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Old 02-08-2005, 10:55 AM   #16
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Hi Melon! : ouch : I'm going to keep my comments brief because we are soooo far apart in our ideology.


Bad things happen means that bad behavior begets bad results.

For example, Christianity advocates that sex should only occur inside of marriage.

When the populace frequently disobeys that prohibition, you get more disease, more unwanted pregnancies, more abortions, more adoptions. That's just a fact.

Full disclosure: I have miserably failed at upholding that standard, but it doesn't mean that the standard should be thrown out. I don't believe that the government should prosecute anyone for what they do in the bedroom, provided that they are consenting adults.

Forcing people to do things is much different than public advocacy which is something the government does all the time.

I also shouldn't have thrown in the whole government side of things into this debate. To my limited knowledge the Bible does not strictly advocate one form of government over another. But there is a great deal of instruction about what each individual is responsible for.

I just feel that it's important to recognize that both communism and nazism were responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths and neither ran the flag of Christianity or Judaism or even Islam up the pole. Instead their pride was in Man or the governmental system that Man devised. And even if you say that the Catholics were brutal, the death toll for them still is far behind government sanctioned genocide. Rwanda wasn't Christian, Pol Pot and the Killing Fields weren't Christian. Idi Ami? Infamous murders never follow the Bible. Instead, they become God and take life indiscriminately.

----

But, I pulled this debate far away from the intended point. I thought by highlighting Godlessness in a grand scale it would make a point, and instead it totally detracted from it.

I still think the question "Can we be good without God?" still begs another question "What is good?" Because we can disagree on what is good. If we were to agree on what is good, we probably wouldn't disagree as much as we do on everything else.




so much for brief.
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Old 02-08-2005, 11:44 AM   #17
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I know I'm a bit harsh on my rhetoric here. I just wanted to let you know that it isn't personal. We can agree to disagree.

Going back to the original question, can we be good without God? It's a loaded question, because it automatically leads people to the Bible. Personally, I don't think the Bible has a great track record on morality. The Old Testament "God" is a fairly bloodthirsty Deity who sanctions genocide in Deuteronomy and Joshua ("The Ban") and supposedly prescribes a whole bunch of offenses (some of them minor) that are "punishable by death."

Secondly, we can say that the Bible says sex should only occur inside of marriage, but, again, the Old Testament isn't a great example of that. It was perfectly fine to take on more than one wife (so, really, why is everyone opposed to polygamy, if it clearly exists in the Bible and there's no explicit prohibition against it?), and if your wife was infertile, then it was perfectly fine to take on additional, unmarried "concubines" just to have children.

And I almost don't want to bring up their "conflict resolution." People may bring up supposed homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah, but why does no one bring up that Lot's version of "conflict resolution" was offering up his two "virgin daughters" to be raped? Such an exemplary father Lot is!

Then we fast forward to the New Testament. Sure, Paul is smart enough to codify that "love is the fulfillment of the law" in Romans 13, but then he goes on these misogynist tirades about how "women should not have authority over men." Funny. For the last century, the vast majority of teachers have been female, and they clearly do teach over male students on a regular basis.

On top of it, the New Testament was used up to World War II to justify anti-Semitism. Nazi Germany's anti-Semitism did not emerge out of a vacuum; on the contrary, it was an extension of 2000 years of open hatred for Jews in "Christian Europe." Prior to the Soviet Union in "Christian Russia," the tsars had pogroms of relative frequency to terrorize the Jews. Jews, thus, would take refuge in Islamic territories, such as Spain (up until 1492, when the Moors were driven out) and the Ottoman Empire (up until the end of World War I).

It is really only in recent history that Christianity developed any form of tolerance for anyone different...or has it? Europe only became "tolerant" after it embraced secular democracy; "Imperial Christian Europe" was grossly intolerant. America? We have a sketchy history in regards to tolerance, but what we do know is that Christianity has often been on the wrong side of it, out of "fear of change." And here we are in 2005. Which side is Christianity on again? Does it preach compassion and tolerance? No. It's busy spreading hate and intolerance, as usual, out of "fear of change."

There's my problem with upholding the Bible and Christianity as the pinnacle of morality: I find it to be very inconsistent and riddled with prejudices.

And despite all this, I do believe in God, but I'm very much ashamed of what has become of His church. It has, quite bluntly, become a mouthpiece for conservative ideology, and its various idiosyncrasies. Hasn't anyone ever seen the hypocrisy of being anti-abortion and pro-death penalty? You can argue all you want that criminals may deserve to die, but it's another instance of humanity is making a judgment call on someone's fitness for life.

For what it's worth, I'm anti-abortion and anti-death penalty. I do not think, though, that criminalizing abortion does a damn thing. Marijuana is illegal, but it doesn't stop people from doing it. The same thing will happen with abortion. It happened prior to Roe v. Wade, and it will continue to happen even if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Period.

I want a truly tolerant and "pro-life" culture. I want universal health care. I want all of our public schools to be equally well-funded, even if the school happens to sit in a poor inner city neighborhood and not in a wealthy suburb. I want full and unequivocal equal rights and equal marriage for the LBGT community. If the Catholic Church can refuse to recognize any non-Catholic heterosexual marriage, then there's currently nothing stopping Christian religions from refusing to recognize gay marriages.

These are not values we find in contemporary Christianity, and, as such, I see it as a backwards and bankrupt institution that's blinded by conservative political ideology, rather than a genuine pursuit of the truth. If it were about trying to discover the truth, then Christianity wouldn't be so resistant to every and any form of change at every turn, and should welcome in-depth scholarship of the original texts of the Bible. As it stands, some of the traditional interpretations are nothing more than biases and prejudices from previous generations. We wouldn't dare try and use the Bible today to support anti-Semitism or slavery; but, in fact, it has been used to do so.

And I guess that gets back to the original question. "Can we be good without God?" Maybe. Maybe not. But we can clearly be good without Christianity, because we've already proven that to be the case historically.

Melon
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Old 02-08-2005, 11:56 AM   #18
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Of course we can be good without god (or gods). I do it every day.

But if you need a god to be good, then create one so you can be good.
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Old 02-08-2005, 12:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Forget abortion and euthanasia. Are you willing to pay more taxes to promote a truly "pro-life" society? That means universal health care. That means universal and affordable access to education--not burdening people with mortgage-sized student loans. And what about adoption? We're worried about saving millions of aborted fetuses, when we have millions of unadopted children.
lets kill the babies so I can go to the doctor for free!

sorry, I just find this whole subject unapproachable and daunting.
Can I just say this though?
I believe that people could be good without God.
I also believe that people can be bad when they think they're doing something good for God.
And I also believe that I would not be good if I hadnt surrendered to a higher power.
God gave people free will and we use it for good and bad.
Doing something terrible in the name of God doesnt mean that God did it. Why are people so afraid of the thought of God anyway? Thats a question........
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Old 02-08-2005, 12:16 PM   #20
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Originally posted by u2bonogirl
lets kill the babies so I can go to the doctor for free!
You know perfectly well that's not what I'm saying. My point is that I don't see any of these issues even on the "Christian radar." They're too busy being a mouthpiece for the Republican Party.

Quote:
Why are people so afraid of the thought of God anyway? Thats a question........
Because people are afraid of what people will do in the name of God. I'm genuinely afraid of it, because we already have a lot of wackos out there who would kill in the name of God.

Melon
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Old 02-08-2005, 12:24 PM   #21
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Originally posted by melon


You know perfectly well that's not what I'm saying. My point is that I don't see any of these issues even on the "Christian radar." They're too busy being a mouthpiece for the Republican Party.



Because people are afraid of what people will do in the name of God. I'm genuinely afraid of it, because we already have a lot of wackos out there who would kill in the name of God.

Melon
I knew thats not what you were saying.
To be honest, Im afraid of what people do in the name of God as well. Look at the crusades! Terrible bloody (literally) mess, and all for what? All that killing for a God of love?
The modern day equivelant of that could be people flying planes through buildings and the like.
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Old 02-08-2005, 01:27 PM   #22
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Originally posted by melon
And despite all this, I do believe in God, but I'm very much ashamed of what has become of His church. It has, quite bluntly, become a mouthpiece for conservative ideology, and its various idiosyncrasies. Hasn't anyone ever seen the hypocrisy of being anti-abortion and pro-death penalty? You can argue all you want that criminals may deserve to die, but it's another instance of humanity is making a judgment call on someone's fitness for life.
Woah there. While I can see where you're coming from on a number of your points, this one befuddles me a little bit. What church are you talking about that's pro-death penalty? I'm not sure about the Protestant stance on the subject, but, being a practicing Catholic, I can tell you that the Catholic Church is strongly opposed to any kind of capital punishment. According to the Catechism of the Church, the death penalty should only ever be used in extreme circumstances, circumstances in which it is the only way to protect the common good. And these circumstances are extremely rare, as noted in this quote from the Catechism:

"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]
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Old 02-08-2005, 01:33 PM   #23
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The Catholic Church is, thankfully, against the death penalty, while also being pro-life. In the 2004 Presidential Election, however, I found that the Church was little more than a mouthpiece for the GOP. They were quick to condemn Democrats for being pro-choice, etc., but were silent on the fact that the GOP openly supports the death penalty. Why didn't they speak up? Where were they?

I grew up Catholic, but I lost my faith in such an autocratic and arbitrary institution. The overall rule in the church seems to be "Do what I say, not what I do." I doubt I'll reclaim my faith in Catholicism ever again.

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Old 02-08-2005, 01:53 PM   #24
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Ah, alright then. Just making sure you had your facts straight.

And, while I can see what you mean as to how the Church seems to serve the right much moreso than the left, I must point out the Pope's clearcut opposition to the war in Iraq ever since the idea was being tossed around by George Bush.

Also, I'd like to bring up another thing which may be more of an opinionated subject. But, anyway. The reason the Catholic Church is so much more critical of abortion and the pro-choice movement than capital punishment is because we don't give fetuses any chance at life. They're killed before they even get a shot at becoming good people. On the other hand, the victims of capital punishment have already been given this chance, and basically wasted it (assuming that they're guilty). Thus, the fetus has more of a right to life than the criminal does.

Though, just to make this clear, I must reiterate that I am strongly opposed to both of these offenses.
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Old 02-08-2005, 02:07 PM   #25
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I don't think the Catholic Church is all that altruistic. A lot of the major donors to the Catholic Church are conservatives, and, like any political organization, will be influenced by their donations. Why else does there seem to be a crackdown on liberal dissent, while conservative dissent is completely ignored?

Because, really, both Mel Gibson and Michael Moore should be equally considered to be "bad Catholics." Mel Gibson tends to be a pre-Vatican II traditionalist Catholic, while Moore is a post-Vatican II liberal/radical Catholic. So why was Mel elevated to near sainthood, while Moore was painted as Satanic?

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Old 02-08-2005, 02:13 PM   #26
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Its seeming to me like organized religion is doomed
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Old 02-08-2005, 02:43 PM   #27
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Ah, but those are just private views of American Catholics. That has nothing to do with the Church directly.

I don't find either Mel Gibson or Michael Moore to be "satanic," personally. Though, I think there is a big difference between them. For example, Gibson made a movie documenting the last few hours of Christ's life, which is a major part of the Catholic religion. Also, Gibson has been known to give millions of dollars to different charities.

Moore, on the other hand, made a movie filled with bad and distorted "facts" (not saying that all of the things in the movie weren't true, but a large number, just as in Bowling For Columbine, were distorted at the least) that were meant to spread hate. Although, admittedly, as far as public opinion goes, I'm sure that the fact that it was about Bush had to do with a fair amount of the public outcry over the film.
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Old 02-08-2005, 04:06 PM   #28
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Christianity is waning in the west, Islam will supplant it and religiousity will take two steps backwards ~ the sad march of humanity continues.
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Old 02-08-2005, 04:22 PM   #29
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Christianity is waning, because people equate Christianity with fundamentalism and conservatism now. Thus, if you don't identify with their narrow definition of Christianity, chances are you'll reject it completely.

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Old 02-08-2005, 05:14 PM   #30
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I would disagree with that, Christianity is waning because the traditional churches have simply lost the plot and have failed to hold onto people. The morality that the stood for is lost and the big issues become petty things like abortion and gay's in the church.

I think that the evangelical zeal one finds in the US and to a slighter degree in other countries is fundamentalism but that does not in itself turn people away from the Catholic or Anglican church. It is a matter of society changing over the last 40 years, I think that the rise of Christian fundamentalists is an effect of this change rather than the cause.

I would love for a European perspective on the issue of Christianity, I suspect that there is less evangelical and more traditional conservatism on the continent.
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