1. SubscriberFMF
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    08 Feb '11 03:251 edit
    Here is an excerpt from William K. Clifford's essay "The Ethics of Belief" (1877)

    A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs.

    Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doubts preyed upon his mind, and made him unhappy; he thought that perhaps he ought to have her thoroughly overhauled and and refitted, even though this should put him at great expense.

    Before the ship sailed, however, he succeeded in overcoming these melancholy reflections. He said to himself that she had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms that it was idle to suppose she would not come safely home from this trip also.

    He would put his trust in Providence, which could hardly fail to protect all these unhappy families that were leaving their fatherland to seek for better times elsewhere. He would dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors.

    In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy; he watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance-money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.


    The rest of the essay is here: http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/w_k_clifford/ethics_of_belief.html

    What lessons, if any, do other posters see in this allegory with regard to the role of spirituality and religious faith in the decision making process in a democracy or, indeed, other forms of governance?
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    08 Feb '11 03:50
    Originally posted by FMF
    Here is an excerpt from William K. Clifford's essay "The Ethics of Belief" (1877)

    [quote]A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs.

    Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doub ...[text shortened]... us faith in the decision making process in a democracy or, indeed, other forms of governance?
    I kinda see President Obama as the shipowner. He sees that his current fiscal path is not sustainable and even says so. However, his conviction that everyone should have the health care that he thinks they should have coupled with the moral determination to see it through no matter the fiscal state of the union causes him to put his trust in Providence and send the ship out to sea against his better judgement.
  3. SubscriberFMF
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    08 Feb '11 04:22
    Originally posted by whodey
    I kinda see President Obama as the shipowner. He sees that his current fiscal path is not sustainable and even says so. However, his conviction that everyone should have the health care that he thinks they should have coupled with the moral determination to see it through no matter the fiscal state of the union causes him to put his trust in Providence and send the ship out to sea against his better judgement.
    Perhaps you could start/duplicate this topic in Debates - where it can be turned into a partisan hobby horse race - rather than hijacking this thread?

    This is the Spirituality Forum and the OP question is about "the role of spirituality and religious faith in the decision making process in a democracy".
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    08 Feb '11 14:123 edits
    Originally posted by FMF
    Perhaps you could start/duplicate this topic in Debates - where it can be turned into a partisan hobby horse race - rather than hijacking this thread?

    This is the Spirituality Forum and the OP question is about "the role of spirituality and religious faith in the decision making process in a democracy".
    How is it hijacking your thread? You have a President who says he is a Christian and obviously has a moral issue with people who do not have medical insurance. How then can you seperate his moral/spiritual make up from his fiscal policies? You can't.

    Perhaps you were looking to bash someone like "W" who was accused by the left of invading Iraq because God told him to do so. Is that more to your liking?

    Of course, I don't think that "W" went to war with Iraq because God told him so, but I do believe "W" has a religious belief of sorts that democracy is a holy grail of sorts. He thinks that by establishing a democracy at every turn and oppurtunity will usher in some kind of global utopia. In fact, no fiscal/political price is too high to pay for this holy grail.

    So in both examples, we see two presidents who act politically on their belief system with utter disregard to fiscal/political consequences. After all, both the wars and Obamacare were opposed by most Americans and cost trillions of dollars with already ballooning deficits, yet both turned their heads and coughed and plugged away anyway with fingers crossed hoping that their ships do not sink in the middle of the Atlantic.
  5. SubscriberFMF
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    08 Feb '11 14:221 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    How is it hijacking your thread? You have a President who says he is a Christian and obviously has a moral issue with people who do not have medical insurance. How then can you seperate his moral/spiritual make up from his fiscal policies? You can't.

    Perhaps you were looking to bash someone like "W" who was accused by the left of invading Iraq because G d plugged away anyway hoping that their ships do not sink in the middle of the Atlantic.
    Please, please, please do not hijack this thread. Please take your U.S. party politics partisan vanity posting to Debates. Please, please take a look at William K. Clifford's essay "The Ethics of Belief" and then consider the OP question about "the role of spirituality and religious faith in the decision making process in a democracy".

    Perhaps you were looking to bash someone like "W" who was accused by the left of invading Iraq because God told him to do so. Is that more to your liking?

    Please, please, please don't hijack this thread, whodey. Please take your U.S. retail politics talking points to Debates where it belongs. Start a "Religious Faith & Governance" thread there if you want. This is Spirituality and I posted this question on Clifford's essay here deliberately. Please.
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    08 Feb '11 14:402 edits
    Originally posted by FMF
    Please, please, please do not hijack this thread. Please take your U.S. party politics partisan vanity posting to Debates. Please, please take a look at William K. Clifford's essay "The Ethics of Belief" and then consider the OP question about "the role of spirituality and religious faith in the decision making process in a democracy".

    [b]Perhaps you were lo pirituality and I posted this question on Clifford's essay here deliberately. Please.
    [/b]
    I don't think he's hijacking.
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    08 Feb '11 14:472 edits
    Originally posted by jaywill
    I don't think he's hijacking.
    I was hoping for some thoughts and reaction on the essay cited in the OP. There's a good rebuttal from a philosopher called William James too. There are hundreds of threads about "Obamacare", Iraq, deficits, and Tea Party politics and all the retail talking point partisan driven invective stuff to be endured/savoured on the Debates Forum.
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    08 Feb '11 14:51
    Originally posted by FMF
    Here is an excerpt from William K. Clifford's essay "The Ethics of Belief" (1877)

    [quote]A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs.

    Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doub ...[text shortened]... us faith in the decision making process in a democracy or, indeed, other forms of governance?
    ==============================
    What lessons, if any, do other posters see in this allegory with regard to the role of spirituality and religious faith in the decision making process in a democracy or, indeed, other forms of governance?
    ===========================


    I am not in any political office. But if I was I realize that presumption is not always proper faith.

    The inward leading of the Holy Spirit sometimes says "No. Don't do that" when my religious presumptions are that this is the right thing to do.

    I have to give place to the spontaneous leading of the Holy Spirit to the sense of "life and peace" . The standard of behavior is more ofter "life and peave" within.

    There can be a troubling deep in the spirit of the sensative disciple of Christ. Though by the book, this or that presumption seems right, the Spirit within may not agree. You have to learn to listen to the Holy Spirit within.

    There are no specific passages in millions of detailed practical decisions of life. The Christian has not only the word of God but also the divine nature of the Spirit within to direct them into a feeling of harmony rather than disharmony.

    This is often an intuition within "This is what God wants me to do."

    I have one day to stand before the Lord Jesus and give an account of my Christian life. And if I grieved the Spirit or went against the Spirit to the detriment of someone, I will have to answer for that.

    So we cannot be presumptious in a foolish way. And we need continously to confess our need for cleansing in Christ's redemptions because all we Christians are still making many mistakes.

    But we should also be growing into more maturity.
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    08 Feb '11 15:01
    Originally posted by FMF
    Here is an excerpt from William K. Clifford's essay "The Ethics of Belief" (1877)

    [quote]A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs.

    Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doub ...[text shortened]... us faith in the decision making process in a democracy or, indeed, other forms of governance?
    What lessons, if any, do other posters see in this allegory with regard to the role of spirituality and religious faith in the decision making process in a democracy or, indeed, other forms of governance?
    I believe the person who wrote the essay(s) inadvertently hurt his position more than helped it by insisting...

    "It is wrong in all cases to believe on insufficient evidence; and where it is presumption to doubt and to investigate, there it is worse than presumption to believe."

    The thinking person does not consider the Word of God as written on dead stones, but rather, as God Himself has declared His Word: living, breathing, all-powerful. The thinking person considers himself a work in progress, being daily transformed and renewed by the Spirit, via that same Word.

    That being said, there are some aspects of spirituality that, once established beyond a reasonable doubt, become folly to insist on continually revisiting them. For instance, it has been established repeatedly, exhaustively and overwhelmingly that the Bible is the Word of God manifested physically for the benefit of man's spiritual nourishment. By any measure of man's discipline, the Bible has been found true. Does it really make sense to refuse to move from that inquiry? Is any ground gained after it's establishment?

    The shipowner in Clifford's example was comforted by his confidence in an insurance company who was vouchsafing his protection from loss. Whatever comfort he had relative to the loss of others was self-delusion for the sake of his own conscience. There is hardly any spiritual equivalent to be found here. As believers, we can offer our best assurances to others relative to the veracity of the Bible, but truly, they are all on their own when it comes to their own 'reasonable doubts.' I cannot assuage anyone's inner convictions no matter how sincere my efforts; I can merely tell them my findings. When I present the Bible as true--- for the most part--- it is not the facts of the Bible's authority, but rather the truths from the Bible's authority that I present.

    Anyone wishing to investigate whether or not the Bible is a reliable source for the truths it contains is welcome to openly and honestly determine it for themselves. There are far more people of varying degrees of intellectual prowess who have weighed it and found it surpassing than those who have claimed to have weighed it and found it wanting. For myself (a former critic), I have been convinced at every turn of its faithful witness. Therefore, I don't even bother trying to 'prove' it to others. Instead, I simply offer the truths contained therein: namely, although born separated from God at birth, man has been given life as an opportunity to be united with his creator. This opportunity is the gift of salvation, which came about as a result of the work done on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ. Simply by accepting the work of the Christ in replacement of the work done by himself, man will enjoy an eternal relationship with the Creator.

    That's a beautiful thing... and the only insurance anyone will ever need.
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