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Switch to Forum Live View A friendly question from a Christian.
5 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2009 - 6:51AM #31
Bob Wells
Posts: 112

nieciedo wrote:

The problem with God's law, however, is that it is pretty much subjective. Human laws are, as I said above, demonstrable. You can look them up. You can see how they are made. You can see for yourself the authority who makes them. Plus there are very real consequences if you break them. You could fined, arrested, go to jail. God's law, unfortunately, has none of those concrete expressions. God's law appears to vary depending on the believer.


Secular law involves the intent of the legislator, enforcement by the executive, and interpretation by the court. At every step people argue back and forth that it all means. To help explain the law libraries of legal commentary have been written. People can spend their lives delving into the volumes and never exhaust the wonders of the legal system.
Almost sounds Rabbinic.

I don't think I understand. :(


There was a serious problem in my town a few years back. People would befriend elderly and struggling homeowners. They would offer to guide them through the complicated process of mortgage refinancing. They wound up swindeling many families of their homes. These families had no legal recourse as no laws were broken in the process.

I call my "faith system" a "religion," because that's what it is: a system of symbols and rituals that serve to facilitate communion with the Sacred as perceived by me and my community. Faith doesn't really enter into it. I also do not judge other people's religious practice so long as it does not demonstrably harm others.


Why would it make a difference if the person is hurting someone else or hurting the self. It tends to be hard to stop the later as you can not separate the victim from the offender. But you should still try.

If a person is ready to jump off a bridge should one leave him alone so he can work out his inner issues? Is it wrong to help others?

But first you have to prove that there is a mistake being made. There has to actually be a truck there that poses a threat, or else you're interfering in her life without any valid reason. You'd have to first prove that God exists to warn others from worshiping idols.


I shouldn't need to prove God exists to a person worshiping idols.

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2009 - 10:56AM #32
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

Bob Wells wrote:

Secular law involves the intent of the legislator, enforcement by the executive, and interpretation by the court. At every step people argue back and forth that it all means. To help explain the law libraries of legal commentary have been written. People can spend their lives delving into the volumes and never exhaust the wonders of the legal system.
Almost sounds Rabbinic.


Yes, the law in all its details can be a beautiful process and the Rabbis, being lawyers in a way, did operate in a similar fashion.

The difference between secular law and religious law, however, is that the authority behind secular law and the process by which it is made is open and demonstrable and has real, material consequences. Religious law depends entirely on the faith of the believer with not demonstrable impact in reality.

There was a serious problem in my town a few years back. People would befriend elderly and struggling homeowners. They would offer to guide them through the complicated process of mortgage refinancing. They wound up swindeling many families of their homes. These families had no legal recourse as no laws were broken in the process.


That is of course terribly unjust, and is symptomatic of our entire civilization which is based on the legalized enslavement and exploitation of workers and the theft of the fruits of their labor.

Why would it make a difference if the person is hurting someone else or hurting the self. It tends to be hard to stop the later as you can not separate the victim from the offender. But you should still try.


In the context of another person's religious practice, how can you tell that the person is harming himself?

If a person is ready to jump off a bridge should one leave him alone so he can work out his inner issues? Is it wrong to help others?


That is not a very good analogy, because the person about the jump off a bridge is in very obvious, very real danger of hurting himself. On the contrary, if you think a person is worshiping an idol but he does not, the "danger" or "harm" exists only in your belief. You can't prove to him that God, for example, forbids his religious practice: why should he listen to you, especially if he believes God commands it? You're at an impasse.

Helping someone is, of course, a virtue. We should always act accorind to that maxim whereby we can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. I do not wish others to interfere with my religious beliefs and practices solely because they disagree with them based on their own subjective beliefs which they cannot prove. I cannot will that that become a universal law for everyone to obey, therefore I refuse to act in such a way.

I shouldn't need to prove God exists to a person worshiping idols.


How do you propose to prove to them that worshiping idols is wrong?

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2009 - 4:20PM #33
Bob Wells
Posts: 112

nieciedo wrote:

How do you propose to prove to them that worshiping idols is wrong?


That is hard to do. First one must care about the person. Then it is possible, with some work and time to gain the person's trust. But I must admit it is easier to just yell at the person.

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 04, 2009 - 10:01AM #34
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

Bob Wells wrote:

That is hard to do. First one must care about the person. Then it is possible, with some work and time to gain the person's trust. But I must admit it is easier to just yell at the person.


One presumes that if one is concerned about another's religious practice one must therefore care about them in some way.

The question though, is this. Let's pretend I choose to worship Dionysus. I keep a shrine out in the woods behind my house and every so often my fellow worshippers and I make offerings at this shrine and participate in a good old fashioned bacchalian orgy (in which alcohol is not consumed to dangerous levels and sexual acts are safe and protected).

You think I'm violating at least one and possibly two Noachide laws. You  care about me and want to show me the error of my ways. How do you do that?

To make your case, you would need to prove the following:
1.) Your god exists.
2.) Your god has the authority to command my behavior and I am subject to that god's authority
3.) Your god has forbidden my religious practice.

How do propose to do that?

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2009 - 5:19AM #35
Bob Wells
Posts: 112

nieciedo wrote:

One presumes that if one is concerned about another's religious practice one must therefore care about them in some way.

The question though, is this. Let's pretend I choose to worship Dionysus. I keep a shrine out in the woods behind my house and every so often my fellow worshippers and I make offerings at this shrine and participate in a good old fashioned bacchalian orgy (in which alcohol is not consumed to dangerous levels and sexual acts are safe and protected).

You think I'm violating at least one and possibly two Noachide laws. You  care about me and want to show me the error of my ways. How do you do that?

To make your case, you would need to prove the following:
1.) Your god exists.
2.) Your god has the authority to command my behavior and I am subject to that god's authority
3.) Your god has forbidden my religious practice.

How do propose to do that?


If you want a logical discourse on these subjects the writings of Maimonides is a good start.

My own approach is a work in progress. The first question is if I should be concerned about my friends' idolatry. The answer to that is yes as explained in the previous post. The next question is how to go about helping them. The theoretical plan was stated in the last post. In 20 years I will get back to you as to how it went.

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5 years ago  ::  Feb 05, 2009 - 9:34AM #36
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617

Bob Wells wrote:

If you want a logical discourse on these subjects the writings of Maimonides is a good start.

My own approach is a work in progress. The first question is if I should be concerned about my friends' idolatry. The answer to that is yes as explained in the previous post. The next question is how to go about helping them. The theoretical plan was stated in the last post. In 20 years I will get back to you as to how it went.


Not even Maimonides was able to provide a logical proof for the existence of God nor a logical compelling reason for belief in the Torah and the commands of that God.

Which is not surprising, because such things are impossible. It is exceedingly likely that no such thing as "God" exists outside the human mind, a projection of our own ideals onto the cosmos. God is subjective and irrational and dependent on the faith and belief of the individual. One either believes in God or one doesn't. Belief in God has no demonstrable impact on observable reality or the quality of life -- and in fact belief in God has often impelled believes to go out and diminisht the quality (and quantity) of life of others.

So, there is no rational and objective ground for anyone person to say to another "Your religious practice is wrong" because we are all equally wrong in our religious practice becaus religion itself is objectively false.

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