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FrGamble
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January 6th, 2012 at 6:49:22 AM permalink
Here are a few texts from one of my favorite documents of Vatican II that might be of help in understanding how to look at those difficult passages from the OT

Quote: Dei Verbum, Constitution on Divine Revelation


12. However, since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, (6) the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words.

To search out the intention of the sacred writers, attention should be given, among other things, to "literary forms." For truth is set forth and expressed differently in texts which are variously historical, prophetic, poetic, or of other forms of discourse. The interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances by using contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture. (7) For the correct understanding of what the sacred author wanted to assert, due attention must be paid to the customary and characteristic styles of feeling, speaking and narrating which prevailed at the time of the sacred writer, and to the patterns men normally employed at that period in their everyday dealings with one another. (8)

But, since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the sacred spirit in which it was written, (9) no less serious attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture if the meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out. The living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith. It is the task of exegetes to work according to these rules toward a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture, so that through preparatory study the judgment of the Church may mature. For all of what has been said about the way of interpreting Scripture is subject finally to the judgment of the Church, which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the word of God. (10)


15. The principal purpose to which the plan of the old covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming of Christ, the redeemer of all and of the messianic kingdom, to announce this coming by prophecy (see Luke 24:44; John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10), and to indicate its meaning through various types (see 1 Cor. 10:12). Now the books of the Old Testament, in accordance with the state of mankind before the time of salvation established by Christ, reveal to all men the knowledge of God and of man and the ways in which God, just and merciful, deals with men. These books, though they also contain some things which are incomplete and temporary, nevertheless show us true divine pedagogy. (1) These same books, then, give expression to a lively sense of God, contain a store of sublime teachings about God, sound wisdom about human life, and a wonderful treasury of prayers, and in them the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way. Christians should receive them with reverence.

Mosca
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January 6th, 2012 at 8:03:33 AM permalink
Quote: RogerKint

I've been following this thread loosely and have not seen any scripture in which the Bible calls slavery either "good" or "forever".



That's not the idea. The point isn't that The Bible calls slavery "good" and "forever"; it's that Christians call The Bible "good" and "forever".

You can't have it both ways.
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FrGamble
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January 6th, 2012 at 9:56:00 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

That's not the idea. The point isn't that The Bible calls slavery "good" and "forever"; it's that Christians call The Bible "good" and "forever".

You can't have it both ways.



I know that the quote from Dei Verbum was a little long so here are a few points pulled out that may help in understanding proper interpretation of the Bible and what Catholic Christians believe:
Quote: Dei Verbum

But, since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the sacred spirit in which it was written, (9) no less serious attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture if the meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out.

Now the books of the Old Testament, in accordance with the state of mankind before the time of salvation established by Christ, reveal to all men the knowledge of God and of man and the ways in which God, just and merciful, deals with men. These books, though they also contain some things which are incomplete and temporary, nevertheless show us true divine pedagogy.

MathExtremist
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January 6th, 2012 at 10:01:23 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

I know that the quote from Dei Verbum was a little long so here are a few points pulled out that may help in understanding proper interpretation of the Bible and what Catholic Christians believe:


How does Catholicism view Deuteronomy 28:15-68? Does it only apply to the Israelites? Is it, as you quoted from Dei Verbum, "incomplete and temporary"? Is it null and void?
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
Nareed
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January 6th, 2012 at 10:37:58 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Here are a few texts from one of my favorite documents of Vatican II that might be of help in understanding how to look at those difficult passages from the OT



This strikes me as a highly inefficient, overly complicated and obtuse means of communication on the part of god.

I mean, you have to guess what the stenographer had in mind while he distorted god's message, then add whatever rules the Church may have come up with or changed in the centuries since. Considering that the mere palcement of a comma can alter the meaning of a message, this is just unconscionable as far as clarity is concerned.
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FrGamble
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January 6th, 2012 at 11:05:29 AM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

How does Catholicism view Deuteronomy 28:15-68? Does it only apply to the Israelites? Is it, as you quoted from Dei Verbum, "incomplete and temporary"? Is it null and void?



Yes it is temporary. All you have to do is read Dueteronomy 30:1-20 to see that. The mercy of God will always be there to help and forgive even the gravest transgressions. Moses also shows them that the choice is theirs; God sets before them life and prosperity or death and doom - you decide (Dt. 30:15). Moses also reminds them that the laws of the Lord are already written in their hearts; you have only to carry it out (Dt. 30:14).

It is also incomplete and temporary in that Jesus establishes the new and eternal covenant through His passion, death, and resurrection and frees us from the punishment due to our sin and disobedience of the Law. This freedom from being under the impossible burden of the law and its just consequences is exactly why Jesus came to save ALL of humanity. This freedom from the law is also the central message of the former pharisee St. Paul.
Mosca
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January 6th, 2012 at 11:08:30 AM permalink
FrG, you know that in my life I'm not anti-Christian; I'm only giving reasons why I can't believe it myself. Dei Verbum notwithstanding, not all Christians are Catholics. And despite your status, you can't quote the Dei Verbum as the Christian authority on the subject, only as the Catholic authority.

Which brings us to the question: If Christians themselves can't agree on the place of the words in The Bible via-a-vis their relevance to modern life, what are non-Christians to think? When you have progressive Catholics saying that some things in the Old Testament are incomplete and temporary, Fundamentalists saying that the entire Bible is unerring and accurate (a la Bob Tebow), and The Westboro Baptist Church saying that The Bible proves God hates fags... if it's all true, then why is it all different?

The logic falls apart when you leave its circle and consider it from a step removed.
A falling knife has no handle.
Nareed
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January 6th, 2012 at 11:44:13 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

if it's all true, then why is it all different?



Because if you put three people in a deserted island, they'll form five political parties.

What did you expect? ;)
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EvenBob
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January 6th, 2012 at 1:08:46 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

The logic falls apart when you leave its circle and consider it from a step removed.



Most Christians are terrified of doing this. It would
mean they have to think for themselves, and who
wants to do that. Its safe and warm and comforting
inside the circle.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
FrGamble
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January 6th, 2012 at 2:04:36 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

FrG, you know that in my life I'm not anti-Christian; I'm only giving reasons why I can't believe it myself. Dei Verbum notwithstanding, not all Christians are Catholics. And despite your status, you can't quote the Dei Verbum as the Christian authority on the subject, only as the Catholic authority.

Which brings us to the question: If Christians themselves can't agree on the place of the words in The Bible via-a-vis their relevance to modern life, what are non-Christians to think? When you have progressive Catholics saying that some things in the Old Testament are incomplete and temporary, Fundamentalists saying that the entire Bible is unerring and accurate (a la Bob Tebow), and The Westboro Baptist Church saying that The Bible proves God hates fags... if it's all true, then why is it all different?

The logic falls apart when you leave its circle and consider it from a step removed.



The pain and the truth of your statement hits home. I can only imagine what a voice we Christians would have if like the first 1500 years of our existence we spoke as one Church, one body of Christ. We can never stop praying for the unity of all Christians.

In many cases the Catholic Church and many denominations are so very close. What is really separating us is often misunderstanding and sometimes pride (on both sides). For example as Catholics we agree with Tebow that the entire Bible is unerring and accurate in regards to the religious and spiritual truths it is meant to bestow, not necessarily in the historical minutiae or scientific descriptions which is not the Bible's purpose. Now the Westboro folks are a different story and I feel they do more to destroy faith in Jesus and break up the Body of Christ than just about anyone.
FrGamble
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January 9th, 2012 at 9:49:53 PM permalink
Saw a great commercial during the big bowl game tonight. In case you missed it here it is Catholics Come Home
EvenBob
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January 14th, 2012 at 4:13:29 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble


In many cases the Catholic Church and many denominations are so very close. .



My father in law is a retired Baptist minister.
He'll tell you to your face that Catholics are
not Christians, they're idol worshipers. I've
never asked for details, he does tend to get
all hot and bothered when the subject comes
up. He is 86, after all.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
FrGamble
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January 16th, 2012 at 7:50:32 PM permalink
I posted this in another religion thread but it deserves to be here. These are the last public and powerful words of a man who in my mind exemplifies Christ. Taking strength from his faith he found the inspiriation to help lead people to freedom. He is worthy of celebration!

I've been to the mountain top!
EvenBob
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January 16th, 2012 at 8:09:10 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Taking strength from his faith he found the inspiriation to help lead people to freedom. He is worthy of celebration!



King and Kennedy were so lacking in character,
had such disrespect for the very vows they swore
an oath to uphold, whats there to celebrate. They
were both serial wife cheaters, and thats a deal
breaker. I have zero respect for both of them.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
MathExtremist
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January 16th, 2012 at 8:36:05 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

King and Kennedy were so lacking in character,
had such disrespect for the very vows they swore
an oath to uphold, whats there to celebrate. They
were both serial wife cheaters, and thats a deal
breaker. I have zero respect for both of them.


What about Einstein or Benjamin Franklin? No respect for them either?
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
EvenBob
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January 16th, 2012 at 8:53:21 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

What about Einstein or Benjamin Franklin? No respect for them either?



They weren't trying to peddle
themselves as moral examples.
No, I don't respect their personal
choices.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
FrGamble
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January 23rd, 2012 at 9:18:25 PM permalink
On a fairly miserable day it was a ray of light and hope for the future to see over 100,000 people march on Washington for the legal protection of an unborn child's life. The other thing I have noticed the last few years is that the whole event is more of a youth rally. There are so many young people who believe in the pro-life message and are standing up and walking for the developing person in the womb! While still a seemingly Catholic event every year you also see more and more Protestants, Jewish, and Muslium representatives. Last year I even saw a group holding a sign, "Atheists for Life". I can't think of a much more fundamental issue than the respect for ALL human life and it was good to see so many today.

By the way I challenge you to see if you can find any coverage of the March For Life on TV or in your papers, so sad it is not reported or talked about.
NowTheSerpent
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January 24th, 2012 at 12:48:14 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

The other thing I have noticed the last few years is that the whole event is more of a youth rally.



That's because as a culture we are becoming more and more adolescent. Kids get involved in pro-Christian moral brigades because churches have lobbied to outlaw any real alternative to their influence on how young adults perceive "right" from "wrong". So, no - I don't think it's a "sign of hope" as much as it's a symptom of Anti-enlightenment. We won't have another intellectual revolution in this post-modern western toilet bowl before we answer the question: Why is it O.K. for churches to approach and inculcate children ("minors") with a gospel which demands the adult responsibility of laying down one's life as an expendable sacrifice to a capricious, mercurial, unpredictable God in his minefield of proselytes at the same time we teach them that they're not adult enough to choose their intimate associations and make life decisions? Why is it acceptable to teach "Christ" (Buddha and Confucius, actually) and self-denial, abnegation, and humiliated inarticulation to kids but not acceptable to teach them LaVey (Rand and Neitzsche, actually) and self-determination, the primacy of the profit motive, selfownership, and the refusal to be manipulated through fear, beatings, "authority", instead of persuaded by fact-based reason? Why can a kid come home with a copy of the Holy Bible but not of the Satanic Bible? Especially since neither Jesus nor any apostle in Scripture ever speaks against slavery, whereas the biggest achievement of the nineteenth century was Emancipation, which although spearheaded for appearance's sake by churches, was actually inspired by secular moral reasoning based on a true Principle of Reciprocity inspired by a simple (childlike?) understanding of Jesus' "do unto others...." schpiel. In fact, when the churches' interest in emancipation began to raise the issue of individual rights (which it logically does), they suddenly wanted to distance themselves from it.

We have become a culture of adolescents, cradle-to-grave living on some "provider's" good will. Ever-growing, but never achieving individual Sovereignty. That's the only reason that teen girls get involved in anti-women's rights - they aren't really women, just sentimental young idiots craving sex at the same time they deny craving sex. Maybe they figure that if they peddle female servitude loudly enough, they'll suddenly believe it.

Neitzsche put it simply when he said that one becomes a true Master when he can look his neighbor in the eye and say, "Go to hell!"
EvenBob
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January 24th, 2012 at 1:47:33 AM permalink
NowTheSerpent, that was a masterpiece. Who the heck
are you, dude, what are your bonefides? I tried to PM
you but you don't accept PM's. I'd post my email, but I'm
afraid of too many love letters from my fans..

“Now the serpent was subtle more than any beast of the field”
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
NowTheSerpent
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January 24th, 2012 at 9:13:55 AM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

I tried to PM
you but you don't accept PM's.



Try it now.
Nareed
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January 24th, 2012 at 12:57:46 PM permalink
Quote: NowTheSerpent

That's because as a culture we are becoming more and more adolescent. Kids get involved in pro-Christian moral brigades because churches have lobbied to outlaw any real alternative to their influence on how young adults perceive "right" from "wrong".



Are we living in the same universe?

Churches have been well and truly expelled from schools, and thank god for that (<w>). If they've gained influence over youth lately, it would be becasue either children or parents seek out a clear-seeming alternative to the "liberal," moral-relativism propaganda kids get at school. Religion, at least, offers clear principles (one of the things that amkes debating the good father enjoyable, when he's not playing like a broken record <w>)

Check your premises ;)

Quote:

So, no - I don't think it's a "sign of hope" as much as it's a symptom of Anti-enlightenment.



Oh, absolutely. But it's jusy not possible to get churches to reconsider their "life begins at conception" idea.
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FrGamble
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January 24th, 2012 at 1:42:10 PM permalink
The abolitionist movement, like the Civil Rights movement, and the pro-life movement are all products of religious revival and renewal in America. At the heart of all of them is a central message that we are all equal in the eyes of God and posses a God given human dignity that deserves and demands respect. It sounds like you are grappling with why an evil like slavery or racial discrimination or the killing of unborn children continued or continues to exist for so long even among those who profess to be Christian or religious? It is a good question, but the answer is not because slavery is not clearly rejected by Christ and in the New Testament. Jesus Christ himself said, "I have come to serve and not to be served." He scolded his disciples and reminded them that "the greatest among you must be the servant of all." This challenging idea of humility and service was not fully embraced by Christians and even worse non-Christians who had power and did not want to let go of it. A satanic selfishness is at the root of slavery and most evils. A selfishness perpetuated by infantile behavior of those screaming for self-determination, a will-to-power, and individual sovereignty at the expense of all others. The Übermensch is a childish man crying out for control from his parents who want him to clean his room, do his chores, and finish his homework. You can have your self importance and force your own will like a child who runs away, but it is to your detriment. You can climb to the top of your anthill and claim to be ruler of the world but this is true child like behavior. An adult man or woman knows that we must check our wild and selfish desires and serve rather than demand others to serve us. We need to look lovingly in our neighbors eye and say, "How can I help you?" or even better, "How can I help you get to Heaven!"

Let me also address your point about who is teaching our children what is right and wrong. I don't know where you live but I would like to imagine there is still a place where there is no real alternative than the voice of God. Unfortunately in the real anti-religious culture we live in today the voice of Churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. are all being drowned out or ridiculed or even openly persecuted by a pseudo intellectual and relativistic culture that indeed is becoming more and more child like. Look at the news coverage of over 100,000 people who marched on Washington for the respect for life. Not a mention on any channel even in my area a few miles from D.C.
Mosca
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January 24th, 2012 at 1:54:50 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

The abolitionist movement, like the Civil Rights movement, and the pro-life movement are all products of religious revival and renewal in America. At the heart of all of them is a central message that we are all equal in the eyes of God and posses a God given human dignity that deserves and demands respect.



I agree with FrG. This is well documented. Daniel Walker Howe actually titled his volume of The Oxford History of the United States What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. From The New York Historical Society's review, "He reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature."

That is a phenomenal volume of history, btw, one that I could not put down. Highly recommended.
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thecesspit
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January 24th, 2012 at 2:54:34 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Let me also address your point about who is teaching our children what is right and wrong. I don't know where you live but I would like to imagine there is still a place where there is no real alternative than the voice of God. Unfortunately in the real anti-religious culture we live in today the voice of Churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. are all being drowned out or ridiculed or even openly persecuted by a pseudo intellectual and relativistic culture that indeed is becoming more and more child like. Look at the news coverage of over 100,000 people who marched on Washington for the respect for life. Not a mention on any channel even in my area a few miles from D.C.



Front page of the metro section of the Washington Post : http://www.washingtonpost.com/todays_paper?dt=2012-01-24&bk=B&pg=1

NBC Washington also appear to have covered it : http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Thousands-Gather-for-March-for-Life-137847818.html

Irony is... the Bible teaches us to approach the Kingdom of heaven like a child : "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it" (Luke 18:17)
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Nareed
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January 24th, 2012 at 3:01:40 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

The abolitionist movement, like the Civil Rights movement, and the pro-life movement are all products of religious revival and renewal in America.



The last, yes. the earlier ones, no. Religious organizations were involved, certainly. But you might as well claim food is a product of the church because some churches grow vegetables they sell at informal markets.

Quote:

At the heart of all of them is a central message that we are all equal in the eyes of God and posses a God given human dignity that deserves and demands respect.



Where's the respect of forcing a woman to be an incubator for a potential person?

You'd be surprised to know my view on abortion, so I'll just say from conception til the third trimester I cosnider abortion to be, ahem, sacrosanct. Afterwards it's a more complicated matter.

Quote:

It is a good question, but the answer is not because slavery is not clearly rejected by Christ and in the New Testament.



There's that. there's also the fact that religion was involved on both sides of the abolitionist movement, and of the civil rights movement. Just like now you find churches on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue. I've also no doubt that someone much like you will, in decades, claim that same-sex marriage was a product of religion. Just wait and see.


Quote:

Jesus Christ himself said, "I have come to serve and not to be served."



Tell it to the fig tree :P

Quote:

He scolded his disciples and reminded them that "the greatest among you must be the servant of all."



Slavery by any other name is just as bad. Marx said "from each according to his ability. To each according to his need." jesus said something else to the same effect.

Quote:

A satanic selfishness is at the root of slavery and most evils.



Wow! Satanic, yet!

Quote:

A selfishness perpetuated by infantile behavior of those screaming for self-determination, a will-to-power, and individual sovereignty at the expense of all others.



Nice package deal. very nice. You take a virtue, self dtermination, and associate with evils like will-to-power and the sacrifice of others to self. Nicely done. Except, one of these things is not liek the others, isn't it? Self-determination, by which I understand individual rights and liberty, is not possible along the other two.

Nor is it possible on the Christian doctrine of sacrificing one's self for others. No wonder you don't like it. But I see you don't mind the will-to-power, so long as it si god who wields absolute power.

Quote:

An adult man or woman knows that we must check our wild and selfish desires and serve rather than demand others to serve us.



An adult should undertsand there's nothign selfish in desiring sacrifice from others to self. This would be more evident if the role of self-esteem were understood. You can't declare yourself to be worthless and retain any self-esteem, can you? That's what the demander of sacrifices does. Also what the one who seeks power and adualtion does, too. he's nothing without the ability to bosss people around, or without the "love" of the masses.
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Mosca
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January 24th, 2012 at 3:05:47 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Let me also address your point about who is teaching our children what is right and wrong. I don't know where you live but I would like to imagine there is still a place where there is no real alternative than the voice of God. Unfortunately in the real anti-religious culture we live in today the voice of Churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. are all being drowned out or ridiculed or even openly persecuted by a pseudo intellectual and relativistic culture that indeed is becoming more and more child like. Look at the news coverage of over 100,000 people who marched on Washington for the respect for life. Not a mention on any channel even in my area a few miles from D.C.




"pseudo" intellectual? Please. You may not agree with atheists, but to denigrate them in that manner is beneath you. There are far better ways to insult them, ways that would be more apt to your argument. To refer to them as "pseudo" undercuts your point by basing it on a cliche. "Relativistic" was much better, because it raises issues.
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thecesspit
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January 24th, 2012 at 3:17:41 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

You'd be surprised to know my view on abortion, so I'll just say from conception til the third trimester I cosnider abortion to be, ahem, sacrosanct. Afterwards it's a more complicated matter.



Start of the third trimester I assume? Completely different topic I guess, but 28 weeks is very late (babies can survive at 26 weeks). I don't think it's complicated after 28 weeks... I think that unless we involve a question of survival of either mother or baby, it's a very clear case that it should not be something considered.

Maybe I misunderstand what you meant. This might deserve it's own thread.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Nareed
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January 24th, 2012 at 3:25:03 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

Maybe I misunderstand what you meant.



Not at all. I think there aare other considerations.

Quote:

This might deserve it's own thread.



It does. In this forum we may even avoid a full-fledged civil war over the issue. Just the same I don't proppose to start one now. But feel free if you're so inclined.
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EvenBob
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January 24th, 2012 at 3:50:41 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

"pseudo" intellectual? Please. You may not agree with atheists, but to denigrate them in that manner is beneath you.



I have to agree. And for the longest time I thought
'Christian intellectual' was an oxymoron. I found out
I was hanging out with the wrong crowd and there
were some smart Christians, though not an abundance
of them. Priests are well educated, many other leaders
of churches are not. They take 'comparative religion'
courses in college that are a joke, and thats about as
far as they dive into thinking outside of Christianity.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
Mosca
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January 24th, 2012 at 4:37:01 PM permalink
I like and respect a good insult. Lazy ones make me feel scorn. FrG, I have boundless respect for you and your arguments. The better thought out they are, the more fun it is to tangle with them. Keep your point sharp, and use it deftly!
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teddys
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January 24th, 2012 at 5:19:39 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

Priests are well educated, many other leaders
of churches are not. They take 'comparative religion'
courses in college that are a joke, and thats about as
far as they dive into thinking outside of Christianity.

I will agree with this. Catholic education is some of the best in the world. I listen to the Catholic radio for my local diocese sometimes. The priest they had on gave the BEST explanation of Judaism and Jewish concepts that I have ever heard, better than any rabbi.
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
NowTheSerpent
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January 25th, 2012 at 4:06:43 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

I agree with FrG. This is well documented. Daniel Walker Howe actually titled his volume of The Oxford History of the United States What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. From The New York Historical Society's review, "He reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature."

That is a phenomenal volume of history, btw, one that I could not put down. Highly recommended.



OK. How about The Myth of American Religious Freedom by David Sehat, which documents the complete development of religious culture from 1600's settlements onward and its infiltration into the constitutional and case law of several states. Many of the Bible-derived statutes are still on the books and enforceable.

Religion got just involved enough to make posterity believe that Christianity came to the rescue and forever settled the moral issues behind these questions, even though we both know what Paul's divinely inspired and "plenary gospel" position was about the virtue of obsequious servitude:

Quote: Ephesians 6:5

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ



Hmmm. Not much Thirteenth Amendment material there. So much for the idea that political Emancipation of blacks (or whomever) from slavery is scriptural.

There are two common myths which give Americans an empty pride: (1) That America is a Christian nation and (2) That rights are given by God, in the sense that without (the Judeo-Christian) God, no objectively persuasive and settled definition of rights is possible. Both statements are false.
NowTheSerpent
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January 25th, 2012 at 5:10:05 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

It sounds like you are grappling with why an evil like slavery or racial discrimination or the killing of unborn children continued or continues to exist for so long even among those who profess to be Christian or religious?



No. I'm not grappling with why there is evil. I know Evil - that's why I'm so damn good

- I understand alterior motive and the struggle for survival by too many in a world of too-limited resources.

Quote: FrGamble

Jesus Christ himself said, "I have come to serve and not to be served.";"the greatest among you must be the servant of all."



He also posited the value of salvation in terms of profit:

Quote: Mark 8:36

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?



Why would Jesus put eternal life in terms of the individual good, if wasn't best understood that way?

Quote: FrGamble

A selfishness perpetuated by infantile behavior of those screaming for self-determination, a will-to-power, and individual sovereignty at the expense of all others.



What's infantile about being alone? The infant instinct is to cling to others and passively allow the Self to be dissolved in acceptability for acceptance's sake. Self-determination (discovering secretly, privately your purpose) is hard work, which can only cause a child to grow up - cognitively, and thus morally, buy subjugating the will of others (society) as well as one's own emotions to the knowledge of oneself and one's destiny in the world of which one is certain.

Quote: FrGamble

The Übermensch is a childish man crying out for control from his parents who want him to clean his room, do his chores, and finish his homework. You can have your self importance and force your own will like a child who runs away, but it is to your detriment. You can climb to the top of your anthill and claim to be ruler of the world but this is true child like behavior. An adult man or woman knows that we must check our wild and selfish desires and serve rather than demand others to serve us.



What Ubermenschen have you ever met who have acted this way? On the contrary, the Ubermensch is the confident, secure, serene individual who haughtily laughs at life's adversities and is an "unperterbable" singleness of body and soul. He knows what "chores" are important, because he knows why they are important. He is the ultimate "berserker poet", jock-scientist, spirit creature, rational animal; the truly efficient, fit genius combateer who, because of his actual capability and awareness of it is in fact worthy of the highest noblest honors - he never allows anyone to hand him anything. He is the ultimate self-sustainer, -creator, -perpetuator, who is satisfied with himself, and thus troubles no one. He competes but never cheats. Christianity has yet to produce a generation of such men, who ironically claim to be "made in their Creator's image".

Quote: FrGamble

We need to look lovingly in our neighbors eye and say, "How can I help you?" or even better, "How can I help you get to Heaven!"



Jesus didn't come to get people to Heaven. He came to exemplify the hardship and cruelty of "doing the Father's will". Even Nietzsche understood this "overcoming as a going under" as a privilege that only a few Supermen achieve. But there is no salvation attached at all to this concept, either in Jesus' or in Nietzsche's formulation.

Quote: FrGamble

all are being drowned out or ridiculed or even openly persecuted by a pseudo intellectual and relativistic culture that indeed is becoming more and more child like.



I rest my case.
Mosca
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January 25th, 2012 at 6:44:38 AM permalink
Quote: NowTheSerpent

Quote: Mosca

I agree with FrG. This is well documented. Daniel Walker Howe actually titled his volume of The Oxford History of the United States What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. From The New York Historical Society's review, "He reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature."

That is a phenomenal volume of history, btw, one that I could not put down. Highly recommended.



OK. How about The Myth of American Religious Freedom by David Sehat, which documents the complete development of religious culture from 1600's settlements onward and its infiltration into the constitutional and case law of several states. Many of the Bible-derived statutes are still on the books and enforceable.



In the period between the American Revolution and The War of the States, religion was used by both slavery and anti-slavery factions to justify their positions, and I made sure to choose a descriptive review quote to point that out. The truth is that during the first half of the 19th century Christianity was such a powerful force in the United States that no social or cultural movement could have been successful without invoking it. For anyone to imply that the end of slavery was a triumph of secular humanism, they are just flat out wrong.

There are plenty of fine arguments indicting religion. To deny its influence on the abolition of slavery isn't one of them. It is important to acknowledge that there were people who by way of their spiritual conviction laid down their lives to effect great change.

"But, sir, while I value the good opinion of my fellow-citizens, as highly as any one, I may be permitted to say, that I am governed by higher considerations than either the favor or the fear of man. I am impelled to the course I have taken, because I fear God. As I shall answer it to my God in the great day, I dare not abandon my sentiments, or cease in all proper ways to propagate them."-- Elijah Lovejoy, Presbyterian minister, publisher, and abolitionist.

“Here, before God, in the presence of these witnesses, from this time, I consecrate my life to the destruction of slavery!” -- John Brown, after the murder of Elijah Lovejoy, Presbyterian minister, publisher, and abolitionist.
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Nareed
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January 25th, 2012 at 6:51:54 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

In the period between the American Revolution and The War of the States, religion was used by both slavery and anti-slavery factions to justify their positions, and I made sure to choose a descriptive review quote to point that out. The truth is that during the first half of the 19th Christianity was such a powerful force in the United States that no social or cultural movement could have been successful without invoking it. For anyone to imply that the end of slavery was a triumph of secular humanism, they are just flat out wrong.



What we see is religion fighting on both sides of the issue, right? Not, as modern revisionists would have us believe, that religion opposed slavery. Some religious people opposed it, some embraced it, some didn't give a damn one way or the other. I hardly see it as crucial. Necessary, maybe.
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FrGamble
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January 25th, 2012 at 6:56:09 AM permalink
Quote: NowTheSerpent


Hmmm. Not much Thirteenth Amendment material there. So much for the idea that political Emancipation of blacks (or whomever) from slavery is scriptural.



Quote: Galatians 3:28

There does not exist among you Jew or Greek, slave or freeman, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus.



Hmmm.
Mosca
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January 25th, 2012 at 7:00:58 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

What we see is religion fighting on both sides of the issue, right? Not, as modern revisionists would have us believe, that religion opposed slavery. Some religious people opposed it, some embraced it, some didn't give a damn one way or the other. I hardly see it as crucial. Necessary, maybe.



Yes, exactly my point. By extension, it cannot be used in a direct manner to justify an anti-religion argument today.

However, it can be used by showing exactly what you say: That is is so vague that it can mean whatever you want it to mean. And thus, good and righteous and generous men will use it for good, and selfish and evil men will use it to justify oppression. But you can't claim abolition as a direct, willful triumph of secular humanism, you can only do it through the indirect argument I've outlined.
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Nareed
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January 25th, 2012 at 7:10:37 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

However, it can be used by showing exactly what you say: That is is so vague that it can mean whatever you want it to mean. And thus, good and righteous and generous men will use it for good, and selfish and evil men will use it to justify oppression.



Well, that means it's morally ambiguous. And that's hardly the image religion wants to project. They're supposed to be not just moral, but the only legitimate source of morality.

If that doesn't constitute grounds for attacking religion, I don't know what does.
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Mosca
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January 25th, 2012 at 7:22:56 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

Well, that means it's morally ambiguous. And that's hardly the image religion wants to project. They're supposed to be not just moral, but the only legitimate source of morality.

If that doesn't constitute grounds for attacking religion, I don't know what does.



It is important to note that religion exists within any definition of secular humanism. It's a messy world. Nothing changes my view that religion is a myth, but still it inspires good men and women to great heights. No argument against it will succeed without acknowledging that truth.
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Nareed
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January 25th, 2012 at 7:44:21 AM permalink
Quote: Mosca

It is important to note that religion exists within any definition of secular humanism. It's a messy world. Nothing changes my view that religion is a myth, but still it inspires good men and women to great heights. No argument against it will succeed without acknowledging that truth.



We're going in circles now :)

It is worth noting I don't hold any particular position regarding secular humanism. I'm not even sure what it is. I assume it takes religious morality, mroe or less, just stripped off god. If so, it has nothing to recommend it. I learned long ago god isn't always the problem.
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thecesspit
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January 25th, 2012 at 8:23:25 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

We're going in circles now :)

It is worth noting I don't hold any particular position regarding secular humanism. I'm not even sure what it is. I assume it takes religious morality, mroe or less, just stripped off god. If so, it has nothing to recommend it. I learned long ago god isn't always the problem.



Your assumption isn't really correct. Secular Humanism (or Humanism) proposes human beings are not inherently good or evil, that each of us must make our own moral choices, and that the route to making those choices comes from within, and not from a a doctrine or from faith. Humanists tend to encourage an indidividual search for truth (or knowledge, depending on how you view it) via science and philosophy, not faith and theology.

I believe (hahahah) Humanists tend to take the stance that we can make an objective, moral view point by starting with the axioms based on Human qualities, such as rationalism, common feelings of pain and happiness, etc. Not quite a moral relativism and definitely not an objective morality that the Roman Catholic church teaches, more a morality based on a common starting point that all in that position could hold (e.g. all Humans, hence Humanism).

That's my understanding. I'm not really a secular humanist, but I can get behind some of their outcomes.
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Nareed
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January 25th, 2012 at 1:21:22 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

Your assumption isn't really correct.



I concede it may not be. But what you've posted are generalities. What actual moral code does Secular Humanism pose?

Quote:

Not quite a moral relativism and definitely not an objective morality that the Roman Catholic church teaches,



Objective? You're too funny for words ;)
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EvenBob
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January 25th, 2012 at 1:28:32 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

Nothing changes my view that religion is a myth, but still it inspires good men and women to great heights.



Joseph Campbell built his whole career around 'religion
is myth', and he preoved it again and again. All religions
are intertwined and have the same archetypes guiding
them.
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thecesspit
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January 25th, 2012 at 1:43:43 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

I concede it may not be. But what you've posted are generalities. What actual moral code does Secular Humanism pose?



I don't know exactly, and I leave that to the reader to discover. But note that Humanism what I said about exploring it for yourself, and not being a creed or doctrine taken on faith.

Quote:

Objective? You're too funny for words ;)



Indeed. I'm using their words... not mine.

I believe Humanism calls their morality an Universal Morality (something Deists would claim for their morality). I'm quite comfortable with that terminology for myself for now. Subjective Morality "seems" wrong but I can't agree with an Objective Morality either. Some middle ground works. Deists also proposed a Universal Morality (of course not necessarily the same morality as that from a secular humanist).
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Nareed
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January 25th, 2012 at 1:51:26 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

I don't know exactly, and I leave that to the reader to discover. But note that Humanism what I said about exploring it for yourself, and not being a creed or doctrine taken on faith.



Sure, but then each person would wind up with their own moral code.
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thecesspit
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January 25th, 2012 at 2:26:59 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

Sure, but then each person would wind up with their own moral code.



Not if there IS an Universal Morality.
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MathExtremist
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January 25th, 2012 at 2:30:09 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

Sure, but then each person would wind up with their own moral code.


Each person does have their own morality. I don't want to say "code" because it's often not codified, but still, I doubt you'll find two people who have precisely the same moral judgments on everything. That's why morality is so contentious.
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buzzpaff
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January 25th, 2012 at 2:37:14 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

Each person does have their own morality. I don't want to say "code" because it's often not codified, but still, I doubt you'll find two people who have precisely the same moral judgments on everything. That's why morality is so contentious.




As well as their own mortality. Akin to there being no atheists in foxholes.
EvenBob
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January 25th, 2012 at 4:17:54 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

Not if there IS an Universal Morality.



Where is it, what would it be? When humans were all
nomadic tribes, before there were cities, there was a
moral code for your tribe, but it didn't apply to other
tribes. You could do anything you liked to them, rape,
murder, steal all their children and livestock. In your
own tribe, none of that was tolerated.
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Nareed
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January 25th, 2012 at 4:30:51 PM permalink
Quote: thecesspit

Not if there IS an Universal Morality.



There is a universal math. But if you tell people to go look for their own math rather than teach them what has been established for millennia, every person will have their own math. As it is, every person does have their own math already. Ask anyone who knows red is due ;)
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