Friday, November 18, 2005

Good, evil and dogma

The Intellectual Insurgent has a simply awesome blog on the implications of using (divine) revelation in the identification of good vs evil.
As I've posted previously, I feel the best course of determining right and wrong is the use of the human intellect. Many argue that our sense of right and wrong comes from god, or the gods. I certainly hope not: more atrocities have been committed in god's name than practically any other reason. And once the debate starts down that path: i.e. - here's what I believe my god says, truly critical thought is out the window.
No, I put my trust in our own gray matter... as II says:
Is it possible to be so confident that you have the one sole only Right answer without crossing the line between good and evil? No.
Question your conclusions. Seek out and analyze the facts. Adherence to dogma shuts down the thinking process. Without critical though you are on the path to blind obedience -- and you are on the path to disaster.


Capt. Fogg said...

Very true, faith is the end of reason and often also the end of humility. It's impossible to live up the the Christian ideal of humility when you refuse to consider that you might be wrong.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

Thanks for the shout out. The Bible says A LOT about pride being the source of destruction. The idea that one person is so perfect that he can have 100% confidence he has made the correct answer is to have pride - is to have an abundance of self-assuredness that only God is supposed to have. Even if you are pretty sure, there is always information you don't know and a truly religious person has humility in that he might make a mistake and that it is okay to do so.

Democracy Lover said...

Sounds like you may have read The End of Faith by Sam Harris. He makes a lot of these same points, although his analysis of Islamic extremism is highly suspect.

I certainly agree that "divine revelation" makes no positive contribution to the identification of good and evil - some pretty obvious negative ones, but nothing positive.

Ed said...

"God wants Spiritual Fruit, not Religious Nuts." I saw this saying the other day and thought it was so appropriate.

Reign of Reason said...

Thanks for the comments all... (was traveling the last couple of days).

I haven't read "The End of Faith" yet -- but I have heard of it. I need to put it on the list.

I heard Jimmy Carter on NPR the other day. It was so refreshing to hear a person with very strong faith say that it could be summarized in two 'commandments': Love god and love the person in front of you.

If our current leaders had such focus we'd likely have a completely different foreign policy.

Free Agency Rules said...

We all use "standards" to measure anything. The old grey matter should be the instrument to measure those standards.

Now the source of those standards should not come from the heart, they should come from reason and intellect as well.

Most would say that the Question of God deserves the most consideration of all questions we could ask, for the implications are eternal if one side is correct.

For those on the other side, what hope that there is nothing after this world, many of them commit more henous acts than all religions combined in the history of the world.

The secular Russians and Chinese have murdered almost a hundred million of their citizens in the name of instilling their form of non-religion called secular humanism. If you hand out a bible in China today you get three years in prison.

There are crazy people in every walk in life, but if we are looking at the difference between secularism and religion the facts are clear.

We founded our Country to get away from religious persecution so we could practice any form of religion, not to get away from religion.

And then there are those who still want to persecute those who belive in a God, who they belive think that they have all the answers, but, then the persecutors think they have all the answers, irony.



Free Agency Rules said...

capt. fogg,

Said: "It's impossible to live up the the Christian ideal of humility when you refuse to consider that you might be wrong."

So true for those who think they know all about the Bible and God. They also refuse to consider that they might be wrong as well.

The tell tale sign of which side is on the right track, is the side that asks questions about things that they are not scholary about. They have an open mind.

But those who don't really know the Bible are the ones who refuse to ask questions about it, they believe they have more knowledge about the Bible than Scholars.




Free Agency Rules said...

democracy lover,

said: "I certainly agree that "divine revelation" makes no positive contribution to the identification of good and evil - some pretty obvious negative ones, but nothing positive."

The Ten Commandments were given by direct revelation and have "no positive contribution" to the identification of good and evil?

Are you sure you don't want to retract that statement, seems like a pretty silly statement to me.



Reign of Reason said...


Which TEN COMMANDMENTS are you refering to?

Exodus 20, or my favorites, Exodus 34 ("Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon [these] tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.")?

I really like #10 in that list better: "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk."

The Ten Commandments haven't had a "positive contribution". The commandments against murder and stealing were part of the common law centuries BEFORE they were adopted by European nations. Its not like they waited around for christianity to figure that out.

No -- I'll stick with reason and that gray matter to figure out what’s right.

Reign of Reason said...

I also don't think that the question concerning "the existence of god" is the most important one we can ask.

Even if he exists, which one is he? The christian god? muslim? vishnu? buddha?

I simply don't concern myself with a question that (as Benjamin Franklin said) I'll shortly know the answer too (once I die).

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Anonymous said...

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