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Thread started 05/18/17 8:02pm

Dasein

Is the Religious Sphere Higher than the Ethical?


CNN is reporting that the driver of the vehicle which killed Alyssa Elsman today while walking
in or near Times Square told authorities "God made me do it."

In the Old Testament, Abraham is told by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in an effort to prove
his faithfulness. Abraham dutifully trots his son up a mountain, binds him, and whilst in the
act of killing his son by plunging a knife into him, (if I remember the story accurately) God or-
ders him to stop: his faithfulness has been proven. But, what's your reading of this story?

If God gives you a commandment that goes against the norms and mores of society, are you
still obligated to deontologically and spiritually carry out the command? If so, then it appears
that the religous sphere is higher than the ethical. But if this divine commandment traverses
what is lawful, how do you justify its concretization? Yet, if you do not follow the commandment
because it contradicts societal norms and mores, then doesn't it appear that the ethic is higher
than God? Just how sturdy is the defense "God made me do it"? How do you prove that your
actions as a result of God are always justifiable and/or ultimately inerrant?

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Reply #1 posted 05/18/17 10:00pm

IanRG

Dasein said:


CNN is reporting that the driver of the vehicle which killed Alyssa Elsman today while walking
in or near Times Square told authorities "God made me do it."

In the Old Testament, Abraham is told by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in an effort to prove
his faithfulness. Abraham dutifully trots his son up a mountain, binds him, and whilst in the
act of killing his son by plunging a knife into him, (if I remember the story accurately) God or-
ders him to stop: his faithfulness has been proven. But, what's your reading of this story?

If God gives you a commandment that goes against the norms and mores of society, are you
still obligated to deontologically and spiritually carry out the command? If so, then it appears
that the religous sphere is higher than the ethical. But if this divine commandment traverses
what is lawful, how do you justify its concretization? Yet, if you do not follow the commandment
because it contradicts societal norms and mores, then doesn't it appear that the ethic is higher
than God? Just how sturdy is the defense "God made me do it"? How do you prove that your
actions as a result of God are always justifiable and/or ultimately inerrant?

.

You need to first work on your questions:

.

It starts with a statement about the excuse of "God made me do it" when used to justify something clearly wrong: a statement most often restricted to the deluded or the liar seeking to get off away with something. What if the statement was an excuse for acting against a lack of universal health care in the US or stopping the kidnapping girls in Nigeria because "God taught me that this is what I should do"? If this driver truly thought God made him do it, then the problem is more likely a mental health issue.

.

Then it switches to a question on the OT. Is the question about whether Abraham really did this? If so, did he expect God to allow him to really kill Isaac? Or is this story about putting your faith and trust in God?

.

Then it switches to multiple questions which create their own questions:

- Does a commandment from God override norms and mores of a society? This leads to are norms and mores necessarily ethical at all? Were the racist, sexist and classist norms and mores of socieities ethical? Are all the things people believe are commandments from God (or equivalent from what ever belief system) ethical?

- Is your answer different deontologically or spiritually? If so, are deontological rules even the reason this person used a car to harm and kill a person? If so, does God require us to blindly follow some rules (apparently not the ones against killing and doing harm) or seek to live a more complete moral, ethical and spiritual answer.

- It contains the ultimate thread killer - How do you know what you believe is concrete or real?

- If a person does not do what God teaches us to do, then are societal norms and mores (again assumed to be ethical) higher than God? This leads to does anyone ever believe this? Isn't it more likely that they will justify not doing as they believe God commands because they lack faith or courage and not because they believe God to be less ethical than a human society?

- Is "God made me do it" a sturdy defence for doing an evil act? Civil laws and most religious teachings from virtually every religion today will dispute this.

- Then the final thread killer - Asking for proof of God: How do you prove God affects our actions? How do you prove God is ultimately inerrent? It is obvious to most that there is no question that the killer was not acting as a direct responce to God's commandments and that any error is wholly and simply in mind of the driver.

[Edited 5/18/17 22:13pm]

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Reply #2 posted 05/18/17 10:45pm

toejam

avatar

To the person who believes without question that they've received divine permission, alternative opinions of what is truly right or wrong are subjective fluff.

Excellent questions, Daesin.

.
[Edited 5/18/17 22:47pm]
Toejam @ Peach & Black Podcast: http://peachandblack.podbean.com
Toejam's band "Cheap Fakes": http://cheapfakes.com.au, http://www.facebook.com/cheapfakes
Toejam the solo artist: http://www.youtube.com/scottbignell
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Reply #3 posted 05/18/17 10:59pm

IanRG

toejam said:

To the person who believes without question that they've received divine permission, alternative opinions of what is truly right or wrong are subjective fluff. Excellent questions, Daesin. . [Edited 5/18/17 22:47pm]

.

And yet, true to form, you have not answered them.

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Reply #4 posted 05/19/17 12:15am

QueenofCardboa
rd

avatar

I just finished listening to an amazing lecture series called "Exploring the Roots of Religion"

The concept of Martyrdom comes from religions that believed in human sacrifice.



"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Donald Trump
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Reply #5 posted 05/19/17 12:56am

IanRG

QueenofCardboard said:

I just finished listening to an amazing lecture series called "Exploring the Roots of Religion"

The concept of Martyrdom comes from religions that believed in human sacrifice.



.

But this is a man who tested positive for PCP hiding behind the excuse, or suffering from a delusion that God made him crash his car into a crowd of people. There is no indication that he was martyring himself and, indeed, he survived.

.

Alternatively it is about whether a person's beliefs and individual ethics are considered higher than a society's norms and mores. The OP wants the claimed source of these beliefs to be a differentiating factor, but people do things based on their beliefs whether or not they believe they came from God.

.

Do you believe that your beliefs and ethics are better able to drive your actions than merely aiming for just the minimum that society accepts? Do you, for example, consider that in a society that accepts slavery as one of its norms and mores, that you should?

[Edited 5/19/17 3:27am]

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Reply #6 posted 05/19/17 4:42am

Horsefeathers

avatar

I think people's religion is shaped by their personal beliefs and biases rather than the other way around the vast majority of time.
Murica: at least it's not Sudan.
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Reply #7 posted 05/19/17 6:24am

IanRG

Horsefeathers said:

I think people's religion is shaped by their personal beliefs and biases rather than the other way around the vast majority of time.

.

I would agree - The total resistance by the Christian right in the US to Jesus' teaching on caring for the poor is a case in point. Clearly, they put their right wing ethics way before their religion.

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Reply #8 posted 05/19/17 6:59am

Pokeno4Money

avatar

Plenty of people wrongly use God's name as an excuse for evil behavior.

"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain"

Obviously with this situation, that's what happened.

"As a team, we have chosen to stand and interlock arms in unity. We honor those who have fought for the freedom we cherish. And we stand to ensure the riches and freedom and the security of justice for all people." --- Doug Baldwin
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Reply #9 posted 05/19/17 12:10pm

morningsong

avatar

Sometimes I wonder about events like these. One thing, in the bible Abraham had a continuous tight relationship with God. It wasn't a case that one random day he heard a voice and he went and did something. He lived his entire life in his community that others knew he had a tight positive relationship with God. I think that needs to be part of the equation, as well as the times and society that Old Testament people lived, all of that needs to be part of the equation, not just the statement only which is always the only thing ever said when such questions are posed. Very rarely do people who do hateful things when you go back and look at how they lived their life do you find them to be pious people who are positive influences in their community. Abraham of the bible had a very good reputation first and foremost and was being asked to make the ultimate sacrafice which is what the story is about, not that God said go kill somebody. Context is very important.

“Do I dare Disturb the universe?”
― T.S. Eliot

“Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it”
― T.S. Eliot
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Reply #10 posted 05/19/17 12:27pm

Pokeno4Money

avatar

Personally I think a lot of the Old Testament was based on mere humans who used events such as the Great Flood as a way to make people God-fearing. Every time something bad happened, it was like "See what happens when you anger God, you must obey!!!"

Kinda like how liberals try to use fearmongering to force people to obey.

"As a team, we have chosen to stand and interlock arms in unity. We honor those who have fought for the freedom we cherish. And we stand to ensure the riches and freedom and the security of justice for all people." --- Doug Baldwin
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Reply #11 posted 05/19/17 12:50pm

Dasein

morningsong said:

Sometimes I wonder about events like these. One thing, in the bible Abraham had a continuous tight relationship with God. It wasn't a case that one random day he heard a voice and he went and did something. He lived his entire life in his community that others knew he had a tight positive relationship with God. I think that needs to be part of the equation, as well as the times and society that Old Testament people lived, all of that needs to be part of the equation, not just the statement only which is always the only thing ever said when such questions are posed. Very rarely do people who do hateful things when you go back and look at how they lived their life do you find them to be pious people who are positive influences in their community. Abraham of the bible had a very good reputation first and foremost and was being asked to make the ultimate sacrafice which is what the story is about, not that God said go kill somebody. Context is very important.


Good points, Morning.

But, there is one day when Abram did randomly hear a voice; how do we know he actually heard who
he says he did? And I don't remember if this particular Levantine culture permitted child sacrifices (I
think some of them did) so that when Abraham is taking Isaac up to the mountain in order to kill him
to appease God, he may not have thought what he was doing was illegal or immoral. But today,
people still make decisions that have an impact (some good, some bad) on their communities because
they really do believe their actions have been endorsed by God or commanded by the same. Think
about how some Christian sects view and then reject modern medical science, for example, in the face
of illnesses that are treatable/curable without direct divine intervention.

When you suggest that we ought to consider the "times and society" in which these stories take place,
that is very astutely put on your part. But if this was year 1, how would we treat the man who murder-
ously drove his ox cart into a throng of people "because God told me to do it"? If I take your argument
to its extreme, the idea and concept of God as presented in the Old and New Testament only coheres
socially, culturally, morally, religiously, ethically, economically in an ancient context. "Because God
made me do it" holds much stronger in the year 17 than it does two thousand years later for this very
reason. So, if what God commands God's followers makes more sense two thousand years ago, then
what other divine decrees rendered in the Old and New Testaments ought we to re-consider in the
midst of our modern understanding and attainment of knowledge?

For God to ask Abraham to kill his son as the method of revealing the level of his faithfulness, God
does appear to place the religious sphere over the ethical. And if a person of God has established that
s/he's been consistently faithful to God and abides within that faithful expression, if s/he does per-
form an act that appears to traverse societal norms and mores today, what would you say?






[Edited 5/19/17 14:31pm]

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Reply #12 posted 05/19/17 1:00pm

Dasein

IanRG said:

Dasein said:


CNN is reporting that the driver of the vehicle which killed Alyssa Elsman today while walking
in or near Times Square told authorities "God made me do it."

In the Old Testament, Abraham is told by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in an effort to prove
his faithfulness. Abraham dutifully trots his son up a mountain, binds him, and whilst in the
act of killing his son by plunging a knife into him, (if I remember the story accurately) God or-
ders him to stop: his faithfulness has been proven. But, what's your reading of this story?

If God gives you a commandment that goes against the norms and mores of society, are you
still obligated to deontologically and spiritually carry out the command? If so, then it appears
that the religous sphere is higher than the ethical. But if this divine commandment traverses
what is lawful, how do you justify its concretization? Yet, if you do not follow the commandment
because it contradicts societal norms and mores, then doesn't it appear that the ethic is higher
than God? Just how sturdy is the defense "God made me do it"? How do you prove that your
actions as a result of God are always justifiable and/or ultimately inerrant?

.

You need to first work on your questions:

.

It starts with a statement about the excuse of "God made me do it" when used to justify something clearly wrong: a statement most often restricted to the deluded or the liar seeking to get off away with something. What if the statement was an excuse for acting against a lack of universal health care in the US or stopping the kidnapping girls in Nigeria because "God taught me that this is what I should do"? If this driver truly thought God made him do it, then the problem is more likely a mental health issue.

.

Then it switches to a question on the OT. Is the question about whether Abraham really did this? If so, did he expect God to allow him to really kill Isaac? Or is this story about putting your faith and trust in God?

.

Then it switches to multiple questions which create their own questions:

- Does a commandment from God override norms and mores of a society? This leads to are norms and mores necessarily ethical at all? Were the racist, sexist and classist norms and mores of socieities ethical? Are all the things people believe are commandments from God (or equivalent from what ever belief system) ethical?

- Is your answer different deontologically or spiritually? If so, are deontological rules even the reason this person used a car to harm and kill a person? If so, does God require us to blindly follow some rules (apparently not the ones against killing and doing harm) or seek to live a more complete moral, ethical and spiritual answer.

- It contains the ultimate thread killer - How do you know what you believe is concrete or real?

- If a person does not do what God teaches us to do, then are societal norms and mores (again assumed to be ethical) higher than God? This leads to does anyone ever believe this? Isn't it more likely that they will justify not doing as they believe God commands because they lack faith or courage and not because they believe God to be less ethical than a human society?

- Is "God made me do it" a sturdy defence for doing an evil act? Civil laws and most religious teachings from virtually every religion today will dispute this.

- Then the final thread killer - Asking for proof of God: How do you prove God affects our actions? How do you prove God is ultimately inerrent? It is obvious to most that there is no question that the killer was not acting as a direct responce to God's commandments and that any error is wholly and simply in mind of the driver.

[Edited 5/18/17 22:13pm]


Before I respond to your post, I'd like to know what you meant by telling me that I "need to first work
on {my} questions"?



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Reply #13 posted 05/19/17 3:49pm

toejam

avatar

The problem with such questions is that the concept of God is typically understood as a being who lies outside / beyond the normal rules of engagement with reality. God is typically defined to lie outside / beyond space and time. He is typically said to lie outside / beyond the material world where we can assume the continued application of perceived natural law. He is said to lie outside / beyond the normal chain of 'cause & effect' and in higher dimensions, etc. Given this, nothing can pin him down, allowing the concept to be infinitely flexible.

So anytime someone says "I think God is like x because of y", that person is making an unjustifiable assumption. E.g. Morningsong and IanRG think that because this driver's revelation was a random, one-off thing, or because he was doing PCP, etc., that this somehow diminishes it as being less likely from God. But that's built around the assumption that this isn't the kind of thing that God does. But how can they prove that? It's not only that they can't "prove" it, they have no grounds for any justification for it, because God is said to lie outside and beyond our ability to rationally justify. They can appeal to "scripture" or their own personal revelations, or other dubious reasons such as the continued existence and survival of a particular belief about God through the passing of history, etc., but none of this adds anything. These are all assumptions that these are reliable signs for determining God.

In other words, there are infinite ways in which the question can be answered, none of which can be shown to be more likely than any other. It will all be purely hypothetical. Like playing with fiction (hint, hint wink). The religious sphere can be higher than the ethical if one makes certain unjustifiable assumptions about God, or the ethical can be higher if one makes the alternate unjustifiable assumptions about God...

.

[Edited 5/19/17 15:59pm]

Toejam @ Peach & Black Podcast: http://peachandblack.podbean.com
Toejam's band "Cheap Fakes": http://cheapfakes.com.au, http://www.facebook.com/cheapfakes
Toejam the solo artist: http://www.youtube.com/scottbignell
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Reply #14 posted 05/19/17 4:25pm

IanRG

Dasein said:

IanRG said:

.

You need to first work on your questions:

.

It starts with a statement about the excuse of "God made me do it" when used to justify something clearly wrong: a statement most often restricted to the deluded or the liar seeking to get off away with something. What if the statement was an excuse for acting against a lack of universal health care in the US or stopping the kidnapping girls in Nigeria because "God taught me that this is what I should do"? If this driver truly thought God made him do it, then the problem is more likely a mental health issue.

.

Then it switches to a question on the OT. Is the question about whether Abraham really did this? If so, did he expect God to allow him to really kill Isaac? Or is this story about putting your faith and trust in God?

.

Then it switches to multiple questions which create their own questions:

- Does a commandment from God override norms and mores of a society? This leads to are norms and mores necessarily ethical at all? Were the racist, sexist and classist norms and mores of socieities ethical? Are all the things people believe are commandments from God (or equivalent from what ever belief system) ethical?

- Is your answer different deontologically or spiritually? If so, are deontological rules even the reason this person used a car to harm and kill a person? If so, does God require us to blindly follow some rules (apparently not the ones against killing and doing harm) or seek to live a more complete moral, ethical and spiritual answer.

- It contains the ultimate thread killer - How do you know what you believe is concrete or real?

- If a person does not do what God teaches us to do, then are societal norms and mores (again assumed to be ethical) higher than God? This leads to does anyone ever believe this? Isn't it more likely that they will justify not doing as they believe God commands because they lack faith or courage and not because they believe God to be less ethical than a human society?

- Is "God made me do it" a sturdy defence for doing an evil act? Civil laws and most religious teachings from virtually every religion today will dispute this.

- Then the final thread killer - Asking for proof of God: How do you prove God affects our actions? How do you prove God is ultimately inerrent? It is obvious to most that there is no question that the killer was not acting as a direct responce to God's commandments and that any error is wholly and simply in mind of the driver.

[Edited 5/18/17 22:13pm]


Before I respond to your post, I'd like to know what you meant by telling me that I "need to first work
on {my} questions"?



.

As I explained: It is a meandering mix of different things based on assumptions. There is no indication that the driver was anything other than someone on PCP and suffering from mental health issues using "God made do it" as an excuse. There is no good reason to assume that societal norms and mores are ethical yet your question relies on them being so - otherwise it should be are your individual religious beliefs a higher sphere than societal norms or mores? Is the question about Abraham? About where religious beliefs and ethical beliefs disagree but only where religious beliefs appear less ethical? About trusting the source of your beliefs? About proving the source of your beliefs? About individual practices being more or less important than societal practices? About whether "we" (the courts, the people?) should consider the phrase as a sturdy defence? About ...

.

To quote toejam, the question is too broad and meandering so "there are infinite ways in which the question can be answered." We are all a collection of beliefs, true, false, and everywhere inbetween. We all correctly and falsely attribute our actions to many different internal and external influences. Short of proving God, your questions cannot be answered. The thread will devolve into ethics vs the OT, Ancient norms and mores vs modern norms and mores, or proof of God - indeed it already has.

.

The simple answer is: The driver is unlikely to believe the excuse himself, let alone anyone else believing him. It is not a sturdy defence as it is counter to religious teaching, ethics, societal norms and mores and the law. If the driver does in anyway believe he was told to do this by anyone, let alone God, then it would most likely be because of a mental health issue and as a result of PCP and other issues than this being an example of God's work on Earth.

[Edited 5/19/17 16:53pm]

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Reply #15 posted 05/19/17 4:45pm

IanRG

morningsong said:

Sometimes I wonder about events like these. One thing, in the bible Abraham had a continuous tight relationship with God. It wasn't a case that one random day he heard a voice and he went and did something. He lived his entire life in his community that others knew he had a tight positive relationship with God. I think that needs to be part of the equation, as well as the times and society that Old Testament people lived, all of that needs to be part of the equation, not just the statement only which is always the only thing ever said when such questions are posed. Very rarely do people who do hateful things when you go back and look at how they lived their life do you find them to be pious people who are positive influences in their community. Abraham of the bible had a very good reputation first and foremost and was being asked to make the ultimate sacrafice which is what the story is about, not that God said go kill somebody. Context is very important.

.

Agreed: The importance of this is that Abraham placed his trust and faith in God and recognised that there are more important things than an individual's earthly life. It is crucial that God stopped this. This is the very opposite of an encouragement to do "worship" by sacrificing a child as no child was sacrificed. The end result is that ethics and religious beliefs should be one and the same - God tested Abraham's faith in the worst known way at the time, prevented any unethical outcome and said this was NOT the way to show faith in God. Had our societal norms and mores been truly ethical then our sacrificing of the Son of God would never have occured, Jesus' sacrifice for us would never have been required.

[Edited 5/19/17 16:54pm]

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Reply #16 posted 05/19/17 4:50pm

IanRG

toejam said:

The problem with such questions is that the concept of God is typically understood as a being who lies outside / beyond the normal rules of engagement with reality. God is typically defined to lie outside / beyond space and time. He is typically said to lie outside / beyond the material world where we can assume the continued application of perceived natural law. He is said to lie outside / beyond the normal chain of 'cause & effect' and in higher dimensions, etc. Given this, nothing can pin him down, allowing the concept to be infinitely flexible.

So anytime someone says "I think God is like x because of y", that person is making an unjustifiable assumption. E.g. Morningsong and IanRG think that because this driver's revelation was a random, one-off thing, or because he was doing PCP, etc., that this somehow diminishes it as being less likely from God. But that's built around the assumption that this isn't the kind of thing that God does. But how can they prove that? It's not only that they can't "prove" it, they have no grounds for any justification for it, because God is said to lie outside and beyond our ability to rationally justify. They can appeal to "scripture" or their own personal revelations, or other dubious reasons such as the continued existence and survival of a particular belief about God through the passing of history, etc., but none of this adds anything. These are all assumptions that these are reliable signs for determining God.

In other words, there are infinite ways in which the question can be answered, none of which can be shown to be more likely than any other. It will all be purely hypothetical. Like playing with fiction (hint, hint wink). The religious sphere can be higher than the ethical if one makes certain unjustifiable assumptions about God, or the ethical can be higher if one makes the alternate unjustifiable assumptions about God...

.

[Edited 5/19/17 15:59pm]

.

That is a much better answer and one that recognises the problems with the questions.

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Reply #17 posted 05/19/17 6:28pm

morningsong

avatar

Dasein said:

morningsong said:

Sometimes I wonder about events like these. One thing, in the bible Abraham had a continuous tight relationship with God. It wasn't a case that one random day he heard a voice and he went and did something. He lived his entire life in his community that others knew he had a tight positive relationship with God. I think that needs to be part of the equation, as well as the times and society that Old Testament people lived, all of that needs to be part of the equation, not just the statement only which is always the only thing ever said when such questions are posed. Very rarely do people who do hateful things when you go back and look at how they lived their life do you find them to be pious people who are positive influences in their community. Abraham of the bible had a very good reputation first and foremost and was being asked to make the ultimate sacrafice which is what the story is about, not that God said go kill somebody. Context is very important.


Good points, Morning.

But, there is one day when Abram did randomly hear a voice; how do we know he actually heard who
he says he did? And I don't remember if this particular Levantine culture permitted child sacrifices (I
think some of them did) so that when Abraham is taking Isaac up to the mountain in order to kill him
to appease God, he may not have thought what he was doing was illegal or immoral. But today,
people still make decisions that have an impact (some good, some bad) on their communities because
they really do believe their actions have been endorsed by God or commanded by the same. Think
about how some Christian sects view and then reject modern medical science, for example, in the face
of illnesses that are treatable/curable without direct divine intervention.

When you suggest that we ought to consider the "times and society" in which these stories take place,
that is very astutely put on your part. But if this was year 1, how would we treat the man who murder-
ously drove his ox cart into a throng of people "because God told me to do it"? If I take your argument
to its extreme, the idea and concept of God as presented in the Old and New Testament only coheres
socially, culturally, morally, religiously, ethically, economically in an ancient context. "Because God
made me do it" holds much stronger in the year 17 than it does two thousand years later for this very
reason. So, if what God commands God's followers makes more sense two thousand years ago, then
what other divine decrees rendered in the Old and New Testaments ought we to re-consider in the
midst of our modern understanding and attainment of knowledge?

For God to ask Abraham to kill his son as the method of revealing the level of his faithfulness, God
does appear to place the religious sphere over the ethical. And if a person of God has established that
s/he's been consistently faithful to God and abides within that faithful expression, if s/he does per-
form an act that appears to traverse societal norms and mores today, what would you say?






[Edited 5/19/17 14:31pm]



There is no way to know what Abraham heard, that's a case of endless speculation, not my thing. What I know is in my life, I've had what I know are thoughts but they are slightly different than the many thoughts I'll have in any given day, I would almost say it was a "voice" yet it was not something I heard with my ears or that I would describe as "hearing" in any form but if I'd verbalized it I would say I "heard" it. These thoughts usually small, and personal, have always had a tendency to make the situations in my life better, if I choose to "follow" them. Call them what you will. That's basically what I'd attribute to Abraham. I can't say if that's correct or not, it's just my best guess. Going back to keeping things in context, Abraham lived in a time without scripture of any kind, it was not unusual for some cultures to sacrafice a child to the gods, so such a request may not be considered an ethical one since it was not an uncommon practice. In fact, it was probably regarded as a great honor by some of the surrounding cultures of the day. Yet I know many other cultures in that time frowned on such things also. It still wasn't against the law of the land, dependent on where one lived. Abraham's situation was that he waited so long to have a heir, now to have to sacrifice his only living god-promised heir to God would have been an unbearable task.


I'd like to nix the whole "scripture of any kind" part, because that's not true either, there had to be some, iirc Abraham was nomadic so I'm sure he came into contact with many views. He was a free agent to choose what he would follow for the most part.

[Edited 5/19/17 18:39pm]

“Do I dare Disturb the universe?”
― T.S. Eliot

“Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it”
― T.S. Eliot
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Reply #18 posted 05/19/17 6:32pm

morningsong

avatar

toejam said:

The problem with such questions is that the concept of God is typically understood as a being who lies outside / beyond the normal rules of engagement with reality. God is typically defined to lie outside / beyond space and time. He is typically said to lie outside / beyond the material world where we can assume the continued application of perceived natural law. He is said to lie outside / beyond the normal chain of 'cause & effect' and in higher dimensions, etc. Given this, nothing can pin him down, allowing the concept to be infinitely flexible.

So anytime someone says "I think God is like x because of y", that person is making an unjustifiable assumption. E.g. Morningsong and IanRG think that because this driver's revelation was a random, one-off thing, or because he was doing PCP, etc., that this somehow diminishes it as being less likely from God. But that's built around the assumption that this isn't the kind of thing that God does. But how can they prove that? It's not only that they can't "prove" it, they have no grounds for any justification for it, because God is said to lie outside and beyond our ability to rationally justify. They can appeal to "scripture" or their own personal revelations, or other dubious reasons such as the continued existence and survival of a particular belief about God through the passing of history, etc., but none of this adds anything. These are all assumptions that these are reliable signs for determining God.

In other words, there are infinite ways in which the question can be answered, none of which can be shown to be more likely than any other. It will all be purely hypothetical. Like playing with fiction (hint, hint wink). The religious sphere can be higher than the ethical if one makes certain unjustifiable assumptions about God, or the ethical can be higher if one makes the alternate unjustifiable assumptions about God...

.

[Edited 5/19/17 15:59pm]



I have not intention of proving anything, what that person did was against the law and he has to face the consequences of his actions, so goes life. Not really a deep discussion. Time wasting but not deep.

“Do I dare Disturb the universe?”
― T.S. Eliot

“Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it”
― T.S. Eliot
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Reply #19 posted 05/19/17 6:50pm

Pokeno4Money

avatar

morningsong said:

I'd like to nix the whole "scripture of any kind" part, because that's not true either, there had to be some, iirc Abraham was nomadic so I'm sure he came into contact with many views. He was a free agent to choose what he would follow for the most part.


I like that analogy, that's actually a good point!

"As a team, we have chosen to stand and interlock arms in unity. We honor those who have fought for the freedom we cherish. And we stand to ensure the riches and freedom and the security of justice for all people." --- Doug Baldwin
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Reply #20 posted 05/19/17 11:27pm

Dasein

morningsong said:

Dasein said:


Good points, Morning.

But, there is one day when Abram did randomly hear a voice; how do we know he actually heard who
he says he did? And I don't remember if this particular Levantine culture permitted child sacrifices (I
think some of them did) so that when Abraham is taking Isaac up to the mountain in order to kill him
to appease God, he may not have thought what he was doing was illegal or immoral. But today,
people still make decisions that have an impact (some good, some bad) on their communities because
they really do believe their actions have been endorsed by God or commanded by the same. Think
about how some Christian sects view and then reject modern medical science, for example, in the face
of illnesses that are treatable/curable without direct divine intervention.

When you suggest that we ought to consider the "times and society" in which these stories take place,
that is very astutely put on your part. But if this was year 1, how would we treat the man who murder-
ously drove his ox cart into a throng of people "because God told me to do it"? If I take your argument
to its extreme, the idea and concept of God as presented in the Old and New Testament only coheres
socially, culturally, morally, religiously, ethically, economically in an ancient context. "Because God
made me do it" holds much stronger in the year 17 than it does two thousand years later for this very
reason. So, if what God commands God's followers makes more sense two thousand years ago, then
what other divine decrees rendered in the Old and New Testaments ought we to re-consider in the
midst of our modern understanding and attainment of knowledge?

For God to ask Abraham to kill his son as the method of revealing the level of his faithfulness, God
does appear to place the religious sphere over the ethical. And if a person of God has established that
s/he's been consistently faithful to God and abides within that faithful expression, if s/he does per-
form an act that appears to traverse societal norms and mores today, what would you say?






[Edited 5/19/17 14:31pm]



Going back to keeping things in context, Abraham lived in a time without scripture of any kind, it was not unusual for some cultures to sacrafice a child to the gods, so such a request may not be considered an ethical one since it was not an uncommon practice. In fact, it was probably regarded as a great honor by some of the surrounding cultures of the day. Yet I know many other cultures in that time frowned on such things also. It still wasn't against the law of the land, dependent on where one lived. Abraham's situation was that he waited so long to have a heir, now to have to sacrifice his only living god-promised heir to God would have been an unbearable task.


. . . and yet, Abraham loads his pack animals and carts his son up that mountain with the intention
of killing him. When God asks us to do something, we ought to do it even if it traverses the ethical
claims of today, right? If the driver from yesterday actually perceived God, his actions may be con-
sidered "wrong" ethically and/or legally, but spiritually and/or theologically, he was simply being
obedient.

Christians cannot go around praising Abraham's faith for being willing to kill his own son to prove
the level of his adherence to it but frame others who claim to have heard God as well yet have out-
comes that don't turn out so warm and fuzzy as Abe's does as being the result of a mental health
issue. Because we have no way to prove that Abraham actually heard God's voice; and we have no
way to prove that God actually intervened into spacetime and/or history for the benefit of Abraham,
(and hapless Isaac) we can not be too sure that Abraham wasn't simply LUCKY.

In other words, and here is my point: we judge the OUTCOMES of these "God made me do it" stories,
as that is the only way we have to "prove" that the actor/agent was in accord with God's will. Be-
cause the killer from yesterday murdered an innocent woman, we say of his "God made me do it"
explanation as being the results of an impaired mental health. But because the authors of Isaac's
binding say that God intervened to stop Abraham from murdering his son by sending a ram up the
other side of the mountain, we say of his "God made me do it" explanation as being faithful. If you
ask me, both of these mutherfuckers are nuts.

wink

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Reply #21 posted 05/20/17 12:36am

IanRG

Dasein said:

morningsong said:



Going back to keeping things in context, Abraham lived in a time without scripture of any kind, it was not unusual for some cultures to sacrafice a child to the gods, so such a request may not be considered an ethical one since it was not an uncommon practice. In fact, it was probably regarded as a great honor by some of the surrounding cultures of the day. Yet I know many other cultures in that time frowned on such things also. It still wasn't against the law of the land, dependent on where one lived. Abraham's situation was that he waited so long to have a heir, now to have to sacrifice his only living god-promised heir to God would have been an unbearable task.


. . . and yet, Abraham loads his pack animals and carts his son up that mountain with the intention
of killing him. When God asks us to do something, we ought to do it even if it traverses the ethical
claims of today, right? If the driver from yesterday actually perceived God, his actions may be con-
sidered "wrong" ethically and/or legally, but spiritually and/or theologically, he was simply being
obedient.

Christians cannot go around praising Abraham's faith for being willing to kill his own son to prove
the level of his adherence to it but frame others who claim to have heard God as well yet have out-
comes that don't turn out so warm and fuzzy as Abe's does as being the result of a mental health
issue. Because we have no way to prove that Abraham actually heard God's voice; and we have no
way to prove that God actually intervened into spacetime and/or history for the benefit of Abraham,
(and hapless Isaac) we can not be too sure that Abraham wasn't simply LUCKY.

In other words, and here is my point: we judge the OUTCOMES of these "God made me do it" stories,
as that is the only way we have to "prove" that the actor/agent was in accord with God's will. Be-
cause the killer from yesterday murdered an innocent woman, we say of his "God made me do it"
explanation as being the results of an impaired mental health. But because the authors of Isaac's
binding say that God intervened to stop Abraham from murdering his son by sending a ram up the
other side of the mountain, we say of his "God made me do it" explanation as being faithful. If you
ask me, both of these mutherfuckers are nuts.

wink

.

Your point is poorly made. You are trying to make something out of a tragedy for your own purposes. A person clearly suffering from mental health issues and drug abuse killing a person and seeking to use a poor and unsustainable excuse is not the equivalent of a story in Genesis or a reflection of Christian beliefs. This is as silly as when people call for banning rock & roll, metal or rap because the killer claimed someone from one of these was telling him to do it.

.

Is there anyone who believes that the driver actually was operating under instructions from God? Perhaps not even the killer does.

.

Is there anyone who believes that God is instructing Christians to kill anyone? If there are, then they are just as much delusional or are liars as this driver.

.

Your misuse of this tragedy is shameful.

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Reply #22 posted 05/20/17 11:05am

2freaky4church
1

avatar

People of faith are happier, we live longer, we have better sex.

"2freaky is a complete stud." DJ
"2freaky is very down." 2Elijah.
"2freaky convinced me to join Antifa: OnlyNDA
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Reply #23 posted 05/20/17 12:05pm

Dasein

IanRG said:

Dasein said:


. . . and yet, Abraham loads his pack animals and carts his son up that mountain with the intention
of killing him. When God asks us to do something, we ought to do it even if it traverses the ethical
claims of today, right? If the driver from yesterday actually perceived God, his actions may be con-
sidered "wrong" ethically and/or legally, but spiritually and/or theologically, he was simply being
obedient.

Christians cannot go around praising Abraham's faith for being willing to kill his own son to prove
the level of his adherence to it but frame others who claim to have heard God as well yet have out-
comes that don't turn out so warm and fuzzy as Abe's does as being the result of a mental health
issue. Because we have no way to prove that Abraham actually heard God's voice; and we have no
way to prove that God actually intervened into spacetime and/or history for the benefit of Abraham,
(and hapless Isaac) we can not be too sure that Abraham wasn't simply LUCKY.

In other words, and here is my point: we judge the OUTCOMES of these "God made me do it" stories,
as that is the only way we have to "prove" that the actor/agent was in accord with God's will. Be-
cause the killer from yesterday murdered an innocent woman, we say of his "God made me do it"
explanation as being the results of an impaired mental health. But because the authors of Isaac's
binding say that God intervened to stop Abraham from murdering his son by sending a ram up the
other side of the mountain, we say of his "God made me do it" explanation as being faithful. If you
ask me, both of these mutherfuckers are nuts.

wink

.

Your point is poorly made. You are trying to make something out of a tragedy for your own purposes. A person clearly suffering from mental health issues and drug abuse killing a person and seeking to use a poor and unsustainable excuse is not the equivalent of a story in Genesis or a reflection of Christian beliefs. This is as silly as when people call for banning rock & roll, metal or rap because the killer claimed someone from one of these was telling him to do it.

.

Is there anyone who believes that the driver actually was operating under instructions from God? Perhaps not even the killer does.

.

Is there anyone who believes that God is instructing Christians to kill anyone? If there are, then they are just as much delusional or are liars as this driver.

.

Your misuse of this tragedy is shameful.


The arguments are not poorly made; you just don't like them because they may place your faith on
groundless grounds. I'm not misusing this tragedy; I'm pointing out the difficulties of following orders
from God, even those that do not ask us to murder people, because they may traverse what is con-
sidered common sense; the ethical and normative sphere of society; or, what we truly desire. In my
clinical/pastoral practice, God supposedly demands from my patients to do things all the time that

they don't want to do, or, that makes absolutely no sense. But, how do you tell someone with any

authority: "You misheard God"? Or, how does anyone tell us with any authority: "I accurately heard
God"? As a psychotherapist, how could I tell the driver in this story with any type of authority that
he clearly misheard God when he could easily appeal to the binding of Isaac?

Maybe God is not openly instructing Christians to kill anyone today. But God is most certainly recorded
in Judeo-Christian texts as instructing fathers to kill their own sons; God too!

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Reply #24 posted 05/20/17 2:45pm

morningsong

avatar

Dasein said:



morningsong said:




Dasein said:




Good points, Morning.

But, there is one day when Abram did randomly hear a voice; how do we know he actually heard who
he says he did? And I don't remember if this particular Levantine culture permitted child sacrifices (I
think some of them did) so that when Abraham is taking Isaac up to the mountain in order to kill him
to appease God, he may not have thought what he was doing was illegal or immoral. But today,
people still make decisions that have an impact (some good, some bad) on their communities because
they really do believe their actions have been endorsed by God or commanded by the same. Think
about how some Christian sects view and then reject modern medical science, for example, in the face
of illnesses that are treatable/curable without direct divine intervention.

When you suggest that we ought to consider the "times and society" in which these stories take place,
that is very astutely put on your part. But if this was year 1, how would we treat the man who murder-
ously drove his ox cart into a throng of people "because God told me to do it"? If I take your argument
to its extreme, the idea and concept of God as presented in the Old and New Testament only coheres
socially, culturally, morally, religiously, ethically, economically in an ancient context. "Because God
made me do it" holds much stronger in the year 17 than it does two thousand years later for this very
reason. So, if what God commands God's followers makes more sense two thousand years ago, then
what other divine decrees rendered in the Old and New Testaments ought we to re-consider in the
midst of our modern understanding and attainment of knowledge?

For God to ask Abraham to kill his son as the method of revealing the level of his faithfulness, God
does appear to place the religious sphere over the ethical. And if a person of God has established that
s/he's been consistently faithful to God and abides within that faithful expression, if s/he does per-
form an act that appears to traverse societal norms and mores today, what would you say?







[Edited 5/19/17 14:31pm]





Going back to keeping things in context, Abraham lived in a time without scripture of any kind, it was not unusual for some cultures to sacrafice a child to the gods, so such a request may not be considered an ethical one since it was not an uncommon practice. In fact, it was probably regarded as a great honor by some of the surrounding cultures of the day. Yet I know many other cultures in that time frowned on such things also. It still wasn't against the law of the land, dependent on where one lived. Abraham's situation was that he waited so long to have a heir, now to have to sacrifice his only living god-promised heir to God would have been an unbearable task.






. . . and yet, Abraham loads his pack animals and carts his son up that mountain with the intention
of killing him. When God asks us to do something, we ought to do it even if it traverses the ethical
claims of today, right? If the driver from yesterday actually perceived God, his actions may be con-
sidered "wrong" ethically and/or legally, but spiritually and/or theologically, he was simply being
obedient.

Christians cannot go around praising Abraham's faith for being willing to kill his own son to prove
the level of his adherence to it but frame others who claim to have heard God as well yet have out-
comes that don't turn out so warm and fuzzy as Abe's does as being the result of a mental health
issue. Because we have no way to prove that Abraham actually heard God's voice; and we have no
way to prove that God actually intervened into spacetime and/or history for the benefit of Abraham,
(and hapless Isaac) we can not be too sure that Abraham wasn't simply LUCKY.

In other words, and here is my point: we judge the OUTCOMES of these "God made me do it" stories,
as that is the only way we have to "prove" that the actor/agent was in accord with God's will. Be-
cause the killer from yesterday murdered an innocent woman, we say of his "God made me do it"
explanation as being the results of an impaired mental health. But because the authors of Isaac's
binding say that God intervened to stop Abraham from murdering his son by sending a ram up the
other side of the mountain, we say of his "God made me do it" explanation as being faithful. If you
ask me, both of these mutherfuckers are nuts.

wink





I can't speak for other people scriptures. But personally I'm all for reinstating for those that like to use old skool old testament excuses for justifying fuqing up other people's lives, old skool old testament style bullshyt detectors. I like how those parts are always conveniently skipped over.
“Do I dare Disturb the universe?”
― T.S. Eliot

“Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it”
― T.S. Eliot
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Reply #25 posted 05/20/17 3:52pm

IanRG

Dasein said:

IanRG said:

.

Your point is poorly made. You are trying to make something out of a tragedy for your own purposes. A person clearly suffering from mental health issues and drug abuse killing a person and seeking to use a poor and unsustainable excuse is not the equivalent of a story in Genesis or a reflection of Christian beliefs. This is as silly as when people call for banning rock & roll, metal or rap because the killer claimed someone from one of these was telling him to do it.

.

Is there anyone who believes that the driver actually was operating under instructions from God? Perhaps not even the killer does.

.

Is there anyone who believes that God is instructing Christians to kill anyone? If there are, then they are just as much delusional or are liars as this driver.

.

Your misuse of this tragedy is shameful.


The arguments are not poorly made; you just don't like them because they may place your faith on
groundless grounds. I'm not misusing this tragedy; I'm pointing out the difficulties of following orders
from God, even those that do not ask us to murder people, because they may traverse what is con-
sidered common sense; the ethical and normative sphere of society; or, what we truly desire. In my
clinical/pastoral practice, God supposedly demands from my patients to do things all the time that

they don't want to do, or, that makes absolutely no sense. But, how do you tell someone with any

authority: "You misheard God"? Or, how does anyone tell us with any authority: "I accurately heard
God"? As a psychotherapist, how could I tell the driver in this story with any type of authority that
he clearly misheard God when he could easily appeal to the binding of Isaac?

Maybe God is not openly instructing Christians to kill anyone today. But God is most certainly recorded
in Judeo-Christian texts as instructing fathers to kill their own sons; God too!

.

You can imagine that your shameful self-serving misuse of this tragedy is anything other than a point very poorly made and pretend that anyone who is appauled by this meandering misuse is just hiding behind a protective barrier lest it cause them to question their faith. However, you will have to do a LOT better than the above before there it has anytthing approaching this capability.

.

Do you really imagine that billions of people -including most Christians- have not questioned what Abraham did and whether they could do it? This misses the point of the story.

.

Do you really imagine you are the first person in something that could be described as a clinical / pastoral practice who has had to tell people they were not hearing God? Clearly you need to work on your practice - you can't tell them this, you can only help them realise it for themselves. You have no authority over them even if they don't believe they have had a message from God.

.

Where you find God is not in listening to the claims of people hearing voices and running people down in cars but in how you approach tragedies like this: Helping people handle the loss of life. Seeking to provide proper mental health care for people in our societies, especially for those who have served in the Military or suffered other traumatic stresses and those using drugs like PCP. If a person's faith is purely in fundamentalist beliefs about pre-Mosaic Hebrew stories, then perhaps, only perhaps you could seek to believe you arguments are anything other than poor. Even then, your arguments are poorly suited for this.

.

Regardless it is a shameful argument with all the integrity of those who blame Rock or Rap or Dungeons and Dragons or whatever rather than the real problems.

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Reply #26 posted 05/21/17 10:01am

Dasein

IanRG said:

Dasein said:


The arguments are not poorly made; you just don't like them because they may place your faith on
groundless grounds. I'm not misusing this tragedy; I'm pointing out the difficulties of following orders
from God, even those that do not ask us to murder people, because they may traverse what is con-
sidered common sense; the ethical and normative sphere of society; or, what we truly desire. In my
clinical/pastoral practice, God supposedly demands from my patients to do things all the time that

they don't want to do, or, that makes absolutely no sense. But, how do you tell someone with any

authority: "You misheard God"? Or, how does anyone tell us with any authority: "I accurately heard
God"? As a psychotherapist, how could I tell the driver in this story with any type of authority that
he clearly misheard God when he could easily appeal to the binding of Isaac?

Maybe God is not openly instructing Christians to kill anyone today. But God is most certainly recorded
in Judeo-Christian texts as instructing fathers to kill their own sons; God too!

.

You can imagine that your shameful self-serving misuse of this tragedy is anything other than a point very poorly made and pretend that anyone who is appauled by this meandering misuse is just hiding behind a protective barrier lest it cause them to question their faith. However, you will have to do a LOT better than the above before there it has anytthing approaching this capability.

.

Do you really imagine that billions of people -including most Christians- have not questioned what Abraham did and whether they could do it? This misses the point of the story.

.

Do you really imagine you are the first person in something that could be described as a clinical / pastoral practice who has had to tell people they were not hearing God? Clearly you need to work on your practice - you can't tell them this, you can only help them realise it for themselves. You have no authority over them even if they don't believe they have had a message from God.

.

Where you find God is not in listening to the claims of people hearing voices and running people down in cars but in how you approach tragedies like this: Helping people handle the loss of life. Seeking to provide proper mental health care for people in our societies, especially for those who have served in the Military or suffered other traumatic stresses and those using drugs like PCP. If a person's faith is purely in fundamentalist beliefs about pre-Mosaic Hebrew stories, then perhaps, only perhaps you could seek to believe you arguments are anything other than poor. Even then, your arguments are poorly suited for this.

.

Regardless it is a shameful argument with all the integrity of those who blame Rock or Rap or Dungeons and Dragons or whatever rather than the real problems.


LOL! I like how you keep calling me shameful! But, isn't Abraham shameful? He's going to kill his
son? And isn't God's request shameful too? What kind of a God needs proof of the level of its adhe-
rents' faith? As a psychotherapist, I would have loved to have treated Isaac after his own father
was going to kill him in an effort to prove his devotion to his God. Did God think about the effects
this traumatizing event could have on Isaac?

Nowhere in my post do I wonder if Christians or Jews haven't tussled with the binding of Isaac story.
Instead, I was struck by the driver's excuse: "God made me do it" and wondered if Abraham's story
didn't turn out as it did, wouldn't his excuse be the same? And no, I don't imagine that I am the first
person who has a clinical/pastoral practice in which people are living out lives according to what they
think is God's will that goes against common sense or what is ethical; what makes you think that?
And no, I don't clearly need to work on my practice as you suggest. Hey Ian - try to attend to the
topic as opposed to the content of my character (calling me shameful) or my vocational abilities. I've
told you this before: just because I'm shameful and a shitty psychotherapist doesn't mean that my
arguments are likewise. You're lucky I don't take offense easily, but bear with me: what is the
difference between the excuse Abraham could have given if he mistakenly murdered his son with the
driver's excuse?

I think that in the Judeo-Christian context, hearing directly from God is a construct that is fraught with
terrible possibilities, and I see this all the time.


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Reply #27 posted 05/21/17 10:14am

Dasein

toejam said:



Morningsong and IanRG think that because this driver's revelation was a random, one-off thing, or because he was doing PCP, etc., that this somehow diminishes it as being less likely from God. But that's built around the assumption that this isn't the kind of thing that God does. But how can they prove that? It's not only that they can't "prove" it, they have no grounds for any justification for it, because God is said to lie outside and beyond our ability to rationally justify. They can appeal to "scripture" or their own personal revelations, or other dubious reasons such as the continued existence and survival of a particular belief about God through the passing of history, etc., but none of this adds anything. These are all assumptions that these are reliable signs for determining God.



All over the world, people are performing acts under the influence of being ordered by God, but
I wonder if these people are instructed on how to hear God accurately. And this practice of listening
carefully to God so that you live out what God commands, even if it goes against society, appears
utterly odd, fascinating, and ridiculous simultaneously.

Anyways, I liked this part of your post.

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Reply #28 posted 05/21/17 12:04pm

morningsong

avatar

The words "ethics" and "morals" are frequently used interchangeably.

Ethics refer to behavior customary in our culture or society. Ethics may change as a person moves from one society to the next.

Morals refer to personal standards of right and wrong. Morals do not change as a person moves from one society to the next.[


So ethics is just standards based on what a particular society decides they are. Which is why I think comparing Abraham's actions to this driver is silly. Do all of us fully understand the ethics of the society Abraham lived in? No. Then how can one make an accurate decision with little to no information? We tend to play these one size fits all games then try to make it come off as if our ideals are the ones set in stone. They are not they are forever changing.
“Do I dare Disturb the universe?”
― T.S. Eliot

“Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it”
― T.S. Eliot
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Reply #29 posted 05/21/17 1:20pm

Dasein

morningsong said:

The words "ethics" and "morals" are frequently used interchangeably. Ethics refer to behavior customary in our culture or society. Ethics may change as a person moves from one society to the next. Morals refer to personal standards of right and wrong. Morals do not change as a person moves from one society to the next.[ So ethics is just standards based on what a particular society decides they are. Which is why I think comparing Abraham's actions to this driver is silly. Do all of us fully understand the ethics of the society Abraham lived in? No. Then how can one make an accurate decision with little to no information? We tend to play these one size fits all games then try to make it come off as if our ideals are the ones set in stone. They are not they are forever changing.


Okay, let's say that your distinction here is accurate. Yet, my question still stands without the in-
clusion of it:

What do you do when God asks you to do something that may go against what you and/or your
community thinks is right?


Now, let's say that your distinction here has no merit because I'm looking at the Merriam-Webster
definiton for both and neither of them are defined as you have done so here: how then does your
distinction here make my comparison of the impetus of Abraham's actions (God) and the driver's
actions (God) "silly"? I don't see how your distinction between what is ethic and moral leads to
the comparison I'm making here between their excuses, i.e., "God made me do it," as being ab-
surd and foolish.

As I have already stated, it may be the case that God's request of Abraham was ethically sound if
Abraham's community allowed for fathers to sacrifice their sons to God in order to prove their faith-
fulness. If so, this is one way in which my question does not cohere with the driver from NYC. Yet,
we can then question the character of God who asks Abraham to murder his only son in order to
pass God's "test":

Genesis 22 (NRSV):


1 After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He
said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him
there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in
the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut
the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown
him.
4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. 5 Then Abraham said to his
young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then
we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac,
and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together.
7 Isaac said to
his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are
here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb
for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

9 When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the
wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
10 Then
Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill[a] his son.
11 But the angel of the Lord called
to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
12 He said, “Do not
lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not
withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
13 And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a
thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of
his son.
14 So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”;[b] as it is said to this day, “On the
mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”[c]

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, 16 and said, “By myself I
have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only
son,
17 I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and
as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies,
18 and
by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have
obeyed my voice.”
19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to
Beer-sheba; and Abraham lived at Beer-sheba.

--------------

It doesn't make sense to imagine Abraham's culture as making enough room for the act of killing your
son as a sacrifice to God in this manner as being ethical if an angel of the Lord stops Abraham from
actually killing his son! Besides, Jeremiah chapter 19 (also NRSV) reads:


1 This is what the Lord says: “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of
the people and of the priests
2 and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the
Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you,
3 and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you
kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it
tingle.
4 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned
incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they
have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.
5 They have built the high places of Baal to
burn
their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or
mention, nor did it
enter my mind.
6 So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when
people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.

----------------

I honestly do not think God instructed the NYC driver to kill anybody. But how do I know that defini-
tively? "God made me do it" works for Abraham but not the driver? Why? Well, Abraham has a bet-
ter outcome than the NYC driver did. Although, I don't think that is the complete picture because I
am sure that Isaac was fucked up after his dad tied him to kindling on an altar and almost stabbed
him to death.

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