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Why I Love The Pope - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
August 2nd, 2003
12:18 pm

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Why I Love The Pope

Kibbles posted an angry screed the other day that the pope had denounced gay sex, calling it "serious depravity" and "deviant." She was furious about it, and on many levels she's perfectly right.

But me? I love the Pope, and in some ways I'm glad that he said it.

Don't get me wrong; I don't hate gays, and I don't think that gay sex is immoral. (Just shoot me if that's the case, punkie - I've had my summer camp experience.) I think that in this particular case, the Pope is 100% wrong. But one of the things that always irritates me when people denounce the Catholic Church is their surprise and irritation that the Church is so far behind the times. Don't they realize that most people support abortion rights and gay rights?

Let's get something straight: The Church is, first and foremost, intended to be a moral organization - something that tells people what's right and what's wrong. (Whether they accomplish that on a consistent basis is another debate, but let's set that one aside for the moment.) For thousands of years, the Church has held to its beliefs and traditions - and that's because when you boil it down, the church believes there is Good with a capital "G" that gets you into heaven, and there is Evil that condemns you to eternal fire.

It also believes - and this is the amazing part - that we don't get to define which is which.

That's right, folks - if God really is in charge, then our whining bullshit to argue what's right and what's wrong is completely fucking irrelevant. In the Pope's world, this isn't a democracy. It's his job to figure out what God really wants - and what the Devil doesn't - and to work his ass off so that people don't fucking do bad things.

I love that.

It's misguided sometimes, but I love it. There's such a insidious tide of moral relatavism in America these days, a slippery slope where every action can be justified. That's partially evaporated once the planes hit the towers, but there's still a frightening willingness to say, "The people in Africa and the Middle East aren't bad or backwards - they're just differently-cultured! If we talk to them, we'll surely get through..."

In other words, hey, we're all just good people; some of us just do bad things because they're not properly enlightened. Maybe everyone has a good point.

Bullshit. Some people are wrong, and they do bad things, and it doesn't matter. I don't give a shit about your bad childhood or your cultural upbringing, if you're cheating on your partner behind her back or hitting your kids, you're fucking wrong.

Sometimes, there are moral absolutes.

People mock Christians for their beliefs, as if morality was really just a big democracy. Whatever we decide is right. And if we say that hey, killing kids in the womb is right, you should agree. If we say that your most morally-abhorrent taboos are right, you should just cave. If we say that Jews are bad and should be gassed, you should just cave.

Oh, wait, that last one was also decided by the majority? Oh, fuck.

I don't agree with the Church's stance on abortion or gays or even women... But I respect the fact that they believe it and they're not fucking changing for you or anyone. Yeah, you might disagree... But to them, it's a very clear line between heaven and hell, between right and wrong, and it's not something that everyone gets to vote on.

Sometimes, I think we could all use a little bit of that steel in our lives.

Current Mood: impressedimpressed

(40 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

Comments
 
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From:llemma
Date:August 2nd, 2003 09:51 am (UTC)
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To be fair, what you're praising is the ideal of the Church, not how it's actually operated - since it tends to sway with the wind only slightly less than purely political institutions. They didn't put up much of a fuss about those Jews at the time.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 2nd, 2003 05:08 pm (UTC)
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Actually, that "The Church did jack-all about the Jews" is mostly myth. No, they didn't denounce the Nazis openly for political reasons, but the church (and, yes, the Pope) carried out several underground railroad-style situations where Jews were rescued. And he did pressure the Alliance to try and save the Jews specifically. They probably could have done more, but they didn't just stand there and whistle.

I wish I had the links to all of these, but they got lost in the computer crash. It was pretty interesting when I did the research on it, though.

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From:shawnj
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:12 am (UTC)
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Sometimes, there are moral absolutes

To you.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 2nd, 2003 05:09 pm (UTC)
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No, they exist. The only question is whether you choose to acknowledge that evil exists, or not.
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From:shawnj
Date:August 2nd, 2003 05:24 pm (UTC)
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That all depends on what your definitions of good and evil are (if there even is one that is anything more concrete than just opinion). That seems to vary depending on who's brain you sit in on.
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From:force_of_will
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:14 am (UTC)

I'm not sure I've ever done this one in front of you before...

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I think there is a rift between Christ and the Catholic church.

I think the biggest link in this is that the bible as we know it was put together and edited by the Romans, and I am always smacked by an underlying tinge to use the conversion to Christianity as a method for control. I have theorized that the churches mideval state of high control in the dark ages could possibly have been the fallout of this Roman edit/organization.

I have gotten these ideas mostly from ideas surfacing after the finding of the dead sea scrolls, where they have found such things as a gospel of mary magdelene and such.

With this are such ideas as the practices of early gnostic christians whos basic tenent was that moral behavior wasn't the issue but only the understanding and acceptance of God's infinite mercy. As such they committed the most dispicable acts they could to give the man a chance to comtemplate his extention of the hand of infinite mercy and forgiveness. The more tame view of course is the folk with whom Christ mingled and embraced. The taxman, the probable whore, the unclean, the diseased, in short the sinners. Perhaps more rightly the whole of mankind.

Further ideas include that the new testament is a code and that there was a split in the church involved. The easy key is that St Peter is not IN heaven but stands outside the pearly gates. The idea is that he wasn't actually, ahem, smart enough to grasps Christs teachings, but had ultimate faith in the son of god. Not for his understanding but for his faith is he given the ring and starts the line of popes. The other side is that outside of the Catholic church, if you can crack the new testament code, you can glimpse Christs actual Church of heaven, recieve a direct gnostic experience, etc, what Peter was not able to do.

Other radical ideas that go with this are stories that revolve around the grail legend. What we now form as a translation of "san greal" or "the cup" may actually have been "sang real" or "the blood of a king" and the secret that the Templars wound up guarding was that Mary Magdelen walked out of Israel and into what is now France carrying the "blood of the king" and the heir to the line of king David in her womb. This, I'm afraid was no immaculate conception.

Christ did not die on the cross. When on the cross he was not flanked by criminals but zealots, allied with his cause. He was given vinagar with poison, collapsed on the cross, was taken down and revived. Later when he was seen on the road by the disciples it was really him, and he lived a rather long life in hiding but still teaching.

Such are a few of the stories I know.

I do not disbelieve. The stories and so on, the ideas of divinity, the idea of divinity, are a part of this existance. If not for the individuals witness of the world there would be no divine. It must be transcendant.

As far as morality goes, well, I don't know that the Pope is right. I'm not sure why consenting homosexual activity is wrong. I'm more into intent. Yet evil may be the most subtle of things. Subtle and slippery. In the end I have decided that I fear not an afterlife of hell nor am I enticed by a vision of heavan. I am however wracked daily by a conscious that is central to my being.

I hope, that the mercy and forgiveness is indeed, infinite. That this is a paradox, well, the world may be seated as one.

Will
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From:badlydrawnjeff
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:19 am (UTC)
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Don't they realize that most people support abortion rights and gay rights?

Actually, polls are showing more people as pro-life, and a pretty atrong majority, somewhere around 60%, don't support things like gay marriage.

This certainly doesn't justify anything, sometimes the rights of man have to go past the rights of the majority, but yeah.
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From:the_siobhan
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:51 am (UTC)

gay rights

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I think it depends on where you are getting your statistics. It's probably a majority in urban centres, especially in the north-east.

It's a majority in Canada overall. Barely, but a majority nonetheless.

(I think that proves that we win.) :-)

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From:wolfinthewood
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:42 am (UTC)

A short lesson in church history

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> For thousands of years, the Church has held to its beliefs and traditions

I'm sorry, but that's simply not so. I'll give you a good example.

For many centuries the Church opposed taking money at interest. They called it usury; they preached hellfire sermons against it; they regarded it as the work of the Devil. This was because it involved people making money that they hadn't actually done anything to earn. Instead, by a kind of black magic, they made an inorganic substance, gold, breed more of itself.

Now tell me, when did you last hear a denunciation of usury on the lips of the Pope? Nowadays, the Church puts out its own funds at interest.

On the other hand, the Church did not always consider homosexuality to be the most appalling of sins. For a long time, it was just another in a long category of sexual sins the unwary might fall into - alongside enjoying having sex with one's spouse. (As opposed to having dutiful sex for procreational purposes.)

And then again, at other times and in other places it was a capital offence, a crime against God's law that required an exemplary and bloody punishment. Not something the Church is insisting on now, fortunately. Nowadays, the Pope says he wants his followers to be tolerant - up to a point.

Well, I hope I have said enough to establish that the Church is as timebound as any other human institution.

To conclude: the Pope's current position on homosexual relationships has at least as much to do with the nature of the Church's relationship with the modern world as with any moral position that the Church has adopted in the past. As to how he arrived at this position, and in what respects it serves his purposes and the purposes of the institution that he heads - well, that would take a thesis to consider.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 2nd, 2003 05:16 pm (UTC)

Re: A short lesson in church history

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Well, I hope I have said enough to establish that the Church is as timebound as any other human institution.

No, actually what you proved is that the Church occasionally shifts positions on things. That's not nearly the same.

The Church changes. I never said it was timeless, and influences of the real world seep in - as they should. Many people may take different approaches to what the right thing is... And time may prove whether something is sinful or not.

What you are saying is that the Church varies its approach, and weights different sins. What I am saying is that the Church keeps its traditions and doesn't shift just because people think it's about time. The two statements aren't mutually exclusive.
From:noumignon
Date:August 4th, 2003 02:04 am (UTC)

Re: A short lesson in church history

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> What I am saying is that the Church keeps its traditions and doesn't shift just because people think it's about time.

I think it's inaccurate to describe Wolf's discussion of usury as "What you are saying is that the Church varies its approach, and weights different sins." The Church could be said to have "varied its approach" toward evangelism, from the Spanish missions in California to the current parish system. It "weights different sins" by putting more emphasis on divorce and less on heresy. But its attitude toward usury isn't using different methods toward the same goal, or de-emphasizing usury while maintaining that it's sinful. It's a plain reversal, in response to changing financial systems. That example and others would contradict "the Church keeps its traditions and doesn't shift just because people think it's about time."

Your position and Wolf's are mutually exclusive, because if the church's traditions change with the ideas of the times, it's hard to believe that "our whining bullshit to argue what's right and what's wrong is completely fucking irrelevant." Unless it's God who's changing his mind.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 8th, 2003 02:58 pm (UTC)

Re: A short lesson in church history

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You're wrong. You're confusing "The Church changed in response to outside influences" to "The Church changed because we all held a vote."

The Church changed because it was eventually swayed to believe that usury was not wrong any more. It did not change because everyone whined at it like they do today and said, "Aw, come on! It's wrong!" That whining may have been a factor, but the Church has always been slow to change in the face of progress - and it's never changed things SOLELY because of the weight of public opinion. Some things it has never been okay with, despite a lot of complaints from very powerful people (divorce, anyone?), proving my point even further.

From:noumignon
Date:August 10th, 2003 03:04 am (UTC)

Re: A short lesson in church history

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I'm not the only commenter on this page who has partly misread you as saying, "The Church has moral absolutes that never change." So your point was actually: "The Church, while it sometimes changes, maintains its values against outside pressure better than moral relativists, because it doesn't determine its values by majority vote." I think this is just because its organization is undemocratic. China and Cuba are able to defend socialist values against capitalism better than Eastern Europe, for the same reason.

Anyway, your main point is that the Church should not be criticized for being behind the times, because providing moral absolutes is its nature. I think Catholics should accept that, even those who disagree, but people who do not recognize the Pope as a provider of moral absolutes can criticize away, the same as they might criticize a particularly fundamentalist Muslim cleric.
From:toiletduckagd
Date:August 2nd, 2003 10:54 am (UTC)

Nitpicking aside..

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I fully agree with this, well put :)
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From:icyphoenix
Date:August 2nd, 2003 11:36 am (UTC)

Random promotion post that has nothing to do with the Pope

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Submit stuff to my bad poetry contest! ^.^
Hoping Ferrett at least will do so because he's a good writer. =P
Everyone else is invited as well.
Please?
It's in my journal.
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From:lysana
Date:August 2nd, 2003 08:13 pm (UTC)
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I'm with you about moral absolutes. There is a core foundation which should be agreed upon, or else we're building our entire philsophy on shifting sands. I shudder to think that "evil" can be called relative past a certain point. That way leads to justifying serial killers.
From:iain
Date:August 3rd, 2003 04:54 am (UTC)
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Reading this triggered a thought in my mind: If a gay person never had homosexual relations and settled down with a wife and family for the rest of his life as some kind of cover, not repressing his desires in the strictest sense of the word but never giving in to them either, would they still be sinning? Is the sin in the act of sodomy, or is it in the desire? I wonder what the church's position on this is.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 8th, 2003 02:49 pm (UTC)
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Sin's the desire, technically - as George Carlin says, "If you say, 'I'm gonna go downtown today and commit a mortal sin,' save your carfare! You did it, man!" However, it's a lot easier to repent for desires than it is for actions.

Technically, you shouldn't feel that way at all, but I think the Church would be happier to have a converted gay who fights desires. Even though that trick never works, Bullwinkle.
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From:usmu
Date:August 4th, 2003 09:11 am (UTC)
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For thousands of years, the Church has held to its beliefs and traditions - and that's because when you boil it down, the church believes there is Good with a capital "G" that gets you into heaven, and there is Evil that condemns you to eternal fire.

That the Church (capital letter to signify the organization as opposed to the congregation) believes in both Good and Bad is a obvious conclusion.

Christianity can not seem to ultimately agree though which Good and Bad are though. In my town, with 25.000 inhabitants a reasonable but not big Dutch town, there are ten active Christian denominations. I'm not including two mosques, a Turkish and a Moroccan, here even though they seem to be applicable to me as well.

When it comes to sin a lot of religions do name a lot of the same sins, but sometimes never completely agree and almost never agree what is the right thing to do or if it indeed gets you into heaven. Jehovah witnesses for example, even though according to them they are the true believers, won't all go to heaven, only a chosen few.


It also believes - and this is the amazing part - that we don't get to define which is which.

The Christian Church has broken up, reformed and argued it's way through at least the last thousand or so years trying to find the "right" way of believing and getting into heaven.

Even though they might not believe that they have the ultimate say in what's Good and Bad, they did decide it what was the "Good way" of doing things, of defining morality.

In the Roman Catholic Church it once was considered Good behavior to literally pay for your sins and you buying your way into heaven wasn't uncommon. To a certain extent this is still true in the RC-church, giving money is still concerned a thing which might get you to heaven. This is not true though in Protestant believe in which the life you lead does not guarantee you a place in heaven period, God does.

In other words it seems there's a gap between belief and practice and between the different practices.


Sometimes, there are moral absolutes

Moral absolutes are always or never, not sometimes. You can't have your cake and eat it. Thou shalt not kill also means thou shalt not kill in self defense. Even though the latter is considered less of sin then the former.


Sometimes, I think we could all use a little bit of that steel in our lives

Where the organization is not working for me, I do respect people who have firm beliefs and stick with them. I know people who have suffered because they're gay/bi and struggled with that because of their religion. It does take steel.

The Pope speaks not as an individual, but as a representative for the organization. In that respect he's speaking for a defective organization and I don't care much for him, not as I do for him on a personal level. The pope is entitled to his own piece of steel, as long as he doesn't want to ram it down the throats of anybody else who doesn't agree with him. And organized religion mostly wants to do just that.

Philosophical side note:
Having a deterministic view on life, as you well know, morality is a bit of a mood point to me personally, as predetermination ultimately does not give people a choice in how they behave and what they do. As such morality, or the justice system for that matter, are artificial constructs to keep society functioning.
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From:zigurat
Date:August 8th, 2003 09:08 am (UTC)
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The commandment is not "thou shalt not kill". Bad translation. It's actually closer to "thou shalt do no murder".

Translation is a real problem.
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From:usmu
Date:August 8th, 2003 09:25 am (UTC)
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Translation is indeed a problem. But even then the principle remains: we see a difference between manslaughter and murder in the first degree. Which, hence the different names, we attach different values to. But still they're both murder would be equally wrong.
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From:zigurat
Date:August 8th, 2003 09:38 am (UTC)
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Right-o--murder and manslaughter are equally wrong. But the question is whether it changes the self-defense analysis, and the analysis of serving in a war.
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From:usmu
Date:August 8th, 2003 10:00 am (UTC)
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As my point concerned morals according according to the church vs morals according to judicial system, which does make a difference between the two crimes, and the fact morals are either absolute or they are not, I don't see that effecting my point.

As to a war: I don't feel there could ever be a religious ground or justification for going to war. Specially not a Christian one. Even if the commandment is thy shalt not murder, the 10 commandments are "overruled" by at least one other biblical statement. The most important one, one people often seem to forget, is love your neighbor as you love yourself. The self-defence analysis does become a different one.

And even if it's bad translation, this is somewhat of a mood point since the people believe that thou shalt not kill is what the commandment actually says and judge accordingly, even if God wouldn't.
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From:zigurat
Date:August 8th, 2003 10:49 am (UTC)
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No, doesn't affect your point, and you're quite right about most people.

Of course war is affected by many other commandments. There is love, and there is duty to state, and there is -duty to God before duty to state-. And there is the bit about violating your own conscience.

But, God's judgment matters, and people's judgment doesn't matter. And people don't really think it says "thou shalt not kill" because if they did think so, there would be more work being done to justify self defense. This is one situation where many people seem to have gotten the meaning right even if the translation is bad.

Of course, I have by now lost track of your ultimate point about whether you think morals are absolute or not. :-)
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From:usmu
Date:August 8th, 2003 12:54 pm (UTC)
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The point I was making is that morals either are or are not absolute, there is no in-between as theferret mentioned.

Like I mentioned I have a deterministic view of life and as such morality is a bit of a mood point for me. Though this is very abstract reasoning and as such does not have much effect on every day life.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 8th, 2003 02:47 pm (UTC)
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Usmu, meet zigurat. Zigurat, meet Usmu.

Zigurat is an old friend of mine, and I only found out late last night that I used to know him as Counselor. Counselor and I - and, well, everyone - used to get into the most ridiculous of debates, but he always managed to do it with grace and flair.

Usmu has been the person who has filled this role in my current LiveJournal. The moment the two of you started arguing, I said, "That's it - my comment counts are doubling."

Happy to have you both fight like cats in my journal, but I'd friend each other right now if I were you and save the time.

Yours trulified,
T.F.
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From:usmu
Date:August 11th, 2003 09:13 am (UTC)
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Nice to meet you zigurat. I hope you don't mind, but I did what theferret suggested and put you on my friend list. Hope you don't mind. Where he's wrong ofcourse is the fact that would mean I am going to leave his journal alone and take this discussion elsewhere. ;)

Me, grace and flair... who'd have thought it. :)
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From:zigurat
Date:August 11th, 2003 11:13 am (UTC)
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Ack, I didn't see this comment, because I didn't get a copy by email, since it was a reply to Usmu's comment.

Good idea. Thanks.
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From:zigurat
Date:August 11th, 2003 06:50 am (UTC)
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Ah, yes. I like your point. I don't go for shades of gray, or degrees of wrong.

But, I would think a deterministic view would have a very profound effect on daily life, if it's deeply held. I would expect you to confuse a lot of people.

I also have some beliefs which often confuse people. Sometimes people say I'm optimistic--I say I'm a real pessimist--the world is a big crapper, enslaved to decay, but hey, that's okay, it's supposed to be that way. I think 'people' are idiots and should be hanged, but 'individuals' are generally okay and just need a break. Hard on society, easy on the people.

The one that's toughest for most people is I believe that, since the world is so backward, you often get in situations where any choice you make is wrong (that is, immoral). Kinda the opposite of the Jesuit philosophy. Jesuits mold morality to their liking by saying it's okay to intentionally set up a situation where you choose the lesser of two evils, doing something that would normally be immoral, but is now the correct moral choice. I say, whether or not you intended the situation, wrong is wrong, and any choice (or even opting to make no choice) can all be wrong. But hey, that's okay. After all, that's what grace is for, and without it, we'd all be damned anyway. Even Christians who believe strongly in grace often don't like the idea that sometimes any choice they make could be morally wrong. Even when I say--hey, it's not you, it's the situation you're in. There are just some impossible positions and you're bound to get in them. It's okay, God understands, as long as you're after Him.

Determinism--I don't have a problem with it one way or the other. I don't see determinism and free will as opposing. Nor determinism and responsibility. I think it's all one, and it just depends on how you look at it. They are different aspects of reality, and not incompatible.
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From:usmu
Date:August 11th, 2003 09:48 am (UTC)
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Determinism--I don't have a problem with it one way or the other. I don't see determinism and free will as opposing. Nor determinism and responsibility. I think it's all one, and it just depends on how you look at it. They are different aspects of reality, and not incompatible.

I am wondering how you came to that conclusion. To me they are on different levels of reality and because of that incompatible. Free will and therefor responsibility are perceived because we can not tell the future, even if it is predetermined. Determinism trumps both of them.


Ah, yes. I like your point. I don't go for shades of gray, or degrees of wrong.

I'm going to be disappointing here ;) but I am a man of grays. I just think morals are not. A moral is dogmatic in character otherwise it wouldn't hold. Even if they are rather specific as theferret mentioned, every single instance they are applicable they will give the same result. Even thought the circumstances might not be the same. This is not something I feel comfortable with. Hence I'm not a very moralistic person.


But, I would think a deterministic view would have a very profound effect on daily life, if it's deeply held. I would expect you to confuse a lot of people.

How come? For me it doesn't have much of an influence on my daily life (philosophically speaking there are several rather interesting consequences), as the future as mentioned above can not be predicted even if it is predetermined.

An other thing is that, and this is my reply to the question why I even bother to get out of bed, even though the future is predetermined, it has to happen. I still need to make the decision, even though I will make it the only way I can.

Confuse people? Not really. To a lot of people I actually make quite a lot of sense when telling them about my view of life, eloquently called "causality on steroids" by a friend of mine, but when I tell them that if they agree with me on what I told them so far, they also should agree with me on the fact that there's no free will, they do not, without being able to give an explanation other than: "there's more to humanity than that".
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From:zigurat
Date:August 11th, 2003 11:09 am (UTC)
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Your thinking about determinism and free will is linear, logical, exclusive. Mine thinking about them is circular, encompassing, cohesive. If we lived in a two dimensional world, you would be saying that a coin can be heads or tails, but not both. I would say that a coin is both heads and tails, but we can't see both at the same time because our perspective is limited. But I would not be able to explain this because my perspective would also be limited to two dimensions. I would just believe it. Our perspective is limited.

You believe in determinism and yet you say you choose. Do you want to rephrase and say that instead you put on a good charade of choosing?

My belief doesn't cause that difficulty. I have no difficulty because I can believe that God made us, everything is predetermined in the sense that creation (all of space-time) is a single creation, made from outside of its constraints, yet free will is a part of that creation, existing within the framework (specificially, time).

Your belief in determinism should be evident in several ways even though you must still "make your choices". I would think that you would not experience regret. Also, that you would approach life with a "let's see what's going to happen today" attitude. You would even experience grief differently from most people, never saying "if only..." You might make comments like, "It's not my problem if you're fated to be a jerk." In all, I'd expect that you wouldn't let much bother you, but might end up with a rather stoic attitude if your life got hard.

As opposed to you, I am a very moralistic person, if moralistic is the right word. "Lord, against you alone have I sinned." Though, if I didn't believe in God, I believe I would be quite, well, amoral. Because, you see, life would be temporary, and therefore it wouldn't matter who got hurt, because after all it would all end anyway.
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From:usmu
Date:August 11th, 2003 12:14 pm (UTC)
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I do agree with you on the fact that our perspective is limited and we, as humanity, are not able to ascertain philosophical absolute truth. Both a rationalistic and empirical view of the world can give us an absolute insight to the world around us. This however is not a "workable" lifestyle. There have to be some basis on which we build our lives. After consideration of the world around me, I believe determinism is the right way to go for me.

As far as two dimensional vs three dimensional goes: determinism doesn't limit options within given dimensions it just limits the path followed through the dimensions, in other words it does not say the coin you flip can not land on either heads or tails in different situations, though it will say that it in this instance will land on heads.

The difference between my definition of determinism and yours lays in the fact that where yours only controls the parameters of life mine also controls life itself. The reason for that being God created free will and thereby lifting the ban of determinism.

When it comes to choosing, this is a rather semantic point and a point of emphasis more then anything else, I do have several options, I do chose the one I feel I need to chose. Though this choice is actually the only one I will make, I still have to do it. It's ties in with what I mentioned earlier about two versus three dimensions.

When I said I wasn't a moralistic person I don't mean to say that I don't care what happens to other people or don't have a given set of rules of proper behavior. Where I do feel I differ with a large majority of the people is that I feel mine are solely mine and that somebody can have even valid and at the same time contradictionary "rules" to mine. In other words I feel morals are relative and that is a huge step from what morals are generally defined to be. Though I've never considered it as such, this could be viewed as a consequence of my deterministic view of life.

As can most of the other things you mentioned. I indeed seldom have regrets, what ifs are indeed useless (but aren't they always, no matter what your believes, the past can not be changed) and I am pretty happy go lucky. Again this could be a consequence of me having a deterministic view of life, or, chicken and egg style, maybe that's why I can see the world as deterministic and life as something temporary.

And yes I am egocentric, I live only once and want to have as much a good time as possible. Though not at any cost.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 8th, 2003 02:54 pm (UTC)
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There are moral absolutes - the trick is finding out what they are. I don't believe "Thou shalt not kill" is workable in the slightest - you HAVE to kill to survive - so the question then becomes, what is the real absolute? "Thou shalt not kill for personal gain"? "Thou shalt not enjoy killing"?

Also, just because it's an absolute doesn't mean that it always applies to things. Buying a candy bar at the local convenience store, barring some sort of bizarre theft urge, involves no absolutes.

The point is not that absolutes don't get argued. They do. The question is finding out what they are, and working with them effectively to find what makes a better mankind.

Of course, for you that's kind of a moot point, I know, but still....
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From:usmu
Date:August 11th, 2003 12:30 pm (UTC)
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Of course, for you that's kind of a moot point, I know, but still....

That has never stopped me from discussing anything and everything. :)


There are moral absolutes

This to me is a reversal from what I thought to be the original point, whether morals are absolute or not. Meaning that if any given thing is immoral it's always immoral, regardless of the circumstances in which the act is committed, or that circumstances make the same act more or less sinful. Or should morals be constructed in such a way this question never arises?

As to moral absolutes... As long as morals absolutes are basically majority votes they can not be absolute. People have done hideous things that almost all of mankind would find morally wrong, but still believing they were doing the right thing, feeling morally justified.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 11th, 2003 01:04 pm (UTC)
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It's no reversal. There are moral absolutes that work. We just have to find them. It's like an ethicosocial science.

And I never claimed that the Pope was right, nor that the Church never changed - I said that there were absolutes, and it's our job to discover what they are. However, that doesn't mean that everyone who has absolutes is right.
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From:usmu
Date:August 12th, 2003 11:19 am (UTC)
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I was not implying you were saying the Pope is right, you very clearly state that in your first post, but I was making a statement about moral absolutes in general.

I don't feel there are absolute morals. I do agree with you on the fact that there are morals the can be seen as such because they work for almost everyone. But never for everybody. You can count on there being at least one fucker doing something that nobody thought anyone would be capable of. Or something so horrible they weren't able to imagine it in the first place.
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From:lordreaibn
Date:August 4th, 2003 11:51 am (UTC)
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amen.
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From:zigurat
Date:August 8th, 2003 09:25 am (UTC)
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You may be a sinner (who isn't?--that seems to be the point any christian church I know of makes), but at least you're intellectually honest. I definitely admire the pope, though I quite disagree with anyone taking such a high position on themselves--there's only one intermediary. But that aside.

The intolerance of those who preach tolerance in the name of advancing their own agenda has gotten to a really absurd level. If you're going to be tolerant, that means you have to accept those who are trying to change the world counter to the way you're trying to change it--without of course accepting their actions. The only people I know who can do this are Christians. I don't know of any other system of belief that is both internally consistent and tolerant.

Of course, this all means that I have to accuse you of some level of intellectual dishonesty, because you can't really be tolerant. ;-)

Real liberals seem the worst about this--intolerance for anyone with a different point of view, because the opposing view also embraces changing the world to it's image. It's about power to advance your own agenda, to most people. It is absurd that people are ignorant that it's all about power, or won't admit it. Ultimately, the power of good v. evil, God v. Satan. I've met so many people who really believe in world peace, that everyone could agree to disagree and let it rest. It's sad.
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From:theferrett
Date:August 8th, 2003 02:52 pm (UTC)
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Tolerance is a very funny thing. If you want to change the world, you are by definition INtolerant. What you really WANT to be is "loving," since you can love someone and actively work to undermine the life they want for their own good, as opposed to "tolerant," which means you'll sit there and take it. It's possible to disagree with respect.

My entire point is, as you seem to have picked up on, that it's not wrong to want to change the world, and it's not wrong to be honest about your agenda.
Good to have you back, chief. Missed ya. Real thrilled when I found out who you were.
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From:zigurat
Date:August 11th, 2003 06:19 am (UTC)
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By jove, I think he's got it! Yes, loving is a better word. And what is it you call people without an agenda? Ah, yes, apathetic. Fortunately that's one thing I'm getting over--had some serious happy-go-lucky apathy for a while. It was strangely reminiscent of being in high school.

Thanks. Good to be back. Great to see you and Gini happy.
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