Social Degradation and Religious Decay (Split from "Life on Europa")

Pages

AuthorTopic: Social Degradation and Religious Decay (Split from "Life on Europa")
Lifecrafter
Member # 6700
Profile Homepage #0
In order to maintain an interesting discussion on extraterrestrial beings and mankind's fascination with finding them without the risk of getting it burned up in a flamewar, let us move the hotter stuff out.

The relevant posts:

quote:
Originally by Stillness
How would you be affected if it were discovered? How do you think it would affect society as a whole?

I just saw "Aliens of the Deep." If you haven't, it deals with deep sea life and the ecosystems around hydrothermal vents. There was much allusion to the teams that were exploring these ecosystems being precursors to teams exploring other planets/satellites in our solar system. There was also a great hope by these scientists that the life that is mainly driven by these vents and not the sun could mean that life is possible beneath the ice on Europa or some other planet that is not necessarily near a star. (One can only guess why they have this hope). They then made the statement that 'this discovery would affect society greatly.' Would it? (I'm mainly speaking of life more on parr with non-human life on our planet as opposed to something like us).
quote:
Originally by Alorael
—Alorael, who thinks life on Europa would change society in that people would go alien-crazy. Research and the media, especially the entertainment media, would explode. Otherwise, life would go on. At least until Jupiter's engineered transformation into another star. That would have some pretty big effects.
quote:
Originally by Stillness I agree with what you said Alo, with this addition: I think that religion would be greatly affected. Maybe in a similar way that I think the teachings of general evolution has affected it. I think it would be the death blow to the faith of a lot of people.

quote:
Originally by Drew
Don't count faith out just yet. After all, if it can weather the discovery that the world is round and that it circles the sun, it surely can weather the discovery of extraterrestrial deep sea creatures under the icy surface of a moon. "Sure, there may be other bastards out there, but we're God's special bastards!" We're already fractured into hundreds of different faiths and sects - why should the introduction of additional life out there stir that up too much?
quote:
Originally by Frozen Feet
I don't think faith and religion will go anywhere untill something very drastic happens to the very nature of human life. If your faith is bothered by the idea of extraterrestrial life, well, it's your problem. Actually, I consider it highly likely that the finding of alien life will spark as many new religions as it will destroy.

quote:
Originally by Stillness
As a Christian I'm certainly not counting faith out. But, religion is not as important to people as it was 200 years ago, especially in western society. And it's still declining. I think such a discovery would speed that trend. I think we'd see a more rapid decline in morals and a general feeling of uneasiness about what else lies beyond our skies.

quote:
Originally by Wary Wanderer
Do you mean to suggest that the decline in the importance of faith would directly bring about a decline in morals? I didn't realize that one had anything to do with the other.

quote:
Originally by Kelandon
I think such a discovery would cause wacky evangelicals to get their knickers in a knot, but I don't think that normal religious people would be affected at all. A clockmaker god could have created the universe to grow life all over the place, and there's no particular reason to believe that we're unique. If you have to believe that life was created, there's no reason to believe that it was only created once.

The discovery of the Americas didn't lead to mass panic and hysteria, so I don't know why this would lead to more uneasiness, and I seriously doubt that many people's morals would be affected (because why? Only a few people's faith would be shaken, and only a few people's faith plays a significant role in their morals).

quote:
Originally by Stillness
Yes there is a link between faith and morals. The decline of both is not coincidence.
quote:
Originally by Drew
There is a correlation between faith and morals, but I would posit that there's not a dependency. What is most important to a moral system is that there is some great authority that dictates what is what, whether that authority be a mythical deity or a man-made government. I prefer the latter, because at least in most cases there's a paper trail.
quote:
Originally by ADoS
[addressing Stillness]
No there isn't.
quote:
Oringinally by Lenar
Though religion defines mores, mores do not demand religion.
Stillness, decline in morality has come due to the destruction of the definition of our society's mores; and the decline will continue until our society either destroys itself or actually defines a stable set of mores.

quote:
Originally by Stillness
I initially meant the traditional definition SoT. Although finding a virus on Europa would be quite interesting. Your question is really why I started the thread though. What would life in outerspace do for you? Why are some scientists so eager to find it?

I said only that there was a link, not dependancy. We naturally have a conscience. It tends to go astray without proper guidance though. People start to set their own standards as it suits them. Hence the decline in morals we see. Increasing disregard for human life, lowering of sexual standards, breakdown of the family unit, lowering of standards of what is considered publically acceptable behavior, etc are all around us. I can see it in just a few decades of being around. I don't know how anyone could not see it. If you start talking about the past century then the difference is glaring.
quote:
Originally by Drew
If anything, the "decline in morals" exposes the flaw in reliance on religious doctrine as their source. Given that religion depends on belief in a mythological deity in order to inspire fear sufficient to reinforce "moral" behavior, is it surprising that an increasing lack of belief in the Church of Our Fathers would cause those individuals to question what the Church is saying? I think this underscores the importance of the role government/the social contract plays as the basis for morality. The difficulty is that unlike a mythical deity, the government is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. However, the upshot is that it's real.

I have a big problem with arbitrary determinations of what "proper" guidance is. While I agree that having two loving parents around to raise a child is probably ideal, the rest of what you generally refer to as a "lowering of standards" is completely relative to your own religious worldview, which is just as arbitrary as mine until you can prove that the authority you rely on is capital-T True. In the mean time, I think that I will continue to abide by the laws we have more or less legitimately agreed to, and celebrate the U.S.'s continuous march toward true liberty and equality, which I think are perhaps the most important moral values of them all.

quote:
Originally by Stillness
Kel, You asked why I think religion would be affected. It teaches God created life. As I mentioned before general evolution erodes people's faith in general - not everyone's. The scientific community would probably push the same conclusion that Randomizer would about life elsewhere. Many would accept that conclusion.

Drew, on the one hand you say "the "decline in morals" exposes the flaw in reliance on religious doctrine as their source." Then you say "is it surprising that an increasing lack of belief in the Church of Our Fathers would cause those individuals to question what the Church is saying?" How does the first follow from the second.

I'll be the first to say that a lot of what mainstream Christianity does and says is bad - it has been for quite a while. To the extent that it sticks to the Bible it is good though. To the extent that society deviates from that it is bad. You'll accept what it says about the family. But the rest you say is arbitrary. OK, let's take my first statement and see how arbitrary it is. I don't have to prove God you you, because you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears.

Disregard for Human Life: In the past century more blood has been shed in wars than in the 1900 years prior to that. High regard for human life (which Jesus taught) would not allow for war. Is that arbitrary?

quote:
Originally by Archmagus Michael
Granted, but while Jesus may have said this- it didn't stop the Crusades, which (in general), was a Christian (again generalisation) invasion of Arab lands (I'm not condemming or anything like that, I'm just stating objectively). And while more life may have been shed in this last century, this last century has also seen massive increases in both population and military technology- there was probably more deaths in the middle ages than in the stone ages, due to those same reasons.

Going back to the original thread, life may well exist in other forms on other worlds, but (as I think has been mentioned)- why are we looking for it so keenly, why are we broadcasting knowledge about ourselves out there for anyone to find? Sure, we want to knwo if there's life out there, but who's to say that it's friendly life, that it won't just blast us out of existance? (a bit doomsday/ late night movie sounding, but we honestly don't know what's out there).

- Archmagus Micael

quote:
Originally by Drew
The first follows from the second because a decrease in faith in the existence of a mythical being undercuts that being's authority to hold individuals accountable to the morality that religion espouses. I.e., once I knew that Santa Claus didn't exist, it undercut my worries about being naughty or nice.

Although it may not be as absolute an authority (and therefore allow for more "flexibility"), I think that abiding by the morality espoused by what we've decided in forming our government is preferable to abiding by that espoused by what a sizable portion of the population doubts the truth of. Further, it's not as if faiths haven't relaxed their standards over time as well. Remember the prohibition against interracial marriage? Or less seriously, how about the SBC's boycott on Disney? Where are those hard and fast lines of Good Ole Time Religion?

And please don't read any further into my words than what I said - that I agree that it's a good thing for a child to be raised by two loving parents. That does not equal "Drew agrees with everything that the Bible says about parenting." Further, what does the Bible even say about parenting? I know that the Christian tradition certainly has many things to say, and many of them are, among other things, hostile to the notion of women being equal to men. No thank you.

Frankly, once you cut out reliance on the existence of a mythical deity, the Bible is no more authoritative than any other codex. "Do unto others..." is a pretty age-old sentiment, and Christianity certainly doesn't have the monopoly on it. There are cultures extant with moral systems not rooted in faith that seem pretty morally sound to me. The Bible even does much to contradict itself - are we to abide by OT prescriptions, or take Jesus' lessons from the Gospel to heart, or are we instead to abide by what Paul has to say, contradictory though it may be?

Also, "I don't have to prove God you you, because you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears"? That's a pretty bold assertion! I'll spare you the enormous litany of the horrors that faith and Christianity in particular have wrought on the world, because I'm certain you're well aware of many of them.

quote:
Originally by Alorael
On disregard for human life: I think that's untrue. In fact, I think that's remarkably untrue. Human life was cheap in the early 20th century. Human life was literally for sale in America into the mid 19th century. The North and South fought a huge war over, among other things, slavery.

Let's look at the death tolls, too. The American Civil War was an unprecedented bloodpath. The Battle of Shiloh killed more men than all previous American wars combined. WWI's carnage dwarfed its predecessors'. The Holocaust was like nothing before it or since, although the "since" is mostly due to lack of organization and infrastructure.

I'll agree without qualm that wars have claimed more and more lives. I dispute that it's due to any change in morals, though. The difference is mostly in weaponry. You can only kill so many people with swords and spears. Guns make that easier. So do standing armies. Automatic weaponry adds on, and so do bombs. We don't want to kill each other any more now than we did millenia ago. We're just better equipped for it.

—Alorael, who on the contrary thinks that aside from the right-wing reactionaries liberal democracies have made amazing leaps in tolerance of and completely acceptance of very different people. Racism is at least ostensibly censured. Sexism is already dropping dead. Rigid insistence on one right way to live is slowly dwindling. It's a decline in Judeo-Christian morals, but it's a great advance in humanism.
quote:
Originally by Safety
I am a christian and as a christian I will hold my self to the certain rules I believe a Christian should follow. However as a Christian I believe it completely unreasonable to expect non Christians to hold christian values. As Chrisians we should be more concerned about the preaching of our faith then political games.

quote:
Originally by Thuryl
I don't know why you see a decline in morals. As far as I'm concerned, the average citizen of a modern First World country is more moral than the average inhabitant of any other civilisation in human history. For one thing, we don't keep slaves.

quote:
Originally by Stillness
If I say I am a law-abiding citizen and I sell illegal drugs, is my statement true? No. To be a law-abiding citizen one has to do more than claim that he is. He must actually obey the laws of his nation. Christ has laws. To be a Christian means you are actually a disciple of Christ. Simply saying you are does not make it so. This is one thing Jesus was extremely explicit on. A Christian waging war is like a Muslim that doesn’t believe in Allah. Christianity is not responsible for any wars, atrocities, or invasions. It’s impossible for it to be.

God places a high value on women. Their role is vital in the family arrangement. I don’t know what you mean by “hostile to the notion of women being equal to me.” Much is said about fathers, mothers and children, but that is not what I meant when I said you agreed. I was only speaking of the traditional family that you spoke of as ideal. And the Bible does not contradict itself.

You say the golden rule is age old and not originating with Christianity, please list the other source(s) that has that rule. You say that God is flawed as a source for absolute morality because people lack faith in him. That’s like saying water is bad because I don’t drink enough of it.

----------

Alo, Slavery has been around for quite awhile and is alive and well today. War has also been around for a bit. What happened in the last century was unique though. I agree that technology played a role in the ease of killing. But we had two world wars – absolutely unprecedented! That has nothing to do with technology. It was over world domination. Darwinistic thought, which teaches competition and advantage over others translating into survival and prosperity, heavily influenced the governments that were based off of Marx. These governments killed or allowed to die tens of millions of their own citizens. That certainly has to do with morals. I have read a quote supposedly from Stalin that says, “killing a million people is no different from mowing the lawn.” If he didn’t say it, he certainly lived it. Why should it be any different if grass is our evolutionary cousin?

I’m not saying morals alone are to blame, but there is a link. Racism, sexism, and intolerance are still alive and well too. That’s why a lot of folks have love/hate feelings towards the U.S. This country is supposed to be so concerned with human rights yet it tortures, bullies and abuses all over the world. I see no great advance in humanism whatsoever. I see a lot of violence everywhere. There are a bunch of broken families because of low opinion of marriage and lax morals regarding sexuality. AIDS is running rampant all over the world for the same reasons. Millions are dying, starving, and poor while the rich get richer and billions are spent on weapons and war.

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/09/23_16691.shtml

“Forced labor occurs in at least 90 cities across the United States… Slavery is a problem the public thinks we solved long ago, but, in fact, it's alive and well.”

-----------

Oh yeah, Jesus was an alien, sort of "You are from the realms below; I am from the realms above. You are from this world; I am not from this world." That's why I can picture a vastly different scheme for "life."
quote:
Originally by Kelandon
Wow. For a religious person, you are remarkably ignorant of religion and ethics. Confucius articulated the Golden Rule at least half a millenium before Jesus ever did.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Christianity is not responsible for any wars, atrocities, or invasions. It’s impossible for it to be.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, if you define Christians as only those who agree with you and act on it, then sure, but pretty much no one will agree with that definition.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What happened in the last century was unique though. I agree that technology played a role in the ease of killing. But we had two world wars – absolutely unprecedented! That has nothing to do with technology.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Um, you're so extremely wrong that it's hard to believe that you can think this. The Peloponnesian War was a war that consumed the entire known world, but the known world was pretty small at that point, because they didn't have enough communications technology to find out about, say, the Americas.

Large-scale war between many nations had occurred previously in history (the Napoleonic Wars, the Thirty Years War, etc.). The Thirty Years War was almost as international as WWI. WWI and WWII were different because of the technology available, but I don't think that there is anything else that makes them unique.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Darwinistic thought, which teaches competition and advantage over others translating into survival and prosperity, heavily influenced the governments that were based off of Marx.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wtf? You mean, governments that were based off of capitalism. Social Darwinists most frequently justified allowing competition to weed out the unfit, which is a capitalist, not a communist, system. By the way, Social Darwinism is not an inevitable consequence of biological Darwinism. It's a corruption of a scientific principle, not the next logical step.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Racism, sexism, and intolerance are still alive and well too. That’s why a lot of folks have love/hate feelings towards the U.S. This country is supposed to be so concerned with human rights yet it tortures, bullies and abuses all over the world.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, but it no longer has a legally-mandated racial caste system, nor does it deny women the right to vote (much less to work), and no longer has sodomy laws. Whatever you may say about the morality of the "good old days," you have to admit that we've made progress on the fronts that you've named.

quote:
Originally by Randomizer
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wikipedia reference page to the Golden Rule

There are several texts that predate Jesus on the Golden Rule. Besides morality is about actually following what you preach.

That's why Republican family values is a joke. During the period up to the Clinton impeachment, Newt Gingrich told his mistress to give him oral sex so,"I can swear that I never slept with you." This is when he was cheating on his second wife, who was his mistress when he cheated on his first wife.
quote:
Originally by Stillness
It just so happens that I am learning Chinese and studying the culture. I am aware of Confucius which is why I know that he did not articulate the Golden Rule as Jesus did. What he said sounds similar, but is different. Look closer. Jesus requires positive actions of doing good to others. Confucius is a negative version of what Jesus said.

Christianity is not based on me, but on Christ. That is the common measuring line. He was very clear that many would claim to follow him and use his name to perform powerful works but would in actuality be lawless. He was also clear that his disciples should not fight. I can quote the relevant scriptures if you think I’m making stuff up.

I didn’t say that there weren’t large scale wars. I said there weren’t world wars. That was absolutely unprecedented. Technology played a great role in the wars, it always has. It didn’t make them world wars though. The Americas were discovered centuries before 1914, yet there were no world wars. If you don’t think there is anything else unique about them then check the civilian casualties.

Darwinistic thought influenced Marx and governments that were based off of his teachings. I meant exactly what I said.

It doesn’t matter if something is legally mandated if it still goes on. Or maybe you think the government doesn’t know about forced labor. No caste system?

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/usa/Rcedrg00-01.htm

“Blacks comprise 13 percent of the national population, but 30 percent of people arrested, 41 percent of people in jail, and 49 percent of those in prison…Thirteen percent of the black adult male population has lost the right to vote because of felony disenfranchisement laws.”

Do you think blacks are genetically more prone to criminal activity? If not, what do you think the problem is? I do think that some progress has been made in certain areas, but the full picture shows regress. I’m not blaming lack of religion for the whole thing. Some religion is bad. Every time I hear about female genital mutilation I want to vomit.

JS, I’ll find the book I got the information from and quote from it later.

EDIT: The book I have quotes from Worldwatch Institute as follows:

"Three times as many people fell victim to war in [the 20th] century as in all the wars from the first century AD to 1899."

I found their website and this article entitled Kosovo and Beyond: Peacemaking in a Post-Cold War World at http://www.worldwatch.org/node/1650 that seems to be what it quoted from. It gives 110 million as the number killed which would imply about 35 million for the 1900 years before. I looked over the article, but it doesn't seem to say how they came up with that number.

quote:
Originally by Wary Wanderer
Originally written by Stillness:

It just so happens that I am learning Chinese and studying the culture. I am aware of Confucius which is why I know that he did not articulate the Golden Rule as Jesus did. What he said sounds similar, but is different. Look closer. Jesus requires positive actions of doing good to others. Confucius is a negative version of what Jesus said.

Regardless of the discussion of negative and positive injunctions, the Torah's repeated statement that one should love one's neighbor as oneself used the positive framework before Christ lived.

He was also clear that his disciples should not fight. I can quote the relevant scriptures if you think I’m making stuff up.

And what, in Catholocism, of papal infallibility? When Pope Urban II started the first crusade, calling for all Christians to wage war against the Turks (and even promising automatic remission of sins as a perk), is this not for Catholics the statement of direct Divine Will to wage war? And what of Pope Sixtus VI's support of the Inquisition?
Okay.... That should be it.
To the mods and/or admins: I'm in a bit of a rush and don't have time to go back for formatting. Feel free to fix it for me :P .

--------------------
-Lenar Labs
What's Your Destiny?

Ushmushmeifa: Lenar's power is almighty and ineffable.

All hail lord Noric, god of... well, something important, I'm sure.
Posts: 735 | Registered: Monday, January 16 2006 08:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #1
Here's my prior lengthy post that didn't make it in before the cutoff:

quote:
Originally written by Drew:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

A Christian waging war is like a Muslim that doesn’t believe in Allah. Christianity is not responsible for any wars, atrocities, or invasions. It’s impossible for it to be.
If that's the case, than anyone's claim to being Christian isn't meaningful for your purposes. By that rationale, pretty much no one would be Christian. But that hasn't prevented heinous actions being carried out in Christ's name with the full sanction of those dictating what the scriptures really mean. Indeed, the church itself has waged wars. In that sense, Christianity - the religion - is quite responsible for waging wars. Oh, but I forgot - that's all different now.

quote:
God places a high value on women. Their role is vital in the family arrangement. I don’t know what you mean by “hostile to the notion of women being equal to me.” Much is said about fathers, mothers and children, but that is not what I meant when I said you agreed. I was only speaking of the traditional family that you spoke of as ideal. And the Bible does not contradict itself.
Your second assertion belies your first, and so addresses the confusion you exhibit in the third. In asserting that a woman's role is vital in the family arrangement, you are marginalizing them. It's like saying "I put a high value on my car. It is vital for taking me to and from where I need to go."

I meant nothing more than what I asserted - that it would be best for a child to have both loving parents in his life. That doesn't mean that he necessarily have a "traditional family," with mom barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, obeying her husband like a good wife should per 2 Corinthians. Give me a break. The Bible and especially the church are inherently patriarchal institutions.

quote:
[b]You say the golden rule is age old and not originating with Christianity, please list the other source(s) that has that rule. You say that God is flawed as a source for absolute morality because people lack faith in him. That’s like saying water is bad because I don’t drink enough of it.
[/b]

This has already been addressed above quite well, but I would like to point out that your "positive-negative" treatment is just splitting hairs. The fundamental moral underpinnings are the same. As for the second point, it's flawed, because unlike water, you can't prove to me or anyone else - whatever they may choose to believe - that God is vital for life. As far as I'm concerned, you're believing in a fiction, no more real than Santa or that garage dragon that gets brought into these discussions periodically. As such, anything coming from that source lacks credibility with me.

Of course, the notion that "all men are created equal," and endowed with natural rights is pretty fictitious in a sense as well. But our society has agreed to uphold them. The agreement is tangeable, and has a ready source that can be challenged. A preacher dictating the Word on behalf of the Almighty Santa, on the other hand, is not.

Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #2
quote:
Originally written by Yama:

Well, it no longer enforces sodomy laws. It's amazing how many are still on the books, though.
Lawrence v. Texas struck them all down. They are no longer considered constitutional.
quote:
I didn’t say that there weren’t large scale wars. I said there weren’t world wars.
Define "world war."
quote:
It doesn’t matter if something is legally mandated if it still goes on. Or maybe you think the government doesn’t know about forced labor. No caste system? ... “Blacks comprise 13 percent of the national population, but 30 percent of people arrested, 41 percent of people in jail, and 49 percent of those in prison…Thirteen percent of the black adult male population has lost the right to vote because of felony disenfranchisement laws.”
We haven't recovered fully yet from the disastrously bad conditions of a few decades ago. However, thirteen percent of the black adult male population losing the right to vote, no matter how bad, is still a better statistic than one hundred percent of the black adult male population being denied the right to vote.

You simply cannot say that our values of equality have declined in the past few decades. It's just not true. You can try to claim that other values have declined, but not these.

And even if we did accept your splitting hairs about the Golden Rule, if you scroll down to the bottom of the Wikipedia page, you will find, "Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence." (Mencius VII.A.4) That's still several hundred years before Jesus and in a completely different context.

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #3
Huh. I guess I really did stop paying attention to current events after high school. Hardwick I know, but I don't remember even hearing about Lawrence. Shame on me!

--------------------
Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #4
Lawrence v. Texas is fairly recent - I believe 2003. Nevertheless, it does represent a pretty profound sea change, at least with regard to challenging the basis for laws whose sole justification is morality, which I think is a good thing.

[ Wednesday, July 11, 2007 06:28: Message edited by: Drew ]
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #5
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

I didn’t say that there weren’t large scale wars. I said there weren’t world wars. That was absolutely unprecedented. Technology played a great role in the wars, it always has. It didn’t make them world wars though. The Americas were discovered centuries before 1914, yet there were no world wars. If you don’t think there is anything else unique about them then check the civilian casualties.

quote:
Originally written by Stillness, 12 hours earlier:
Disregard for Human Life: In the past century more blood has been shed in wars than in the 1900 years prior to that. High regard for human life (which Jesus taught) would not allow for war. Is that arbitrary?
I think this is where I have a problem. You play fast and loose with hyperbolic "facts," and then backpedal and re-define your terms so that your "fact" can't be disproven. You know, it is okay to be wrong. I've been wrong, and I would wager that most everyone here has been wrong. I do admire your steadfast belief in your religion, but I don't share it. I, as a skeptic, have a hard time with unwavering belief in anything not tangible. Even your Golden Rule (as you claim to be a disciple of Christ, that makes it your rule) is suspect. It is a great maxim if you are trying to peacefully co-exist in a utopian landscape, but when applied universally it fails. This is a world of eat-or-be-eaten, and the long list of extinct species is titled "The Golden Rule." If Christian belief in the after-life is good enough for you, then so be it. But I will continue to live in a world of the corpus, and let others worry and fret about what may or may not be happening after death.

--------------------
WWtNSD?

Synergy - "I don't get it."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4248
Profile #6
I read an article about world wars few months ago, from a magazine that is simple titled History. It defined a world war as something to the effect of "series of aggressive conflicts spreading over, and affecting, most of human population". By that definition, at least two or three wars *before* WW1 can be considered to have been world wars, and WW2 has never really ended. I'm quite happy with that explanation.

--------------------
I have nothing more to do in this world, so I can go & pester the inhabitants of the next one with a pure concscience.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 6700
Profile Homepage #7
1. Stillness, welcome to Spiderweb. You will find that most members are either agnostics or hard-core atheists. And most of them actually know what they're talking about, and aren't afraid to walk all over you to demonstrate.
But, if you leave your sanity at the door as suggested, allow yourself to have a little bit of an open mind, respect the others, and know that you have to pick your battles carefully, you'll find that despite the many conflicting political and religious views present here, we're all a great bunch... if not a little hard-headed at times. :P
Who knows, if you pay attention to our little market of ideas, you may actually learn something.

2. "Morality" is drawn from a clearly-defined set of values and social standards. "Morals" are personal values derived from the implications of a set of social values. They also, to an extent, assist in defining said social values.
Simple observation suggests that a specific core set (not the entire thing) of these social values are necessary for social stability, and that many of society's values, including the definition of freedom, the content and context of the family unit, the prominence of religion, and others, naturally evolve from context and society.
I do believe through my theological research and convictions that there is only one working set of these core values... and that they are still prominent in Western society. I have come to the conclusion that conservatives, churches, and political activists are chasing the wrong ball.
The fact of the matter is that morals are always in "decay" because some morals are always changing, i.e., the definition of freedom, the development and formation of the family unit. The fact of the matter is, a society does not internally collapse when morals decay, it collapses when people stop caring about it. I point to the Roman Empire, obvessively religious, even Christian when it fell.

3. Our current "Moral decay" has not come because people are not being religious. Religion may help establish values, but it does not demand them, is not the only source of them, and, if truly of the god that it claims to be from, obviously does not derive from them.
Interesting that Confucious got mentioned. And I am surprised, Stillness, that you have not recognized Romans 1:18-32 which, for those who don't feel like loking it up, states that the will and knowledge of God is ingrained into all men and his glory revealed through nature, etc.
Point is, you can be moral without being religious because mankind intrinsically knows right from wrong.

This "decay" is occurring because two major changes in value have been made: First, value has been purposefully shifted away from society to the individual, ignoring or ultimately rejecting standing social values. From the perspective of those with "traditional" values, this is chaos, and indeed, there is and will be a large period of instability as both social and personal values will need to realign. But from the perspective of those who want the values changed, yes, humanism is finally winning.
Second, the recognition of absolutes has been abolished, and from any perspective except the secular humanist, this is a very bad thing. Without absolutes, laws have no effect, science is merely the observation of slanted perspective and not fact, and an individual's rights are correlated to how much control they have over others. Power reigns, not law, and stability arrives in the form of a military anarchy.

4. So as to explain where I'm coming from to the newcomers, I am a disciple of Christ. A born-again, baptized, Bible-believing Christian, for those of you who require the lingo to believe it. For those who care, I do not speak in tongues, because an online translator can do that for me.

5. That said, my theological research has led me to believe that there is only one set of core values that will be stable in any society (best summarized here, if you're interested.), and that just about everything else will fall into place once these values are considered social absolutes.

EDIT: I missed deleting half a sentance from a rant I decided not to go on.
Drew, thanks for inserting that post. Sorry I missed it.

--------------------
The Silent Assassin knows exactly two things: that he knows nothing about why my car is covered in pink paint, and that he knows that he doesn't know why my car is covered in pink paint.
Liar. That's three.

[ Wednesday, July 11, 2007 07:18: Message edited by: Lenar ]

--------------------
-Lenar Labs
What's Your Destiny?

Ushmushmeifa: Lenar's power is almighty and ineffable.

All hail lord Noric, god of... well, something important, I'm sure.
Posts: 735 | Registered: Monday, January 16 2006 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #8
quote:
Originally written by Drew:

By that rationale, pretty much no one would be Christian. But that hasn't prevented heinous actions being carried out in Christ's name with the full sanction of those dictating what the scriptures really mean.
I now kill people in the name of Drew. Are you responsible for their deaths? That being said there are people who do not fight in wars and do everything in their power to be peaceable because they imitate Christ and obey him.

quote:
In asserting that a woman's role is vital in the family arrangement, you are marginalizing them. It's like saying "I put a high value on my car.
I also said I place a high value on human life. Do I marginalize humans and equate them to cars as well? No. You’re just reading into my words what you please.

quote:
That doesn't mean that he necessarily have a "traditional family," with mom barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, obeying her husband like a good wife should per 2 Corinthians.
Again, I meant mother, father, children when I spoke of what we agreed on. Clearly I don’t think you agree with the Bible as you have made your sentiment on it quite plain. Neither 2 Corinthians nor any other scripture says women should be “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.” A good wife should obey her husband. The Bible also says that a good husband should honor his wife and love her like Jesus love his congregation to the extent that he gave his life for it. Jesus also served his his disciples. If a husband does not do this, the Bible is clear that God will not listen to his prayers. So is the man belittled because God’s attention is dependant on how he honors his wife and is willing to serve her to the point of giving his life? Why do I have to be willing to serve and give up my life just because I’m a man? And while we’re on the subject, why does the mother and not the father get to share the special bond with children that comes from carrying the child for 9 months and breastfeeding? Why can’t we be equal to women in that respect? Why does a person’s offspring have to honor and obey them to receive God’s favor? Am I less of a person than my mother just because she’s older and I came from her? From a biblical perspective this is vain questioning because divine order is what it is. Yet in terms of worth women and men are equal.

Your view of the Bible teachings on male-female relations is skewed.

quote:
As for the second point, it's flawed, because unlike water, you can't prove to me or anyone else - whatever they may choose to believe - that God is vital for life…anything coming from that source lacks credibility with me.
I’m not really aiming to prove God exists to you. I’m saying that Christian morality is the best thing for humanity and the more we deviate from it the worse off this planet is for it. The proof is in the pudding. In general the world is at it’s worst. I’m not talking about the fact that I can drink from any water fountain I please by law in this pocket of the globe. I’m talking about bad human relations in practice, the breakdown of the family unit, the mental and physical problems caused by extra/premarital sex, poverty, human suffering, etc. If the world was a better place I’d be with you. As it stands, it is not a better for establishing morality outside of the divine.

quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Define "world war."
A war affecting most of the larger nations and most of the world. I don’t want to focus on the world wars alone though, because my point was that the conflicts of the past century mark this period as unique. That can be seen from the fact that three times as many died as in the past 19 centuries. But if you want to focus on the world wars then look at the link to wikipedia and compare the lesser of the two to any other war you’d like by comparing the map that shows how much of the world was involved and the chart that has the numbers and see why any historical reference you can think of will say that WWI was unprecedented in scale and thus bears the title World War 1.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #9
Huh, I didn't know that we could be broken down so cleanly. I do believe that there are powers beyond my ken, but I don't believe that there is anything to the Judeo-Christian/Muslim/Buddhist religions that can't be explained away by fear-mongering to support the formation of fledgling society/civilization. So that makes me not an atheist, and maybe a light-duty agnostic.

So, who are the hardcore atheists? And more importantly, do we need a poll? :D

--------------------
WWtNSD?

Synergy - "I don't get it."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Warrior
Member # 6401
Profile #10
As I understand it, atheism is having no belief in a being that is god. So being an atheist really depends on how you define god, or what you would consider a god to be.

I can quite happily, and without evidence, believe in the possibility of beings beyond my experience, but none of those beings need be a god. They might be omnipotent, infinite etc, but that doesn't make them gods. I do consider myself an atheist.

Then again, atheist/agnostic etc are just labels. It's such a complex and subjective area that I find it misleading to group people together too much.

And yes, a poll!

--------------------
I think this is really wonderful.
Posts: 147 | Registered: Tuesday, October 18 2005 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #11
quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Sarcasmon:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

I didn’t say that there weren’t large scale wars. I said there weren’t world wars. That was absolutely unprecedented. Technology played a great role in the wars, it always has. It didn’t make them world wars though. The Americas were discovered centuries before 1914, yet there were no world wars. If you don’t think there is anything else unique about them then check the civilian casualties.

quote:
Originally written by Stillness, 12 hours earlier:
Disregard for Human Life: In the past century more blood has been shed in wars than in the 1900 years prior to that. High regard for human life (which Jesus taught) would not allow for war. Is that arbitrary?
I think this is where I have a problem. You play fast and loose with hyperbolic "facts," and then backpedal and re-define your terms so that your "fact" can't be disproven. You know, it is okay to be wrong. I've been wrong, and I would wager that most everyone here has been wrong.

Jumpin, I’m not seeing your point on me being wrong and back-pedaling. Is it with the term “world war?” I reckon it’s a matter of relativity and semantics. Let’s say I’m wrong with my use of the term and bow before your rightness. That doesn’t change my points in the least bit.

quote:
Even your Golden Rule (as you claim to be a disciple of Christ, that makes it your rule) is suspect. It is a great maxim if you are trying to peacefully co-exist in a utopian landscape, but when applied universally it fails. This is a world of eat-or-be-eaten, and the long list of extinct species is titled "The Golden Rule."
Give me an instance where your animalistic view of life and humanity is better than Christ’s and mine, which is based off of love. What would the world be like if everyone viewed the world as you do? What would the world be like if everyone viewed it as Christ?

quote:
Originally written by Lenar:

1. Stillness, welcome to Spiderweb.
Thanks. I have found the gang here as you say: very blunt and lacking a bit of courtesy, but smart. And I have learned a great deal. This is why I stay.

quote:
And I am surprised, Stillness, that you have not recognized Romans 1:18-32 which, for those who don't feel like loking it up, states that the will and knowledge of God is ingrained into all men and his glory revealed through nature, etc.
Point is, you can be moral without being religious because mankind intrinsically knows right from wrong.

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

I said only that there was a link, not dependancy. We naturally have a conscience. It tends to go astray without proper guidance though. People start to set their own standards as it suits them. Hence the decline in morals we see.
I actually had in mind Romans 2:14, 15 which mentions the nations doing the things of the law by nature because it is written on their hearts. But I also had in mind Jeremiah 10:23 which says that man cannot direct his own steps. The truth of that is all to clear when one examines our history and sees that from near the very beginning “man has dominated man to his injury.” (Ecclesiastes 8:9)
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #12
"I now kill people in the name of Drew."

That's well and good, except that I'm here to deny that I support such behavior, as well as sue you for defamation. Christ, however, is not around to refute such a statement made in his name, and how do you even know what he backs? "Well, the Bible says this, and I KNOW in my heart..., etc., etc." That's great. There are thousands of people who claim to be Christians and know the will of God, and who have thousands and thousands of interpretations that vary in whole or in part from yours. The authority is not clear. For all you know, Christ could have been okay with, say, the War in Iraq and the deaths of all the innocent Muslims. Prove to me that he wasn't. After all, the President, a good God-Fearing Man, believes that Christ is with him on that one.

Further, lots of people choose to be peaceable without doing so for the sake of being Christ-like. Christ does not hold the monopoly on peace.

The patriarchy issue

I think my analogy was pretty apt. You identified that God values woman for their usefulness to the family; not necessarily as individuals. That's pretty denegrating. So is Paul's instruction that wives should obey their husbands. You aren't going to argue your way out of the fact that the Bible and the Christian religion aren't inherently patriarchal - there's a whole seminary of believers on Lexington Road in Louisville, Kentucky that I grew up a block-and-a-half away from that would say otherwise, fervently, and many, many books on the topic. The Women's Movement wasn't made out of whole cloth, you know.

Stillness, Christian morality is nothing other than a rehashing and rebranding of older, fairly universal moral ideas with a patriarchal bent and the intent essentially that a body of priests, be it in the form of the Catholic Church, or charismatic Pastor Billy Joe Bob of Salvation Mega Bible Church can call the shots. You may prefer that, but I call it a tyranny of the arbitrary, and I'll have none of it. Historically, they've done a pretty poor job of calling the shots, too - see, e.g., the Crusades, justifying slavery, opposing interracial marriage, homosexuality, gay marriage, etc. Sure, the church has adjusted its benighted views in several of these instances, but it has always done so not as a result of further consultation with the scriptures (though if they would just adhere to the "loving your neighbor" bit to a greater degree, they might get there), but from the external influence of reason and respect for liberty, the notion that we are each free to live as we choose, provided that we do not unnecessarily infringe on the liberty of another.

Really, it's all about how morals are imposed that's important to me, and I think the Christian spin on this is bankrupt, because it's authoritarian and (I believe) predicated on fiction. No Christian God = no authority, and therefore no incentive to obey. The Constitution, on the other hand, has much more authority in my eyes, because it's predicated on notions of equity and liberty, and was decided on more or less democratically. Furthermore, though it's difficult to, it can be changed if the need arises, and that sits better with me than just having to swallow whatever poison pill of wisdom my particular sect of Christianity decides to call the Word of God. That's ceding a bit too much control over my personal liberty for my comfort.

For the record, I'm a secular humanist; skeptic; agnostic; and dynamite dancer.
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #13
quote:
Originally written by Drew:

[b]The Bible and especially the church are inherently patriarchal institutions.
[/b]

The Bible, well, yeah. But I'd argue that the New Testament at least presents principles that undermine patriarchy, and that it is in a sense as unpatriarchal as it reasonably could have been in its times and places of composition. It makes explicit parallels, for instance, between the obediences owed by wives to husbands and by slaves to masters. It does not actually endorse patriarchy any more than it endorses slavery.

It certainly condoned both, on the grounds that spreading the gospel was a higher priority at that time than trying to right entrenched social wrongs. It's the scripture of an otherworldly religion, after all. But it asserts that women and men, as slaves and free, are equal before God. William Wilberforce certainly felt that he was fighting slavery under the inspiration of
the New Testament, and he beat Abe Lincoln by a good thirty years. A strong case can be made that enthusiastic Christians have done more for ethical progress than bold freethinkers.

Yeah, it could be that all this ethical progress, even the part led by Christians, was in spite of Christianity rather than because of it. But I think it must be naive to treat such a massive factor in Western intellectual history as Christianity as though it can so easily be distinguished from humanism and reason. I'd be much less quick to dismiss the pervasive intellectual and moral influence of capitalism, for instance.

Christianity is a huge thing, with strands going every which way, and it shapes its cultural children even in rejection. Most major reforms were won, not by trumping Christianity with humanism, but by trumping one Christian tradition with another — which is itself one of the oldest and most important Christian traditions.

There are some female bishops these days.

[ Wednesday, July 11, 2007 10:01: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #14
quote:
If I can sum up your point as follows:
As humanity strays further from the teachings of Christ, we become more apt to murder,rape, and commit acts of gross atrocity. To wit, we engage in acts of mass war which decimate the population at an unprecedented rate.

Is that pretty much it? The reason I made that point is because in your first post regarding war, you didn't call it "world war," yet later said you did. Therefore I've changed the term "world" to "mass" in order to reflect the evident nature of fast and reliable transport as a mechanism for war. The Mongol hordes engaged in mass war. The Persians engaged in mass war. The American natives engaged in mass war. Polynesians engaged in mass war. Europeans, Romans, Africans, we all have engaged in mass war.

It is an unusual event to see death tolls in the millions, but in terms of effect on a population, there have been far greater wars than the Great War. When all males in a city of 10,000 were killed, is that a lesser event than WW 2? The issue that I see is that people are continuously seeking to expand their territory, whether it be personal space, social space, or real space. We will keep doing so despite the traditions inspired by the original peacenik. It is nice that humans aspire to be (insert 10 Commandments here,) but it isn't our nature. And as a learned response, it seems to be a denial of our true selves.
As I'm not a believer in the traditions of Christ, I can't really tell you what a world may be like if those teachings ascribed to him were universally followed, but it sounds very "sameish." Overcrowding would be a huge issue, which in turn would lead to more desires for personal space, more denial of that need, and then a shedding of the artifice once more.
My world, aka where we are now, can be pretty much summed up by looking around.

As far as which is better, I guess that depends on the person. I enjoy that which I have now, and it appears you do as well. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by animalistic, but if you are implying that I view humans as just another species on the planet, then you are right. I'm surprised that anyone rational person could see it any differently.

--------------------
WWtNSD?

Synergy - "I don't get it."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #15
Well, the Southern Baptist Convention has swung pretty decidedly in the direction of a patriarchal outlook. Also, I would say that while there are some female Anglican bishops out there, how long had the church been around before this took place? And again, did it arrive at that decision from its own doctrine, or as a result of wider societal forces? I think while it may result from a combination of the two, it's predominantly been a result of the latter.
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6489
Profile Homepage #16
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

I don’t want to focus on the world wars alone though, because my point was that the conflicts of the past century mark this period as unique. That can be seen from the fact that three times as many died as in the past 19 centuries. But if you want to focus on the world wars then look at the link to wikipedia and compare the lesser of the two to any other war you’d like by comparing the map that shows how much of the world was involved and the chart that has the numbers and see why any historical reference you can think of will say that WWI was unprecedented in scale and thus bears the title World War 1.
In 1800, the world's population was approximately 978 million. 50 years before that, it was only 791 million. In 1900, the population had increased to 1.65 billion, and in 2005, it was a staggering 6.45 billion. No wonder more people died in the past century. The world's population increased exponentially. There were more people around that [b]could[/b] die.

--------------------
"You're drinking liquor because you're thirsty? How nasty is your freaking water?" —Lazarus
Spiderweb Chat Room
Avernum RPSummariesOoCRoster
Shadow Vale - My site, home of the Spiderweb Chat Database, BoA Scenario Database, & the A1 Quest List, among other things.
Posts: 1556 | Registered: Sunday, November 20 2005 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #17
I edited my previous post a bit.

It took forever to get female Anglican priests; after that, bishops were quick, as everyone knew they would be, because there was no good sand for drawing lines in past the priest point.

Did Anglicans ordain women priests — as not all Anglicans even yet do — through their own doctrine? Certainly, since Anglicanism has for centuries (though it doesn't have many centuries, compared to Rome) defined its doctrinal base as a tripod of reason, revelation, and tradition. And when Rome ordains women, it too will do so by its own doctrine, because the Pope will authorize it. That's what having a Pope is all about.

The idea that Christianity is about adhering forever to an exhaustive code that can never change is a heresy. Some basic doctrines are certainly fixed, but the whole enormous issue of doctrinal authority, which the older churches have all handled at length in their various ways, presumes that lesser but still important doctrinal decisions must continually be made. Semper reformandum is one of the fixed Christian doctrines.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #18
Okay. But it's amazing how much of a sticking point that "wives obey their husbands" bit can be - I've been to many "Put Jesus in Your Bed"-style weddings, and that always seems to show up. It does seem pretty antiquated to me, though, and I know that my wife would have some choice words for me should I try to invoke that bit of scripture. How about yours, SoT? ;)
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Guardian
Member # 6670
Profile Homepage #19
By SoT:
quote:
The idea that Christianity is about adhering forever to an exhaustive code that can never change is a heresy. Some basic doctrines are certainly fixed, but the whole enormous issue of doctrinal authority, which the older churches have all handled at length in their various ways, presumes that lesser but still important doctrinal decisions must continually be made. Semper reformandum is one of the fixed Christian doctrines.
I do agree with your point that the Bible isn't exhaustive, but Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est secundu Verbum Dei actually says the opposite of what you said in the previous paragraphs: a Reformed church must always be correcting itself to return to the Bible. It's not changing as much as reverting.

EDIT: Hmmm. May be a mis-read on my part. Or I'm mis-reading the mis-read. Meh.

--------------------
All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.
- Steven Wright

[ Wednesday, July 11, 2007 10:37: Message edited by: Dintiradan ]
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #20
Tyran wrote: "the world's population was...in 2005...a staggering 6.45 billion."

Has it hit 6.66 billion yet? If so, the end must be nigh. Head for the hills.

-S-

--------------------
A4 ItemsA4 SingletonG4 ItemsG4 ForgingG4 Infiltrator NR Items The Lonely Celt
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #21
quote:
Originally written by Drew:

Christ could have been okay with, say, the War in Iraq and the deaths of all the innocent Muslims. Prove to me that he wasn't.
(The Bible I use distinguishes between singular and plural “you” with all caps).

Can a Christian retaliate to pay someone back for wrongdoing?

(Matthew 5:44, 45) However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.

(1 Thessalonians 5:15) See that no one renders injury for injury to anyone else, but always pursue what is good toward one another and to all others.

How did Jesus display this principle?

(1 Peter 2:23) When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously.

Can a Christian kill other Christians just because they are from another country?

(John 13:34, 35) “I am giving YOU a new commandment, that YOU love one another; just as I have loved YOU, that YOU also love one another. By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have love among yourselves.”

Can a Christian bear arms to attack his enemies?

(Matthew 26:51-53) But, look! one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest and took off his ear. Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father to supply me at this moment more than twelve legions of angels?”

(John 18:36) Jesus answered: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.”

Speaking of his disciples…
(John 17:15, 16) “I request you, not to take them out of the world, but to watch over them because of the wicked one. They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.”

Can a person be a Christian without applying these laws and principles?

(Matthew 7:21-23) “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness.”

quote:
You identified that God values woman for their usefulness to the family; not necessarily as individuals. That's pretty denegrating. So is Paul's instruction that wives should obey their husbands.
I did not do that. You’re making things up. How is telling wives to obey their husbands denegrading? I think you’re assuming some demigod marching around the house yelling out orders. That is not the divine way. Jesus follows God, husbands obey Jesus, wives obey their husbands, children obey their parents. That is divine order and no one is denegraded because they have to obey. Headship is not harsh and tyrannical in God’s arrangement.

(Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29) “Husbands, continue loving YOUR wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it…
In this way husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it, as the Christ also does the congregation.”

The husband, although having headship over his wife and children, has to have a powerful love for his wife so that he cherishes her and is willing to deliver himself up for her as Jesus did. That doesn’t make him more important or better. It is simply the way God has arranged for order. Corporations select presidents and directors, not because they are better than anyone else but because organizations need leadership. The president may very well not be the smartest or most valuable player on the team, but structure is necessary nonetheless. Do you obey the government? Is that denegrading to you? Why? Is George Bush a better and smarter person than you are?

You speak of patriarchies with disdain, so I thought I’d look it up to see what the accepted definition is. What I think of as a patriarchy is a social system in which the father/husband is the head of his household. The first definition on dictionary.com is this:

a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father's clan or tribe.

I have a couple of problems with applying this definition to the Bible. The use of the word “supreme” and saying the children belong to the father’s clan. First God has always been the supreme authority for the households of faith from the very beginning. To illustrate this Abraham’s (the first person I think of when I hear “patriarch”) concubine and their son were causing problems in his household. Abraham’s wife kept telling Abraham to dismiss them, but he did not like that suggestion. So God says:

“Do not let anything that Sarah keeps saying to you be displeasing to you about the boy and about your slave girl. Listen to her voice, because it is by means of Isaac that what will be called your seed will be. And as for the son of the slave girl, I shall also constitute him a nation, because he is your offspring.”

First, Sarah felt free to keep expressing herself to her very powerful husband. And most importantly, God told Abraham to follow his wife’s instructions against his wishes and of course Abraham acquiesed. I think your view of things may not be what the Bible says and may have more to do with the abuse of womankind – something not sanctioned by God. Man and woman complete each other and are partners making a whole. The relationship is to be pleasant for both and governed by love and mutual respect.

quote:
Christian morality is nothing other than a rehashing and rebranding of older, fairly universal moral ideas
I pretty much agree with that, although I would say absolutely universal because they come from the creator of the universe.

quote:
with a patriarchal bent and the intent essentially that a body of priests, be it in the form of the Catholic Church, or charismatic Pastor Billy Joe Bob of Salvation Mega Bible Church can call the shots.
False. Christ calls the shots.

quote:
Historically, they've done a pretty poor job of calling the shots, too - see, e.g., the Crusades, justifying slavery, opposing interracial marriage,
None of these things has anything to do with Christianity. They’re human creations and institutions.

quote:
homosexuality, gay marriage
Above I listed a scripture where Jesus said he was no part of the world and prayed to God that his disciples would remain that way. Jesus did not get involved in the politics of his day, in fact he fled when people were so overwhelmed by his activity that they tried to crown him as king. Practice of homosexuality, like any fornication, is unacceptable in the Christian congregation. What the world does is up to them, though. A person imitating Jesus would keep their nose out of political affairs.

quote:
the notion that we are each free to live as we choose, provided that we do not unnecessarily infringe on the liberty of another.
These are Christian ideals! There’s hope for you yet.

(1 Corinthians 10:29) “Why should it be that my freedom is judged by another person’s conscience?”
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #22
A few relatively short points to cut through the slowly building quote ziggurats:

Christianity is no longer based on the Bible, and Christ can't be calling the shots because he's not here. Christianity is based on hundreds or thousands of sects, some of which are rigidly organized and some of which are adamantly disorganized. Christian morals and the morals expressed by the Bible are not the same.

I still don't buy your point on war. Yes, world wars that truly include the whole world (or at least most of it) are new. So is the ability to reach the whole world. I think technological and logistical advances are responsible, not some huge moral morass.

Cut the words however you want, you cannot deny that the Bible treats men and women differently. You can make a separate but equal argument, but you cannot make an equivalency argument. In my view, and in the views of many others here, anything short of moral interchangeability for men and women is unacceptable.

—Alorael, who thinks that gets back to one of the first points here. You say that morals are failing and the world is worse off because of it, or perhaps that the world is worse than ever before because of failing morals. Whichever way you order cause and effect, you're not going to get agreement. Many (most?) people on these forums do not believe that morals are declining or that the world is worse than it has ever been. The world is, in fact, in most ways at its peak.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #23
quote:
Originally written by Lenar:

5. That said, my theological research has led me to believe that there is only one set of core values that will be stable in any society (best summarized here, if you're interested.), and that just about everything else will fall into place once these values are considered social absolutes.
Even the bit about not coveting one's neighbour's goods? Because it seems to me that historically, societies that have tried to take that part seriously have fallen into stagnation at best.

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

None of these things has anything to do with Christianity. They’re human creations and institutions.
Whether you like it or not, words mean what their present-day users think they mean, and that means that Christianity is whatever most people think it is, whether you like it or not, and whether Jesus would have liked it or not. That's how language works.

quote:
Originally written by Zebranky:

Many (most?) people on these forums do not believe that morals are declining or that the world is worse than it has ever been. The world is, in fact, in most ways at its peak.
Pursuant to this, I can't resist making a Rawlsian argument at this point. Stillness, are you really saying that you would rather live the life of a randomly-selected person somewhere in the world at some time of your choosing in the past than the life of a randomly-selected person in the present day?

Really?

If you can seriously contemplate answering "yes" to that question, I think our worldviews are too different for us to have anything to say to each other.

[ Thursday, July 12, 2007 00:52: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

--------------------
The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #24
Wanting your neighbor's yak is bad. But it's okay, as far as the coveting commandment is concerned, to want not their yak, but a yak of your own, just like theirs, or if possible better. This attitude is more likely to lead to production than to stagnation: stop gazing wistfully into your neighbor's field, and start working for your yak.

About obedience in marriage: my wife might actually have gone for that, at least in theory, but in fact we didn't and don't buy it. I have a low view of the authority of scripture (which view is doubtless heretical) so in principle I'm happy to just disagree with the New Testament, if I have to. But what I find is that the explicit New Testament passages about subjugation of women all have something funny about them. A couple are followed by disclaimers that seem to indicate that the verses describe then-standard customs, rather than prescribing ideals. Of those that are not, the one that sticks in my mind is in (IIRC) 1 Peter, "In the same way, wives obey your husbands." But that 'in the same way' refers to the immediately preceding exhortation that slaves should obey their masters.

Whatever may have been right or wrong in the early Roman empire, slavery is certainly out today. In the same way, I figure we can ditch patriarchy.

About semper reformandum: Christian reform is indeed always cast as an improvement in fidelity to the true meaning of the original scriptures and/or tradition. What truly changes is the interpretation of what this true meaning is. Of course it does not change arbitrarily; the claim that the new interpretation is more accurate must be convincing. But this is a subtle game, because the text itself contains lots of divergent strands.

This is not the same as saying the scriptures are self-contradictory. Any large text is bound to contain a number of contexts, and claiming contradictions between statements made in different contexts can be like insisting that Australians fall up.
But once you admit that meaning depends on context, you admit a factor in interpretation that can be hard to pin down, because contextual weight can be very subjective.

For example, does one interpret 'wives obey your husbands' in the light of 'there is now in Christ neither male nor female, free nor slave, Jew nor Greek'? Or does the light shine in the opposite direction? Which verse has the greater contextual weight? To me, the latter one definitely seems a lot heavier. It's a ringing peroration in a major theoretical epistle, the encapsulation of a long and crucial argument. The other statements seem to me, in comparison, to be mere boilerplate disavowals of social revolution as an immediate and primary goal.

In past eras the balance of contextual weights may have seemed to tip the other way. If now it tips my way, we reform, and yet consider ourselves to be restoring the true message of the scriptures, rather than simply inventing a new message.

--------------------
We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00

Pages