[POEM] Facets of Morality

facets-theme

Social

To adhere to the law

is to deny the self

for the sake of the many.

The conflict of right arises,

the needs of the one ignored

so the needs of all may flourish.

Can we be all?

Community as an illusion of

perfection,

a collection of the flawed

negates its nature

and becomes what is necessary;

the majority of right and wrong.

Familial

Heredity and birth

comes with obligation;

whether malicious or innocent,

the child feels weight upon its shoulders,

the expectations of what is acceptable.

At first, innocence is assumed

by both parties,

but in time,

innocence becomes frail

to the erosion of the world.

We are beings of choice

and beings of jealousy,

a dangerous combination when

ignorance of the gift

gives way.

Choices made

can break the heart

and mock the soul;

do not shun your foundation,

my child,

you are merely learning how

to bury it.

Spiritual

Conformity is demanded,

and,

at times,

embraced

by those whose ghosts dare not

uphold the burden of decision on

their own shoulders.

Majority is not enough:

something must call the shots;

the musher guides the dogs,

blinded by the snow and heads turned

always forward

on command.

But the dog feels the wolf’s blood

hot and wild,

and can trust it,

if only it allows the howls to drown

the musher’s unrealistic demands.

Personal

Bombarded by influence,

the inner mind is sanctuary

to decide the big things

in silence

and to no one.

What authority are you,

lowly whisper of the mind,

over anyone?

Over yourself?

Nature dictates will,

will dictates action,

and action is restricted;

the facet so far below,

the core from which all others grew,

long forgotten…

yet the echo forever rings

through the prism of all else.

It takes one in joining with one

to start a family,

and it takes only one to gather the many and

crack the foundation of society.

This one is the melding of

mind and spirit,

come together to make the one

into all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, I received a very interesting suggestion from one of my followers, Mark Reino Peltonen. The suggestion was to write a poem on morality, and I was very intrigued by this idea. There are so many angles from which to come at the topic of morality, and so in this line of thinking, I came to the image of facets of a gem. There are certainly other facets from which I could view the topic, but these four I feel are the most influential and important when addressing morality. There is the social morality, the law, which dictates our lives under worldly rules and regulations, typically controlled by the opinion of the majority. Then there is familial morality, the teachings one is raised on in order to perceive the world. This facet is easy to start, but becomes increasingly difficult for both the individual and the family whose values they may grow to challenge or dismiss due to their own personal views of the world through their experiences. Spiritual morality is a conflict of one’s human nature and the perpetual concept of a higher power and understanding. This facet conflicts with the others, demanding that something more must draw the real line of moral acceptance, and yet cannot fully define itself, leading to constant crisis with itself. Finally, there is one’s personal morality, which takes all the others into consideration and compounds into the tiny voice of attempted reason within one’s self. This is the weakest facet to others, but the strongest facet to one’s self, and so is the most under-appreciated morality, despite being the foundation for all the others.

If anyone would like to contribute another facet which I have neglected, feel free to include them in the comments below. I’d be very interested to see what people think of my perceptions here. And thank you, Mark, for the very thought-provoking prompt! If anyone would like to contribute a suggestion of their own, be sure to go to ‘Make Me Your Pawn’ and give me some ideas on future post topics. Cheers!

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30 thoughts on “[POEM] Facets of Morality

  1. Nicely done. I read though it several times. Insightful, powerful, and thought provoking. I thought the poem was so well written that I found myself not wanting to pick it apart or argue where I differed with it philosophically, but rather to provoke farther with questions and a few conclusions. Here are some thoughts:
    * What does our personal morality do for others?
    * What does it do for God?
    * Of what value is it to yourself, other than to unify relative parts or bring harmony within one’s self, where “self” may be completely out of harmony with others and reality? Might this inner harmony be even worse than a divided heart, in that should we be wholly wrong, will we not add blindness to error?
    * Is personal morality not only as valuable as it is true? And what then, is the basis for truth?
    * Can personal morality really be a dependable foundation?
    * Given that morality is only as good as it is founded in truth (i.e., the well intended, but misguided doctor may kill me), is not the highest aim of man, as the only moral creature, to seek truth? Even absolute truth?
    * If absolute truth cannot be found, then how can man be moral? How can he know if he is moral or not, or whether his best intentions will benefit or harm himself or others, please God or displease Him?
    * In regard to societal truth, do we sacrifice personal morality for societal morality, or vice versa? Does not the answer to these questions lead us back to the single source of all morality, that source being God? Might my personal or societal morality end it death for my fellow man? (War, abortion, self-defense, defense of another, and capital punishment, for example) Might my moral discipline of my children end in their depression, ruin, or death, or my tolerance, tenderness, and failure to restrain end in suffering for my children as they come up against the hard walls of truth and reality for which they are not prepared, and pain for all they affect – if all of my best efforts toward them are not rooted in absolute truth?
    * In order to make truly beneficial moral choices, do we not need infinite perspective? How do we know whether our training and discipline of a child is good for his latter end or if it will prove crippling? Or how do we know if our kindness is loving or indulgent and destructive? What makes sense for today, may not for decades later, and what makes sense for then, may be utter foolishness for eternity. Who among us would not have done things differently looking back over the perspective of years? And what would still more years – centuries, millenniums, or eternity do to our well-intended, but infinitely myopic decisions? Is not morality without the knowledge of God therefore a mad experiment, with consequences for one’s self and others that cannot be foreseen, much less reversed? I believe, therefore, that the supreme end of man is to know God, and to seek Him with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength.

    The “wolf’s blood” as you spoke, “yearns to breath free” from its “musher”. But can the wolf trust the inclinations of its own blood? Can it trust its “wolf” nature, it’s wolf foundation for anything? Is our wolf also not confused between masters, with “self”, corrupt and unreliable, confusing its true master’s whip with cruelty, and the enticements and stroking of the false master with love? I think our wolf needs a new “self”.

    You stated well and powerfully the question, “What authority are you, lowly whisper of the mind, over anyone? Over yourself?” Your question speaks so well I almost hate to add to it. Do we really have authority over anyone, even our own self? Why do we fail even our own moral code? If we say things and do things contrary to our inward code, who then, is at the controls? When we remove all external masters from the picture, why can we not even comply with the master of our own selves? Should we remove every tyrant – of government, of religion, or of law, would we be then free? Is our true and cruelest task master the tyrant of sin within- struggling and warring against even our own sense of morality? Solve this, and you will solve the fundamental question of humanity. To solve this, however, one cannot be part of the problem. Wolf blood, though independent, will ever be vicious, corrupt, and devouring. To solve this for each and every one of us does, however, require blood, a new blood, wild and free, a blood untainted by the insatiable carnal desires of the wolf. It is the wolf, the inner wolf, from which we must be set free, and be reunited, reconciled to the true Master, the true Shepherd. From this new position as rendered free, we may then consider questions of morality. But not in futility as before as slaves with slave blood meditating on freedom, but rather as freemen with free blood meditating on our bondage.

    • Thunder, I think you misinterpret my point regarding personal morality. Using the metaphor of the gem, personal morality is the central facet from which all others emanate and grow. At the beginning, the facet is simply of itself, but over time, the facets which surround it define the overall gem, giving shape and definition to the original facet that is personal morality. Personal morality has everything to do with its effects on the world around it, and is shaped by the world around it. This does not make it perfect; there will always be facets of the gem which are contrasting to the overall pattern of the others. It has nothing to do with being ‘right,’ as it is a development of what is proven right or proven wrong, again it is built upon by the other facets of morality. One’s personal morality need not conform to the other facets of morality, although it may decide to according to how the other facets develop. If one’s personal morality comes into conflict with the facet of social morality, making it so one’s personal morality could get one put in jail, then one’s personal morality must change, that personal morality must be a building block to readjust social morality, or one must accept the punishment for conflicting with the social morality, basically causing the facets of the gem to separate in one’s life.

      I do not believe there is a source of morality. In fact, I have, in the past few months, been coming to the philosophical conclusion that my previous ideas were false, in that there is no defining line of morality, no true defining line between good and evil, due to the existence of personal morality. I plan on working out a post on the subject in the not too distant future, after some more contemplation on a few points.

      As for the topic of masters and the wolf trusting his blood over his musher, I can only say that to abandon one’s value of self is to abandon all value for one’s life in my opinion. If one’s goal is to give up their own self, their own inclinations on life, and give their ‘self’ completely to another, aka to God, (not in a marital situation, where the reliance of self is mutual; meaning just as you give of yourself to that other person, that person puts all their worth in life on you, so you both still hold the burden of life’s worth), what worth is there in continuing to live a life of free will? Giving one’s all to God suggests a relinquishment of responsibility to God in order to not make any mistakes according to that God. And let me restate a recurring point of mine, that the corruption of man is what makes us who we are. Without corruption, without the ability to sin, what would we be? Simply another animal, or perhaps angels. Our free will, and the fact that we utilized that free will to its full potential through sin, makes us human beings, the beloved creatures of the Christian God. So why then do we despise what makes us human, what sets us apart and makes us the cherished beings of God above all others? Without evil, there would be no way to distinguish good, no other choice but good, and therefore no way for humans be be human. Our flaws make us unique, and although they make us hurt, our flaws are nothing to shun, but I believe something to cherish as an experience of life. To experience both good and evil is freedom; the idea that evil suppresses us is simply an illusion of the nature of flight, a coping mechanism to attempt to avoid the pain which evil can bring us.

      • Rana,
        I will insert my thoughts in some of your text within brackets. You said, “It has nothing to do with being ‘right,’ [Really? So the effects of my “morality” are only relative to myself and my worldview as a facet on this diamond?] as it is a development of what is proven right or proven wrong [Proven right or wrong by whom?] , again it is built upon by the other facets of morality. [Meaning, I take it, that it can only be as good as those other facets are, which are determined by equally flawed human beings] One’s personal morality need not conform to the other facets of morality, although it may decide to according to how the other facets develop. If one’s personal morality comes into conflict with the facet of social morality, making it so one’s personal morality could get one put in jail, then one’s personal morality must change [So the majority is right?] , that personal morality must be a building block to readjust social morality, or one must accept the punishment for conflicting with the social morality, basically causing the facets of the gem to separate in one’s life. [I would not wish to align with this relative, crap-shoot of a gem. I plumb my house to magnetic north, not to my surrounding environment.]

        You said, “I do not believe there is a source of morality. [Hence, no moral responsibility beyond one’s own self. The ax murderer can then hack people to pieces, and is fine in every way so long as he does not get caught by a particular society of people that happens to share some values to the contrary?] In fact, I have, in the past few months, been coming to the philosophical conclusion that my previous ideas were false, in that there is no defining line of morality [You are truly adrift on a sea of moral relativism. It will take a serious storm in your life to cause you to see the need for a moral anchor beyond yourself that you can truly depend upon. But this same anchor will restrain you as well, even as the sun restrains the earth and keeps it from flying off into oblivion, and bring you to moral responsibility beyond your own determiniation], no true defining line between good and evil, due to the existence of personal morality.” [That is an astounding statement, and as I just alluded, a statement awaiting a crisis which will surely challenge it to its core]

        [I agree that the ability to choose is what sets us apart from animals. But our inability to choose our consequences for those choices is what sets us apart from God, to whom we will surely give an account. To give up one’s self to God is also a choice – yielding the corrupt in exchange for the incorruptible. We will only do this when we’ve given up on our idea that though very rational beings, we are incapable of being our own God. In regard to the ability to sin defining us, I would only say that I do not think you understand the true nature of sin. Sin ultimately brings death. Sin, once let out of the box, has a will of its own. Though we sometimes usually have the illusion that we can control it, we find that we cannot. It becomes our master. The idea of having no master is an illusion. (By default, sin is our master) It’s not like we choose to sin or not every day. We’re already slaves to sin. (Why do we eat the donut when even our own wisdom and morality tell us we should lose weight?) The choice before us is which master, God or sin. The illusion is that we (or our personal morality) is a viable third choice. If it were, we would already have achieved utopia, and for all our efforts, we are no closer than we were thousands of years ago. The beast itself has never fundamentally changed. Sin does not make us human. The ability to make choices makes us human. Sin degrades us and robs us of our humanity, which can only be understood in view of God’s original intentions for mankind. (In fact, I believe that those who do not choose to yield themselves to God will live in an eternally degraded state) You say that without evil, there is no way for us to distinguish good. But in your earlier statement, you say that there is no true defining line between good and evil. These statements appear to me to be incompatible, and to actually live without definition of good and evil, you will find to be impossible. You will betray this philosophy every single day. You said, “the idea that evil suppresses us is simply an illusion” Really? The oppression of cancer, war, rape, violence, abuse is merely an illusion?]

        Ran, I believe that you are on a quest with no destination. Your search, according to your philosophy, can lead you to nothing concrete. How different from God’s promises of, “Seek and you will find”, and “You will find me when you seek me with all of your heart”. You are a bright, inquisitive person, and I believe that you will one day weary of a journey with no answers, no anchors – only your next surmising – even as you stumble and bumble into the immoveable realities of live. Rana, life concretes in behind us. We cannot forever change course, as we often have in the illusion of youth. Your decisions of yesterday will begin to increasingly bind and limit your choices of today. Before we know it, we’re in a trap of our own making, from which no philosophy or power of the mind can extricate us – a trap from which God, and God alone can save us.
        RT

        • Rana,

          “In fact, I have, in the past few months, been coming to the philosophical conclusion that my previous ideas were false, in that there is no defining line of morality…”
          Let me be the first in line to salute you. Having the honesty to admit that your previous beliefs may not provide you with meaningful answers or may not be true or may be in conflict with reality, takes a lot of courage. This is the first step in emancipating yourself from the belief that there is only one absolute answer to the riddle of life, the cosmos, the universe or the numerous other problems and riddles that confront us as a species.
          From RT: “I believe that you are on a quest with no destination. Your search, according to your philosophy, can lead you to nothing concrete…”
          DO NOT allow yourself to fall victim to this disingenuous, half-baked appeal to absolutism. This is what he’s REALLY saying: “If only you’d give up thinking for yourself and realize that you need god to give you the correct and FINAL answer to any and everything, then you’ll have reached your ultimate, perfect destination. In fact that is the ONLY destination worth travelling to.”
          If you’re like me, you’ll want to live your life taking the risk that you don’t know anything like enough yet, that you haven’t understood enough, that you CAN’T know enough, that you’re always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. And I would urge you to look verrrrrrrry closely at those people who tell you that you’re wasting your time in a futile process of acquiring knowledge and future wisdom, that we are in “a trap from which God, and God alone can save us” and that if you would just recognize this and “restore your relationship” with the “True Master”, everything would be fine. The COMPLETE AND TOTAL surrender of the mind. Reading books? Forget it – all you need is the bible or god. Watching documentaries? Forget it – all you need is the bible or god. Having philosophical discussions about what would be called right and what would be called wrong? Forget it – all you need is the bible or god.
          RESIST THIS WITH EVERY FIBRE OF YOUR BEING.

          • Ashley,
            You seem to be setting up a straw man and knocking it down. I am highly educated – both in engineering and an avid reader of history and all sorts of things. I read a great variety of books beyond the Bible. In fact, I would wager I read far more than you. Directly Christian books are a tiny percentage of my reading.
            In regard to your abandonment of “half-baked” ideas of absolutism, I do not understand why you would argue so vehemently if you did not at a core level believe in absolutes. And if you, Ashley, pursue your 70 or eighty years of your life here on earth in pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, what have you gained, if there is no afterlife, and why will you be better off than anyone else as you lie in the grace, the place where we all must go? Of what benefit is the pizza you ate 30 years ago to you now?
            In regard to your statement that surrender to God involves a “complete and total surrender of the mind”, you are greatly mistaken. The fact that I acknowledge and surrender to the law of gravity, for instance, does not make me any less a thinking being. In fact, by acknowledging its power, and that I do not control the fact of it, I may be able to navigate my life in such a way as to avoid dashing it upon the rocks. God’s reality is no different. You, rather, are acting like the toddler who, not yet comprehending the absolute nature of gravity of its implications – both beneficial and destructive – depending upon how we relate to it, will in his ignorance wander off the cliff, with the absolute nature of gravity superseding whatever he happens to think about it. God requires our active involvement and engagement of every part of our being, not the denial of it. God’s first and greatest commandment is to love Him with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength. As we get to know Him, our minds affirm His existence and the rightness of everything about Him. God does not call us to commit intellectual suicide.

          • RT,

            You don’t even understand the meaning of the phrase “straw man argument” as is patently evidenced by this statement:
            “God’s first and greatest commandment is to love Him with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength”
            You cannot be COMMANDED to love someone. Love, by definition is voluntary. Co-incidentally, the first commandment is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. This has nothing to do with love and everything to do with worship. The problem is that you don’t see the difference between the two and can’t understand how everyone else doesn’t see that there isn’t a difference between the two. Being COMMANDED to love or worship someone or something is SLAVERY.
            And as for your statement about “surrender” to the law of gravity, well….what can I say. If there’s no difference for you between the “surrender” to the law of gravity and the surrender to the COMMANDMENT that you love an invisible, inaudible, omnipresent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being, then good for you. If that’s the best you can do, then that’s the best you can do. It demonstrates very clearly that you don’t even understand the meaning of the work “surrender”. I suggest the English Oxford Dictionary.
            And for the record, I don’t know what being “highly educated” in engineering means exactly but I ACTUALLY AM an engineer and I have the degree to prove it. I would wager that you DO NOT have such documentation or accreditation. So that that means is that as an actual engineer I KNOW the law of gravity have been repeatedly tested and proven and been subject to peer review. We know with certainty that an object when dropped from a height will accelerate at a rate of 9.81 m/s2 until it reaches its terminal velocity OR it strikes something that causes it to stop falling (i.e. the ground)
            Now excuse me sir, if I take leave to doubt that you have the entire mystery of the universe all figured out because “your mind has affirmed His (god’s) existence and the rightness of everything about Him” and if I only saw things the way you see things, I’d have the mystery of the universe all figured out too. As I had occasion to say earlier, thanks for the offer, but no thanks. I reject the offer however charmingly you may put it. Now feel free to trot out your reliable old “But you’re gonna go to hell if you don’t realize this!!!” or “You’re in grave danger if you reject this”. It does nothing to strengthen your (non-existent) case and you still won’t be able to convince me that you know much more about the universe than I do.

          • Ashley,
            God’s kind of love begins primarily with a choice. That is how we love our fellow man at times when he seems completely unlovable to us. Love and decision are not divorced from one another, in fact when we choose to love, the feelings of love usually follow. Our current divorce culture has no solution to love when it gets beyond feeling, and that shallow kind of love does not carry the day.

    • Thanks Thunder. I may address some of your points from your other post later. I just finished a very serious post, and I’d rather not make anymore comments tonight, unless they are directly associated with that post. The subject shook me up a bit, so I’m a little tunnel-visioned right now.

  2. Hello Rana. Well, I am deeply impressed and very thankful that you responded, with such eloquence, to my request. I have read, and re-read the poems over several times and admire them. I particularly like

    “Choices made

    can break the heart

    and mock the soul;” from Familial

    and

    “It takes one in joining with one

    to start a family,

    and it takes only one to gather the many and

    crack the foundation of society.” From Personal

    I do find it very interesting that you divided the Moralities as it were. I suppose we are all many parts, facets and presentations. If there would be, or could be One morality, what would you call “it”?

    Thank-you again, Mark

    • Hey Mark! I’m glad my response to your prompt was interesting for you.

      I believe my favorite line, personally, is a continuation of one of yours.

      Choices made

      can break the heart

      and mock the soul;

      do not shun your foundation,

      my child,

      you are merely learning how

      to bury it.

      I was very proud of that final section for some reason. But anyhow, you asked which morality I would consider the ‘one,’ it would have to be personal. This is why I reference it as the ‘core from which all others grew.’ To me, all communal moralities, be it spiritual (which is really religious, but I didn’t want to make that direct a connection), social, or familial, developed from one person stating their own personal idea of what is morally right, and more and more people coming together and agreeing with that moral statement. This is why some societies are still accepting of living sacrifices and others find it morally abhorrent. Every individual has a different view on moral justice. The question becomes does that person’s individual moral understanding fit with that of the communities that person is a part of? It is like a Christian, who shares all other beliefs with his or her denomination, except that this individual believes in homosexual marriage as a human right. This person does not see homosexuality as an issue of immorality on the part of the homosexual, while his or her community does. What is that person to do? Conform to the communal morality, or stick with their own? Will sticking with their own mean they must abandon their community, or can the person quietly uphold their own moral stance without causing conflict among the community? Perhaps in standing for his or her belief while remaining in the community, the individual can change the communal morality all together. It is the power of one mind to decide where the invisible line of right and wrong is drawn. It is up to the community surrounding that person to either support or reject that morality.

  3. Hey Rana,

    I can sum up one of your responses if you like. Do with it as you wish
    From RT: “It is the wolf, the inner wolf, from which we must be set free, and be reunited, reconciled to the true Master, the true Shepherd”
    In other words, we should learn to stop thinking for ourselves, abdicate our responsibility and become a flock of slaves.
    NO THANKS.

    • That is not what I am saying, Ashley. What I am saying is that one cannot fix the problem with the problem. The core problem is spiritual death that comes from separation from God. Fixing it begins where the problem began – in restoration to God. From there, the other problems can be addressed. The problem with “thinking for ourselves” is that our “thinker” is also corrupt, and we are defeated before we begin. By the way, a restored relationship with the Creator is not oppressive. It liberates us to be who we were created to be.

  4. And there you have it straight from the horses mouth:
    “The problem with “thinking for ourselves” is that our “thinker” is also corrupt, and we are defeated before we begin”
    We’ll never be able to fix this ourselves because thinking for ourselves is a “problem” because we are “corrupt” and if only we could just have a “restored relationship” with the “true Master”, he could legislate the whole thing for us. If we just listened to and followed the “true Shephard”, he could tell us how to act and how to think and how to treat one another and everything would be just wonderful. A wonderful, benign Master/SLAVE relationship.
    Excuse me sir, that is EXACLTY what you are advocating. Live that way if you wish, if you think it makes you happier and makes you a better person but LEAVE ME OUT OF IT. I have no desire to be a slave. I am, and will continue to be, hostile to this in every regard.

    • Ashley,
      You still are not hearing what I am saying. You seem to be hearing I am saying “Someone must tell us how tothink”. I am saying that salvation involves a fundamental change in our being, which changes how we view and process all things. I am speaking of a real change, not abiding by a new set of rules. Fish swim because they are fish. Sinners sin because they are sinners and can do no other. To be “born again” means to be fundamentally transformed at the core of our being. The “old man” (fallen man) will always think, reason, and perceive according to the old nature. The new man (born again) has the ability to to so from a new nature – no one does it for him. He must still choose between acting on the old vs. new nature, but he now has power to chose. You believe you are a free thinker. I would contend that you are a slave to sin. Why else would people do things they do not really want to do (i.e. eat pizza when they’ve determined to lose weight, blow up at their spouse when they had vowed to themselves they would not, or procrastinate after the firmest New Year’s resolution)

          • Haven’t quite figured out the concept of sarcasm have you? (Hint hint, that’s what the “quotes” around the word “enlightened” are – sarcasm….I don’t consider myself enlightened in the slightest)

          • Ah yes of course, saying you’re welcome is sarcasm. Once again, I’ve been “enlightened”. I’m learning so much!!!!!!!

          • Ashley,

            Putting all sarcasm aside, and all notions of “winning” or losing a debate aside. (Winning or losing a debate with you means nothing to me, Ashley, it really doesn’t – not because I think you are insignificant (I don’t), but because winning an argument for winning’s sake would result in nothing of lasting value. (And to tick you off or put you in your place is not a win. What would I have really won?) I do have some serious questions for you, however – real questions, not debate questions. I saw from your profile that you have interest in logic and philosophy I’ve asked you more than once, with your espousing atheism, why anything matters at all to you, including whether others believe in God or not, and why you are wise and they foolish, given your belief that at death we cease to exist, and have no memory of good or bad, love or hate, wisdom or foolishness, pain or pleasure. Dead is dead – nothing- complete oblivion – so dead, in fact, that as far as you are concerned, and those who are already dead, your life will mean nothing. As to those still living, you would mean nothing to them after they die, with all being ultimately meaningless since all walk this earth a brief century or so, and then, in your belief system, go off into utter nothingness. No one would even remember having lived. In fact, it would be as if we never had. So here is my question: On what basis does anything at all matter to you, much less arguments of logic and philosophy, since all will come to nothing regardless of belief, rightness (if there would be such a thing) or wrongness? What will your Mechanical Engineering degree mean to you in the grave, where you, and all go? What would your daughter mean to you, much less you to her after her own death? What would our conversation right now mean? The last time I asked these questions, you deferred to Rana, saying something on the order of, “If Rolling Thunder can’t find meaning outside of God…” But you never answered the question.

            The next is this: If you are right, that there is no God, and no life after death, and I am wrong in my firm belief that there is, of what benefit will that be to you? (And I won’t now go into my experiences with God, over and above any logic – let’s for now just assume we are talking a 50/50 chance that you are right vs. that I am right.) If you are right, when we are both dead, say, 50 years from now, still dead in a million years, and just as dead at a trillion and throughout eternity, what benefit will you have in being right over my being wrong? Again, dead is dead, right? In fact, what relevance would truth, knowledge, philosophy, your daughter, or anything for that matter then have? But if I am right, this would carry the most extreme significance and difference in destinies imaginable. The difference is as far apart as east vs. west, light vs. darkness, and (dare I say) Heaven vs. Hell. One in eternal peace, joy, ultimate fulfillment, eternal relationships, enjoying eternal mysteries and things wonderful beyond imagination – forever. The other eternal agony, despair, and weariness with no hope of rest – ever, and with no hope of changing a thing after seeing a trillion years roll around a trillion times. So my question to you is, “Why would it matter if I were wrong?” And my statement to you is that it means EVERYTHING if I am right. There is no greater or weightier question that every man must ask. I’m just some guy out there in cyberspace to you. I just ask you to answer the question carefully to yourself. I am really irrelevant in this picture. What is relevant for you is you, your eternal destiny, and your daughter’s eternal destiny, who is in your charge. Answer this question wisely – for your own sake, and your daughter’s sake, not mine. It is the question of all questions, and one that no man escapes.

            Take care

          • RT,

            You know what? I’ll try to make this as clear as I can.
            “…given your belief that at death we cease to exist…”
            “If you are right, that there is no God and no life after death…”
            At NO POINT did I ever profess belief that there is no god. I don’t BELIEVE that a god exists. I DISBELIEVE that there is a god. Capiche? Kinda like you don’t BELIEVE that there is a Santa Claus (I hope I’m not assuming too much here) and certainly how you don’t believe that there is an Allah or a Yahweh or a Bhudda or any other god other than the Christian one. They are all man-made fables and fairy tales as far as I am concerned. Are you capable of understanding that concept? Nevermind telling me that I’m wrong or that I’m in grave danger or anything like that – I need a simple yes or no answer. To me, God = Santa Claus in exactly the same manner that for you Allah = Santa Claus. Allah and Santa Clause don’t exist as real entities to you. God does not exist as a real entity to me. DO YOU UNDERSTAND???? YES OR NO.
            Because if you do not then there is no point in any further discussion.
            I suspect I already know the answer, but I’m willing to give you one last chance to see if you are capable of understanding a simple concept.
            I will not spend 20 minutes reading through a 7000 word essay on why I’m wrong or why I’m this or why I’m that. I need a straight up answer to a straight up question. Essays, sermons, deliverances, warnings, proofs, testimonials, threats and bribes will be ignored.

          • Ashley,
            Why the hostility? When I see statements like this coming from you, “At NO POINT did I ever profess belief that there is no god. I don’t BELIEVE that a god exists. I DISBELIEVE that there is a god. Capiche?”, I cannot adequately tell you just how dishonest and disingenuous you seem to me. Are you saying there is a difference between believing that there is not God and disbelieving that there is a God – a fundamental philosophical difference between where you place the negative in the sentence? Come on!
            You asked me if I understand that you consider belief in any god a fable. Yes. I understand that you said that. I just don’t believe that you believe that. Why? Because there is way too much rage boiling in you for a simple matter of disbelief. I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny, but I do not make a career out of disproving him! I believe your “disbelief” is incredibly inconsistent with many things that you do acknowledge and know to be true – such as design and order, cause and effect, human consciousness and conscience, etc., etc.
            There. And you’ve never answered my questions – at all.
            You said, “Allah and Santa Clause don’t exist as real entities to you. God does not exist as a real entity to me. DO YOU UNDERSTAND???? YES OR NO. Because if you do not then there is no point in any further discussion.” With that mentality, I cannot comprehend why you are, as you say in your profile, an “avid atheist”. Again, you can’t NOT talk about this. You are in no way, “Live and let live”. There is so much tension within you that you are ever on the verge of exploding. Integrity has to do with wholeness, ore “oneness” within – a consistency and harmony between what we say and what we truly believe. I do not see that consistency within you at all.
            The other difficulty I have with your communications is that you are ever in a state of running from the discussion – be it through hostility, or warning that you will nor respond, or ad hominem attacks. In fact, I believe you are running from a lot of things.

          • “Are you saying there is a difference between believing that there is not God and disbelieving that there is a God – a fundamental philosophical difference between where you place the negative in the sentence? Come on!”
            Yes, that is EXACTLY what I am saying, but as you proved in your last rant, you are INCAPABLE of understanding that concept. That’s because it’s based on LOGIC and you’ve thrown that out the window ages ago.
            The negative in the sentence, makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD. The former is a non-belief system and as a result, requires no proof or argument to back it. I don’t need to disprove the existence (or conversely prove the non-existence) of ANY god in order to not believe in him. For EXACTLY the same reasons I don’t need to disprove Santa Claus in order not to believe in him. The minute I say “I believe there is no god”, I am making a belief statement – a claim – and I need to furnish proof and a persuasive argument to base that belief on. I have no need to do that to myself and will not do that to myself. I will remain belief-free and assumption free.
            So anyways, thanks for your rant of a reply (which I begged you not to do). You have proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are in fact incapable of understanding a simple concept. I haven’t “made a career of disproving god” and what you see as “rage” is the frustration boiling over in me, trying in vain to get a point across to a brain-washed, delusional fanatical, fundamentalist lunatic when I should have known better and stopped trying 25 posts ago.
            To quote Omar Khayyam:
            “And do you think that unto such as you,
            a maggot-minded, starved fanatic crew,
            god gave the secret and denied it me?
            Well, well, what matters it! Believe that too”

            So take heart in your certain knowledge that you’re going to heaven when you die and the likes of me is going straight to hell. That thought I am sure is enough to fill your oh-so-loving Christian heart with untold joy. I’m glad that this is the case, because the thought of spending an eternity in heaven with the likes of a nutbag like you is enough to send me into the deepest pits of despair. That would be a fate 10 000x worse than hell.
            Enjoy your Christianity sir.

          • Ashley,
            In your philosophy of nothing to prove (in a non-existent god, as you say), you sure seem bent out of shape for one who feels no burden to prove. And in your logic, I think you are straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel, as you sit self-satisfied upon a mound of flimsy and esoteric nonsense as a shield from any kind of fundamental truth. You impress me as greatly proud in knowledge, but the wrong kind of knowledge – the kind that will keep you ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. You also impress me, as having everything invested in smarts, which will fail you. You may wish to considered that for every item of information that you know, there are an infinite amount of things you do not know, making you (along with all men), in a mathematical sense, much closer to the dumbest rock than to an all-knowing God. (i.e., whatever knowledge you have or claim to have in comparison to what is infinite amounts to zero) And any incomplete knowledge can result in bad choices.
            In regard to your quote, ““And do you think that unto such as you, a maggot-minded, starved fanatic crew, god gave the secret and denied it me?” , I would only say that God reveals Himself to whomever is willing to receive Him as He is (And God does not change) He reveals Himself to the humble, not to the proud. Humility is a necessary state of mind and heart in order to receive from the infinitely great. Pride, in itself, will block any true knowledge of God. For this reason God sent His Son into a poor family in the nowhere town of Nazareth, born in a stable, so that the proud could not discern Him, because pride is at the heart of the fallen human condition.
            In regard to any pleasure at the thought of others spending eternity in Hell, I assure you, I take no pleasure in that thought (but rather horror), and neither does God. In regard to your thoughts of it being unbearable spending eternity with me and people like me, this may be the first honest thing I’ve heard from you in our entire conversation. The Bible tells us that Judas “went to his own place”. In your case, my hope is that the verdict is still out. There have been many an avowed atheist who have had an encounter with God and completely turned around. Only God knows the depth of our hearts, and for that reason I judge no one. I only tell the the criteria that God has laid down in order that they may make an informed choice in the most critical matter of their life. I truly wish you well. R.T.

          • RT,
            “You impress me as greatly proud in knowledge, but the wrong kind of knowledge – the kind that will keep you ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”
            Yes, well maybe someday I’ll come to be in possession of the “right” kind of knowledge – say the kind that you used to make the most ridiculously idiotic comments you made earlier about the “surrender” to the laws of gravity and all the other wonderful gems you’ve left in this latest barrage.
            If by “coming to the knowledge of the truth” you mean ending up as a babblling, prattling, foaming wreck like you, I’ll pass. But thanks anyways.

            Take care now.

  5. Pingback: [DISCUSS] Humanity vs. Morality: What Really Guides Us | Virginia the Viruliferous
  6. Pingback: [DISCUSS] The Origins of Moral Standards: Part 1 | Virginia the Viruliferous

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