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 Post subject: Is the Bible a Good Moral Guide?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 9:59 pm 
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I think I've said it before..the word "moral" doesn't appear anywhere in the Bible. (As an atheist, I am capitalizing the title of the Christian guidebook out of respect for those TVNL members who see it as holy writing.) So, is the Bible a good moral guide?

If so, then how does a person who doesn't read the Bible or believe it's anything other than just another book actually evolve as a moral human being?

Are we immoral because we don't necessarily believe the Bible?


Catherine

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Bible a Good Moral Guide?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:19 pm 
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Catherine wrote:
I think I've said it before..the word "moral" doesn't appear anywhere in the Bible. (As an atheist, I am capitalizing the title of the Christian guidebook out of respect for those TVNL members who see it as holy writing.) So, is the Bible a good moral guide?
Yes. It has many valueable teachings.

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If so, then how does a person who doesn't read the Bible or believe it's anything other than just another book actually evolve as a moral human being?

Are we immoral because we don't necessarily believe the Bible?
What an absurdly meaningless pair of questions!

If I feel the OED is a good linguistic guide, does that mean you can't understand English without it? Of course not!

The Bible is a good moral guide, but it is hardly the only one!

And nobody is without the most important guide of all, the sense of empathy.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Bible a Good Moral Guide?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:34 pm 
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Catherine wrote:

If so, then how does a person who doesn't read the Bible or believe it's anything other than just another book actually evolve as a moral human being?

Are we immoral because we don't necessarily believe the Bible?


Catherine


i'll agree with you, catherine. one doesn't need any part of the bible to be a moral human being. but, some want to force others to believe that you do need the bible to be moral. perhaps if you use their crutches, they feel better about themselves....kinda like the guy with a broken leg hanging with others with broken legs.

almost all athiests i know are very respectable people versus the many assholes who claim to be "religious". it's these religious people who make up the majority of the assholes, not the athiests.

if you can't walk thru life as a decent human being, then hop on those crutches for some "guidance" to help you along.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 4:40 am 
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The Ten Commandments of Moses (Deuteronomy 5:6-21, Exodus 20:3-16) run as follows--and I am even going out of my way to leave out the bounteous and blatantly-religious language that actually surrounds them in the original text, as well as the tacit approval of slavery present in the fourth commandment, none of which is even remotely suitable for political endorsement by a free republic:
1. Have no other gods before me [the God of the Hebrews].
2. Make no images of anything in heaven, earth or the sea, and do not worship or labor for them.
3. Do not vainly use the name of your God [the God of the Hebrews].
4. Do no work on the seventh day of the week.
5. Honor your parents.
6. Do not kill.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not give false testimony against another.
10. Do not desire another's wife or anything that belongs to another.

Now, we can see at once that our society is entirely opposed to the first four, and indeed the last of these ten. As a capitalist society, we scoff at the idea of closing our shops on a choice market day. And our very goal in life is to desire--desiring is what drives us toward success and prosperity. The phrase "seeking the American Dream," which lies at the heart of our social world, has at its heart the very idea of coveting the success of our peers, goading us to match it with our own industry, and we owe all our monumental national success to this. Finally, our ideals of religious liberty and free speech, essential to any truly civil society, compel us to abhor the first three commandments. Thus, already half of Moses' doctrines cannot be the foundation of our modern society-to the contrary, they are anathema to modern ideals.

The "thou shalt not kill' is a given as well, but somehow those in power have the right to exercise this on the oppressed of society as needs be. It has never been questioned who gave the rich and the powerful their right to break this rule whenever they needed to.

Of the rest, it can be assured that shunning adultery has never contributed to the rise of civil rights and democratic principles (despite much trying, there is no Adultery Amendment). It is naturally regarded as immoral-but then it always has been, by all societies, before and since the time of Moses, for the simple reason that it, like lying, theft, and murder, does harm to others, and thus these commandments are as redundant as they are unprofound. They can be more usefully summed up with just three words: do no harm. These words comprise the first commandment of another Greek moralist whose contribution to society lies at the very heart of modern reality: the founder of scientific medicine, Hippocrates.
Finally, we are left with only one commandment, to honor our parents. This of course has been a foundational principle of every society ever since such things as "societies" existed. Yet the greatest advances in civil rights and civic moral consciousness in human history occurred precisely as the result not of obeying, but of disobeying this very commandment: the social revolutions of the sixties, naturally abhorred by conservatives and yet spearheaded by rebellious teenagers and young adults, nevertheless secured the moral rights of women and minorities-something unprecedented in human history-and by opposing the Vietnam war, our children displayed for the first time a massive popular movement in defense of the very pacifism which christians boast of having introduced into the world, yet are usually the last to actually stand up for. It can even be said that our entire moral ethos is one of thinking for ourselves, of rebellion and moral autonomy, of daring to stand up against even our elders when our conscience compels it. Thus, it would seem that even this commandment does not lie at the heart of our modern society-it is largely an anachronism, lacking the essential nuances that a more profound ethic promotes.

It appears that the bible suffers from a lack of vision, real societal morals and values and depends on rules and subordination to authority to exercise its will on the people. It is obviously time to revisit our values and ethics and devise an approach that is less oppressive and more accountable to fairness and justice than the doctrines of fear and obedience that the power elite use to protect their hold on the wealth of the world. It is time the people rose up and cast off this yoke of oppression called the 10 commandments and fought for the fairness, liberty and freedom that all mankind deserves.

Let us now turn to the Ten Commandments of Solon which run as follows:
1. Trust good character more than promises.
2. Do not speak falsely.
3. Do good things.
4. Do not be hasty in making friends, but do not abandon them once made.
5. Learn to obey before you command.
6. When giving advice, do not recommend what is most pleasing, but what is most useful.
7. Make reason your supreme commander.
8. Do not associate with people who do bad things.
9. Honor the gods.(Replace with- Honor Nature)
10. Have regard for your parents.

Unlike the Commandments of Moses, none of these is outdated or antithetical to modern moral or political thought. Every one could be taken up by anyone today, of any creed-except perhaps only one. And indeed, there is something much more profound in these commandments. They are far more useful as precepts for living one's life. Can society, can government, prevail and prosper if we fail to uphold the First Commandment of Moses? By our own written declaration of religious liberty for all, we have staked our entire national destiny on the belief that we not only can get by without it, but we ought to abolish it entirely. Yet what if we were to fail to uphold Solon's first commandment? The danger to society would be clear-indeed, doesn't this commandment speak to the heart of what makes or breaks a democratic society? Isn't it absolutely fundamental that we not trust the promises of politicians, religious charlatans and flatterers, but elect our leaders and choose our friends instead by taking the trouble to evaluate the goodness of their character? This, then, can truly be said to be an ideal that is fundamental to modern moral and political thought.
Now, two of the commandments of Solon are almost identical to those advocated by Moses: do not speak falsely, and have regard for your parents. Of course, Solon does not restrict his first injunction to false accusations or testimony against others, as Moses does. Solon's commandment is more profound and thus more fundamental, and is properly qualified by the other commandments in just the way we believe is appropriate-for Solon's rules allow one to lie if doing so is a good deed (no such prescription to do good appears in the Ten Commandments of Moses). And whereas Moses calls us to honor our parents (in the Hebrew, from kabed, "to honor, to glorify"), Solon's choice of words is more appropriate--he only asks us to treat our parents in a respectful way (in the Greek, from aideomai, "to show a sense of regard for, to have compassion upon"), which we can do even if we disobey or oppose them, and even if we disapprove of their character and thus have no grounds to honor them.

In contrast with Moses, Solon wastes no words with legalisms--he sums up everything in three words: do good things. This is an essential moral principle, lacking from the commands of Moses, which allows one to qualify all the others. And instead of simply commanding us to follow rules, Solon's commandments involve significant social and political advice: temper our readiness to rebel and to do our own thing (which Solon does not prohibit) by learning first how to follow others; take care when making friends, and stick by them; always give good advice-don't just say what people want to hear; shun bad people. It can be said without doubt that this advice is exactly what we need in order to be successful and secure-as individuals, as communities, and even as a nation. The ideals represented by these commandments really do rest at the foundation of modern American morality and society, and would be far more useful for school children whose greatest dangers are peer influence, rashness and naivete.
There is but one that might give a secularist pause: Solon's commandment to honor the gods (in the Greek, timaôô, "to honor, to revere, to pay due regard"). Yet when we compare it to the similar First Three Commandments of Moses, we see how much more Solon's single religious commandment can be made to suit our society and our civic ideals: it does not have to restrict religious freedom, for it does not demand that we believe in anyone's god or follow anyone's religious rules. It remains in the appropriate plural. Solon asks us to give the plethora of gods the regard that they are due, and we can say that some gods are not due much-such as the racist gods and gods of hellfire. In the end, it is good to be respectful of the gods of others, which we can do even if we are criticizing them, even if we disbelieve in them. This would remain true to our most prized American ethic of religious liberty and civility. Though it might better be rendered now, "Respect the religions of others," there is something fitting in admitting that there are many gods, the many that people invent and hope for.

It is clear then, that if anyone's commandments ought to be posted on school and courthouse walls, it should be Solon's. He has more right as the founder of our civic ideals, and as a more profound and almost modern moral thinker. His commandments are more befitting our civil society, more representative of what we really believe and what we cherish in our laws and economy. And indeed, in the end, they are essentially secular. Is it an accident that when Solon's ideals reigned, there grew democracies and civil rights, and ideals we now consider fundamental to modern Western society, yet when the ideals of Moses replaced them, we had a thousand years of oppression, darkness, and tyranny? Is it coincidence that when the ideals of Moses were replaced with those of Solon, when men decided to fight and die not for the Ten Commandments but for the resurrection of Athenian civil society, we ended up with the great Democratic Revolutions and the social and legal structures that we now take for granted as the height and glory of human achievement and moral goodness? I think we owe our thanks to Solon. Moses did nothing for us-his laws were neither original nor significant in comparison. When people cry for the hanging of the Ten Commandments of Moses on school and court walls, I am astonished. Solon's Ten Commandments have far more right to hang in those places than those of Moses. The Athenian's Commandments are far more noble and profound, and far more appropriate to a free society. Who would have guessed this of a pagan? Maybe everyone of sense.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:12 am 
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Good lord, DO.g's, are you capable of writing your own posts?



I mean, Richard Carrier doesn't even mind if you copy him, as long as you credit him, but you can't even manage to do that!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:01 am 
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What an absurdly meaningless pair of questions!


Ah....you begin your answer with a sneer and a snide remark, Sotek. You lay the groundwork for me to be immediately turned off by your attitude towards the post itself. Attitude such as this is very typical of the Christian fundie who bristles when his religion is questioned. That "you're either with us or against us" attitude which makes the Bush-type of christianity so repulsive. You claim that Bush's christianity isn't your christianity, but that one statement causes me to quickly doubt your sincerity in that respect.

Those are particularly good questions, Sotek, because they target certain areas to be discussed. They are not generalities.

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And nobody is without the most important guide of all, the sense of empathy


I disagree...empathy is an emotion which doesn't necessarily lead one to be moral. Perry Smith, the killer of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959, told author Truman Capote that he thought Herb Clutter was a nice fellow, a good man, and he felt empathy for him...right up to the moment Smith cut Clutter's throat. A bank robber may take a moment to help an elderly person be more comfortable on the floor while he holds a gun to his head, making sure he makes no wrong moves while his partners in crime raid the bank's safe. The robber has empathy for the person, but he's ready to kill him, too. Hardly a moral stance!

Perhaps a better word would be ETHICS, Sotek.

Christians feel that the basis for moralilty must be something absolute. This rock-solid foundation must be rooted outside humanity, they claim, providing an external and objective reference by which human behavior can be measured. Without this "code" for living, we'd all choose or manufacture our own individual ethics relative to personal wants, whims, and needs. Why be good if there is no punishment, no reward, no all-knowing police officer there to enforce the rules? Christians believe that if there is no god, then there is no accountability. Christians believe that human nature is intrinsically corrupt, so humans must be hurtling toward destruction and evil if not corrected by strict laws and absolute enforcement. FEAR rules the Christian...the fear of loss of divine approval.

Atheists, on the other hand, do not have this FEAR. We don't feel uncomfortable "flapping our own wings." I can chart my own moral course through life. Although I follow no universal moral guide, I do have a mind, which is the only guide, the only rudder, if you will, I will ever have or need. Of course, there are ethical dilemmas which rise from time to time...when is it ok to lie? To steal? Is it ever?

But day to day to day moralilty is a simple matter to me...simply cause no one deliberate harm. When I shed the religion-psychological frame of mind, I learned that the Christian struggle with morality is overblown. Human values are not absolutes. They are relative to human needs.

My basis for values lies in nature...and within my own mind. As mga says, the "crutches" of guidance from a religion or from a religious guidebook aren't part of my life.

PLUS, the bible characters are incredibly poor role models! That could be an entirely new discussion topic, which I won't go into presently.

D.Og's...I agree that the Ten Commandments aren't closely studied by people who think of them as a perfect set of laws. In fact, only three of the commandments have relevance to American law...homocide, theft, and perjury.

Other religions have lists of laws. The "Ten Precepts" of Buddhism include "abstinence" directives, for example. Laws of morality did not originate on Mt. Sinai. Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism...all have behavior lists. And those religions were around long before Christianity.

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The Athenian's Commandments are far more noble and profound, and far more appropriate to a free society. Who would have guessed this of a pagan? Maybe everyone of sense.


I agree, D.Og's...And everyone of sense don't condemn a person, a group, and/or a nation whose religious beliefs don't coincide with theirs.

Catherine

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 Post subject: Call it like it is.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:34 pm 
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Thanks Catherine. As you have noticed Sotek can't defend his stance with anything valid or real as he lives in a world of fiction and pretend friends. Childish obsessions for a childish mind. I don't care to talk sense to him. He can't defend his bible as it requires logical arguments to defend an illogical piece of childish fiction. Sotek, take your ball and go home and cry to your mommy about the bad man who called you what you are . A waste of time.

The questions are absurd because it requies reasoned thinking to answer logical questions by bringing in an interpretation of a non existant faith based belief about an invisible unproveable deity.

Dream on.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:56 pm 
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The questions are absurd because they are predicated upon false premises.

However, since you didn't bother to look at the part of my post where I explained that, I suppose it can't be helped.





Cathrine: Do you support DO.g's rampant and indeed illegal plagiarism and copyright infringement?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:00 pm 
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The questions are absurd because they are predicated upon false premises

you still have not answered her two questions....you keep dancing around them...poorly at that.


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 Post subject: sotek plagiarises bible daily
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:11 pm 
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It remains one of the most baffling yet affecting phenomena in modern
religious life: A beam of light or a spot of dirt in an otherwise ordinary
place is perceived as the image of the Virgin Mary, and suddenly thousands of pilgrims descend on the site, turning it into a makeshift shrine. ...In previous years, it has been a vision in the sky, a glint off a car bumper, a face in a tortilla, a tear on an icon. ...But while church leaders are often loath to debunk a visionary experience, not wanting to damage the faith of thousands, they are also leery of letting such events get out of hand. If someone who claims to have communicated with the divine begins spreading teachings that are contrary to church dogma, bishops have not hesitated to step in.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:22 pm 
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let's not forget the infamous grilled cheese sandwhich.

but, i'll bet visions or appearances of mary will soon dwindle because the catholic church has decreed that she should not get more attention than god and that she should not be prayed to with such reverence either and to do so is wrong in the eyes of the catholic church. they claim only god can deliver to them and NOT mary!!

the nuts come and the nuts go.......

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:36 pm 
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mga wrote:
let's not forget the infamous grilled cheese sandwhich.

but, i'll bet visions or appearances of mary will soon dwindle because the catholic church has decreed that she should not get more attention than god and that she should not be prayed to with such reverence either and to do so is wrong in the eyes of the catholic church. they claim only god can deliver to them and NOT mary!!

the nuts come and the nuts go.......



I've often wondered how Catholics justify praying to Mary with that Commandment expressly forbidding worshipping graven images... makes no sense to me...

I don't mind if people want to believe the Bible... I wish more would actually follow it's teachings... nooooo.... not the Ten Commandments... the Eleventh... given by Christ himself...

Quote:

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as
I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have
love one to another.

~~JESUS ~~ Holy Bible/John 13:34-35

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:30 pm 
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i'm a sinner....no matter how much i try...i can't love a republican right winger.

but, i'm willing to bet even god is guilty of that one too.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 6:34 pm 
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I have read the book... cover to cover... on more than one occasion... and as I recall, mga, there is a verse that reads...

ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God...

so, mga my friend, YOU are in good company... Extends paw... have I welcomed you to the board yet?

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 7:39 pm 
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thanks, stripey....


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