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Old 03-14-2006, 09:07 PM   #16
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
There is no passing the buck element in this theology. The iron horse is pointing to the beginning of evil, not that every bad act is the result of the Devil or a demon.
By the same standard, we cannot blame God for our act either.

The basic premise (at least in Christianity) is that evil is our problem, a problem for which we need a solution.
I'm going to cheat for a moment and use an anecdote someone used on my own forum:

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I think the best “saying” that I have ever heard, was from an older African Elder in Tanzania. We were talking about “divine intervention” when he looked at my Dad and simply stated, “But Reverend, it is important to remember that if you are asking God for a harvest; you must say Amen with a hoe in your hand, and be prepared to till the soil, plant the seeds, and then give it over to God”. We were all duly impressed with his very deep and logical reasoning. We are the ones that can and will make the difference in our own longevity. Make sure when you ask God/dess for a harvest in your life, you do so with a hoe in your hand.
Whether it's authentic or not, I think it illustrates a good point. We are in control of our own destinies, and religion should not be used as an excuse to perpetuate or ignore the "evil" of the world.

But hell...we have a thread here talking about how certain Christian conservatives decry the potential for an HPV or even HIV vaccine. Rewind about 300 years ago, where British Christian conservatives opposed smallpox inoculation, stating it was interfering with "God's will"; and in the mid-20th century, many Hindus opposed smallpox vaccination, because it was an insult to Shitala (Mariamman in South India), the goddess of smallpox. WHO officials just forcefully vaccinated them anyway.

And I guess that was my point. Attributing all evil to a supernatural entity can sometimes lead to resistance to peace. We see this even with Israel and the Palestinian Territories, where there are some groups out there who viciously oppose peace, since they believe that escalating violence there will usher in the Second Coming.

Everything in balance, I guess.

Melon
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:12 PM   #17
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I agree with what melon's been saying so far. People talk about how money, or godlessness, or religion are the "root of all evil." But I think those are just methods or justifications for the things we do, it's really all about resources. It's always been like that and it always will be. There are all kinds and motivations for self-preservation outside of basic food, water, etc. Honestly I don't see the need to create a "devil" figure and start defining things in terms of good and evil...
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:44 PM   #18
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melon is dead on.

i really don't care much about what people believe.

i'd like to know what people think.
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:59 AM   #19
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melon is dead on.

i really don't care much about what people believe.

i'd like to know what people think.
Don't make the assumption that people with religious beliefs are not thinking people, or have not arrived at their beliefs without thought.

Religious beliefs are not feelings.
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Old 03-15-2006, 03:27 AM   #20
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In terms of evil, I absolutely think it exists.
And whatever Lucifer is, or is supposed to embody probably became consumed by power, greed, control and lust for all of the above mentioned. Do I think it's possible there is a demon, or devil named Lucifer who actually habitates a placed called hell sending minions out? Not really, but it's possible. In the end, it doesn't matter. Man is enough to administer evil, he doesn't need much help.

I believe man is capable of incredible, fantastic, horrendous things. I believe in a creator, and I think long ago if it weren't part of the design, then the nature of the flawed man was to create evil all by himself, almost defaulting into it.

The problem with the Genesis story is that a lot of it is borrowed from older myths. It's sort of a composite, so while that by itself doesn't mean I discard the rest of the book or teachings, it means that I am far from taking things verbatim. I have a higher respect for who and what I think God is, and what he's trying to teach us. To look further, mostly into ourselves but to look thru the nature of the flawed man to find God. To find truths the best way you can.

Part of this process, is learning the nature of the evils of man. If man is capable of all the atrocities that are evident, then why wouldn't this free will, this flawed tendency lend itself to doing the unthinkable in many people's minds? Of taking the word of God and not only underestimating it, but abusing it. We are as capable of this, as we are of a round of golf. You can't say man has the power to murder train loads of this same God's people, based on an evil malicious free will, and on the other hand say, well God wouldn't allow the Bible to be skewed, selected blah blah. Man wrote the Bible, man canonized the Bible, and man uses his own devices to teach the Bible. Man had 2,000 years to craft the Bible into a tool for all of man's devices. Toss in all the other world religions as well.

If you still beleive in the Genesis story verbatim, I don't mean to trample all over your belief system, I am sharing what I think evil represents. I just can't rationalize 4.5 billion people frying in hell because they didn't get the right brand of mythology. Again, not all of the religous teachings are myths in my view, but this was the craft of man, at least this is what I have come to understand.
Methods of control, using evil at its best, obscuring God for man's sake.

So.... if we have free will, then I think we have evil. It's the nature of man. Intentional or not, I suppose it hardly matters.
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:04 AM   #21
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I believe Lucifer/Satan personify evil - though I do not believe the devil actually, physically exists.
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Old 03-15-2006, 09:46 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

Religious beliefs are not feelings.


not so sure about that.
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Old 03-15-2006, 09:49 AM   #23
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ultimately, i think that Luicfer is a necessary invention by Christianity in order to absolve itself of the fundamental problem of the existence of evil in a world supposedly created by a loving God. the fact that bad things happen to good people, that life is filled with random and merciless cruelties, that there are no explanations for awfulness, from genocide to a 16 year old who misjudges his speed while taking a left-hand turn and flies into a telephone pole, all of these things present a problem to Christianity thus making evil as useful a term as it is for George W. Bush.
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Old 03-15-2006, 11:40 AM   #24
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Originally posted by Irvine511
not so sure about that.
It would be very presumptuous and dangerous to think you could dismiss another's faith because you deem it a feeling, and not a thought.
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Old 03-15-2006, 11:49 AM   #25
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


It would be very presumptuous and dangerous to think you could dismiss another's faith because you deem it a feeling, and not a thought.


faith, by it's definition, requires a suspension of thinking -- there might be rigorous thought that leads one up to the point of taking that leap, but ultimately the leap is one of irrationality.

i am not dismissing anyone's faith. i think it's preposterous to have discussions contesting beliefs -- we'd be much better served to have discussion contesting thoughts. i simply think it's a ridiculous discussion to blame the evil in the world on a faith-based invention when there are far more pressing and tangible problems to be dealt with. and, as someone who's had "well, i'm sorry, but that's just what i believe" thrown in his face as a justification for discimination, both on this board and in real life, you'll forgive me if i get a little queasy when someone trots out "belief" as a rationale.

on a personal note, i find the idea of a devil comlpetely ludicrous and a total and utter cop-out, not to mention a medieval mindset.

but that opinion is, too, irrelevant to a real discussion of "evil" or why bad things happen to good people.
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:03 PM   #26
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faith, by it's definition, requires a suspension of thinking -- there might be rigorous thought that leads one up to the point of taking that leap, but ultimately the leap is one of irrationality.
I would disagree. I think you would find yourself having faith in many things that you cannot see or prove to certainty; but as part of your thinking, you come to your conclusions.

Thinking is why I prefer traditional styles of worship. Hymns are loaded with deep meaningful descriptions of the nature of God.
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:05 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Irvine511
on a personal note, i find the idea of a devil comlpetely ludicrous and a total and utter cop-out, not to mention a medieval mindset.

but that opinion is, too, irrelevant to a real discussion of "evil" or why bad things happen to good people.
Then, under your framework, it would appear that the concept of God is equally ludicrous and total and utter cop-out.

The "problem of evil" is a considerable subject, one probably not suited for the thought fragments of an on-line forum. If you were interested in a Christian perspective on the subject, there are plenty of books I could recommend.
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:10 PM   #28
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I would disagree. I think you would find yourself having faith in many things that you cannot see or prove to certainty; but as part of your thinking, you come to your conclusions.


but most of said beliefs are based in real-world experiences and from that extrapolations are made -- but all remains in the real and the tangible, and no thought is ever so strong that it cannot be re-evaluated or rescinded.

perhaps we are confusing beliefs with Beliefs.

not so with belief. i think belief functions much, much differently in the mind of the believer than a thought does in the mind of a thinker -- there's a humility and caution with thought that one does not find with a strongly held religious belief.

did you watch the Daily Show last night?

this guy was on, and it was very interesting:

[q]Scholar Bart Ehrman's new book explores how scribes -- through both omission and intention -- changed the Bible. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why is the result of years of reading the texts in their original languages.

Ehrman says the modern Bible was shaped by mistakes and intentional alterations that were made by early scribes who copied the texts. In the introduction to Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman writes that when he came to understand this process 30 years ago, it shifted his way of thinking about the Bible. He had been raised as an Evangelical Christian.

Ehrman is also the author of Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, which chronicles the period before Christianity as we know it, when conflicting ideas about the religion were fighting for prominence in the second and third centuries.

The chairman of the religious studies department at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Ehrman also edited a collection of the early non-canonical texts from the first centuries after Christ, called Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=5052156

[/q]



his big example is that the story of Jesus standing up for the prostitute who was being stoned and said the famous "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" is probably false, or invented.

and i think this ties into what i'm trying to get at -- i think a Belief in the devil is preposterous. whereas an understanding of how evil might function in the world via a constructed personification of evil called Lucifer might be helpful for our thinking.
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:23 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

on a personal note, i find the idea of a devil comlpetely ludicrous and a total and utter cop-out, not to mention a medieval mindset.

but that opinion is, too, irrelevant to a real discussion of "evil" or why bad things happen to good people.
Personal religious faith aside (since as nbc said, people make leaps of faith on everything in absence of enough facts), I would suggest that evil manifests in people when fear and self-preservation overtakes empathy.
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Old 03-15-2006, 12:39 PM   #30
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Then, under your framework, it would appear that the concept of God is equally ludicrous and total and utter cop-out.
.

how so?

it strikes me that if we are to take a diest perspective, or the fact that God has endowed humans with free will, then evil arises through built-in imperfections, and it is man's task to battle against his own nature -- sort of a Sissyphus thing, the struggle is the reward.
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