Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Sanctity Of The Garden


Continuing on the discussion of whether there is ONE Right answer, we are now headed to the Garden of Eden. Put on your seatbelts kids!

The story of Adam and Eve (both from the OT and the Quran) is my favorite religious lesson. It is the story of man's consciousness, of the struggle between right and wrong and the burdens that come with having choices. I believe it is the first story in the Bible because it presents the basic dilemma with which humanity struggles - choice. Everything that follows in the Bible is an attempt to cope with the dilemma.

God created Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden. The garden was full of trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was free to eat from any tree in the garden, but God told him that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was off limits. Ix-nay on that ee-tray Adam.

Adam was lonely though, so God put him to sleep, removed one of his ribs and created a woman as his wife. She was named Eve because she would become the mother of all the living. What a great addition to the garden. Adam and Eve were chillin', frolicking with no knowledge of their nakedness. Not a care in the world. Until the serpent showed up.

Eve knew the rules about the forbidden tree, but the serpent deceived her. The serpent assured Eve that she would not die from eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, but instead her eyes would be opened and she would "be like God, knowing good and evil." The fruit looked pretty good and Eve thought wisdom and Godliness would be kinda cool, so she grabbed the fruit and chowed down. She even passed some over to Adam. And after he ate, "the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked."

Dude, God was pissed off! He cursed the serpent, he cursed Eve, yelled at Adam for listening to his stupid wife and then banished them from the garden. "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." Cherubim and flaming swords were placed at the east side of the garden to prevent Adam and Eve from returning to the tree of life.

***

The knowledge of good and evil is to have choice. When you are a child, you have no knowledge of your nakedness. How many pictures do your parents have of you in the bathtub? You have no knowledge of good and evil. The world is your oyster and your biggest responsibility is to read cute stories and play with your friends.

As you grow up, however, you mature. You learn that things aren't as innocent as they once seemed. Your consciousness starts to grasp that there is good and evil in the world and ultimately, you are deceived into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. No more photos of you naked in the bathtub (unless that's your thing). No more making nice with anyone and everyone. There is good and evil in the world and you now have to choose between the two. As soon as you eat the fruit, your parents, your church, synagogue or mosque and your peers bombard you with admonitions about what is good and what is evil. You define yourself and shape your values around those choices.

It is tough though. Choices are accompanied by consequences and, in our fear-based society, people live in terror of having to take responsibility for bad choices. They lament their banishment from the garden -- "I wish I was a kid again, I didn't have any responsibilities." "It wasn't my fault, I couldn't help it, I couldn't control that, someone else made me do it." All of these phrases come from people who hate choices and fear consequences. So they get into relationships where the spouse makes ALL the decisions. They get into jobs where they can say "I just work here, it's not my department". When shit hits the fan, they shrug their shoulders and say "it wasn't my responsibility, what is everyone else going to do to fix it?" These abdications of choice and responsibility are their false attempts to sneak back into the garden but the cherubs and flaming swords get them everytime.

Having integrity is yet another way to cope with banishment. As I explained in my last post, integrity is the strict adherence to a moral code. If you convince yourself that there is only one Right answer and that everything else is wrong, you abdicate your responsibility to make choices and to face the consequences. If your religion says things are black and white and there is no grey, then you are not responsible for your choices. You can abdicate all responsibility to God. If Ayn Rand says certain things are right because they make rational sense, you abdicate responsibility for the emotional realm.

The fine line between good and evil is not as clear as those with integrity would like to think. Let's take the "pro-life" camp for example. Abortion is evil because God says it's bad to take another life. Ask most pro-lifers and they are pro-death penalty and pro-war. So much for that turn the other cheek stuff. The qualifications start coming immediately - it's wrong to take "innocent" life. What about the thousands of innocent Iraqis who have lost their lives in the name of "democracy"? "That's war" is their heartless response, without a hint of sadness or empathy. The principle was originally pro-life, it then morphed into pro-innocent life and finally landed on pro-innocent life unless there is a war. So much for strict adherence.

These are the people who get the most upset when you challenge the contradictions. They were frolicking in the garden without a care in the world because they weren't worried about choices - someone else (God, Pat Robertson, Bill O'Reilly, Anne Coulter) already handled that for them. And you disrupted fantasyland with your insolent lack of faith. Damn you reality based people! You must be a stupid, liberal, squishy, godless, flip-flopper with no principles to suggest that the line between good and evil isn't clear.

Is it possible to live outside the garden without making choices? No. Is it possible to be so confident that you have the one sole only Right answer without crossing the line between good and evil? No. The Bible tells us we are like God when we know the difference between good and evil, but God is no consistent fellow. He spared Noah and his family, but gambled with the Devil over Job's life and sent his only son to suffer a gruesome death. Perhaps, as exemplified by Che, the knowledge of good and evil is meant to remind each person that he has the potential to do good and to do evil. As soon as you know you are right, you may lose sight of the line.

52 Comments:

At 3:16 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 16 05

II what a thought provoking post! Although your Che references are disturbing (ha ha ha and lol!) I get what you are saying. Two major critical thinking errors are moral relativism and moral absolutism. So how can we ever be sure of the rightness of something when there are always other alternatives? I think it is because of a greater truth. Humans practice rituals across the board regardless of culture; one is the recognition of a birth and the other is the recognition of death! Regarding pro life; you KNOW that is how I feel; that morally all abortions are murder. YET from a LEGAL standpoint, it is a hard line to tow, especially in rape and incest cases. That is why I talk a lot about philosophy and abstracts because the PRACTICALITY of ridding our country of abortion is somewhat tenuous at this juncture. I have noticed that once you go forward, you can't never go back to the place where you were. Ever; you will always be different.

Regarding facts: I think facts don't change and are immutable. I will be blogging about this topic soon. I guess all of us are feeling each other on these issues and certainly have inspired one another:) Good post and sorry for ranting; you got me to thinkin'

 
At 3:34 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

Good stuff. With each passing day, it seems I learn more and more. I posted a long time ago about whether it was better to live my life in accordance with certain rules, or whether it was better to take things day by day. I've concluded that it is best to have a mix of both. There are certain things I (hope) I won't do. Other things are negotiable.

In church this past Sunday, the Pastor talked about "conscious sins," i.e., sins that you KNOW are wrong that you commit ANYWAY because you don't expect any ramifications. I've had plenty. He noted that these are the MOST destructive actions because not only do they often have ramifications, but they tear down your mental resistance to outside forces, thus making you vulnerable to "non-conscious" sins.

II, your interpretations of the Bible are very interesting and enlightening.

 
At 3:37 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Where angels fear to tread, in marches the Intellectual Insurgent; in this case, directly to Eden itself.

I'd make two theological points: one, the bible says not a word about abortion, a fact the anti-choice forces tend to ignore. The New York Times had an article on the subject this past weekend, which I'm going to blog on shortly. If anything, the bible expressly values an unborn child less than a born mother; this is why Orthodox Jews hold that an abortion is a moral requirement when a pregnancy endangers the life of the mother.

The second theological point is that you have glossed over the precise circumstances of Eve's arrival; was she made from a rib after Adam, or at the same time as he was from mud? That's not a question of metaphors, as is the usual literalist response to that conundrum; it goes to the heart of whether a woman is an autonomous or a lesser creature. Funny how the creationism crowd never addresses this little paradox.

:-), StS

 
At 4:36 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 16 05

Stalin:
Your perspectives are interesting but I think you focus too much on a narrow sect of fundamentalist Christians. There are secular pro life groups out there that don't use biblical passages. Regarding abortion, that is a tough one but I have heard differing opinions from various folks of different faiths. But I still don't think it is right to kill anyone or anything without just cause. And of course there is room for interpretation on what just cause is. But I don't think the Thou Shalt Not Kill commandment really was to be taken literally because God ordered the Isrealites to fight certain enemies. The best way I can think of it is to say Thou shalt not kill unless your life is threatened. Complicated stuff. Either way, I don't think your ilumination of Jewish reverance for born children will change people's minds about abortion. Because barring any religious arguments they are humans and innocent. If a mothers life or health is threatened then ethically it makes sense to abort, but not as a means of birth control- or mistake amelioration!

 
At 4:54 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Mahndisa,

the issue with abortion, as I see it, is that it affects two supreme values which can't be reconciled: the life of the child and the autonomy of the mother. I don't claim there's an easy answer - which is what I say on my blog - but that both sides have some truth to what they say.

I think the Jewish reference is very appropriate, since all the religious arguments I've seen focus on old testament/Torah passages. I'm sure there are secular arguments as well, but it seems to me that the majority of the anti-choice community is religious.

My position on abortion is that it should be safe, legal and rare. I also don't think it makes sense to say that there should be a distinction based on motive; if a woman decides she can't have a child, saying she must have it amounts to childbirth as punishment, which is perhaps not the right way to go about things.

But as you say, there are no easy answers here.

:-), StS

 
At 5:26 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

MSR - Your point about "Thou Shall Not Kill" not being literal is exactly what this post is about. You hit the nail on the head. If God said don't kill, but then ordered people to kill in certain instances, then it becomes quite apparent that even God did not mean that all rules are absolutes. And if the ten commandments aren't absolutes, then is the rest of the Bible? Are any other rules absolute?

As a lawyer, we see instances all the time where the hard and fast rules result in grave injustices (e.g., federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws). Everyone is different and every situation is unique.

There should be guiding principles among individuals, societies and governments, but to live in black v. white absolutes is to avoid the burden of viewing each situation on its merits and making decisions based on that. It's the reason those crazies wrote horrible things about you. Anyone who disagrees = enemy and they probably don't even read the substance of what you have said. It's like the nutty right wingers who call me a stupid liberal when I disagree with them. They keep their minds closed so that they don't have to make choices. The pain of banishment is too much for them. They want to be in the garden where everything is simple and great. It is an infantile way of approaching the world.

 
At 5:48 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

Stalin,

Why should abortion be rare?

II and Stalin,

You guys are focusing on the Old Testament, which contains a prohibition against killing but then talks about taking thousands of foreskins from men. The OT is totally contradictory. It's really not until you get to the NT that the Commandments come alive. Jesus taught that killing is NEVER justified. NEVER.

Not that I'm a Holy Roller. Just pointing that out.

 
At 5:55 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

BOB -

Excellent point. You pointed out before that Jesus preached against violence to a degree that makes it difficult for most people to follow. I think MLK is the only leader who ever practiced the non-violence that Jesus preached (Gandhi too, although he wasn't a Christian). The clowns that run this country certainly aren't.

Does that distinction change the discussion about moral absolutes?

 
At 6:49 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Bob,

I think abortion should be rare because it always involves ending a potential human life. I'm still pro-choice, but I'm aware that there are several competing moral demands if you're talking about the subject broadly.

However, when I say it should be rare, and legal, the remedy I would propose is that we as a society should create the circumstances in which abortion is seldom if ever necessary or desirable. That means broad, unfettered access to contraception, universal knowledge of how it works, and economic incentives that mean having a child no longer equates with the ending of a woman's career, education, or other goals she may have set for herself.

That of course is where God's Own Circus gets apoplexy, because that would require sex education (bad) and government spending (worse). I really think we could cut down the number of abortions drastically, but if you give the choice to the average winger of "protecting babies" or "cutting taxes", they will always go for the latter.

:-), StS

 
At 9:40 PM, November 16, 2005 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

II,

I listen to "Speaking of Faith" on KPCC on Sundays at 4pm. It's a very interesting radio show about the different aspects of faith. It explores all different types of religions, and poses challenging questions about each of them. Check it out. A few months back, they talked about Jesus' philosophy and whether it forbids self-defense. I believe it does. MLK believed it did. To the point of your own death, you are not allowed to use violence at all, because when you use violence, you become as bad as the person attacking you.

Damien, who posts on my site, made an interesting point about the Palestinians. He said that they would go much further with non-violence because when they engage in violence, it prevents Israelis from loving them, and gives Israelis and Palestinians equal moral ground. Wow. Mindblowing, and so true. When Martin Luther King was hit with bricks and such, he would only say, "I love you." Can u imagine?


Stalin,

Your position is intellectually honest. I like that. You acknowledge that it's ending a potential human life--and it is--and you deal with the reality of the situation. Broad access to contraceptives is an interesting remedy, and probably the best I've heard.

 
At 7:30 AM, November 17, 2005 , Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Actually they weren't supposed to eat from the tree of life either and the story has the fear that they now might do so offending the jealosy of God.

It may be the forst story, but it was not the first written and you can also look at it as an attempt to make a coherent story out of what was there already.

There are indications that there was a previous genesis, long since redacted.

I don't buy the idea that there is some argument agains moral relativity - after all Cain is only lightly punished, while Christians insist that all of Adam's descendants are damned. It is indeed impossible to have moral certainty and that's the argument for humility. Certainty leads to arrogance and arrogance leads to fundamentalism. Oh by the way Mahndisa - it's TOE the line. TOW the line makes no more sense than the rest of your argument.

 
At 11:12 AM, November 17, 2005 , Blogger mrsleep said...

ii,

Thanks for your thought provoking thread.

Reading everyone's posts reinforces your point on how much each of us struggle with choices, and even though almost all of us have absolutes in our life, we struggle with those as well. I guess it is human nature to choose to live with some absolutes, as the constant pressure of making balanced choices on every possible decision would drive us nuts.

Most arguments I have with Wingnuts deal with their lack of choices, or not acknowledging they made a choice, and the associated consequences.

Anyway, I can't add to the lofty discussion level. Thanks for putting the time, and emotional energy into this one.

I've been pissed off lately at too many things, and this helped relax me, and gave me pause to reflect on life.

 
At 11:36 AM, November 17, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Mr. Sleep,

Spending too much time arguing with the wingers is enough to drive anyone mad. Indeed, it was the debates between Stalin, you, RC, FAR and a few others that inspired the last two posts. I am looking forward to your return to your own blog. You haven't posted for a while.

 
At 12:14 PM, November 17, 2005 , Blogger mrsleep said...

ii, I posted a flame on my blog yesterday, and sent in a like text to the local newspaper editor. I am sick and tired of the constant divisiveness.

 
At 12:19 PM, November 17, 2005 , Blogger mrsleep said...

II, by the way, my latest post on my own blog, mirrors some of the theme's of this thread.

 
At 12:21 PM, November 17, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Very much so. Great minds...

 
At 1:11 PM, November 17, 2005 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 17 05

Hello:
Captain Fogg What planet are you from? It is fine to correct my grammer, as that is not one of my strong suits, but to insult an OPINION and not an argument is lame of you. I guess you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? I am so sick and tired of jerks like you talking crap without ever substantiating your claims. Fine say my argument (really my OPINION) doesn't make sense huh? Then you don't point out why huh? I guess you are just a troll loser who wants to hurl insults at people.

II good post and sorry for the force of my words, but Captain Fogg, you are out of line and I don't appreciate it. Also you are ignorant and arrogant when you speak of what Christians believe. Don't you know that the diversity of Christian beliefs is about as diverse as the cultures in our society? I grew up in a church that was based in Black American Liberation theology. The Bible was never to be taken as literal truth, hence a lot of these discussions, I didn't have because I was raised to think of the Bible as a group of allegories about mans relationship with God. And obviously the Bible was tainted with the prejudice of its authors. So when you speak about what Christians believe you are assigning a rigid belief system to us that may not be applicable in all cases.

Learn from Stalin; he is nice and can agree or disagree without resorting to low blows! Hater:(

 
At 3:29 PM, November 17, 2005 , Blogger mrsleep said...

M.S.R.

Nothing wrong with a little fire and brimstone every now and then.

It gets the blood flowing.

I kind of thought Capt. Fogg was baiting you a bit.

 
At 3:43 PM, November 17, 2005 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 17 05

Thx Mr. Sleep:
You are right! I have been on the chopping block lately and I was sensitive to the comment. These guys did this wretched post about me and how they will rape, kill and deficate on me, so my blood is boiling a bit. I am nervous about this stuff too, so thx for commenting and I am sorry for my firey toungue. And if there are any misspelled words here, oh well CF!

 
At 6:51 AM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger mrsleep said...

MSR, never apologize for defending your turf. There is an implied element of trust that is built up when posting on some threads, ie, II's. You believe this is a safe haven, where you are free to intellectually, spiritually, and philosophically explore topics, where there are no right answers. When you "expose" your inner feelings, or beliefs, and then someone responds in a less than honorable fashion, with perceived intent, it hurts.

fuque em. Feel free to correct my spelling :)

 
At 8:41 AM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 18 05

Thx Mr. Sleep:)
You and II have a nice day:)

 
At 9:11 AM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

Well, it’s all been said already and you know my thoughts from my own blog: but I completely agree with your conclusion.

Essentially, a dogmatic view of good-evil based on a “revealed truth” will get you into trouble. Yes: there are several behaviors and ‘things’ that 99% of humanity would agree as being ‘evil’ – but we don’t need a god to tell us these things: we can use our intellect and capacity to reason to determine those things.

For the majority of other moral dilemmas it makes sense to use our gray-matter: apply reason and human judgment to figure out what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

If people applied this standard to their everyday lives and interactions with others we’d be much better off as a society.

 
At 9:32 AM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger jj said...

II a great post. I have a stupid question for any winger. Why did God put the tree and serpent in the garden? I mean he knew what was going to happen before it happened right? All knowing and all.

God set them up. I think that is entrapment. Adam had a good case.

As for abortion it comes down to when you believe life begins. Those against it believe it is at conception. I think most people think it is when the heart and brain are functioning.

For those against it does not explain the hypocrisy of being pro war and pro death penalty.

 
At 10:22 AM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 18 05

But JJ: you presuppose that pro lifers all are pro death penalty and pro war. Actually, I don't think there is hypocrisy from a secular standpoint. It is not in the best interests of a society to kill potential members and for that reason it is not in the interests of a society to keep around those who are killers. That is a utilitarian view without the invocation of religion! And those who use the Bible to justify their differing perspectives are on more tenuous footing imho. Then again the Israelites were commanded to fight wars for God, so the ten commandments are only applicable in ideal circumstances.

 
At 10:58 AM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger jj said...

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden I speak in general terms I try to not paint any group with a broad brush. (all pro choice are pro death)

It is true that it is not in the interests of a society to keep around killers. However killing the killers makes killers of those killing the killer.* Life in prison is more cost effective (cheaper). The death penalty is revenge not justice.

*I almost had trouble following that one.

 
At 11:09 AM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

JJ -

I think MSR meant that it's not in the best interests of society to kill potential members.

You are absolutely right that it was all a set-up. Human life is a set-up. If I was half as philosophical as my father, I would be able to articulate his view that God's creation of the earth and mankind was unnecessary and, thus meant to entertain God. Most things you do that are unnecessary to your life (everything outside of clothing, food, drink, progeny, and shelter). And it is the unnecessaries (movies, work, hobbies) that make life interesting. This is all one big entertainment for God. A thousands-year-old movie that keeps repeating itself. What else would he do with all that free time?

The question of abortion definitely depends on when you believe life begins. This is going to sound silly, but if we don't consider a fertilized egg (that make such great omelettes) a chicken, why would a small ball of stem cells be called a human? My husband suggested that the initial ball of cells that are unspecialized stem cells aren't full-fledged people, but potential people. The way an egg is a potential chicken. His theory is that "life" begins as soon as those stem cells specialize into parts of the human form. What do you think MSR?

 
At 11:45 AM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 18 05

JJ: I get your logic. I think a clarification of the it is not in the interests of a society to keep killers around is a good reason to imprison folks. Then again look at it like this: Those who usurp the rights of others forego their own. I think that is like Hammurabi's law, but it is true. If someone murders someone else NOT in self defense, they have taken that person's life. To balance it, why not take theirs? But there is a logical hole lurking in the death penalty justification and thx for pointing it out.

II: An egg is not fertilized and that is why we eat it. Fertilized eggs would get feathers in our throats! A zygote is a fertilized egg. So I look at human eggs and sperm as being the costituents of life, they have life potential. But a sperm+an egg=Human. There is no potential human; a person is human or not. I recall the Scott and Lacey Peterson case and he was prosecuted for murdering two peopele (interesting consequences I know) but that fetus can be differentiated from its mother by DNA and its human status is determined in the aame way. We don't talk about someone is potentially Black or White, we say they are Black or White. I ask this,if one listens to the potential human argument, when does life begin? Because I always thought a zygote was alive. Personally I view an attached zygote as being when life begins. cuz sometimes unattached zygotes are excreted via menstruation and we are sometimes unaware...Thx for engaging.

 
At 12:09 PM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger mrsleep said...

I concur with MSR. Life starts when the cells join as one. Beyond that we are rationalizing, because the rationalization makes it much easier to live with our choices we make on so difficult a topic as abortion.

 
At 12:24 PM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

I think there's a certain elegance to the idea of the world being formed for god's entertainment; that would also explain that business with Job, would it not?

I'm also not sure I agree with the 'life begins at conception' idea; seems kind of arbitrary to me, especially if you consider that a large number of blastocysts self-abort spontaneously. I think it's better to use brain activity as a metric; that would also have the utility of using the same indicator uniformly, since such activity is also what we use to determine death, no?

:-), stS

 
At 12:44 PM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger jj said...

A zygote is life but so is any singe celled organism. I think we need to clarify. What constitutes human life?
I believe the brain has to be active.

Trying to find out when consciousness begins is not anywhere close to our capabilities so the precise moment could not be pin pointed.

Lacy's baby was near term and could have survived if born at that time.

Yes God must be laughing his ass off at the spectacle we have become but he started it.

 
At 3:07 PM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 18 05

"...if you consider that a large number of blastocysts self-abort spontaneously..."

Yep STS that is why I think the attached zygote makes more sense. Using brain activity as a metric is tenuous because what if the kid doesn't have "normal" brain development, shall we not give it the status of being human? It is almost like saying man is man becuase he can reason. DNA makes man, DNA makes a chicken regardless of rational facility.

Great discussion guys and have a nice weekend!

 
At 4:02 PM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

MSR - That's another can of worms. Who said "I think, therefore I am"?

Saying someone has life because they have brain function goes to the question of what life actually is. I will save it for another post (or wait for you to post about it) when I have thought it through, but is the essence of being human our frontal lobe?

 
At 4:48 PM, November 18, 2005 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 18 05

II: Descartes said that famous phrase. You pointed out exactly why I have issues with that logic. And I have probably blogged enough about that topic, well I will wait for you to take this one!! :)OK I have gotta go now, but take care:)

 
At 3:38 PM, November 20, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

ii,

A great post up to the point of not being able to choose between good or evil.

When it comes to morals and ethics there is only one right answer.

The real problem is when people start to rationalize to reach the decision that they want, not the right decision.

All of the examples given in your post and in the comments above mine can be approched with the idea that there is only one right answer and there is no confusion when there is sufficient knowledge and a prayerful spirit.

If we say that we are not responsible for our actions we are playing into the serpents plan.

Context plays a part in providing more knowledge so we may make the correct choice, it does not change the basic law.

The law "Thou shalt not Murder" means, don't take an innocent life on purpose. So, this means self defense, both in war and in the home are not violating God's commandments and it shows that he is consistent.

I can explain all of the other examples as I said above, but only a curious and open mind will listen and learn.

:)


FAR.

 
At 3:43 PM, November 20, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S.

I actually agree with sts on the point about the beginning of human life.

A human life begins with the function of brain activity and heart activity.

As sts so correctly put it, it is these two things that determine death.

It is universally accepted that the definition of death is the "irreversable cessation of brain and heart activity", and thus the start of tbe brain and heart activity is the start of human life.

:)


FAR.

 
At 3:50 PM, November 20, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

sts,

said: "If anything, the bible expressly values an unborn child less than a born mother; this is why Orthodox Jews hold that an abortion is a moral requirement when a pregnancy endangers the life of the mother."

Nope, the reason that both Christians and Jews hold that the mother is above the baby has only to do with the "law of self defense."

The mother is being placed in life threatening danger by the birth process, so she has the moral right to defend her life. I has nothing to do with the baby being "worth less."


:)


FAR.

 
At 5:00 PM, November 20, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

FAR -

You said "I can explain all of the other examples as I said above, but only a curious and open mind will listen and learn."

I have a curious and open mind. Shoot.

You say when it comes to morals and ethics, there is only one right answer. What is it? If the Bible says thou shalt not murder, how does a Christian soldier justify carpet-bombing a city filled with combatants and innocents alike? Proverbs says that the Lord despises those who punish the innocent. We can agree it is wrong to murder, but the question of what constitutes lawful murder/killing is where we, as humans, must make choices. And it is where, as the Bible says, we are imperfect and will inevitably sin.

 
At 5:35 PM, November 20, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

ii,

said: "how does a Christian soldier justify carpet-bombing a city filled with combatants and innocents alike?"

My next post will answer this very question, but to sum it up...there should always be a line between combatants and non-combatants.

A Christian should re-evaluate the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; to me it is clear that we were morally wrong in killing civilians.

I believe in the Monroe Doctrine and believe that while there are just wars, we may have gone over the line with deciding when to go to war on occasion.

Yep, you got it, I am basically an isolationist at heart, and you have seen me state on several occasions that I was against the war at first. (I still have my reservations, but now that we are there....)

A Christian soldier must "render unto Caesar what is Caesars." Meaning that we must obey the law of the land, which includes our leaders in war.

The only time we should resist is when the command is clearly against the normal rules of engagement. You will truly love my next post as I go into great detail on this.

I plan on posting it later tonight.

There is clarity in the commandments and even the calamities of Job can be explained if you have all of the information.

The only problem is that sometimes you must have gone through many steps of accepting "baby steps" before you are shown how to walk. This means that it will be difficult to "summarize" from time to time because of the background that must first be laid.

Teaching Calculus can only really be understood after teaching Algebra.

We can try before then but it is much more difficult to do.

That is why Rick, or "Reigh of Reason" as he sometimes refers to himself, has so much trouble understanding. He has not had a good teacher of the Baby Steps, that much is clear to me.

And I know that you do have an open and curious mind and a very respectful heart and that is why I love discussions with you. And I get to learn a lot from you as well.

:)

FAR.

 
At 5:40 PM, November 20, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

ii,

The title of my next post is "War and Peace."


:)

FAR.

 
At 8:04 PM, November 20, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

jj,

You the man. You ask such good questions and don't just say "I don't have any questions because I know it all" and that is why you have so much of my respect.

You asked:"Why did God put the tree and serpent in the garden? I mean he knew what was going to happen before it happened right? All knowing and all."

When we were born, we had no knowledge of good or evil as ii has so rightly posted.

God wants us to grow in our intellect, so he wanted us to be able to experiance life's greatest lessons that can only come from being able to choose.

He knew that unless he provided for a way for man to "fall" on his own without forcing him to fall, then we would not be able to have that knowledge.

So, he made the choice available knowing that curiosity and a little prodding from Satan would provide a non forced opportunity for man to be able to learn. For most people can not learn without making mistakes and without being able to choose between good and evil.

This way Adam would not be able to say that God forced him to fall. It was a necessary thing to happen, so it wasn't necessarily a bad thing, becasue God gave us a "get out of jail free card" by sending Jesus to "pay" for our sins.

Justice and Mercy can then both be served.

This is the simplified version, but I hope it makes sense. If not, I will be glad to post a more lengthy version so as to provide more background and then it will make perfect sense.

We cannot learn Calculas before learning Algebra or simple math.

:)

FAR.

 
At 11:34 AM, November 21, 2005 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

FAR -

If you agree that life does not begin until brain and/or heart function, is abortion okay 2 weeks into prenancy?

Also, I am curious. Is there a theological basis for the "pro-life" movement in all its forms?

 
At 4:24 PM, November 21, 2005 , Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

ii,

Said: "If you agree that life does not begin until brain and/or heart function, is abortion okay 2 weeks into prenancy?"

Boy, this is a really tough one to answer, but I will try.

I don't know of any theological position that says that Abortion is O.K. under any circumstances except a few, like the life of the mother is threatened, the others are not in complete agreement between religions, while the "Self-Defense" one is fairly consistent between religions.

Some religions say that life begins at conception, and if you look at a person and say that their physical journey begins with conception and ends with death, then that also has some merit.

ii also said: "Also, I am curious. Is there a theological basis for the "pro-life" movement in all its forms?"

Not sure I understand your question fully.

There isn't much said on the subject in the Bible. The only real basis is the commandment "Thou Shalt not Murder." The Hebrew word "rasach" being correctly translated as "Murder" and not Kill.

Now the definition of Murder being "The shedding of Innocent Blood" and what is more innocent than a baby?

And by using our old grey matter, (reasoning), with Religious understanding we should be able to find a good answer.

This method is in my opinion better then just reasoning alone, because we then otherwise tend to rationalize so we find the answer that we want, (truth can hurt when it doesn't conform to what we were hoping for.)

If God wants a human to be born, the wife becomes pregnant. If the body of the baby is right to support a human life, then a spirit is sent to inhabit it. If the baby's body is not right, then it is naturally aborted and the spirit waits for the next chance at a body.

If the baby's body was O.K, and God had designated a spirit for assignment to that body, he might not like it when we don't allow the process to proceed, he knows what was going to happen, but that doesn't change the consequences of our choice.

There are 11 references in the Bible that describe death as this..."And he gave up the Ghost and died." Logically we can deduce that the opposite is the beginning of life, i.e., when the spirit enters the body. "...and formeth the spirit of man within him." (Zech 12:1)


It is my belief that the spirit entering the body is what activates the brain stem activity and thus is the beginning of life.

Many other Christians may rightly differ with me because it is just my opinion and I am somewhat a maverick in my views somethimes.

I don't wait for someone to tell me what is true, or what to believe, I pray and study it out on my own. Then someone has to be pretty persuasive to cause me to change my view because I don't reach conclusions lightly amd it must make sense to me. "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (1 Cor. 14:33)

Hope this is what you were asking about.

:)


FAR.

 
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