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  1. #11
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Of course -- that's why it was funny!

    ...Sigh. No one has a sense of humor anymore... Well, except for Oberon, but I don't know if he counts...
    Heh, well it was funny so long as you knew the irony.

    The Ms Baptists believing that non-abstinence from alcohol is sinful. (Don't ask me why -- I don't even think that stance is defensible, honestly.) So they voted to keep their abstinence and some are pushing for them to sever all contact with the interdenominational church org.
    I'd be a good Baptist, I guess. I don't drink (never have).

    Regardless, that's awfully stupid. But their actions speak as to their intentions, does it not?

    This is exactly the sort of stupidity that is ruling too much of "Christian religion" today -- unsupportable adherence to a way of life that excludes people and focuses merely on maintaining rules and regulations. It makes me mad and want to exclude them.. except I'd be acting just like them if I did so. So then I become sad.
    Would you be like them? I don't see the connection. The only condition for you to be different is to act in accordance with your own convictions rather than a ruleset... but you must embrace your own convictions rather than have them imposed. You must know why you, not what or how to, act. If you make your choice based upon those convictions, you'll always be different.

    Let's see if I can use an analogy... It is far less noble to donate to a charity becase "Jesus said so" than it is to donate to a charity "because people need help"... and to flip that around, it will be noble to help them because they need help - it will not be noble to continue helping them just to avoid being "one of them".

    "Cheap grace" is usually what is has been referred to for at least the last 30-40 years or so (if not a lot longer). People aren't changed by forgiveness unless they actually understand that, without it, they would be seriously screwed. Then it means something to them.
    This is one major difference between myself and religion - I do not expect or ask for forgiveness. "Sorry" means that I didn't make a choice - an oversight, a true mistake, etc. I do not apologise for the actions I take intentionally... The responsibility lies with me and me alone and it should be me who bears the cost of my mistakes. Asking for forgiveness and having it given unconditionally trivalizes the burden of making the right moral choice.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Would you be like them? I don't see the connection. The only condition for you to be different is to act in accordance with your own convictions rather than a ruleset... but you must embrace your own convictions rather than have them imposed. You must know why you, not what or how to, act. If you make your choice based upon those convictions, you'll always be different.

    Let's see if I can use an analogy... It is far less noble to donate to a charity becase "Jesus said so" than it is to donate to a charity "because people need help"... and to flip that around, it will be noble to help them because they need help - it will not be noble to continue helping them just to avoid being "one of them".
    Well, to explore this concept further, I'm not choosing to do something just to "not be like them." I do what I do because I believe it's the "right" thing to do... and I have also reached a point in my life where I can take responsibility for it.

    (Example: I remember being very whiny at times because I wanted to do the right thing and then "didn't think it was fair" that some people would antagonize me for not conforming, so I'd become plaintive and whine to be understood. Now I just see it as the cost of doing what I believe in, and they are not obligated to accept my behavior or reject it; they have to make their own decisions, just as I have.)

    Tangent: In any case, isn't implicit in a statement that "I don't want to be like <some other group>" a sense that I'm not conforming, I have my own internal standard, and I am following it? Not wanting to be like another group is itself a principle, isn't it? And a self-held one? :P

    This is one major difference between myself and religion - I do not expect or ask for forgiveness. "Sorry" means that I didn't make a choice - an oversight, a true mistake, etc. I do not apologise for the actions I take intentionally... The responsibility lies with me and me alone and it should be me who bears the cost of my mistakes. Asking for forgiveness and having it given unconditionally trivalizes the burden of making the right moral choice.
    All right, I understand your reasoning.

    So what happens if you happen to be human and make a decision that you know isn't really the best (just because you want to, or because it's easier?), and later you come to regret it, and so you feel you should apologize?

    I think there is also a large difference between the ideal of "unconditional forgiveness" and the reality of it. While we can generalize someone's choice to forgive you to a case of "being unconditionally forgiving" (because they are making a conscious choice to forgive you even if they have contrary emotions and/or do not want to forgive in some large portion of themselves), it's never that simple... as I just inadvertently pointed out.

    For someone to offer unconditional forgiveness usually takes a heroic internal choice to take the burden of the offense upon themselves and not hold it against the other person. You are carrying the other person's "sin" on your own shoulders and not laying it to their account. If done correctly (i.e., with the right spirit and attitude), this is a powerful act of good, a sacrificial act that ends up sanctifying the entire exchange.

    I don't see anything wrong with it. I have autonomy. So do they. If they want to forgive me, who am I to stop them? I don't have a right to DEMAND an apology, but if I care about them and the relationship, I have every option to put myself at their mercy, apologize, and ask forgiveness -- to relay my intentions. And they have every option to deny or offer forgiveness.

    And when this occurs, two people become more like "one unit" and the relationship deepens.

    What exactly is so bad about this, if done in the right spirit?

    (Note: I'm thinking you were mostly just referring to the "cheap grace" where someone asks to be forgiven without really repenting or being sorry, and someone else offers it because they're "supposed to" and doesn't even think much about it...)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    A reaction to the OP, though: what does it mean to "do" faith?
    Such a little question.
    Such an unanswerable one too.

    I don't know yet what it really means to "do" faith. I am reaching a conclusion like RLP has -- where I can't force myself to believe in God's existence, but I can still align myself with him (or my ideal understanding of him) and do what I think is morally good and whole as a sign of "faith."

    As far as what is good? Jesus seemed very particular about how faith and belief was really about serving those who are in a worse position than yourself. You give water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, visit the imprisoned. You see their needs, you fill their needs, and you do it out of love.

    I think it goes beyond that to just being part of the tapestry of other people's lives and letting them be part of the tapestry of yours. We are not separate little isolated organisms, we are all part of the same thing, and behaving as if no one else matters (or matters as much as we do) sunders that sense of universal humanity.

    As far as the specifics, I could not tell you. Obviously no single one of us has the time or money or resources to solve everyone's problems all around the world. I think the globalization of culture though has distorted our understanding -- because we CAN impact events and people half a world away from us, within a day's time, suddenly they have become part of our mission field.

    But Jesus was referring to what specific individuals could accomplish AROUND them, where they were actually present (and the OT scriptures were similar). I would guess that it is more of a sense that we each individually are salt where we are; we're supposed to be who we are, WHERE we are, and take care of that area of the kingdom...

    (Funny how I still talk in Christianese, isn't it? Sigh. The faith changes, but I never forget the language.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #13
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Tangent: In any case, isn't implicit in a statement that "I don't want to be like <some other group>" a sense that I'm not conforming, I have my own internal standard, and I am following it? Not wanting to be like another group is itself a principle, isn't it? And a self-held one? :P
    The difference is that you are emulating a group for your guidance for behavior rather that deriving your behavior.

    ie: "I will act like a group" or "I will not act like a group" rather than "this action is correct" or "this action is not correct".

    A principled person can act according to any set of principles - imposed, illogical, unreasonable, noble, hurtful. They remain principled. They are not, however, ethical until they derive their own individual behaviors. You cannot simply become moral by adopting a codified set of laws, regardless of the source or the pressure to adopt them.

    Just to take an example, which process derives an objective morality:

    - A religious group decides to lynch and kill someone on specious grounds. You decide to conform because the group says it is correct (or you decide not to conform because you don't like the group). The next day, they run a charity drive, which you attend because you support the group (or decide not to support it because you don't like the group).

    - You do not believe you should kill anyone, therefore you do not support the lynching. The next day, they have a charity drive, which you donate to because you know the money will help those that need it most.

    (Ignoring the implied support for the group by donating, blah blah. Just as a construct!)

    Someone who has not interalised the code of ethics will only act up to the limits of the imposed rules - it isn't true charity and as such, his actions will not reflect true charity. Just as you will not get real "Christian" support from your community, in your situation (? maybe some), simply because the rule set has a limit on "help your fellow man".

    What guides your actions is your moral compass - if it is imposed, your actions will always leak. It is not genuine caring to act out a role... and only genuine caring will produce the true "Christian" value set.

    So what happens if you happen to be human and make a decision that you know isn't really the best (just because you want to, or because it's easier?), and later you come to regret it, and so you feel you should apologize?
    The apology is empty - you chose the action, you chose to take on the outcome and all possible outcomes from your action. Every action counts, every action helps or hurts... If you take responsibility for your action then (ie: it is intentional), you do not surrender that responsibility at a later date.

    The way I see it, you now have a choice - you can make up for what you have done, if you can, or you can bear with it. An apology that serves yourself is not an apology - if you apologise for the benefit of others, it isn't genuine, but would be acceptable.

    If you are unwilling to do more than give an apology, you are merely serving yourself.


    I think there is also a large difference between the ideal of "unconditional forgiveness" and the reality of it. While we can generalize someone's choice to forgive you to a case of "being unconditionally forgiving" (because they are making a conscious choice to forgive you even if they have contrary emotions and/or do not want to forgive in some large portion of themselves), it's never that simple... as I just inadvertently pointed out.
    It is a construct - I'm not talking about person to person forgiveness, but the concept that morality is derived from God and God forgives all. Therefore, no action carries a true eternal cost. This seems to make people believe there is no immediate cost either...

    As for person-person forgiveness... I don't forgive and I don't expect it.

    Think of a personal relationship - what is healthier? Having a couple that understand that the other is not forgiving and will judge you upon the actions that you take... or a couple that believes that the other will always forgive any action they undertake? I believe the first is superior. It implies that both need to be responsible - that they are together with the intent to do what is best for both them and for each other.

    This is a matter of small edges. I go to an electronics store with friends and find a nifty gadget I want. I say that I want it, but I have to check with my GF because we share our finances. Most people's reactions are along the "whipped" concept - but the real issue is that I will take responsibility for my action, not forgiveness, therefore before I act, I need to discuss it with those it will impact. When we talk about it, the discussion is genuine because if she agrees, she also bears the responsibility - if, for example, we couldn't make our mortgage payment because it cost too much, she understands that she bears the responsibility. There is no "sorry" to make up for an action, no safety net not to be responsible.

    Even in your situation, I think it is far healthier to say that "I wish I wasn't like this and I wish it wouldn't impose a cost upon you... but I can't even express how much your support has meant to me" compared to "I'm sorry I'm doing this to you but I can't even express how much your support has meant to me". The apology cheapens the price of the choice, cheapens the reality the situation. It implies that the choice was wrong - if the choice was truly wrong, then revert it as much as you can. Either way, the apology changes nothing... and as such, is empty.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Responses?
    Someone should inform this guy that his 15 minutes of fame are more likely to be found in a suicide cult than in further twisting the definitions of already mangled concepts in a failed attempt to say something profound.

  5. #15
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundowning View Post
    Someone should inform this guy that his 15 minutes of fame are more likely to be found in a suicide cult than in further twisting the definitions of already mangled concepts in a failed attempt to say something profound.
    Hooooo-kay....

    Any other responses?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #16
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Faith is all internal. A spiritual essence that dwells within you. If you really have faith you dont need to be reminded how you should behave, you will want to do good every chance you get.

    Doing good deeds has nothing to do with faith in itself, it is only ONE way faith manifests itself.


    We cant know if this or that person has faith or not because in order to do this we'd have to see their inner being.

    As for their actions, we can only apply an external standard, we can only decide if what they do is congenial to society, conducive to our community becoming a better place--no more than that. Again, we cant tell how virtuous they are because virtue is necessarily internal.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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    I cannot do love without first feeling it. I can do acts of love but it doesn't mean I feel it. Then I'd be faking it.

    That quote really makes me think it's advocating lukewarm Christianity. It's okay if you don't believe as long as you act like you do.

  8. #18
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by attila_the_hunny View Post

    That quote really makes me think it's advocating lukewarm Christianity. It's okay if you don't believe as long as you act like you do.

    That is the ultimate stupidity of religious fundamentalism and Neo-Conservative political ethic both of which are worth one another..they intertwine(Very SJ)
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  9. #19
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by attila_the_hunny View Post
    That quote really makes me think it's advocating lukewarm Christianity. It's okay if you don't believe as long as you act like you do.
    How do you seperate that from believing in something but not acting on it? In terms of the 4 possibilities between believing and acting, acting but not believing is on par with believing but not acting... I don't see the difference, except that acting is a physical form that is harder to do and generally carries more meaning to a whole lot more people than just oneself.

  10. #20
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    That is the ultimate stupidity of religious fundamentalism and Neo-Conservative political ethic. (Very SJ)
    I would clarify that doing something regardless how you feel ... and thinking that is enough / the ideal / the end goal ... is the SJ component.

    There seems to be truth both in the notions that we "fake it to make it" and yet ideally the external should be driven by the internal. So it's a balancing act.

    (My own personal opinion is that if you "fake it" with positive intent for a very long time and there is STILL no real change, either you weren't truly faking it with hopes of change or what you're doing is a dead thing and needs to be stopped so as to preserve your integrity.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    How do you separate that from believing in something but not acting on it? ...I don't see the difference, except that acting ... generally carries more meaning to a whole lot more people than just oneself.
    Yes, that would be a notable difference: Believing in something and not doing it is worthless to everyone, whereas not believing in something but doing it anyway can actually still have positive impact on others, even if it's not benefiting you in the least.

    (Then again, you don't KNOW if it is benefiting you, do you? Perhaps by doing something, you change yourself incrementally. Perhaps. It's a possibility. People are not stagnant, we are all part of the overriding system, so we are impacted by what we choose to do.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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