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Spirituality

Spirituality

  1. 03 Dec '08 05:52
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I wonder if I am the only one who, over time, has noticed how consistently you defend various religionists (with whom you disagree on virtually everything) from what you see as the prejudices of both other religionists and non-religionists as well…

    Whether one agrees with sonhouse or Ahosyney or KellyJay or whoever, on merits (which I am not addressing a ...[text shortened]... l here!), surely it’s time that someone publicly recognizse your integrity on this point?
    Thank you. Very much appreciated.
  2. 03 Dec '08 07:04
    Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
    Was it Muslims? Could the Christian God have ever ordered his people to carry out such an atrocity?
    Only Islamofascistas would do something like this. After all, they each are promised 70 virgins in paradise for killing innocent people. I'd be satisfied with just 2 virgins.
  3. 03 Dec '08 11:18
    Originally posted by dystoniac
    Only Islamofascistas would do something like this. After all, they each are promised 70 virgins in paradise for killing innocent people. I'd be satisfied with just 2 virgins.
    What about Japanese kamikazi?

    I do not think it is the reward that causes some Muslims to commit suicide for a cause, I think it has more to do with culture, belief in the cause, and belief in an afterlife and I suspect that belief in an afterlife plays a minor role.

    I have a strong feeling that if the US was attacked by a major power there would be a number of Americans willing to go on suicide missions in aid of America.

    You may distinguish between 'innocent people' and 'enemy combatants' etc but the US has already shown that the loss of some 'innocent civilians' is considered acceptable in war.

    Also it must be noted that many suicide bombers consider their targets to be far from innocent eg some would consider any Israeli citizen to be the enemy and guilty by association or collaboration etc others would feel the same way about an American citizen. To be fair, there are Americans who feel the same way about 'Muslims', 'Iraqis', 'arabs', 'foreigners', 'gays' etc.

    If you looked through the debates forum it would not take you long to find at least one European who appears to think that anyone of a different skin color who chooses to live in Europe deserves at least some form of punishment.

    Killing innocent people is common world wide, as I mentioned earlier in the thread, it is happening in Zimbabwe. But I don't think anyone in Zimbabwe is ready to die for land reform nor are there many ready to die to get rid of Mugabe which is why he has been able to use peoples fear to keep himself in power for so long.
  4. 03 Dec '08 21:17
    Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
    Was it Muslims? Could the Christian God have ever ordered his people to carry out such an atrocity?
    God doesn't order His people to carry out atrocities.

    God orders His people to do what He tells them to do.

    If God told you to kill, would you obey?
  5. 03 Dec '08 22:16
    Originally posted by josephw
    God doesn't order His people to carry out atrocities.

    God orders His people to do what He tells them to do.

    If God told you to kill, would you obey?
    God orders His people to do what He tells them to do.

    Wow, that's some real insight there.

    If God told you to kill, would you obey?

    Do I have access to the underlying motivation behind God's order? Are there good practical reasons for me to kill apart from the mere fact that God has ordered me to do so? If I have good reasons to resort to violence (like maybe there is an imminent situation of someone coming at my family with the intent and means for grave harm), then God's ordering me to do what I already have reason to do is just superfluous.

    On the other hand, I fail to see how God's mere directive is in itself good-reason-giving. Are you familiar with the Milgram experiment? It's remarkable how persons can feel compelled to act in the complete absence of good reasons for doing so (even when the act carries grave consequence).
  6. 03 Dec '08 22:50
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    [b]God orders His people to do what He tells them to do.

    Wow, that's some real insight there.

    If God told you to kill, would you obey?

    Do I have access to the underlying motivation behind God's order? Are there good practical reasons for me to kill apart from the mere fact that God has ordered me to do so? If I have good reasons to r ...[text shortened]... omplete absence of good reasons for doing so (even when the act carries grave consequence).[/b]
    "Do I have access to the underlying motivation behind God's order?"

    Yes. To do otherwise places you at variance to the will of God and the subsequent consequence. Death.

    "On the other hand, I fail to see how God's mere directive is in itself good-reason-giving."

    You think so? Consider what happens to those that fail to obey God. Death.

    "Are you familiar with the Milgram experiment?"

    Can't say that I am. Did I miss something?

    "It's remarkable how persons can feel compelled to act in the complete absence of good reasons for doing so (even when the act carries grave consequence)."

    Doesn't surprise me a bit considering what I see people doing everyday.
  7. 04 Dec '08 03:33
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    What about Japanese kamikazi?

    I do not think it is the reward that causes some Muslims to commit suicide for a cause, I think it has more to do with culture, belief in the cause, and belief in an afterlife and I suspect that belief in an afterlife plays a minor role.

    I have a strong feeling that if the US was attacked by a major power there would be ...[text shortened]... why he has been able to use peoples fear to keep himself in power for so long.
    I see your point, and do not disagree; however, let me point out that throughout history ALL nations at war have considered the loss of 'innocent civilains' an acceptable after effect.
    I wouldn't commit suicide for my country. I would kill as many of the enemy as I could until he/she saw suicide as their only way to be rid of me.

    Zimbabwe used to be a breadbasket of S.Africa, yes? If you are Caucasian, how are you faring? If not, same ?
    Why can't the people rise up and throw Mugame to the crocs?
  8. 04 Dec '08 05:07
    Originally posted by dystoniac
    Zimbabwe used to be a breadbasket of S.Africa, yes?
    They had lots of farms, but I certainly wouldn't describe them as the 'bread basket of Africa'. One of their top agricultural exports was tobacco.

    If you are Caucasian, how are you faring?
    I am from Zambia (just over the boarder) so not as affected by Zimbabwes problems as Zimbabweans are. In some ways we benefited in terms of increased tourism and cheap smuggled goods from Zimbabwe. For a very long time the Fuel on the Zimbabwean side was about half the price of that on the Zambian side and was being smuggled across in large quantities.

    Why can't the people rise up and throw Mugame to the crocs?
    Its a long story but at the end of the day Mugabe still has quite a lot of support (possibly as much as a third of the voters) though it is hard to tell with all the rigging going on. Much of the army and police force support Mugabe partly in fear of the retribution they might suffer should there be a regime change.
    There are also a major problems with tribalism and racism in all directions causing divisions etc.
  9. 05 Dec '08 09:39
    Originally posted by josephw
    [b]"Do I have access to the underlying motivation behind God's order?"

    Yes. To do otherwise places you at variance to the will of God and the subsequent consequence. Death.

    "On the other hand, I fail to see how God's mere directive is in itself good-reason-giving."

    You think so? Consider what happens to those that fail to obey God. Death. ...[text shortened]... e)."[/b]

    Doesn't surprise me a bit considering what I see people doing everyday.[/b]
    You cannot offer me any reasons to comply with your God's directive other than prudential ones related to considerations of how he has made preparations for me to suffer and die if I fail to see sufficient reason to comply? Wow, that's pathetic. Your version of theism is a joke -- one that pretty thoroughly perverts the notions of justice, freedom, and love.

    If your God ordered me to kill another person (yeah, that's an entirely reasonable directive coming from one who is supposedly the embodiment of justice, compassion, and the like ), I would look for reasons that bear on the matter of whether or not such a directive is reasonable (basically, I would deliberate on whether or not compliance on my part would be warranted). If I failed to see reasons that suffice to make compliance on my part warranted (as I'm guessing would very likely be the case), I would not comply. And, no, I do not consider the general prudential reason you have provided to be sufficient to elicit compliance with the directive (and oh yeah, it's entirely reasonable to expect petty, jealous threats coming from, again, the supposed embodiment of all that is good and just ).

    For instance, do you consider it to be the case that Abraham responded appropriately to God's directive to kill? As far as I can tell, Abraham responded inappropriately and irresponsibly.
  10. 06 Dec '08 04:32
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    You cannot offer me any reasons to comply with your God's directive other than prudential ones related to considerations of how he has made preparations for me to suffer and die if I fail to see sufficient reason to comply? Wow, that's pathetic. Your version of theism is a joke -- one that pretty thoroughly perverts the notions of justice, freedom, and ...[text shortened]... ctive to kill? As far as I can tell, Abraham responded inappropriately and irresponsibly.
    Just as a preface, I want to point out that, so far as I am aware, there is nothing in Judaism to forbid a religious Jew from criticizing or arguing with God. As Rabbi Zalman-Shachter-Shalomi pointed out, Judaism is not a religion of submission, but of covenant. The fact that one party to the covenant holds vastly more power than the other does not preclude the other from bravely taking a stand, and there are plenty of rabbinical stories of just such encounters.

    I am still exploring how that whole notion can play out within a non-dualistic framework such as mine, and the various non-dualistic expressions found in Judaism. At least at the metaphorical/allegorical level it can probably play fairly non-problematically.

    My point is that just that alternative readings of the aqedah story are not necessarily motivated by “getting God off the hook” for laying an immoral command on Abraham (or to get Abraham off the hook, for that matter).

    With that said—

    I am aware, off the top of my head, of at least four alternative readings of the aqedah aside from the one most prevalent in Christianity: i.e., that Abraham (appropriately) demonstrated his faithfulness in his willingness to sacrificially kill his son. Three of these play on the fact that, in the Hebrew text, it is the (collective?) voice of ha’elohim that commands the sacrifice, and the voice of (a messenger of) YHVH that commands Abraham to desist. One of these is deeply kabbalistic, and I won’t try to explicate it here (but it does also play on the notion that Isaac was a grown man at the time). One has to do with exercising our own moral responsibility in sorting out which “voices” in our head we should accede to (this, as I recall, was rabbi Lawrence Kushner’s; and I have my own particular spin on that one). One of them, which I came up with myself (though it is likely not original), plays on the fact that elohim, which is most often in the Torah a kind of “royal plural” translated in the singular as “God”, also sometimes refers to “gods”—and the possibility that the definite article (ha, in Genesis 22:1, 3 & 9) in the text can imply that Abraham listened to the wrong god(s); or perhaps the wrong religio-social pressures.

    One rabbi said flatly that God tested Abraham, to see if he still had the moxy and the sense of rightness to stand up to God as he had over the destruction of Sodom—and Abraham failed the test. As you rather delicately put it, Abraham responded "inappropriately and irresponsibly". No moral person would agree to such an atrocity, even if commanded by God. In the end, God sighed and stayed Abraham’s hand. “Okay, okay: I can see that you’re faithful since you would not even withold your son—but, for God’s sake, don’t kill the boy!”

    This latter view, of course, calls into question other incidences of people committing atrocities under the rubric of obeying God’s commands. (The story of the amalekites has, I think, an obvious ironical twist that prompts just such a calling-into-question; I am working on a “midrash” about that one.)

    What to us has become the more conventional reading is also found among the Jewish readings, I think. But the general consensus, in my studies, is that the story is intended to put the final “kaibosh” on any kind of child sacrifice. These alternative readings may seem strange to those for whom the conventional reading is graven and grooved into their thinking—but they are not at all strange within rabbinical norms of exegesis, which deliberately allow for (even demand) multivocal readings.
  11. Standard member black beetle
    Black Beastie
    06 Dec '08 08:48
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Just as a preface, I want to point out that, so far as I am aware, there is nothing in Judaism to forbid a religious Jew from criticizing or arguing with God. As Rabbi Zalman-Shachter-Shalomi pointed out, Judaism is not a religion of submission, but of covenant. The fact that one party to the covenant holds vastly more power than the other does not preclud ...[text shortened]... rabbinical norms of exegesis, which deliberately allow for (even demand) multivocal readings.
    edit: "I am still exploring how that whole notion can play out within a non-dualistic framework such as mine, and the various non-dualistic expressions found in Judaism. At least at the metaphorical/allegorical level it can probably play fairly non-problematically."

    It can, for the ultimate existence is pure Pressure deriving from ain soph aur penetrating all the tree; one has to evakuate all the time
  12. 06 Dec '08 19:03
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Just as a preface, I want to point out that, so far as I am aware, there is nothing in Judaism to forbid a religious Jew from criticizing or arguing with God. As Rabbi Zalman-Shachter-Shalomi pointed out, Judaism is not a religion of submission, but of covenant. The fact that one party to the covenant holds vastly more power than the other does not preclud ...[text shortened]... rabbinical norms of exegesis, which deliberately allow for (even demand) multivocal readings.
    Hey there, old man, nice to see you.

    Good stuff, you're always full of good information! I confess I do not know which reading is most accurate (whatever that really means in exegetical matters), and I leave that to trusty hands such as yours. As you gathered, my question was in the vein of what you call the most prevalent in Christianity (which I agree is certainly the most prevalent in the Christianity with which I am familiar -- and is also a reading I find to be patently absurd).

    One rabbi said flatly that God tested Abraham, to see if he still had the moxy and the sense of rightness...

    Again, I have no idea if such a reading is "accurate", but this seems far more reasonable. What I take to be more or less common sense includes the following: no all-knowing agent would ever value blind deference above the practical wisdom that ushers in responses that actually appropriately reflect the reasons (or lack thereof) at our disposal. So, if it was a test, I have to think the result is that Abraham failed miserably; and God would know that result.
  13. Standard member black beetle
    Black Beastie
    06 Dec '08 20:25
    Originally posted by black beetle
    edit: "I am still exploring how that whole notion can play out within a non-dualistic framework such as mine, and the various non-dualistic expressions found in Judaism. At least at the metaphorical/allegorical level it can probably play fairly non-problematically."

    It can, for the ultimate existence is pure Pressure deriving from ain soph aur penetrating all the tree; one has to evakuate all the time
    Excuse me for the wrong spelling;

    Correct is: "one has to evaluate all the time"
  14. 06 Dec '08 21:15
    Originally posted by black beetle
    Excuse me for the wrong spelling;

    Correct is: "one has to evaluate all the time"
    No problem; I got it. It did make a nice pun, though...
  15. Standard member black beetle
    Black Beastie
    06 Dec '08 21:38
    Originally posted by vistesd
    No problem; I got it. It did make a nice pun, though...