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Posted: 22 February 2007 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]  
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Salt Creek,

Please refresh my memory on what you think Sam Harris’ “entire thesis” is.

My understanding of Sam’s thesis is that people don’t need faith in extraordinary untestable propositions or dogmatic religion to be moral, and indeed, faith and religion are significant causes of immorality in history and today.  He advocates that both be abandoned and replaced with what is essentially a well-informed, highly rational secular humanism in which the happiness of individuals is a priority.

Not much time now, but will contemplate your other comments and post later.

Peace.

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Posted: 22 February 2007 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]  
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homunculus,

I am very interested in taking up with CanZen about linguistics, which is something I studied a bit in college.  Thanks for your encouraging words.

Parable, perhaps you will be so kind as to describe written material accurately. At least in comparison with past forum contributors who will remain unnamed (avoiding my own psychic scarring), S.C. is a prince.

Not sure what you mean here. I was referring to The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, neither of which seemed to use invective.  Do you disagree?  Or am I missing your meaning?

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Posted: 22 February 2007 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]  
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Parable, I just don’t see invective in S.C.‘s words. Insult, absolutely. This is only my perspective, and I’m not inviting any kind of battlefront here.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 22 February 2007 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]  
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homunculus,

By “invective”, I mean “characterized by insult and abuse”. 

Invective is lame, a waste of server memory and internet bandwidth. 

I value the anonymity on the internet, e.g. it allows people to express dissent when otherwise it would be politically dangerous.  On the other hand, some people hide behind their IP address to say things they would not say in person, because its just juvenile, not costly like dissent. 

This is the price we pay for freedom of expression, but I just wish SC would stop squandering that freedom with such dreck.  The internet provides the global forum we need to make a better world, yet right now in Egypt a blogger is in jail for posting his opinions.  I would hope that sad fact might make people appreciate their freedom, and each other, just a little bit more.

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Posted: 23 February 2007 01:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]  
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So here it is, Parable, the nutshell you’ve been waiting for.

Instead of thinking of justice, mercy, grace, and love as being defined by what you get in relation to what you deserve, try to think about it this way:

You get what you get. For example, you think you love people even though they don’t love you back. That mysterious figure just offstage is the love that you don’t get elsewhere. Ethical conduct depends on your sucking it up and not effing-up everybody around you because they don’t love you back the way you think you deserve. What Jesus represents is indeed what you call ‘the love you don’t deserve’, but the absurd self-contradiction is how badly, and how obviously you cling to it. If you don’t deserve it in the first place, and don’t even think you do, don’t cling to it as if you did.

Eventually, you may encounter people whom you can respect because they’re not lying to themselves, which means there’s a possibility they might not feel the need to lie to you. You may not be able to love them, but if you can manage to respect them enough to live and let live, you will have accomplished a lot. You may eventually encounter other people who need your love and your help, even though they cannot return it. You won’t find many such people here in this particular internet forum. However much you think they need it, it’s up to them to decide.

What being a Christian seems to mean to so many people is that it’s all about spreading the good news. They’re not Christians; they’re “Paul-ists”. I put it in quotes with a hyphen because there is apparently something called a “Paulist” which is quite different from what I mean.

You can’t be an Apostle. There’s no body to follow around as if you were some sort of puppy stumbling over its own feet. There is no “guy” to follow around, and there never was. So, no Apostles. Apostles were a bunch of as$holes who lied about a non-existent deity by claiming to have followed him around in the flesh.

And you can’t be a letter-writer like Paul. He’s been there and done that. All you can be is an evangelist, bringing the Gospel before the ignorant because you can claim that you have been commanded to do so. You’ve been commanded to do so by an imaginary entity. The reason I am so effing with your sh!t is because you’re obviously smart enough to know better. What you apparently aspire most to be is an apologist.

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Posted: 23 February 2007 02:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]  
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Salt Creek,

Thank you.

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Posted: 23 February 2007 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]Salt Creek,

Thank you.

Agreed Parable, bracketing the cynicism this is a good summary.  The one thing missing is the idea that things like honor, personal integrity, generosity, truthfulness, comapssion, and so on serve an instrumental function in a persons life.  They may or may not spread sweetness and light, but they make a persons life much better (as with Socrates claims that happiness follows on virtue).

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Posted: 23 February 2007 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]homunculus,

By “invective”, I mean “characterized by insult and abuse”. 

Invective is lame, a waste of server memory and internet bandwidth.

Is it really? How sure are you?

Parable, our impressions about words and dictionary stabs at their definitions aside, it’s clear to me that even the harshest word combinations don’t come close to the destruction resulting from bombs. That’s how serious the subject of religion and its accompanying idiocy is. Would you agree with me so far? At least potential idiocy? Can I get an Amen from you?

When a nation—as powerfully armed as the U.S.—is superstitiously entrenched to the degree that it is, I’m not terribly worried about how insulting or abusive corrective words may sound. Maybe I should be, but my anti-superstition instincts tell me not to worry excessively. They tell me instead to worry about how things will continue in the absense of extremely strong words.

Believe me, I fully realize you are not a fundamentalist, Parable. You’re only a moderate, as defined by Sam Harris. But do you understand how moderates can tend to legitimize the fundamentalists?

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Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 23 February 2007 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]  
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homunculus,

Parable wrote:

homunculus,

By “invective”, I mean “characterized by insult and abuse”.

Invective is lame, a waste of server memory and internet bandwidth.

Is it really? How sure are you?

Yes, it really is lame.  And in the case of what I have experienced from SC, I’m certain.  This doesn’t mean everything he has said is without merit, but with so much mudslinging, its hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

(BTW, my definition is from my dictionary, so its not a “stab”.  What do you understand the term “invective” to mean?)

In my experience, invective is not productive, only provocative.  In my opinion, invective is an attempt to distract from the weakness of one’s position by attacking the other person instead of supplying a cogent argument germane to the point. 

...it’s clear to me that even the harshest word combinations don’t come close to the destruction resulting from bombs.

No doubt.

That’s how serious the subject of religion and its accompanying idiocy is.

The subject is most serious, and I agree with much of what Sam has said about the negative effects of religion.  One of Sam’s arguments is that whatever things of value religion may offer are not unique to religion and are available elsewhere.  This is one point I hope to explore further because I believe there are some things unique to Christianity by virtue of the idea Christ is unique.  Also, I hope to distinguish what I understand from my experience with faith, which is more properly described as “relationship”, from what Sam has described as “religion”.  I note that Jesus’ views on “religion”, especially legalism, were no less severe than Sam’s, although in Jesus’ day, the Pharisee’s didn’t have access to nuclear weapons.

In order to see that Sam is either right or wrong about the good things faith may offer, it is first necessary to understand what those things might be and then compare them with other notions from other traditions.

Believe me, I fully realize you are not a fundamentalist, Parable. You’re only a moderate, as defined by Sam Harris. But do you understand how moderates can tend to legitimize the fundamentalists?

If you understood me better, you wouldn’t label me liberal, moderate or fundamentalist.  Yes I do understand, and actually agree with Sam’s analysis regarding moderates and extremists.  I have no problem condemning any doctrine or dogma that inspires people to act in immoral ways.  By their outcome, it is clear those views do not contain what I believe one should “really believe”, to use Sam’s words.

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Posted: 23 February 2007 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]  
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I respect your response, Parable. Can you give us a clue as to what sort of person you are? Fundamentalist?—certainly not; God forbid. Moderate? Liberal? Where do you stand? Is it, as I’m guessing, outside such cliche types? Are you able to elaborate or is such a question too personal?

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Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 23 February 2007 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]with so much mudslinging, its hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Yet you seem happy to apply yourself diligently to the effort in some cases. The author of your holy text does his share of mudslinging, and hurls enormous quantities of invective at those he considers to be his opponents. In fact his overall behavior appears just all too human, and you make no concession to this. His offering of a kind Word seems only to come in as an Afterthought.

Too little, too late. Ignoring your god’s fundamental jealousy and vindictiveness is a choice you must make; please do so responsibly.

This is one point I hope to explore further because I believe there are some things unique to Christianity by virtue of the idea Christ is unique.

Huh? Christianity is unique because the thing that makes it unique is believed (or declared) to be unique. My head is spinning, Parable. Help! Help!

Too little, indeed. You might as well just say that it’s true because you believe that it’s true that you believe it to be true. It’s like you are asserting that the things Christ taught are unique because the teacher is unique. “Consider the source.” I’ll have to ponder that one, but I’ll have to consider who’s telling me to consider the source.

A new category needs to be invented just to describe you.

Fundamoderate™.

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Posted: 23 February 2007 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]  
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homunculus,

Can you give us a clue as to what sort of person you are?

I don’t see how its relevant, but OK, on the condition you do the same.

Agreed?

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Posted: 23 February 2007 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]  
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Salt Creek,

Quote:
This is one point I hope to explore further because I believe there are some things unique to Christianity by virtue of the idea Christ is unique.

 


Huh? Christianity is unique because the thing that makes it unique is believed (or declared) to be unique. My head is spinning, Parable. Help! Help!

I just meant that there are some good things in Christianity that are not available elsewhere because if Christ truly is God incarnate, he is unique and anything derived exclusively from him is not available elsewhere. 

To me, that was intuitively obvious, but that’s always where lines get crossed, isn’t it?

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Posted: 23 February 2007 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]homunculus,

Can you give us a clue as to what sort of person you are?

I don’t see how its relevant, but OK, on the condition you do the same.

Agreed?

I’ve always been an open book at this forum. Just today I mentioned something about my Christian past here:
http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=59133&highlight;=#59133
Admittedly it says little about me as a person, but at least it gives you a hint. I’ll be happy to answer any specific questions you ask. I have no reason to hide anything, other than not to bore people.

Whatever you want to tell us about yourself will be appreciated.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
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Posted: 23 February 2007 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]  
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homunculus,

I’ll be happy to answer any specific questions you ask.

1. Why “homunculus”?

2. Also, in the post you referred to being Catholic.  (btw how did you capture the link for that post?) Do you subscribe to the theory that the Catholic Church evolved from the early movement called the Judiazers?  I’ve always felt that theory explained a lot about the Catholic Church.

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