1. Joined
    29 Dec '08
    Moves
    6788
    04 Jan '12 21:40
    "...the tempering of natural cruelty by a transcendent principle of love"

    from A.O. Scott's Jan 1 piece on the Terence Malick movie.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/movies/awardsseason/a-o-scott-on-the-musical-movement-of-the-tree-of-life.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=aoscott

    A well written piece.

    I think the rise of religion can be considered (without arguing about its truth, if you can resist) as the tempering of natural cruelty by a transcendent principle of love.

    The natural world, as it is set up, compels most of us to actions that may have victims, and we may ourselves be potential victims.

    (We come into a world where we learn, soon enough, that there are predators and prey. The ultimate in objectification is to be regarded as nothing more than a meal. For this reason, I avoid sharks, tigers, alligators, etc.)

    To repel this compulsion, while not denying it, we apply the principle of love.

    The faith I know best, Christianity, presents a narrative that indeed, offers the hope of tempering natural cruelty by a transcendent principle of love. That is the crux of Jesus' Christianity, IMO. Or at least, so I choose. YMMV.

    Anyone seen the movie? Comments on its spirituality?
  2. SubscriberSuzianne
    Misfit Queen
    Isle of Misfit Toys
    Joined
    08 Aug '03
    Moves
    35531
    04 Jan '12 23:51
    As good an argument as any.

    And a good deal better than most.
  3. Joined
    08 Oct '08
    Moves
    5542
    05 Jan '12 15:031 edit
    The natural world, as it is set up, compels most of us to actions that may have victims, and we may ourselves be potential victims.

    To repel this compulsion, while not denying it, we apply the principle of love


    This does sum up the great challenge facing mankind.

    The idea is to move humanity away from the natural "predator-prey" attitude and towards the ideal "love God and love thy neighbor" attitude. Do you believe that any of the religions have been successful at doing this? Why or Why not?
  4. Joined
    31 May '06
    Moves
    1795
    05 Jan '12 15:21
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    The natural world, as it is set up, compels most of us to actions that may have victims, and we may ourselves be potential victims.

    To repel this compulsion, while not denying it, we apply the principle of love


    This does sum up the great challenge facing mankind.

    The idea is to move humanity away from the natural "predator-prey" attitude ...[text shortened]... Do you believe that any of the religions have been successful at doing this? Why or Why not?
    Why do you need the 'love god' in there and what if your neighbour is Adolph Hitler?
    (going to the extreme to make the point)

    This is what I mean by over simplistic morality.
  5. Joined
    08 Oct '08
    Moves
    5542
    05 Jan '12 16:19
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    Why do you need the 'love god' in there and what if your neighbour is Adolph Hitler?
    (going to the extreme to make the point)

    This is what I mean by over simplistic morality.
    As the OP stated, the problem is that we get caught up in a "predator-prey" way of looking at things -- where people are viewed as objects to be used rather than persons to be loved.

    Hitler is a great example. It is very easy to turn people that you hate or fear into objects (or at least something subhuman). Once a person becomes "less than human", you can do all sorts of terrible things to them.

    The goal is to see ALL human beings as persons - persons who have as much innate value as oneself. To do this, you need to be able to see this humanity in even the most despicable people - people like Hitler. If you can do that, then you can see the humanity in your grumpy next-door neighbor or the guy who cut you off at an intersection.

    If you can truly see ALL human beings as persons, then you aren't going to bully them, discriminate against them, subject them to unsafe work environments, wage unnecessary wars against them, etc.

    Is this over-simplistic? Of course it is. As I said to FMF in a previous thread, this morality is mainly a lot of fortune-cookie wisdom that everyone knows. But the difficult (pretty much impossible) part is getting everyone to actually follow that wisdom all the time.
  6. Joined
    02 Jan '06
    Moves
    10087
    06 Jan '12 01:07
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    The idea is to move humanity away from the natural "predator-prey" attitude and towards the ideal "love God and love thy neighbor" attitude. Do you believe that any of the religions have been successful at doing this? Why or Why not?[/b]
    I think the world is a far better place for the Abrahamic religions. In fact, I started a thread a while back saying as much because it turns out that those who practice their faith are almost twice as likely to give their time and money to those in need. Say what you will about them, ugly warts and all, at least some of them get up off their arse and do something to make the world a little better place rather than just sit back and criticize those that do.
Back to Top