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Source: (consider it) Thread: Human Nature
Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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Hi guys.

I’m sure there’s a host of Classic Standard Answers to this age-old question, developed and polished over centuries by theologians and philosophers alike, but I’d be interested to read and perhaps question the opinions of Shipmates on the matter.

Mankind sucks, right? Yes, I know, I know, we are capable of beautiful behaviour such as kindness and compassion and artistic creativity and all that, but alongside all those good capabilities is our perpetual badness. Look around- on this day of Remembrance as on any other.

By way of various biological survival imperatives our goodness does generally surmount our badness, but, even though it may be suppressed to a ratio of 49.999:50.001, our tendency to be bad would seem to be a hugely significant universal constant within all of us. I fear this is why we still keep doing things like wars and stuff even though we really should have learnt our lesson from so much history.

So, I hope it won’t be controversial here to make the claim that we are hardwired in the fabric of our nature to be bad. My question is why should this be?

Notwithstanding any argument for the necessary existence of Evil as an essential supernatural phenomenon, why would a loving Creator design a species to be so readily capable of badness? Why not create an entirely well-behaved species?

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این نیز بگذرد

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
So, I hope it won’t be controversial here to make the claim that we are hardwired in the fabric of our nature to be bad. My question is why should this be?

Notwithstanding any argument for the necessary existence of Evil as an essential supernatural phenomenon, why would a loving Creator design a species to be so readily capable of badness? Why not create an entirely well-behaved species?

The process of evolution by natural selection and random mutations in which species survive if they do not become extinct (well, yes, I know that is obvious!) but our species does not select out those who harm others because there are quite enough of us to carry on.
. If there came a stage where, because of cataclysms or something, our human species was almost wiped out, the ones lucky enough to have such random mutations that enable them to survive would pass on their genes. Because we are able to communicate and pass on information, and can adapt to our changed surroundings, we will survive. Those who do not have the genes, the protection and care of others willnot. Those who might be labelled 'bad' will instinctively fight for their survival but in order to do that, they will have to co-operate with others. As a result of the co—operation of the groups that form, those with less loving characteristics will survive with the others, or find him/herself outcast and defenceless. His/her genees will be passed on too.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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Hi, Yorick! [Smile]

Free will. People are hardwired to try to survive and reproduce. The wisdom to cooperate is in there but people can still make the choice to take a shortcut and act like assholes to get their way. As a theist I believe that God nudges us toward developing empathy and cooperation, but he leaves it as our call.

Yes, yes, Susan Doris, we know you don't believe in the God part and neither does Yorick. He just likes seeing how we varieties of Christians tick.

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
Yes, yes, Susan Doris, we know you don't believe in the God part and neither does Yorick. He just likes seeing how we varieties of Christians tick.

[Smile] Yes I know! But the topic was of course irresistible!!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Boogie

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# 13538

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How would we have survived if we were entirely well behaved? Surely defending ourselves would, in prehistoric times, required some horrible aggression just to survive?

‘Red In tooth and claw’ and all that. How well behaved are crocodiles?

Kindness is a choice - but does it only come with plenty of food and comfort, once we don’t have to kill to survive?

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Notwithstanding any argument for the necessary existence of Evil as an essential supernatural phenomenon, why would a loving Creator design a species to be so readily capable of badness?

I believe the Christian standard answer falls under the heading of: Sin, Original (see Fall, The).

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Enoch
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It's not 'where does badness come from?' that's the puzzle. The need to survive provides an answer to that.

It's 'where does goodness comes from?' that is the much more challenging question. When I find unexpected goodness in myself, not just driven by self-interest, where does that come from, how and why?

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
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L*R- Free will? Do you find this entirely satisfactory as an explanation for so much horrendously bad behaviour causing innocent suffering?

Also, it would seem to imply that your Creator either could not or would not design a species (in His image, right?) to be solely capable of the free will to do good, both of which possibilities raise further questions about His alleged omnipotence or lovingness respectively.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Martin60
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What's it got to do with God, Yorick?

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Love wins

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SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
It's not 'where does badness come from?' that's the puzzle. The need to survive provides an answer to that.

It's 'where does goodness comes from?' that is the much more challenging question. When I find unexpected goodness in myself, not just driven by self-interest, where does that come from, how and why?

Since altruism benefits the group, I think it must be a basic survival trait too.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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rolyn
Shipmate
# 16840

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
It's not 'where does badness come from?' that's the puzzle. The need to survive provides an answer to that.

It's 'where does goodness comes from?' that is the much more challenging question. When I find unexpected goodness in myself, not just driven by self-interest, where does that come from, how and why?

[Overused]

It was alledged that during a pitched battle long ago, a Tommy held the hand of a dying German boy soldier with the words 'Your Mother is here'. I mean where does that goodness come from in the midst of a maelstrom of hate, destruction, fear and despair?

In a cynical moment I might think that all goodness conditional, or some way political. There again how can 7 billion people live together as they do in this place if this were the case?

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
How would we have survived if we were entirely well behaved? Surely defending ourselves would, in prehistoric times, required some horrible aggression just to survive?

Great point. As an atheist, I would agree that our evolutionary survival to this point has depended on our aggression and savagery as well as our capacity for reciprocal altruism, and that these components of our nature are as indelible as they are necessary parts of our human nature, despite and even because they are primitive.

Which brings me back to my enquiry. How does a believer in God reconcile these natural traits with their belief that we are created this way by a loving God Who might just as well made our evolutionary progress contingent on, well, godliness?

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این نیز بگذرد

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Boogie

Boogie on down!
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I believe God allowed/allows evolution, earthquakes, volcanoes, the Big Bang, the whole crazy caboodle. Allowed because it gave freedom. Freedom to become who and what we are and - more importantly - to choose the good, kind path of love. That freedom also allows natural evils (some truly foul creatures etc) and human, chosen evil.

My belief/faith in this God is faint and flickering. But I can’t countenance there being no unifying, loving ‘force’ holding it all together.

I’ve tried.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
What's it got to do with God, Yorick?

Well obviously, I don’t think it has anything to do with any gods. But I’m wondering how people who believe it has think our badness isn’t actually to do with Him, but is instead something to do with Free Will (and it will all be worth it in the end) or the Original Sin (and we deserve it) or whatever, and that all this satisfactorily sidesteps the bigger question of why it has to be this way anyway, given that we could have been designed to be nice to each other from the get go.

I mean, if we are designed this way it’s all a bit disappointing really.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
My belief/faith in this God is faint and flickering. But I can’t countenance there being no unifying, loving ‘force’ holding it all together.

I’ve tried.

Nothing wrong with that. Hope, I think they call it, and it’s a wonderful thing.

Cling on, Boogie.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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While I am aware that the Bible says God created mankind (twice, I guess in case the first model had defects, or something) I do not believe that humans were directly created by God. We are the product of evolution. So, asking why God created us as capable of sin is, to my mind, the wrong question.

Our ancestors learned fear. Fear kept us safe-ish from predators like lions, tigers, bears, Harvey Weinstein and other humanoid creatures. Later, when humans became the apex predator fear told us to build forts and walls and arm ourselves for protection instead of just hunting.

Fear is inbuilt into our deep psyche. I believe fear is the cause of most bad behavior in the world. Fear that "those people" might have something that "I" want creates jealousy, the Klan, walls on the Mexican border, colonialism, and theft. Fear that the world is not running the way I want it to run creates the desire to direct how other people act and the notion that it is OK to despise them and treat them poorly. Fear that other people will be as hostile and angry as I can be creates the perceived need here in the US to carry guns.

Religions, at their best, try to teach us acceptance instead of fear and compassion instead of judgment. Religions like Buddhism try to get us away from self centered fear by teaching us to let go of attachments. Programs like AA try to do the same thing.

Would I prefer a world where people were perfect? What the hell is a perfect world anyway?

The answer is no. I am just fine knowing that my idea of perfection is not an idea shared by anyone else. I also know that it is a damn good thing that I am not in charge.

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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Hi Tortuf. Great points. I totally agree about fear, and see it as the root of great evil. I would also propose greed as a big problem.

Quick question. Do you believe your God could have created a world that is populated by a race of people who are only good?

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این نیز بگذرد

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Quick question. Do you believe your God could have created a world that is populated by a race of people who are only good?

No idea. God probably could. That being said I believe God loves us enough that it would never happen.

I don't know about you, but I am not enamored of living in a perfect place.

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
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Heh. Better hope you’re wrong about the Good News then, eh?

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این نیز بگذرد

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Gramps49
Shipmate
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If I may interject. The word "bad" is a judgment call.

When my dog eats my cat's food, my wife calls him bad. But, in reality, he is just taking advantage of an opportunity that has presented itself because a human forgot to pick up the feline's food.

I think that is the point of human behavior--we try to take advantage of a situation when it presents itself. Sometimes we act out as individuals, but other times we have learned by working with others we can accomplish what we want.

Sometimes what we do will incur positive judgments of others (such as helping an old lady across the street), other times what we do will receive negative judgments (such as stealing the old lady's purse).

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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I agree with Gramps about relative morality- there is no absolute here. But it seems reasonable to assume a majority view that, say, genocide is essentially a bad thing, even though this is subjective.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
I don't know about you, but I am not enamored of living in a perfect place.

Jesting aside, should I take it that you are therefore content with the way things are, that people do such terrible things as they do in this world?

You may not want the world to be perfect, but how about nearly perfect? Or a bit nicer? Or just tweaked to be sunny and dry on Sunday School Outing Days? I mean, would you have our existence improved at all, or do you think we are just about right with the current degree of badness we manifest towards each other?

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این نیز بگذرد

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
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Hey Yorick, good to see you again.

I would ask what percent of humans are perpetrating this great evil. If the book The Sociopath Next Door is to be believed, about 10% of humans lack the ability to "feel with" (empathize with) their fellow humans. They tend to do well in positions that require a bit of ruthlessness (generals sending young men into meat grinders, for instance), and it is arguable that a certain smal percentage helps the race as a whole, but that too many would drive us into extinction. So the evolutionary processes settled on this small but not insignificant percentage as the best mix. (Forgive the anthropomorphization.)

I think maybe the other 90% are perhaps basically cooperative (without a good deal of cooperation the race wouldn't have survived this long) and need to be goaded, by religion or nationalism or fear or what-have-you, into being "bad." The latent ability to be so goaded is there, but without such goading I think we tend to live-and-let-live, and try to survive in an indifferent world while getting along with our fellow humans.

But maybe I've been listening to Steven Pinker too much.

ETA: Tortuf, it sounds like you've been reading Candide.

[ 12. November 2017, 15:11: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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Excellent point, mt (hi), about MOST people being natively good. That’s Hope again, that!

But would you agree that ALL of us are potential mass murderers, as has been suggested in the Fucking Guns thread down there? But that for the grace of God go we?

If so, why should this be? Why should we be created to evolve this way? Why couldn’t we have been proto-formed by God to evolve into being less prone to be bad?

[ 12. November 2017, 15:14: Message edited by: Yorick ]

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این نیز بگذرد

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Schroedinger's cat

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I tend to follow the Adam Hills moral principle : "Don't be a dick". That is the basic level of decency that we should show to others, because we can.

I am wondering about this "Original Sin" idea, and I am still not happy with it. But maybe the idea that we are all basically shit, but we have our brains and ability, which is what we are supposed to use to do better. That is our advantage, but we need to use it to do good, not (as so often) to do bad.

I suppose there is the idea that "to who much is given, much is expected". I also wonder whether this is part of our made in the likeness of God - that God has the power and the justification to wreak havoc, but has to choose not to.

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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Yeah, but that puts a lot of responsibility on us to outdo our God in overcoming the Nature given to us, doesn’t it?

You know what, I’ve been contemplating the words of our late Gator: “Always be yourself. Unless you suck. In which case be someone else.” I wonder why God didn’t execute such due diligence as this when He put His Almighty Jump-Leads into that primordial soup...

[ 12. November 2017, 15:28: Message edited by: Yorick ]

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این نیز بگذرد

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
But would you agree that ALL of us are potential mass murderers, as has been suggested in the Fucking Guns thread down there? But that for the grace of God go we?

I don't know. Lacking knowledge of what makes a person into a mass murderer, it's hard to say if we all have that special something (or not-so-special, I guess, if we all have it). I'd like to think I'm not mass murderer material, but I've led a relatively cushy life and haven't had the sorts of pressures that sour one on this world and all its vain pleasures.

Nevertheless it seems to me that there are plenty of people who have had shitty lives, who have had the bitterness that your average mass murderer complains about, who have felt that kind of anger even, but who did not go on to become mass murderers or anything like it. I'd say the vast majority of people with the mass murderer M.O. do not become mass murderers. Leading me to think there is something "wrong" with mass murderers that isn't wrong with the vast majority of the population.

quote:
If so, why should this be? Why should we be created to evolve this way? Why couldn’t we have been proto-formed by God to evolve into being less prone to be bad?
That's the $64k question. How much of a hand in our formation, phylogenically speaking, did God, if there is a being worthy of that appellation, take? More and more I am inclined to think She worked with the raw material she had in turning lice-ridden tree apes into potential vessels of grace. Which I suppose is heretical (neo-Platonism, perhaps) but there it is.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
You may not want the world to be perfect, but how about nearly perfect? Or a bit nicer? Or just tweaked to be sunny and dry on Sunday School Outing Days? I mean, would you have our existence improved at all, or do you think we are just about right with the current degree of badness we manifest towards each other?

Such serenity as I have found in my life has come from accepting things as they are and then doing the best I can, seeking guidance from God. Acceptance of reality is not the same as passive letting things be. I take action all the time; whether it is action to improve the lot of my family and myself, or help others who need help. The difference is I am OK whether things go the way I think they should go or not.

I do what I do knowing that I have never been anointed by God, or anyone else, to run things. So, acting with as much integrity as I can muster may not seem heroic, or adequate, for the state of the world. It is enough for me.

As mother Theresa (maybe) said, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
What's it got to do with God, Yorick?

Well obviously, I don’t think it has anything to do with any gods. But I’m wondering how people who believe it has think our badness isn’t actually to do with Him, but is instead something to do with Free Will (and it will all be worth it in the end) or the Original Sin (and we deserve it) or whatever, and that all this satisfactorily sidesteps the bigger question of why it has to be this way anyway, given that we could have been designed to be nice to each other from the get go.

I mean, if we are designed this way it’s all a bit disappointing really.

I have no idea what Free Will or Original Sin possibly could be or how the Ground of Being could have designed anything except by exacting dimensionless constants and other apparent arbitraries of the universe so that stuff can do mind.

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Love wins

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Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Yeah, but that puts a lot of responsibility on us to outdo our God in overcoming the Nature given to us, doesn’t it?

No - it is about us using what we have been given to do the right things. And because this is not just inate, we can decide what the right is, and do far more good than otherwise. If we choose to.

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MrsBeaky
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# 17663

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Originally posted by Yorick:

quote:
But would you agree that ALL of us are potential mass murderers, as has been suggested in the Fucking Guns thread down there? But that for the grace of God go we? If so, why should this be? Why should we be created to evolve this way? Why couldn’t we have been proto-formed by God to evolve into being less prone to be bad?
I am fairly certain that given the necessary circumstances we are all capable of many awful things. I'm sure I am.
I'm also aware that in some ways many of us almost have less moral choice than others- we are in part formed by our early experiences and confirmed in our choices by the society and culture in which we live. Some of us get dealt far worse hands than others and it affects us deeply and influences our moral compasses. We all have that capacity.

But here's the thing- despite all the crap I've seen and done and that's been done to me, despite all the atrocities around the world, I still believe that alongside/ at the same time/ in the very midst of the crap lies the remedy: God with us, suffering the evil with us and making Love available to us all.
Why would God let us be like this? It makes no sense and I hate that it cannot be easily explained or quantified.
I only know that time and again in spite of all the ghastliness, I and so many others have encountered that inexplicable Love.

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"It is better to be kind than right."

http://davidandlizacooke.wordpress.com

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Martin60
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Eeee MrsBeaky. Again, what's God got to do with it?

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Love wins

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MrsBeaky
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Martin
I honestly don't know!
All I know is that I have encountered what I believe to be God in the midst of it all.

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"It is better to be kind than right."

http://davidandlizacooke.wordpress.com

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Martin60
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Sorry MrsBeaky, I meant what's it got to do with God letting us be as we are? As for our realisation of Him, invoking His presence DESPITE His immanence, that's us. We like the idea of Him. Lots.

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Love wins

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Penny S
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My contemplations on Remembrance began with deciding not to watch the Albert Hall performance as it started with "I vow to thee my country", which I find goes strongly against the teachings of Jesus, before him Hillel, and before him whoever put the phrases in the Pentateuch about loving God and neighbour. Nothing there about devoting everything to one's country, including sacrificing what one holds dear, which is presumably one's family and friends. Argument followed with guest who doesn't read it that way.

Then it went on to what I usually do, remembering my Grandad explaining at the top of the Road of Remembrance in Folkestone how it was built to enable the young men to march down to the pier where they would embark to cross the Channel to the guns they could already hear. The young men who would not return.

Then my friend introduced something he was told by someone he knew. "They had to kill the deserters, or everyone would have gone home." And he said how much better things would have been if they had done just that. And I wondered just why, over the millenia, so many young men have felt it right to line up for battle and advance to kill other young men who have done the same thing at the behest of their leaders. Just what is it in humans that makes them so blithering obedient when it isn't in their best interests?

I heard the people who say "If he/she told you to put your hand in the fire, you wouldn't do that, would you? If he/she told you to jump off the cliff, you wouldn't do that." But we do, Gaderene swine, Gabriel Oak's sheep, obediently trot off to die for one's country, which mostly belongs to the few who send out the troops, and in our case is now being returned to a state which has no care for its people at all.

Obviously there has to be some evolutionary advantage to being such woefully self-sacrificing fools, since humanity has done so much better than other primates who do not exhibit that characteristic in reaching every inhabitable bit of this earth. But I despair.

[ 13. November 2017, 09:04: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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Martin60
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Strength is weakness. Weakness is strength. As Jesus shows. Evolutionarily our strength - sentient co-operation - comes at a price. So far it's working. At enormous cost. There is no other way.

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Love wins

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Golden Key
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Yorick--

quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
You know what, I’ve been contemplating the words of our late Gator: “Always be yourself. Unless you suck. In which case be someone else.” I wonder why God didn’t execute such due diligence as this when He put His Almighty Jump-Leads into that primordial soup...

Hi! [Smile] Maybe it's just because our Gator wasn't around yet? [Biased]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Martin60
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I never will while I'm dependent on oxygen.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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Whoops! Please ignore.

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Love wins

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Lyda*Rose

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Tortuf:
quote:
Acceptance of reality is not the same as passive letting things be. I take action all the time; whether it is action to improve the lot of my family and myself, or help others who need help. The difference is I am OK whether things go the way I think they should go or not.
As the Navajo say, "Walk in beauty". As I understand it, practically all Navajo religious medicine is about adjusting the person to the situation be it physical or cultural, not trying to change the situation.

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Yorick:
Yeah, but that puts a lot of responsibility on us to outdo our God in overcoming the Nature given to us, doesn’t it?

(a) Hi, Yorick!

(b) This is interesting. It’s teased my lazy Saturday morning brain into action. To overcome our given nature - it’s a thrilling idea, and there’s a lot of it in the Christian tradition, despite all that “by faith alone” stuff.

I forget where I read - decades ago now - something to the effect that the whole of human history (including prehistory) is lived in the space between the two trees of the Garden of Eden. The trees represent attributes of God: knowledge of good and evil; and eternal life. Without knowledge of good and evil, there’s no morality and no blame, which is why the dog who helps himself to the cat’s food isn't evil. With that knowledge, you acquire one of the attributes of God, but you lack his Nature, which is perfect goodness (allegedly - I have a problem with that one, but let’s persevere). Only when you overcome your Nature and acquire a godlike nature can you be allowed anywhere near the other tree, the tree of life.

Of course, I have no idea how the myth relates to practical reality. But it’s a good myth.

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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rolyn
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Good Saturday morning thoughts there.

Guess this touches on a common denominator in all religion.
Buddhism starts with the premise that all human experience is suffering of one sort or another. Then step by step, by means of spiritual discipline, moves the consciousness away from this seemingly inevitable state to the 'other tree' as you say.
That isn’t to say religion can’t just flick the switch the other way, as well our horrible history knows.

There again? Take religion out of the equation completely, as appears the case with today’s modern society, and still we observe similar proportions of goodness and badness going on around us. Some might say a good deal less badness than when religious establishments are in the driving seat. A matter of opinion.

But then what does any of that have to do with the Self I wonder.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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anteater

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Yorick:
quote:
why would a loving Creator design a species to be so readily capable of badness?
Most Christians I known would say that is the same as: "why would a loving God design a creature"?

And there are several answers to that.

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Schnuffle schnuffle.

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sharkshooter

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This thread is begging for someone to throw out the term "Total Depravity". So, there.

[Biased]

I guess if God had wanted a race of puppets, He might have made us so we would not be able to choose being bad. Instead, I believe, He wanted us to be able to love Him, which I don't think would have been possible if we had no choice.

Or we could just go back to the theology of The Fall.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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lilBuddha
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Please. The free will argument is bullshit and depends on a God is apparent narrative that doesn’t work in reality.

[ 21. November 2017, 17:31: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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In other words, for such a choice to be valid, it needs to be clear and unambiguous. The existence of any god, much less the Christian one, is neither.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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HCH
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The question was: "Why not create an entirely well-behaved species?"

It seems obvious that there are many well-behaved species: grass, mushrooms, butterflies, sharks, frogs, etc. Let's try to avoid thinking only of the human species.

Can we imagine a species (of more than one individual) possessed of intelligence, imagination and free will that is not capable of making wrong choices? How would that work?

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Martin60
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'strewth lilBuddha! Careful. You sound like me. In my dreams.

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Love wins

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
The question was: "Why not create an entirely well-behaved species?"

It seems obvious that there are many well-behaved species: grass, mushrooms, butterflies, sharks, frogs, etc. Let's try to avoid thinking only of the human species.

Can we imagine a species (of more than one individual) possessed of intelligence, imagination and free will that is not capable of making wrong choices? How would that work?

Yes, free will is necessary for Christianity* to make any sense. However, by itself, it is not sufficient. If the consequences/rewards of one's choice are not clear, the choice isn't truly free. The bible and its religions do not constitute sufficiency.


*Several other religions as well, of course

[ 21. November 2017, 19:06: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Martin60
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Free will is something I will have to remain invincibly ignorant of. Christianity makes no sense beyond seek to be nice for all will be well. Does free will, whatever that is, improve on, add to that?

I'm just reading Arthur C. Clarke's 3001 The Final Odyssey (I get there in the end...it's 20 years old) which discusses this very thing, human nature, especially chapter 19, The Madness of Mankind, which I read earlier this evening, including deist Dr. Ted Khan's definition of religion as a psychopathology. I wouldn't have been ready for that 20 years ago.

Fear makes us evil and God is only knowable by our existence and Jesus' (my paraphrase of Ted's annoyance at God for hiding so well): I cannot see how it can be otherwise for any sapient species.

I've yet to see whether the monolith makers are to blame for religion and correct that on Europa. I won't spoil it. But we're only a third rational; we're a rhetorical species: logos, ethos, pathos. That will always tend to the bad. And some eventual good. I cannot imagine a sapient species evolving otherwise.

Except by suffering.

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Love wins

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