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Christian freedom - an oxymoron?
Posted: 09 May 2007 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]  
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Hi Bruce—
    You seem to be indicating that you believe that anarchy and atheism are interchangeable terms, and that security and belief somehow mean the same thing.  In my experience, that is not the case.  I believe that atheists can follow the rule of law (as in secular law or government) as well as believers.  And as far as equating security and belief, I feel more secure in counting on things that exist this world, within the parameters of physical reality (again—like governments.. earthly ones, as opposed to heavenly ones) than counting on the security of my faith, in things that I cannot be sure even exist.  You mention that in the ‘social contract’ we submit to authority, and this is necessary for order, and for government.  With that, I do agree.  However, again, I disagree that submission to God is the same thing.  I can’t vote God out of office.  I can’t even send him an e-mail.

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Posted: 09 May 2007 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burlson”]I have mounted my cherry-picker and am ready to pluck the best and the juciest.

Yes you did and yes you did smile

[quote author=“Bruce Burlson”]The inherent contradiction is resolved, which is only possible in the Christian understanding of the Trinity.

This is actually very clever and is what I suspected was coming. It’s how christian doctrine hurdles all sorts of inconsistencies. Thing is I’ve never really understood Trinitarian Doctrine. I mean 1+1+1 has always equaled 3 in any math course I ever took, not 1. And when I was a believer and asked the obvious question of how is this so I always got that it was humanly incomprehensible or a mystery, etc. I guess I did come to understand it a bit better when I watched Me, Myself and Irene.  :D

I only wanted you to be up front with your previous post because your question

“what’s so wrong with having contradictions and even inconsistencies?”

makes no sense in light of your obvious belief in a triune god.

Now that you’re so tired from picking that big ol’ cherry, let me offer you a lemonade as refreshment. :wink:

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Posted: 10 May 2007 03:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]In our social contract, we submit to authority to insure that we have a measure of freedom. Submission to God is no different, and I do it willingly.  That is as free as man can get.

Yes, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Why do you want to change the subject? You may certainly trade your freedom to think whatever you want for a submission to an idea like “god” that lacks the presence in the world that our system of government has. I wouldn’t assault you for preaching to me simply because that level of civil disobedience is presently unnecessary.

Here’s my version of freedom, as far as submission to god is concerned. If you and I were sitting down to enjoy a couple of beers together, and you felt the obligation to tell me about your god, I would feel the freedom to move to another table. If you do not experience the freedom to keep silent about god, you are not free to “enjoy” my company.

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Posted: 11 May 2007 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]  
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Salt Creek - were you free to ignore Bruce’s writing? If you wouldn’t sit with him over a beer, how come you keep responding to him here? My theory is that you care about what other people think, because you care about what’s valid and what’s not. There’s something about doing this in reading and writing which makes it more comfortable to disagree, hence we have the freedom to hang out with people we might otherwise avoid. 

Freedom is like God in our culture -  a concept which is not well defined, but emotionally charged. It helps me to ask myself ‘freedom FROM what?’ ‘free TO do what?’ Bruce mentioned the link between security and freedom - which points to freedom from fear. A major common desire, freedom from fear.
Does belief give me freedom from fear? Only if doubt doesn’t create wrinkles. I believe the water I have here is safe to drink - I hardly give it a thought. There are millions of beliefs like that, supporting my sanity as I go about the day.

Woofy doesn’t want to submit to anyone she can’t e-mail. This seems a sensible rule of thumb! (I know you were kidding, but it’s still a good rule of thumb.)
This God concept thing is very flexible, however, and my idea of God is the immaterial ground of reality, the source of all the rules. If something happens it must be within the rules, or it wouldn’t have happened. In my religion there’s no sin…only that some actions have more positive outcomes than others. Along with Bruce, I see destruction as a natural aspect of creation.
I prefer people to be constructive rather than destructive, but I want people to be free to be destructive. That latitude within reality’s rules gives rise to intelligence. So freedom produces intelligence, while too much security makes us dull. Such a clever Creator!

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Posted: 11 May 2007 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]  
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[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]If something happens it must be within the rules, or it wouldn’t have happened.

Was it really necessary to write this, Pat? When you really just want to hear the sound of your own voice, don’t waste it on platitudes.

I would sit down with Bruce over a beer. I just would refuse to do so if all he wanted to talk about was god. Or even if he only wanted to talk for ten seconds about it. When you are around me, you are censored from talking about god, because you cannot demonstrate that there is anything to talk about. No evidence, if you want the official version. There is only your emotions, your feelings about it.

I don’t care to hear about your feelings. Because your feelings plus a buck and a half will only get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

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Posted: 11 May 2007 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 81 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]I would sit down with Bruce over a beer. I just would refuse to do so if all he wanted to talk about was god. Or even if he only wanted to talk for ten seconds about it.

I would sit down with Bruce over a beer if all he wanted to talk about was God, but only on the condition that he listen to me talk about God as much as I wanted to. (that and my views about Texas).

Oh, and only so long as he agrees that God can’t make a boulder that He cannot move.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 11 May 2007 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 82 ]  
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[quote author=“waltercat”]only on the condition that he listen to me talk about God as much as I wanted to. (that and my views about Texas).

Oh, and only so long as he agrees that God can’t make a boulder that He cannot move.

I’m going to a different bar. One where people drink more and think less.

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Posted: 12 May 2007 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 83 ]  
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I disagree with Salt Creeks assessment of Pat’s statement above as being platitudinous.  I think there is a fine line between platitude and profundity.  “If something happens, it must be within the rules, or it wouldn’t have happened.”  Is that just too banal?  Too vague?  Think of what it speaks to… What about Jesus walking on water?  his virgin birth? curing the blind, and the deaf and the lame? ascending to heaven?  Did these things happen?  Millions of people literally believe that they did, because they do not understand, or do not accept, that if something seems to have happened ‘beyond the rules’ (and here, I interpret her meaning to be the rules of nature, as in the LAWS of nature… which are happy to provide the kind of evidence that the scientific world appreciates: measurable, repeatable, empirical evidence…)... then chances are, it didn’t happen.  It is delusion, fantasy, imagination.  (or, possibly, something beyond science’s current ability to measure…)  I think that’s a pretty important topic to address. 
    An as for a person’s feelings plus a buck fifty buying a cup of coffee.. why are human feelings so valueless to you Salt Creek?  Do you consider yourself a sociopath?

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Posted: 12 May 2007 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 84 ]  
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[quote author=“woofy”]as for a person’s feelings plus a buck fifty buying a cup of coffee.. why are human feelings so valueless to you Salt Creek?  Do you consider yourself a sociopath?

Certain kinds of “sentiment” are not really feelings, but systems of thinking that are so incoherent that if someone flatly dismisses your system of thinking, you can tell that person “you just don’t understand me”. Make yourself understandable, and there is a possibility to get on to the matter of agreeing or disagreeing. Even if you reach that point, lots of things are still matters of opinon. My opinion is that some ideas are pure bullsh!t:

my idea of God is the immaterial ground of reality, the source of all the rules

Have fun with your infinite regress, Pat. You’ve thrown your lot in with all the others who think that they have to have an answer for everything, like a child who keeps asking “Why?” after every answer you give him. That’s a three-year-old’s trick, and it is an infinite regress. You just give up (like any three-year-old would) when you come up with the answer that “god did it”. Having a name for something nonsensical has fooled you into thinking you have actually answered a question.

My favorite sort of coffee shop does not look anything like Starbucks. My favorite sort of coffee shop has a cheap cardboard sign on the wall that says: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” The proprietor of that shop is not what one would call a sociopath, but god help him or her should it be necessary to refuse service to someone in a protected group. In general, one hesitates to refuse service on the grounds that it tends to cut into one’s bottom line.

For twenty years, I have engaged in conversastion Christians and other “religiously-minded” persons, to try to determine if they knew what they were talking about. Each person has presented an utterly individual or idiosyncratic version, and I have concluded that each one is making it up as he or she goes along. I finally have grown tired of listening politely and now decisively (and derisively) reject this kind of appeal to emotion. It all sounds the same to me now. Such people have, in fact, decided to assert that their personal feelings are all-important. This is their choice, but I want nothing to do with them except to tell them what I think of that choice.

As for the “rules”: My guess is that both you and Pat could stand to understand the “rules” a bit better. The “rules” do not care about your feelings. Go ahead. Build a city on the hill. In ten thousand years it will be dust, and so will the hill, in another hundred thousand.

[ Edited: 13 May 2007 02:51 AM by ]
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Posted: 13 May 2007 02:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 85 ]  
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I understand that the rules do not care about my feelings.  People care about my feelings.  I do not have to build a city on a hill in order to make connections with people. 

I take it from your description of the coffe shop that you do not consider yourself a sociopath—just someone who retains the right to refuse service (or civility as the case may be) when he sees fit. 

It is not my place on this forum to badger you about your personality.  For some reason, I can’t seem to help myself.  I will attempt to get a grip.  I just like to see people smile is all.  It has nothing to do with my comprehension of the universe, or its underlying structures, or its ways and wherefores….I just like to see people smile. 

I will attempt in the future to try and be more respectful of the fact that not everybody in this world feels like smiling all the time.

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Posted: 13 May 2007 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 86 ]  
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[quote author=“woofy”]
I will attempt in the future to try and be more respectful of the fact that not everybody in this world feels like smiling all the time.

And this ties in with what I was trying to say about the rules. There is no sin, no fundamental right and wrong. Either something is allowed to happen or it isn’t.
Then, as woofy stated earlier, “...the rules don’t care about my feelings. People care about my feelings.”
Yes, we are skating along the line of statements that are so obvious as to not need stating….and yet….it has been my experience that it can be helpful to probe around like this. We have been deeply and profoundly conditioned by all the assumptions of our culture, and freedom from conditioning comes with consciousness.
The beauty of an on-line forum is that if you find one person’s musings indulgent and irrelevant, just skip it. You don’t have to sit and listen, as in a coffee shop.
And we’re still talking about religion and freedom….so let me take this a step further. It’s not quite true that ‘the rules’ don’t care about my feelings. Not only are my feelings a result of conditions playing out within ‘the rules’ but there is a direct reflection of the source discernible within those conditions. There is a direct connection between what I am feeling and whatever the source of all those rules and conditions is. It’s pretty spooky and it scares me, but I want to go into it more….not because I’m looking for answers to questions, but because I’m sure I belong there. All else is bondage.

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Posted: 13 May 2007 07:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 87 ]  
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[quote author=“Pat_Adducci”]All else is bondage.

I’m sure you know from your Buddhist education that caring is desire. And desire is bondage.

That is why we have the additional term “compassion”. Compassion is hardly worthwhile if you merely identify it with “indulgence”.

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Posted: 13 May 2007 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 88 ]  
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If Bruce Burleson is saying that submission is freedom than I don’t even see an argument here.  This is simply old hash re-warmed.
Changing definitions and shifting the playing field as necessary leads to a rational train wreck.

Bruce is of course free to ‘feel’ as he wants, but if you can’t bring anything tangible to the discussion it’s without rational merit.
I believed in santa etc. as a child.  My belief and the feeling that my belief gave addresses nothing about the validity of the belief itself.

So if your saying that submission is freedom, I have no respect for your changing definitions for your own purposes.
If your basing your feeling of freedom on unverifiable sources, I have no respect for your intellectual dishonesty.

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Posted: 14 May 2007 04:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 89 ]  
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[quote author=“ice9”]If Bruce Burleson is saying that submission is freedom than I don’t even see an argument here.  This is simply old hash re-warmed.
Changing definitions and shifting the playing field as necessary leads to a rational train wreck.

Bruce is of course free to ‘feel’ as he wants, but if you can’t bring anything tangible to the discussion it’s without rational merit.
I believed in santa etc. as a child.  My belief and the feeling that my belief gave addresses nothing about the validity of the belief itself.

So if your saying that submission is freedom, I have no respect for your changing definitions for your own purposes.
If your basing your feeling of freedom on unverifiable sources, I have no respect for your intellectual dishonesty.

This does not necessarily relate to Bruces idea of freedom, but there is good philosophical argument relating submission and freedom.  The Stoics, for example, were complete determinists; they believed that freedom only came with submission to reality.  One was not free to violate the laws of reality, so submission to those laws freed one from desire for the unattainable.  This seems like the Buddhist idea that freedom from suffering only comes with freedom from desire.

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Posted: 14 May 2007 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 90 ]  
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For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. 

In essence, freedon is a relative term.  Freedom is used to describe the positive aspect of the social contract theory.  Submission to authority is the negative aspect necessary to ensure the benefit and functioning of society.  Individuals can either submit, or not enjoy the freedoms submission entails.  If you are an American, and you choose to live on American soil, this is just the way it is. 

You can’t call yourself free without comparing the freedom to what you are free from.  Freedom without a natural limit is meaningless. 

By the way, our freedoms themselves are not equal, and are not absolute.  All rights are analyzed by the type of liberty being infringed upon.  All can be overridden if the government shows a compelling interest in legislating a topic, and there exists no better means to reach the desired and necessary end.

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