2005-11-10 Dialogue

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I've taken what Vee and I said in #religion, removed the sidetracks, grouped things together where they seemed to belong together, and generally mushed everything around until it flows, but I hope I haven't changed the sense of what she was saying. Anything about the following text which bothers anyone is therefore my own fault. --Woozle 11:53, 11 Nov 2005 (EST)



<TheWoozle (in 2005-10-30 13:41 conversation with Sinaas)> How about... not our judgement as individuals, but as a group?
<Vee> ..... after various recent events, this phrase scares me far more than individuals deciding without peer influence
<TheWoozle> responds:

Q1: Seems to me that most of the more scary events of the past few years have been due to individuals acting alone or in concert with just a few others -- deciding without... not so much *peer* influence as *community* influence.

But maybe we're talking about different events.

And that's not so much a question, except for the implied "so, how do you mean it?"

Q2: I certainly acknowledge that ungoverned, unformed groups (mobs) can be one of the scariest things out there. This holds true whether they form spontaneously (e.g. the villagers chasing after Frankenstein's monster) or whether they form in response to rabble-rousing by someone with an agenda (in which case they are a sort of Frankenstein's monster unto themselves -- brought to life by one person, but not necessarily controllable by that person).

That said... if group judgement is scary, and individual judgement is scary, what judgement do we trust? How do we make big decisions?

Vee: Raison d'Être

My version of why we are here:

a) try out mortality, get a body
b) experience all the good stuff and bad, learn the difference and choose wisely  :)

Of course that is the short version. The long version would include How we got here. What we need a body for, and why we don't already know everything

I could linger on one of Woozle's questions for a while....

He said, If I understand correctly, that even though God may not change, those on earth do, The things Jesus said were said in a particular time and place that is very different from how we live now. Maybe the exact details of the rules don't really apply any more, and the *spirit* of kindness and lovingness is best maintained by using our own judgement to decide the details of how we should act.

(to clarify two questions input in the wiki, the ten commandments are in exodus 20, "the law" is found in Matt 22:37-39 that is love the Lord thy God and love thy neighbour as thyself)

(I digress further to point out that the next phrase after that is very revealing.... "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." which to His Jewish audience was code for the entire Old Testment (it in their time and understanding being madeup of two parts: the books of Moses and those books right after = The Law AND the later books = the words of the Prophets)

(In fact He is suggesting that He was not changing the law, He was *expounding* upon it. A simple look at the commandments shows us that first "the ten" weren't the only ones but that they all can be boiled down to the two quoted by Jesus)

The point...

"The law" had stood in effect for four thousand years (please let's not argue about beginnings and time spans at this point, and just assume that for our discussion Adam lived roughly four thousand years before Christ) and Christ was maintaining that in spite of so-called religious leaders of the time finding endless loop holes and mindless added details, that the law was and is simply these two laws.

(it should be noted that at the time of Moses the people were "a stiffnecked and hard hearted generation" eg stubborn brats, who looked for loop holes and defiantly refused to stop killing, worshipping idols and sleeping around so the laws around the ten commandments were by Moses own explanation baby steps leading to the higher law)

1) Jesus was restating laws that had worked for Four Thousand years and intended them to be in effect for at least another four thousand

2) Are people different? Our transportation, clothes and shelter look very different but human nature and what they think and do really isn't. The sins that Cain's descendants were adminished for are he same as in Moses' day and Christ's day and now. Mankind has been more and less educated, gone through dozens of governments adn come back around. How are humans now different? #W Note 1

3) God does expect us to use our own judgement to follow the spirit of the law (kindness and love). He critizied the people of Moses' time for needing to be lead by a leash. Condemned the people of his day who "needed to be lead in all things" and has since called them "lazy and slothful servants" who need to have their day laid out for them, rather they should be looking for good things to do

I obviously have been sidetracked and come back and can't remember what the fourth point was so I will just wander off in another direction (I am way too tired so I hope this makes sense)

My view of the commandments:

There is a certain body of knowledge that is true, whether or not it is believed, whether or not it is understood, whether or not we even exist, this body of facts is consistent -- true -- always. It does not change, become, or deviate and even God is subject to it (Hereafter referred to as "the truth")

The nature of the universe is governed by the truth, and cause and effect are described by it. (end intro)

  • chapter 1  ;) God knowing and understanding the truth, wanted His children to be happy and described the recipe for happiness to His children, aka the commandments.

We don't have to follow the commandments; it is our choice, but just as stepping off a climb begins a downward fall that ends in a kersplat, deviating from the recipe (commandments) cooks a different life than the Happy Cake God wants for us. When we choose our course we choose our destination; the road from Denver to New York will not take us to LA.

God teaches, persuades, asks, even pleads but will not force our choice, we choose, and the consequences follow like the laws of physics that they are.

Chapter 2 (yes there are chapters, and I fully expect some serious disagreement with this chapter from... just about everyone... but as noone is around right now I can say anything I want) (It is my POV after all)

If that were the end of the story we'd all be up a creek (that is cr - eeeee- k for all you funny people who think that double ee is an I :D) without a paddle) because spiritually we are all a bunch of two year olds #W Note 2 (anyone who has ever watched a two year old may see what I am saying here I have a two year old, and I tell him, don't make a mess, I turn around for two seconds and the tissue box has been emptied all over the floor While I'm picking that up he turns onthe bathroom sink and floods the bathroom, and then finds his brother topush down and take his toy. Evil? no. Can't control his impulsiveness, nor follow directions, nor contain his greed? Yes.)

God knew that we'd fail to follow all His directions, knew that without intervention we'd be the infant at the top of the stairs and the natural consequences of our actions would spiritually kill us.

He provided a remedy that would satisfy the eternal law (natural law of the universe) so that He, God, was not robbing justice but that gave all us toddlers room to mess up, try again, and again, and again, and again...

That remedy required the sacrifice of Jesus, a high price He paid, because He loved us and wanted us to have room to succeed, to gain the happiness He had, to gain as He said Himself " to sit with me in my throne."

Chapter 3 -- The Commandments

After various conversations with Woozle, Dhraakellian, TenE and trout I refuse to expound on what the commandments are. Read the scriptures and ask God. He will teach your heart what you need to do to conform to the nature of happiness. Interestingly enough it is evident in the scriptures that each person is given only as much of the law as they are ready for.

Woozle Responds

I've been working on the idea lately that what we have here (it's especially clear in the U.S., where we all have to live side-by-side sharing a lot of the same rules, but it's probably a worldwide phenomenon) is two or more ways of thinking which truly cannot be resolved.

You're not going to convince, for example, a Texas Republican that gays should have the right to marry. (Sorry... this is getting a bit political... but I'm actually not talking about that particular issue; just using it as an example.) Similarly, you're not going to convince a die-hard Darwinian Atheist that it's okay to have the Ten Commandments in the state courthouse, or mandatory prayers in school.

What we seem to be gravitating towards (at least some of the time) is the idea that different ideals can have their way in different parts of the country. (and I'm realizing that this is too much on politics and not religion, so I'll sum up & move on.) But in order to really make that work, we need some meta-rules that everyone can agree to. And part of figuring out those meta-rules is working out

  1. what points everyone pretty much agrees on, and
  2. at what point in the chain of reasoning does the divide appear (i.e. if we all agree on some basic principles but we end up disagreeing on some of the more specific consequences, where do the paths of reasoning diverge?)

Which actually relates to the rest of what Vee said...

It all seems to come down to whether you can swallow the premise that someone (even a deity) could know the ideal rules for everyone to get along (if "for everyone to get along" is the goal; if not, then maybe I need a clearer understanding of the goal).

I can't swallow that premise... but I'm fine with other people believing it -- as long as they don't use that belief as a basis for making laws which I have to follow.

(And that's probably about as succinct a description of the Faith vs. Humanist philosophies as you're likely to get anywhere. No extra charge. ^_^)

W Note 1

"How are humans now different?" Well, first of all I'd disagree that we have ever been more educated than we are now – which isn't to say that we are now in a State Of Education and needn't worry about backsliding; the important thing is that we must maintain, use, and build upon the education bought by the sweat and blood of our ancestors, and not throw it away.

As you point out, we've been through dozens of governments – different styles of governments, even – and I have to think we're quite changed as a result of all that. Could any nation today, for example buy into the sort of "solution" proposed by Hitler? A few people might, but no nation that remains educated and remembers how that particular experiment came out is going to want to go there again. Are we likely to try Communism again? Certainly not without a good, hard look at past failures.

It's not just forms of government, either. Would anyone seriously believe an accusation of witchcraft in this era? A few might, but as a society we've learned that there are better ways to cope with misfortune. If a natural disaster wipes out a small town or major city, we don't call them "sinners" and shun them lest they bring perdition down upon us as well; we collect money and materials to help them recover.

Wouldn't we be disrespecting God by failing to use the brains He gave us to learn from our mistakes (and successes)? Learning is change. We are changed by what we learn. (And that's my 42 cents on that one.)

Some of the things you were saying sound like they agree with this, though, so maybe I'm just stating the obvious and misunderstanding your point.

W Note 2

"spiritually we are all a bunch of two year olds" If I'm understanding right, you're saying that at some fundamental level, we continue to have the emotional maturity of a 2yo throughout our lifetimes; all the "adult"-level behavior is somehow superimposed upon that inner immaturity.

There are a lot of different ways you could mean this, so correct me if I'm following the wrong thread.

Q1: How is "adult" behavior different from that of a 2yo? Things like caring about the welfare of others, taking responsbility for our actions, listening to advice and generally trying to anticipate the consequences of things before doing them – I'm guessing this is the kind of thing you're talking about, from the examples you gave.

Assuming that is what we're talking about, then...

Q2: When you say we "spiritually" we are all still 2yos, it sounds like you're saying that the "adult" qualities are just an overlay, and that our true motivations are still that of the 2yo -- adult-like behavior is not natural, not part of our basic motivations. Am I on the right track?


<Vee> Matt 22:37-39?
<FrozenTrout> http://scriptures.lds.org/matt/22/40#40 ?  (KJV)
<Dhraakellian> 36 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
<Dhraakellian> He said to him, "'you shall love the Lord your God with all your heard, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
<Dhraakellian> 38This is the greatest and first commandment.
<Dhraakellian> 39 And a second is like it:  'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
<Dhraakellian> 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
<Dhraakellian> Matthew 22:36-40, NRSV
<Dhraakellian> I don't have an NIV handy to check