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» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Purgatory   » Philosophy, and Being Good For Goodness’ Sake (Page 3)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Philosophy, and Being Good For Goodness’ Sake
Kwesi
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quote:
Barnabus62: Eternal being is the final state of being. The complete restoration of the image of God.
I guess we are all struggling to get a handle on human nature. Personally, I’m attracted to the notion of “original sin” though not in there having been a pre-existing state of grace as traditionally understood. That is why I’m uncomfortable with the notion of “complete restoration in the image of God,” as suggested by Barnabus62’s quotation, because we are the product of our genetic inheritance in the evolutionary process. Sin to my mind is a combination of consciousness, self-awareness and fear of death, which is hard-wired into our make-up. Without these elements concepts such as right and wrong actions are meaningless and creatures in such a state live in innocence, even when ‘red in tooth an claw’, which, I would suggest, is why infants are born without sin and those who have lost their minds cannot commit sin. I would also suggest that a belief in morality and/or God, true or not, is essential for the survival of the species, because without such notions humanity would degenerate into constant conflict.

What do we mean when we say that humans are created in the “image of God” because ISTM mortality is a significant difference between us and an eternal being? What are we to understand by God seeing the emergence of humans as “good,” any more than the creation of anything else? Does it refer to an empirically observed moral state? Or what? Human beings may, like God, be able to distinguish between good and evil, but unlike him sometimes choose one and not the other. Furthermore, in creating humans did God create evil or its possibility? Over to you, shipmates!

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SecondRateMind
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Probably worth adding answers to the sheep/goats metaphor. Sheep are characterised by unselfish loving service to the suffering and disadvantaged. Goats are characterised by indifference to the suffering and disadvantaged.

Actually, that's not how I read the sheep/goat metaphor.

Seems to me sheep are obedient and bunch together in herds, and are reluctant to take responsibility for themselves or anyone else. Just what you want of the laity if you are top of the hierarchy of some organised religion.

Goats are less biddable. They make up their own minds, and choose their own paths, and, should they come across authority, flick a v-sign at it. Just what you don't want in the laity, if you are top of the hierarchy of some organised religion.

It may be that meek sheep will inherit the earth. But it will be the goats of the world, demolishing the presumptions of the powerful, that will earn them that inheritance.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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quetzalcoatl
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Kwesi wrote:

quote:
Sin to my mind is a combination of consciousness, self-awareness and fear of death, which is hard-wired into our make-up. Without these elements concepts such as right and wrong actions are meaningless and creatures in such a state live in innocence, even when ‘red in tooth an claw’, which, I would suggest, is why infants are born without sin and those who have lost their minds cannot commit sin. I would also suggest that a belief in morality and/or God, true or not, is essential for the survival of the species, because without such notions humanity would degenerate into constant conflict.
This is very good; the stuff about consciousness reminds me of Jung, who argued at length that Adam and Eve is a story about the birth of consciousness and loss of innocence. See Jung's famous statement, 'consciousnness is a crime against nature'.

I still don't get the notion of sin really, as it relies on some kind of supernatural foundation, which the OP seems to be trying to avoid. Well, I keep saying, working as a therapist, the one word you have to avoid is sin. Most of your clients would walk out.

I don't see morality as all that mysterious, if you look at proto-morality in animals; things like cooperation seem to be wired in.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Barnabas62
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SecondRateMind

I was referencing this scripture

It is fascinating to see that the separation is of people like a shepherd separates sheep and goats. So the text makes it clear that sheep and goats are simply an analogy.

The rest of the text makes it clear what the reasons for the separation are, and it points to active response to need compared with indifference to need. So in this context 'sheepness' corresponds to active response and 'goatness' to indifference.

So the reasons for separation seem to have little to do with the natural characteristics of sheep as animals. The thing is that when Jesus refers to his followers as sheep and himself as the good shepherd, what he is referencing is the obedience of the sheep to the shepherd, not the natural herd behaviour of sheep. Indeed, elsewhere he points to the helplessness of sheep without a shepherd as an analogy for people.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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SecondRateMind
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
SecondRateMind

I was referencing this scripture

It is fascinating to see that the separation is of people like a shepherd separates sheep and goats. So the text makes it clear that sheep and goats are simply an analogy.

Indeed so.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
The rest of the text makes it clear what the reasons for the separation are, and it points to active response to need compared with indifference to need. So in this context 'sheepness' corresponds to active response and 'goatness' to indifference.

quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
So the reasons for separation seem to have little to do with the natural characteristics of sheep as animals. The thing is that when Jesus refers to his followers as sheep and himself as the good shepherd, what he is referencing is the obedience of the sheep to the shepherd, not the natural herd behaviour of sheep. Indeed, elsewhere he points to the helplessness of sheep without a shepherd as an analogy for people.

Maybe, maybe not. Would you contend that the sheep is saved by its works? By succouring the poor, healing the sick, visiting prisoners in gaol, etc? Is works alone what qualifies us for heaven?

It seems to me that this scripture, however analogous, depends for it's effectiveness on the differences in nature of sheep and goats. Their character, their way of being, rather than just their doing or believing.

The one flocks, and wants for leadership. The other pursues a more individual direction, and leads itself, according to its own priorities, ethics and beliefs. They may coincide with those of the sheep; they may not. But who is to say that being a sheep is more representative of God's intention for us, than being a goat? Presumably, having given us free-will, God intended for us to use it, and not have others dictate to us what is 'good', by which the powerful so often mean, what is 'good' for them.

Best wishes, 2RM.

[ 31. January 2018, 14:28: Message edited by: SecondRateMind ]

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Barnabas62
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Well, there is a whole range of well known topics there, SecondRateMind.

In the context of this thread, what I think we were looking at was guides to good behaviour as a good thing in itself, not the relationship between good behaviour and salvation.

Are good works a consequence of salvation or a means of salvation. I think the scriptural answer is probably yes! What Jesus says is not the same as what Paul says. And James says faith without works is dead. I'm inclined to think there is a dynamic relationship between faith and works.

I'll think about the possibility of a new thread. Possibly in Kerygmania rather than Purgatory. They might even have one already. Give me a little while to look.

[ 31. January 2018, 15:02: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Kwesi
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quote:
quetzalcoatl : I still don't get the notion of sin really, as it relies on some kind of supernatural foundation, which the OP seems to be trying to avoid.
I've no problem with that. I'm happy to see sin as bad moral behaviour (as I usually do). As a John 3:17 (sic) man, I see God's concern with bad behaviour not as an affront to himself that needs to be satisfied, but as one who has great concern for the consequences of it for both perpetrators and victims.
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Barnabas62
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SecondRateMind

We'll, that didn't take long. I've reactivated a dormant thread in Purgatory which seems to be a good thread for continuing this sheep and goats tangent.

Here's a link to the thread.

Suggest you review contents then resume your interest by posting there.

That's respectful of the rather different purpose of this thread.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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mousethief

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Of course it's an analogy. Nobody thinks he's talking about livestock. We realize he's talking about people.

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

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Barnabas62
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Simple category error, mousethief.

In the general context of this thread, I've been wondering about what causes inhibitions over considering other ideas. There seems to be some kind of 'touch pitch and be defiled' taboo.

I'm not sure I understand where this came from. I see the reality of an Index Expurgatorious. But I guess my education and further education taught me how to think critically, be prepared to compare sources, look for unwarranted assumptions.

I'm in favour of using education to help people develop their own anti-BS armour as a first priority. It seems to me to be the corollary of a free society that folks are helped to spot the snake oil merchants.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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mousethief

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Bring that whole thought stream back to sheep and goats for me. I'm not seeing the connection.

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

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Barnabas62
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Neither am I. The natural characteristics of sheep and goats have nothing to do with the principles for separation of the people.

But the idea seems to die hard.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Neither am I. The natural characteristics of sheep and goats have nothing to do with the principles for separation of the people.

But the idea seems to die hard.

Because people will take the simplest route to bolster their conclusions, rather than do the actual maths.

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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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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Because people will take the simplest route to bolster their conclusions, rather than do the actual maths.

Ain't that the truth.

One of my favourite Edward de Bono bits of lateral thinking goes like this.

Q. Why do people think?
A. In order to stop thinking.

de Bono explained that by pointing out the attraction of ready-made solutions (already in the mind) compared with working things through from first principles. Thinking kicks in when you're looking for an asnwer to something of immediate impact, or something that bothers you. Finding an "off the peg" solution (a platitude, a well worn thought path) restores short term peace of mind quicker than working things out.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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