for reasoning of racial supremacists.
by vitadulcedospes  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

They're genetically inferior in their moral reasoning. That's why their culture/society can't escape failure.


Exactly, that kind of thinking is a dangerous road to go
by tag86  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

down.


It's the source of it if you buy into sociobiology. *
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Sure, in some attenuated sense. *
by captaineclectic  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I'm not sure what you mean by attenuated.
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Sure, it's not at the forefront of decision making. People don't think, "I'm going to act this way to carry on my genetic material." But, I think sociobiologists would say genetics are the driving force behind what humans consider moral behavior, and therefore, no more attenuated than traditional natural law theories.


But genetics play no more of a role in moral thinking
by captaineclectic  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

on those lights than they do in any other kind of behavior. That's what I mean by attenuated -- taking as a premise that all human behavior must be genetically derived, I can say that in some sense my propensity to prefer the taste of whiskey to the taste of tequila is genetic.

Evidence that I acquired this taste due to outside cultural conditioning and not my DNA would not falsify the theory, as genetics drive my desire to fit into the culture and the existence of the culture in the first place.

Might as well ascribe everything to particle physics for all that tells you about human beings.


The important thing it tells you about human beings is
by goldenchild  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

we are products of randomness, truth is relative, there are no absolutes. You come to the conclusions you do about whiskey, comic books, and morality in part because of random variations accumulated over time. Different people will come to different conclusions and neither of you have access to a higher truth outside of yourselves.


I see this part as a bit of a leap, though.
by Manorcal  (2012-12-10 12:35:04)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...and don't take this personally--it isn't the first time I've read or heard something like this.

Arguendo, variations in human thinking and behavior are manifest, and influenced by genetic and physiological factors. Whether "we are products of randomness", or truth merely relative does not follow from the above, however--those are the conclusions of other, unsaid arguments, or stem from some worldview. Those two statements may indeed be true, but they're just being asserted without basis here. This seems to be the blind spot for many who otherwise encourage the strict application of empiricism.

Conversely, is it not possible that there may be some absolutes, or some truth or truths out there, for which we humans reach but might not grasp, that nonetheless exists regardless of our acknowledging it?


If there are no absolutes, then there is no such thing as
by Howard Roark  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Good or evil.

As an aside, this creates enormous problems for your gay marriage argument, because if there are no absolutes, then you have no frame of reference against which to say banning gay marriage (the current status quo) is wrong, because there is no such thing as right or wrong (each of which is an "absolute" concept).


I realize that.
by goldenchild  (2012-12-10 12:37:40)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I can't argue that equal treatment for same-sex relationships is a natural human right (I know many people have tried this argument and it gets swatted down back here every time).

All I can say is that I believe it is negative and harmful to society to have the majority pass laws restricting people who are different from them from having the same rights and opportunities. I see no good reason for it. I think it comes from a legacy of fear and intolerance that has been built into religious belief and I see no reason to value protecting the status quo at the expense of doing real harm to real people and allowing the persistence of a cultural belief that people who are gay are inferior, not like us, not worthy of the same legitimacy. I think we are better off as a society if we do away with discrimination based on sexual orientation even though I don't benefit directly.


No, you can't say that either.
by Howard Roark  (2012-12-10 13:32:25)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Positive and negative are simply different words applied to the concepts of good and bad. If you deny the existence of the very concept of good and bad, which you do when you deny the existence of absolutes, then it's not available to you when you really want it to be.


I don't think it has to be that extreme
by goldenchild  (2012-12-10 14:12:51)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Just because there is no god and no list of rules to follow on a stone tablet somewhere, it still hurts to touch my hand to a hot stove. I still have empathy for fellow creatures and don't want them touching hot stoves unnecessarily, even if it means more food for me. Ants can can still work together for their common good. Monkeys can still hang out in groups for mutual protection and share food. I can still conclude that the immediate gratification of rape & violence pales in comparison to what we can accomplish together in a society if we live peacefully don't rape and kill each other, and we only realize the true benefit of that if we band together and afford protection to all so that no one is raped or killed and they are able to own property and put it to use and have self-determination and liberty and the ability to pursue happiness within reason.

It gets a little trickier when we disagree on how best to provide for the common good and encourage freedom while protecting against exploitation and negative externalities but the mechanism for contemplating these things exists. I don't need transcendental concepts of good & evil to engage in that reasoning, I can make a distinction between good and bad subjectively based on experience, logic, and reason.

And I can tell you that the way the church views homosexuality is antithetical to my understanding of what is good for humanity and I'm opposed to that aspect of their teaching. It has more in common with the harmful and disgraceful aspects of our human history than it does with anything positive or righteous and for the good of all of us I encourage people to come to that same realization with me and let people who find comfort in same sex relationships have the same benefits and privileges that we do because I think it will make the world a little better.

(n.b. I've been listening to the Harmontown podcast a lot lately and that really needs to be read in the voice of Dan Harmon going on a tangent about how we're all primates, etc. because that's how it sounded in my head.)


Maybe we're talking past each other a bit.
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I was addressing Karl's question of, "where will be found even a conceptual basis for unalienable human rights?" I was not trying to suggest that genetics directly inform individual moral choices. Nor was I suggesting that genetics can serve to choose the correct moral system from among different options (which is how vitadulcedospes et al. seem to have taken the point above).

My greater point was that genetics may provide us with a predisposition towards certain inalienable rights, such as rights to life, liberty and happiness. This predisposition may serve as a brake on the oppressive government Karl feared in the original post. I don't think genetics will ever serve to completely define a single, agreed upon moral code, just as religion has failed to do over the past few million years.


There has been an interesting study out of Yale about
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

What moral beliefs we're "born" with.


That's pretty interesting ...
by DeBo  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

... and seems like a very cool outcome, no matter what side of this debate you're on. But from skimming it, wouldn't an evil baby operate exactly the same way? A lot of the reactions could have just as easily been driven by selfishness, especially the part where they punish the puppets that are different from them. "I like the nice puppet, not because he was nice to the other puppet, but because he's more likely to be nice to me." Or maybe I think that way because I'm also evil and selfish.


It definitely gives rise to more questions
by HTownND  (2012-12-10 11:28:01)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But it's a very interesting study as a starting point.


Maybe yes, maybe no
by Atticus  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

The variety in moral conclusions that different societies draw from their circumstances may be less varied than you think. In fact, the root commonality of all societies formed the basis of C S Lewis's conversion and his first chapter in Mere Christianity. As he reasoned, there may have been no societies that have extolled lying, cheating, or cowardice as moral.

Check it out, Right and Wrong as Clues to the Meaning of the Universe.

Of course, Lewis is a far sight from concluding the existence of a personal god, let alone the God of Christianity. But this is his first step


"They come from within us."
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I think a person espousing religious ideas on morality hasn't "forgotten" this. They would disagree with it altogether. Religious ideas on morality would be regarded as springing from divine revelation.


I disagree, up to a point
by Atticus  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Properly understood, the natural law is available to us all. Hence, golden is on to something by resorting to the intuition illuminated by the light of natural law but is in danger of realizing Eliot's observation in The Dry Salvages:

the sudden illumination –
We had the experience but missed the meaning.


I'm not sure the natural law is what was being envisaged.
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

But if it was, I concede the point. It's not called the supernatural law for a reason.


How sharper than a serpent's tooth!
by Atticus  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away, away!

I deal every day with the spoiled children of great wealth. I liken the secularist's critique of our religious past to the complaints of a trust fund bum, living off the inherited capital of the family but without an ounce of gratitude, an inch of self-awareness.

As Roman Guardini put it:
...We know now that the modern world is coming to an end . . . at the same time, the unbeliever will emerge from the fogs of secularism. He will cease to reap benefit from the values and forces developed by the very Revelation he denies . . .Loneliness in faith will be terrible. Love will disappear from the face of the public world, but the more precious will be that love which flows from one lonely person to another . . . the world to come will be filled with animosity and danger, but it will be a world open and clean.
- Romano Guardini, The End of the Modern World


Let me count the ways
by Atticus  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

The abolitionist movement was rooted in religion.

The civil rights movement was rooted in religion.

The American labor movement was fostered and inspired by religion.

The anti-abortion movement, well let's not go there. You might not agree that the defense of the unborn represents an advance in our understanding of human rights.

To attribute our current understanding of human rights to the advent of secularism is a logical fallacy, an example, if you will, of post hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning. It is especially unpersuasive in light of the avatars of secularism in the recent past, i.e., Jacobin France, Stalinist Soviet Union, Maoist China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, and whoever is now in charge of North Korea.


Liberty, equality, fraternity. Forever. *
by Austin316  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


History marches on inexorably progress-ward
by Karl(1of1)  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I'm just curious where the guarantee of these newly discovered rights come from.

Did you read the story about the babies being starved to death in the UK?


Here's a study between religiousness and homicide by country (link)
by Raoul  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


Is it time for my distributist manifesto?
by Atticus  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Nah.
We distributists have been lying in wait for our time, dwelling in holes in the ground, shunning adventures, and enjoying the freedoms the Enlightenment has brought to our round doors.
Is it now time to come out and sting the ragged follies of the age with our swords of imagination? Issue a manifesto?
Maybe yes, maybe no. (Anyone remember Rocky Rococo from the old Firesign Theater?)
But enough of this frivolity. On to your question.

All things must pass, including the materialism, prosperity, and the scientific advances of the Enlightenment. The sun of the Enlightenment is setting and the time of the Dark Enlightenment is upon us. (Thank you, Michael Burleigh for that arresting phrase.) I just finished reading a fantastic book called "Dickens and the Social Order." In it, Myron Magnet analyzes one of my favorite novels of Dickens, Barnaby Rudge, and the story of the Gordon riots of the UK in 1780. He describes our future by looking backwards. As Catholicism in particular and Christianity in general shrinks in the global north, we will again assume the one metaphysical role that was always ours, along with our older brothers, the Jews, i.e., to be the collective and infuriating superego to the libertine and id-iotic ways of hedonistic society at large. The results will be the same.

A question to the twin but mirror image apologists of the existing order, the capitalists and the statist social justicers out there, courtesy of the ubermensch, Anton Chigurh:

"If the rule you followed brought you to this, what good is the rule?"

Very truly yours,
Atticus, another Bohemian Tory.



"Nones" happen every day...
by Kbyrnes  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...right after sext. (And to think the monks have been sexting all these centuries.)

John Locke, particularly in his Second Treatise, elaborates a system of rights that are essentially natural rights, even though he does make a bow to God as the original bestower of life and the earth to humanity. Tom Paine then wrote his Rights of Man, further developing the idea of natural right, and in his case, not with reference to divine donation (Paine was notably anti-religion; he was marginally Deist). There is plenty of philosophical basis for a well-developed conceptual system of inalienable human rights, though, of course, there would inevitably be disagreement as to exactly what they are. In fact, I think that has something to do with some political debates we are having in this country.


Nothing (true or good) will be slouching to Bethlehem any
by belfaster  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

time soon. The destination of choice for the culture of the US is Babylon where what is true is laughed at as being naive and what is evil is lifted up as being compassionate and politically correct. I agree wholeheartedly with your comment concerning the unalienable rights of humankind. If, as the Declaration of Independence rightly states, these rights come from the Creator and not from government, then no God = no rights. Better still, government will more and more become the source and distributor of faux human rights. Eventually, these faux rights will be cancelled and confiscated by government. Based upon the results of the election, it looks like we are on the precipice right now (that is, if we are not already over the edge).

2 Thessalonians c.2:

"Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word."


Well looky who crawled out of the woodwork!
by Karl(1of1)  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Nice to see your handle again.


Thanks. I've been lurking all these years but just about
by belfaster  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

stopped posting. However, 12 and 0 has done wonders for the tenor of all of the boards. So, here I am to say hello but not to get into those long back and forth arguments I used to indulge in all too often.


Self-actualization is the stillborn god of our era.
by captaineclectic  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Even an irreligious coworker (self-described lapsed Catholic) told me he considered Breaking Bad to be a fable of the hollowness of modern America.

A repressed weakling gains the power he's always craved, only to find that it ruins him. Fully self-actualized now, he comes to realize that he loved the wrong god all along -- but too late.

America is the Walter White of the world.

Our downfall will be as deserved.

I tell you naught for your comfort
Yea, naught for your desire
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher


Humanism will be the new god
by mkovac  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

This is not new. The Age of Enlightenment showed us that an unknowable God is questioned, and that science and man can become the new religion.

Faith is a gift that many do not have.

I, myself, find myself always questioning, but always hoping that there is a God who loves us and surrounds us.

Then, out of nowhere at the least discernible moments, I sense His presence and faith comes rushing in like air crashing into itself after lighting breaks it apart and the clap of thunder signifies not only the existence of air but its awesome effects.


If by God you mean rational self-interest.
by OGerry  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

God is dead. Enlightened egoism should do the trick. Until it doesn't.

I'm about half-way through Ross Douthat's Bad Religion. The jacket endorsements boasted both Jim Martin SJ and Rod Dreher, and the interior has yet to disappoint. It chronicles how the PBR became a board of heretics.


One of my best friends is a Lutheran preacher's kid...
by Kbyrnes  (2012-12-10 11:19:32)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

...born in the late 40s when being a pastor's son really meant something. Pastor P. was also well-connected with some nationally prominent Lutheran types in Chicago, St. Louis, and NYC. The pride of the family went off to the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1967, where, as he (my friend) told me, "I promptly became an atheist."


A common tale.
by OGerry  (2012-12-10 16:52:15)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Nothing made me doubt the existence of God more than the T ride from South Station to Cambridge when I was attending Weston Jesuit.

Douthat's premise, however, is not that we have lost faith and have no religion, but, rather, that we have embraced heresy and bad religion. I'm curious to see how he brings it in for a landing.


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