Author Topic: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.  (Read 7719 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21083
  • Reputation: +1958/-255
  • Voted Rookie-of-the-Year, 3 years running
I've had something scratching in my head the last couple of months. I thought it was something worth noting and I thought it seemed fairly complete. However, recently I've had a "scab" -- as it were -- torn off my mind and I've started to think about things differently.

I used to think:

If there is a God our vanities are indefensible. If there is no God our sufferings are inconsequential.


I'm not so sure about that anymore. Now I'm starting to think:

If there is a God our vanities are indefensible. If there is no God our sufferings are merely vanity.


It takes a moment to unpack but it's there.
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline Chris_

  • Little Lebowski Urban Achiever
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 46845
  • Reputation: +2028/-266
I'm not so sure about that anymore. Now I'm starting to think:

If there is a God our vanities are indefensible. If there is no God our sufferings are merely vanity.

It takes a moment to unpack but it's there.
I've been mulling over the same mindset.  Man's weak excuses for his sinful behavior is simply vanity when compared to the word of God and the final judgement that awaits everyone.

The older I get, the more I move toward this idea.
If you want to worship an orange pile of garbage with a reckless disregard for everything, get on down to Arbys & try our loaded curly fries.

Offline Big Dog

  • ^^Smokes cigars and knows things.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15566
  • Reputation: +1954/-213
SSB, what does your aphorism mean to you?

How does it cause you to live your life differently?
Government is the negation of liberty.
  -Ludwig von Mises

CAVE FVROREM PATIENTIS.

Offline DumbAss Tanker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 28130
  • Reputation: +1680/-151
The weak point of either paradigm is that in either case, the second half is the view from a species perspective, not the individual's, and no normal individual takes such a broad perspective when his or her own sufferings are on the line.  As long as the individual can suffer, the experience is neither mere vanity nor inconsequential to the sufferer.
Go and tell the Spartans, O traveler passing by
That here, obedient to their law, we lie.

Anything worth shooting once is worth shooting at least twice.

Offline Big Dog

  • ^^Smokes cigars and knows things.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15566
  • Reputation: +1954/-213
The weak point of either paradigm is that in either case, the second half is the view from a species perspective, not the individual's, and no normal individual takes such a broad perspective when his or her own sufferings are on the line.  As long as the individual can suffer, the experience is neither mere vanity nor inconsequential to the sufferer.

Agreed.

From a logical standpoint, the 'then' half of each proposition is not the only possible conclusion, so both statements are fallacious.

The new aphorism, If there is no God, then our sufferings are merely vanity, completely negates the intrinsic value of each  Man, and is a justification for ignoring human suffering- even to the point of justifying creating suffering in others, because 'it is merely your vanity'.
Government is the negation of liberty.
  -Ludwig von Mises

CAVE FVROREM PATIENTIS.

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21083
  • Reputation: +1958/-255
  • Voted Rookie-of-the-Year, 3 years running
The new aphorism, If there is no God, then our sufferings are merely vanity, completely negates the intrinsic value of each  Man, and is a justification for ignoring human suffering- even to the point of justifying creating suffering in others, because 'it is merely your vanity'.

Intrinsic to whom?
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline Big Dog

  • ^^Smokes cigars and knows things.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15566
  • Reputation: +1954/-213
Intrinsic to whom?

Intrinsic to each Man, of course. I am. You are. DAT is. Each of us has value as an individual
Government is the negation of liberty.
  -Ludwig von Mises

CAVE FVROREM PATIENTIS.

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21083
  • Reputation: +1958/-255
  • Voted Rookie-of-the-Year, 3 years running
Intrinsic to each Man, of course.

Of course, and you're right in this.

But once each of us is individually gone everything about us ceases. At best we might be remembered, hopefully well, but while a man might hope to be well-remembered what can he do for those who remember him? And soon enough even those who do remember him will likewise to be reducing him to a mere abstraction in a family tree, the a record in some clerks ledger and then less than that.

And this meagerness is book-ended by the vastness of the universe on a tiny world that has killed more of its own with starvation, disease and calamity long before man ever invented "sin" and all things are fated to come to an end (and probably quite violently).

So does it really matter what happened so many years ago?



As a side not: I apologize, to a degree. I know my writing style carries a certain "flourish" and that probably reduces it somewhat. I'm speaking in generalities because there are specifics I do not wish to broach in a public venue so I opt to write as I do to encompass larger concepts. It risks sounding pedantic and for that I apologize. I have nothing but the highest esteem for my friends here at the forum.
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline obumazombie

  • Siege engine to lib fortresses
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21814
  • Reputation: +1659/-578
  • Last of the great minorities
If there is no God, then all existence is a big cosmic joke. And not a joke that's very easy to enjoy.
There were only two options for gender. At last count there are at least 12, according to libs. By that standard, I'm a male lesbian.

Offline Big Dog

  • ^^Smokes cigars and knows things.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15566
  • Reputation: +1954/-213
If there is no God, then all existence is a big cosmic joke. And not a joke that's very easy to enjoy.

I heartily disagree with you, my friend.

If there is no God (using the mainstream Christian concept of God), then this life (all existence) is the most important thing each man has. The quality of that life is each Man's to make great or poor.

Government is the negation of liberty.
  -Ludwig von Mises

CAVE FVROREM PATIENTIS.

Offline obumazombie

  • Siege engine to lib fortresses
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21814
  • Reputation: +1659/-578
  • Last of the great minorities
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2015, 06:12:28 PM »
I heartily disagree with you, my friend.

If there is no God (using the mainstream Christian concept of God), then this life (all existence) is the most important thing each man has. The quality of that life is each Man's to make great or poor.

So do you say there is no higher power in the universe than man ?
There were only two options for gender. At last count there are at least 12, according to libs. By that standard, I'm a male lesbian.

Offline Big Dog

  • ^^Smokes cigars and knows things.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15566
  • Reputation: +1954/-213
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2015, 07:55:15 PM »
So do you say there is no higher power in the universe than man ?

Not at all. I say that I don't know, I will never know, and I don't worry about it.

I say that it is impossible for Man to know* if there really is a God or any "higher powers", or to know the true nature of God or of any "higher powers" - in the same way that it is impossible for an amoeba to know the nature of an elephant, even if the amoeba is in the elephant's stomach.

*By definition, God is unknowable. Belief in the unknowable is called "faith".
Government is the negation of liberty.
  -Ludwig von Mises

CAVE FVROREM PATIENTIS.

Offline obumazombie

  • Siege engine to lib fortresses
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21814
  • Reputation: +1659/-578
  • Last of the great minorities
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2015, 12:14:05 PM »
Not at all. I say that I don't know, I will never know, and I don't worry about it.

I say that it is impossible for Man to know* if there really is a God or any "higher powers", or to know the true nature of God or of any "higher powers" - in the same way that it is impossible for an amoeba to know the nature of an elephant, even if the amoeba is in the elephant's stomach.

*By definition, God is unknowable. Belief in the unknowable is called "faith".

According to the word of God, we were made in his image.
If an amoeba was made in the elephant's image, by the elephant the amoeba would have some knowledge of the nature of the elephant.
There are many paradoxes of the understanding of God.
One of them is man trying to comprehend the infinite.
Man cannot know the infinite, but we have a partial understanding of it.
Man cannot know omniscience, which is another element of the nature of God, but we can easily tap into a wealth of knowledge many orders of magnitude higher than any man preceding us.
Man cannot know omnipresence, another element of the nature of God, but man has a better and better understanding of every location in the universe.
I can agree with you on one point in this conversation though.
Knowledge cancels faith.
Luckily we are not called on to have knowledge.
We are only called on to have faith.
The amount of faith we are called on to have is negligible.
Only an amount of faith equal to a mustard seed !
There were only two options for gender. At last count there are at least 12, according to libs. By that standard, I'm a male lesbian.

Offline Big Dog

  • ^^Smokes cigars and knows things.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15566
  • Reputation: +1954/-213
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2015, 12:47:01 PM »
According to the word of God

Believing that any 'word of God', from any religion, is true, complete, and infallible, requires faith (belief in the unknowable).

Without that unsupported belief, religious assertions look a little different. 'According to the word of God, we were made in his image' becomes 'about 2,500 years ago, a Hebrew man wrote that men are made in the image of the Hebrew god.' There is no logical or rational bridge between those two positions; only faith.

As Benjamin Disraeli said, 'Where knowledge ends, religion begins.'
Government is the negation of liberty.
  -Ludwig von Mises

CAVE FVROREM PATIENTIS.

Offline obumazombie

  • Siege engine to lib fortresses
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21814
  • Reputation: +1659/-578
  • Last of the great minorities
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2015, 12:49:49 PM »
Believing that any 'word of God', from any religion, is true, complete, and infallible, requires faith (belief in the unknowable).

Without that unsupported belief, religious assertions look a little different. 'According to the word of God, we were made in his image' becomes 'about 2,500 years ago, a Hebrew man wrote that men are made in the image of the Hebrew god.' There is no logical or rational bridge between those two positions; only faith.

As Benjamin Disraeli said, 'Where knowledge ends, religion begins.'

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that we were endowed by our creator with unalienable (inalienable) rights"

They have to be from God.
if they were from man it would just be might makes right.
There were only two options for gender. At last count there are at least 12, according to libs. By that standard, I'm a male lesbian.

Offline Big Dog

  • ^^Smokes cigars and knows things.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15566
  • Reputation: +1954/-213
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2015, 12:20:04 AM »
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that we were endowed by our creator with unalienable (inalienable) rights"

They have to be from God.
if they were from man it would just be might makes right.

I disagree.

A “right” is a moral principle (an idea, or complex thought) defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context (Ayn Rand, Man's Rights). Like any principle or idea, it does not exist in a physical, measurable way. You can't cut open a man and pull out a right, take a picture of one, nor measure one with a ruler or scale. But a right can be described, as any other principle or idea can be.

Natural rights (Jefferson's unalienable rights, descended from Locke's natural rights theory)  are natural, inherent in human nature, the logical outgrowth of man's capacity to reason. Only humans have rights, because only humans are capable of reason. "Animal rights" is a misnomer, and of course the Earth, rocks,  trees, and other inanimate objects do not have rights.

The natural right to Life is the right of each person to his own life- nothing more. If I am alive, then you have no claim against my life- so long as I do not violate your natural rights.

The natural right of Liberty is the right of each man to act in accordance with his own free will - nothing more. Liberty is based on the principle of Self-Ownership: I am a free Man, a moral agent. I own my life, not you nor the State. The Pursuit of Happiness is part of Liberty- for it is only by exercising one's free will that one can pursue happiness.

The natural right of Property is the right of each person to build, keep, and dispose of the fruits of his own labor - nothing more. The Pursuit of Happiness may be part of the right of Property, but not necessarily.

A natural right does not create a claim or demand against any other man, except for the demand to be left alone; the only limitations on natural rights are reality*, one's own conscience, and the equal rights of one's fellow man.

*Reality: that which is real, nature, the laws of physics, time, space, etc.

Now, for the hard part. If you recall from Genesis, chapter 2, man took the power of reason from God (literally, eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil), for which man was banished from the Garden. Reason, and the natural rights that flow from it, are the result of Man's first assertion of independence, not a gift from God to Man. So, if you believe in the idea of "original sin", then natural rights must be sinful.
Government is the negation of liberty.
  -Ludwig von Mises

CAVE FVROREM PATIENTIS.

Offline obumazombie

  • Siege engine to lib fortresses
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21814
  • Reputation: +1659/-578
  • Last of the great minorities
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2015, 02:29:24 AM »
I'm not seeing where we disagree.
Do you say that natural rights come from God ?
There were only two options for gender. At last count there are at least 12, according to libs. By that standard, I'm a male lesbian.

Offline Big Dog

  • ^^Smokes cigars and knows things.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15566
  • Reputation: +1954/-213
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2015, 07:59:24 AM »
I'm not seeing where we disagree.
Do you say that natural rights come from God ?

No.

Natural rights are moral principles, complex ideas about what is good (or right- see the connection?) about man's behavior. Principles, like all complex ideas, arise from man's capacity to reason. Neither cats, rats, nor moonbats have that capacity.

The capacity to reason may also be described as the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

According to Genesis, chapter 2, God did not create Man with the capacity to tell good from evil. Adam and Eve stole the Knowledge of Good and Evil from God, when God's back was turned; God did not give it to them (and by extension, us).

Now we have two opposing conclusions:
A: God gave Man the power of reason,
vs.
Anti-A: Man took the power of reason from God.

A and anti-A can't be true simultaneously (Aristotle).

Here is where our paths diverge, because at this point, you are arguing from faith, and I am arguing from reason. I will no more deny reason than you will deny your faith.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 08:36:17 AM by Big Dog »
Government is the negation of liberty.
  -Ludwig von Mises

CAVE FVROREM PATIENTIS.

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21083
  • Reputation: +1958/-255
  • Voted Rookie-of-the-Year, 3 years running
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2015, 08:47:08 AM »
A “right” is a moral principle (an idea, or complex thought) defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context (Ayn Rand, Man's Rights). Like any principle or idea, it does not exist in a physical, measurable way. You can't cut open a man and pull out a right, take a picture of one, nor measure one with a ruler or scale. But a right can be described, as any other principle or idea can be.

Often, the complaint against the idea of God centers of the presumption that God is beyond empirical apprehension.

Quote
Natural rights (Jefferson's unalienable rights, descended from Locke's natural rights theory)  are natural, inherent in human nature, the logical outgrowth of man's capacity to reason. Only humans have rights, because only humans are capable of reason. "Animal rights" is a misnomer, and of course the Earth, rocks,  trees, and other inanimate objects do not have rights.

In other words, Man's image of himself is the basis for him assigning privileged qualities to himself.

Quote
The natural right to Life is the right of each person to his own life- nothing more. If I am alive, then you have no claim against my life- so long as I do not violate your natural rights

Only if you possess the means to enforce your expectations. A man murdered in secret has no right to life. His assailant never be held to account.

Quote
The natural right of Liberty is the right of each man to act in accordance with his own free will - nothing more. Liberty is based on the principle of Self-Ownership: I am a free Man, a moral agent. I own my life, not you nor the State. The Pursuit of Happiness is part of Liberty- for it is only by exercising one's free will that one can pursue happiness.

The natural right of Property is the right of each person to build, keep, and dispose of the fruits of his own labor - nothing more. The Pursuit of Happiness may be part of the right of Property, but not necessarily.

I am sympathetic to these sentiments...

...but I don't think the Universe cares all that much.

How long has this universe existed compared to how long man has existed within the universe, let alone philosophers within the community of mankind?

How vast is the universe yet must of it holds so little space where men and philosophers could set their feet, let alone prattle on comfortably.

In all this time and in so little space how many beings have come and gone? How many had the luxuries of Jefferson and Locke? All die, most die shivering, terrified and tormented.

Man is, at best an accident in a universe that cannot know he exists. It is far more hostile to man than it is comforting. It will ultimately destroy all men and will do so without knowledge, concern or mercy as it itself loses its own ability to carry on.

And we imagine ourselves to be special?

Quote
A natural right does not create a claim or demand against any other man, except for the demand to be left alone; the only limitations on natural rights are reality*, one's own conscience, and the equal rights of one's fellow man.

An apt description but not a proof, in and of itself.

Quote
Now, for the hard part. If you recall from Genesis, chapter 2, man took the power of reason from God (literally, eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil), for which man was banished from the Garden. Reason, and the natural rights that flow from it, are the result of Man's first assertion of independence, not a gift from God to Man. So, if you believe in the idea of "original sin", then natural rights must be sinful.

No. Humanity was expected to possess Reason because Humanity was created in God's image. Humanity's tasking in the garden, naming the beasts and tending, relied on Reason. Humanity reasoned that it wanted to be like God.

Where Humanity failed wasn't even in the eating of the fruit as they did not possess moral consciousness at that time. Where Humanity failed is when, once possessing moral consciousness, it chose to hide and blame others -- including God -- for its own failings.

We puff ourselves up and demand to act like little gods but in reality we are cowardly, petty and covetous.

Yet all the while we still strut about with our sense of entitlement for no reason except we think we're smarter than the other bundles of molecules floating about.

It's vanity.
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline Big Dog

  • ^^Smokes cigars and knows things.
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 15566
  • Reputation: +1954/-213
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2015, 09:08:12 AM »
-snip-

Very well written.

It still requires the belief in something unprovable.

Quote
We puff ourselves up and demand to act like little gods but in reality we are cowardly, petty and covetous.

On the contrary, Man acts like Man. "Little gods" has nothing to do with it, unless you choose for it to.

Quote
Yet all the while we still strut about with our sense of entitlement for no reason except we think we're smarter than the other bundles of molecules floating about.

To date, there is no evidence that any other bundles of molecules possess the capacity to reason, much less be "smarter" than Man.

By itself, that does not create a sense of entitlement. You may choose to feel entitled, but again that is the individual's choice. We have a lot of fun here poking holes in the moonbats' sense of entitlement based on nothing more than the fact they want to be, yet you are describing yourself the same way.

Quote
It's vanity.

In the end, a false conclusion. It would be more accurate to say that believing yourself to be somehow special to a supernatural entity which encompasses more than the universe, just because you want to be = vanity.
Government is the negation of liberty.
  -Ludwig von Mises

CAVE FVROREM PATIENTIS.

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21083
  • Reputation: +1958/-255
  • Voted Rookie-of-the-Year, 3 years running
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2015, 09:33:03 AM »
Look at DU, my friend. What greater spectacle of Man building a temple to himself could there be? And the Proglodytes are not alone. We have our present Constitution precisely because the Founders understood the depths of our vanity. Most of history's tyrants imagined themselves smarter than the other molecular bundles and felt it imbued them with higher purpose -- perhaps even with a sense of affection.

Quote
It still requires the belief in something unprovable.
Ditto, "rights."

You already admitted they cannot be observed or quantified.

I noted that the man murdered in secret has every appearance of never having possessed any rights.
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline obumazombie

  • Siege engine to lib fortresses
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21814
  • Reputation: +1659/-578
  • Last of the great minorities
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2015, 10:49:14 PM »
If there is no God, man is in terrible danger.
It's Lord Of The Flies.
It's survival of the fittest.
It's might makes right.
There must be a higher power than man otherwise the highest power will be a man with the highest power.


edit add...

Oh and by the way this has been a very delightful and interesting discussion with special thanks to Big Dog and SSB.
No rancor, no antagonism.

P.S. Big Dog maybe you see something that I am not seeing, but as far as I can tell I am not arguing from the point of view of faith. I am debating from the point of view of apologetics, grasping for intangibles with reason and logic.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2015, 10:53:15 PM by obumazombie »
There were only two options for gender. At last count there are at least 12, according to libs. By that standard, I'm a male lesbian.

Offline obumazombie

  • Siege engine to lib fortresses
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 21814
  • Reputation: +1659/-578
  • Last of the great minorities
Re: First, I thought one thing but now I'm thinking it's something different.
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2015, 06:34:09 PM »
The Founding Fathers (who were featured at length in Mark Levin's book "Liberty and Tyranny") knew that without God, our revolution would be an identical twin of the French revolution...

http://www.wnd.com/2015/01/founders-learned-liberty-without-god-is-tyranny/?cat_orig=faith

There were only two options for gender. At last count there are at least 12, according to libs. By that standard, I'm a male lesbian.