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Nem



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rules are made to be broken. No, really. If you don't sin because you're unable to, whether it's because you're afraid to sin or because you were in some other way incapable is that really virtue; or is virtue something that has to grow out of sin?

Although Nem doesn't actually believe in sin; any religion he subscribed to would have to provide rough guidelines more than absolute rules, so it really wouldn't be an issue. ^_^
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my eyes, the rules are there as a sort of test. Something like Tinu said, I guess. To me the rules have always been that which divides that faithful from the fair weather followers. Sure, anyone can be generous when they're wealthy, but when you have a LOT to lose, are you still helpful and courteous?

Through my life, I've been exposed to so many different religions that I can no longer keep track of them all. I have lived, or stayed for long periods of time, in many parts of the country. I have made observation my habit, and contemplation my rule.

In the end, I saw one "universal truth", if you will. There are those who are willing to sacrifice of themselves for a greater goal. They are the faithful, those who choose to follow some ideal and follow it to the end. They rarely, if ever, falter. Even in their moments of weakness, their greatest source of strength comes from their faith. They are active in their faith, be that religion or activism. They pursue their goals, and the tenets of their faith. They do so without thought of personal reimbursement, they do so because they know, not believe but know it is the right thing to do.

Interestingly, that personality type? It doesn't occur in one place. I've met atheists and conservative religious people both with that personality. What they do have is the same inner fire, that same drive to be something important. They don't seek to simply exist, they seek to change the world in some way. Be that through utter devotion and faith to a higher being and their community, or through going out and physically altering some aspect of the world to suit their beliefs, they make changes in other people's lives. That is their primary identification, what they live to accomplish.

What was the topic, again?

LOL..

Personally, because of my many experiences, I have a LOT of influences on Asian belief systems. Buddhism and Taoism figure to varying degrees into my beliefs, as well as a bit of Bushido (which is often said, but rarely actually done). I was raised Southern Baptist, a sect of Christianity that is fairly focused on being VERY socially inclusive, and looking down their spiritual noses at others. I have lived in Mormon communities in Utah (nicknamed "Bubble Valley" by the local teens, heheh). I have lived with atheists, with buddhists, and even with devout Christians. I have visited and stayed at length with Wiccans, other pagans (including one Satanist), and even a Jewish woman (though I don't believe she was practicing the religious aspect). Possibly because I have seen so many names on similar faces, I have come to the above conclusion.

I also have realized that there is an ugly side to religion: Hatred. Bigotry. For any religion to claim to teach tolerance, forgiveness, and generosity, then to turn around and condemn ANYONE for ANY BELIEF boggles my mind. It, quite frankly, upsets me. Quite a bit. I've chastised even my closest friends for being judgmental, and have readily accepted the same treatment.

My final theory is that I don't KNOW what comes next. Maybe I'm right, and I'll go to Heaven. (Didn't expect that, did you? I don't go to church). Maybe I'm wrong, and I'll either simply cease to exist, be reincarnated to keep learning, or go to the far warmer climate for a less than enjoyable eternity.

What I do know is that I'm alive, and I'm here on this Earth. I have two hands, two feet, and an able body. I can speak, I can read, and I can learn. With all of these gifts, the things I can do to help my fellow citizens of this world is nearly limitless. No matter what deity, deities, or great abyss their may be waiting for me after death, I have this time to make a difference in. I won't waste it by moping about and hoping I can make it up later, I won't waste it daydreaming of a Heavenly afterlife. I'm going to go out, and I'm going to make a difference for SOMEBODY.

That's my religion. Charity. Kindness. Generosity. Give of oneself, so that others may be lifted up out of pain and misery. Everything else just... sort of falls by the side, really. I don't mind being wrong, I don't even mind being punished for all eternity, because I know in my heart that I have done good things and have helped others. By no means am I perfect, nor will I ever be, but to that one person? I am something. Something worth having been alive, and that's what makes all the difference.
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Squeeself



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nem wrote:
Rules are made to be broken. No, really. If you don't sin because you're unable to, whether it's because you're afraid to sin or because you were in some other way incapable is that really virtue; or is virtue something that has to grow out of sin?


Hrm...Squee contends with this. Though likely it's in-part due to what you think "sin" (and virtue) is. See, in Squee's mind, a rule is not some arbitrary barrier set in place to impose limitations on those that proscribe to the rules; rather, a rule enumerates a set of consequences for choices made. Or, in other words, a rule tells us, "Don't do such-and-such so that something else doesn't happen." Consequences are controlled by choices, not rules. A rule simply tells us what those consequences are. (Although, most rules simply say, "Bad things happen if you break this rule!")

So then to your assertion that being incapable of sin isn't a virtue. To something incapable of making choices (and therefore, unable to control the consequences of their actions), Squee fully agrees that there is neither sin nor virtue. Insentient animals are as such. But fear of sin still allows you to choose whether to follow a rule (and, by definition, choose your consequences), and can still be a virtue of not being sinful.

See, a much more interesting question is, "Can a man who does not know the rules be held to be sinful or virtuous if he breaks or follows them unknowingly?" A man who has not been taught that murder is wrong may commit murder still be subject to the consequences, but does he commit sin? While strictly accountable for his actions by the laws of nature and man, can he still be judged to be a sinful, evil, bad, etc. man in his heart?

While a bit plainer to see with a murder example, a far more controversial (and disturbing) topic is those that claim that all those that do not believe as they do (and therefore, do not really know the rules) are sinful and will go to hell. I'll just leave things at that thought, though.
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Rechaana



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squeeself wrote:
See, a much more interesting question is, "Can a man who does not know the rules be held to be sinful or virtuous if he breaks or follows them unknowingly?"


Oooh, I LIKE that question. It depends on how open you are to the possibility of relative virtue. I'll work off a Christian example: what happens to all those virtuous natives who lived and died never being exposed to Jesus? Dante just slapped 'em down in the first circle of hell, the circle of the "virtuous pagans." These guys were perfectly moral and nice people...they just never got exposed to Jesus. As a result, they are not tortured, but they exist in a state of hopelessness for all eternity.

.....Not sure I believe in that. It's a little difficult for me to think that men and women who led perfectly good lives are damned just cause they had the misfortune to be born in ancient Greece. Of course, I'm not "in the know" on this issue, what with me being a mortal. It seems like it's not something I can fully understand. Moreover, I'm not the one judging here, so I claim ignorance.

So to sum it up in punny terms:
To hell if I know!
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Asa



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a much more accurate question. To the best of my knowledge, Judaism holds that what you don't know can't hurt you - but you have a responsibility to find out and to learn. So you won't be held responsible for the sin, but you will be held responsible for not learning about it and educating yourself to avoid it. Make sense? And I think there are some that you will always be held accountable for, not matter the circumstances, the cardinal sins.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, you've just struck the primary reason I fell out of religion in the first place. My primary question was, if God was such a merciful and loving father, how could he condemn to eternal suffering someone who had never had the chance to be saved? And further, what of those born deaf, mute, and blind? What of mentally disabled individuals who could no more understand religion than they could sprout wings to fly to Heaven on their own?

It wasn't a far step removed to blame God for ALL the injustices in the world, as I saw it.

I suppose I have yet to reconcile that. I imagine that is why many people choose to go on Missions, and to share the word of God.

Another deeply disturbing trend I've noticed in certain sects of Christianity is that they seem to be pushing God out. I was listening to a Christian Alternative radio station, and they actually made a point to say that belief in God does not make one Christian. You can ONLY be Christian if you belief in Christ. While this is technically very true, I'm almost 100% sure that I recall reading (and being taught) that God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost were all one in the same being. So this sudden need for distinction and direction of belief baffles me.

Have I gone off topic? If I have, I apologize and offer to delete my post.
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Nem



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squeeself wrote:
See, in Squee's mind, a rule is not some arbitrary barrier set in place to impose limitations on those that proscribe to the rules; rather, a rule enumerates a set of consequences for choices made. Or, in other words, a rule tells us, "Don't do such-and-such so that something else doesn't happen." Consequences are controlled by choices, not rules. A rule simply tells us what those consequences are. (Although, most rules simply say, "Bad things happen if you break this rule!")

So then to your assertion that being incapable of sin isn't a virtue. To something incapable of making choices (and therefore, unable to control the consequences of their actions), Squee fully agrees that there is neither sin nor virtue. Insentient animals are as such. But fear of sin still allows you to choose whether to follow a rule (and, by definition, choose your consequences), and can still be a virtue of not being sinful.


If you act one way or the other because of that fear then it cannot have been a choice. If we imagine a person who doesn't sin because of their fear; well simply remove the fear and she would have done the sin. It was only the fear that was stopping her. Similarly you could hold her down with a heavy weight, and it would be no more virtuous if she'd been unable to sin for that reason - having been physically constrained rather than mentally; just remove the weight.

She could no more have chosen to overcome that fear than she could choose to exceed the point at which her muscles tear; in both cases you have to introduce factors external to the situation to provide the relevant power to overcome. More courage, more strength, more capability.

The consequences for breaking the rules are, in large part, created by the choices of other agents; the rule makers; those within a certain group who have access to those greater capabilities. Rules describe what someone intends to do to you given a certain set of actions on your ends. How this interacts with the rule-maker's ability to change the environment determines how arbitrary the rule is. In the case of an omnipotent being all rules must be arbitrary since they have total power to determine the environment.

Squeeself wrote:
See, a much more interesting question is, "Can a man who does not know the rules be held to be sinful or virtuous if he breaks or follows them unknowingly?" A man who has not been taught that murder is wrong may commit murder still be subject to the consequences, but does he commit sin? While strictly accountable for his actions by the laws of nature and man, can he still be judged to be a sinful, evil, bad, etc. man in his heart?

While a bit plainer to see with a murder example, a far more controversial (and disturbing) topic is those that claim that all those that do not believe as they do (and therefore, do not really know the rules) are sinful and will go to hell. I'll just leave things at that thought, though.


If rules simply describe a certain set of outcomes to which something will hold you - whether that be a natural law or another agent - given a certain set of inputs; then whether you know about them or not is irrelevant - as long as you provide the inputs then you sin.
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Tinu.



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tenshi wrote:
Actually, you've just struck the primary reason I fell out of religion in the first place. My primary question was, if God was such a merciful and loving father, how could he condemn to eternal suffering someone who had never had the chance to be saved? And further, what of those born deaf, mute, and blind? What of mentally disabled individuals who could no more understand religion than they could sprout wings to fly to Heaven on their own?


Another deeply disturbing trend I've noticed in certain sects of Christianity is that they seem to be pushing God out. I was listening to a Christian Alternative radio station, and they actually made a point to say that belief in God does not make one Christian. You can ONLY be Christian if you belief in Christ. While this is technically very true, I'm almost 100% sure that I recall reading (and being taught) that God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost were all one in the same being. So this sudden need for distinction and direction of belief baffles me.

Explanation as viewed by Christianity: I've had a lot of trouble with the first part of the question myself. How could God let people who have never heard of him go to hell - or even good people who have heard of him, yet choose not to follow him? I got to thinking about it, and really, everything comes down to the ten commandments (I'm not sure how the rest of the law applies to Christians, but I do know we're still supposed to follow the ten, as best we can). God gave a law, and if he is good, and just, as he says he is, then he must punish those who break it. Hence we get hell - because no one can perfectly keep the law, everyone breaks it. Though he did offer a way out, which was Jesus. After that, it's the job of Christians to spread the word of God. If someone doesn't hear about it, and dies and goes to hell, it's our fault. Because we were given instructions "go into all the world and preach the gospel." If we don't do that, then we're disobeying God and people die and go to hell. This would be why there's often such an emphasis on missions in the church. However, few realize that the command applies to everyone. We're all supposed to be missionaries in some way, shape, or form.
Though, to clear things up, and to paraphrase C.S. Lewis. How do we know that hearing the gospel from the mouth of a Christian is the only way to discover it? We assume it, yes, but do we really know?

Well, yes, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one being, but they're also separate. Christianity believes that Jesus was the son of God (bust still God) come to earth as the messiah, and that to get to heaven, you have to recognize this fact. There is a distinction there, yes - but it's been around since the beginning of Christianity. In fact, that distinction is the reason Christianity even exists. We don't push God out, since we believe that God and Jesus are the same person (in essence), but we have to make that distinction, for that is what we believe (and always have). So no, believing in God (the Father) does not make you a Christian, you have to believe in God (the Son -AKA Jesus). And the "sudden" need for distinction is probably a desire to clear up a lot of foggy doctrine and to get back to a more strictly biblical belief system (because it does make said distinction in the Bible, as well as explicitly stating that the only way to get to heaven is to recognize Jesus as the son of God). I won't even get into the Holy Spirit, because so many different denominations believe so many different things about him.
[/long-winded explanation]

It's kinda complicated I guess, isn't it? ^^;
I hope I did clear some things up though, as far as beliefs.
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Asa



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Explanation as viewed by Judaism: There's the rules for Jews, and the rules for non-Jews. The rules for Jews include all 613 commandments in the Torah, the rules for non-Jews are limited to the seven Noachide Laws. This does not include the Ten Commandments. A person is obligated to perform those mitzvot (commandments) which he is able to do. Note that everyone can and is capable of performing the seven Noachide Laws, there's no getting around those.

But we Jews have a lot more to deal with! No one person can do all the mitzvot, some of them are specific to the priesthood, some are only for men, some are only for women. The point is that everyone together as a whole can perform all of them, and they all get done. Each individual takes part and becomes a piece of the whole. The same applies to those with special circumstances - one person might be blind or bed-ridden or otherwise incapacitated, but somebody else is there to pick up the slack. You're only responsible for what you can do.

But what that also means is that you're responsible for everything you can do. You still have a certain level of potential you're capable of achieving, and if you don't fulfill your potential, you're at fault.

[/relatively general explanation]

[personal opinion] I think this aspect of personal potential doesn't have to be labeled religion, but simply is the way of being human. True, in my eyes, it's intrinsically related to G-d and religion, but I don't think it has to be. Doesn't it just make sense that each person should strive to be the best he can, and that each person's relative goals are different? I think G-d solidifies the equation, and provides a clear and easy outline for achieving it, but I don't particularly think He needs to be obvious about it.
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theBSDude



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tenshi wrote:
What of mentally disabled individuals who could no more understand religion than they could sprout wings to fly to Heaven on their own?

It's generally accepted (at least in my experience) that there's something called the "Age of Accountability". It's usually talked about in conjunction with childhood death. Basically, people below a certain age, or mental capacity (i'm not sure if that's the right word....), are considered "innocent" because they cannot grasp the abstract concepts or right and wrong.
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Rechaana



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tinu. wrote:
Though, to clear things up, and to paraphrase C.S. Lewis. How do we know that hearing the gospel from the mouth of a Christian is the only way to discover it? We assume it, yes, but do we really know?


Another interesting Lewis reference. In the Last Battle, all the Calormenes worshiped Tash, A four-armed vulture god of destruction. So when everyone dies, all the true Narnians (worshiping the thinly-veiled Jesus lion) go to "heaven." Surprisingly, they are joined by one Calormene, who believed in an worshiped "the true Tash," a god of virtue and honor. Aslan said something to the effect that he had been worshiping Aslan the whole time, just under a different name. An interesting take, which I find to be rather comforting about how judgment works.

Nem. wrote:
If rules simply describe a certain set of outcomes to which something will hold you - whether that be a natural law or another agent - given a certain set of inputs; then whether you know about them or not is irrelevant - as long as you provide the inputs then you sin.


Ideally, a religious person does not merely follow the rules, he understands the theological reasoning behind them. Take suicide. Catholics consider it a mortal sin; you do it, you go straight to hell. But there are tons of reasons behind it being a mortal sin; mainly Paul's line about treating your body as a temple. I've actually read some devout Christian interpretations of Hamlet that consider this to be one of his main failings. He does not commit suicide, but his reasoning is simply "if I do, I'll go to hell." Nothing about it being immoral or an offense to God. I'd actually say that it's a religous person's responsibility to understand the rules, why they were created, and why in God's name one should follow them. Otherwise, you're in danger of being a sheep. No psalm reference intended.
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Last edited by Rechaana on Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Asa



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rechaana wrote:
I'd actually say that it's a religious person's responsibility to understand the rules, why they were created, and why in God's name one should follow them.

Bingo! ^_^
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Tinu.



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rechaana wrote:
Tinu. wrote:
Though, to clear things up, and to paraphrase C.S. Lewis. How do we know that hearing the gospel from the mouth of a Christian is the only way to discover it? We assume it, yes, but do we really know?


Another interesting Lewis reference. In the Last Battle, all the Calormenes worshiped Tash, A four-armed vulture god of destruction. So when everyone dies, all the true Narnians (worshiping the thinly-veiled Jesus lion) go to "heaven." Surprisingly, they are joined by one Calormene, who believed in an worshiped "the true Tash," a god of virtue and honor. Aslan said something to the effect that he had been worshiping Aslan the whole time, just under a different name. An interesting take, which I find to be rather comforting about how judgment works.

"Whoever did good in Tash's name did so in mine, and whoever did evil in my name did it in Tash's" To paraphrase, yet again. That line always caught my fancy, because I would love to believe it true. I don't know if it is or is not, but it would be nice, wouldn't it?
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Squeeself



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nem wrote:
If you act one way or the other because of that fear then it cannot have been a choice. If we imagine a person who doesn't sin because of their fear; well simply remove the fear and she would have done the sin. It was only the fear that was stopping her. Similarly you could hold her down with a heavy weight, and it would be no more virtuous if she'd been unable to sin for that reason - having been physically constrained rather than mentally; just remove the weight.

She could no more have chosen to overcome that fear than she could choose to exceed the point at which her muscles tear; in both cases you have to introduce factors external to the situation to provide the relevant power to overcome. More courage, more strength, more capability.


See, here I STRONGLY disagree. I know fear. Intimately. I have struggled with an acute panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder for years. I remember quite vividly being in a state of sheer paranoia for DAYS. In a very real sense, my brain chemistry leaves me no choice but experiencing constant fear and anxiety. Now, medication has helped immensely, but one thing I learned through a very long process of counseling and self-discovery is that fear has NO real power over constraining one's actions.

Fear is a very primal emotion, born from instinct, that warns us of possible danger. An animal driven by instinct without conscious thought will simply follow the directions of fear. But as thinking, sentient beings, we have a choice whether to listen to fear or not. Fear is one of the most powerful emotions we have, given its primal nature, but in the end it is still just an emotion, and has no power over choice unless GIVEN that power.

Every morning I'm confronted by a host of irrational fears. Am I going to choke on my cereal? Will I back into the fence with my car? Often, these become overwhelming panic attacks--my heart races, my breath becomes short, and I feel like I'm gonna die. Such physical reactions to fear are surely insurmountable without some external provider of courage, according to you. I maintain that courage is a lie. There is only the choice of following a fear or not. Some mythical emotion of courage does not bid me to oppose or "conquer" my fear. It's a much more simple thing. A simple choice between two polar opposites: to follow my fear, or not to follow?

And times, it is rational to follow a fear, and hence it IS a choice, not an automatic opposition of fear. I fear to stand too close to the edge of a cliff. I will continue to maintain a healthy distance rather than stand on the edge. A rational fear. But the fear does not control my actions, it simply influences them. Just as a father tells his son who has no concept of what heat is to stay away from a stove is only influencing him.

Your comparison of fear (indeed, any emotion) to muscles is a false. Fear needs no external agent to "overcome." All it needs is a person making a conscious choice, where fear is only one component of the choice.



Now, onto the argument you really are making, that of a person being constrained from performing some sin is not virtuous, for they would have sinned if they could. I totally agree. If they were to sin without the unavoidable constraint, there is no virtue. However, just because a constraint is ins place does NOT automatically mean the person wasn't virtuous or would have sinned. A fairly obvious point, but I think it must be made regardless. The person, without the constraint, still would not have sinned, and thus been virtuous. However, just because someone would have done something does not mean they did it, so they can be neither virtuous nor sinful. One caveat: if someone were trying with all their power to perform a sinful action but failed, would they not have sinned already upon making the choice, regardless of actually committing the deed?

Nem wrote:
The consequences for breaking the rules are, in large part, created by the choices of other agents; the rule makers; those within a certain group who have access to those greater capabilities. Rules describe what someone intends to do to you given a certain set of actions on your ends. How this interacts with the rule-maker's ability to change the environment determines how arbitrary the rule is. In the case of an omnipotent being all rules must be arbitrary since they have total power to determine the environment.

If rules simply describe a certain set of outcomes to which something will hold you - whether that be a natural law or another agent - given a certain set of inputs; then whether you know about them or not is irrelevant - as long as you provide the inputs then you sin.


Several points Squee would like to make here. One, Squee thinks Squee's on the same wavelength of what your definition of sin is, that is, the breaking of a (we'll limit to moral) rule. See, Squee's definition, and perhaps it is a different concept, is the intent to break a rule is to sin. In fact, our legal code quibbles over this point significantly. See murder vs. manslaughter. Whether you intend to break a rule or not, we can all agree the consequences that result do not change. Thus it seems to Squee to be of little value to call the consequences sin or virtue, but rather, the person's state of mind sinful or virtuous, and thus, their intent. Again, ignorance of a rule has no bearing on consequences as you have stated; but can a man really be judged to be cheating when he doesn't know the rules of the game? An apt analogy Squee thinks, as cheating carries a very strong measure of intent in its popular usage. A sinful man may or may not feel guilt from his cheating, but a virtuous man who cheats unknowingly would certainly feel guilty once the rules were explained, and seek to correct the fault in future dealings.

Squee finds it interesting that you mentioned natural laws (which would be, by definition, be unwavering and absolute), but seemed chalked them up as arbitrary laws of an omnipotent being. It's as if an omnipotent being is outside the realm of rules...but without order (laws and rules), there would only be chaos, and thus, no room for an intelligent, omnipotent being. It seems far more reasonable that there are natural, absolute laws that govern the highest rule-maker. (One could easily imagine one of these absolute rules: every action has one or more consequences.) And before saying that they are no longer omnipotent if bound by rules they cannot break, really ask yourself what omnipotence means. Does being all-powerful mean breaking the rules at your whim? Or does it simply mean knowing ALL the rules, and thus, having the power to do anything that is truly possible (not just anything WE think is possible, for there are laws and rules we cannot possibly know).

Squee knows there are those who's religions would disagree, but Squee's religion holds to this belief, and it is something that makes quite a bit of sense: the nature of God is that He is bound by laws just as you or I, and it is not possible for Him to break these laws, for, by definition, He would cease to BE a god, or rather, a god cannot be a god without being subject to natural law. To enumerate what most of these laws might be is something else entirely that we cannot really know, but it cannot be too off the mark to believe much of it is the moral codes that we ourselves are bound by?

For a more concrete example for those still contesting that an omnipotent God cannot be bound by laws, let us follow a simple thought experiment with the Judeo-Christian God, since it is easily understood in this culture. The Judeo-Christian God is omnipotent, omniscient, just, good and moral. Indeed, Christians are to follow the example of Christ, who is God, in order to be perfect, good, etc. God has told us to follow the ten commandments in order to be virtuous. To break them is to sin. One of these, is that "Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Murder is such a lengthy example to deal with given biblical smiting--with reason--by God) So, can God commit adultery since he is omnipotent? Well, if God committed adultery he would sin. And the nature of the Judeo-Christian God is that he has no sin, for he is perfect. You might say those commandments do not apply to God, since he made them. But if so, then God would be a liar, for He (the Christian God at least) wants us to "Be ye therefore perfect, even as I am," but we are bound by different rules and cannot be like Him. Therefore, he cannot commit adultery, cannot sin, and is therefore bound by rules. God would be amoral and a liar rather than moral otherwise.

Some might (and do) conclude that thus God is not omnipotent (and usually "prove" he doesn't exist from here). Again, it is the misconception of omnipotence here which trips people up into a logical fallacy Razz And no, I'm not going to debate the definition of omnipotence--rather that the concept and definition is flawed. It must include being subject to natural laws as I have stated above. Again, one such law must surely be that every action has consequence; no being, no matter how powerful, could make an action that had no effect. Not zero net effect, but absolutely nothing happened as a result of some action. And there becomes at least one limit to omnipotence. One could conclude that omnipotence is impossible (and therefore no God) based on this, or simply reevaluate the concept. Gotta watch out for those logical snares. You don't conclude that it doesn't exist, merely, that your assumptions of it were incorrect. The scientific method, not the pundit's best buddy.

Edit WOW, this was WAY longer than Squee thought. Squee doubts anyone will read it now...GOOD! Wink
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
See, Squee's definition, and perhaps it is a different concept, is the intent to break a rule is to sin.


I once heard a bible story, when I was a young child. In this bible story, an old man went to see Jesus. He told Jesus that he had sinned, and sought the lord's forgiveness. Jesus looked kindly upon him, and said "But you have not sinned, why do you seek forgiveness for that which you have not done?" To this, the old man replied "I have sinned in my mind, and been unfaithful to my wife in my thoughts."

That has stuck with me always, and my life is governed by my intent. As I was actually just writing to a friend earlier, I will actually hold off on decisions until I have divined my intent from my desires. That way, I can honestly say that I have pure (or more pure, at least) intents than simple knee-jerk reactions.

I also like your writing on fear, and agree. Fear is not a shackle, it is a wall. You can climb over a wall, go around it, or go beneath it, but you CAN find ways through it. Sometimes I choose to bash right on through it, and here I disagree with you. I do believe in courage. Courage is acknowledging your fear, understanding it is a rational fear, and then realizing that the benefits outweigh the fear, the consequences, and the suffering you'll likely find. Of course, courage to me is found in facing impossible odds in the hopes of pulling out a minor gain (almost exclusively to help someone else). I don't think that continuing to operate against worse-than-normal odds is courage, though I would commend you in your own efforts to combat and defeat fear. I don't know if it's courage, but it is/was certainly very strong-willed and brave of you, to go on day by day without giving up.

Ultimately, we can say all day long that a person is only virtuous because they fear the consequences. If this be the case, then they have a sort of "light faith", in my opinion. If the only reason they follow the rules is to follow the rules, then I question what their faith really is, exactly. Are they just trading a physical government for a celestial one? On the other hand, I know people that truly seem (to me) to embody the "spirit" of their religious beliefs, and spend every day giving of themselves to better the world.

"And they will know you through your love for others," to quote the Judeo-Christian faith.
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