published Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

'It's a baby at the beginning' and other letters to the editor

It's a baby at the beginning

"Not A Baby Yet" (pertaining to the T-shirt illustration on page B6, Aug. 25).

If the end result is a baby, it is a baby now!

MARCIA PANOZ, Dayton, Tenn.


Headrick will give support for women

On Aug. 26, Women's Suffrage Day, the amendment became part of the Constitution more than 90 years ago. Tennessee was the last state to support the amendment by one vote from young Henry Burns. (I wonder if women then had to show a picture ID.)

Sadly, years later, we find attacks on women by men, mostly Republican white men, who want to return to a time when abortion was illegal -- but with no exceptions for incest, rape and health of the mother. In addition, they do not support women's health clinics, contraception counseling and access to pills, which would surely result in more unwanted pregnancies and the need for more elementary school classrooms. (Education is not a priority for Republicans.)

In the workplace, Paul Ryan does not support equal pay for women. In his state, the middle class has been attacked, including firemen, policemen and teachers -- but mostly teachers, the majority of whom are women. His call for changes to Medicare would severely affect middle-aged women.

In Tennessee, we have a candidate for Congress who, like Henry Burns, will support women as well as men: Dr. Mary Headrick. And if asked, I think she would show all her tax returns.

JANE STARNER


Hero's death deserved more

The coverage of the death (and life) of Neil Armstrong was relegated to page 4 of your Sunday paper (Aug. 26). He is one of America's truly great heroes. Would you have treated Columbus, Lindberg and Earhart similarly?

PAUL ENSMINGER, Delano, Tenn.


Send Nugent, Romney to Mars

Performer Ted Nugent, who was recently in Chattanooga, wants to send President Barack Obama to Cuba to live. I have a better idea: The next time we send a rocketship to Mars, put both Ted Nugent and Mitt Romney on it. We need to get rid of both of them.

Ted Nugent and Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are what is wrong with the U.S.A. If we get rid of the Republican Party, it would be a better U.S.A. and a better world.

So all of the people who voted for Obama in 2008 -- please join me in voting for him again. He is the best president we have ever had. Four more years.

CHARLES HUGHES, Rossville, Ga.

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Easy123 said...

MARCIA PANOZ,

So an acorn is a tree, correct? And a tadpole is a frog? And an egg is a chicken? Is a caterpillar a butterfly? I could give thousands of fallacious examples using your elementary school logic.

August 29, 2012 at 12:18 a.m.
holdout said...

So if you destroyed all acorns, tadpoles, eggs, and caterpillars then trees, frogs, chickens, and butterflies would continue to exist? The fact is abortion does kill a baby. That does not, however, change the fact that it should still be allowed. In fact it should be mandated up to the 58th trimester in some cases.

August 29, 2012 at 7:36 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Holdout,

"So if you destroyed all acorns, tadpoles, eggs, and caterpillars then trees, frogs, chickens, and butterflies would continue to exist?"

Yes, they would. But tell us all who is advocating aborting every baby. Oh wait, no one is advocating that. The fact is early abortions do not kill a baby. There are more cells in the brain of a fly than a human zygote.

August 29, 2012 at 8:24 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

CONCLUSION:

Jeremiah 1:5... "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Holy Bible: Old Testament)

Saint Luke 2:21..."And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the Angel before He was conceived in the womb." (Holy Bible: New Testament)

Psalms 139:15..."My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth."

What deeper solitude, what state of concealment more complete, than that of the babe as yet unborn. Yet the Psalmist represents the Almighty as present even there.

Psalm 139:15...'My substance'...This refers to the basic frame or skeleton. Note also the similar testimony in Ecclesiastes 11:5. The marvels of embryonic growth are still largely unexplained by scientists, but God knows!

Psalm 139:15...'curiously wrought'. “Curiously wrought” means “embroidered,” a striking description of the double-helical DNA molecular program, which organizes part by part the beautiful structure of the whole infant.

Psalm 139:15...'lowest parts'. For “lowest parts,” read “nether parts,” or “hidden parts.” God made these hidden parts, or elements, of the earth, then formed Adam’s body from this “dust of the earth” (Genesis 2:7). He created within the body of Adam and Eve the marvelous and complex ability to multiply that body, finally to generate from these lowest parts of the earth through the curiously wrought embroidery of DNA all the many billions of their descendants, including David himself.

August 29, 2012 at 9:33 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Ken,

"Wrought" doesn't mean embroidered. Would you like to sell some more lies on here, Mr. Charlatan?

August 29, 2012 at 9:42 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

CONCLUSION:

Do not presume to possess the 'God' power to destroy even the process of life...life itself, begun when sperm and ovum unite. Who gave You that authority? That right to interfere?

August 29, 2012 at 9:42 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Orr,

Everyone possess that power. Have you ever stepped on a bug? Have you ever heard of a menstrul cycle? Your house is likely made of wood from a tree that was once alive.

August 29, 2012 at 9:47 a.m.
moon4kat said...

Marcia Panoz, what simplistic thinking. Do you also believe that frozen sperm and ova are "babies?" Do you want to force women to make babies out of ALL of their eggs, and imprison men who "spill their seed" without making a baby?
A baby can breathe on its own; miscellaneous conjoined cells cannot.
Only a heavy-handed fascist government would force a woman to remain pregnant and give birth when she doesn't want a child, and can't support it.

August 29, 2012 at 9:47 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Jesus loves the little children All the children of the world But Christian they must be Or they're no use to me Jesus loves the little children of the world.

August 29, 2012 at 9:48 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

CONCLUSION:

Easy123, For Your Immediate Consideration...Revelation 2:5..."Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."

SELAH!

August 29, 2012 at 9:50 a.m.
moon4kat said...

Orrmean, who gave you -- or the government -- the authority or right to interfere with what a woman does with her own body?

August 29, 2012 at 9:55 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Let's give thanks for a loving Gawd who created disease, famine, drought, floods, cancer, war, pestilence, holy crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Nazis, mental disease, car wrecks, plane crashes, terrorists, biological weapons, SIDs, childhood leukemia, religious fairy-tales, politicians, Charles Manson, Joe Stalin, crooked DAs and corrupt cops,and a holy host of other blessings upon His greatest creation.

Ain't Gawd great? Just think how mean the Sky Daddy would be if He didn't love us so much.

August 29, 2012 at 9:57 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Orr wants yer candlesticks... don't ask what he needs them for.

August 29, 2012 at 10:03 a.m.
moon4kat said...

Orr needs candlesticks because electric lights don't exist in the Bible, so he can't have them now.

August 29, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
Fendrel said...

Just because a group of cells is "human" and I use the term in the sense of distinguishing those cells from being a bird or a fish or a beetle. That shouldn't be the basis on which to grant them the same protection that we offer adults of the same species.

A fetus does not have life independent of its mother. In that sense it is not that different from an appendix or tonsil and having an abortion isn't any different from having a tonsillectomy, unless you entertain the idea of a "soul", a religious belief, which you are free to hold, but which should not be used as the basis of making abortion laws and thus forcing that belief on others who do not share it.

Keep in mind, that most people, even those who are pro-life, do not really want to treat a fetus with the same protection as an adult. Ask someone whether they would be willing to incarcerate a young woman for 20 years to life for having an illegal abortion and virtually no one would impose that severe a penalty, yet, that individual will have no problem incarcerating that same woman if she were to murder her 6 month old or someone else's child.

Just being alive should not be basis of having rights, being sentient should be the test. Since we cannot say with any precision exactly when that event occurs, then birth becomes the most reasonable time to grant a human being the right to life.

August 29, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Gawd wants children born before he kills them; otherwise He can't show His love for them.

August 29, 2012 at 11:29 a.m.
Easy123 said...

daytonsdarwin,

Wouldn't the Christian god be responsible for all the miscarriages that happen as well? And every disease known to man. Every bacteria. Every virus. Every parasite.

I'd say the Christian god has been an accessory to every death in the history of the world.

August 29, 2012 at 11:35 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

For all of you people so concerned about the precious life of the POTENTIAL baby growing inside a woman's body, where does that concern go once the baby is born? Why is it that life is so precious to you when it is in a woman's womb that you feel the government has the right to force every woman to give birth to it, but as soon as it is born, the woman, who was forced to give birth against her will, should not expect the government to also bear some responsibility for that baby? As soon as that baby enters the world, you "pro-lifers" will be calling that mother a leech if she has to get food stamps or Medicaid or welfare to give that baby even the bare minimum of care.

Life is precious to you from conception to birth. But once that precious little cherub pops out of the womb and enters a world of poverty and neglect, as most unwanted babies do, you will be calling it a leech and a taker and saying that the government doesn't owe that mother or the baby anything. Then suddenly you become anti-government again. Hmm...funny how that works. So which are you? You want the big bad government butting out of YOUR life, but you're perfectly okay with the government enforcing compulsory pregnancy on any woman who gets pregnant but is not prepared to be a mother? There is a word for that: h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e.

August 29, 2012 at 11:43 a.m.
holdout said...

You reply to me makes no sense at all 123. Every baby wasn't the point.

August 29, 2012 at 11:58 a.m.
Easy123 said...

holdout,

Then why did you bring up destroying "all acorns, tadpoles, eggs, and caterpillars then trees, frogs, chickens, and butterflies"?

August 29, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

As long as that "baby" is an appendage of the woman, it is still her body and her decision. That woman is a fully formed human being, with a mind and personality of her own, possibly already a mother to a child or children. She is someone's daughter, friend, mother, wife, etc. Her actions and choices will have ramifications not only for her but for everyone around her. She is the only person who knows best what choice she needs to make as to whether or not to bring a new life into the world. To think that a zygote, or an embryo, or even a fetus has "rights" that are somehow more precious than those of the woman is absolutely preposterous. Mpre than preposterous....it's insane.

August 29, 2012 at 12:25 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

"or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."

Not content just to torture and kill you, now Gawd has taken to stealing candlesticks (don't leave any spare change around either; He plays the slots in Tunica).

When will His love cease?

August 29, 2012 at 12:51 p.m.
Livn4life said...

In America, one has the freedom of God belief or unbelief. It is interesting to note Everyone believes in something even if it's the power of oneself, money, noteriety etc. I suppose all who tend to think there are no moral standards of right and wrong think life is okay until something they value is threatened. Then they squawk continually. I really feel for anyone who just thinks this life is all there is and value only the humanistic elements. But as Americans they have that right. How sad that so many feel they are the superior so that if anyone chooses an opinion on moral matters ie abortion other than theirs, the anyone is uninformed or stupid and should be dismissed. To that one must respond by saying,"Go ahead, take your chances on unbelief, live your life only for you and yours. One day this life ends. Then, where will you be?" All the so called fantasy of faith people, in that instance, will be something you might wish you had paid attention to.

August 29, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Livn4life,

Prove it.

Oh wait, you can't. All that fantasy will mean nothing when you die. You'll cease to exist. It doesn't matter how much you want it to be true, it isn't. Glad to burst your bubble.

August 29, 2012 at 3 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

I'm open for other view points, but I don't buy into fairy-tales as true whether it's the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, or the God of the Bible.

People can, have, and will continue to live good lives without religion and belief in a magical god, ghosts and demons, and invisible deities interfering and controlling human lives.

The universe is too big for the tiny character of Jehovah. He's a mythical creation of man (as are all gods) that on a metaphorical level has something to say, but on a historic, concrete, and existing level is neither real nor worthy of worship. He's a petty tyrant with all the human emotions of man, but with a mental disease. I wouldn't have Him for a father figure, nor would I worship His insane behavior.

If he was a literal being on earth, he'd fall into a catorgory of evil far surpassing, Hitler, Stalin, and Idi Amin, rolled into one.

He's like a spoiled, cruel brat, who pets His dog with one hand, while torturing it with the other.

So when a Good God comes along, can be proved, and doesn't act like a petulant and deranged schizophrenic, I'll pay attention.

Until then, your God deserves contempt, not adoration.

August 29, 2012 at 3:34 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

CONCLUSION:

Wow! I think Easy123 thinks he just proved, by his superior Faith, that God does not exist. That would mean everyone, billions of people, can rest at ease now, since we could all join Easy's Faith. Ergo, no problem, we could all decide what is painful to others, what constitutes harm to others, when to use situational ethics, etc. Thank You Easy! Yours has to be another of the World's Great Religious Faiths, which You Religiously 'Believe' in, and, Practice.

Ken ORR

August 29, 2012 at 3:44 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

I agree completely with what dd just said. And to add to it: A heavenly father who would create a hell in which to torture his own children (based on nothing more than how they believe and whether or not they stroke his ego and worship him in just the way that he commands) should be the first to burn in it.

I abhor the Christian God and view (him) as a twisted, sadistic abusive parent, but in saying so, I do not claim to abhor whatever might be, or might not be, at the core of the universe and of life itself. If there is truly a "God" at the core of all things, I seriously doubt that she/he/it is a jealous and vindictive entity, overly concerned with whether we believe in her/him/it or not. It is just that silly, childish, cartoonish depiction of God that you Christians bow down to - that is what I mock and deride. Like dd says, that depiction of God deserves all the ridicule and contempt that any sane person can heap upon (him).

August 29, 2012 at 4:02 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

The fact that someone must have a god to be moral and dictate their life says more about the person than god. And what it says isn't good.

August 29, 2012 at 4:16 p.m.
Fendrel said...

Does anyone think that it makes sense to legislate from the perspective of personal faith?

I have yet to hear a fact based argument for legislating protection of a fetus still in the womb.

Does anyone disagree with the statement that only a sentient being is deserving of legal rights? If so, is it based on something other then the religious belief in a "soul" or divine commandment?

Why do I feel like the proverbial blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there every time I ask for a reasoned, as opposed to faith based, supporting idea?

August 29, 2012 at 4:41 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Orr,

"Wow! I think Easy123 thinks he just proved, by his superior Faith, that God does not exist."

That's not faith. I simply suspend any belief because there is no proof of any deity. You are assuming what you are supposed to prove. Do you have faith that their are unicorns? Unicorns are just as plausible as your god. But you assume one to exist based on zero evidence and not the other. Why is that?

"we could all decide what is painful to others, what constitutes harm to others, when to use situational ethics, etc."

We do that already. Humans do not need a book to tell them what is moral or good. Do you really believe humans have no integrity at all without a holy book? The basic moral tenets of every religion are oddly similar. Murder is bad, stealing is bad, help others, etc. Those truths are universal and not at all unique to Christianity.

"Yours has to be another of the World's Great Religious Faiths, which You Religiously 'Believe' in, and, Practice."

Logically flesh out your claim. How is the absence of religion, a religion? I don't believe in a deity. Just like I don't believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Bogeyman. How is not believing in those things, a belief? I can't wait to hear your well-reasoned response.

August 29, 2012 at 7:18 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...
  1. If there are no absolute standards, then anyone can, with impunity, make the decision of what is painful/harmful to others. If anyone contests what you believe, then, that would be discrimination. This is beyond cause and effect because other humans would not have the right to issue disciplines/punishments, etc.

  2. You cannot logically prove that all of creation is without intelligent design. Ontologically speaking, God is the greatest great of which there is no greater great. I can prove there is intelligent design, and, that there does exist a greatest great of which there is no greater great.

  3. Please refer to answer # 2.

Easy123, You certainly, absolutely, definitely, without valid disputation/contradiction...Do have your own Faith! You may want to leave other's Faiths alone, unless, like mine, where Jesus Christ of Nazareth has commanded The Great Commission...kwo

Dictionary.Com............Define Religion:

1...A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.

5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

The following is my comment: "Often/Sometimes a Religion does include a Deity"...kwo...I wonder how well grounded you, Easy123, are in Your Faith.

Ken ORR

August 29, 2012 at 8:43 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Easy123 wrote, while waiting for the Bible quote of the day, "I can't wait to hear your well-reasoned response."

You're still waiting I see. More Gibberish from the King Of Gibber.

August 29, 2012 at 8:58 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

No, daytonsdarwin , I was just hoping that if I waited long enough, then, I could get the blessing of hearing from You!..kwo

My Wife just commanded me to get off the computer and do some work. I hope to continue with this tomorrow after work...My comment (well reasoned/thought-out) comment to Easy is above Your (most recent) comment.

August 29, 2012 at 9:01 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Orr,

"If there are no absolute standards, then anyone can, with impunity, make the decision of what is painful/harmful to others."

There are universal truths. I already mentioned that.

"If anyone contests what you believe, then, that would be discrimination."

It really depends on what the belief is. But universal truths still hold true no matter what.

"This is beyond cause and effect because other humans would not have the right to issue disciplines/punishments, etc."

Yes, they do. Have you ever heard of the judicial system? Man makes laws and decides punishments. It's been that way for centuries.

"You cannot logically prove that all of creation is without intelligent design."

And you cannot logically prove that all of the cosmos has a designer. Science can prove where things came from. However, the origin of life is still up in the air.

"God is the greatest great of which there is no greater great."

Zeus is the greatest great of which there is no greater great. Allah is the greatest great of which there is no greater great. Babe Ruth is the greatest great of which there is no great...

"I can prove there is intelligent design, and, that there does exist a greatest great of which there is no greater great."

No, you cannot.

"Easy123, You certainly, absolutely, definitely, without valid disputation/contradiction...Do have your own Faith!"

No, I do not have "faith". I have evidence, logic, and reason. Faith is believing something on no evidence a.k.a. gullibility. There is no evidence of a deity. Therefore, I do not assume one exists like you do.

"You may want to leave other's Faiths alone"

You may want to leave others alone with all your proselytizing.

"I wonder how well grounded you, Easy123, are in Your Faith."

Again, the absence of faith isn't faith, jackass.

"My comment (well reasoned/thought-out)"

You might want to rethink that description of your comment.

August 29, 2012 at 9:56 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Easy123, Well, I agree to disagree. I don't know if you do. There is one thing, though, that I would like to discuss. Whoever Easy123 is...I certainly do have the love of Jesus Christ for you. That is O.K. with me. I wonder about the need you seem to have of name calling. I've called certain people cowards, and, Anti-Christs. I even wonder if that is O.K., yet, when the name calling is considered profanity, then, I don't have to wonder if 'that' is alright. (I promise, I'm not trying to preach) I just don't like to think that someone has degraded themselves by profanity-based name calling. I want to think better about that person. Recently (regarding one of the subjects that I been known to discuss) I heard someone say, "Hey, do you want to go down to Hospice and look at Homosexuals?" You see...that is taking it way too far. I know First Amendment Rights, etc., but, that is cruel, and, unacceptable to me. So, we all have our opinions, morays, folkways, code of ethics, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., yet, somewhere there should be (yes, I 'absolutely' said 'should') some absolutes. That's what ownership, and, rules are about. And, I do know that you claim to absolutely NOT believe in absolutes, and, with you that is 'absolute'...so...I agree to disagree with you (although, with the love of Jesus Christ for you).

Kindest Regards,

Ken ORR

August 30, 2012 at 3:28 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Orr,

"And, I do know that you claim to absolutely NOT believe in absolutes, and, with you that is 'absolute"

I have ever claimed such a thing. I haven't even implied it. You, sir, are a liar.

Run away, Ken. It's very clear you can't back up your rhetoric. That is why you are running away from this argument. You are a brainwashed coward. And I mean that with all the love of Thor.

August 30, 2012 at 5:02 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

If You claim there exists no Deity/Standard/Moral Rule Maker, then, to me, that would translate into your not believing in absolutes. It would sound to me that you, therefore, can do anything you choose to do...and it is right to you. But, ah, then you would be conceding that you are the Deity.

August 30, 2012 at 8:32 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Orr,

"If You claim there exists no Deity/Standard/Moral Rule Maker, then, to me, that would translate into your not believing in absolutes."

I never claimed there was no moral standard. I claimed there was no proof of a deity. Humans do not need a deity to be moral.

" It would sound to me that you, therefore, can do anything you choose to do...and it is right to you."

And you would be wrong, again.

"But, ah, then you would be conceding that you are the Deity."

Wrong again. You have no integrity if you believe you need a deity to be moral. You aren't good for goodness sake, you are good because you expect a reward from you god. That isn't moral. It's not sincere either.

August 30, 2012 at 9:43 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Still waiting for that proof of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spook. Proof of miracles, resurrection, talking serpents and donkeys, riding to heaven in a chariot, virgin births, Noah's Ark, all of those little troubling, nagging details that are accepted by some only by faith, but for which there is no evidence—none—nada.

If there's proof, why do you need faith? So show me the proof.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.— Carl Sagan

Extraordinary BS requires faith.— DaytonsDarwin

August 30, 2012 at 9:54 p.m.
Fendrel said...

The absence of God does not imply a lack of morality. Morals are judged to be good or bad based on how they help us as a society obtain the goals we have set for ourselves.

But in one sense, you are right, as a society we "could" decide that we want to live in a state of fear and anarchy, with only a privileged few being allowed to rule over the masses and while there is no being external to us to pass judgement on that goal, we would have no one to blame but ourselves for the type of world we created. Moral actions in that society would be very different from the one we currently live in.

On the other hand, if, as a society, we can decide that we wish to live in a world of respect and dignity the an action would be considered moral if it helped achieve that goal and immoral if it did not.

You cannot have such a thing as absolute morality, because what is considered moral or immoral is determined by how it furthers you along the path of creating the type of society that you wish to live in.

August 30, 2012 at 10:15 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Fendrel,

You could probably identify a large number of negative fringe groups who you would not want to even exist. Some entire large societies consisted of seemingly evil individuals, both rulers, and, subjects. It gets pretty frightening when there is not a standard of morality beyond human abilities.

August 31, 2012 at 12:53 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Orr,

"It gets pretty frightening when there is not a standard of morality beyond human abilities."

Human abilities are all we know. Do you think people went around murdering, stealing, disrespecting their parents, etc. before your precious 10 Commandments were written? NO!. By the way, the story of the Israelites in Egypt has been mostly disproved by archaeologists.

The Bible does not lay out a thorough moral code anyway. It's full of immorality and evil. The majority of those immoral and evil acts were committed by your god.

Again, you DO NOT need a deity to be moral or to have a moral code/compass. You have no integrity if you believe otherwise.

August 31, 2012 at 1:14 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Good points, Easy, Fendrel, and dd. Furthermore Christianity itself is an inherently immoral religion. The concept of original sin is nothing but a shirking of responsibility for oneself. It actually excuses bad conduct and makes the focal point of all morality nothing but a matter of belief.

Christianity has nothing to do with morality, it is all about salvation. Certainly there are some good, moral Christians, but living good, decent lives just because their God COMMANDS them to love him and to love one another and to live righteously, that is not morality, that is merely obeying a dictatorial God.

The number one reason anyone becomes a Christian is because they want to think they will not die but live forever. When the primary concern in life is fear of death and wanting reassurance that you will live eternally, that is not morality. Blind faith is the antithesis of morality.

August 31, 2012 at 2:20 a.m.
Fendrel said...

Orr,

Yes, you make a valid point, there are certainly individuals or even groups who would wish for a society very different from the one you or I want to live in.

I don't think of morals in that way. I think we have the cart before the horse. Morals are simply the tool set used to reach an objective. The idea of an "absolute" moral code doesn't make any sense. It would be like saying that a round file is intrinsically better than a flat file and that the edge you end up with on the wood is simply a function of choosing the good tool vs the bad one.

Moral codes, like the file, are not intrinsically good or bad. Morals are and should be flexible, tools that help us achieve the type of society we wish to create. As we learn more about human nature, psychology etc. we can hone those tools (morals) to become more effective.

Now, all that being said, I do think you could make a case for a good society. I find it hard to believe that anyone, in good mental health, would WANT to live in a chaotic society where their life could be forfeit at any time for any reason (or none at all). I think the answer to "what makes a society flourish and what constitutes human well being" does have a legitimate answer, and as our understanding of the human psyche and what constitutes well being and mental health grows, so will our ability to define society's goals and then, of necessity, we will need to sharpen our moral tool set as well.

The real problem with the idea of absolute morality is that it prevents a society from making those needed changes and improving itself as it learns more. You believe that God has already provided that "ultimate" set of morals which will result in a perfect society, whereas I prefer to build a society dynamically as we learn more about human behavior through the sciences.

It may not be perfect, and it will certainly require many tweaks and modifications as time goes by, but it will be based on our understanding of ourselves and not from blind acceptance that the writings of shepherds, fisherman, priests and evangelists from 2000 or more years ago represent the wishes of some divine, omniscient, omnipotent being who has our best interests at heart.

August 31, 2012 at 9:45 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

There is no such thing as "absolute morality." Every law that has ever been written has spilled forth from the mind of mankind, devised to give order and meaning to our living together in a civilized society. There are laws of nature and laws of physics that exist whether humankind existed or not, but even those laws took the understanding of humans to define and codify them.

While the laws of nature could be called "God's" laws, they are not the laws of the Christian God. Furthermore those laws have nothing to do with goodness or morality but rather merely who/what will survive on his/her own merits in a survival-of-the-fittest environment. To Christians, God does not exist IN nature but exists as the creator of it and of us. He exists as something apart from it. If they believe that nature's laws are truly God's laws, then they would have to admit to being pantheistic or pagan. I'm sure they wouldn't want to admit to that!

Christians believe in a so-called good or evil that they think exists above and beyond life itself but it was primitive humans who created the very notion of heaven and hell and the God they (choose to) worship. Every description, image, or belief about God that we have today is nothing but the result of the collective imagination of the primitive peoples who preceded us. "God" has always, always, always been silent and elusive, never uttering a single word to give any credence to (his) existence.

I know that Christians like to think the Bible is the ineffable word of God written by men who were inspired by him, but it's funny how they somehow ignore the heinous, obscene, and downright immoral acts and commands of their so-called loving God in the Old Testament. How to explain "absolute morality" when their "absolute" God himself displays such erratic and conflicting behavior in condoning things like rape, incest, slavery, genocide, and misogyny? Either their God changed/evolved to realize the cruelty of his behavior - in which case even God himself would not be "absolute" - or else morality to God is not absolute but relative to the situation at hand. In other words, he sometimes thinks that rape, incest, baby killing, etc. are perfectly acceptable puishments, while at other times they are not.

You can't have it both ways, Christians - not if you want to believe in "absolutes."

August 31, 2012 at 1:29 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Genesis 6:7...King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

.........................Isaiah 42:9...............................

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)

Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)

What I said in the past has come true. I will reveal new things before they happen.

New Living Translation (©2007)

Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens.

.........................NOW, LOOK AT THIS!.........................

...........................Jeremiah 18:8...........................

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)

But suppose the nation that I threatened turns away from doing wrong. Then I will change my plans about the disaster I planned to do to it.

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)

If that nation, against whom I have spoken, turn from their evil, I will change from the evil that I thought to do unto them.

Douay-Rheims Bible

If that nation against which I have spoken, shall repent of their evil, I also will repent of the evil that I have thought to do to them.

Webster's Bible Translation

If that nation against which I have pronounced, shall turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them.

Young's Literal Translation

And that nation hath turned from its evil, Because I have spoken against it, Then I have repented of the evil that I thought to do to it.

August 31, 2012 at 2:53 p.m.
Fendrel said...

Orr,

If you can't engage in a conversation without resorting to just spewing passages from a book then I feel sorry for you.

I took time to craft a thoughtful series of questions and comments and put them out there respectfully for you to consider and comment on. Instead I get a random, vomiting up of Bible versus with no context or commentary.

I won't waste my time here any more.

August 31, 2012 at 3:50 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Fendrel,

No, please wait, wait...wait! I didn't think I was doing anything wrong. I thought You had responded to what I had already said 'before' the Scripture Verses. I was just trying to demonstrate further that only God, from the Old Testament-to the New Testament, and, anywhere else in between, has the authority to change His mind on extreme moral issues, such as, when to kill/punish/discipline/chastise someone. I only know Life. But, He has death, and, life in His hands. I am sorry. I messed it up again (:< I will bring a detailed response to Your (had to be time-consuming) questions. Please give me just a little more time. kwo

August 31, 2012 at 7:49 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Fendrel,

"You said, "The idea of an "absolute" moral code doesn't make any sense."

Well, i hope You will visit this link:

http://pattonhq.com/links/uccministry/jeffbible.pdf

This is the link to:

The Jefferson Bible The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted From The Four Gospels

I believe, to a great extent, as Jefferson did. We need a moral code that is written (etched in stone), and, which is the greatest of which we can imagine. Situation ethics is not acceptable as a code. I tried to explain that by taking a look at the overwhelming differences of opinions on what constitutes pain, and, pleasure. Often, when parents murder their toddlers it is because they believed the toddlers would be better off away from this cruel world.

The Case for a Good Society? How much longer must "civilization" exist before we discover that 'good society' of which You speak? That's pretty much like the opponents of Christ, during His life, who said His teachings/following would fade away. Well, over twenty centuries have past.......we are w-a-i-t-i-n-g! Human vacillation will continue as long as there exists humans. But, utilizing the absolute laws of Jesus Christ as our moral code, we in the Christian Community will never have to decide 'is that pain, or, pleasure to my fellow human.

So, there are a whole lot of people much more intelligent that Thomas Jefferson, or, me. You may be one of them. I am a Christian, Mr. Jefferson, a Deist (i think?), yet he saw that time had not cured the human ethics/morals dilemma, and i, the same. I add a component of Eternal Life with the One of whom Mr. Jefferson followed. I choose to not take the Soul-risk of doing otherwise.

Ken ORR

September 1, 2012 at 4:31 p.m.
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