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CondensedMilk
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#341
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#341
(Original post by Hylean)
If God is where all ethics ultimately stem from, then he can never be unethical. We can only misunderstand his ethics.

By not accepting the Christian faith (or Jewish or Islamic), we are being bad. We are breaking God's rules. It's always an issue of being bad. We can no longer be the noble heathen who hadn't yet heard God's word, because we have and we have rejected it, thus breaking the rules God laid down. If God exist, he decides what is just, not you. You might not like it, but you can't overrule him.
The idea that the great deity Yahweh operates on perfect ethics is an assumption, and an assumption that leads us into dangerous territory. It tells us to ignore moral atrocity, go against our altruistic nature, and permits the action of literally anything if it's on the command of God. I've had many Christians, and not just those on the fringe, tell me the race extermination of the Canaanites in the book of Joshua was a just action, and stoning homosexuals to death was just law for the Israelites. I've seen Christians justify the mass raping of the virgins of Midian by the Israelite soldiers. Relevant to this thread, countless innocent pagans have been tortured and brutally murdered under Biblical mandate. If God is the ultimate decider of ethics, who are we to say those actions are wrong? Who are we to say any actions are wrong? Humans have an in-built desire for altruism, it's why we have hospitals and nursing homes, charities and shelters, not only in Christian societies but in societies all over the world. If God is the ultimate decider of justice, our own opinions on justice are irrelevant. Maybe in their framework that belief is sustained, but I don't think such an abhorrent belief system should be sustained if we want a better world.
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Hylean
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#342
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#342
(Original post by CondensedMilk)
The idea that the great deity Yahweh operates on perfect ethics is an assumption, and an assumption that leads us into dangerous territory. It tells us to ignore moral atrocity, go against our altruistic nature, and permits the action of literally anything if it's on the command of God. I've had many Christians, and not just those on the fringe, tell me the race extermination of the Canaanites in the book of Joshua was a just action, and stoning homosexuals to death was just law for the Israelites. I've seen Christians justify the mass raping of the virgins of Midian by the Israelite soldiers. Relevant to this thread, countless innocent pagans have been tortured and brutally murdered under Biblical mandate. If God is the ultimate decider of ethics, who are we to say those actions are wrong? Who are we to say any actions are wrong? Humans have an in-built desire for altruism, it's why we have hospitals and nursing homes, charities and shelters, not only in Christian societies but in societies all over the world. If God is the ultimate decider of justice, our own opinions on justice are irrelevant. Maybe in their framework that belief is sustained, but I don't think such an abhorrent belief system should be sustained if we want a better world.
I'll wager the people saying those things are in the minority, however.

Of course it's an assumption, but if we follow the book, then it's the only assumption to have. Yes, it allows for some messed up thoughts, but half the point of Jesus' coming was to rectify the message in The Old Testament. He wanted to show God as forgiving, not as vengeful. Everyone, including many Christians, need to realise that that whilst OT is an interesting book, it should have minimal impact on Christianity, though sadly it has a huge impact. Christians take their morals, and thus ethics, from Jesus' teachings, which as I'm sure you know, are perfectly fine and in tune with what we consider to be just and good. Believing that God's ethics are perfect, whilst allowing us to condone many things, does not necessarily lead us to ignore them or whatever. Every person has free will and can choose whether or not to ignore their own morals. To lay the blame on The Bible is to remove any agency the person might have. Which is what the three religions are really all about: humans and their free will in relation to God.

Also, I'd argue that humans aren't naturally altruistic, we're just very easily guilt tripped and realise that acting in such a manner will be to our benefit at some point.

More to the point, why the **** are we debating Christianity in a pagan thread?
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Hravan
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#343
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#343
(Original post by Hylean)


More to the point, why the **** are we debating Christianity in a pagan thread?
Yeah, why? Almost as bad as the woman-hater's rant :grumble:


Anyhoo! Mabon is approaching! Anybody doing anything interesting?
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CondensedMilk
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#344
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#344
(Original post by Hylean)
I'll wager the people saying those things are in the minority, however.

Of course it's an assumption, but if we follow the book, then it's the only assumption to have. Yes, it allows for some messed up thoughts, but half the point of Jesus' coming was to rectify the message in The Old Testament. He wanted to show God as forgiving, not as vengeful. Everyone, including many Christians, need to realise that that whilst OT is an interesting book, it should have minimal impact on Christianity, though sadly it has a huge impact. Christians take their morals, and thus ethics, from Jesus' teachings, which as I'm sure you know, are perfectly fine and in tune with what we consider to be just and good. Believing that God's ethics are perfect, whilst allowing us to condone many things, does not necessarily lead us to ignore them or whatever. Every person has free will and can choose whether or not to ignore their own morals. To lay the blame on The Bible is to remove any agency the person might have. Which is what the three religions are really all about: humans and their free will in relation to God.

Also, I'd argue that humans aren't naturally altruistic, we're just very easily guilt tripped and realise that acting in such a manner will be to our benefit at some point.
I agree they're likely in the minority, largely thanks to most Christians not reading the Bible, and many of those who do deciding the old testament isn't actually relevant to God's order. I would also agree it's not useful to lay all blame on the Bible, but it is disturbing how often in history atrocity has been openly justified with the Bible. The fact that today's Christians align themselves more with the attitude of Jesus and less with the attitude of OT Yahweh shows, at least in many cases, that God's morality is interpreted according the human ethics.

As for humans being naturally altruistic or not, the causes of it are certainly rooted in the murky depths of self interest, but we can both agree the surface result is altruism, even if other modes of self-interest often supersede it.

More to the point, why the **** are we debating Christianity in a pagan thread?
I guess we got sucked into the discussion, but at least it's been a good one!
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Hylean
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#345
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#345
(Original post by CondensedMilk)
I agree they're likely in the minority, largely thanks to most Christians not reading the Bible, and many of those who do deciding the old testament isn't actually relevant to God's order. I would also agree it's not useful to lay all blame on the Bible, but it is disturbing how often in history atrocity has been openly justified with the Bible. The fact that today's Christians align themselves more with the attitude of Jesus and less with the attitude of OT Yahweh shows, at least in many cases, that God's morality is interpreted according the human ethics.
I disagree. It's not that we are reinterpreting His morality according to our own ethics, it's that we are realising that Jesus' word supercedes that of OT. It's actually finally listening to his message, really.

As for The Bible being used to justify, that's all it is, a tool to justify things. People will find anything to help them justify something, whether it's good or bad. Without the book, the atrocities would still have happened, just blamed on something else. You can't attack the religion because of what its followers do, you have to attack the religion purely on what it says. This is why we all need to pay attention to theology and scholarly works on religion, otherwise we don't actually know enough to be able to debate it properly.


(Original post by CondensedMilk)
As for humans being naturally altruistic or not, the causes of it are certainly rooted in the murky depths of self interest, but we can both agree the surface result is altruism, even if other modes of self-interest often supersede it.
The fact that it's only the surface result, though, means we're not truly altruistic. We're just selfish, but realise helping others will help us in the long run. It's not a bad way to be, really, but still, we're not altruistic beings.


(Original post by CondensedMilk)
I guess we got sucked into the discussion, but at least it's been a good one!
True, but to be honest, I will leave this thread if it ends up just being a Christian bashing thread. I've been on enough pagan forums where it's just been thread after thread bashing them. I dislike it and it's contrary to what pagans like to preach about their beliefs.

If we want them to accept us, we have to accept them, warts and all. Having a reasoned debate about the religion is fine, but just insulting them or attacking them for no reason, no. I won't have it.
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CondensedMilk
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#346
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#346
We could continue this here or go elsewhere if it's derailing the thread too much.

(Original post by Hylean)
I disagree. It's not that we are reinterpreting His morality according to our own ethics, it's that we are realising that Jesus' word supercedes that of OT. It's actually finally listening to his message, really.
Is that to say the Israelites weren't receiving and listening to message from God? The Old and New testaments carry different messages, for sure, but just because the New testament is seen as a more humane revision, doesn't stop the Israelites committing genocide supposedly on God's order. According to the Bible, they were listening to his message when they did that. They were listening to his message when they stoned people to death as well.

As for The Bible being used to justify, that's all it is, a tool to justify things. People will find anything to help them justify something, whether it's good or bad. Without the book, the atrocities would still have happened, just blamed on something else. You can't attack the religion because of what its followers do, you have to attack the religion purely on what it says. This is why we all need to pay attention to theology and scholarly works on religion, otherwise we don't actually know enough to be able to debate it properly.
It's hard to look at the tens of thousands of innocent people executed for witchcraft in Europe, and consider it independent of the Biblical command to execute witches "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live". That's just one example, we have to face that fact that besides some nice stuff, the Bible also mandates some horrible things.

The fact that it's only the surface result, though, means we're not truly altruistic. We're just selfish, but realise helping others will help us in the long run. It's not a bad way to be, really, but still, we're not altruistic beings.
This all boils down to what qualifies something as altruistic, we both have an idea of what humans are like and it's not worth splitting hairs.

True, but to be honest, I will leave this thread if it ends up just being a Christian bashing thread. I've been on enough pagan forums where it's just been thread after thread bashing them. I dislike it and it's contrary to what pagans like to preach about their beliefs.

If we want them to accept us, we have to accept them, warts and all. Having a reasoned debate about the religion is fine, but just insulting them or attacking them for no reason, no. I won't have it.
That sounds about right. Reasoned debate is a great way for sides to better understand one another.
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Hylean
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#347
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#347
(Original post by CondensedMilk)
Is that to say the Israelites weren't receiving and listening to message from God? The Old and New testaments carry different messages, for sure, but just because the New testament is seen as a more humane revision, doesn't stop the Israelites committing genocide supposedly on God's order. According to the Bible, they were listening to his message when they did that. They were listening to his message when they stoned people to death as well.
Yes, and? Is that any better than attacking Libya or Iraq for nothing? You're attacking the religions from the wrong angle: through the followers. Again, we have free-will and can choose not to those things, as many Jews do. I don't see Dustin Hoffman or Adam Sandler stoning people to death.

Also, genocide has been committed more often for non-religious reasons. Any ideology or belief system is open to corruption and abuse. We have to accept that and try to show people why what they're doing is wrong. Ultimately, though, if they believe they are following God's word, there's nothing we can do.

Also, we're discussing Christianity, which whilst related to Judaism, isn't the same and it makes it difficult to debate the points. You cannot equate YHWH to God or Allah. Despite being the same god, theoretically, they all have different characteristics and so to attack one on the basis of the other is bad debating form.


(Original post by CondensedMilk)
It's hard to look at the tens of thousands of innocent people executed for witchcraft in Europe, and consider it independent of the Biblical command to execute witches "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live". That's just one example, we have to face that fact that besides some nice stuff, the Bible also mandates some horrible things.
A moderate could look at that and see a message to convert witches from their "evil" ways, and in that way the witch has stopped living. Also, that ties in more to translation issues with The Bible than the religion itself. This is the problem with relying on a translation, rather than the original, we are at the mercy of the translator's own agenda.

Also, Pope Jean Paul II apologised for the Inquisition and the "Burning Time".. Specifically because so many innocent, non-witches were tried and executed. Again, that's a fault of the followers than the religion: the translators, the inquisitors and the "good" Christians who coveted others' land and goods.


(Original post by CondensedMilk)
This all boils down to what qualifies something as altruistic, we both have an idea of what humans are like and it's not worth splitting hairs.
A man cannot be altruistic if he is doing it for selfish reasons. The entire meaning of altruism is doing something unselfishly or something that benefits others but is a disadvantage to oneself.


(Original post by CondensedMilk)
That sounds about right. Reasoned debate is a great way for sides to better understand one another.
:beer:
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Hylean
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#348
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#348
Otherwise, how do you all approach your paganism? Do you believe, like I do for example, that if you follow any particular branch that you should closely follow all the scholarly work relating to that field, or do you prefer a more organic, "this is how I feel about it" approach?

I've been thinking about this for a while, ever since that Lokian came in. Given my own beliefs on the nature of deities, I've begun to think that if we want to approach the religions, and thus the deities, as they originally were, then the scholarly work must be taken into account. All of it. Not just picking and choosing. One can't, for example, follow Blogg's theories after they've been proven wrong, for example. Nonetheless, I think that those who take the organic approach are creating a completely different religion. That Lokian, he claims that Loki is a fire-spirit, where there is very little evidence for this in the source material. He and others claim this link to fire feels right to them as they have been touched by Loki. I'm beginning to think that they have not touched Loki as the Medieval Scandinavians knew him, but they have created a new deity, with similar characteristics, but based primarily in fire, and have named him Loki therefore. They thus create new gods on the skeletons of the old ones.

What do people think?
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James93
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#349
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#349
(Original post by CondensedMilk)
Yes, he loves you so much he will torture you if you do not worship him.
actually he loves you so much that he sent his son to die to offer you redemption even though nobody deserves that
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CondensedMilk
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#350
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#350
(Original post by James93)
actually he loves you so much that he sent his son to die to offer you redemption even though nobody deserves that
I'm biting my tongue to not respond to any more posts about that in this thread, in the interest of not derailing it. I still disagree.
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Teao the Cat
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#351
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#351
I'm more interested in Mabon plans, actually... It's another harvesty type one, so I may have another baking spree. It's just an excuse for cake, really! :p:
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Schemilix
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#352
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#352
Went through that phase, went back to being a boring naturalist/humanist but like the concepts and stuff.

I've been to Stonehenge for druidic rituals twice because they're amazing and wonderful even if you're not a spiritual person. It's really quite something to stand inside the stones. Even if they are giant radiators at Midsummer, tssss...
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Teao the Cat
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#353
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(Original post by Schemilix)
Went through that phase, went back to being a boring naturalist/humanist but like the concepts and stuff.

I've been to Stonehenge for druidic rituals twice because they're amazing and wonderful even if you're not a spiritual person. It's really quite something to stand inside the stones. Even if they are giant radiators at Midsummer, tssss...
I've never had the chance to go to Stonehenge,would love too though, although i understand that you can't get anywhere near them now unless you are a Druid at Midsummer. There are some ancient standing stones not far from where I live in north Northumberland though, and I love visiting them. Just amazing thinking if how long they have been there, and that someone put them there for a reason...
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Schemilix
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#354
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#354
(Original post by Teao the Cat)
I've never had the chance to go to Stonehenge,would love too though, although i understand that you can't get anywhere near them now unless you are a Druid at Midsummer. There are some ancient standing stones not far from where I live in north Northumberland though, and I love visiting them. Just amazing thinking if how long they have been there, and that someone put them there for a reason...
You don't have to be an observer of paganism or any of the paganistic or animistic religions to appreciate those stones. They're pretty majestic, and how they got there is just quite astounding. Something about them makes me feel... warm and happy inside. Even if they're, to me, just big 'ol rocks with some history.
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Pandora.
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#355
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#355
Hopefully I'll be able to go to Stonehenge if I'm able to table Archaeology A Level. Should be fun
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Hravan
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#356
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#356
I went to Stonehenge for my 18th birthday.. Also went to Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow, Old Sarum, Wayland's Smithy and the White Horse of Uffington.

It was a ****ing epic weekend...

(I only went with my mother though.. It was her idea. My mother is epic )


EDIT:

Wish I could take a photo of the moon right now but I can't. :sad: It was inbetween the two main branches of the oak tree so nearly a full moon with a little bit of cloud framed by an oak tree... Absolutely beautiful.. :moon:
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Skwee
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#357
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#357
(Original post by Hylean)
Also, Pope Jean Paul II apologised for the Inquisition and the "Burning Time".. Specifically because so many innocent, non-witches were tried and executed. Again, that's a fault of the followers than the religion: the translators, the inquisitors and the "good" Christians who coveted others' land and goods.
When looking up records in a national library-sort-of-place when I was researching my family history (my surname is extremely rare - or weird - so not that difficult to trace when records are available, luckily) I found out one of my ancestors was judged by the Inquisition and burned at the stake for her religious beliefs because of being Jewish. So much for good old "Christian love"...
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Hylean
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#358
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#358
(Original post by Skwee)
When looking up records in a national library-sort-of-place when I was researching my family history (my surname is extremely rare - or weird - so not that difficult to trace when records are available, luckily) I found out one of my ancestors was judged by the Inquisition and burned at the stake for her religious beliefs because of being Jewish. So much for good old "Christian love"...
The Inquisition was an evil thing, truly, but all humans lose their way now and then.
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mijin
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#359
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#359
Eclectic Wiccan here, it's nice to see an active group of people c: Not going to talk on and on about my beliefs, but I just thought I'd say hi and make myself known.
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Teao the Cat
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#360
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#360
We're acquiring lots of people! I like people!

From what I remember, not all that many witches were brought up before the inquisition, it was mostly Jews.
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