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  #201  
Old 06-01-2019, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
And some people understand that transcendence is a feeling and emotion
You're using the word "transcendence" in a different sense than senoy is, if you're using it to refer to a feeling or emotion.
  #202  
Old 06-01-2019, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
You're using the word "transcendence" in a different sense than senoy is, if you're using it to refer to a feeling or emotion.
Yep.

I'm not sure why there is a desire to ascribe transcendence to concepts beyond immediate human physical needs.

Did I misunderstand what senoy is attempting to communicate?
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  #203  
Old 06-01-2019, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
try explaining that to a guy that is both bigger and dumber than you.
I don't have to. Evolution has.

All social species have rules of behavior. They may not be written down. They may not even be in anything resembling human language. And, among humans, they may vary widely from one group to another. But no social species simply thinks there's nothing wrong under any circumstances with killing other members of the group: because no such group would survive.

Yes, people sometimes break those rules anyway. [ETA: And the rules of a particular society may allow killing certain of its members under some circumstances.] But that's not the same thing as claiming no society had any such rules until we got around to writing them down.

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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Even after the 10 commandments came down from the mountain, they still didn't see anything wrong with killing or stealing.

Killing or stealing from their own community, sure, that was "wrong", but the bible is chock full of them going out and killing and stealing from others.
And people still do that; and modern societies, in certain circumstances, still agree with it. Modern societies allow among other things for self-defense, for killing in war, and for such things as 'eminent domain', which is taking property against people's will, supposedly (and sometimes actually) for the good of the group.

Precisely as you say: the 10 Commandments didn't change any of that. This bit of discussion is in response to some people claiming that before the 10 Commandments people had no idea of what was 'right' or 'wrong'.

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Originally Posted by senoy View Post
I think you do. There's no physicalist reason to prioritize wealth or stability over anything else.
Sure there is.

There's no logical reason for the underlying desire to do so, no. But there's a physical reason: which is that we have emotions, which make us want to be comfortable -- and, for that matter, make us want to be alive. And, given that physical reason, one can apply logic to the probable consequences of poverty and instability.


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Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
You claimed that abortion wasn't a sin.

Ok, genius, the word "abortion" isn't in the Bible. Probably because the word itself didn't exist thousands of years ago.
1) No word in an English edition of the Bible existed thousands of years ago. (Well, maybe a few along the lines of 'Mama'.)

2) The claim had nothing to do with whether abortion is a sin. It had to do with whether the subject is discussed in the Bible.

3) Even if abortion were discussed in the Bible (unclear; there's an entire other recent thread on the Dope about that subject, I suggest you go read that one); and even if it were forbidden in the Bible (which according to many people who consider those references to be about abortion it isn't; see that same thread), statements in the Bible even if their meanings are agreed upon by all Christians (rare) and all Jews and Muslims (even rarer) aren't binding upon anybody who isn't a practicing member of any of those religions.

4) "Sin" is religious terminology. To people who don't believe in that particular religious concept, coming into a discussion about what the secular laws should be on the subject of abortion (or on any other subject) by saying 'abortion should be forbidden because it's a sin' makes exactly as much sense as saying 'abortion should be forbidden because it's a pink polkadot unicorn'.

Last edited by thorny locust; 06-01-2019 at 10:15 AM.
  #204  
Old 06-01-2019, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Yep.

I'm not sure why there is a desire to ascribe transcendence to concepts beyond immediate human physical needs.

Did I misunderstand what senoy is attempting to communicate?
I'm also having a bit of trouble. I think it may come from the is/ought distinction https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem Seems a little strange for a concept from David Hume to get used that way.

There is potentially quite a difference between the method we use to determine what is from the method we use to determine what ought to be. While scientific data and engineering intelligence can tell us a great deal about the most effective or efficient way to bring about our desires, our desires are not, at the subjective level at which we experience them, empirical facts. It can be factual or not that we have them but the sentiments that move us away from something and towards something are not the same as scientific facts.

If I understand correctly, Senoy would also extend transcendence to things like art or a completely secular Civil Rights speech.
  #205  
Old 06-01-2019, 11:03 AM
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If I understand correctly, Senoy would also extend transcendence to things like art or a completely secular Civil Rights speech.
Sure, I get that. Some words and images serve to communicate ideas, others tend to also move us in emotional ways. Emotion is a human physical condition/response to such stimuli. But to me, that is the limit of their transcendence, and I question those who claim it is anything beyond that. Still not sure if senoy is making that claim or not. Is transcendence a thing floating in the ether?
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  #206  
Old 06-01-2019, 11:27 AM
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To start off, I ask the question, is this an appropriate use of religion in the public sphere?

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Originally Posted by Fear Itself View Post
Florida State Rep. Mike Hill (R-Pensacola) jokes about filing a bill to execute gay people:

A citizen comments: “In 1 Corinthians, it says that a man who has an affair with another man will be put to death.”

Hill’s response?

“It says that in the Old Testament, too.”

Another attendee asks, “Can you introduce legislation?”

Chuckles are audible. The state representative joins the laughter. “I wonder how that would go over?” Hill says.

https://thecapitolist.com/rep-mike-h...o-be-executed/
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Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
You claimed that abortion wasn't a sin.
Ah, there's your problem, that is not the claim that I made.
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Ok, genius, the word "abortion" isn't in the Bible. Probably because the word itself didn't exist thousands of years ago.
First of all, please cite that the King James Bible was written thousands of years ago.

Moby Dick never says that only virgins can ride Unicorns, did you need a cite for that too?

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I don't have to. Evolution has.

All social species have rules of behavior. They may not be written down. They may not even be in anything resembling human language. And, among humans, they may vary widely from one group to another. But no social species simply thinks there's nothing wrong under any circumstances with killing other members of the group: because no such group would survive.
Like I said, it is not coincidence that civilization grew up around those who shared a premise that murder was bad. But that did not mean that all members of a community agreed with that. Sometimes those members would leave the community and act as bandits or raiders, and sometimes they would stay in the community and do harm from there.

It actually did need to be written down, in stone as a matter of fact, in order for the people to really *get* it.
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Yes, people sometimes break those rules anyway. [ETA: And the rules of a particular society may allow killing certain of its members under some circumstances.] But that's not the same thing as claiming no society had any such rules until we got around to writing them down.

And people still do that; and modern societies, in certain circumstances, still agree with it. Modern societies allow among other things for self-defense, for killing in war, and for such things as 'eminent domain', which is taking property against people's will, supposedly (and sometimes actually) for the good of the group.
Which is my point, we still don't think that killing is wrong if there are no negative consequences.
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Precisely as you say: the 10 Commandments didn't change any of that. This bit of discussion is in response to some people claiming that before the 10 Commandments people had no idea of what was 'right' or 'wrong'.
No idea as to what was right and wrong? Not really, they had ideas.

An *agreement* as to what was right and what was wrong? That needed to be written down for everyone to see.
  #207  
Old 06-01-2019, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
It actually did need to be written down, in stone as a matter of fact, in order for the people to really *get* it.
.
People didn't "get it" any better after it was written down, in stone or otherwise, than they did before. There continue to be people who don't get it, no matter how many times or where it's written; as well as people who "get it" just fine but don't like it and think they can get away with violating rules.

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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
No idea as to what was right and wrong? Not really, they had ideas.

An *agreement* as to what was right and what was wrong? That needed to be written down for everyone to see.
The reason it helped for it to be written down had to do with population levels and the development of kings/ruling castes*.

Small groups can come to consensus as to what the rules are without needing to write anything. Large groups of people find this more difficult. Groups ruled by kings* run into the problem that if the law is whatever the king says it is, then nobody knows at any given time whether they're violating the law or not -- specifically because at that point you're not going by agreement, you're going by edict. If edicts are written down, at least people can find out what they are, and have something they can point to in their own defense if the king says on Tuesday that everybody should raise pigs because they're great food and on Wednesday that eating pork is a horrible crime. A written law provides limits on kings/rulers.

And plenty of people wrote rules and agreements down, in one form or another, long before they ever heard of the Ten Commandments.


*For "kings", please read also "or any individual or small group, priests included, which is a small percentage of the community but makes rules other people have to abide by."
  #208  
Old 06-01-2019, 01:18 PM
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Sure, I get that. Some words and images serve to communicate ideas, others tend to also move us in emotional ways. Emotion is a human physical condition/response to such stimuli. But to me, that is the limit of their transcendence, and I question those who claim it is anything beyond that. Still not sure if senoy is making that claim or not. Is transcendence a thing floating in the ether?
To me, adding the supernatural to this seems like a fig leaf but I guess religious people appreciate those.

An hypothesis I've had, which may be completely off or only be accurate with a small minority, is that some people perceive something good yet, for whatever reason, don't ascribe it to their own minds*.

I remember a woman with bipolar disorder reporting that during her psychotic episode, she heard voices telling her she was loved. Since she was alone, she couldn't ascribe the mental phenomenon of voices to her environment and, being psychotic, didn't have the self-awareness to realize that she was perceiving, but not recognizing, her own self-talk.

If it doesn't come from the external world and you can't/won't see that it comes from within you, what do you ascribe it to? The supernatural.

If someone who dives deep in existential questions, which I presume Senoy has done a fair amount of, they may perceive something great yet ascribe it tosomething that's neither their own mind nor the external physical world; The supernatural. It's probably the same reason schizophrenics report hearing voices; A part of their mind perceives another part of the mind yet fails to recognize it as itself.


Remember Marcus Aurelius:"Look within, within is the fountain of the good. It will ever bubble up if you will ever dig".

Now look at the first quarter of AA steps:
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him

1) I'm not good enough, I'm a mess, I'm powerless.
2) Something better/greater/more powerful than me can make things better.
3) I trust the Greater Thing will make things better. This reduces anxiety, fear of failure.


If you believe that about yourself, you may not believe that it will ever bubble up if you will ever dig. You might think it's not a fountain but a swamp or sewer.

The way of thinking isn't limited to alcoholics or people having a psychotic breakdown. As you can see from the first quarter of the steps, especially the first, some people may think that no matter how much they dig, they'll only find shit. Yet they perceive something good as a mental phenomenon they're experiencing and which demands an explanation. That then gets projected unto the world as supernatural (just like the bipolar woman hearing her own living voice).

It's the equivalent of perceiving a bunny in the clouds, hearing that bunny gently whisper for peace, love and happiness and then worshiping the Sky Bunny and insisting that the Bunny Church should get to speak in favor of good things without being prejudged. Which, I suppose, is fair enough.



* In a way, they may be half right but that's straying too far.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 06-01-2019 at 01:23 PM.
  #209  
Old 06-01-2019, 01:58 PM
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They do have evidence, it's just evidence you find flawed. There's a difference.

Regarding Voyagers statements, the question posed was not whether or not a particular person would find their arguments convincing, but whether they have a 'place' at the table. Whether you find them convincing depends largely on your presuppositions. If you presuppose that all religious arguments are wrong, you are unlikely to be convinced. A certain type of Neitzschean might find any appeals to fairness or equality fundamentally wrong-this does not mean that arguments about fairness have no place in political duscussions. Simply because we all have different presuppositions does not mean that any assertion that relies on a particular subset of presuppositions does not deserve a hearing. If we disallowed any argument based on presuppositions that others might find flawed, no arguments would be allowed at all.
Being convinced has nothing to do with it. There are plenty of purely secular arguments I don't find convincing, but they are arguments with a place at the table.
The problem is when the premise of an argument is absolute knowledge or morality, like much religious morality, justified from an unfalsifiable source. Let's face it - when pressed hard enough religious people resort to faith, which is not a valid justification for a position. (If it were, many totally opposite positions would be equally justified.)
  #210  
Old 06-01-2019, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
An *agreement* as to what was right and what was wrong? That needed to be written down for everyone to see.
Besides the other objections to this, remember that even when it was written down 95% or more of the people wouldn't be able to read it.

Chimps seem to have a sense of fairness, so much of our universal morality seems to be hard-wired.
  #211  
Old 06-01-2019, 02:17 PM
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Besides the other objections to this, remember that even when it was written down 95% or more of the people wouldn't be able to read it.
True, but you still had leaders that interprets law, and having them all on the same "page", as it were, allowed the community to have consistent applications and expectations of law across many parts of the community, and probably more importantly, over multiple generations as well.
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Chimps seem to have a sense of fairness, so much of our universal morality seems to be hard-wired.
Many animals tend to have a sense of fairness, but that does not mean that they always act in ways to promote that fairness.

If I give one of my dogs a treat and not the other, the second dog gets rightly upset about the unfairness of the situation. If I give the second dog a treat and not the first, the second doesn't offer to share it.
  #212  
Old 06-01-2019, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
People didn't "get it" any better after it was written down, in stone or otherwise, than they did before. There continue to be people who don't get it, no matter how many times or where it's written; as well as people who "get it" just fine but don't like it and think they can get away with violating rules.
The people themselves may not have cared what was scribbled on some clay tablets, but those charged with enforcing those law certainly did. Without those laws set in stone, what was impermissible was up to the ones who could enforce it to determine.
Quote:

The reason it helped for it to be written down had to do with population levels and the development of kings/ruling castes*.

Small groups can come to consensus as to what the rules are without needing to write anything. Large groups of people find this more difficult. Groups ruled by kings* run into the problem that if the law is whatever the king says it is, then nobody knows at any given time whether they're violating the law or not -- specifically because at that point you're not going by agreement, you're going by edict. If edicts are written down, at least people can find out what they are, and have something they can point to in their own defense if the king says on Tuesday that everybody should raise pigs because they're great food and on Wednesday that eating pork is a horrible crime. A written law provides limits on kings/rulers.
Right, which is why you need to write them down to build a civilization. If you consider a tribe of a few dozen to be a civilization, then you would object, but I am talking about societies that are integrating many different families and tribes.
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And plenty of people wrote rules and agreements down, in one form or another, long before they ever heard of the Ten Commandments.
Plenty of people, sure. But were these people the nomadic wanderers who had recently escaped slavery in Egypt?
  #213  
Old 06-01-2019, 03:33 PM
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Plenty of people, sure. But were these people the nomadic wanderers who had recently escaped slavery in Egypt?
No evidence for the latter.
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  #214  
Old 06-01-2019, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post

Many animals tend to have a sense of fairness, but that does not mean that they always act in ways to promote that fairness.

If I give one of my dogs a treat and not the other, the second dog gets rightly upset about the unfairness of the situation. If I give the second dog a treat and not the first, the second doesn't offer to share it.
Just like us. Fairness counts more when we're not getting our fair share.
  #215  
Old 06-01-2019, 07:02 PM
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Ah, there's your problem, that is not the claim that I made.
Yes, it is.


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First of all, please cite that the King James Bible was written thousands of years ago.
Who made that claim? It wasn't me.
  #216  
Old 06-01-2019, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Without those laws set in stone, what was impermissible was up to the ones who could enforce it to determine.
Pretty sure I just said that.

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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
Plenty of people, sure. But were these people the nomadic wanderers who had recently escaped slavery in Egypt?
No, exactly the point I'm making is that they weren't. Are you claiming that those were the only people who counted?

Look, what I'm trying to get across here is in response to the discussion quoted below (quoting both sides as it doesn't make much sense otherwise):

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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Because religion is not a basis on which to build a just society. If you disagree, I challenge you to cite one country governed by religious doctrine that you would call a just society.
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Originally Posted by Biffster View Post
Hmmm. I wonder if we could find a country whose laws largely reflect the Ten Commandments...where killing and stealing are prohibited by law for example...
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Is it your contention that people simply didn't know that it was wrong to kill, steal and lie, until Moses came down from the mountain and administered a dose of moral code in tablet form?
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
To be fair, they probably didn't. Not really. What was the consequence of murder, or of theft? These were nomads wandering the desert, even the code of Hammurabi would be probably mostly unknown to them.

How can you say that something is wrong if there is no consequence.
and what I'm doing is agreeing with QuickSilver that the laws of the USA and other countries don't need to draw on the Ten Commandments to ban killing and stealing, because people clear back as long as there have been people and most likely before had reasons to ban killing and stealing*; and yes indeed people knew that long before anybody told a story about Moses and stone tablets, and knew it after that in parts of the world where they'd never heard of the Ten Commandments.



(*yes, under some circumstances and not others, and not perfectly obeyed -- but that's also true of people who do think of themselves as following the Ten Commandments, and also true in the modern USA.)
  #217  
Old 06-01-2019, 11:00 PM
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Hmmm. I wonder if we could find a country whose laws largely reflect the Ten Commandments...where killing and stealing are prohibited by law for example...
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Is it your contention that people simply didn't know that it was wrong to kill, steal and lie, until Moses came down from the mountain and administered a dose of moral code in tablet form?
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
To be fair, they probably didn't. Not really. What was the consequence of murder, or of theft? These were nomads wandering the desert, even the code of Hammurabi would be probably mostly unknown to them.
Back in Intro to Anthropology, (45 years ago, so I have no citation handy), the claim was made that every society has laws prohibiting Murder, Incest, and Theft. This definitely included all the pre-literate societies. The definitions may differ from group to group, e.g., murder might be defined as killing a member of one's own group while outsiders are fair game, theft might be similarly circumscribed, and incest is defined by a whole host of complex relationship rules. However, a written language was hardly needed for the rules to be memorized and internalized.

Even if one went with the flawed premise that literacy was required for laws, The Decalogue found in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy was probably written around the 6th century B.C.E. while the Code of Hammurabi dates to about 1720 B.C.E, preceding the Decalogue by 12 centuries. The notion that humans existed without laws for close to 200,000 years is not a realistic assumption.

Now, it is probably true that all laws originally derived from religious belief. However, that is simply the function of our current understanding of the way that religion has appeared to have provided cohesion for all societies up until that last couple of centuries. If all societies found their cohesion in religion, then lawgiving was an obvious outcome of that phenomenon. (It still did not require divine intervention.)

= = =
As to the OP, religion continues to effect the moral/ethical beliefs of most humans. As such, it deserves a place at the roundtable of discussion just as any significant social organization deserves a place. However, that means that it shares a place with the ELKS, the VFW, the NRA, a political party, fans of a sport, or any other social organization. In other words, as representative of groups of varying sizes, any group can express a collective voice. Further,if the group has developed a philosophy, that group is entitled to express desires for laws based on that philosophy. What that group has NO right to do is to insist that their philosophy has a right to dictate law for others because of divine authorship. Putting forth the group's philosophy to be evaluated by the rest of society is fine, as long as they express it as "This is our belief and this is why we believe it to be better than other proposals." If the rest of society says, "That makes sense." all well and good. If the rest of society rejects either the arguments or the underlying philosophy, the group must (in a Democracy), simply live with the result, although the group may continue to argue for their rejected proposal.
There is no reason why a (religious) group must remain silent, but they are not justified in insisting that their proposals must be right because God said so. If they present an argument, it must be couched in the language and logic of the overall society.
  #218  
Old 06-02-2019, 01:13 AM
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Now, it is probably true that all laws originally derived from religious belief. However, that is simply the function of our current understanding of the way that religion has appeared to have provided cohesion for all societies up until that last couple of centuries. If all societies found their cohesion in religion, then lawgiving was an obvious outcome of that phenomenon. (It still did not require divine intervention.)
If some of our morals are genetically based, I'd think the content of our laws comes from that. But I think you're probably right that the enforcement of the laws, and their codification, comes from religious belief. So it depends on what is meant by derived.
  #219  
Old 06-02-2019, 09:50 AM
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Yes, it is.
Hmm, no. Re-read the thread and try again.
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Who made that claim? It wasn't me.
Sorry, that was presumptuous of me. What Bible is it that you are claiming was written thousands of years ago?

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Pretty sure I just said that.
Right, I think we are in agreement then.
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No, exactly the point I'm making is that they weren't. Are you claiming that those were the only people who counted?
Only people who counted? Not really.

People who count when we are talking about the origins of the Abrahamic religions that largely influence the public policy of the US? Yeah, they are pretty important.
Quote:
Look, what I'm trying to get across here is in response to the discussion quoted below (quoting both sides as it doesn't make much sense otherwise):
I'm just talking about this group of people, who, after having left civilization and were wandering the wilderness for a while, had seemed to have lost all sense of right and wrong. The Ten commandments and all that "covenant" stuff was the formation of a new civilization, a new society based upon agreed upon rules.

Moses's God considered the creation of the Golden Calf a much greater sin than murder:
Quote:
22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.

27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”

(For the purposes of this discussion, I am treating the King James Bible as a historically accurate document, even though there are a *few* inconsistencies here and there from secular archeology and history.)
Quote:

and what I'm doing is agreeing with QuickSilver that the laws of the USA and other countries don't need to draw on the Ten Commandments to ban killing and stealing, because people clear back as long as there have been people and most likely before had reasons to ban killing and stealing*; and yes indeed people knew that long before anybody told a story about Moses and stone tablets, and knew it after that in parts of the world where they'd never heard of the Ten Commandments.
I agree with that, we are not at odds on this. I am not talking about why we should follow religious traditions, I am just saying that in their time and place, they did make sense. I think it is necessary to understand that they were necessary, that they did do some measure of good, in their time and place, in order to understand why they no longer are useful for this time and place.

Most people will not kill or steal because their conscience tells them it is wrong. Many more will not kill or steal because their community tells them it is wrong. But there are many who do not kill or steal only because they are afraid of the punishment for doing so. Creating an invisible man in the sky that sees everything you do and will hold you to account in this life or the next is necessary to keep those people in line.

It's no different than a prudish parent telling their son that mastubation will make them go blind. I like to think that we are beyond such superstitious threats.
Quote:


(*yes, under some circumstances and not others, and not perfectly obeyed -- but that's also true of people who do think of themselves as following the Ten Commandments, and also true in the modern USA.)
And they were often commanded by the same "entity" that told them not to kill or steal to go out and kill and steal.
  #220  
Old 06-02-2019, 01:48 PM
thorny locust is offline
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Now, it is probably true that all laws originally derived from religious belief. .
If you mean that by the time people started writing down laws we'd also developed religions and that the early written laws reflected the various religions in the places in which they were written, that's quite possibly correct.

If you mean that the underlying formation of those laws were derived from religious belief, I suspect it was more the other way around. I think we had evolved ideas of justice, and had developed in various areas various practical ways to stay alive and to keep groups cohesive; and when we then proceeded to invent gods, we ascribed these ideas of justice, rules of interaction within the group and between groups, practices about what to eat, etc. to those gods.

I agree that doing this served a function within society. It may well have been at least part of the reason why we developed religions.

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Only people who counted? Not really.

People who count when we are talking about the origins of the Abrahamic religions that largely influence the public policy of the US? Yeah, they are pretty important.
Is that all we're talking about? I thought the topic of this thread was wider than that.

And while I agree that the Abrahamic religions, primarily Christianity, do influence the public policy of the US, I don't think that's at all the same thing as claiming that we set up our legal system to be in accordance with the Ten Commandments; or that the existence of the Ten Commandments was necessary in order for people to start setting up legal systems. Which, again, are the claims I've been trying to respond to.

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I'm just talking about this group of people, who, after having left civilization and were wandering the wilderness for a while, had seemed to have lost all sense of right and wrong.
I've just re-read most of Exodus, and I'm not seeing that at all. According to that story:

First of all, while they were still in civilization in Egypt, they didn't have our ideas of what's right and wrong; because they said God told them to steal the jewelry of their neighbors and guests. Exodus 3-22.

Second, when Moses first got those commandments, they'd been in the wilderness all of three months. Exodus 19-1.

Third, and most relevant, they clearly didn't have our ideas of right and wrong after they got those commandments; because pretty much the first thing they did was

Quote:
‘Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’
Exodus 32-27.

They didn't do that because they had no sense of right and wrong, but because they'd just been told it was wrong to make idols, and they apparently thought that doing so deserved a death sentence. It doesn't match at all with a modern sense of 'thou shalt not kill', though.

So it seems to me that they had a different sense of right and wrong than we did; and that they had it both before and after they got those commandments. But I don't in any case see any supporting evidence for a theory that they were moral in civilization, became immoral in the wilderness, and then became moral again on getting the Ten Commandments.

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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
(For the purposes of this discussion, I am treating the King James Bible as a historically accurate document, even though there are a *few* inconsistencies here and there from secular archeology and history.)
There are quite a lot of such inconsistencies. But since you said you're using the King James, I used that version for the above quotes.

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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
I am not talking about why we should follow religious traditions, I am just saying that in their time and place, they did make sense. I think it is necessary to understand that they were necessary, that they did do some measure of good, in their time and place, in order to understand why they no longer are useful for this time and place.
I agree that human societies must have found them useful, and often still do; there's got to be a reason why so many societies developed them. They've done a lot of harm as well as good, however -- go ask Aaron. And the good that they've done can all be backed by other reasons. So people trying to live with each other without murdering each other over religious differences need to find other ways to back the good reasons. If they also feel that the things they want to back are God's will, that's fine -- but if the only reason they've got for backing a law that's going to be inflicted on other people is 'God said so', and/or "Tradition!" -- that's not enough. And what it leads to is all too often 'slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor'.
  #221  
Old 06-02-2019, 02:43 PM
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Is that all we're talking about? I thought the topic of this thread was wider than that.
The topic of the thread is certainly wider than that, but I was responding to a specific poster that was talking about these specific people.
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And while I agree that the Abrahamic religions, primarily Christianity, do influence the public policy of the US, I don't think that's at all the same thing as claiming that we set up our legal system to be in accordance with the Ten Commandments; or that the existence of the Ten Commandments was necessary in order for people to start setting up legal systems. Which, again, are the claims I've been trying to respond to.
I agree. As I said upthread, only 2 of the 10 commandments are laws. 20% is not, as the poster I was responding to there claimed, "largely reflective".
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I've just re-read most of Exodus, and I'm not seeing that at all. According to that story:

First of all, while they were still in civilization in Egypt, they didn't have our ideas of what's right and wrong; because they said God told them to steal the jewelry of their neighbors and guests. Exodus 3-22.
they had no civilization of their own.
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Second, when Moses first got those commandments, they'd been in the wilderness all of three months. Exodus 19-1.
It's been a while since I read it all the way through, so I thought it took longer than that. But, in any case, while there isn't a rigorous timeline, many concur that Lord of the Flies took place over only a couple of months.

Moses was then gone for a good month up the mountain.
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Third, and most relevant, they clearly didn't have our ideas of right and wrong after they got those commandments; because pretty much the first thing they did was
I actually quoted the same passage in my post. (different bible version, but same passage)

And, they didn't actually have the commandments yet. When Moses came down and saw their wickedness, he cast them down, then commanded the genocide of his own people.
Quote:

They didn't do that because they had no sense of right and wrong, but because they'd just been told it was wrong to make idols, and they apparently thought that doing so deserved a death sentence. It doesn't match at all with a modern sense of 'thou shalt not kill', though.

So it seems to me that they had a different sense of right and wrong than we did; and that they had it both before and after they got those commandments. But I don't in any case see any supporting evidence for a theory that they were moral in civilization, became immoral in the wilderness, and then became moral again on getting the Ten Commandments.
I'm not making that theory.

They were not a part of the civilization of Egypt. They were slaves. The laws over them were that they had no rights and had to do whatever they were told by their oppressors.

Then they were free. Free to determine their own laws and their own morality.

Then they were given a new covenant, new laws, and the Ten Commandments were, while the most important of the laws, certainly not the entirety of the codified rules of conduct that came along with them.
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There are quite a lot of such inconsistencies. But since you said you're using the King James, I used that version for the above quotes.
I only pointed out that I am using it as historically accurate as one poster already pointed out that the story of them leaving egypt has no evidence to back it, and the fact that the very existence of Moses himself has no evidence to back it up, so I wasn't wanting to get bogged down in that side track of a discussion.
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I agree that human societies must have found them useful, and often still do; there's got to be a reason why so many societies developed them. They've done a lot of harm as well as good, however -- go ask Aaron. And the good that they've done can all be backed by other reasons. So people trying to live with each other without murdering each other over religious differences need to find other ways to back the good reasons. If they also feel that the things they want to back are God's will, that's fine -- but if the only reason they've got for backing a law that's going to be inflicted on other people is 'God said so', and/or "Tradition!" -- that's not enough. And what it leads to is all too often 'slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor'.
Law needs to extend from some authority. Laws have to be in place because *someone* said so. In our secular democracy, we say that laws extend from the govt that extends from those governed. They are enforced with well trained and equipped (okay they could in many cases use better training, but who would you rather deal with, your average modern cop, or your average egyptian law enforcer). Making them come from God gives them that authority, and gives them a form of enforcement that was not possible in that day and age.

The laws were not made for the majority of the people who already agreed with those laws, they were made for the people who needed to be told how to behave in civilization, and that there would be consequences if they didn't.


At the same time, as I said, there was more than just the commandments. They cam with a whole host of laws, many of which we would think are pretty common sense today. Stuff had to be spelled out:

Quote:
“‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.

8 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.

9 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.

10 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.

11 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.

12 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.

13 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.

14 “‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.

15 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.

16 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.

17 “‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.
And of course, there was a bit of self serving in there too:
Quote:
“‘When anyone brings a grain offering to the Lord, their offering is to be of the finest flour. They are to pour olive oil on it, put incense on it 2 and take it to Aaron’s sons the priests. The priest shall take a handful of the flour and oil, together with all the incense, and burn this as a memorial[a] portion on the altar, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 3 The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons; it is a most holy part of the food offerings presented to the Lord.
Yeah, give me your best flour, 'cause God said so.
  #222  
Old 06-02-2019, 03:08 PM
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It doesn't match at all with a modern sense of 'thou shalt not kill', though.
Well, not really. The original word in Hebrew was a reference that often meant murder." Executions and war were not forbidden under that command. For some reason, the Septuagint translated the Hebrew word for murder to the Greek word for kill. (There might have been a connotation in Greek that indicated the killing referenced was illegal, but if so, that connotation has been lost through the years.) Bibles translated from the Septuagint, even when they claim to be translating from the original languages, are not correct.
  #223  
Old 06-02-2019, 03:17 PM
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If you mean that by the time people started writing down laws we'd also developed religions and that the early written laws reflected the various religions in the places in which they were written, that's quite possibly correct.



If you mean that the underlying formation of those laws were derived from religious belief, I suspect it was more the other way around. I think we had evolved ideas of justice, and had developed in various areas various practical ways to stay alive and to keep groups cohesive; and when we then proceeded to invent gods, we ascribed these ideas of justice, rules of interaction within the group and between groups, practices about what to eat, etc. to those gods.



I agree that doing this served a function within society. It may well have been at least part of the reason why we developed religions.







Is that all we're talking about? I thought the topic of this thread was wider than that.



And while I agree that the Abrahamic religions, primarily Christianity, do influence the public policy of the US, I don't think that's at all the same thing as claiming that we set up our legal system to be in accordance with the Ten Commandments; or that the existence of the Ten Commandments was necessary in order for people to start setting up legal systems. Which, again, are the claims I've been trying to respond to.







I've just re-read most of Exodus, and I'm not seeing that at all. According to that story:



First of all, while they were still in civilization in Egypt, they didn't have our ideas of what's right and wrong; because they said God told them to steal the jewelry of their neighbors and guests. Exodus 3-22.



Second, when Moses first got those commandments, they'd been in the wilderness all of three months. Exodus 19-1.



Third, and most relevant, they clearly didn't have our ideas of right and wrong after they got those commandments; because pretty much the first thing they did was







Exodus 32-27.



They didn't do that because they had no sense of right and wrong, but because they'd just been told it was wrong to make idols, and they apparently thought that doing so deserved a death sentence. It doesn't match at all with a modern sense of 'thou shalt not kill', though.



So it seems to me that they had a different sense of right and wrong than we did; and that they had it both before and after they got those commandments. But I don't in any case see any supporting evidence for a theory that they were moral in civilization, became immoral in the wilderness, and then became moral again on getting the Ten Commandments.







There are quite a lot of such inconsistencies. But since you said you're using the King James, I used that version for the above quotes.







I agree that human societies must have found them useful, and often still do; there's got to be a reason why so many societies developed them. They've done a lot of harm as well as good, however -- go ask Aaron. And the good that they've done can all be backed by other reasons. So people trying to live with each other without murdering each other over religious differences need to find other ways to back the good reasons. If they also feel that the things they want to back are God's will, that's fine -- but if the only reason they've got for backing a law that's going to be inflicted on other people is 'God said so', and/or "Tradition!" -- that's not enough. And what it leads to is all too often 'slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor'.


It is my understanding that ‘Thou shall not kill’ was a reference to the tribes of Israel; everyone from outside of the twelve tribes was fair game. God Himself set a pretty shitty example by indiscriminately killing Egyptians, especially by drowning them at the Red Sea. God—the original mass murderer. But of course it was justifiable if used to help the ‘chosen people.’
  #224  
Old 06-02-2019, 03:33 PM
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It is my understanding that ‘Thou shall not kill’ was a reference to the tribes of Israel; everyone from outside of the twelve tribes was fair game. God Himself set a pretty shitty example by indiscriminately killing Egyptians, especially by drowning them at the Red Sea. God—the original mass murderer. But of course it was justifiable if used to help the ‘chosen people.’
Wasn't the first nor last time he chose sides.
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  #225  
Old 06-02-2019, 03:41 PM
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And, they didn't actually have the commandments yet. When Moses came down and saw their wickedness, he cast them down, then commanded the genocide of his own people..
Moses had them. And he was, as you say, the one who commanded those murders.

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Originally Posted by Biffster View Post
It is my understanding that ‘Thou shall not kill’ was a reference to the tribes of Israel; everyone from outside of the twelve tribes was fair game. ’
Did you note that my post pointed out that the first thing Moses did with those commandments was to have the members of the tribes of Israel murder each other?

-- more later, maybe; or maybe not. I've got to get something else done for a while.
  #226  
Old 06-02-2019, 04:00 PM
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It's the fucking word of God.


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How do you debate religion?

It's the fucking word of God.

You want me to debate the merits of those requirements put forth upon us by Our Creator, the Omniscient and All Powerful Creator of the Universe?

Not interested, thanks.
Fine, as long as you agree which god it is. The sparks tend to fly if you don't.

So it is a duel to the death between a Christian god (some will say: no, you mean the Christian God) and Allah? Or are they one and the same? I do wish somebody would find out.
  #227  
Old 06-02-2019, 04:49 PM
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Hmm, no. Re-read the thread and try again.
Umm, no. Re-read the thread and try again.
  #228  
Old 06-02-2019, 04:53 PM
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Umm, no. Re-read the thread and try again.
I'm sorry if this is over your head and you are having trouble keeping up.

Good luck in the future, though.
  #229  
Old 06-02-2019, 04:58 PM
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I'm sorry if this is over your head and you are having trouble keeping up.

Good luck in the future, though.
It's not over MY head, it's over yours. Please put me on ignore.
  #230  
Old 06-02-2019, 05:01 PM
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It's not over MY head, it's over yours. Please put me on ignore.
  #231  
Old 06-02-2019, 06:44 PM
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It's not over MY head, it's over yours. Please put me on ignore.
Please don't interrupt while adults are speaking.
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  #232  
Old 06-02-2019, 06:54 PM
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Fine, as long as you agree which god it is. The sparks tend to fly if you don't.



So it is a duel to the death between a Christian god (some will say: no, you mean the Christian God) and Allah? Or are they one and the same? I do wish somebody would find out.


The ones who know have unfortunately not come back to life to be able to report.
  #233  
Old 06-03-2019, 02:41 AM
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If you're looking for Utopia, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed.

Here are 16 that by most standards are considered best of breed with respect to socially democratic ideals. Not one is a theocracy. I have a sneaking suspicion they made room for the US at the bottom of the list.
Interesting that 15 out of the 16 started off as ostensibly Christian countries.
  #234  
Old 06-03-2019, 07:38 AM
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Moderating


D'Anconia, k9bfriender, and QuickSilver knock it off.

Go open a Pit thread if you need to vent without participating in the actual discussion.

[ /Moderating ]
  #235  
Old 06-03-2019, 07:55 AM
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Interesting that 15 out of the 16 started off as ostensibly Christian countries.
Yes they did. They got better as they became more democratic and secular. That's not all that's required to create a more just society, but it's a good place to start. Is it your contention that Christianity is responsible for the secularization and democratization of these countries? Or are you saying, 'Look how well that turned out -- they are hardly Christian at all!'
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  #236  
Old 06-03-2019, 12:23 PM
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Of course religion should have a place in the public debate. Religion is a very important part of many peoples lives, and in many cases provides a great deal of solace and comfort. As something that is such a important part of the lives of the citizens it should be taken into account. So should football fandom, and enjoyment of amateur ornithology.

If there is a piece of lad that developers want to build a football stadium on, that is also an important migratory stop for birds, as well as a sacred site of the native American tribes of that region, then any discussion of what should be done with the site needs to take all three viewpoints into account. The only question is the extent to which religious interests take precedence over other interests. Given their importance to the lives of the citizens, I do see reasonable reasons to give it precedence over some other interests. Apparently our founding fathers agreed to the extent that it is one of the few activities mentioned in the constitution, along with other such important activities like voting, speech, assembly and (for some reason) firearm ownership.

So it makes sense to the largest extent possible to attempt to accommodate the beliefs of religions individuals. But this does not extend to forcing those religious beliefs and practices on to a population that doesn't hold them.

Last edited by Buck Godot; 06-03-2019 at 12:24 PM.
  #237  
Old 06-04-2019, 09:33 PM
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What if you held the same belief about red-haired people because you attended the same church? Would you argue against the law based on the fact that it unfairly discriminates, or would you agree with your fellow anti-gingers?
If it was my belief that red-haired people who walk in the park on Sunday represents a grave moral wrong, my beliefs would be in direct conflict with the equal protection and due process clauses of the United States Constitution. I would therefore go for a constitutional amendment rather than a state or federal law, unless I somehow thought an unconstitutional state or federal law would gather political support for a constitutional amendment.

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And what if you were in a position of power, like a congressman in a representative democracy, representing lots of constituents that were also anti-gingers?
If I took an oath to uphold the constitution, or felt it was my duty to do so, I would vote against the proposed law on the basis of its unconstitutionality; alternatively, I would vote for the law but make clear for the record that I think it is unconstitutional and prefer a constitutional amendment. I would make clear that I support a constitutional amendment by proposing or co-signing such an amendment.

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Would you then think it fair and right to pass laws based on your religious belief system despite the fact that many of the people you also happen to represent are red-heads?
It depends. I would hold meetings and possibly debates with my constituents and welcome their letters/emails. There is a little bit of "you get what you voted for", but it is also my responsibility as the informed representative to keep an open mind, to try and convince the population to support my decision, or at least to make clear my rationale.

If it is clear to me that nobody agrees with my crazy religious belief and they only elected me because of my secular positions, I would not have the "mandate of the people" so to speak. It would depend on how many people disagree with the law, how strongly they disagree, how many people would actually be affected, and how important it is in my religion to keep red-headed people out of parks on Sunday.

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Can you now see how arguments from religious convictions are a problem in public policy debate?
No, how do you reach that conclusion?

Realistically speaking, this red-headed walking in parks on Sunday ban is a stupid belief, but only because I don't actually believe it. If somehow my religion places red-headed people walking in parks on Sunday on the same level as genocide it would make sense for me to amend the Constitution to prevent this. Needless to say it would take a lot to go from my current view of red-headed park-goers to that position. Even if I was a representative with such religious views, I trust the rest of society to provide strong pushback in public debates. Public debate informs voting and I assume such an outlandish view would be shot down at election day.

Now if we were talking about something like a ban on homosexual relations, that would be different. Three major religions have a long-running tradition of considering homosexual intercourse an "aberration". I tend to disagree that the Constitution protects the right to privacy or personal sexual acts in one's own home (the Supreme Court certainly thinks so and their ruling is currently the law of the land, Lawrence v. Texas). I'm not religious so I don't support a ban on homosexual intercourse, but if I were religious and my religious beliefs say a society that allows homosexual intercourse is immoral, I might support a law or constitutional amendment banning such acts.

~Max
  #238  
Old 06-05-2019, 12:52 AM
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Hold on - why can't a religious premise be invalid? And what does it mean for a premise to be invalid, again?

From my education in formal logic, arguments are invalid; premises are either true or false - which really means "accepted as true" or "not accepted as true".

The nature of a religious premise is that people only accept it as true if they're part of the religion that sources the premise. Which means that every religious argument is automatically unsound to everyone not of the religion. This is not so good for debate - it forces the debate to immediately turn to a debate over the validity of the premise. Well, that or one side or the other forces the issue through fiat or force of arms or something.
You are right. I should have written "I'm open to another definition of 'religious' so long as it does not imply an argument is universally invalid on account of an underlying religious premise."

At the base of every tree of logic there is a set of fundamental premises or axioms, and the definition of 'religious' needs to determine which axioms are religious and which aren't, if any. My definition says all of the fundamental premises are religious, therefore all logical arguments are ultimately religious. Now I realize my original question with that definition of 'religious' is meaningless. I will henceforth stop using that definition of 'religious'.

I can see that Czarcasm and k9bfriender (and others) prefer the dictionary definition so I will go ahead and use that definition from now on.

Just for fun, within this spoiler is another attempt for me to define 'religious'. I will still be going with the dictionary definition after this post.
SPOILER:
I can infer from posts in this thread that such a thing as a 'secular' argument or premise exists, and being 'secular' is the opposite of being 'religious', thus the two properties are mutually exclusive. I agree with both of these statements, therefore some fundamental premises are not religious. So my old definition won't do.

How about this: in a debate between two parties, a religious axiom is one accepted by one party but rejected by the other. A non-axiomatic premise is said to be religious if it is the conclusion of an argument for only one party and rests on at least one religious premise (axiomatic or non-axiomatic). A premise is said to be secular if it is not religious.


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Of course in practice the religious people are aware that nobody else is going to buy their arguments, because religious doesn't automatically equal stupid. The arguments they pull out instead do tend to be invalid, though.
Agreed.

~Max
  #239  
Old 06-05-2019, 12:55 AM
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a moral system; - religious dogma - has no place in public debate
Why do you believe morals have no place in public political debate? The following is my own opinion, or at least my opinion when I am feeling conservative:

I cannot imagine any society that exists without morals, arbitrary they may be; it makes no sense to talk of a society which does not enforce morality, because in my eyes that is the express purpose of society. This societal moral system is usually codified and called the law. Every single action of government, and therefore every political question, should come down to whether the action is a moral good action.

In a democratic or republican society such as our own, the law is ideally determined after public debate where people argue for their various personal moral systems. Ideally each citizen has an opportunity to evaluate all the arguments, and to participate in debate if they so wish, and comes to their own position about any given topic. Then either through direct vote or an elected representative, each person or group of people express their interest and a law is passed or rejected.

You might object that it is unfair for you to be subject to the majority rule if their arguments are religious and yours are secular. What right have they to impose their morality upon you? I counter that this is the way the world works, specifically you and your fellow citizens have mutually agreed to respect a form of majority rule, subject to the limits of the Constitution. You may find this social contract unfair, but chances are you were not born yesterday and have almost certainly reaped some benefits of society. You may sue for an injunction and may well win one in case of a statute, but if a constitutional amendment is passed your options are, at your own expense: to petition for repeal, to emigrate, and/or to defy the law.

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Originally Posted by Crane View Post
Please provide an example of how any of these topics could provide premises for public debate in a way that does not violate separation of church and state.
I don't believe that would be possible using solely religious arguments, given the interpretations of Amendments I and XIV currently espoused by the Supreme Court, particularly the Lemon test which specifically requires secular rationale. A law supported by a combination of religious and secular arguments should be and has been debated on both religious and secular grounds. For example, it is difficult to overstate the importance of religion in movements such as abolition, child labor, compulsory elementary education, women's suffrage, prohibition, and both sides of the 1960s civil rights movement. And of course, before the civil war the "separation of church and state" only applied at the national level (I think Massachusetts was the last state to disestablish its state church in the 1830s).

A constitutional amendment is obviously exempt from the doctrine of separation of church and state. And if the Supreme Court takes a more strict (originalist or textualist) view of the Constitution, a law with only religious justification may very well be upheld. Finally the separation of church and state is always up for debate.

~Max
  #240  
Old 06-05-2019, 01:04 AM
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before the civil war the "separation of church and state" only applied at the national level
I missed the edit window, but the separation of church and state only applied at the national level until 1947 (Everson v. Board of Education, 5-4 decision).

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Last edited by Max S.; 06-05-2019 at 01:05 AM.
  #241  
Old 06-05-2019, 01:24 AM
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What exactly is it that you are trying to determine here? You are just going in circles and asking the same questions over an over and not being satisfied with the answers.
I just can't get behind the idea that religion has no place in public debate. I don't even understand why it shouldn't have a place. Even if I reject the premise that God exists, so long as people think God does exist and is the basis of morals it seems to me that public political debate should contain some religious arguments.

If you said there should be no religion, in that case I could understand saying that religion shouldn't have a place in public debate. I'm undecided on that premise myself but I could see an argument, to an extent. Until religion ceases to exist it follows that religious arguments will continue to have a place in public debate.

If you said morals are unnecessary to debate politics, I would have to ask why because I tend to disagree.

If you said society or public debate is unnecessary itself, well I suppose that is an argument too.

But what I am seeing in the majority of posts in this thread is that religious arguments are inherently weak and undeserving of attention. Even when aimed at the same/similar faiths a religious argument has no place in political debate. This I do not understand.

~Max
  #242  
Old 06-05-2019, 01:57 AM
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I just can't get behind the idea that religion has no place in public debate. I don't even understand why it shouldn't have a place. Even if I reject the premise that God exists, so long as people think God does exist and is the basis of morals it seems to me that public political debate should contain some religious arguments.

~Max
Though this is probably nonstandard, I use morals as a system inspired by the interpretation of the words and intentions of a deity or deities, and ethics as the logically constructed system based only on clearly stated nonreligious premises and secular reasoning.
There is overlap - the prohibition of murder for instance can be justified in both systems. But there are cases where there is no overlap. Blasphemy laws have a solid moral foundation but not an ethical one.

Same sex marriage is an excellent example. I'd not be surprised if religious entities comprising the majority of the religious population are or were morally opposed to it, for what they saw as good moral reasons. It became increasingly clear that the ethical argument against SSM was shaky at best. As people switched from moral condemnation to ethical approval, the clearly religious based laws against it lost support.
The California case was a great example of how opponents of SSM, forced to make an ethical and not a moral argument, floundered badly.
  #243  
Old 06-05-2019, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by I Love Me, Vol. I View Post
If I suggest that governmental policy really should be run the same way I run my household how much credence should be my argument be given? My personal rules are just as crucial Catholic Church's rules in terms of their bearing on public policy.
Well, to apply your household rules to society is like saying we all have apartments in a building, we're debating shared rules for the whole building, and you say we should adopt the rules you made for your apartment for the whole building. What you say is relevant, but if I think you're making serious suggestions I'll explain why I disagree and I hope the other tenants will do the same. If it turns out most tenants vote for your rules, that's too bad for me.

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I read this as you saying the entire argument of "Does God Exist? (Show Your Work!)" needs to take place in its entirety any time religion is invoked in a public debate. That's not good time management.
You don't need to show that God exists and I don't think that's even possible. You just need to identify the disagreement and either leave it at that, point to a previous debate over the same disagreement and ask if there is anything your opponent would like to add, or attempt to "convert" your opponent.

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  #244  
Old 06-05-2019, 02:57 AM
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Though this is probably nonstandard, I use morals as a system inspired by the interpretation of the words and intentions of a deity or deities, and ethics as the logically constructed system based only on clearly stated nonreligious premises and secular reasoning.
There is overlap - the prohibition of murder for instance can be justified in both systems. But there are cases where there is no overlap. Blasphemy laws have a solid moral foundation but not an ethical one.
Are the ethics universal - does the same set of ethical rules apply to you as to me? What is the basis of these ethics? Hedonistic deontology? I've always thought that leads to a situation where every person's brain is effectively isolated in a chemical bath to induce maximum pleasure. That leads to an embrace of solipsism and then it becomes meaningless to talk about ethics at all.

More importantly, what makes 'secular' reasoning into a solid ethical foundation while 'religious' reasoning is not? What if the majority of society is religious?

~Max
  #245  
Old 06-05-2019, 06:34 AM
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Yes they did. They got better as they became more democratic and secular. That's not all that's required to create a more just society, but it's a good place to start. Is it your contention that Christianity is responsible for the secularization and democratization of these countries? Or are you saying, 'Look how well that turned out -- they are hardly Christian at all!'
I believe the Christian values, held in common by a large percentage of Western civilisation, inevitably resulted in raising the living standards of less fortunate in society. As a larger percentage of the population becomes literate, democratic government becomes the only reasonable government consistent with christian values.
I do not believe Christianity is a prerequisite for democracy or a secular government but have not seen another set of values that would contribute to a more just and free society.
I believe the question of whether they become "better" has not been settled yet
  #246  
Old 06-05-2019, 07:44 AM
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If it was my belief that red-haired people who walk in the park on Sunday represents a grave moral wrong, my beliefs would be in direct conflict with the equal protection and due process clauses of the United States Constitution. I would therefore go for a constitutional amendment rather than a state or federal law, unless I somehow thought an unconstitutional state or federal law would gather political support for a constitutional amendment.
Not so fast Max S. The question wasn't whether you would support the US Constitution. The question was a simple choice of whether you would support your religious views on red-heads or oppose it.

To make this argument a bit more real, let's switch red-heads to LGBTQ folks. Your religion says LGBTQs are an affront to your god, church and country and you are adherent faithful member. Should your religious views be considered as part of public policy/governance?

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If I took an oath to uphold the constitution, or felt it was my duty to do so, I would vote against the proposed law on the basis of its unconstitutionality; alternatively, I would vote for the law but make clear for the record that I think it is unconstitutional and prefer a constitutional amendment. I would make clear that I support a constitutional amendment by proposing or co-signing such an amendment.
This is you having it both ways and I won't have it. Pick a side, Max S.

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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
It depends. I would hold meetings and possibly debates with my constituents and welcome their letters/emails. There is a little bit of "you get what you voted for", but it is also my responsibility as the informed representative to keep an open mind, to try and convince the population to support my decision, or at least to make clear my rationale.
In other words, your views on LGBTQs are informed by your religious affiliation and as an elected representative of ALL the people in your constituency, you would not put aside your religious convictions because you feel they are "informed" and "you get what you voted for". This is why we ought not vote for people who do not respect the importance of separation of church and state.

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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
If it is clear to me that nobody agrees with my crazy religious belief and they only elected me because of my secular positions, I would not have the "mandate of the people" so to speak. It would depend on how many people disagree with the law, how strongly they disagree, how many people would actually be affected, and how important it is in my religion to keep red-headed people out of parks on Sunday.
So the "importance to your religion" is a deciding factor in your position. Thank you for that admission in the context of a debate of whether religious views (discriminatory in this example, as in IRL) ought to be considered in public policy decisions.

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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Realistically speaking, this red-headed walking in parks on Sunday ban is a stupid belief, but only because I don't actually believe it. If somehow my religion places red-headed people walking in parks on Sunday on the same level as genocide it would make sense for me to amend the Constitution to prevent this. Needless to say it would take a lot to go from my current view of red-headed park-goers to that position. Even if I was a representative with such religious views, I trust the rest of society to provide strong pushback in public debates. Public debate informs voting and I assume such an outlandish view would be shot down at election day.
You've punted, Max S. You've admitted that you would vote with your religious convictions and "trust" that people with secularist views would oppose and defeat your immoral position in a freely held election.

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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Now if we were talking about something like a ban on homosexual relations, that would be different. Three major religions have a long-running tradition of considering homosexual intercourse an "aberration". I tend to disagree that the Constitution protects the right to privacy or personal sexual acts in one's own home (the Supreme Court certainly thinks so and their ruling is currently the law of the land, Lawrence v. Texas). I'm not religious so I don't support a ban on homosexual intercourse, but if I were religious and my religious beliefs say a society that allows homosexual intercourse is immoral, I might support a law or constitutional amendment banning such acts.
Which illustrates the point why secular public policy is superior to religious public policy if we all agree that we want to live in a more just society and not a theocracy.
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 06-05-2019 at 07:47 AM.
  #247  
Old 06-05-2019, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
I just can't get behind the idea that religion has no place in public debate. I don't even understand why it shouldn't have a place. Even if I reject the premise that God exists, so long as people think God does exist and is the basis of morals it seems to me that public political debate should contain some religious arguments.
Do you agree that this has a place in infoprming public policy?
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A citizen comments: “In 1 Corinthians, it says that a man who has an affair with another man will be put to death.”

Hill’s response?

“It says that in the Old Testament, too.”

Another attendee asks, “Can you introduce legislation?”

Chuckles are audible. The state representative joins the laughter. “I wonder how that would go over?” Hill says.
I think the problem is, is that you asked a specific but ambiguous question, and will only accept your definition as to what constitutes debate, religion, and "acceptance".

This is why you keep making strawman to argue against, rather than against the actual arguments presented to you, as people disagree that they must use the words the way that you have defined them.

You keep saying "public debate", and we keep saying pubic policy. You keep saying that religious arguments should not be invalid and should be debated on their merits, but the whole problem is is that religion asserts that its argument is infallible and cannot be debated. You are asserting that not allowing bronze age mythology to dictate our society is against free speech.

You can justify *anything* with religion, which is why it cannot be used to justify public policy. Anything else that you have read into this is simply that, a product of your own creation.
  #248  
Old 06-05-2019, 11:00 AM
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Not so fast Max S. The question wasn't whether you would support the US Constitution. The question was a simple choice of whether you would support your religious views on red-heads or oppose it.

To make this argument a bit more real, let's switch red-heads to LGBTQ folks. Your religion says LGBTQs are an affront to your god, church and country and you are adherent faithful member. Should your religious views be considered as part of public policy/governance?
My answer remains the same: if my religion calls for discrimination against LGBTQ people, that is in direct conflict with the equal protection and due process clauses of the United States Constitution. I would therefore back a constitutional amendment rather than a state or federal law, unless I somehow thought an unconstitutional state or federal law would gather political support for a constitutional amendment.

I am not opposing my religious views, I am just saying that a statute which discriminates against LGBTQ people walking in parks is unconstitutional on its face. My personal religious views do not override the Constitution, but a constitutional amendment does. So yes, I would argue that the anti-LGBTQ law unconstitutionally discriminates, therefore I would argue against the proposed law, yet I would still agree with my fellow anti-LGBTQ people on the principle of discrimination. From my point of view their heart is in the right place but the method is doomed to failure.

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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
This is you having it both ways and I won't have it. Pick a side, Max S.
You are giving me a false dilemma.

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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
In other words, your views on LGBTQs are informed by your religious affiliation and as an elected representative of ALL the people in your constituency, you would not put aside your religious convictions because you feel they are "informed" and "you get what you voted for".
Right, unless it is clear that my constituency largely disagrees with me in regard to this issue. And I do believe it is my duty as a representative to continually communicate with my constituency so as to gauge their support.

But that is my personal opinion. I don't see anything inherently wrong with a representative who says "you get what you voted for". If the constituency has a problem with this, don't re-elect!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Publius, Federalist No. 33
If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Publius, Federalist No. 57
The elective mode of obtaining rulers is the characteristic policy of republican government. The means relied on in this form of government for preventing their degeneracy are numerous and various. The most effectual one, is such a limitation of the term of appointments as will maintain a proper responsibility to the people.
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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
This is why we ought not vote for people who do not respect the importance of separation of church and state.
I don't see that as a violation of the separation of church and state. If I ran as a Christian candidate in favor of a constitutional amendment banning homosexual acts, proposing that constitutional amendment does not appear to contradict the separation of church and state. I suspect you and I have different views on that doctrine.

But obviously, if you don't believe LGBTQ people should be discriminated against, don't vote for the candidate that runs on an anti-LGBTQ constitutional amendment.

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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
So the "importance to your religion" is a deciding factor in your position. Thank you for that admission in the context of a debate of whether religious views (discriminatory in this example, as in IRL) ought to be considered in public policy decisions.
Admitted.

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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
You've punted, Max S. You've admitted that you would vote with your religious convictions and "trust" that people with secularist views would oppose and defeat your immoral position in a freely held election.
The text you quoted was poorly written, because the "I" who wants the rest of society to defeat the candidate is different than the "I" who is the candidate.

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Originally Posted by QuickSilver View Post
Which illustrates the point why secular public policy is superior to religious public policy if we all agree that we want to live in a more just society and not a theocracy.
You and I might agree because we are not religious people. Religious people might not agree. Even so I am not convinced that religious public policy leads to a theocracy or is less just than secular public policy.

~Max
  #249  
Old 06-05-2019, 11:18 AM
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I believe the Christian values, held in common by a large percentage of Western civilisation, inevitably resulted in raising the living standards of less fortunate in society. As a larger percentage of the population becomes literate, democratic government becomes the only reasonable government consistent with christian values. I do not believe Christianity is a prerequisite for democracy or a secular government but have not seen another set of values that would contribute to a more just and free society.
I believe the question of whether they become "better" has not been settled yet
This is an a-historical portrayal. It ignores the centuries of brutal oppression, torture and war at the hands of the Christian Church and its policies towards subjected populations. There was nothing "inevitable" about the outcome, no matter how eagerly Christianity wants to take credit. What is demonstrably inevitable is that increased secularization lead to the improved outcomes, not Christian values.
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 06-05-2019 at 11:20 AM.
  #250  
Old 06-05-2019, 11:21 AM
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Are there cases where a particular religion gained control over a government and did not use the situation to lord it over(sorry about that) others not of their particular sect?
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