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Author Topic: How could I be so wrong??? Another homosexuality thread, I suppose...
pooka
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I'm just replying to the start of the original post, and my presently favored theory on children and morality is that one has to act autonomously for oneself, but be tolerant of others. I think the same child can have enough autonomy to neither embrace immorality, nor embrace persecution of the immorality of others.

Of course, I come from the view that both the importance of sex to an individual and sexual orientation are variable. I didn't say mutable (meaning deliberately shapeably). I think you can try to influence someone but it may have none, little, or the opposite effect of what was intended.

Finally, I think teaching and patterning what is right is more important that obsessing on what is wrong.

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Bob_Scopatz
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Christy, your post summed up my view of things perfectly.

I suppose part of my problem is that teaching a child that some specific action is a sin versus teaching that child that you BELIEVE that action to be a sin is a huge gulf for me. And while I would agree that it is important for parents to teach their beliefs (i.e., their morals) to their children, what comes with that is people teaching their own unfounded prejudices to their children -- a thing which I think is truly harmful and against Jesus' teachings in that it actually encourages them to pre-judge other people.

Oh well.

It is impossible to separate teaching a child "right from wrong" and teaching them about "sin" if you are a religious person. I know that. And I would argue that every parent does worse NOT to teach their children right from wrong from the earliest point at which the child will understand.

I wonder, though, when is it the right time to teach that it is not our job to judge others? And do you teach that as a general rule (i.e., Jesus said don't judge others) or do you teach it as specific to particular "sins" as they are encountered and learned about by the child.

I mean, teaching a child not to pass judgement on homosexuals requires that the child first understand what the deal is anyway. At least I assume parents aren't just pulling their six-year-olds aside and saying "homosexuality is a sin, Junior." You'd want them to actually understand what homosexuality is before you share your beliefs about it...right?

Belle, by the way, I have to say that your post was one of the better ones I've read regarding the thing we've argued about so often in the past (the old "hate the sin, love the sinner" thing). Thanks!

What else can I say but thank you ALL for the shared thoughts so far. It helped me be less bleak today, even though I couldn't chime in becuase of all the work I had to do.

I'm personally much more comfortable with something along the lines of Chris Bridges' approach, but I wasn't worried about my own comfort level so much as I was about what I feared was a fundamental lack of understanding of what a truly devout Christian upbringing would entail.

To be honest, I think the whole notion of being "fallen" and wretched sinners is a terrible doctrine and one that I can't even begin to believe in. I could say the words "I'm a sinner" but to actually believe that I'm not good and worthy...nope, I can't do it. That's not pride, really. It's simply that I can't believe the worst about myself or others and still love myself or others.

I don't think I could love myself and count myself as a wretch. It just rings false to me. Like it must be a mistake in translation, or the book of the Bible where that thought was somehow explained and softened was inadvertently left out.

I know I'm not God, or anything close. But that doesn't mean I'm not simply terrific overall.

And I think all of you are simply terrific too!

Yes, even you! You wretch!

[Razz]

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dkw
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Going back to the previous page, my current working definition of sin is ďfailure to recognize oneself as created in the image of God.Ē

Itís got a really long, really boring, constructive theology paper to back it up, but thatís what it boils down to.

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Christy
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To me, the idea of sin is that we are all capable of falling in to temptation or to doing wrong. However, this should not consume us with doubt and worry, nor should we condemn ourselves as sinners because we are people made in the image of God who are given the tools to recognize these temptations and the will to overcome them and to better ourselves.

i.e. humility is good, despair is not

quote:
I suppose part of my problem is that teaching a child that some specific action is a sin versus teaching that child that you BELIEVE that action to be a sin is a huge gulf for me. And while I would agree that it is important for parents to teach their beliefs (i.e., their morals) to their children, what comes with that is people teaching their own unfounded prejudices to their children -- a thing which I think is truly harmful and against Jesus' teachings in that it actually encourages them to pre-judge other people.
Bob, I fear this as well -- greatly. However, you have to start from somewhere. Children just don't understand enough at a young age that you can openly present your ideas to them in a non-biased fashion. How do you explain to your two year old that he/she must go to bed now? Because mom/dad said so. And once you do that, the rest of the "morals" must follow to a certain extent. However, I do feel that the important factor in not just passing on your prejudices is being open enough to discuss your beliefs with your children as they become interested and ready to explore their own viewpoints. What is the right time to do this? Hard to say. I think you teach acceptance as a general rule, and by example. And I think any of us will have a hard time in doing so. Even young children are mean and judgemental of each other. Bullying and teasing begins at an early age when kids don't even understand what they are doing, but following the crowd. Individuality is a hard thing to foster, but we can keep trying to be good examples and teach the best we can.

[ January 05, 2004, 09:27 PM: Message edited by: Christy ]

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MrSquicky
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kat,
I thought that was what I said. I guess it didn't come across. I was trying to make the distinction between people knowing that their is a spirit to a law and not following it and people believing that following the law is completely true to the spirit of the law. To me, this is more interesting when it comes to looking at the Bible. In the literal tradition, the Bible stories are history, plain and simple. It's what happened and is important because it happened. From a stricly idealistic standpoint, the Bible stories didn't need to happen for them to be true and valuable. The concepts, questions, and way of looking at the world (a.k.a. the ideals) that comes from these stories is the important part and historical accuracy doesn't necessarily enter into it.

----
quote:
How do you explain to your two year old that he/she must go to bed now? Because mom/dad said so.
This gave me a brief flash to Japanese child-rearing practice. Instead of using an appeal to authority ("Because I'm your mother, that's why.") to get children to do the things that are good for them, it's customary in Japan to make an appeal to emotion (e.g. "It makes Mommy sad when you don't go to bed when you should.") I'm not advocating one style over the other; I just thought it was an interesting contrast.
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Scott R
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quote:
more important to train your children to recognize sin or to know that they are not supposed to judge others.
:sigh:

Let's go to the good book, shall we? To get a better understanding of this, the rallying cry of the 'tolerant.'

quote:


St. Matthew 7

1 JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brotherís eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brotherís eye.

6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Christ does not excuse either the mote or the beam; both must be RECOGNIZED and removed. Note the responsability is on the one who sees the sin to help the one who does not recognize and change.

With the same breath that he utters 'Judge not,' he goes on to require us to judge between men, swine, and dogs.

EDIT: By the way, I haven't read through the whole thread, being on dial up, and hoping that Slash gets a turn out here soon. . . I'm responding simply to Bob's initial post.

[ January 05, 2004, 10:17 PM: Message edited by: Scott R ]

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Shan
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Guess I should have posted this here:

"Bob, as a parent, I MUST say -

Recognizing sin in others is not a priority lesson for children. (IMHO)

Recognizing sin (error) in self does top the list, though. It's part of the maturation/discipline process. Recognizing when I have screwed up and done something that harms another or myself. Making amends. Asking forgiveness. Changing the behavior.

I dunno - I always thought the greatest commandment was "Love one another as I have loved you." The capper, as it were. "
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Annie
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I appreciated something that my Mom said the other day to my five-year-old brother. He had just said "smoking is bad!" and my Mom, like most parents, took the opportunity to reinforce this point, but also added something important. She said, "Yes, smoking is bad, but that doesn't mean that people who smoke are bad people." I think this is the key to the argument, really.
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MrSquicky
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Scott,
I was always taught a different lesson in regards to the mote/beam thing. I was told that it was a call for vigorous self-examination as a necessary condition for just judgement of others. It's no accident that we're talking about obstructions in the eyes. The idea is that one cannot even recognize the faults of others when they have unacknowledged faults of their own. So, for me, that passage has always spoken to the unfitness of nearly everyone to judge anyone else. It speaks to the person judging much more than to the people he is judging.

Thinking about it now, I sort of think that the beam in people's eyes fits very well into viewing other peopel with prejudice and hatred, perhaps best exemplified by the "God hates Fags!" crowd.

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Bob_Scopatz
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dkw...you never cease to inspire deeper thought. I haven't heard a new definition of sin in a long, long time. Thanks!

<part of Bob's mind wanders off to ponder...>

ScottR...I wonder if that verse you quoted is as misunderstood as you seem to think. Basically, it warns of the dangers of judging others. It doesn't say you should prepare yourself for the day when you are wise enough to judge. It doesn't say you shouldn't judge others unless you are really, really sure. I read it and think -- no human is or ever will be qualified to judge others. At least not on what seems to matter most to those who wish to judge -- who is going to heaven or not, what things are sins and what things are not.

Here's an interesting example not having to do with homosexuality. My pastor for a time in Orlando gave a fervent lecture on why drinking alcohol was sinful. At the end of it, he confessed to not being able to handle his liquor. In other words, when he drank, he became inconsiderate, abusive and ultimately was out of control. His inability to kick the habit sort of sealed the deal for me in that I took him to be a more or less standard alchol abuser. He had a serious problem with alcohol.

He was and is an alcoholic.

Now, he credits God with saving him from a wasted life indulging in his addiction. Instead, he is abstinent and views the drinking of alcohol as a sin.

And frankly, for him, it is.

For me and the vast majority of the population, it is not. I'm not a heavy drinker. I never drink to excess and I don't get stupid or abusive from ingesting too much alcohol. I am not an alcholic, in other words.

For me, taking a drink is not a sin. I don't believe it will ever become one either. I'm just not that big on alcohol. It doesn't rule my life.

And more to the point, the fact that my pastor decided that alcohol intake is a sin for everyone made me think he wasn't really in tune to what sin really is.

And he would certainly be one who would teach his children that drinking is a sin. And they would no doubt notice me drinking and believe I was sinning as a consequence.

The fact that he'd be wrong is beside the point.

Now, this same man had no problems with gluttony. I on the other hand enjoy food and probably would be classified as a food addict, a glutton, or what have you. I might be inclined to admit that my food obsession has caused problems and that for me it could even be classified as a sin.

And if I had children, I might work very hard to ensure that they learn healthier ways to relate to food than I have learned. I doubt I would teach them that liking food is sinful, but I might certainly tell them that over-eating is bad for them.

Where was this going?

I'm hungry.

Oh yeah, the point I was trying to make is that people of faith do tend to identify sins in themselves that in others are not sins. And they do tend to see things a bit more black-and-white than will comfortably fit in most people's reality.

One of the reasons I sort of liked the "that which separates one from God" definition of sin is that it had contained within it the possibility that there were idiosyncratic sins -- things that amounted to a "sin" for one person, but didn't meet the criterion for someone else. Not on the big things like murder, but maybe for other things.

And to bring this back to the important topic at hand...

If judging others is a sin, it is one for all of us.

Homosexuality might be a sin for you...being married to a woman who is the mother of your children and to whom you have a commitment.

Homosexuality to another might be normal, natural and harmless -- in fact, it could be their only way to a committed relationship...

So, in the grand scheme of things, being judgemental towards others seems the greater or more universal sin. The one worth actual mention by Jesus as a true pitfall to most of us. The one all of us are more likely to commit and harm each other as a consequence of.

And yet people persist in making sure that they and everyone else knows that they are BY GOD going to raise their children knowing that homosexuality is a sin.

Does this not strike you as a bit of misplaced emphasis? It sure does me. I take it to mean that the individual is deciding which sins are most repugnant in THEIR eyes and passing that prejudice on to the next generation.

Oh, and
Sorry about the dial-up...that truly is a sin...

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Bob_Scopatz
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<rest of Bob's mind wanders back>

quote:
failure to recognize oneself as created in the image of God
dkw, I was convinced for a long while that the greatest sin was not making good (in every sense of that word) use of the gifts God gave to each of us.

I ultimately saw some holes in that definition but I couldn't really figure out what to do to fix it. I like yours better and it seems to include my previous favorite.

Would you agree that this is subsumed in the definition you have proposed or am I off track here?

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Ryuko
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quote:
So, in the grand scheme of things, being judgemental towards others seems the greater or more universal sin. The one worth actual mention by Jesus as a true pitfall to most of us. The one all of us are more likely to commit and harm each other as a consequence of.

I think that this is completely true. Moreover, a point I think you might be brushing up against is that not only is it a sin to judge, it's a sin to presume that the sins that you abhor the most are the ones that God abhors. This is why I disagree with many people who make a point of introducing themselves as Christians. A lot of the people who are Christians first and humans second feel like they have the right to condemn others for their actions, which to me seems presumptuous. Because they lift themselves up above the level of others, in God's eyes or so they believe, they're really putting themselves above God. Do this to the least of my children and you do it to me, as the Bible says... To me, it's a greater sin to be self-righteous.
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Bob_Scopatz
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Who am I to judge.

NO. Really! Who am I to judge? I'm sitting here, I got the robe, the gavel, and I'm ready to go!

Oh well...

Ryuko, the ones to really watch out for are those who advertise as operating a "Christian" business. I've never been ripped off more blatantly than by people who put a fish symbol on their ad in the phone book. Maybe they stuck that there to lure gullible Christian clients. But it sure is suspicious.

And the ones that advertise in the church bulletin!!! [Eek!]

quote:
Today's Communion wafers brought to you by Alpha & Omega plumbing. Our motto: May the Lord's peace drain down on thee


[ January 05, 2004, 11:20 PM: Message edited by: Bob_Scopatz ]

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Shan
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Hmmm - let's see if paraphrasing helps this out at all:

St. Matthew 7

1 JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.

*It's not for me to decide if you have sinned, otherwise I'll be judged a sinner. This is stated in such a way as to imply that judgement of others is not a desirable thing.*

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

*So, if I say you are bad, I shall be told off as the same - and if I discipline you, the same discipline will be given to me. I notice that this does NOT say that I have or will do the thing I have judged to be bad, yet I will receive the same judegement and discipline. . . *

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

*Wake up - why are you looking at the blindness of the person next to you when your blindness by comparison is several times worse?*

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

*How can you offer to remove the blindness in the other guy's eye when you have your own incredibly large blind spot*

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

*Imperfect judger: Learn to see clearly first, and then you can see clearly enough to remove the blindness from the other person . . . this begs the question that without the grace of God would we be able to ever see clearly enough to give sight to a blind person?*

6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

*I can't give anyone else God's grace - that is for God to do. And I can't give the grace given to me by God to anyone else, either. I think the last verse is quite a statement on the frailty of the human condition - very aptly described by Bob with regards to his Pastor. All drinkers became sinners to him - the dogs, the swine - because they didn't receive the grace God gave him. What the Pastor seems to have missed out on is that God's grace is different for each of us - we don't each achieve our ultimate spiritual goals in the same fashion as each other.*

So, it's not my place to tell you how wrong or right you are (even though we all do it, all the time, to everyone). It is my place to love the people around me as best I may, modeling myself after Christ's example. This will not necessarily be comfortable. Christ asks us to move outside our comfort zone. He didn't spend his time with the "law" abiders, as you all may recall. As a matter of fact, he spent a lot of time showing just how pathetic the "law" was and focused on the frail humanity around him, loving them with honesty and dignity and grace.

Just my two cents.

P.S. I REALLY liked your definition, dkw, and I'd love to read the paper.

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Tresopax
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Bob, I don't believe it is correct to say that something can be a sin "for me" but not "for you." If something is a sin, it is a sin for everyone, whether they think it is or not. This is especially true for the religious, who tend to strongly reject moral relativism.

I also think it would be particularly dangerous to teach kids to be moral relativists. I would think it would often lead them to think whatever moral system they've been taught is no better than any other, and thus can be discarded. After all, they are bound to ask at some point "Why is it a sin for me and not them?"

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Wussy Actor
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quote:
I would think it would often lead them to think whatever moral system they've been taught is no better than any other, and thus can be discarded. After all, they are bound to ask at some point "Why is it a sin for me and not them?"
Donít we want children to question and examine beliefs and decide on their own whether or not one set of beliefs is better than another?
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Tresopax
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Yes, but moral relativism tells them not to try and figure out which is better. Instead it says to not judge any person's morals as any more right than any other.
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Wussy Actor
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Isnít that the jist of bobís question? Whether or not its right to teach a child to judge otherís beliefs?
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Maccabeus
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What I find curious is that in a number of other places Jesus tells us (or someone, in context) to judge--only to judge in a particular way. For instance, in John 7, Jesus tells some people to "stop judging by appearances, and make a righteous judgement".

To me this indicates that it isn't judging itself that is wrong--only some very common standard of human judgement--and that we can learn to judge properly.

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Chris Bridges
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"Instead it says to not judge any person's morals as any more right than any other."

Forgive me, but no, it doesn't. Moral relavitism says that judgment is relative to the individuals and situations involved. Right and wrong can still be discerned, but more things must be taken into account.

Thou shalt not kill, but self-defense is justifiable and waging war is occasionally necessary.
Thou shalt not steal, but stealing to feed a child should not receive the same penalty as stealing, say, a company's 401(k).
Honor thy father and mother, but when your parent abuses you or tries to kill you I don't think you can be blamed if you don't visit them every day.

Every law has an exception, and that exception is determined by the existing conditions. Punishment for breaking that law must include those conditions in its judgment. Every action must be taken in context, otherwise there could never be mercy.

Nothing personal, Tresopax, but people who believe in absolute morals scare the crap out of me.

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Maccabeus
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Chris, I agree that mercy is necessary, but mercy by definition is something that can't be encoded in law--that's justice. Mercy is inherently something outside the law; you can't expect it to be defined by law.
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Bob_Scopatz
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My favorite moral absolute is "there are no moral absolutes."

Tres, I really do believe you are wrong about this one sin fits all approach. Or is it all sins fit all.

If that's the case, then I demand that Christians of good conscience get together once a year and publish a list so I can decide whether I should consider myself Christian or not by their standards.

Um... it's just not a tenable solution, honestly. It probably leads to greater division between sects. I mean, my pastor was convinced that drinking alcohol is a sin. I could easily abstain from alcohol if I felt like him, but the fact that I can take it or leave means I don't have that monkey on my back. (I have others). But to say that I am sinning if I do have a drink is just patently absurd.

And if one "universal sin" can be so easily delisted, why not others? Why not all? Where is the line drawn?

Do we just boil it down to violations of the Ten Commandments and have done with it?

Or do we (I hope) drop all this worry about sin and concentrate on the positive aspects of this faith we have cobbled together?

After all, Jesus sort of did provide a clue when he said outright that all the commandments flow from the first two. If you do those two right you aren't going to violate the others.

Right?

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zgator
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Bob, do you think there are times when we must judge others? And I don't mean in criminal court.

I know you're not big on organized religion anymore, but if you were a member of a church and you found out a deacon was having an affair, would you want him to remain a deacon? Of course, every deacon is sinning in some way since we all do so, we just don't know what it is they're doing.

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Bob_Scopatz
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See, I have no problem judging others based on their agreement to be judged by me (either expressed or implied). By living in a society of laws and partaking of the good things that society has to offer, all the members of that society are agreeing to be bound by its laws. There is freedom of choice in that you can choose to move elsewhere. There is also the chance to affect a change in the laws through appeals, legislative action, or running for office yourself.

So, no problem if people are judging others in criminal or civil matters.

Likewise, a deacon of the church, by virtue of taking on that position, has agreed to a certain code of conduct (again either expressed or implied). And in violating that code of conduct, he or she has forfeited their right to the position -- or at least has set themselves up for judgement of whether they should be removed or not.

God and religion are totally different situations:
1) God never asked a single person if he or she would accept the rules.
2) There's no viable alternatives -- it's living under God's rules or DIE!
3) Nobody but God has a say in how the rules get modified over time or with various circumstances.
4) I'll add that there appears to be a fair amount of disagreement as to what the rules are, in the fine print anyway.

Given the situation, I think it's pretty darn clear that God intends to do whatever God wants and we should keep our noses out of it. Judging the sins of others is not our province. That's Gods or no-ones.

Judging whether someone lived up to the rules they agreed to or even set for themselves in full knowledge and control, that's a different story altogether.

Judgement is mine sayeth the Bob...in those cases.

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Chris Bridges
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(debating whether to amend my apatheism enough to join the Church of Bob..)
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zgator
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Well said. You are right that a deacon is in a more public position where he has agreed to a set of rules.

I still think there are times when "judging" is the correct think to do. Although, maybe the term "judging" is incorrect and that's where my problem lies. To me, judging brings up connotations of putting yourself above another, considering yourself better than they are.

If I have a friend who is cheating on his wife, should I talk to him about it? I can't wait til I've gotten the log out of my eye, because that's never going to be the case. In a case like that, am I judging my friend or am I loving him by trying to help him get back on the right track. I think that if I ever did something like that, I would want someone to confront me on it.

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Farmgirl
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I want to jump back and addressed something Bob said while I was gone

quote:
I suppose part of my problem is that teaching a child that some specific action is a sin versus teaching that child that you BELIEVE that action to be a sin is a huge gulf for me. And while I would agree that it is important for parents to teach their beliefs (i.e., their morals) to their children, what comes with that is people teaching their own unfounded prejudices to their children
I don't teach my children what I believe to be sin -- I teach them what the scriptures say is sin.

However, there is NO way to be a parent without in some way, passing along your own prejudices and paradigms. I'm sorry -- it just isn't possible. They learn so much more from what we ARE than from what we say. So to say that parents teach unfounded prejudices -- sure we do -- even when we don't WANT to.

My kids don't like Ford automobiles simply because I've always been a Chevy person. I love the Dallas Cowboys, so they do too -- (except not recently because teens think it is great to go for the team that mom is NOT for -- just to irritate her). Little things like that -- you can probably name several things that YOUR parents believed that you now agree with simply because you are so used to thinking that way.

So even if I teach them that homosexuality is a sin (that the SCRIPTURES say that, not me), they are going to learn how to treat others of that nature by my example, not by my words.

Farmgirl

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Tresopax
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quote:
"Instead it says to not judge any person's morals as any more right than any other."

Forgive me, but no, it doesn't. Moral relavitism says that judgment is relative to the individuals and situations involved. Right and wrong can still be discerned, but more things must be taken into account.

Yes, moral relativism does say that. Moral relativism is the belief that two people can look at the same specific situation, come to two different conclusions about what the best action in such a situation would be, and both be equally right. If you don't support that idea, you believe in an objective morality (the right thing to do in a situation doesn't change depending on who is doing the judging) and thus not moral relativism. If you DO support that idea, you believe in no objective morality, and thus do not believe in any bar with which one person's moral beliefs can be objectively compared with another.

quote:
Um... it's just not a tenable solution, honestly. It probably leads to greater division between sects. I mean, my pastor was convinced that drinking alcohol is a sin. I could easily abstain from alcohol if I felt like him, but the fact that I can take it or leave means I don't have that monkey on my back. (I have others). But to say that I am sinning if I do have a drink is just patently absurd.
Why not just believe that your pastor is mistaken? It seems to me that that is more tenable than trying to say you are BOTH right, even though you disagree. I mean, by saying you are both right you put God in the odd position of both having to condemn you (since you are doing something wrong according to the pastor, and he is right) and having to not condemn you (because you are not doing something wrong according to you, and you are right too.) How could this be the case?

quote:
Do we just boil it down to violations of the Ten Commandments and have done with it?
Well, no. I think things are far more complicated than the Ten Commandments. In reality, you can't really ever rely on moral rules like "X is always wrong in all situations no matter what.' I believe in one true, objective morality, but it's a complicated thing that depends on you to consider the specific details of each situation that arises separately. I believe Christ's teachings get at this.

quote:
Or do we (I hope) drop all this worry about sin and concentrate on the positive aspects of this faith we have cobbled together?
You mean you don't want anyone to worry about doing right or wrong? Does this mean we can stop worrying about refraining from murdering people (provided, of course, we can escape the law undetected)?

quote:
By living in a society of laws and partaking of the good things that society has to offer, all the members of that society are agreeing to be bound by its laws. There is freedom of choice in that you can choose to move elsewhere.
There's no such free choice. You are BORN into society, and by the time you are old enough to go anywhere, there will likely be many things you have become very attached to that will prevent you from leaving without a good deal of suffering on your part. It'd be like saying "Here's this deal - you can take it or leave it freely. But if you leave it, we take away your home, friends, and family."

[ January 06, 2004, 09:10 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]

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Tresopax
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quote:
Judging the sins of others is not our province. That's Gods or no-ones.
The problem is, how do you expect to ever have good judgement if you don't have practice judging?
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Shan
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Practice judging all you want - start with YOURSELF first . . . get all the kinks ironed out and then decide if you should be out there judging others.

I'd be willing to speculate that we all can get plenty of practice "judging" by closely monitoring our own behavior, attitudes, thoughts, words, actions . . . hmmm?

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Javert Hugo
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A sin is a sin no matter who does it. There is no way for something to be a sin for one person and not for another.

Not in the sense of "Killing is always wrong.", but in the sense that Bob killing an intruder who broke the window and was waving a gun at him is the same as Scott killing an intruder who broke the window and was waving a gun at him.

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Shan
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Never mond Bob and Scott, Javert - what is it for you?
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Chris Bridges
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"Moral relativism is the belief that two people can look at the same specific situation, come to two different conclusions about what the best action in such a situation would be, and both be equally right."

Not exactly, or at least not how I've always defined it. Two people from differing cultures or in different circumstances can come to two differnt conclusions about what the best action in such a situation would be, and both could be equally right in regards to their own context.

Say, for example, I've killed a man. This is forbidden by a Commandment, clearly a sin in the eyes of God.
Does it make a difference if I hated him?
Or if I was defending myself?
Or if I wanted his money?
Or if I was defending your family?
Or if I was just bored?
Or if he was about to harm a lot of people?
Or if he was dying in unspeakable agony and begged me to?
Or if he was on the enemy side of a battle?

I think these contexts make a great deal of difference. The act is the same. I've killed him. But judging me is impossible without knowing the situation, something you yourself alluded to:
"I believe in one true, objective morality, but it's a complicated thing that depends on you to consider the specific details of each situation that arises separately."
As soon as you consider separate conditions, your morality has become relative. Otherwise every single one of those examples should receive the exact same penalty.

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Tresopax
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Shan, trying to do that is going to be problematic for a number of reasons. For one thing, many important moral problems are situations that may only occur once or twice, and you won't have experience with unless you look at others. You won't, for instance, be having too many abortions (hopefully.) For another thing, people tend to be very biased and selfish when judging themselves. Often (especially with little kids who are new at this) you can't see what's wrong with an act until you observe someone else doing it, and judge them as wrong. Thirdly, and probably most important of all, a large part of learning morality is interacting with the moral views of others. If left to your own devices, you'll probably come to very distorted conclusions.
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Chris Bridges
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Personally I think Bob's conflict with his preacher is due to the preacher getting too specific. His sin was selfishness, allowing his own desires to get in the way of what he knew was right. In his case it was alcohol. In Bob's case it might be chili cheese fries.
It wasn't the alcohol that was the sin, it was the indulgence.

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Olivet
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Here's an interesting and sort of disturbing story, that I don't know if anyone has mentioned yet.

Partway Gay

It's disturbing because it shows how clueless we are in the study of sexuality, I think. It's alot less black-and-white than we seem to assume. At least for some people.

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Javert Hugo
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Shan:
You mean, if someone came through the window and was waving a gun at me and I shot him and he died, would it be a sin?

You know, I don't know. I'd have to pray for guidance, because I just don't know off the top of my head and would need help in judging that.

[ January 06, 2004, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: Javert Hugo ]

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Tresopax
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quote:
As soon as you consider separate conditions, your morality has become relative.
I think you don't quite have the right definition for relativism then. I think that, of course, right or wrong will depend on the conditions or context of a situation. I don't know of many who'd deny this.

Moral relativism takes this a step further and says that given the SAME context and conditions, the rightness of wrongness of an act changes relative to the person judging that act. Here is a definition of relativism from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Here's two quotes:
quote:
Although there are many different kinds of relativism, they all have two features in common.
1) They all assert that one thing (e.g. moral values, beauty, knowledge, taste, or meaning) is relative to some particular framework or standpoint (e.g. the individual subject, a culture, an era, a language, or a conceptual scheme).
2) They all deny that any standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.

quote:
In ethics, this amounts to saying that all moralities are equally good;


[ January 06, 2004, 10:01 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]

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Javert Hugo
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Historically, attraction to whatever sex has always been a a gradient instead of a black and white issue.

It has only recently been turned into a black and white issue for political reasons, because a request to slide a little farther to one side in a gradient is greatly different from a complete switch from one side to the other.

In other words, the rhetoric of you are what you are and you know it from the beginning is most DEFINITELY not always true.

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BannaOj
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Tresopax, to me what you are saying is that you believe in a meta-morality, as it were, underlying everything and that the meta-morality will stay constant even when the specifics of the case change.

Am I twisting what you said too much?

AJ

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pooka
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If being judgemental is a greater sin than homosexuality, is it not a greater sin still to call someone judgemental? :church lady "Hmmmm?": And if you call someone who calls someone "judgemental", "judgmental", what does that make you?

In terms of relativism, I guess we all strive to have more information so we can have the most insight into every situation. But sometimes someone's moral milieau is that they have a narrow view. How open minded do you have to be to understand the motive of the narrow minded person.

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Tresopax
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quote:
Tresopax, to me what you are saying is that you believe in a meta-morality, as it were, underlying everything and that the meta-morality will stay constant even when the specifics of the case change.
Uh, yes, I think.
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Shan
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quote:
Tresopax: Shan, trying to do that is going to be problematic for a number of reasons. For one thing, many important moral problems are situations that may only occur once or twice, and you won't have experience with unless you look at others. You won't, for instance, be having too many abortions (hopefully.) For another thing, people tend to be very biased and selfish when judging themselves. Often (especially with little kids who are new at this) you can't see what's wrong with an act until you observe someone else doing it, and judge them as wrong. Thirdly, and probably most important of all, a large part of learning morality is interacting with the moral views of others. If left to your own devices, you'll probably come to very distorted conclusions.
Why would you need any experience, Tresopax? I don't need to actually burn my hand on the stove to get that it's hot (I hope - but don't ask my mom about that one.) I would hope that my ability to determine the rightness/wrongness of an action FOR MYSELF is intact (I beleive we call it a conscience) so that I can choose to A) not kill the strange looking man walking down my street for the hell of it, or B)choose to to take out in any way possible the strange looking man threatening to say, rape my sister. At this point, the jury kinda gets to make a choice, too, but the "take action" decision is mine. Are you really suggesting that people must first "experience" this stuff to decide one way or the other about it? I'll ask you the question my folks asked me when I was a kid (so many decades ago): If all your buddies were jumping off of a bridge into a raging river 'cause it was fun, would you need to follow their example and have that experience to actually know it's dangerous?

And then you bring up [Laugh] abortions. I would add to that I hope you wouldn't be having too much unprotected sex and risking pregnancies. Hmmm - that 'ole argument is exactly that, old. Abortion might be a moral wrong for some, but I think it's just as morally wrong (in that case) to screw around and test the waters. Of course, by your definition, abortions will happen anyway, because the experience is needed to be able to decide whether it's right or wrong. In the case of intimate relations, I suppose a strong statement could be made for the experiential nature of it - after all, it's just messy play for adults . . . [Wink]

Part of raising children is providing a model for behavior and belief, Tres. And a really huge part of raising children is giving them a good foundation of respect for others and self, accountability, discipline, self-esteem and then allowing them the freedom to think for themselves. Hopefully, the attachment has been sufficient that said children will continue to discuss important issues with their parents or other trusted adults, rather than feeling like they have to head on out there and "experience" killing (or whatever questionable experience it may be) first.

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Shan
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[Eek!]

Javert - I would hope your self-preservation instict stronger that that!

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Chris Bridges
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"They all deny that any standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others."

This could be the problem. I don't believe this. But I still maintain that conditions change the meaning of actions, and those meanings determine the severity (or justification) of the sin.

The American Heritage Dictionary definition:
"A theory, especially in ethics or aesthetics, that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them."

My own definition reduces the emphasis on "persons or groups" and places it on "conditions and situations."

If conditions can alter whether the act of murder is a sin or not, how can that moral act not be relative?

Actually I suspect my core problem with these arguments is that I don't have morals anyway, since I don't believe in a religious basis for codes of behavior. I prefer ethics. Moral relativism as you (and apparantly most others) understand it is too often used to justify everything or denounce moral viewpoints, and that is not my goal.

[ January 06, 2004, 10:48 AM: Message edited by: Chris Bridges ]

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Belle
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Slightly off-subject but kind of still on it:

quote:
Ryuko, the ones to really watch out for are those who advertise as operating a "Christian" business. I've never been ripped off more blatantly than by people who put a fish symbol on their ad in the phone book.
*sigh*

So true. So very sad but true. A "Christian" company with the fish symbol and scripture in their yellow pages ad quoted a lady a price of $4,200 to replace her water heater.

We did it for our standard fee of $450. She was a bit shocked one might say. She even showed Wes the quote.

The company insisted she needed an entire new vent system to bring the house up to code and that she needed all kinds of safety precautions built in that simply weren't necessary. The house was in code, the precautions suggested are only required for gas water heaters placed in garages, this was an electric one in a laundry room upstairs.

*shakes head*

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Bob_Scopatz
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I'd just like to point out that when people say that they KNOW what sin is, their knowledge of what is a sin is still based on their belief, even if it is scripture based. Why? Because your faith in scripture is based on a belief as well.

1) You believe Scripture to be the word of God, or at least divinely inspired.
2) You interpret what scripture says to some extent, and then believe that interpretation to be true.
3) When there are conflicting messages in scripture, you choose one or the other, or live with the inconsistency and believe in your choice.

Now, when you pray for guidance, you also have the added belief that whatever solution is arrived at, it was from God (or the Spirit) and is thus true and not of your own making.

Given all that, and the fact that devout Christians of good conscience find room to disagree about many of the finer points of scripture, I have to humbly assert that to claim scripture is a source of unbiased, unified, unerring and unwavering knowledge of "what is sin" is only true at the individual or small group level. It is the best example of subjective truth I have ever seen, frankly. The Baptists believe one thing. The LDS believes similar but different things. Catholics yet another, and so on and so on.

And everyone claims to be right.

And everyone claims that there is an objective truth out there and they have the key to it.

The most parsimonious explanation for this situation is that we are all wrong in some ways. And, because of the assertions made by all sects of having a handle on the TRUTH, wrong in one thing means that the claim of objective truth is utterly wrong.

So, simple logic leads us to the conclusion that while there may be an objective truth, there is no-one who can say for certain that they have access to it. Unless that person is also God.

And I haven't heard anyone here make that claim, so...

We're back full circle, are we not?

Say it with me now...
"I BELIEVE <insert your particular truth here> to be true."

Not

"<insert your particular truth here> is true."

Oh and by the way FarmGirl...how did you find my Voy forum. I haven't been out there in a year. I've even forgotten the link to it, and my admin password. Ooops.

I lost interest in it when people started posting advertisements for their particular derailment of Christianity. Instead of discussion, it became a place where people posted their sales pitches.
[Mad]

edited 1st paragraph for clarity's sake!

[ January 06, 2004, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: Bob_Scopatz ]

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Javert Hugo
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*sigh* Not today.
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Bob_Scopatz
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By the way, homosexuality is not a sin.

Sex without love is the sin...

I believe this message is far more consistent with the message of the New Testament than the one that homosexuality is a sin.

The only reason people still have for believing that homosexuality is a sin is that they want to. This allows them to ignore the bizarre inconsistencies in interpreting the OT scriptural references out of their context, and the problems of emphasizing what Paul says over what Jesus says.

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zgator
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Bob, you forgot to say "I believe" homosexuality is not a sin. [Razz]
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