Author Topic: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]  (Read 5117 times)

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #87 on: July 25, 2011, 12:04:39 AM »
nice strawman.  &)
No, it was sarcasm.  And rhetorical to boot.

If I have a point that it can make things worse, then I have a point in that it intentionally causing harm.   If harm was a one point and then raises, then you are intentionally causing harm.  And why not use the same methods?  You make a claim and then don’t support it.
The point is that it is often not intentional at all.  There is a difference between intentionally causing harm and inadvertently causing harm.  And no, you can't use the same methods on both.  I thought this was obvious, since there's a substantial difference between, say, punching someone in the face (intentional harm), and walking past that someone and not helping them after they've been punched in the face (inadvertent harm).  A person can be arrested and charged with a crime for the former, but you can't exactly do that for the latter.

There is no different in intent when someone says “by my religion, I have the right to do ‘x’.”   I might agree in a difference in scope,  but again we’ve seen that from your own admission, that callous indifference causes harm in addition to what is already there.  And good intentions.  I don’t buy that from any theist.  They want to be right, nothing more.  So they do what they want, not in good intentions, but to demosnrate how “right” they are.   I’m sure you don’t agree in “interpreting” someone’s actions in the “worst possible light”.  Unfortuantely for you, the facts are the worst possible light.
"No theist has good intentions, they only want to demonstrate how 'right' they are", "There is no difference in intent when it comes to justifying something by one's religious beliefs".  These are little more than generalizing.  For example, is "by my religion, I have the right to give charity to the poor" no different in intent than "by my religion, I have the right to torture unbelievers"?  Of course it is!  Are both nothing more than a way to demonstrate how 'right' they are?  I would say not, though the latter certainly is.

Now, to clarify:  Are you trying to say that the case of someone trying to 'help' someone, but with misguided ideas that end up harming them needlessly, is little different in intent than someone who actively harms someone, because of the misguided belief that it 'helps' them in the end?  I still think there's a difference in intent there, but it's not so much of one that I'm willing to keep arguing about it, especially since it depends largely on semantics.

Ah, there we go, the usual claim by a theist, and you are one yes? That one shuld not bother in point out what a jackass another theist is, that doing anything just isn’t worth it.  Sorry, I don’t have your conveniently defeatist attitude.  Speaking out against the ignorance and harm of theists always helps.  It may not do much, but it is better than nothing and those who would insist that the boat should not be rocked.
I realize that you probably have to deal with that particular argument (what I bolded) a lot, but even if you're not willing to give me the benefit of the doubt, at least give me the chance to clarify what I mean before you 'convict' me due to nothing more than an assumption.

For the record, I was actually referring to the vitriolic nature of calling someone a manipulative sadist, or other things of that nature.  You can speak out against ignorance without being belligerent or insulting about it.  You can point out that someone did harm through misguided beliefs without trying to paint them as a brutal monster.  It has nothing to do with being 'defeatist', and everything to do with the fact that such an attitude is very polarizing and often benefits the side which has less to lose from creating such polarization.

Believe me, I know quite well just how many people use tactics just like that.  It frustrates me to no end to see it coming from both sides, especially since it benefits those who don't have an argument worth stating so well - like trying to use an attack that someone's prepared to defend against.  The fact that it is often very difficult to fight against such a tactic without using it is no consolation.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Offline screwtape

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #88 on: July 25, 2011, 07:48:19 AM »
jaime,

Do you not think there is an valid argument that Mo T was manipulative and a sadist?  Just looking at some of the quotes I linked, she clearly revelled in suffering.  Given that when she was sick she got first rate medical care, it is evident that she preferred the suffering of others to her own. 

That may not fit the caricature of the literary villain who is a sadist, twisting his moustache and tying damsels to the train tracks.  But Mo T was worse, in a way.  She had the means to make people's lives better.  It is not that she just didn't, but she actively pursued policies to make sure they stayed in their state of suffering.  She could have hired trained medical professionals, but instead put nuns in charge.  She could have used better (any) medical procedures, but didn't.  She could have used the money for medicine, but instead she used it for prostylization.  Healing was irrelevant for her purposes.  She was a collector. Not a healer.  And the value of her collection diminished if one got better.

You may not agree with that perspective, but at least acknowledge that it is not an unreasonable one to have.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #89 on: July 25, 2011, 08:09:50 AM »
jaime,

Do you not think there is an valid argument that Mo T was manipulative and a sadist?  Just looking at some of the quotes I linked, she clearly revelled in suffering.  Given that when she was sick she got first rate medical care, it is evident that she preferred the suffering of others to her own. 

That may not fit the caricature of the literary villain who is a sadist, twisting his moustache and tying damsels to the train tracks.  But Mo T was worse, in a way.  She had the means to make people's lives better.  It is not that she just didn't, but she actively pursued policies to make sure they stayed in their state of suffering.  She could have hired trained medical professionals, but instead put nuns in charge.  She could have used better (any) medical procedures, but didn't.  She could have used the money for medicine, but instead she used it for prostylization.  Healing was irrelevant for her purposes.  She was a collector. Not a healer.  And the value of her collection diminished if one got better.

You may not agree with that perspective, but at least acknowledge that it is not an unreasonable one to have.

And she actually thought she was doing the right thing, doing good. That's my point about unproven absolutes....they can take good intentions and turn them into real suffering. That is why I am an anti-theist.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #90 on: July 25, 2011, 09:12:54 AM »
I personally don't feel that she was a manipulative sadist.

However, it is quite obvious from the evidence that she was hardly a saint and didn't really deserve canonization.  What she and her order did wasn't nothing, but it can and should have been much more than it was.  Even basic medical care would have made a huge difference to those people, and it's not something that would have unduly taxed her order's resources, not if she was sitting on such large sums of money.

It wouldn't have made their suffering go away, but it would have gone a long way towards alleviating that suffering.  The people who saw those images of human suffering wouldn't have suddenly stopped giving if she had been giving at least some medical care to those she was already helping.  And as for her own feeling of being in a spiritual desert, I don't know whether it had anything to do with her decisions or not, but if she had done a better job of helping those people, perhaps her own feelings would have been alleviated.  It certainly wouldn't have made it worse.

I'm not really willing to accept characterizations of her "reveling in suffering" based on second- or third-hand accounts, though.  For one thing, it doesn't sound as if she actually took pleasure in the suffering of others (which is part of the definition of a sadist).  Besides, I have to ask whether the actual reason that she allowed needless suffering to continue matters.  The fact that she allowed it, regardless of the reason, is more than enough to get the point across, because at least in my opinion, there's no good reason to allow suffering like that if you have the resources to do something about it (and it's clear that she did).

As far as it being unreasonable to think that way about her, I can't say that.  Unreasonable suggests that there's no reason involved, and I know that isn't the case here.  So I'm just going to say that I don't think of it as being an especially reasonable attitude and leave it at that[1].
 1. though being too reasonable about something like this can be bad
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Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #91 on: July 25, 2011, 10:50:32 AM »
The point is that it is often not intentional at all.  There is a difference between intentionally causing harm and inadvertently causing harm.  And no, you can't use the same methods on both.  I thought this was obvious, since there's a substantial difference between, say, punching someone in the face (intentional harm), and walking past that someone and not helping them after they've been punched in the face (inadvertent harm).  A person can be arrested and charged with a crime for the former, but you can't exactly do that for the latter.
So you are claiming that “callous indifference” is not intentional.  How can that be so?  You have chosen not to care, yes? And I disagree with your trying to distinguish between inadvertent and intentional harm.  I don’t care if you can be arrested for it (although you might want to check out laws on failure to render aid: http://statejournal.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=59815 ), what I care about is that you made a choice to walk by someone who needs help.  Let me give you another scenario:  someone is bleeding to death. Is your action to walk on by intentionally causing more harm?  Harm that would not be done if you had helped?
There is no different in intent when someone says “by my religion, I have the right to do ‘x’.”   I might agree in a difference in scope,  but again we’ve seen that from your own admission, that callous indifference causes harm in addition to what is already there.  And good intentions.  I don’t buy that from any theist.  They want to be right, nothing more.  So they do what they want, not in good intentions, but to demosnrate how “right” they are.   I’m sure you don’t agree in “interpreting” someone’s actions in the “worst possible light”.  Unfortuantely for you, the facts are the worst possible light.
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"No theist has good intentions, they only want to demonstrate how 'right' they are", "There is no difference in intent when it comes to justifying something by one's religious beliefs".  These are little more than generalizing.  For example, is "by my religion, I have the right to give charity to the poor" no different in intent than "by my religion, I have the right to torture unbelievers"?  Of course it is!  Are both nothing more than a way to demonstrate how 'right' they are?  I would say not, though the latter certainly is.
If they are little more than generalizing, then show how.  Gah, I get tired of your baseless claims.  Show me how there is a difference in intent when it comes to justifying something by one’s religious beliefs, if you think this is the case.  And yes, in your analogy there is no difference.  They are both citing belief in the supernatural as a reason.  And yes, they are both no more than a way to demonstrate how “right” they are since the reason cited is purely religious. 
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Now, to clarify:  Are you trying to say that the case of someone trying to 'help' someone, but with misguided ideas that end up harming them needlessly, is little different in intent than someone who actively harms someone, because of the misguided belief that it 'helps' them in the end?  I still think there's a difference in intent there, but it's not so much of one that I'm willing to keep arguing about it, especially since it depends largely on semantics.
I am saying that Mother Theresa, knew that what she was doing was harming people and that was intentional.  As for your questions, I don’t see a difference;  both are misguided and harming someone because of their ideas.  They both think that they are helping, in the “end” or right at the instant of their action.  They both are wrong.
Ah, there we go, the usual claim by a theist, and you are one yes? That one shuld not bother in point out what a jackass another theist is, that doing anything just isn’t worth it.  Sorry, I don’t have your conveniently defeatist attitude.  Speaking out against the ignorance and harm of theists always helps.  It may not do much, but it is better than nothing and those who would insist that the boat should not be rocked.
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I realize that you probably have to deal with that particular argument (what I bolded) a lot, but even if you're not willing to give me the benefit of the doubt, at least give me the chance to clarify what I mean before you 'convict' me due to nothing more than an assumption.
  So, be more careful in your writing.  However, this is what you argued and this is what I addressed. 
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For the record, I was actually referring to the vitriolic nature of calling someone a manipulative sadist, or other things of that nature.  You can speak out against ignorance without being belligerent or insulting about it.  You can point out that someone did harm through misguided beliefs without trying to paint them as a brutal monster.  It has nothing to do with being 'defeatist', and everything to do with the fact that such an attitude is very polarizing and often benefits the side which has less to lose from creating such polarization.
  Sorry, I call a spade a spade.  What other terms do you find that fit the situation?  I do not see any point in sugar coating somethign when someone was indeed a monster. Yes, I’m sure it is polarizing.  People do not want to see their icons shown for what they are.  Do you really think that if I said “Mother Theresa was a misguided ignorant woman who kept money from those in her care because she had the delusional belief that suffering was good for them.” would be received any differently from those you have said see her as a saint?  And how does it benefit the other side?  I am curious on how you think this happens?  By declaring that atheists are horrible people for saying such things?  Like they don’t already think that, no matter how nicely put the facts are.  You see, I find that trying to couch the facts in niceities allows theists to avoid the brutal truth, that their beliefs hurt people.  If I say, oh, Mo T was a nice old woman who just was confused and didn’t really meant it, this isn’t accurate.  I don’t care to lie to people to spare their feelings.
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Believe me, I know quite well just how many people use tactics just like that.  It frustrates me to no end to see it coming from both sides, especially since it benefits those who don't have an argument worth stating so well - like trying to use an attack that someone's prepared to defend against.  The fact that it is often very difficult to fight against such a tactic without using it is no consolation.
I find the difference is in who actually has the facts.

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I personally don't feel that she was a manipulative sadist.
Assuming you know the definitions of the words, show how she wasn’t. 

Even you admit that she intentionally withheld money and care to alleviate suffering.

She claimed she was helping people.  We don’t see that in fact she went out of her way to make sure that they were suffering.

We know that she thought that suffering did help people. So I say that if not “reveling” in their suffering, she thought it was a *good* thing and would not have changed it.  We know that many Christians think that if “x” is good, more of “x” is better, especially if they think they aren’t doing something “right” for their god.  The abuse of the flesh got to some really nasty degrees in various sects, in their search for God.
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Besides, I have to ask whether the actual reason that she allowed needless suffering to continue matters.  The fact that she allowed it, regardless of the reason, is more than enough to get the point across, because at least in my opinion, there's no good reason to allow suffering like that if you have the resources to do something about it (and it's clear that she did).
You question if the reason matters?  I find that a great way to say “oh don’t look behind the curtain, no religion here, nope, can’t blame it since it “really doesn’t matter”. 
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Offline screwtape

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #92 on: July 25, 2011, 12:14:25 PM »
I'm not really willing to accept characterizations of her "reveling in suffering" based on second- or third-hand accounts, though.  For one thing, it doesn't sound as if she actually took pleasure in the suffering of others (which is part of the definition of a sadist). 

what the flip?  Her own words (which I quoted already):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Missionary_Position
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"I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."

http://thinkexist.com/quotes/mother_teresa/3.html
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Without out suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the Redemption. All the desolation of the poor people, not only their material poverty, but their spiritual destitution, must be redeemed. And we must share it, for only by being one with them can we redeem them by bringing God into their lives and bringing them to God.

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/216250
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Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus - a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.

Please explain how those quotes do not at least imply that she took pleasure in the suffering of others.  She sounds absolutely delighted in it.
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Offline albeto

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #93 on: July 25, 2011, 02:50:07 PM »
I personally don't feel that she was a manipulative sadist.

Manipulative in that she controlled the environment in an unethical way for her own gain, and sadistic in that by assuring help would not be offered in her care, she gained some kind of emotional reinforcement from the suffering of others. 

Even basic medical care would have made a huge difference to those people, and it's not something that would have unduly taxed her order's resources, not if she was sitting on such large sums of money.

At every single Mass offered, the confeteor is a prayer that is offered either specifically or vicariously through another prayer.  This is a requirement for preparation for the sacrament of the Mass.  In the confeteor, Catholics confess, "I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do...." [bolded is mine]

Human behavior is conditioned by many variables and in general, humans seek pleasure and seek to avoid pain (punishment, anxiety).  The emotional rewards for the mother superior to have had to inspire her to withhold medical care would have been the only reason for her to continue that kind of denial of care she was capable of offering.  I don't think for a moment she derived pleasure from this any more than an addict derives pleasure from an addiction out of control, but I suspect she did this to avoid great anxiety.  And here, for me, is where the Church is culpable.  To teach that one can avoid anxiety by such a bizarre idea as *embracing* suffering is something that has no place in today's world.  We know suffering exists and we know not all can escape it.  But we KNOW how to alleviate suffering due to medical needs unmet and she had the opportunity to meet some!  She was still encouraged somehow to continue her work of bringing attention to the poor without actually *caring* for the poor.  That's mind boggling to me and in any other context we would look at Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.  Only the patients weren't made ill by her doing, they were denied medical treatment by her doing.  That's not healthy and whether or not it fits the criteria for sadism, it certainly fits the criteria for abuse by willful neglect. 

   And as for her own feeling of being in a spiritual desert, I don't know whether it had anything to do with her decisions or not....

It can only be explained through the Catholic theology of redemptive suffering.  The idea of the Dark Night of the Soul and the mechanics of God's consolations and one's emotional responses are all wrapped up in this ideal of embracing suffering for the sake of "uniting with the suffering of Christ" which is the greatest gift a conservative Catholic can imagine.  One can never reach the depths this kind of philosophy can offer.  There's always more suffering to be had and it preys especially on people prone to depression and anxiety I think, because it gives a reason for these negative emotions.  It offers hope by embracing it more when avoiding it doesn't work. 

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #94 on: July 26, 2011, 09:35:42 AM »
albeto:  I can't really argue with your post.  What you're saying makes a lot more sense than statements to the effect that she took pleasure from the suffering of others, or that she sounded absolutely delighted in it.  It illustrates the way she acted, and the real problems with it, without turning her into a dehumanized caricature of herself.

To be honest, part of my unspoken disagreement with screwtape and velkyn was because of my distaste with their attitudes on this subject.  No offense to them, but they are quite hostile towards religion (not without cause, but still); it's a lot easier to take what someone says with a grain of salt when their feelings about the subject are so strong.  I know how it goes, because I've seen the same tendency in myself when I have strong feelings about something.  It's almost a reflex for me to be skeptical when I see something like that, not because I doubt that they're serious about it, but because it's very easy to get convinced by someone who's...enthusiastic about something (or, in this case, who's enthusiastic about how much they dislike it).

Most of the point I was trying to make was that one could show that her actions were wrong without turning her into a human monster.  And you did, better than I was doing at any rate.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Offline Omen

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #95 on: July 26, 2011, 09:41:58 AM »
than statements to the effect that she took pleasure from the suffering of others, or that she sounded absolutely delighted in it.

This is about as dehumanizing as describing her as a sociopath, which I would describe her as one.  She obviously had an incessant desire to worship suffering, which invites a serious question to her ability to empathize with other human beings.  Why is that not a valid question and resulting answer of sociopath tendencies?

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without turning her into a dehumanized caricature of herself.

The only thing I can identify is that you don't like that others describe her behavior correctly.  She is a monster, and if it helps, I define people who devalue human life to the point where its trivial in comparison to superstition as monsters.
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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #96 on: July 26, 2011, 09:42:13 AM »
Great and direct question. If we're children of the same God, then our common sense of right and wrong could be traced to Him.

That is the assertion I'd like to see you support, and preferably in less vague terms - the intended meaning of "traced to" isn't clear.

If He exists external to either of us, then he could judge between us.

Anyone who exists externally to anyone else can judge between them.  This is trivial.

So, when a theist says that we should seek to minimize suffering, he means that an external authority, God, has determined that to be right.

There are a plethora of external authorities.  What makes God's authority good?

Is my authority good?  Is Satan's authority good?  And how can you tell?

We may disagree about what God has or has not said or about what right and wrong are, but at least we have a reason to assume there is a right and a wrong that neither of us created.

George W. Bush's concept of right and wrong is one that neither of us created, too.  This is trivial, and doesn't answer my question.


Fixizgeek, now that you've returned, would you mind taking a stab at this?
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #97 on: July 26, 2011, 10:06:49 AM »
This is about as dehumanizing as describing her as a sociopath, which I would describe her as one.  She obviously had an incessant desire to worship suffering, which invites a serious question to her ability to empathize with other human beings.  Why is that not a valid question and resulting answer of sociopath tendencies?
Unless you happen to be a trained psychologist, you'll have to excuse me for not considering yours to be an expert opinion on this matter.

The only thing I can identify is that you don't like that others describe her behavior correctly.  She is a monster, and if it helps, I define people who devalue human life to the point where its trivial in comparison to superstition as monsters.
You're welcome to your opinion, but you're going to have to do much better than that if you want to actually try to convince me.  Starting this section of your argument with an insinuation that I "don't like that others describe her behavior correctly" is about the least auspicious way I can think of to go about that.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Offline Omen

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #98 on: July 26, 2011, 10:11:05 AM »
This is about as dehumanizing as describing her as a sociopath, which I would describe her as one.  She obviously had an incessant desire to worship suffering, which invites a serious question to her ability to empathize with other human beings.  Why is that not a valid question and resulting answer of sociopath tendencies?
Unless you happen to be a trained psychologist...

So random expertise is only of any consequence when you need to dismiss someone else out of hand?

How does that answer my question?

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The only thing I can identify is that you don't like that others describe her behavior correctly.  She is a monster, and if it helps, I define people who devalue human life to the point where its trivial in comparison to superstition as monsters.
You're welcome to your opinion, but you're going to have to do much better than that if you want to actually try to convince me.  Starting this section of your argument with an insinuation that I "don't like that others describe her behavior correctly" is about the least auspicious way I can think of to go about that.

No, you don't like their description of her behavior, your rejection was done out of incredulity and nothing else.  I went back and passed over the various discussion points and the manner in which you describe responses from screwtape and velkyn don't match up with what they actually stated.

So let me see, how does it go:

You're welcome to your opinion, but its just your opinion.

Wow, what an argument.  I love how it allows me to take no responsibility for what I'm saying the instant I deem it worthy or unworthy of my own intellectual honesty/dishonesty.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 10:16:50 AM by Omen »
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Offline albeto

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #99 on: July 26, 2011, 12:19:32 PM »
albeto:  I can't really argue with your post.  What you're saying makes a lot more sense than statements to the effect that she took pleasure from the suffering of others, or that she sounded absolutely delighted in it.  It illustrates the way she acted, and the real problems with it, without turning her into a dehumanized caricature of herself.

I won't argue that she took real pleasure from the sufferings of others, but I'm willing to listen to that argument being made.  I'll try to analyze the information offered as objectively as possible, disregarding any emotionally charged words to focus on the actual points made.  I invite you to do the same.  Mother Teresa was a great hero of mine.  I don't like seeing her be reduced to a caricature of herself either, but if the facts reveal a different representation than the image we've been given over the years, then an honest, genuine desire to learn will show that, regardless of how it affects us emotionally. 

To be honest, part of my unspoken disagreement with screwtape and velkyn was because of my distaste with their attitudes on this subject. 

Rule no. 1: Disregard emotionally charged words and focus on the facts.  screwtape and velkyn and Omen are offering facts for our analysis (remember, this is new to me, too). 

No offense to them,

I've not been here very long but I strongly suspect they won't be offended because regardless of how you say anything, they're looking for the facts in your argument and so far they are unimpressed with what's being offered. 

Most of the point I was trying to make was that one could show that her actions were wrong without turning her into a human monster.  And you did, better than I was doing at any rate.

"Human monster" is subjective.  I'm curious as to the information that leads to this conclusion.  The idea that she worshiped the suffering of others is pretty damning, I have to admit.   If that argument could be made, then "sadist" isn't an inappropriate description.  screwtape has offered evidence in her own words that could be used to suggest worship.  If her words described the Eucharist, for example, it would be understood as words that describe worship.  I dunno, just throwing it out to see what it looks like:




"I think it is very beautiful for Blessed Sacrament to accept its lot of being a piece of bread, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the Eucharist."

Without the Eucharist, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the Redemption. All the desolation of the sacrificed Eucharistic Christ, must be redeemed. And we must share it, for only by being one with Him can we redeem others by bringing God into their lives and bringing them to God."

"The Body and Blood of Jesus has come into your life, but remember the Eucharist is but the kiss of Jesus - a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you."


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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #100 on: July 26, 2011, 01:32:22 PM »
How does one mistakenly not know that they have started organizations that bankroll money, but don't actually seem to provide any kind of medical attention?

How do you start a hospice institute but not realize that there are individuals in there that could easily survive with basic treatment of their ailments, while sitting on a giant pile of monetary dough?

How do you not know that you are giving tacit approval to dictators that can pay for you to walk across a stage and shake their hands, while the people they oppress are ignored?


Her capacity to 'not know' seems to encompass a gulf of inhuman behavior which begs the obvious question of other motivations.
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #101 on: July 26, 2011, 05:14:52 PM »
Mother Teresa felt it was better that your spouse died of aids rather than be self loving and use a condom.
==================================================================================

What might Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta say about the use of condoms to protect another person from AIDS? What would she say in the case of two homosexuals? Or in the case of a married couple where one spouse has AIDS? Or in the case of a heterosexual couple who are not married?
Some years back a friend of mine wrote to Mother Teresa for the answers to some questions about condom use. She received the following reply from a Priest who had answered at Mother Teresa’s request, Fr Lawrence Abello S.J., a Jesuit who was at that time writing from St Xavier’s College in Calcutta. His powerful reply was also signed at the bottom, with a little message offering prayers, by Mother Teresa. It’s not short but it’s very clear and worth a read for anyone struggling with this issue.
31/8/93
Dear....
The Peace of Christ
Mother Theresa requested me to reply to your letter, dated 9/6/93
Your first question is the following: “What is the teaching of the Catholic Church for a married couple when one partner is H.I.V.+?” You add that “The Catholic Church allows natural family planning, i.e., sexual intercourse that will not lead to conception. Is it therefore wrong to use a condom in order to try to prevent harm to one’s partner?”
The Catholic Church teaches that contraception is an inherent moral evil because contraception falsifies the very meaning of the marital act which MUST EXPRESS THE LOVE OF THE SPOUSES. By the very nature of contraception, at least one of the spouses must manipulate self to destroy the power to conceive. This self-manipulation necessarily turns attention to self (i.e. is narcissistic), whereas, to be an expression of love, the marital act should turn attention to the spouse. To posit any act which, in its very nature, turns attention to self, falsifies the marital act and is, therefore, an abuse of a gift of God, which can never be morally justified.
In other words, the marital act can be an unreserved, total self-giving only if there is no deliberate manipulation of self to destroy the power to conceive – as happens in contraception. Being a self-manipulation to destroy the power to conceive, contraception necessarily is a narcissistic act which falsifies the expression of conjugal love by the marital act. Thereby, contraception is inherently evil.
Pope John Paul II expresses this narcissistic element of contraception as follows: “When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings (i.e. the unitive and pro-creative), they manipulate and degrade human sexuality by altering the value of total self-giving. Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. When, instead, by means of recourse to phases of infertility, the couple respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meaning of human sexuality, they are acting as ministers of God’s plan and they benefit from their sexuality according to the original dynamism of total self-giving, without manipulation or alteration.” (Familiaris Consortio, by Pope John Paul II, No 32.)
Note that the reason why contraception is wrong is not that conception does not take place, but that a SELF-MANIPULATION is deliberately posited to destroy the power to conceive. Obviously, even when the married couple know that conception is not possible, they may perform an infertile marital act, as happens, not only during the infertile phases in cases of natural family planning, but also during pregnancy and in old age.
Note also that, even though a couple could not conceive a child for other reasons, such as old age, they may not use a condom or any other device to prevent the spread of AIDS. Being a self-manipulation, the use of any such device necessarily is a narcissistic act which falsifies the expression of conjugal love by the marital act. Thereby, the use of any such device is inherently evil and may never be morally justified for any reason whatsoever.
In short, the reason why contraception is wrong, i.e., self-manipulation in connection with the sexual act, applies equally to the use of a condom which merely “prevents” the spread of AIDS and is not strictly a contraceptive because the couple can not conceive for other reasons. When the “couple” are both men, there is not only the inherent evil of self-manipulation in using the condom; there is also the inherent evil of homosexual relations.
In the case of the married couple, it must be pointed out that marriage does not confer an unlimited right to sexual relations. Far from it. There is a right to the marital act only when it is an expression of love. For an H.I.V.+ person to have sexual relations with his or her spouse can never be an expression of love because – condom or no condom – such relations always have a certain risk of transmitting the lethal AIDS virus. The only loving and moral solution for the couple, when one spouse is H.I.V.+, is to live like brother and sister.
In his Encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae,’ Pope Paul VI teaches that “any action is prohibited which has, as its purpose, to impede procreation regardless of whether such an action is posited before, during or after the conjugal act. Nor may one adduce as valid arguments (to justify contraceptive acts) either that one must choose what appears to be a lesser evil or that these (contraceptive) acts participate in the moral goodness of fertile acts already posited or to be posited” – cf. ‘Humanae Vitae’ No.14.
Those who propose the “lesser evil” argument, i.e., that the use of a condom is a “lesser evil” than the spread of AIDS, never distinguish moral evil from physical evil. The use of a condom for whatever reason is a moral evil, i.e., the violation of the Sixth Commandment, whereas, death as such, even from AIDS, is a physical evil. The Catholic will accept the Church’s official teaching that, knowingly and willingly, to violate any of the Ten Commandments always involves personal sin. Basing herself on the true sense of the infinite evil of sin inasmuch as it is an offense against the Infinite God, and also basing herself on the witnessing of the martyrs, the Church teaches that no good end can ever morally justify the violation of any of the Ten Commandments.
Moreover, quite apart from the morality, on the purely practical level distributing condoms as a protection from AIDS gives false hopes. The use of the condom is not at all a complete protection against AIDS. The condom has a significant failure rate even as a contraceptive and, from recent literature which did not give reference to the scientific sources, the AIDS virus is 450 times smaller than a sperm! Whatever be the accuracy of this figure, distributing condoms to stop the spread of AIDS involves implicit approval of deviant sexual behaviour because one is formally cooperating to overcome the problems to practice such behaviour. Hence by distributing condoms one is promoting the addictive use of sex, i.e., contraception, and the other perversions which turn the attention inwards to self, reduce sexual relations to a habit which, like narcotic-drug habit, has to be fed. Cf. The literature of ‘Sexaholics Anonymous’.
Consequently, although the use of a sterilized syringe to inject oneself with a narcotic drug, or the use of a condom, may prevent the spread of AIDS in concrete acts to feed the drug or sex habit, promoting such practices promotes the behavior patterns which led to the AIDS problem in the first place. After all, addicts will feed the drug or sex habit even when a sterilized needle or a condom is not available. Hence, even from a purely practical point of view, distributing condoms as a protection from AIDS gives false hopes. Such an approach to control the spread of AIDS is based on an erroneous position, i.e., that one can control the diseases spread by addictions by means of protective devices which promote the addictive behaviour.
From all that has been stated above, it follows that a person working in an AIDS Center may not formally cooperate in the evil of homosexual relations, or of contraception-type heterosexual acts (e.g., between spouses) by having anything to do with the distribution of condoms. Likewise, the person working in such a Center may not formally cooperate in the evil of drug abuse by distributing sterilized syringes to drug addicts to avoid the spread of AIDS. Such an AIDS worker must SUFFER the AIDS-related deaths that addicts inflict upon themselves instead of FORMALLY COOPERATING in the moral evil of degrading the addict further by helping him to solve his problems in practising the addictive behaviour. In this connection, we must remind ourselves that God permits or suffers evil but never commits it, and we are called to be God-like. We must also remind ourselves that the highest value of a person is to reach eternal life. Cooperating in degrading the addict further, by formally cooperating in fostering “safe sex” or “safe drugs”, jeopardizes the addict’s eternal life and is a much greater evil than death – such cooperation is not true compassion.
You may reproduce and pass on this letter to whomever you wish. I shall be happy to answer any further questions you may have.
Sincerely in Christ,
The letter is then signed by Fr Lawrence Abello, S.J.
Below this is added in handwriting: I will pray for you God bless you M Teresa MC

From http://mariastopsabortion.blogspot.com/2011/02/blessed-mother-teresas-advice-re-aids.html
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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #102 on: July 26, 2011, 05:21:14 PM »
Yikes.

I wonder if it would be okay for a HIV positive rapist to use a condom to keep his victim from getting AIDS. Or would that be too narcissistic?

Please keep these people away from those of us who prefer to live in the reality-based community.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #103 on: July 26, 2011, 06:10:49 PM »
Mother Teresa felt it was better that your spouse died of aids rather than be self loving and use a condom.
==================================================================================

What might Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta say about the use of condoms to protect another person from AIDS? What would she say in the case of two homosexuals? Or in the case of a married couple where one spouse has AIDS? Or in the case of a heterosexual couple who are not married?
Some years back a friend of mine wrote to Mother Teresa for the answers to some questions about condom use. She received the following reply from a Priest who had answered at Mother Teresa’s request, Fr Lawrence Abello S.J., a Jesuit who was at that time writing from St Xavier’s College in Calcutta. His powerful reply was also signed at the bottom, with a little message offering prayers, by Mother Teresa. It’s not short but it’s very clear and worth a read for anyone struggling with this issue.

Or, TL;DR:  The Catholic Church prefers war, famine, and disease to birth control.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #104 on: July 27, 2011, 08:48:45 AM »
To be honest, part of my unspoken disagreement with screwtape and velkyn was because of my distaste with their attitudes on this subject.  No offense to them, but they are quite hostile towards religion (not without cause, but still); it's a lot easier to take what someone says with a grain of salt when their feelings about the subject are so strong.
this reads as “I can disregard them as long as I don’t agree with their “attitudes”, no matter what the facts are.”
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Offline screwtape

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #105 on: July 27, 2011, 10:12:13 AM »
Or, "I don't like their attitudes, so I cannot agree with them".

That is letting emotion, not facts, determine your decision making.  Bad, bad, bad.  You should avoid being on juries.
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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #106 on: July 27, 2011, 10:37:44 AM »


So, when a theist says that we should seek to minimize suffering, he means that an external authority, God, has determined that to be right.

There are a plethora of external authorities.  What makes God's authority good?

Is my authority good?  Is Satan's authority good?  And how can you tell?

We may disagree about what God has or has not said or about what right and wrong are, but at least we have a reason to assume there is a right and a wrong that neither of us created.

George W. Bush's concept of right and wrong is one that neither of us created, too.  This is trivial, and doesn't answer my question.


Fixizgeek, now that you've returned, would you mind taking a stab at this?
Hi Azdgari,

I've been mulling this over. I think I'm ready to concede this point. That is, I think I'm realizing that the leap two theists make to agree on what God has said is equivalent to the leap two atheists make to agree, for example, that we should all pursue happiness for mankind, etc. Also, it doesn't help to use God to explain the origin of our common morality, because we still can't cross the is-ought gap.

In the back of my mind there's the notion that it's advantageous to approach morality as if it were something to be discovered rather than invented, but I can't make that stick yet.

So, atheists, you can go on back to moralizing. Good point, Azdgari.

-FG
« Last Edit: July 27, 2011, 10:39:39 AM by fizixgeek »

Offline screwtape

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #107 on: July 27, 2011, 10:48:35 AM »
try this too, fiz:

when the heroine, Eve, ate the fruit from the Tree of Moral Knowledge, she acquired the same capacity as yhwh to know right from wrong.  yhwh admitted as much:
gen3:23
Quote
And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

bold mine

So if you believe this old tale, then from the standpoint of being able to judge morally, we are in fact the equals of yhwh.

As an aside, why did this terrify yhwh so much?  What was wrong with them being able to live forever?  Why did he have to post armed guards?

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Online Azdgari

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #108 on: July 27, 2011, 12:15:16 PM »
So, atheists, you can go on back to moralizing. Good point, Azdgari.

I'd just like to tack something else on here, if you don't mind.  We all moralize, to be sure.  But keep in mind that the conclusion of our discussion isn't that both atheists and theists have an objective moral standard to appeal to.  It's that neither atheists nor theists have an objective moral standard to appeal to!

Moral values[1] aren't rational.  They can be treated rationally, of course.  They can function as the premises for logical conclusions.  But they are not, in and of themselves, logical conclusions.  So while our internal moral systems may be fairly self-consistent in their complexity, they are not rooted rationally.

They're not ir-rational, though.  They don't contradict reason.  They are a-rational; they are not contingent upon reason.
 1. And values in general, for that matter.
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline Hatter23

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #109 on: July 27, 2011, 01:01:29 PM »
So, atheists, you can go on back to moralizing. Good point, Azdgari.

I'd just like to tack something else on here, if you don't mind.  We all moralize, to be sure.  But keep in mind that the conclusion of our discussion isn't that both atheists and theists have an objective moral standard to appeal to.  It's that neither atheists nor theists have an objective moral standard to appeal to!

Moral values[1] aren't rational.  They can be treated rationally, of course.  They can function as the premises for logical conclusions.  But they are not, in and of themselves, logical conclusions.  So while our internal moral systems may be fairly self-consistent in their complexity, they are not rooted rationally.

They're not ir-rational, though.  They don't contradict reason.  They are a-rational; they are not contingent upon reason.
 1. And values in general, for that matter.

I've used this anaology: Morals and Value show you where on the map where you want to go. Logic is used to actually get there.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #110 on: July 27, 2011, 01:05:21 PM »
Well put.  They are goals.
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline Brakeman

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #111 on: July 27, 2011, 04:45:49 PM »
try this too, fiz:

when the heroine, Eve, ate the fruit from the Tree of Moral Knowledge, she acquired the same capacity as yhwh to know right from wrong.  yhwh admitted as much:
gen3:23

Thanks screwtape, I had missed that important tidbit.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #112 on: July 27, 2011, 11:08:30 PM »
Thanks screwtape, I had missed that important tidbit.

don't forget the Darwin button...
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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #113 on: August 07, 2011, 01:24:58 AM »
try this too, fiz:

when the heroine, Eve, ate the fruit from the Tree of Moral Knowledge, she acquired the same capacity as yhwh to know right from wrong.  yhwh admitted as much:
gen3:23
Quote
And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

bold mine

So if you believe this old tale, then from the standpoint of being able to judge morally, we are in fact the equals of yhwh.

I interpret this to mean that the "Fall" of Adam and Eve from the presence of God had made them more like God in that they experienced both good and evil. This is a pretty uniquely LDS point of view. There are non-Mormons that agree, of course, but to LDS it's a big deal to recognize that leaving the presence of God was a necessary step for us all.

I don't know why living forever at that point would have been so bad. Sorry.

Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #114 on: August 08, 2011, 08:59:58 AM »

I interpret this to mean that the "Fall" of Adam and Eve from the presence of God had made them more like God in that they experienced both good and evil. This is a pretty uniquely LDS point of view. There are non-Mormons that agree, of course, but to LDS it's a big deal to recognize that leaving the presence of God was a necessary step for us all.

I don't know why living forever at that point would have been so bad. Sorry.

so, you want to claim that we "had" to leave the presence of God, when your god never indicates that it intends what you claim it does at all.  Your god threatens death, threatens eternal torture and whines that it better kick those humans out, and put angels into defend the garden, since those humans might become just like this god.  Amazing how myths fail even more dramatically when people start adding to them without any thought except  "oh no, we have to explain all of this nonsense"

 
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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #115 on: August 11, 2011, 02:57:58 AM »
OK. So now you're (several of you) forwarding your own postulate:

"The scientific method is the only way to discover truth."

I haven't seen any good arguments to establish this.

How about, oh, I don't know, RESULTS?

Ok, let's see, scientific method results in the computer you're typing on, the internet you're using to criticize science, the elimination of smallpox, the increasing rate of cancer survival, the green revolution credited with saving the lives of a billion people, human footprints on the frickin' moon, and on, and on, and on. Are you seriously going to sit there and play the "Yeah, but what has science ever done for us?" game? None of this crap would work if science were wrong. I think the results of science firmly establish it's credibility as a means of getting as close to truth as is possible.

What are the unambiguous results of your alternative, or complementary, epistimology? Just list them.
Denis Loubet