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6 years ago  ::  Nov 15, 2007 - 10:54PM #31
Creedofcrusades
Posts: 1,571
[QUOTE=bbollock;72727]Well it doesn't work.  That is my point.  However, that is supposed to be how it works,  see http://www.religioustolerance.org/wicrede.htm and http://www.waningmoon.com/ethics/3fl-3.shtml.

Internecinee debate about this very matter demonstrates my very point.  If the "Law of Return" were actually a law -- like Newton's Laws of Motion -- then there be no debate.  The reason why there is debate about this matter is because its an idea plucked from the air, its a product of imagination.  Hence there is no way to make a final pronouncement on the matter.

If you disagree with me that the "Law of Return" isn't a piece if fiction then tell me how it was arrived at.  I know of three methods that humans claim to arrive at knowledge (or at least what they believe to be knowledge):

(a) special revelation;
(b) logical deduction;
(c) observation and inductive inference;

How does one arrive at the Law of Return?

-BB[/QUOTE]

   What a nice logical question. I predict the response will be "why are you spewing hatred at us!!???" lol. I've tried this myself by asking "who told you about these "laws" and 'gods"..and why did you believe it?"
  Good luck.
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 15, 2007 - 10:55PM #32
gillyflower
Posts: 5,325
Bollock -

Perhaps this restating the code will help you understand better "If is harms none, do as you would, if it harms some, do as you should."

Each of us has our own ethical beliefs. Not everyone is going to agree about abortion or euthanasia or smoking marijuana, for example. Ideally we follow the laws of the land and work to change the laws and rules that we don't feel are right or fair. We do what we think is right.

In each circumstances, I, as a Wiccan and member of this culture, do what I think is right. I'm not asked by my gods to be able to foretell the future. I just do what I think is right at that moment. If I do not do what is right then I expect the Law of Return will kick in. ie. If I decide to drink and drive, I should not be surprised to get a very expensive lesson from a ticket. I've made a poor choice, I reap the consequences of a poor choice.

As for charity towards others, I do as I should. If I see someone passed out on the street, I call for help. If a panhandler asks me for money, I do not give it to them because I know how many rescue missions are in my area. I will be glad to direct them to a place where they can sleep safely or eat.

Karma isn't part of my worldview. The Law of Return is. My system hasn't collapsed in all of these years. I don't think it will.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 15, 2007 - 11:06PM #33
gillyflower
Posts: 5,325
One arrives at the Law of Return by seeing it in action. If I don't go to work tomorrow, and I don't call my boss, I can expect a consequence. There have been consequences for my actions for years. I've seen it in action. That is the Law of Return. If I am kind to the people in line at the grocery, most likely they will be kind back or some of them will. If I do something nice for someone, someone else will do something nice for me. In the words of my mother, you get back what you send out there. I bet your mother told you much the same.

Random things happen in this world. Only making good choices and sending out kindness to others, isn't going to stop that. But when those random bad things happen, you'll have quite a support system to help you through it.

Ed. to add: Not that I've always made good choices or been nice to everyone!
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 12:26AM #34
bbollock
Posts: 15
gillyflower,

Thanks for at least attempting to answer the substance of my post.  Unfortunately your response begs the question.  You haven't actually addressed my main concerns.  I'll attempt to present my concerns another way.

[QUOTE]
Perhaps this restating the code will help you understand better "If is harms none, do as you would, if it harms some, do as you should."
[/QUOTE]

Most ethical conundrums revolve around the concept of personhood, i.e. what is a person, and in a harm reduction/prevention oriented system of ethics -- as you are presenting -- a definition of "harm" is essential.  You have provided me neither a conception of "personhood" nor of "harm".  I'll present you some concrete examples to demonstrate the magnitude of your problem.  Does "the code" apply to microbes, insects, zygotes, blastocytes, fetuses or non-human mammals?  Why so? 

Doing as I "should" is the kernel of the problem so imploring me to do so doesn't help. 

[QUOTE]Each of us has our own ethical beliefs. Not everyone is going to agree about abortion or euthanasia or smoking marijuana, for example.
[/QUOTE]

Your appeal to ethical relativism is one of the main sources of the inconsistency and incoherence in your worldview.  Ethical relativism wasn't a component of any Western aboriginal, ancient or pre-Christian worldviews.  Ethical relativism entered Western thought and gain some prominence in the 20th century when post-modernism burgeoned.  Neo-Paganism inherited ethical relativism from post-modern thought.  A Druid, 1st century Roman witch, or even contemporary Australian Aboriginal shaman would find the idea that "each one of us has our own ethical beliefs" alien.

The problem with proposeing ethical relativism is that your position is self-refuting.  If you are going to say that ethics and morality is a personal choice then no further ethical discourse is possible.  The matter stops there.  If ethics is personal and subjective then by implication there is no essential difference between good acts and bad acts.  No moral distinction is possible in a ethicallly relativistic Universe.  That being so no ethical principle -- including "the Code" -- is meaningful. 

[QUOTE]Ideally we follow the laws of the land and work to change the laws and rules that we don't feel are right or fair. We do what we think is right.[/QUOTE]

That's besides the point.  The act of legislation presumes some notion of morality.  If we all make up and follow our own morality then on what do we base our conceptions of rightness or fairness.  Why aren't the current laws of the land as good as any others.  If ethical relativism is true then the choice between one law and another is arbitrary just like the choice of a favourite ice-cream flavour.

[QUOTE]
In each circumstances, I, as a Wiccan and member of this culture, do what I think is right.[/QUOTE]

You are begging the question i.e. you are using in an implied argument a premise that you haven't argues for.  How do you determine what is right?  If what is right is simply what you personally believe is right -- for whatever reason -- then the notion of morality falls into a black hole.

[QUOTE]I'm not asked by my gods to be able to foretell the future.[/QUOTE]

A system of morality that is based on reducing or preventing harm requires this very thing.  That is my point.  The Wiccan Reed sounds good when we think about simple examples of moral decision making but it falls in a heap when we start considering real-world ethical problems.  Determining whether a given action will cause harm and how much harm will in many cases require a form of omniscience.  It simply isn't a practical system of morality.  It's entirely unworkable. 

[QUOTE]I just do what I think is right at that moment.[/QUOTE]

But how do you arrive at the decision that action A is right?  That is the core of the problem.

[QUOTE]If I do not do what is right then I expect the Law of Return will kick in. ie. If I decide to drink and drive, I should not be surprised to get a very expensive lesson from a ticket. I've made a poor choice, I reap the consequences of a poor choice.[/QUOTE]

You are contradicting yourself here.  Either we each decide our own ethics and morals or there is actually a right thing to do in each situation.  A consequence of the ethical relativism you are espousing is that there is no one right thing to do in a given situation.

[QUOTE]As for charity towards others, I do as I should.[/QUOTE]

Again you are begging the question.  How do you decide what you "should"
do?

[QUOTE]If I see someone passed out on the street, I call for help. If a panhandler asks me for money, I do not give it to them because I know how many rescue missions are in my area. I will be glad to direct them to a place where they can sleep safely or eat.[/QUOTE]

In each of these cases what citeria do you use to arrive at the decisions you finally make and what is the relationship between these criteria and the "right thing to do"?

[QUOTE]Karma isn't part of my worldview. The Law of Return is. My system hasn't collapsed in all of these years. I don't think it will.[/QUOTE]

Well, it is you've just given it another name.  Can you provide me any textual evidence that demonstrates that the Law of Return did not enter Western thought after the Wests exposure to the Dharmic religions?

Your worldview hasn't collapsed because you haven't really thought through the various presuppositions and precepts that comprise it.  I've just pointed out to you a multitude of inconsistencies, contradictions and conceptual vacuums.

-BB
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 1:00AM #35
bbollock
Posts: 15
gillyflower,

Thanks again for attemptinng to answer my concerns.

[QUOTE]One arrives at the Law of Return by seeing it in action.[/QUOTE]

If the Law of Return were observable then no system for prosecuting justice would ever have developed -- in any society.  From social anthropology we know that even the most primitive of societies had some basic system for establishing justice and equity.  If there were some cosmic law that always "balanced the scales" then no such social institutions would have ever developed.  Justice and equity would take care of themselves -- just like gravity -- and there wouldn't have been a perceived need to form customs with specific purpose of establishing justice, equity and restitution. 

The reason why we have laws, courts and tribubals is because justice, equity and restitution don't take care of themselves. 

[QUOTE]If I don't go to work tomorrow, and I don't call my boss, I can expect a consequence.[/QUOTE]

That's a banal example and there is no need to invoke the Law of Return to explain the behaviour of your boss.  Your boss' behaviour can be explained simply with reference to his commercial self-interest and the contractual law of the land.  If your employer didn't decide to pursue his self-interest then there would be no adverse consequences of your absenteism.

[QUOTE]There have been consequences for my actions for years. I've seen it in action.[/QUOTE]

No-one is disputing that actions have consequences.  That is a self-evident.

[QUOTE]That is the Law of Return.[/QUOTE]

No it isn't.  The Law of Return is proposed as a transcendental cosmic law that is concerned with impersonally identifying the moral quality of a given action and returning morally equivalent outcomes thrice-fold.  The Law of Return as it was originally proposed implies that a "morally bad act"  (which has no _a priori_ meaning in the Wiccan worldview because morality is subjective or relative) will be repaid thrice-fold.   

[QUOTE]If I am kind to the people in line at the grocery, most likely they will be kind back or some of them will. If I do something nice for someone, someone else will do something nice for me. In the words of my mother, you get back what you send out there. I bet your mother told you much the same.[/QUOTE]

These are platitudes and they don't address the central claim by the "Illuminati" of Wicca regarding the Law of Return.

[QUOTE]Random things happen in this world. Only making good choices and sending out kindness to others, isn't going to stop that. But when those random bad things happen, you'll have quite a support system to help you through it.[/QUOTE]

If you'll admit of randomness in the universe then where do you draw the line between "consequences of the law of return" and "random impersonal forces"?

If your worldview admits of randomness then the Law of Return is superfluous.  The domain of causal explanation can be exhausted with reference to
(a) human intention/action;
(b) laws of the physical universe; and
(c) randomness.

What does the Law of Return explain that (a), (b) and (c) don't?

[QUOTE]Ed. to add: Not that I've always made good choices or been nice to everyone![/QUOTE]

That's besides the point.  I'm not accusing you or anyone else on this forum of being "immoral", "evil" or "bad".  Rather I'm trying to invite you to reconcile your professed worldview with your actual behaviour.

-BB
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 1:03AM #36
bbollock
Posts: 15
Hopefully not.  Everyone should be able to defend there worldview.  If a worldview is valid then its advocates shouldn't need to hide behind faux victimisation.

-BB
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 1:23AM #37
bbollock
Posts: 15
[QUOTE=Creedofcrusades;72749]What a nice logical question. I predict the response will be "why are you spewing hatred at us!!???" lol. I've tried this myself by asking "who told you about these "laws" and 'gods"..and why did you believe it?"
  Good luck.[/QUOTE]

Hopefully not. Although I wouldn't be surprised by a display of faux victimisation (that is common amongst Neo-Pagan's) I would be disappointed.  Everyone should be able to defend their worldview and be prepared to field and answer any criticisms.  A valid worldview -- in the sense that a worldview can be valid -- should be defensible.  Anyone that evades difficult questions about their worldview is inauthentic and perhaps even intellectually cowardly.

The major world faiths are relentlessly criticised on online forums, books (scholarly and popular) and in film.  Despite this heavy onslaught most Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus don't play victim but rather respond with apologetics.  I've yet to encounter a Neo-Pagan apologist that can rise above simply protesting that (s)he isn't a devil worshipper.  I've yet to read a Neo-Pagan response to any of the problems Neo-Paganism shares with the major faiths eg. the problem of evil, the foundations of morality, divine hiddeness.  Neo-Paganism is just as problematic as the major faiths -- perhaps more so -- but its practitioners simply aren't aware of the problems and naively assume a superiority over the major faiths.

-BB
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 8:02AM #38
gillyflower
Posts: 5,325
Excuse me. You have a basically flawed premise!

I don't have to answer your questions in a way that is acceptable to you. I answer ethical questions in a manner that is acceptable to me and live my life in a way that I have found good. That's the bottom line. I will be happy to defend my actions.

If you are unable to decide in each circumstance what is the right thing to do without reading the laws of the land and your 10 commandments, what do you do if it isn't covered in it? I expect that you do what you feel is right, just as I do.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 8:14AM #39
gillyflower
Posts: 5,325
There is no difference between the consequences of the law and random consequences. They are all consequences of actions, in my world view.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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6 years ago  ::  Nov 16, 2007 - 8:16AM #40
gillyflower
Posts: 5,325
I believe that random things happen in the universe (the world I live in) that are not under the control of a god. I understand that the bad things that happen to a person in the Christian world view is that their god is harming them for his own reasons.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
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