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Old 6th May 2012, 09:05 PM   #281
Dinwar
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Quote:
Selfish motivations always result in sinful actions.
I once wanted a rhubarb pie. I worked for a day on a farm to earn a bag of rhubarb for payment. It was purely selfish--I didn't care if the hog crap got taken out of the pen, but that pie drove me. Was that sinful?

When I got home I asked my sister to make the pie crust. I knew how to make the filling, but couldn't make the crust. In exchange, I offered her one of the pies. We both operated out of pure selfishness. Were either of us sinful?

My mother offered some of her ingredients. She didn't do it to help us--in fact, she was rather harsh in the way she demanded we clean up after ourselves. In exchange I offered her one of the pies we made. We both acted out of our own selfish interests. Were either of us sinful?

If the answer is "Yes" to any of these, please state why. And please don't use the typical tactic of "Well, you weren't REALLY acting selfishly". I'm reporting our motives accurately--we all honestly were acting purely selfishly, and didn't give a hoot what the others did.
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Old 6th May 2012, 10:58 PM   #282
Craig B
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I believe the Bible was written by the people it says it was written by, which means in many cases we are talking about eye witnesses to the events, or at least to some of the events.
I also believe Moses wrote the Pentateuch, so I disagree with the idea that it was an oral tradition that was recorded after many centuries.
Avalon, the Pentateuch couldn't have been written by any Moses, as it contains very many things of which he couldn't possibly have left a record, like an account of his own death and burial in Deuteronomy. There is a huge literature on these anachronisms and impossibilities in the Pentateuch, which I invite you to peruse. See for example http://greek-language.com/bible/palm...authorship.PDF . Scholars have been discussing this for centuries. So we're not interested in what you "believe" if it's plainly contrary to the evidence, for on that basis you could "believe" that Mickey Spillane wrote the Pentateuch.

As regards the Pentateuch and sin, I have cited the list of prohibitions and threats of death contained in Leviticus 20, including the provisions that adulterers, wizards and homosexuals be executed. May I have your comments?

Last edited by Craig B; 6th May 2012 at 11:01 PM. Reason: Spelling correction.
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Old 6th May 2012, 11:34 PM   #283
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We in Scotland have a martyr to the cause of disbelief in the Mosaic authorship of the Torah. In 1697, an 18 year old student at Edinburgh University was put to death for blasphemy, the last person in Britain to suffer that fate. Like you, the Scottish authorities took Leviticus 20 literally. http://www.executedtoday.com/2008/01...mas-aikenhead/
Quote:
Thou Aikenhead, the indictment thundered in the second person:
Quote:
shakeing off all fear of God and regaird to his majesties lawes, have now for more than a twelvemoneth by past…(vented) your wicked blasphemies against God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and against the holy Scriptures, and all revealled religione…you said and affirmed, that divinity or the doctrine of theologie was a rapsidie of faigned and ill-invented nonsense, patched up partly of the morall doctrine of philosophers, and pairtly of poeticall fictions and extravagant chimeras
He called the Old Testament “Ezra’s fables”, Jesus the “Imposter Christ” (preferring Mahomet), and anticipated the extirpation of Christianity.

It was a bare two weeks from conviction to execution. Accounts of Aikenhead’s last days seem inconsistent; the prisoner recanted, possibly sincerely, but the Church — explicitly handed the power to at least reprieve him by its intervention — demanded hurried and “vigorous execution.”

Macaulay disgustedly pictured the scene:
Quote:
The preachers who were the boy’s murderers crowded round him at the gallows, and, while he was struggling in the last agony, insulted Heaven with prayers more blasphemous than any thing that [Aikenhead] had ever uttered.
The singular punishment meted out this day — the last hanging for blasphemy throughout the United Kingdom — cast a long shadow into the coming century’s remarkable Scottish renaissance and lingers even today as a suggestion to some just how near the menace of theocracy might yet remain.
If I was a citizen of the USA I would worry about that, too.

By the way, the suggestion that Ezra and not Moses is the author of the Pentateuch is quite plausible. It receives "strong Biblical support" at Nehemiah 8:1-7.
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Old 7th May 2012, 02:30 AM   #284
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> What Is Sin?

Well,
- smoking cigarettes
- watching television
- porn
- blood transfusions
- wearing a short skirt
- working on Saturday
- eating pork
- etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
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Old 7th May 2012, 02:33 AM   #285
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
If I was a citizen of the USA I would worry about that, too.
I wouldn't. In the US we have the First Amendment; anti-blasphemy laws are unconstitutional.
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Old 7th May 2012, 02:58 AM   #286
Craig B
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I wouldn't. In the US we have the First Amendment; anti-blasphemy laws are unconstitutional.
You do not think it is possible that following a theocratic usurpation there would be changes in the Constitution, as the Dominionists openly demand?

And what about Leviticus 20? Here we find strong Biblical support for executing wizards, homosexuals and adulterers. Your definition of homosexuality as sin derives from your belief that this chapter, like the whole Pentateuch, was written by God through the hand of Moses. So do you call for the execution of homosexuals on the grounds that it is mandated in Leviticus 20?
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Old 7th May 2012, 03:42 AM   #287
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Mod Warning Do not personalize your arguments, and remain civil and polite.
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Old 7th May 2012, 04:07 AM   #288
Craig B
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Originally Posted by jhunter1163 View Post
Mod Warning Do not personalize your arguments, and remain civil and polite.
Posted By:jhunter1163
The discussion seems quite restrained to me.
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Old 7th May 2012, 04:14 AM   #289
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
You do not think it is possible that following a theocratic usurpation there would be changes in the Constitution, as the Dominionists openly demand?
I don't think there is today, or will ever be, enough support for such a terrible idea.

Quote:
And what about Leviticus 20? Here we find strong Biblical support for executing wizards, homosexuals and adulterers. Your definition of homosexuality as sin derives from your belief that this chapter, like the whole Pentateuch, was written by God through the hand of Moses. So do you call for the execution of homosexuals on the grounds that it is mandated in Leviticus 20?
Your premise is faulty. I don't base my belief on anything being a sin from its prohibition to the Israelites in the Law of Moses.
I am not an Israelite.
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Old 7th May 2012, 04:28 AM   #290
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I don't think there is today, or will ever be, enough support for such a terrible idea.

Your premise is faulty. I don't base my belief on anything being a sin from its prohibition to the Israelites in the Law of Moses.
I am not an Israelite.

Since you have not offered any sort of objective criteria for your determination of sin/not-sin, it appears you simply make it up. Is lying a sin?
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Old 7th May 2012, 04:49 AM   #291
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Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
Since you have not offered any sort of objective criteria for your determination of sin/not-sin, it appears you simply make it up.
Is that what it appears to you?

Quote:
Is lying a sin?
For me, almost certainly.
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Old 7th May 2012, 05:13 AM   #292
Craig B
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I don't think there is today, or will ever be, enough support for such a terrible idea.
Good. You set the US Constitution above the Bible as a source of legitimate social and political authority.
Quote:
Your premise is faulty. I don't base my belief on anything being a sin from its prohibition to the Israelites in the Law of Moses.
I am not an Israelite.
This is a strange restriction. Are you saying that "strong Biblical support" for definitions of sin, which you have stated you consider important as a Biblical literalist, cannot be derived from the Pentateuch - that you yourself attribute to Moses? I can't follow this, I have to say.

In addition to this problem, we have another: the New Testament writers on the topic of sin and homosexuality base their condemnations specifically on the Old Testament. Jesus is given nothing to say about homosexuality in the Gospels, so we shall have recourse to the Epistle of Jude.
Quote:
4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. 5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe ... 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
The Pentateuch knows nothing of eternal fire, but all the rest of Jude's diatribe comes straight from that source, and in it Jude derives the sovereignty and lordship of Jesus from that same God Who delivered the Israelites, annihilated the unbelievers, and whacked the Sodomites. So Jude bases definitions of sin on the conduct of God revealed in the OT. You seem to fallen into a sort of Marcionite position here, or at least you seem puzzlingly inconsistent in your beliefs.

I would be grateful if you could clarify your position on the authority of the OT as regards sin.

Last edited by Craig B; 7th May 2012 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 7th May 2012, 05:18 AM   #293
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Good. You set the US Constitution above the Bible as a source of legitimate social and political authority.
Nope.
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Old 7th May 2012, 05:31 AM   #294
Craig B
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Nope.
I am even more confused, and renew my request for enlightenment.
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Old 7th May 2012, 06:15 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Avalon, the Pentateuch couldn't have been written by any Moses, as it contains very many things of which he couldn't possibly have left a record, like an account of his own death and burial in Deuteronomy. There is a huge literature on these anachronisms and impossibilities in the Pentateuch, which I invite you to peruse. See for example http://greek-language.com/bible/palm...authorship.PDF . Scholars have been discussing this for centuries.
I'm aware of these arguments, but thank you for your link -- it's a well-written and concise summary explaining a lot of the arguments made on this point.
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Old 7th May 2012, 06:33 AM   #296
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I'm aware of these arguments, but thank you for your link -- it's a well-written and concise summary explaining a lot of the arguments made on this point.
Thank you. Do you reject the arguments? On what grounds, if so?

But anyway, you believe Moses to be the author of the Torah, and so did the author of Jude, and you accept it as reason for condemning homosexuality, so why not execute homosexuals, wizards and adulterers? Jude even condemns the Sodomites to eternal fire.

I don't believe it ever happened (the passage has been interpolated into John) but in the story where Jesus encounters people about to stone a woman for adultery, he embarrasses them into abandoning the operation; but he does not denounce the Mosaic provision as invalid in principle. He could have said, God does not require such punishments and they must never be applied, but he does not.
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Old 7th May 2012, 09:22 AM   #297
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Originally Posted by GeeMack
Since you have not offered any sort of objective criteria for your determination of sin/not-sin, it appears you simply make it up.
He hasn't offered any objective evidence for the concept of sin, but he's made it clear that he hasn't simply made it up. He's going off what the Bible says, which means he's accepting that other people made up and translated, and what the Council of Niccea approved of.

Originally Posted by AvalonXQ
I wouldn't. In the US we have the First Amendment; anti-blasphemy laws are unconstitutional.
Given that Creationists are actively working to install a theocracy, I'm not sure how much of a deffense that is.
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Old 7th May 2012, 09:42 AM   #298
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Given that Creationists are actively working to install a theocracy, I'm not sure how much of a deffense that is.
From his recent posts, I am unable to work out whether in any case Avalon thinks it right to defend the US Constitution against theocratic encroachments. He says that a blasphemy law would be terrible, but also that he doesn't consider the Constitution to be the prime source of political and social legitimacy in the USA. I hope he will find time to clear this up.

In England there is still a blasphemy law, which has been given quite recent airings in court. But the UK is by no means a theocratic society. The Irish Republic was, however, clearly a theocracy until very recent times; that country is speedily secularising itself.

Condom vending machines in Dublin pub toilets. De Valera must be spinning in his grave!

Last edited by Craig B; 7th May 2012 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 7th May 2012, 09:44 AM   #299
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Originally Posted by Trakar View Post
The placing of self, concerns and desires of self, ahead of all else is probably the the best definition of "sin" I have ever encountered.
Frankly, I consider it just the opposite.

No one is, or should be more concerned about my well being than I am. As it is every individual's responsibility to put their well-being first. It is my responsibility to take care of myself first, and if anything is a "sin" it is to expect someone else to put my concerns over their own.

Screwing over others is a sin because it is only beneficial in the short term. If I cheat others, they will cheat me, or refuse to deal with me, or refuse me help when I need it. Humans function better in groups and those groups work better if the members help each other out.

Putting a romantic partner first is making them responsible for your happiness. That's not a fair burden to place on anyone's shoulders. Besides, "...you can't respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn't work."
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Old 7th May 2012, 10:22 AM   #300
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Piscivore, I think on the whole you've persuaded me that Trakar has a good point. At least he's not hauled particular religious dogmas into his definition, and the burden of kissing people's ass is barely relevant to the question. Sin and respect aren't the same thing, and aren't opposites either.
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Old 7th May 2012, 10:39 AM   #301
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Piscivore, I think on the whole you've persuaded me that Trakar has a good point. At least he's not hauled particular religious dogmas into his definition,
Which "religious dogma" do you feel I've invoked?

Quote:
...and the burden of kissing people's ass is barely relevant to the question. Sin and respect aren't the same thing, and aren't opposites either.
That was a quote from "Ferris Beuller", and a joke.
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Old 7th May 2012, 10:46 AM   #302
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Piscivore View Post
Which "religious dogma" do you feel I've invoked?
None at all! But there are others on this thread who do, and with them I disagree.
Quote:
That was a quote from "Ferris Beuller", and a joke.
Sorry, failed to recognise the source. I spotted it as facetious, however.

Anyway, I still think Trakar's definition isn't so bad.
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Old 7th May 2012, 10:50 AM   #303
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No one is, or should be more concerned about my well being than I am. As it is every individual's responsibility to put their well-being first. It is my responsibility to take care of myself first, and if anything is a "sin" it is to expect someone else to put my concerns over their own.
Agreed entirely. My life is my responsibility--just as everyone else's life is THEIR responsibility.

Being your brother's keeper sounds good; after all, it's considered good to be generous. The problem is, this is unworkable. If it's selfish for me to keep something for myself, it's equally selfish for the person I'm giving it to to accept it--and if selfishness is wrong, it's just as wrong to accept charity (which is placing yourself before the charitable person) as it is to refuse to donate to charity in the first place. Rational selfishness is at least consistent.

Originally Posted by Craig B
and the burden of kissing people's ass is barely relevant to the question. Sin and respect aren't the same thing, and aren't opposites either.
You missed the point. It's not wrong to want your wife to be happy--it IS wrong to make it your driving goal, however. You cannot force someone to be happy, and it's wrong to try, despite being the most selfless thing you can do. This has nothing to do with respect; you can respect someone without making their happiness a goal. I've annoyed a LOT of people I respect, and I'm okay with that because, well, they were wrong (and many admit it).

Respecting someone doesn't mean selflessly devoting your life to them. It means acknowledging that you share fundamental values with them (fundamental to the applicable situation, at least; I can respect a person as a scientist and still view their politics, diet, or whatever as hopelessly rediculous).
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Old 7th May 2012, 10:52 AM   #304
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I wouldn't. In the US we have the First Amendment; anti-blasphemy laws are unconstitutional.
And how well does your constitution or any constitution constrain reality?

Slavery, anyone?

Lynching, anyone?
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:02 AM   #305
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Dinwar,

Your
Quote:
My life is my responsibility--just as everyone else's life is THEIR responsibility.
is absolutly right. But Trakar did not equate sin with people making themselves primarily responsible for their own lives. He defined it as putting considerations of self above all else. That by no means negates personal responsibility.
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:15 AM   #306
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Originally Posted by Craig B
But Trakar did not equate sin with people making themselves primarily responsible for their own lives. He defined it as putting considerations of self above all else. That by no means negates personal responsibility.
Somehow I doubt Trakar would be an Objectivist like me.

I DO put myself above all else. The reason I don't violate the rights of others is because I don't want to create a system in which they have free reign to violate MY rights. The reason I don't steal from people is because such actions will harm MY life in the long run. Etc. My actions are taken to make my life better. The fact that I'm no a sociopath or murderer is due to the fact that I'm rational about what makes my life better.

Trakar, in contrast, advocates selflessness--which is the opposite of my moral code.
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:25 AM   #307
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I'm not sure that's actually Objectivism, though. It sounds more like enlightened self-interest to me.
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:27 AM   #308
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
Since you have not offered any sort of objective criteria for your determination of sin/not-sin, it appears you simply make it up.
Is that what it appears to you?

Yes. What you consider a sin is arbitrary, wholly nonobjective. Your attempts to explain it appear to be an exercise in contradiction and hypocrisy. This statement shows that your judgement of sin/not-sin is based on what can objectively be described as your imagination (or voices in your head)...
Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Prayer and honest communion with God is the only way to identify sin.
Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
Is lying a sin?
For me, almost certainly.

Since you have provided instances of lying right here in this thread, how do you square that with the belief that lying is a sin? Is it not a sin if it's done as a matter of habit rather than by conscious intent? Can people get themselves off the hook for lying by apologizing to some invisible magical being? Does the sin hang with the sinner forever? Does it go away once they've forgotten about it? Is there some objective action people can take to make it all better? Is getting rid of sin as arbitrary as deciding what is or isn't a sin?
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:34 AM   #309
Dinwar
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann
I'm not sure that's actually Objectivism, though. It sounds more like enlightened self-interest to me.
I'm glossing over some details; if someone really wants to know more I'd recommend Dr. Peikoff's podcast and Dr. Hsieh's Noodlefood podcast. My point still stands: selflessness stands in opposition to rational self-interest.
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:41 AM   #310
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Somehow I doubt Trakar would be an Objectivist like me.

I DO put myself above all else. The reason I don't violate the rights of others is because I don't want to create a system in which they have free reign to violate MY rights. The reason I don't steal from people is because such actions will harm MY life in the long run. Etc. My actions are taken to make my life better. The fact that I'm no a sociopath or murderer is due to the fact that I'm rational about what makes my life better.

Trakar, in contrast, advocates selflessness--which is the opposite of my moral code.
That is very clear. I'm glad I induced you to be so open about your motivations.

Trakar is definitely right, then. Nothing likely to be permitted by the Moderators occurs to me as a response to your disquisition.
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:42 AM   #311
HansMustermann
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Well, the religious idea of making it a thought crime is certainly in opposition to anything rational, not just self-interest
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:44 AM   #312
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Given that Creationists are actively working to install a theocracy, I'm not sure how much of a deffense that is.
Can you back this assertion up with evidence, please?
I know Christians who are interested in having the Bible taught in school, but none who are interested in a church-run government.
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:45 AM   #313
Craig B
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, the religious idea of making it a thought crime is certainly in opposition to anything rational, not just self-interest
Making what a thoughtcrime?
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Old 7th May 2012, 11:47 AM   #314
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Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
Since you have provided instances of lying right here in this thread,
No, I haven't.
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Old 7th May 2012, 12:02 PM   #315
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
No, I haven't.

So lying is a sin, but saying things that aren't true isn't lying. That's rich.

Obviously you agree that lying isn't a sin for other people, since you don't judge other people. But for those who do believe lying is a sin, is it okay to lie if someone does it out of habit and doesn't even catch themselves as they're doing it? Is lying a sin even if the lies are denied or simply ignored?
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Old 7th May 2012, 12:07 PM   #316
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
I believe the Bible was written by the people it says it was written by, which means in many cases we are talking about eye witnesses to the events, or at least to some of the events.
I also believe Moses wrote the Pentateuch, so I disagree with the idea that it was an oral tradition that was recorded after many centuries.
Luke was an eyewitness to the life and times of Jesus?
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Old 7th May 2012, 12:12 PM   #317
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Can you back this assertion up with evidence, please?
I know Christians who are interested in having the Bible taught in school, but none who are interested in a church-run government.
You may know none personally, but they exist. See http://www.salon.com/2011/08/21/posner_nar_dominionism/ .
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Old 7th May 2012, 12:15 PM   #318
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Can you back this assertion up with evidence, please?
I know Christians who are interested in having the Bible taught in school, but none who are interested in a church-run government.
.
They're pushing the nose of the camel of intolerance into the tent of freedom from religion.
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Old 7th May 2012, 01:12 PM   #319
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Originally Posted by Dinwar View Post
Being your brother's keeper sounds good; after all, it's considered good to be generous. The problem is, this is unworkable. If it's selfish for me to keep something for myself, it's equally selfish for the person I'm giving it to to accept it--and if selfishness is wrong, it's just as wrong to accept charity (which is placing yourself before the charitable person) as it is to refuse to donate to charity in the first place. Rational selfishness is at least consistent.
Thank you. I've never understood that either. The idea of charity as an ideal, seems like it requires the giver and receiver to have different moral codes, or for the giver to simply use the receiver to achieve his goal, without considering the transaction from the receiver's point of view.
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Old 7th May 2012, 01:27 PM   #320
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Originally Posted by Craig B
That is very clear. I'm glad I induced you to be so open about your motivations.

Trakar is definitely right, then. Nothing likely to be permitted by the Moderators occurs to me as a response to your disquisition.
I'm an Objectivist. My older sister is an avowed socialist. Do you honestly think that there's anything you couuld say to me that's worse than what I've heard? As long as you're not weilding a weapon the conversation is significantly more polite than many I've had on this issue.

Besides, the fact that you dislike my motivations is irrelevant. Whether or not *I* like them is beside the point. The issue is whether they're correct or not.

As for my motivation in this thread, it's precisely what the OP states: I wanted to get on open discussion about what sin is going, because it was an issue raised on other threads, was interesting, and would have lead them off-topic. I've refrained from stating my views, because I wanted to see what others thought.

Originally Posted by AvalonXQ
Can you back this assertion up with evidence, please?
Google "The Wedge Document" and "The Wedge Strategy". They're widely-enough known that I'm surprised you're asking.

Quote:
I know Christians who are interested in having the Bible taught in school, but none who are interested in a church-run government.
We're not talking about the same thing. I didn't say "Christians", I said "Creationists". There was a Jesuit priest involved in finding a number of significant anthropological sites, and the RCC officially accepts evolution; obviously Christians/Catholics accept evolution. Creationists, on the other hand--at least the leaders of the movement--certainly ARE working towards a theocracy, with teaching the Bible in public schools as a first step.
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