God isn’t dead though for many He is not relevant

In the 1960ies we often heard it said that God was dead.

Friedrich Nietzsche and his mother.

Friedrich Nietzsche and his mother. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, was appointed pastor at Röcken by order of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, after whom Friedrich Nietzsche was named. Before Friedrich Nietzsche’s fifth birthday his father died in 1849. He was left to live in a household consisting of five women: his mother, Franziska, his younger sister, Elisabeth, his maternal grandmother, and two aunts.

Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876)

Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806–1876) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After attending a private preparatory school, the Domgymnasium, he was admitted to Schulpforta, Germany’s leading Protestant boarding school. Having graduated in 1864, he went to the University of Bonn to study theology and classical philology.  Influenced by the textual criticism of the English and German classicists Richard Bentley and Gottfried Hermann, F.W. Ritschl, in full Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl became a classical scholar remembered for his work on Plautus and as the founder of the Bonn school of classical scholarship. It was under the tutelage of Ritschl in Leipzig that he further developed and became the only student ever to publish in Ritschl’s journal, Rheinisches Museum (“Rhenish Museum”). Ritschl assured the University of Basel that he had never seen anyone like Nietzsche in 40 years of teaching and that his talents were limitless and as such would be the best candidate to receive a professorship in classical philology that fell vacant in 1869 in Basel, Switzerland.

English: Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882...

English: Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882; One of five photographies by photographer Gustav Schultze, Naumburg, taken early September 1882. Public domain due to age of photography. Scan processed by Anton (2005)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his mature writings Nietzsche was preoccupied by the origin and function of values in human life.With his protestant background one can wonder if his expression “God is dead” was not misinterpreted.

Many people seem to assume that this implies God was once a living creature, and he has since passed away. But this is a misconception. Nietzsche was an atheist, and thus never believed that a God existed in any form except as a figment of the human imagination. {Nietzsche: God is Dead (Part 1)}

Though we do find this man writing a lot about God and looking at the Judeo-Christian tradition, which according to him made suffering tolerable by interpreting it as God’s intention and as an occasion for atonement. For him this clinging to a flattering doctrine of personal immortality, could also seen as man having created its god to feel safe and sure, but those who did not believe in a god or God also tried to cling to an other “true” world, also offering symptoms of a declining life, or life in distress.

But for Nietzsche when there  is no god man also has not need of a god and man did not have to create a “slave” and “master” world, but should be himself the master. Facing the gut (“good”), schlecht (“bad”), and böse (“evil”) was something we made up ourselves as a nonmoral reference to those who were privileged, the masters, as opposed to those who were base, the slaves. For him his generation had come in a timespan where religious and philosophical absolutes had dissolved in the emergence of 19th-century positivism.

With the collapse of metaphysical and theological foundations and sanctions for traditional morality only a pervasive sense of purposelessness and meaninglessness would remain. And the triumph of meaninglessness is the triumph of nihilism: “God is dead.” Nietzsche thought, however, that most people could not accept the eclipse of the ascetic ideal and the intrinsic meaninglessness of existence but would seek supplanting absolutes to invest life with meaning.{ on Friedrich Nietzsche in the Encyclopaedia Britannica}

Many do forget that as a thinker it might well be that Nietzsche also had come into conflict with the trinitarian thought and the sayings in the Scripture that there is only One true God Who is One and an eternal Spirit, not having bones, flesh or blood, whilst so many people around him worshipped a god with flesh, bones and blood who was born and who died. All such contradictions with what is written in the Old and the New Testament could have muddled his mind.

Eventually the faithful get so worried about the well-being of God, that they build an armour to protect him. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

When Nietzsche like others would have thought of that in such saying, he also could see the first sign that people were losing faith in God, also noticing around him how many people had lost faith in Him and did not trust God to take care of himself and able to endanger their safety.

The wannabe-philosopher of Finnish origin continues

Still at first, God is safe inside the armour and people continue to worship him. Over time though, God gets pissed off at the whole situation and leaves, or simply suffocates, leaving the armour for people to worship. People keep worshipping the hollow armour, and religion becomes a meaningless ritual with no substance to it. This is what “God is dead, and we have killed him” means. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

An “Autobiographical” philosopher also looks at the German philosopher, extremely critical of Christianity, but sees, like us, that we may not just take it as a sort of atheist statement which would be the “ultimate truth”. For Gabriel J. Mitchell

“God is Dead” simply means “The Christian god is becoming increasingly irrelevant to philosophy and culture”.  {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

Mitchell writes:

In popular culture the phrase is often mistaken as an anti-Christian statement. Some sort of declaration of Atheism. This is most obviously manifested in Christian content like the film God’s Not Dead. In the movie, a disgruntled atheist professor demands his students declare the death of God and embrace atheism. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

With his background and his protestant family it would be strange that with his pretty bold statement that would be going against his own family’s belief and bring a serious anti-Christian message.
The saying „Gott ist tot“ or “God is dead” also known as “the death of God” first appeared in Nietzsche’s 1882 collection “Die fröhliche Wissenschaft” or “The Joyful Wisdom” also known as The Gay Science,  also translated as “The Joyful Pursuit of Knowledge and Understanding”. The German Wissenschaft never indicates “Weisheit” or “wisdom”, but concerns any rigorous practice of a poised, controlled, and disciplined quest for knowledge, typically translated as “science”. Nietzsche speaks about “what if” which does not mean “it is”.

As such Nietzsche writes

What if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ […] Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.’ — [The Joyful Wisdom §341]

Buddha in Sarnath Museum (Dhammajak Mutra).jpg

A statue of the Buddha from Sarnath, 4th century CE

A demon or sick person often is seen as a mad person or some one not by his senses. That mad man also can look at different deities and ascetics and sages like Gautama Buddha, probably a very attractive figure for Nietzsche because of all the philosophic thoughts of that teacher who lived in northern India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries before the Common Era.

We find the first occurrence of the famous formulation “God is dead,” first in section 108.

After Buddha was dead, people
showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a
cave,—an immense frightful shadow. God is dead:
but as the human race is constituted, there will
perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which
people will show his shadow.—And we—we have
still to overcome his shadow! {— §108}

FW82.jpg

The Joyful Wisdom or The Gay Science, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887.

Section 125 depicts the parable of the madman who is searching for God. He accuses us all of being the murderers of God.

“‘Where is God?’ he cried; ‘I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers…”

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? {Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann}

Mitchell explains

The line is part of The Parable of the Madman a section from Nietzsche’s The Gay Science. It depicts a maddened individual running around a village asking where he can find God only to declare that God must be dead. In his ever creative style Nietzsche is using this madman as an outlet to explore an idea. Particularly he’s interested in the shifting values of European culture during his lifetime. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

More and more people took distance from religion, most people confusing God with Church. Having found so many lies in church they considered “God” also being a “fat lie”. Though many wondered what their life was to be and if there was nothing behind it or something hidden for them.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel also had pondered the death of God, first in his Phenomenology of Spirit where he considers the death of God to

‘not [be] seen as anything but an easily recognized part of the usual Christian cycle of redemption’

But there some thought Jesus Christ to be the God, and when Jesus is God and Jesus died than really God would have died. Naturally Jesus is not God, because God is a Spirit Who has no beginning and not end and to Whom man can do nothing. In case Jesus is God and has died God would be dead and this did hurt Hegel, who writes about the great pain of knowing that God is dead

‘The pure concept, however, or infinity, as the abyss of nothingness in which all being sinks, must characterize the infinite pain, which previously was only in culture historically and as the feeling on which rests modern religion, the feeling that God Himself is dead, (the feeling which was uttered by Pascal, though only empirically, in his saying: Nature is such that it marks everywhere, both in and outside of man, a lost God), purely as a phase, but also as no more than just a phase, of the highest idea.’.

Nietzsche recognizes the crisis that the death of God represents for existing moral assumptions:

“When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident… By breaking one main concept out of Christianity, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands.”

Nietzsche saw how man went away from the faith in God and by doing so was looking for new answers or better answers than the churches could give. When not any more believing in the beautiful masterly concept of creation by the Divine Maker belief of cosmic or physical order also fell to the ground.

Nietzsche saw Europe was slowly transitioning into a sort of cultural Nihilism. As advancements in science and technology lead to more and more questioning of the status quo, Philosophical values were beginning to shift. What Nietzsche is getting at here isn’t a declaration of the truth value of Christianity. In fact truth is a topic Nietzsche is extremely critical of. Instead he’s pointing out the weakening of Christian influences on society. {What Nietzsche Meant by “God is Dead”}

Clearly the church was loosing its grip on the citizens. The ability to have the Bible in print and available to lots of people, made them also aware that for years those churches had lied about many things. Those who really went to study the Scriptures where confronted with many things the church said which were not written at all in the Bible.
An other problem arose by the growing knowledge and advancement in the sciences. Several people wanted to play for god themselves.

Later on people can take a look inside the armour and see there is no God there, and say God never existed in the first place. Whether or not God actually exists or existed at any point as an entity in the universe is not as relevant as the fact that there is an inherent need in most people to have faith in God. That in itself does change how people behave, hopefully for the better.

To put this hollow armour analogy in a more abstract way, is that at first people had a genuine faith in God whether or not this faith was reciprocated by an actual God. Over the course of time this genuine God was replaced by a man-made image of God. Man got rid of the real thing in favour of a man-made facsimile. I suppose the underlying motivation is that if man made God, man can also control him. {What did Nietzsche mean by God is dead?}

Seeing how man went away from God Nietzsche probably was very well aware that this could bring man in trouble.

Given Nietzsche’s strong animosity towards religion, you would think people realizing that ‘God is Dead’ would make him happy. After all, Nietzsche was dedicated in his quest to try and rid the individual of dogmatic and supernatural beliefs. Surely, people disregarding religion would be a comforting sight to Nietzsche. But this was not the case. Nietzsche was deeply troubled by the lack of a God, he feared that this may lead to the destruction of our society. {Nietzsche: God is Dead (Part 1)}

The end of Christianity for Europe might bring desolation and chaos. Churches had fostered on human dogma‘s and now people had come to see how different they are to Biblical dogma’s. But when one finds that a church has lied so much would one go for an other church and not face the same problem? Mankind always have nuzzled dogmatic beliefs that are widely held and accepted by society and do not want to do away with so many traditions.

Many of these beliefs go unquestioned, and thus we live in a sort of ‘herd’ similar to sheep (the term sheeple is probably the best representation of this). By overcoming the herd perspective, a man can free himself and achieve new heights. {Nietzsche: The Ubermensch (Part 2)}

When there is no God or when man himself is god, then man may be the master of everything (does he think). When there is no God,like so many think, then man loves to be as a god being the super being or Ubermensch, to which nothing is to small or to big and everything can be made possible. When it is not possible to do something today than it will be possible tomorrow or in the future, so why worry?

The Ubermensch is supposed to act as the answer to the problem of nihilism. Since God is dead, that means there is no objective truth or morality. Thus, an Ubermensch acts as his own ‘God’, abandoning the herd instinct and determining his own morality. He is neither slave nor master, as he does not impose his will on others. He is a master of self-discipline. He must be willing to embrace suffering and learn from it. In a way, the Ubermensch is the next step in human evolution. It’s a new intuition, perspective, and greatness for mankind. {Nietzsche: The Ubermensch (Part 2)}

For sure, man has to take a long way before he shall reach such a state. He also seems to forget that is what the Word of God demands from man, that man work at themselves transforming their character to an ideal being without faults. Only problem that than poses, is to know what would be faults, and what would be the right things to strive for. For a Bible Student no such problems arise because he can find all answers in the Bible. But those who do not want to take a serious look at that Library of ancient works, still many questions shall stay unanswered.

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Additional reading

  1. Today’s thought “Ability to see that God is not dead” (May 12)
  2. Inner feeling, morality and Inter-connection with creation
  3. Christian values and voting not just a game
  4. 3rd question: Does there exist a Divine Creator
  5. Is there no ‘proof’ for God? (And why that statement is not as smart as you might think.)

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Further reading

  1. Moral Collapse Didn’t Begin Yesterday. Occult Paris
  2. Everything and Nothing
  3. No Lives Matter
  4. The Nil God
  5. Wake up; There is no God
  6. The death of God (and politics?)
  7. Because God is not efficient in revealing himself to us, He must not exist.
  8. With God vs Without
  9. God
  10. O God…
  11. Lunch n’ Bats
  12. Collecting our thoughts: opening prayer
  13. A walk on the sea
  14. The End of the World
  15. A Defense of Religion (From an Atheist)
  16. Seraphim Rose: “large numbers of Catholics and Protestants are hardly to be distinguished from unbelievers “
  17. On Nihilism
  18. Dostoyevsky’s Übermensch in Crime & Punishment
  19. God’s Heartbreak
  20. Can You Be A Happy Nihilist?
  21. Ep. 48 – Calvin Warren and Frank Wilderson III on Antiblackness, Nihilism, and Politics
  22. The New Nihilism
  23. A Journey Toward A Theory Of Stupidity 3 | The Grandfather Of Stupidology Part 1
  24. The Weaponisation Of Popular Culture
  25. Chapter 6
  26. What We Can Gain From Detachment
  27. Nietzsche and Buddhism
  28. Buddhism, Nietzsche, Jung, Christianity, and Plato: Religious and Philosophical Themes in Westworld
  29. Identification
  30. Who I am and why I’m here
  31. Übermensch
  32. Nietzsche #7 – Der Übermensch
  33. Nietzsche: Eternal Recurrence (Part 3)
  34. Nietzsche, a philosophical biography (Rüdiger Safranski, 2000)
  35. Übermensch by Mathew Babaoye
  36. Editorial 23: Frank Castle, Ubermensch
  37. How to become Superman: Nietzsche’s overwhelming concept and questions to ask yourself
  38. The Ubermensch as an Archetype

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The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

Naturally the Quran is not the only source of law that is authorised by God. In that book is clearly also referred to the previous letters of men of God, like the books of Moses and the minor and major prophets.

It is good to see how certain people of the Muslim faith want to mix the writings of those prophets with the writings of ordinary beings who lived after Muhammad and brought their own rules into books they say all Muslims have to follow.
As such we do have to know and Muslims also should have to know, that what happened in Judaism and in Christendom also happened in Islam. Also in that religion human thought for many became more important than the Words of God Himself.

The niqab has become a symbol of the Muslim faith. It is worn by many Muslim women in public areas and in front of non related males. Worn mainly in the Arab world and in the Muslim countries of Africa and Asia it has become part of our streetview as well the last ten years.

Everybody should see that many Muslim scholars have invented extreme rules for women’s dress which are not found in the Quran. In our previous article we showed that some say that women should be totally covered except for their face, while others who are even more extreme, say that all women must be covered from head to toe except for two holes for the eyes to see! They should know if they want to dress accordingly they should take into account the dress-code of the country where they are willing to live in. In many European countries we may not walk naked on the streets, so we do have to respect that limitation of freedom, but also the opposite people may not be dressed so that nobody can recognise who is behind the outer garments.

the gracious mind

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To remember

1- Quran source of law that is authorised by God (6:114).

2- Quran complete + fully detailed (6:38, 6:114, 6:89 and 12:111).

3- God calls on His true believers to make sure not to fall in the trap of idol worship by following the words of the scholars instead of the words of God (9:31).

4- God calls those who prohibit what He did not prohibit, aggressors, liars and idol worshippers (5:87, 6:140, 7:32, 10:59).

The command to follow the Quran alone is given very clearly in the Quran, see: Dozen Reasons

Quranic guidelines for women’s dress

First Rule: The Best Garment

“O children of Adam, We have brought down to you garments to cover your private parts, as well as for adornment, yet the garment of reverence is the best. These are some of God’s signs, perhaps they will remember.” 7:26

To revere God + know that He is always watching us = basic rule for dress code in Quran

Any woman knows quite well what is decent + what is revealing => not need to be told <= know how to maintain righteousness + how not to

Second Rule: Cover your Bosoms

in 24:31 = God commands women to cover their bosoms = crucial words mentioned in connection to this topic, namely the ‘hijab [Any partition which separates two things (e.g. that which separates God from creation)]’ + the ‘khimar’.

The word ‘hijab’ in the Quran

Hijab = term used by many Muslim women to describe their head cover

‘hijab’ = veil or yashmak + screen, cover(ing), mantle, curtain, drapes, partition, division, divider.

in the Quran:

 7 times: 5 of them as ‘hijab’ + 2 times as ‘hijaban’ => verses: 7:46, 33:53, 38:32, 41:5, 42:51, 17:45 & 19:17.

None used in Quran in reference to what traditional Muslims call today ‘hijab’ = head cover for Muslim woman!

‘hijab’ = old Jewish tradition =>  infiltrated into hadith

Religious Jewish women still cover their heads most of the time + especially in the synagogues, at weddings + religious festivities = cultural =/= religious

Some Christian women cover their heads in many religious occasions while nuns some years ago also covered their heads all the time, though that seems long forgotten

‘hijab’ = traditional dress + has nothing to do with Islam or religion

Mixing religion with tradition =  form of idol-worship = implies setting up other sources of religious laws besides law of God.

‘khimar’ in Quran:

in 24:31 While the 1 basic rule of Dress Code for Muslim women can be found in 7:26, 2nd rule of dress code for women can be found in 24:31.

Some Muslims quote verse 31 of sura 24 as containing the ‘hijab’, or head cover, by pointing to the word, khomoorihinna, (their khimars), forgetting that God already used the word ‘hijab’, several times in the Quran.

the words of God – 24:31 are:

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to guard their private parts and not to show their adornments except that of it which normally shows. They shall cover their cleavage with their ‘khimar’. They shall not show their adornments except in the presence of their husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, their slaves, the male attendants who have no sexual desire and the children who are yet to attain awareness of women’s nakedness. They shall not strike their feet so as to reveal details of their hidden ornaments. You shall repent to God all you believers, so that you may succeed.” 24:31

Arabic word khimar = cover => Any cover such as a curtain, a dress, table cloth, blanket, a coat, a shawl, a shirt, a blouse, a scarf etc.

Third Rule: Not to reveal any of their adornments

found in 24:31 = God commands women not to reveal their adornments (beauty spots) except what is normally apparent (face, hair, lower arms and lower legs .. etc).

” …. not to show their adornments except that of it which normally shows.”

 very general term = to allow women freedom to decide on what is shown of her body.

Righteous women = make correct decision so as to conform to general code of morality, + also according to time, place +  occasion.

word ‘zeenatahunna’ (adornments) in this verse refers to woman’s beauty spots which carry a sexual connotation, examples are “thighs, breasts, back side … etc) > expose details of certain parts of body.

For more detailed analysis of 24:31 please go to: Corruption of 24:31

Fourth Rule : Lengthen your Garments

“O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters and the wives of the believers that they shall lengthen their garments. This is better so that they will be recognized and not molested. God is Forgiver, Merciful.” 33:59

not say how long is long => God knows we will be living in different communities + have different cultures => insists that  minor details of this dress code will be left for the people of every community to decide for themselves, as long as righteousness is always maintained.

Many Muslim scholars have invented extreme rules for women’s dress which are not found in the Quran < => There are no words anywhere in the Quran which command women to cover all their bodies

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Preceding article:

Meditating Muslimah on “hijab to be a religious obligation”

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Additional reading

  1. Scripture words written for our learning, given by inspiration of God for edification

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Further reading

  1. In the Name of Religious Freedom
  2. Hijab, Chador, Niqab and Burqa…Oh my…
  3. NP Explainer: What’s the difference between a hijab, a niqab and a burka?
  4. Reverting to Islam: Part Three; Hijab
  5. 5 On: The Abaya
  6. Is banning Niqab need of the modern western society or is it the dogma of a feudal symbolism which is creating inconvenience to others
  7. 2nd afflication : the behavior towards woman
  8. What’s the point?
  9. bring on the burka
  10. Missing niqab point
  11. Wherein lies the beauty…
  12. Odd logic for wearing the Burka
  13. The ethics behind banning the burqa
  14. Al Queda Leader Captured Dressed As Woman. Should The U.S. Ban Burqas?
  15. S.A.S v France: Towards a General Prohibition of the Full-Face Veil in Europe?
  16. France’s Burqa Ban: A Brave Step That We Muslims Should Welcome
  17. China is using the Paris attacks to tout its anti-terror efforts at home
  18. A new law in China may make it illegal for men to force women to wear a burqa
  19. Most Canadians say faces shouldn’t be covered at citizenship ceremonies: poll
  20. Lucky to be in Canada
  21. Senegal Bans Burqa to Stop Terrorists Disguising In Islamic Dress
  22. Senegal considers burqa ban to stop terrorists disguising in Islamic dress
  23. Why we wear  burka – Story of Two Pakistani muslim Sisters
  24. Are ‘Burkas’ The New Bandanas?
  25. Watford, UK.
  26. 16-year-old boy arrested over murder of woman in Burka (Nahid Almanea) and young father (James Attfield) stabbed more than 100 times
  27. “18 Year-Old Burqa Wearing Alcoholic Abortionists Public Enemy Number 1”: Fred Nile
  28. Ban The Burka – An Excellent Idea – And Here’s Why!
  29. Face Veil: Why The Ban?
  30. Quebec’s opposition parties want chador banned from public sector
  31. Dutch Cabinet Backs Partial Burqa Ban
  32. Dutch Partial Ban on Islamic Veil in Public Spaces
  33. Character Study: the most interesting woman in the world
  34. Racist or not…
  35. Rampant Sexism
  36. My Thoughts On Religious Headscarves
  37. Chastity.
  38. International Women’s Day 2015: Afghan men wear burqas to campaign for women’s rights
  39. The hypocrisy of modern feminists
  40. Liberals Are Hypocrites On Women’s Rights
  41. The walk to freedom
  42. Spice Bazaar–Istanbul
  43. Savior Complex?
  44. Like it here or leave
  45. You imagine anyway…
  46. Afghanistan
  47. Dinilai Sudah Usang, Wanita Iran Ramai-ramai Lepas Jilbab
  48. Logika Islam Mengenai Perempuan

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The Truth Is From God

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Introduction:

Before presenting the Quranic rules for women’s dress, it is essential to be reminded of the following:

1- The Quran is the only source of law that is authorised by God (6:114).

2- The Quran is complete and fully detailed (6:38, 6:114, 6:89 and 12:111).

3- God calls on His true believers to make sure not to fall in the trap of idol worship by following the words of the scholars instead of the words of God (9:31).

4- God calls those who prohibit what He did not prohibit, aggressors, liars and idol worshippers (5:87, 6:140, 7:32, 10:59).

The command to follow the Quran alone is given very clearly in the Quran, see: Dozen Reasons

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Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #3 Historical background

Historical background

In Roman mythology Psyche represented the human spirit and was portrayed as a beautiful girl with butterfly wings. Lots of elements people could not understand were solved by telling stories about it. As such Psyche, a princess of such stunning beauty that people came from near and far to admire her, became a beautiful mortal desired by Cupid, to the dismay of Cupid’s mother goddess Venus, who summoned that her son Eros (also known as Cupid), the god of love, to make Psyche fall in love with some ugly, mean, and unworthy creature. Eros prepared to obey his mother’s wishes, but when he laid eyes on the beautiful Psyche, he fell in love with her.

BLW Cupid and Psyche (2)

BLW Cupid and Psyche (2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The goddess of fertility or fruitfulness, love, marriage, family life and beauty Aphrodite (identified by the Romans as Venus) decided to punish Psyche. Psyche broke Cupid’s rule and lit a lamp to look upon his face. For this disloyalty, Cupid abandoned her. Psyche wandered through the world in search of her lover Eros, but could not find him. Finally she asked Aphrodite for help, and the goddess gave her a set of seemingly impossible tasks. With the help of other gods, however, Psyche managed to sort a roomful of grain in one night and gather golden fleeces from a flock of sheep. For the final task, Aphrodite told Psyche to go the underworld and bring back a sealed box from Persephone. This trip to the underworld may be the background to the belief that the human ‘psyche’ or ‘soul’ would also travel to the underworld. Psyche retrieved the box and on her way back, overcome by curiosity, peeked inside it. The box released a deep sleep, which overpowered her.

Venus, Pan and Eros

Venus, Pan and Eros (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By this time Eros, could not bear to be without Psyche. He flew to where she lay sleeping, woke her, and took her to Olympus, where Zeus, son and successor of Cronos/Cronus as supreme god, commanded, as master of heavens and earth, that the punishment of Psyche ceased and gave permission for the lovers to marry. The Romans equated Zeus with their own supreme god, Jupiter (or Jove). As the father god and the upholder of morality, he was the only one who could reward the good and punish the evil. Zeus, as the one who was worshipped in connection with almost every aspect of life, had the power to give life to people. He then gave Psyche a cup of ambrosia, the food of the gods, reunited her with Cupid and made her immortal.

The many stories about such a wandering ‘ghost’ or immaterial element of the human body made people believe it could wander when being on this earth in a person, but leaving the body when that person died.

These early ideas about psyche, born out of mythology, were later explored by the Greek philosophers. Plato [1] quotes his master Socrates as saying:

The soul, . . . if it departs pure, dragging with it nothing of the body, . . . goes away into that which is like itself, into the invisible, divine, immortal, and wise, and when it arrives there it is happy, freed from error and folly and fear . . . and all the other human ills, and . . . lives in truth through all after time with the gods.[2]

One can understand the attraction of such an idea as a departing spirit because it takes away the fear of the unknown at death.

Aristotle, Plato’s pupil, considered the soul the form, or essence of any living thing; that it is not a distinct substance from the body that it is in. That it is the possession of soul (of a specific kind) that makes an organism an organism at all, and thus that the notion of a body without a soul, or of a soul in the wrong kind of body, is simply unintelligible. Aristotle thought of psyche as referring to something like the “life-force”.

Portrait of Aristoteles. Pentelic marble, copy...

Portrait of Aristoteles. Pentelic marble, copy of the Imperial Period (1st or 2nd century) of a lost bronze sculpture made by Lysippos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his second book of his major treatise on the nature of living things “On the Soul” (Greek Περὶ Ψυχῆς, Perì Psūchês; Latin De Anima), Aristotle threw a spanner in the soup. Aristotle divides substance into its three meanings (matter, form, and what is composed of both) and shows that the soul must be the first actuality of a naturally organised body. This is its form or essence. It cannot be matter because the soul is that in virtue of which things have life, and matter is only being in potency. According to him there are different sorts of souls, possessed by different kinds of living things, distinguished by their different operations. He also looked at the psyche or soul as an element that people, animals and plants had to have or possess to be able to live, grow and reproduce. The lower animals as such would have the powers of sense-perception and self-motion (action), whilst the higher mammals or human beings have all these elements of plants and lower animals as well as intellect.

Plato and Aristotle argued that some parts of the soul — the intellect — could exist without the body and this gave way to the assumption that this ‘soul’ could leave the body (the other soul) to exist on its own.

Eventually the Platonic idea about the immortality of the soul was adopted within Christianity, as the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), Vol. XIII, pp. 452, 454 acknowledges:

The Christian concept of a spiritual soul created by God and infused into the body at conception to make man a living whole is the fruit of a long development in Christian philosophy. Only with Origen [died c. 254 C.E.] in the East and St. Augustine [died 430 C.E.] in the West was the soul established as a spiritual substance and a philosophical concept formed of its nature. . . . His [Augustine’s] doctrine. . . owed much (including some shortcomings) to Neoplatonism.

As a consequence of this Platonic heritage, modern translators render psyche as “soul”. Yet translators are often well aware that psyche does not carry this meaning. The Roman Catholic translation, The New American Bible, in its “Glossary of Biblical Theology Terms” (pp. 27, 28), says:

In the New Testament, to ‘save one’s soul’ (Mark 8:35) does not mean to save some ‘spiritual’ part of man, as opposed to his ‘body’ (in the Platonic sense) but the whole person with emphasis on the fact that the person is living, desiring, loving and willing, etc., in addition to being concrete and physical.[3]

[1] Greek and English Lexicon, 1836, p. 1404.

[2] Brain death is not the same as a vegetative state, but the two are often confused.

[3] Glossary of Biblical Theology Terms” (pp. 27, 28)

 

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Preceding:

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #2 Psyche, the word

Next: Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures

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Additional writings:

  1. Creation of the earth and man #9 Formation of man #1 Cure of souls
  2. Men as God
  3. Hellenistic influences
  4. A look at the Failing man

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Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?

Morality Breach

Morality Breach (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

Making moral decisions is not always easy. Sometimes we get pulled in different directions; maybe our heart says one thing and our head another. But some things are crystal clear – some things are just plain wrong. The murder of an innocent person is wrong. The abuse of a child is wrong. Rape – regardless of the gender or the circumstance – is wrong. But where does this moral conviction come from? Why is it that we think that morality is important? Why is it we spend so much time worrying about whether something is right or wrong?

Atheism does not provide very satisfying answers to these questions. Some atheists say that human morality is just a happy coincidence – we could have developed differently, but luckily we happen to think that murder and rape are wrong. But this isn’t very encouraging, if our sense of right and wrong is just chance. Nor does it seem to reflect our experience of moral decisions – morality isn’t just a trick of our brains, some things are obviously bad.

Some atheists say that human morality developed as a survival strategy – a society without lots of murders will work better than a society with lots of murders so evolution should select for the society without lots of murders. Whilst that’s true, it is also true that it is even better for the survival of my genes for me to feign morality when it suits me and to behave immorally when it suits me better. We would expect evolution to equip us with a survival instinct but we would not expect evolution to equip us with values of self-sacrifice, compassion and altruism. And yet, we just do think that self-sacrifice is morally good and that murder, regardless of the selfish motives, is bad.

Some atheists say that morality is a consequence of our rational faculties, that when evolved rational minds we realised that murder or rape was wrong. But morality is something different from reason. Reason is great working out how to get what you want but it cannot tell you what it is you desire. If I want to be successful and powerful then it is perfectly rational for me to commit immoral acts to further my career (if I can get away with them). Reason can help us make our moral decisions but only once we have some moral values to work with.

In contrast theism has a very straightforward explanation for why we think morality is important – God has given us this moral capacity for our benefit. God is good and God wants humans to be able to form relationships with him, so has given them this moral capacity. Our morality capacity is part of what makes us personal and relational beings.

This is not to say that atheists can’t do good things (they can). All human beings have this moral capacity and can choose to act upon it or not. The question is where does that moral capacity come from? Why do we think that morality matters? If morality is real, if some things are just plain wrong, then we cannot explain the universe in purely physical terms. Our tendency to think in moral terms indicates that there is moral being behind the universe – and that is God.

New Morality

New Morality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding articles:

Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

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Find also to read:

  1. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  2. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  3. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  4. Book of books and great masterpiece
  5. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  6. Judeo-Christian values and liberty
  7. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  8. Do we have to be an anarchist to react
  9. A risk taking society
  10. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  11. Satan the evil within

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Also of interest:

  1. An Introduction to Logic
  2. Life Amidst Moral Chaos
  3. A Friendly Discussion (Morals, Ethics, and Theism)
  4. Ethics
  5. The ethics of admitting you messed up.
  6. Teaching Ethics to Greedy Bastards
  7. About My Humanist’s Perspective
  8. Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion
  9. Ethics and Answers: Leave pirating to the high seas, not your cable box
  10. Louis P. Pojman – Ethical Relativism
  11. Question Time: Absolute Morality?
  12. Morality: Objective vs Relative
  13. Objective Morality
  14. The foundations of morality
  15. Morality and Conscience: Chapter 14 Prayer Service
  16. Art and Morality
  17. American Thinker: Opinion: Trevor Thomas: Bill Maher, High Priest: Defining Morality in America
  18. Programmed To Be Moral?
  19. Moral values aren’t absolute, but aren’t arbitrary either + Moral values aren’t absolute, but aren’t arbitrary either
  20. This View of Life: Why Sam Harris is Unlikely to Change his Mind
  21. Born that way
  22. Virtue and Evil
  23. Notes on “Breaking Bad”
  24. Welfare politics
  25. Ravaging Politicism (excerpt 3)
  26. Hursthouse Reading
  27. Should Ethicists Be Held to a Higher Moral Standard?
  28. Christian ethics and Peter Singer
  29. Multicultural apocalypse: Stealth jihad has taken root in Europe and is coming to America
  30. Let’s keep America exceptional
  31. Breaking: “American Freedom Law Center”
  32. It’s out with the old as Christian values fall away
  33. “The Fear Of God Is Not In This Place”
  34. Using the Bible Against Christians: Sola Scriptura Atheism
  35. “Spiritual But Not Religious” and the Path to God
  36. There is the Law of love, and then there are the Ten Commandments
  37. Ten commandments to lose the first 4?
  38. The Ten Commandments: Are they still relevant? – Part 4
  39. He who does the commandments and teaches them shall be called great
  40. To what extent should government enforce the moral law of God? The example of divorce.
  41. The Ten Commandments and non-believers
  42. The Ten Commandments and Christian Living
  43. The Catholic Church Changed The Ten Commandments?
  44. Fully Human: Why Think Part I: The Rich Ruler and Jesus
  45. Why is islam such a dangerous foe of liberal democracies?
  46. The Gift of Connection
  47. Torrance on Natural Laws
  48. Barth on God’s Love
  49. Being a “Good Person” Part 2
  50. About Greed
  51. So Be Good for Goodness Sake
  52. Russians find homosexuality more immoral than drinking, infidelity or abortion
  53. I Have No Survival Instinct
  54. The Rules of Survival
  55. Survival Of The Fittest
  56. Chapter 3 of The Journey – My Invisible Scars
  57. Rust: A Beginners Guide (Part 2)
  58. Unpredictable Life.
  59. Survival of the Richest
  60. It doesn’t really matter What I Do…..
  61. Humble Your Life, Before Life “Face-Plants” You
  62. Leaving the Nest
  63. Things That Were Lost In Our Vaginas
  64. Article: States Where Rape is Most Common
  65. What Is Rape Culture? Why You Should Care.
  66. The Rape Epidemic in Alaska
  67. Zimbabwean Pastor imprisoned for half A century, for raping 4 members of his congregation
  68. Ignorance Means Acceptance: A Stance on Rape Culture
  69. Shut Up, Rape: Gender Politics in “Super”
  70. Functional repression
  71. Farrah Abraham Claims “Dark Times” During Her Time in the Porn Industry
  72. The beatings, and fear, and rape that permiated my life
  73. I No Longer Want Chocolate Cake for Breakfast
  74. Chapter 1, part i
  75. Chapter 1, part ii
  76. Thursday, February 6th, 2014
  77. Male on Male Prison Rape – Where is the Outrage?
  78. Is it rape if you let it happen?
  79. Men of a Nightmare
  80. Why I Rise for Justice
  81. Send to me Thy Trials so that I may Heal
  82. I Am An Abortion-Hating, Same-Sex Mongering, Marriage-Smearing Hypocrite
  83. This Is A Story About Rape. But More Importantly, This Is A Story About Survivors.
  84. The Intrinsic Links: Violence Against Women, Poverty and Impunity
  85. Call To My Childhood Rapist Teacher Charged
  86. Life decisions and getting raped
  87. Rape legal in Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan?
  88. Solomon vs Bullard – why it matters
  89. So You Were Saying Porn Is Not Dangerous…huh!
  90. Fighting/Self Defense: Two sides of the same coin
  91. please help me!!!!
  92. Boasting immorality…
  93. Repent or Be Judged – A Warning to the Nations

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  • Do atheists believe that slavery is wrong? Can atheists condemn slavery as immoral? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    For a Christian response to the complaint that the Bible doesn’t condemn slavery, see this article and this article for slavery in the Old Testament, and this article for slavery in the New Testament. These are all by Christian philosopher Paul Copan. You can watch a lecture with Paul Copan on the slavery challenge here, and buy a book where he answers the challenge in more detail. There is also a good debate on whether the Bible condones slavery here, featuring David Instone-Brewer and Robert Price. My post is not a formal logical essay on this issue, it is more that I am outraged that atheists, who cannot even rationally ground objective morality, insist on criticizing the morality of the Bible. I think that atheists who are serious about finding the truth about these issues should check out those links, if they are interested in getting to the truth of these matters.
  • Chad Meister: can atheists make sense of morality? (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    Atheists often argue that they can make moral claims and live good moral lives without believing in God. Many theists agree, but the real issue is whether atheism can provide a justification for morality. A number of leading atheists currently writing on this issue are opposed to moral relativism, given its obvious and horrific ramifications, and have attempted to provide a justification for a nonrelative morality.
  • An atheist explains the real consequences of adopting an atheistic worldview (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination.
  • The Problem With Atheistic Morality (crawfordgarrett.wordpress.com)
    If God is a mere delusion, I find it impossible to develop any objective moral framework.  I think most atheists and naturalists would agree with me on this statement, but most would say that it doesn’t matter.  When asked about absolute morality, atheist Richard Dawkins claimed “The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include stoning people for adultery, death for apostasy, punishment for breaking the Sabbath… these are all things that are based on absolute morality.  I don’t think I want an absolute morality.”  First of all, there are several things wrong with this statement.  Number one, he takes into consideration only ancient religious extreme morals.  This just goes to show how incredibly ignorant Dawkins is of Christian moral values.  The second problem with Dawkins’ statement was how he didn’t give any explanation for the moral framework that everyone seems to follow.  Why are we moral creatures?  Why are all of the terrible, awful people such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc. not justified in what they did?  Under an atheistic system, I will admit, you can see the evil of a situation for your own personal value, but you cannot in any way, shape, or form claim that the situation is absolutely evil or unjust.  The last part of Dawkins’ statement about not wanting an absolute morality is absurd, considering Dawkins puts so much emphasis on what is absolutely true and what is absolutely not true.  Just because you don’t want something to be true, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
  • The morality of Atheism (siftingreality.com)
    The debate over morality between Atheists and Theists is forever ongoing. I think Atheists mistakenly believe Theists claim they can’t act in a moral manner, but this isn’t the issue.  Most Atheists, in my experience, are relatively honest, caring people with genuine concern for their fellow man.  However, I have always been puzzled by the Atheist’s claim that a godless, non-transcendent worldview can somehow produce an objective ethical code which supplies moral prescriptions to persons who share different opinions on what is and isn’t moral.

    Inevitably, what the Atheists argues for is some form of relativism, be it individual or cultural.  Either of which have no solid immovable standard.

    Individual relativism, or personal ethics, isn’t really morality.  One’s moral convictions are limited only by the will-power and sensibilities of the individual.  There is nothing binding on the individual to keep his or her own standards.

  • 7 fatal flaws for Relativism (thecatholicdormitory.wordpress.com)
    Relativism makes it impossible to criticize the behavior of others, because relativism ultimately denies such a thing a ‘wrongdoing’. If one believes that morality is a matter of personal definition, then you surrender the possibility of making objective moral judgments about the actions of others, no matter how offensive they are to your intuitive sense of right or wrong. This means that a relativist cannot rationally object to murder, rape, child abuse, racism, sexism or environmental destruction if those actions are consistent with the perpetrator’s personal moral understanding of what is right and good. When right and wrong are a matter of personal choice, we surrender the privilege of making moral judgments about the actions of others. However if we are certain that some things must be wrong and that some judgments against another’s conduct are justified – then relativism is false.
  • The Moral Of The Story (edwardhotspur.wordpress.com)
    One aspect of morality comes from within. Just the simple viewpoint that you don’t wish someone else harm, as long as they haven’t harmed you or someone you know. But sometimes you trick yourself into believing that something someone else has would be better served in your possession. So you just take it. But in time, you’re not 2  years old anymore, and you learn societal morals such as The Prisoner’s Dilemma.
  • How can Atheists be ethical? (angelamaldita.wordpress.com)
    most atheists agree that there is wisdom and morality in the Scripture. How can this be? Well, we, atheists, think that values, including morality, come from people like themselves; the values and morality are the same whether one believes in a god or not. The morality found in scriptures of various religions is remarkably similar, even if the theology is very different. The common thread of morality in these different theologies is the people who wrote them. Atheists, just like any of those people, share the same sense of morality.
  • Did God Make These Babies Moral? (newrepublic.com)
    People can be selfish and amoral and appallingly cruel, but we are also capable of transcendent kindness, of great sacrifice and deep moral insight. Isn’t this evidence for God? This version of “intelligent design” is convincing to many people—including scientists who are otherwise unsympathetic to creationism—and it’s worth taking seriously. Like other intelligent design arguments, it doesn’t work, but its failure is an interesting one, touching on findings about evolution, moral psychology, and the minds of babies and young children.
  • Moral Law (totellthenations.wordpress.com)
    if the law emanated from Someone outside the created order, and indeed, were a reflection of that One, two points become clear. That the Law came from a Supreme and immutable Law-giver and that as such the Law very much is and must be immutable.These are points that must be reflected upon both by the atheist, the agnostic and one who places trust in a Higher Power. If I am not responsible to a Higher Power and this Moral Law stuff is all made up, then murder and torture are indeed no different from acts of kindness and altruism for there is no Immutable Standard. If the Moral Law (however difficult to define) exists, than we humans are held to that standard and are responsible for upholding it.

     

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Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain

On ‘A Rutgers Humanist Blog’ Applied Sentience is questioned: Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion.

In our previous posting we mentioned already the right and wrong and the choices we do have to make as human beings. Not always it is every time so clear what is good or what is bad, or what can be the right thing to do or what would be wrong to do.  Lots of time people thought they where thinking to be doing the good thing, but it at the end it seemed to have been the bad thing.

Many religious writers and moral philosophers tried to tackle this intriguing question. The question could be forwarded to them if there are objective facts about what is right and wrong. Millions of words flew out of the pens of thousands of writers thinking about ethics, the way of life and how humanity should run its course.

If there are objective moral facts, why does there seem to be so much disagreement about what they are? After all, experts from other disciplines that seek objective facts (i.e. physics) seem to have converging beliefs about what is true. But also in science many disagreements do come over the counter.

The state or quality of being different or varied should normally not be a problem, though many people do not like it when others do not agree with them. The difference, diversification, variety,colours our world but bring around debated disagreement, the conflict, argument, creating different camps and presenting anew paths for new movements and trends.

Often one might think that the theist and the atheist are just too different in their systems of beliefs to ever come to any kind of consensus on matters as difficult as ethics. Often we do forget that how much we would not like it, we always shall be a product of our time and be influenced by the environment where we grew up. when we look at the freethinker he often does not let the other to think as free as we would think freedom will include.

It can happen that some one’s secular ethics is in agreement with one aspect of the Catholic tradition, while in disagreement with other secular views of ethics.

If they can make the same sort of objections in some cases, then perhaps they really are on the same mountain. Progress can be made! Thus, perhaps religious and secular viewpoints needn’t lead to a special case of disagreement after all.

English: Peter Singer speaking at a Veritas Fo...

Peter Singer speaking at a Veritas Forum event on MIT’s campus on Saturday, March 14, 2009. Veritas Forum: http://www.veritas.org/ Photo by Joel Travis Sage: http://www.joelsage.com/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In interviews after the Rutgers event, Singer and Camosy each gave the same answer: dogmatism. Camosy elaborates:

Furthermore, I think most disagreement comes – not from differences in evidence in argument – but because of social or emotive reasons. Someone is turned off by a group of people who hold a particular view, or part of their self-identity comes from not being like another group, and thus the arguments are built on top of that first principle as to why such a group holds mistaken views. And so on.

Please do continue reading the interesting article: Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion.

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Look also at the previous articles:

Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity

Morality, values and Developing right choices

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Additional reading:

  1. Words in the world
  2. Newsweek asks: How ignorant are you?
  3. Who are the honest ones?
  4. Satan the evil within
  5. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  6. Capitalism and economic policy and Christian survey
  7. Jew refering to be religious or to be a people
  8. About a man who changed history of humankind
  9. History of Christianity
  10. Christianity is a love affair
  11. Messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time
  12. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  13. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  14. People are turning their back on Christianity
  15. Falling figures for identifying Christians
  16. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life

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Different positions of moral skepticism illust...

Different positions of moral skepticism illustrated (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Christian ethics and Peter Singer (openparachute.wordpress.com)
    We all “do” morality – its part of being human. We will debate ethical questions till the cows come home. And we will take sides on moral issues, often reacting emotionally, even violently, to those who disagree with us.
  • Should Ethicists Be Held to a Higher Moral Standard? (moralmindfield.wordpress.com)
    if you don’t actually have to do what you tell other people to do (if you even think ethics involves that sort of thing) then you can say just about anything you want. Who cares, you are not going to actually do it.
    +
    For this reason, people have known for a long time that if you want to know what a person really thinks, you look to how people actually behave (“actions speak louder than words”) rather than to what they say. What they do will show what they really think is good.
    +
    Ethics is the study of action with respect to the good for humans, which is happiness. Once you figure that out, shouldn’t you have some practically useful insights from it? Shouldn’t you want to become a more excellent, happier human being (whatever that means to you) if you think you have that figured out?
    +
    if Christians can’t produce academic ethicists who think it worthy at least to try (actually doing it has always proven difficult) to follow their own standards then it starts to look a bit like they don’t believe at all.
  • Ethics (jaheemshamoy12.wordpress.com)
    .Relativism is the belief that there are no universal moral norms of right and wrong. In the school of relativistic ethical belief, ethicists divide it into two connected but different structures, subject (Moral) and culture (Anthropological). Moral relativism is the idea that each person decides what is right and wrong for them. Anthropological relativism is the concept of right and wrong is decided by a society’s actual moral belief structure.Deontology is the belief that people’s actions are to be guided by moral laws, and that these moral laws are universal.
  • Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
    I’ve discovered a new arena for combat: The reader’s comments section for stories about religion.When I first started writing about religion for an online news site, I eagerly turned to the comment section for my articles, fishing for compliments and wondering if I had provoked any thoughtful discussions about faith.
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    Readers exchange juvenile insults, condescending lectures and veer off into tangents that have nothing to do with the article they just read.

    For years, I’ve listened to these “holy trollers” in silence. Now I’m calling them out. I’ve learned that the same types of people take over online discussions about faith and transform them into the verbal equivalent of a food fight. You may recognize some of these characters.
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    Camosy has made a career out of bridging religious differences. He’s part of a “Contending Modernites” group, which finds common ground between Christians and Muslims. He’s also the co-founder of a website devoted to dialing down the heat in religious arguments entitled, “Catholic Moral Theology.”

    Camosy says that online discussions about religion are difficult because they are not in person. Tone and nuance gets lost online.

  • Non-religious Beliefs (hibamo.wordpress.com)
    What’s in a word? Non-religious people describe and define themselves (and are described and defined) in various ways. These variations do reflect some differences in meaning and emphasis, though in practice there is very considerable overlap.

    Non-believers” do, of course, have many beliefs, though not religious ones. For example, they typically hold that moral feelings are social in origin, based on treating others as they would wish to be treated (the ‘golden rule’ which antedates all the major world religions).

  • The “Secular” Myth (kurtkjohnson.wordpress.com)
    Since the Enlightenment movement of the late 17th and 18th century, Western civilization has slowly but steadily adopted a paradigm that includes a distinct “secular” space within society.  It has become the mantra of both the “religious” and “non-religious.”  It is so deeply engrained into our culture today and so reflexively accepted that few people seem to think to question it.
    +
    It wasn’t until postmodern theorists began to seriously question the ideas of Modernity that this notion of the “secular” got some serious negative attention and critique.
    +
    We may call ourselves “non-religious” because we don’t lay claim to a particular faith tradition (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, etc.) but postmodern theorists have attempted to show us that our basic human situation is the same, irregardless of what we call it… that there is no universal rationality to be appealed to, and our contributions are always and ever informed by something like “religious” commitments, whether explicit or implicit.
  • Teaching Ethics to Greedy Bastards (ethicsbeyondcompliance.wordpress.com)
    We’d like to think that with the proper ethics training even the most heartless sociopath could be encouraged to at least follow some of the rules.And if we can’t (note: we can’t) encourage bad people to be good people, what are ethicists worth? Well, our roles fall into several categories: 1. Providing ethical answers to dilemmas. 2. Offering ethical analysis of a particular problem. 3. Teaching ethical decision-making, which makes a good-faith assumption that the decision maker is sincere in wanting to be ethical. 4. Holding wrongdoers accountable for their behavior.
  • Life Amidst Moral Chaos (onlyagame.typepad.com)
    For centuries, discussion of ethics has focussed upon the idea of the moral law – a set of rules or criteria that dictate what is permissible or required. This debate has been substantially focussed on two battlefronts: firstly, the long and pointless dispute between advocates of a duty approach (deontology or Kantian ethics) and an outcome-focussed approach (Consequentialism). Secondly, the more recent conflict between all ethical beliefs and the deep suspicion that there is no moral law (Nihilism). The former disagreement has been fruitful but misguided, while the latter has become deeply counter productive.
    +
    We now recognise that different cultural circumstances lead to different ways of life, and different conclusions about moral concerns – and this seems to catastrophically undermine the concept of a viable moral law. The resulting crisis can be expressed in a simple question: if there is no single, true ethical system, can there be ethics at all? Terrified by this possibility, even secular ethicists like Derek Parfit have felt a powerful need to defend the idea of a moral law, and have mounted impressive arguments in it’s defence.
  • Impressions and Lessons from Kierkegaard Exhibit at Haus am Waldsee (rheaboyden.com)
    Kierkegaard believed that subjective human experience and the search for individual truth and faith were far more important than the objective truths of mathematics and science which he believed failed because they were too detached to really express the human experience.  He was interested in ‘inwardness’, people’s quiet struggle with the apparent meaninglessness of life. He was the inventor of self doubt in its modern form and his work and philosophy is more relevant today than he could have imagined. He believed that each individual had to choose for himself what constituted a life worth living, but that suffering was always going to exist because of regret.
  • Hursthouse Reading (eatingmeatinamericatesterman.wordpress.com)
    Hursthouse explains to her readers  that the idea of moral status is completely inconsequential in the discussion of virtue ethics and our use of animals. She discusses the debate over abortion and the fact that virtue ethicists do not even need to consider whether or not a fetus is morally equal in status to anyone else.

English: Pyramid of ethics

Morality, values and Developing right choices

In 2011 laurie cordy wrote:

Every person has within them a set of values which are tuned in the school of hard knocks. For instance if a child pinches another it soon gets pinched back and if it hurts he or she soon learns better conduct or recognises that they are doing the wrong thing. This ability to learn from experience is not a set of taught rules or expedients but ethical principles which are enunciated in the proverbs and the character of people like Job and many others.

The ultimate expression is found in the character and discourses of Jeshua Ha’Notzri commonly known as Jesus of Nazareth who ‘learned from the things that he suffered‘. He was not concerned with doctrines and challenged those of the religious rulers.

Cover of "Right Choices"

Cover of Right Choices

This ability to choose right from wrong seems to be innate and a specific human characteristic, and those who develop right choices are highlighted in the Jewish histories. This is commendable, and whether one ascribes it to God as godliness is related to arguments for or against the existence of a creator. To deny this is to postulate that ethical principles are acquired characteristics, that is, that morality can be passed on in the genes. If this is the case one would expect the development of two classes of society over time, the totally moral and the other totally immoral.

Like my argument for a being called God, http://www.christadelphianism.info/is god {not available any more in 2013}
Not to accept the proposition leads one into impossible arguments such as “Out of nothing everything came into existence”.
The argument for maintaining ethical principles is also on the site “Rules or principles”, and whether or not one allows the existence of a god in all of this, it still seems better to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. I suggest that to do this is, in biblical terms, godliness, or an expression of the proposition that God is.

I am suggesting that this is an ethical thing and not a belief thing and that religions have got it all wrong in trying to differentiate their beliefs.

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  • The ethics of admitting you messed up. (blogs.scientificamerican.com)

    Humans make mistakes.

    Some of them are the result of deliberate choices to violate a norm. Some of them are the result of honest misunderstandings, or of misjudgments about how much control we have over conditions or events. Some of them come about in instances where we didn’t really want the bad thing that happened to happen, but we didn’t take the steps we reasonably could have taken to avoid that outcome, either. Sometimes we don’t recognize that what we did (or neglected to do) was a mistake until we appreciate the negative impact it has.

  • A Friendly Discussion (Morals, Ethics, and Theism) (ahumanistsperspective.wordpress.com)

    I deny the existence of any credible evidence to warrant the conclusion that a personal deity exists.

    I furthermore acknowledge evidence otherwise in the light of an impersonal universe which is indifferent to the well being of anyone or anything.
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    Consequently, and because of this acceptance, man has to conjure up a right/wrong approach to life (this you have just done). This, you say, is not in accordance with an outside source (such as God), but in accordance with “matters of effect,” or, in essence, to what an individual person likes (pleasure) or dislikes (discomfort, suffering). Your moral code is the result of “natural principles” (this is the foundation of its existence).
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    About My Humanist’s Perspective
    Having spent the first 40 plus years of my life as a practicing fundamentalist Christian, I have utilized what time that I could these past several years to read and reflect on life from outside the “biblical box” if you will.
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    ultimately I have come to realize that common decency is and always has been a somewhat self imposed development of human experiences and consequences, and that such is and always has been the case regardless of one’s religious perspectives and practices.

  • Ethics and Answers: Leave pirating to the high seas, not your cable box (naplesnews.com)
    Often there are no ethical absolutes. Ethical people can, and do, disagree.
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    The concept of ethics has been defined in many ways, but it is generally considered to be the principles that guide societies toward “right” behavior and away from “wrong.” While there is overlap among law, morals, religion and ethics, ethics focuses on the societal good.
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    Ethics are historically dynamic: They evolve. Ethics typically aren’t situationally dynamic; what is ethical should remain so despite outside factors. Just because a behavior can be justified does not transform it from an unethical behavior into an ethical one.

    For a behavior to be ethical, it should be ethical regardless of outside factors. Complications can follow when two ethical positions collide, for example, balancing the ethics of stealing food versus the ethics of letting a nearby child die of starvation.

  • International Encyclopaedia of Ethics (ejournalscambridge.wordpress.com)

    Trial access is now available to the International Encyclopedia of Ethics. The trial ends December 14th 2013.

    Access the trial via this link.

  • Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion (appliedsentience.com)
    Many moral philosophers – or at least those who think there are objective facts about what is right and wrong – find widespread disagreement over these facts very troubling. That is, if there are objective moral facts, why does there seem to be so much disagreement about what they are? After all, experts from other disciplines that seek objective facts (i.e. physics) seem to have converging beliefs about what is true.
  • An Introduction to Logic (amthorn0602.wordpress.com)
    Basically, there are three laws of logic from which every other law of logic is derived. there are dozens of logical arguments that can be derived from these three laws.
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    In logic, there are variables (similar to the way that there are variables in mathematics). Let’s take the variable “A”. now, the first rule of logic is called “The Law of Identity” and it simply states that: If A is true, then it is true. This seems intuitively simple, it means that if A is true, it must, by definition, be true.
  • Louis P. Pojman – Ethical Relativism (darinafridman.wordpress.com)
    Louis Pojman takes on the non relativist point of view in this article. His thesis claims that moral principle’s derive their validity from dependence on society or individual choice. While reading this I kept comparing his view points to those of Ruth Benedict, both of them make interesting arguments.