Observations

“MODERN masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin — a fact as practical as potatoes. Whether or not man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing.” ~ GK Chesterton:  ‘Orthodoxy.’

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11 Responses to Observations

  1. Please, do not be some presumptuous as to consider sin as fact. A fact is an objective truth, a fact would be the existence of life, and of matter and of death. Such concepts as sin and righteousness stem from a theory of justice which is anything but objective. Even within your Christian universe, there are divers opinions as to what a sin is: what is a sin to a catholic may not be a sin to a protestant, and so on. And then there is the reasonable human, that human which you term as atheist, who realizes that sin is merely a concept, as Good an Evil are simply concepts. Sin is your perception, and remember it only exists within your paradigm. Now, in case you were to try to show your paradigm as being the objective view, please remember the talking snakes and the 900 year old men who also inhabit your view…

  2. jackhudson says:

    Even if it weren’t a fact, what possible problem would you have with presenting it as one?

  3. alexbpop says:

    Chesterton also said elsewhere that if you need to see evidence of sin, just read the newspaper. The evidence is plainly evidence for those not too blind too see.

  4. Because that would be a lie jackhudson, ironically that would be what you call a sin, presuming that you are a theist. I do not have a problem in dealing with “evil” and the committing of “evil”, or “sin”, as a fact when said evil is such from a humanistic perspective. First off, lets clarify the definition of the concept evil.Something is evil, to you, when it is contrary to the continuation of your existence or against your very nature.That said,an object or an action is evil only subjectively; in your fantastic conception of the universe, the devil is evil to god but the devil is not thus evil totally. In fact god is evil to the devil, because god is contrary to the devil.Okay, back to reality:from a humanistic stance, evil is the hurricane which kills and the tiger which hunts and the rapist which molests….Man. Evil from this view is anything which destroys human life. This version of evil differs in certain way from the theistic form, though their are many similarities, because, well, that version came from man too. But it is tainted by dogmatic bile, thus it is only deserving to be disposed of.

    So all that said,evil from a humanistic point of view, (it is what you read about in the newspapers), must for the sake of humanity be treated as something contrary, as something hostile, as something evil, by being punished by the ‘justice’ system.I fully agree with this because I believe in the power of society. What I do not agree with was this bloggers usage of the religious conception of sin being called a fact. That is a lie. It such a flagrant lie that I had to speak up. To consider religion based on fact? That would be comical if it weren’t an abomination. Religion is currently in a losing battle with fact.

  5. jackhudson says:

    Chesterton also said elsewhere that if you need to see evidence of sin, just read the newspaper. The evidence is plainly evidence for those not too blind too see.

    It seems one either has to acknowledge evil in the world or believe we live in a world that is exactly as it ought to be; to believe the latter would be the true delusion.

  6. jackhudson says:

    Because that would be a lie jackhudson, ironically that would be what you call a sin, presuming that you are a theist.

    I am a Christian, and obviously I do think a lie is a sin – but the question was what problem would you have with it, not being a theist and not being required to see a lie as a sin?

    I do not have a problem in dealing with “evil” and the committing of “evil”, or “sin”, as a fact when said evil is such from a humanistic perspective. First off, lets clarify the definition of the concept evil. Something is evil, to you, when it is contrary to the continuation of your existence or against your very nature.

    Well let me be clear, as a Christian, this is not my definition of evil – something is evil when it is not as it ought to be in accordance with God’s nature or His intentions for humanity.

    That said,an object or an action is evil only subjectively; in your fantastic conception of the universe, the devil is evil to god but the devil is not thus evil totally. In fact god is evil to the devil, because god is contrary to the devil.

    Actually, this is not at all the case. God is not the polar opposite of the Satan, and evil is not the polar opposite of good. Evil is the absence of good, in the same sense darkness is the absence of light. God is the embodiment of moral goodness, truth, and love, these characteristics are absent from Satan. Stan has a will, and he sets that will in opposition to God’s will, but they aren’t in some yin and yang relationship where one is merely the negation of the other – God is the immutable, infinite and eternal uncreated source of goodness, Satan is a creature with limits and weaknesses. It somewhat obvious from your statements that you don’t actually understand what Christians believe.

    Okay, back to reality: from a humanistic stance, evil is the hurricane which kills and the tiger which hunts and the rapist which molests….Man. Evil from this view is anything which destroys human life. This version of evil differs in certain way from the theistic form, though their are many similarities, because, well, that version came from man too. But it is tainted by dogmatic bile, thus it is only deserving to be disposed of.

    Again, I think this is nonsensical. Generally speaking evil from the perspective of any paradigm would be an event or action that is contrary to what ought to be. In this sense we all share a sense of what sin or evil is. The difference is, such a sense is consistent with what a Christian believes – a Christian can see a tiger killing a man as evil because this is not how nature should be, man is not merely a food source, he is created in the image of God. As a result he is to exhibit dominion over nature – the world and it’s creature are created for man, he is not merely another creature that occurred incidentally on this planet. So for a tiger to kill a man is contrary to God’s design for mankind – it is not our experience as it ought to be.

    From a humanistic paradigm to call this evil is silly. Tigers have no rational sense of the specialness of humans, and humans would be merely creature like any other. It would be no more or less ‘evil’ for a tiger to eat a man than for him to eat an antelope. Of course humans might have a natural instinct to avoid death by tigers, but there is no ‘ought’ in the humanist perspective that should lead us to expect some of us shouldn’t be killed by tigers, thus we can’t call such deaths ‘evil’.

    So all that said,evil from a humanistic point of view, (it is what you read about in the newspapers), must for the sake of humanity be treated as something contrary, as something hostile, as something evil, by being punished by the ‘justice’ system.I fully agree with this because I believe in the power of society.

    Again, this doesn’t comport with your previous statement; you call hurricanes and man-killing tigers evil, but obviously we don’t prosecute them for crimes. And if society is the standard by which we define evil, then what of societies that readily murder and persecute minorities and undesirables? What of societies that feed people to tigers for entertainment? If there is no objective measure of evil, then how could we call any action evil which a society defines as good?

    What I do not agree with was this bloggers usage of the religious conception of sin being called a fact. That is a lie. It such a flagrant lie that I had to speak up. To consider religion based on fact? That would be comical if it weren’t an abomination. Religion is currently in a losing battle with fact.

    The very fact that you consider some things to be evil belies the fact that you realize there is a way things ought to be which is contrary to the way things are. In short, you sense the reality of sin even if your worldview undermines the existence of sin. There is no reason to speak up against a lie unless it is objectively true that it is wrong to lie – and you sense this fact even if your worldview doesn’t allow you to call it a fact. Your actions contradict your beliefs; Christians don’t have this problem.

  7. Obviously I need to clarify the situation. I do not consider anything to be OBJECTIVELY evil. In this respect you could say I don’t believe in evil or sin. The fact that cancer kills somebody does not make cancer a universal evil. But, from a HUMANISTIC standpoint, this murderous cancer IS evil, not because it is contrary to God, but due to the fact that it is deleterious to life.
    So you could say that I acknowledge humanistic evils and oppose them, but only because I am biased toward the progress of the human beast. This morality has nothing to do with theistic conceptions of evil, which adds a very dangerous and polarizing level by promoting the idea that evil is merely the absence of God.

    From my slim knowledge in the histories of Man, it is evident to me that this theistic morality has caused more destruction, more racism, more genocide,than this humanistic morality. In fact I am of the opinion that your theistic dribble is a mutated son of this human ethical system.

    -“From a humanistic paradigm to call this evil is silly. Tigers have no rational sense of the specialness of humans, and humans would be merely creature like any other. It would be no more or less ‘evil’ for a tiger to eat a man than for him to eat an antelope. Of course humans might have a natural instinct to avoid death by tigers, but there is no ‘ought’ in the humanist perspective that should lead us to expect some of us shouldn’t be killed by tigers, thus we can’t call such deaths ‘evil’.”-jackhudson

    This of course would be relevant if I were speaking of evil from the tigers perspective, or if one were looking upon the situation in an entirely objective manner, but I was doing neither. I refered to the tiger’s action in eating a human as ‘evil’ solely from a HUMANISTIC stance, in other words from from the perspective of the average rational human. You misunderstand one massive truth about my beliefs: THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL EVIL. So objectively, yes the tiger eats the man, the gunman shoots up the theater, etc., and none of it can be called evil. But from the eyes of a human, of course, these are evils, and biologically we react to these perceived evils by either running or fighting.

    “Again, I think this is nonsensical. Generally speaking evil from the perspective of any paradigm would be an event or action that is contrary to what ought to be. In this sense we all share a sense of what sin or evil is. The difference is, such a sense is consistent with what a Christian believes – a Christian can see a tiger killing a man as evil because this is not how nature should be, man is not merely a food source, he is created in the image of God. As a result he is to exhibit dominion over nature – the world and it’s creature are created for man, he is not merely another creature that occurred incidentally on this planet. So for a tiger to kill a man is contrary to God’s design for mankind – it is not our experience as it ought to be.”-jackhudson.

    Okay, reading this I realize that I may be talking to a zealous Christian fundamentalist, that said I am speaking in vain, nevertheless, this is an entertaining debate and you are an intelligent opponent, so I will continue. First off “what ought to be” is only what ought to be from a human’s perspective. I understand that the fact that the universe is nothing but the universe is an unfathomable idea to you, since you believe in a religion that says there is an absolute purpose to things, and that glorifying God is the destined climax of this universe. This is solely speculation with no rational base. Your belief that nature was created for man to dominate stands directly opposed to the fact that of all the creatures that have existed, 99.9 percent are extinct. I just don’t think this would be so if all of God’s creatures were alive for our benefit. Man exhibits control over nature because he is the most advanced species on the scene, thanks to evolution, not God.

    “Again, this doesn’t comport with your previous statement; you call hurricanes and man-killing tigers evil, but obviously we don’t prosecute them for crimes. And if society is the standard by which we define evil, then what of societies that readily murder and persecute minorities and undesirables? What of societies that feed people to tigers for entertainment? If there is no objective measure of evil, then how could we call any action evil which a society defines as good?”-jackhudson.

    Evil from a HUMANISTIC PERSPECTIVE.. and a phenomena doesn’t need to be prosecuted to be termed as such. Also I never determined that society was the standard by which evil is defined nor did I say that society is flawless in its administration of reward and punishment. I said the human is the standard, and it will be through the proliferation of individual rights that society stops feeding people to tigers and sacrificing their sons’ to idols. These are errors, that will be ironed out. I find it ironic thought that you speak of these things, being a theist, persecution of people due to race is an accepted tradition of your god.

    ” The very fact that you consider some things to be evil belies the fact that you realize there is a way things ought to be which is contrary to the way things are. In short, you sense the reality of sin even if your worldview undermines the existence of sin. There is no reason to speak up against a lie unless it is objectively true that it is wrong to lie – and you sense this fact even if your worldview doesn’t allow you to call it a fact. Your actions contradict your beliefs; Christians don’t have this problem.”- jackhudson
    Have I shed light on the fallacy of your judgement?

  8. jackhudson says:

    Obviously I need to clarify the situation. I do not consider anything to be OBJECTIVELY evil. In this respect you could say I don’t believe in evil or sin. The fact that cancer kills somebody does not make cancer a universal evil. But, from a HUMANISTIC standpoint, this murderous cancer IS evil, not because it is contrary to God, but due to the fact that it is deleterious to life.
    So you could say that I acknowledge humanistic evils and oppose them, but only because I am biased toward the progress of the human beast. This morality has nothing to do with theistic conceptions of evil, which adds a very dangerous and polarizing level by promoting the idea that evil is merely the absence of God.

    You are begging the question – why is something that is deleterious to human life ‘evil’?

    From my slim knowledge in the histories of Man, it is evident to me that this theistic morality has caused more destruction, more racism, more genocide,than this humanistic morality. In fact I am of the opinion that your theistic dribble is a mutated son of this human ethical system.

    Your history of man is slim indeed – the humanistic ideologies of Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot and Kim Il-sung killed tens of millions, more than all the theistic ideologies combined. And not all ‘theistic’ ideologies are the same – obviously the ethics proposed by Christ differ from those of Mohammed.

    Also, you are suggesting that “destruction, racism, genocide” are ‘evil’ – that would only be the case if there were some objective standard which suggests they are evil.

    This of course would be relevant if I were speaking of evil from the tigers perspective, or if one were looking upon the situation in an entirely objective manner, but I was doing neither. I refered to the tiger’s action in eating a human as ‘evil’ solely from a HUMANISTIC stance, in other words from from the perspective of the average rational human. You misunderstand one massive truth about my beliefs: THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL EVIL. So objectively, yes the tiger eats the man, the gunman shoots up the theater, etc., and none of it can be called evil. But from the eyes of a human, of course, these are evils, and biologically we react to these perceived evils by either running or fighting.

    You continue to frame the argument in a circular manner – you say that the humanistic view is’ rational’. This suggests there is some empirical criteria by which we might judge actions as evil – but you also claim morality is subjective. If it is subjective, then then it is product of personal preference, which isn’t necessarily rational. So again I note that it is your view that is inherently contradictory, and thus irrational. The Christian perspective is wholly rational and consistent. Unless you can come up with some definition of ‘evil’ that isn’t merely the product of humanistic preference, then your view is certainly less rational than others.

    Okay, reading this I realize that I may be talking to a zealous Christian fundamentalist, that said I am speaking in vain, nevertheless, this is an entertaining debate and you are an intelligent opponent, so I will continue. First off “what ought to be” is only what ought to be from a human’s perspective. I understand that the fact that the universe is nothing but the universe is an unfathomable idea to you, since you believe in a religion that says there is an absolute purpose to things, and that glorifying God is the destined climax of this universe. This is solely speculation with no rational base. Your belief that nature was created for man to dominate stands directly opposed to the fact that of all the creatures that have existed, 99.9 percent are extinct. I just don’t think this would be so if all of God’s creatures were alive for our benefit. Man exhibits control over nature because he is the most advanced species on the scene, thanks to evolution, not God

    The fact that certain organisms no longer exist doesn’t mean we don’t benefit from their previous existence. The fuel in my car is evidence enough for that.

    But that is beside the point – I was merely establishing a baseline definition of evil or sin; something that you have yet to do. When I say something is evil (and remember, if definitions of evil are subjective, mine is as valid as your own) I am saying that this event or action is not as it ought to be in accordance with God’s nature and His intentions for mankind.

    When you say something is evil, what do you mean? How is your view ‘rational’?

    Evil from a HUMANISTIC PERSPECTIVE.. and a phenomena doesn’t need to be prosecuted to be termed as such. Also I never determined that society was the standard by which evil is defined nor did I say that society is flawless in its administration of reward and punishment. I said the human is the standard, and it will be through the proliferation of individual rights that society stops feeding people to tigers and sacrificing their sons’ to idols. These are errors, that will be ironed out. I find it ironic thought that you speak of these things, being a theist, persecution of people due to race is an accepted tradition of your god.

    Actually, all you keep saying is ‘evil from a humanistic perspective’ – what you don’t say is how humanism supposedly defines what is evil, or why that definition is ‘rational’. A ‘human’ can’t be the standard as there is no such thing as a standard human in terms of behavior or thought.

    And I am not sure why you think Christianity persecutes people due to ‘race’ as Christ never delineated people by race.

  9. I have in fact gave my definition of evil as something contrary, so for the human, which is a form of life, any phenomena which kills this human life can be thus evil, and for the theist, as you,ve said, the greatest evil is the absence of God, your Father God.
    I term what is ‘evil’ that which is contrary to my nature, and this is entirely rational. And your right, since there is no objective Evil, your consideration of evil is as valid as mine. But, you have proven my original point, that sin, in the theistic sense, has no basis in fact, that it is a concept reared in the minds of men, and that there is no universal Good or Evil.

    I did say the Humanistic view is rational, ratif

  10. sorry about that. Allow me to finish by critiquing your last attempt at a point. The fact that Christ was a good man doesn’t change the history of your god as recorded by the Old Testament. Nor does it change the brutal history of the Catholic church; the witch hunting, the inquisition, the destruction of knowledge because it didn’t fit ridiculous Christian science, or the Crusades. These are all immoral atrocities carried out by people under the morality of the Bible. And your rebuttal will be along the lines of saying that they were deviants or something. Well then where was God to guide them right? Where was God when thousands of innocents were slaughtered for possession of an old city?Where was God when the leaders of the ‘righteous Church, murdered women because they were intelligent enough to see through the delusion? And more important for you, where is your god today, as the tides are beginning to change and science and free-thinkers tear away at the 6,000 year old veil of god?

  11. jackhudson says:

    I have in fact gave my definition of evil as something contrary, so for the human, which is a form of life, any phenomena which kills this human life can be thus evil, and for the theist, as you,ve said, the greatest evil is the absence of God, your Father God.

    So let me get this straight (and I perceive there might be a language issue here) when you say evil is “anything contrary” – contrary to what? And if any phenomena which kills humans is evil, doesn’t that have the potential to render every phenomena evil, since there are a multitude of ways a human might die? Wouldn’t death be natural to a humanist?

    I term what is ‘evil’ that which is contrary to my nature, and this is entirely rational. And your right, since there is no objective Evil, your consideration of evil is as valid as mine. But, you have proven my original point, that sin, in the theistic sense, has no basis in fact, that it is a concept reared in the minds of men, and that there is no universal Good or Evil.

    I didn’t say the existence of evil wasn’t ‘objective’ – it is objective in the same way darkness is objective. Both evil and darkness have a basis in ‘fact’, that is we can point to something anyone can observe and say ‘that is an evil act’. And the fact we both agree evil exists tells us it’s not merely a matter of personal preference – where we differ is on the definition of evil, not on its objective existence. You acknowledge evil exists, though you seem unable to say what it is, but your confusion doesn’t mean it’s existence is subjective.

    The fact that Christ was a good man doesn’t change the history of your god as recorded by the Old Testament.

    Why would I want it to?

    Nor does it change the brutal history of the Catholic church; the witch hunting, the inquisition, the destruction of knowledge because it didn’t fit ridiculous Christian science, or the Crusades.

    The church is filled with humans, who are corruptible and capable of great evil. But one can only say that if one has an objective measure of evil, which you do not.

    These are all immoral atrocities carried out by people under the morality of the Bible. And your rebuttal will be along the lines of saying that they were deviants or something. Well then where was God to guide them right? Where was God when thousands of innocents were slaughtered for possession of an old city?Where was God when the leaders of the ‘righteous Church, murdered women because they were intelligent enough to see through the delusion? And more important for you, where is your god today, as the tides are beginning to change and science and free-thinkers tear away at the 6,000 year old veil of god?

    I think this is your answer to my point that great evils have been carried out by those acting on wholly humanistic philosophies, but you seem not to understand that I readily concede that many people have done evil in the name of God. It doesn’t change the fact that people have done evil for the sake of humanistic principles. Humans find all kinds of reasons to do evil – but this only further underlines the objective existence of evil. In the name of God or science or humanity, humans have done evil; we both agree evil certainly exists. All that is left here is for you to figure out why you continue to call things evil when you seem unable to come up with an objective definition of evil.

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