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Ghostly Presence
26-09-2012, 10:10
I have just heard the news that the State Duma is considering a new law that will introduce 5 year jail sentences for offending "feelings of believers". I have no doubt that the law will p**** given today's political environment.

I guess this brings to an end to all our discussions on religion, Rusmeister. Better safe than sorry!!! This should be a happy day for you Rusmeister. You guys are achieving the status of untouchables, of holy cows (I don't mean it in an offensive way - just an allegory!)

Why do I feel that I am back in the USSR where I always had to watch what I say?

Benedikt
26-09-2012, 10:24
that is far more important to us here i nRussia.
remember the drunk punk, drinking for 2 days, saying he always does what he wants? he killed 5 kids and 2 grown ups and faces a max of nine years in jail. there was no court case yet, so i hope the DUMA will push the new law through quickly and HE will be the first one to get it.

(for KILLING a person, on purpose, meaning murder the max sentence is 15 years, per person. The Duma also wants that this law will apply to drunk driving and killing innocent people. if that will be the case and i hope so, the guy never will see freedom again. that was from a TV show yesterday night).

there was another accident, 2 youngsters after partying all night long came down the road 180 km. crashing into a mini bus. the 2 guys were killed as the car burst into flames. wonder what else was in the car, an eyewitness (driver) said, such big flames and so fast he never had seen. must have been a full tank of gasoline. it was also filmed from another guy and shown on TV.

In another incident, a fully loaded,50 ton,Kamas with trailer wanted to make an u-turn on a dark road, truck itself was so dirty, could not see any of the back lights. he pushed mini bus with 12 little children and 5 grown ups onto a barriere, 1 kid dies in the accident.

the slaughter on Russian roads go on unabated.

Ghostly Presence
26-09-2012, 10:46
The regime is becoming more and more repressive. On all fronts. Not all problems can be erradicated by tougher laws, but they do contribute to higher bribes to be paid to the officials to avoid punishment. Laws here can and are used as a tool of political manipulation as they are applied selectively.

I don't believe in repressive measures in a country as corrupt as Russia. All this will not end well, one way or another, but hey, Russia was never a country of happy endings!

FatAndy
26-09-2012, 11:10
IWhy do I feel that I am back in the USSR where I always had to watch what I say?

It is highly recommended to watch what you say always and in all countries. Welcome to real world! ;)

At the same time I don't like religious obscurantism - voting on mail.ru has shown 37% of ppl consider themselves as atheists and it will be violation of their rights.

Benedikt
26-09-2012, 15:53
[QUOTE=Ghostly Presence;1063515]The regime is becoming more and more repressive.
-pust govorit- let them talk i suppose would be the translation. and there the story came up about that drunk guy who killed 7 people.
increasing the FINES will not help, that will indeed be a case for higher bribes of the traffic cops / GAI.
The -non bribable- sentences must be harsher. Take them away the drivers licence, confiscate their cars. put it into the data base. if the jerk wants to buy a new car he will not be able to do so, because he can not get number plates. it must show up also at the GBDD computer. if someone is caught driving drunk a second time, and hopefully did not kill anyone, take away the paper for 5 years. let them use the bus.
to bad you don't read German, i can point you to the sites which fines we have back home. loosing the -rag- as it is called, and regaining it, is very hard indeed. going to the psychiater, doing tests and re tests.
take OFF the GAI from the road, they are useless anyway.and put up cameras everywhere. fines will be sent out per mail, can't bribe the postman.

education is fine indeed, but if a person wants to drink and will not listen, like this young clown, FINES and penalties are the only solution. We still ahve problems i nAustria despite the heavy fines. BUT death rates on the roads are coming down but it is a battle every day. and it must start at school already. kids must be taught it is not -kruta- to drink and drive, it is NOT -kruta- not to stop at a zebra crossing. But kids must be also taught to stop when the zebra crossing shows red, even if there is no car there. and if the parents / uncles/ granny/ dedushka still walk over the red light, it should be up to the kids to say NO, we wait until it is green.

Things must come from the people, they must want. it is so easy to blame the government for everything.
Don't like what they are doing? GO VOTE!but if you have 30 % voter turn out when there are elections for the district head, what do people want? you let the jerks in, now you have them and keep quiet. and don't please tell me about corruption and the like ALL the time. WE, the voters let it happen, because we are to lazy or complacent at the polling booth.
Remember every nation gets the government they vote for (or rather not vote for in that case). i do not use the word -deserve-, this is how the saying actually goes.
Remember John F.Kennedy? i do, I am that old. And his speech: Don't ask what your government can do for you, but ask what you can do for your Government! should be applied here as well a little bit more.

Benedikt
26-09-2012, 15:55
Why do I feel that I am back in the USSR where I always had to watch what I say?[/QUOTE]


and i never had to watch what i said...

Inola
26-09-2012, 16:28
that is far more important to us here i nRussia.
remember the drunk punk, drinking for 2 days, saying he always does what he wants? he killed 5 kids and 2 grown ups and faces a max of nine years in jail. there was no court case yet, so i hope the DUMA will push the new law through quickly and HE will be the first one to get it.


He'll be judged according to the laws in force at the time the crime was committed anyways, it's an universal legal principle. And I think he'll get more than 9 years - murdering 7 and injuring several more should be treated as a cumulative offence imho.

Benedikt
26-09-2012, 16:34
He'll be judged according to the laws in force at the time the crime was committed anyways, it's an universal legal principle. And I think he'll get more than 9 years - murdering 7 and injuring several more should be treated as a cumulative offence imho.


otherwise the jerk should be sent there were the -heavy boys- are doing time. and they make sure he will regret every day what he had done. i know this sounds like lynch justice but so be it.
these young kids all grew up with -special needs-. i saw the TV show. one teacher said when the kids came to their Internat they could do absolutely nothing. and there they grew up and were coached and taught to be what they were now. young, nearly normal young people who had every chance to make it on their own in a grown up world.

rusmeister
26-09-2012, 18:02
I think I'll just repost the comment I made on an Orthodox forum. The reality of blasphemy depends on belief in the thing blasphemed. Of COURSE people who don't believe in God don't believe in blasphemy of the thing they don't believe in, and so, some of them want "freedom" to insult the thing.


Blasphemy is the opposite of praise - the deliberate insulting of God.

It is a legitimate concept; the Church equivalent of libel and slander, which we DO generally have laws against, and do not think to be Middle-Aged or particularly Islamic. Its practical persecution in civil society depends on that society's general belief in God, and as GK Chesterton said, the effect of blasphemy fades along with the fading of belief. We do not consider blasphemy to a thing that we do not consider to be true at all.


Blasphemy is an artistic effect, because blasphemy depends upon a philosophical conviction. Blasphemy depends upon belief and is fading with it. If any one doubts this, let him sit down seriously and try to think blasphemous thoughts about Thor. I think his family will find him at the end of the day in a state of some exhaustion.
GKC, Heretics

People often treat "medieval" as an attempt to belittle a thing and say that it is "behind the times". Setting aside that many of the things we think important and valuable are of medieval origin, such as parliaments and printing presses, the Middle Ages were neither the best of times nor the worst of times, and it is pure chronological snobbery to think that we are ultimately any better than people of those times were. It is certain that, though there were far fewer people who considered themselves educated, it is certain that the educated man of that time was better educated than the educated man of our time, above all in being philosophical, the most vital aspect of education that is most universally non-existent. Logic, dialectic and rhetoric were standard in medieval education, and almost completely non-existent in our own time, which slavishly worships technology.

I see "medieval" as more of a complement than an insult these days. The worst way to offend me would be to suggest that I am modern. When you study the etymology of the word and its expression in other languages, you come to realize that it means "fashionable", "temporary", "with the times" (and subsequently going where all times go, into the past. I am interested in the eternal, not the "modern". Eternal truths are never "outdated", but modern understandings always are, in the end. Today's modern becomes yesterday's old news which becomes the foolishness of the day before yesterday.
__________________
"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there's never more than one."

Bill "The Blizzard" Hingest - That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis

Ghostly Presence
26-09-2012, 23:27
Rusmeister, if I understood your post correctly, even Chesterton recognized that blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder. So how can we co-exist in a society where certain things that are considered blasphemous by some are just a joking matter for others? How do we respect the rights of the both groups? My answer to this question is simple - freedom of speech. We should be free to believe whatever we choose, but we must also accept the fact that some people will find our beliefs ridiculous and would like to openly voice their beliefs just as you do.

Benedikt
27-09-2012, 06:13
freedom of speech. We should be free to believe whatever we choose, but we must also accept the fact that some people will find our beliefs ridiculous and would like to openly voice their beliefs just as you do.[/QUOTE]



but to me freedom of speech must be used responsible. and just because -I- don't like it or believe it or not, does it give me the right to blow my horn all over the place and ridicule all and everything. to me freedom of speech means also freedom of choice and to keep my choice for myself and not to offend others.
freedom of speech also means to me to respect culture and habits of other people, special when you are a guest or tourist in a country. or even when you live there. or on the internet or in the press. but to some people freedom of speech means one can insult all and sundry and get away with it. and most important, stick to facts and the truth.

rusmeister
27-09-2012, 08:58
Rusmeister, if I understood your post correctly, even Chesterton recognized that blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder. So how can we co-exist in a society where certain things that are considered blasphemous by some are just a joking matter for others? How do we respect the rights of the both groups? My answer to this question is simple - freedom of speech. We should be free to believe whatever we choose, but we must also accept the fact that some people will find our beliefs ridiculous and would like to openly voice their beliefs just as you do.

You ask me a question and then give an answer that I. Hold to be wrong. Freedom of speech is good - within limits. If there ARE no limits, then freedom isnot freedom - it is anarchy, and then we must speak about "anarchy of speech".

And the practical effect is to allow one side to ridicule e other, the ignorant to ridicule the intelligent. The intelligent do not ridicule - I do not ridicule even materialism, clearly (to those who can see) the most insane of ideologies I do not laugh at it. There is no joy or humor in seeing people deceived. Therefore your terms do not result in equal treatment. Sorry, it doesn't work. One view must drive out the other. Either there IS cosmic truth, and we must all acknowledge it in the end, or this is no truth - and erefore nothing means anything at all, even these posts, which are only random movements in the minds of bewildered apes, and not even that when you take it to its logical conclusion.

No, I think all pluralistic societies must logically fall apart. When a people has forgotten e pluribus unum - which must include philosophical unity - then they can hardly stay together. Relativistic pluralism is a philosophy well-suited to empires, which must try to hold diverse peoples together, but not to a free people, and we can't speak of a people unless we can speak of their unity, which cannot be a mere accident of geography.

So no, you can't hold us together, and educate us in one government school AND leave us free to practice our beliefs. The one group must ultimately disrespect the right of the other group - and that is where the Christian is honest and the pluralist dishonest - the latter tells himself he is being tolerant and embraces all views, even while driving one underground. What we CAN respect is individuals and their God-given right to free will (the only way you can prevent a government from disrespecting ANY right is by appeal to God). But you cannot create one society where everybody lives happily together in a Star Trekkian Federation of diverse peoples that all agree that the truth doesn't matter - not as long as anyone thinks it does, anyway.

rusmeister
27-09-2012, 08:59
freedom of speech. We should be free to believe whatever we choose, but we must also accept the fact that some people will find our beliefs ridiculous and would like to openly voice their beliefs just as you do.



but to me freedom of speech must be used responsible. and just because -I- don't like it or believe it or not, does it give me the right to blow my horn all over the place and ridicule all and everything. to me freedom of speech means also freedom of choice and to keep my choice for myself and not to offend others.
freedom of speech also means to me to respect culture and habits of other people, special when you are a guest or tourist in a country. or even when you live there. or on the internet or in the press. but to some people freedom of speech means one can insult all and sundry and get away with it. and most important, stick to facts and the truth.

Yes. This I can agree with, and I would certainly respect the views of another people as a guest in their country, however wrong I might think them.

Ghostly Presence
27-09-2012, 11:07
You ask me a question and then give an answer that I. Hold to be wrong. Freedom of speech is good - within limits. If there ARE no limits, then freedom isnot freedom - it is anarchy, and then we must speak about "anarchy of speech".

And the practical effect is to allow one side to ridicule e other, the ignorant to ridicule the intelligent. The intelligent do not ridicule - I do not ridicule even materialism, clearly (to those who can see) the most insane of ideologies I do not laugh at it. There is no joy or humor in seeing people deceived. Therefore your terms do not result in equal treatment. Sorry, it doesn't work. One view must drive out the other. Either there IS cosmic truth, and we must all acknowledge it in the end, or this is no truth - and erefore nothing means anything at all, even these posts, which are only random movements in the minds of bewildered apes, and not even that when you take it to its logical conclusion.

No, I think all pluralistic societies must logically fall apart. When a people has forgotten e pluribus unum - which must include philosophical unity - then they can hardly stay together. Relativistic pluralism is a philosophy well-suited to empires, which must try to hold diverse peoples together, but not to a free people, and we can't speak of a people unless we can speak of their unity, which cannot be a mere accident of geography.

So no, you can't hold us together, and educate us in one government school AND leave us free to practice our beliefs. The one group must ultimately disrespect the right of the other group - and that is where the Christian is honest and the pluralist dishonest - the latter tells himself he is being tolerant and embraces all views, even while driving one underground. What we CAN respect is individuals and their God-given right to free will (the only way you can prevent a government from disrespecting ANY right is by appeal to God). But you cannot create one society where everybody lives happily together in a Star Trekkian Federation of diverse peoples that all agree that the truth doesn't matter - not as long as anyone thinks it does, anyway.

What logically follows from your post is that since you hold the keys to the ultimate truth (or so you believe), you Christians as a group will strive to convert eveyone else to your creed. In fact that is exactly what Church has been doing for centuries with its Christian crusades.

Another logical conclusion from your post is that Russia, being a multi-ethnic society with a significant Muslim population, must eventually fall apart. I agree that this might happen for a number of reasons, but to consider it a desirable eventuality makes me wonder who you are really working for. I don't think that the majority of the Russian citizens (regardless of their ethnicity or religion) would like to see their country fall apart any more then they would like to see it become an exclusively Orthodox state.

And yes, I do believe that it is quite possible that no single truth exists, that the Universe might function as an infinite number of possibilities and that when we both die, you might be just as surprised to find out what truth really is as will I (that is if we still have that capacity beyond physical death).

You downgrade beliefs of the atheists and adherents of other religions by calling them false, so give me one reason why we should respect your beliefs?

rusmeister
27-09-2012, 21:23
What logically follows from your post is that since you hold the keys to the ultimate truth (or so you believe), you Christians as a group will strive to convert eveyone else to your creed. In fact that is exactly what Church has been doing for centuries with its Christian crusades.

Another logical conclusion from your post is that Russia, being a multi-ethnic society with a significant Muslim population, must eventually fall apart. I agree that this might happen for a number of reasons, but to consider it a desirable eventuality makes me wonder who you are really working for. I don't think that the majority of the Russian citizens (regardless of their ethnicity or religion) would like to see their country fall apart any more then they would like to see it become an exclusively Orthodox state.

And yes, I do believe that it is quite possible that no single truth exists, that the Universe might function as an infinite number of possibilities and that when we both die, you might be just as surprised to find out what truth really is as will I (that is if we still have that capacity beyond physical death).

You downgrade beliefs of the atheists and adherents of other religions by calling them false, so give me one reason why we should respect your beliefs?

On the first, of course. That should be a given. But it is a tremendous advantage and courtesy to you that we do think we know the truth, and desire to convince people of it. Was Jor-El of the Superman saga silly for holding an unpopular view and desiring to convince others that it was actually true, the actual fact of the matter, and not merely "a view"? And that it is obvious means that it is not subtle propaganda, and so you have an honest chance to consider the truth or falsehood of the thing.

On the second, who said it was desirable? (Again, see Jor-El) The destruction of Krypton, or the collapse of an imperial multicultural society may not be desirable, but they are inevitable.

On the third, I put to you one question, a sanity test if you like: did this world that we find ourselves in come about in many ways, to each according to his beliefs, or in a definite way that some of us are certainly wrong about?

On the last, who would speak about "downgrading the beliefs" of the Kryptonian Council? They were wrong, and needed to be shown to be so as quickly as possible. It was out of a desire for the survival of all that Jor-El spoke and acted as he did, and the tragedy was in the ears of the scoffers, who refused to believe an inconvenient truth. We should never "respect" falsehood, even if we respect the right of people to believe it and make wrong choices. But the choices remain wrong and the ideas false. What we all should do with each other's ideas is consider what we see to be true and what we see to be false in them and why.
As to why you should respect my beliefs, I can only say that if your respect depends upon MY respect, you haveca pretty shoddy foundation for your beliefs. If you hold firm convictions they ought to hold regardless of how I act. If you respect the beliefs of others, either you do so out of a firm philosophical conviction or only respect those that will agree with you. The latter is hypocrisy coming from anyone who claims to generally respect differing beliefs.

Ghostly Presence
28-09-2012, 10:06
On the first, of course. That should be a given. But it is a tremendous advantage and courtesy to you that we do think we know the truth, and desire to convince people of it. Was Jor-El of the Superman saga silly for holding an unpopular view and desiring to convince others that it was actually true, the actual fact of the matter, and not merely "a view"? And that it is obvious means that it is not subtle propaganda, and so you have an honest chance to consider the truth or falsehood of the thing.

On the second, who said it was desirable? (Again, see Jor-El) The destruction of Krypton, or the collapse of an imperial multicultural society may not be desirable, but they are inevitable.

On the third, I put to you one question, a sanity test if you like: did this world that we find ourselves in come about in many ways, to each according to his beliefs, or in a definite way that some of us are certainly wrong about?

On the last, who would speak about "downgrading the beliefs" of the Kryptonian Council? They were wrong, and needed to be shown to be so as quickly as possible. It was out of a desire for the survival of all that Jor-El spoke and acted as he did, and the tragedy was in the ears of the scoffers, who refused to believe an inconvenient truth. We should never "respect" falsehood, even if we respect the right of people to believe it and make wrong choices. But the choices remain wrong and the ideas false. What we all should do with each other's ideas is consider what we see to be true and what we see to be false in them and why.
As to why you should respect my beliefs, I can only say that if your respect depends upon MY respect, you haveca pretty shoddy foundation for your beliefs. If you hold firm convictions they ought to hold regardless of how I act. If you respect the beliefs of others, either you do so out of a firm philosophical conviction or only respect those that will agree with you. The latter is hypocrisy coming from anyone who claims to generally respect differing beliefs.

Have you ever considered that your beliefs are wrong? You completely disregard the fact that there are people out there who are just as convinced that their beliefs are right as you are about yours. Also, there are people who resent attempts to have someone else's ideas shoved down their throat. Don't they have rights to be respected? "No" should mean "no" - sort of like with rape. If people don't want to hear your "truths", they should be spared that pleasure.

I would much rather live in a society that is characterized by diversity of ideas and mutual respect for these ideas than in the kind of society you portray. I already lived in your type of society with one dominant idealogy imposed on everyone from above - that was in the Soviet Union. Thanks, but I don't want to live in such a society ever again and it does not matter whether the dominant ideology is communism or Christian faith. To me you are no different than a ardent Communist who wants to shape the world and people living in it according to his creed because every fanatic will eventually have to resort to violence to promote his ideas to overcome the resistance of those who do not share them and actively oppose them. When violence begins, any goodness that might have been found in your ideas, will evaporate in a blink of an eye. And with you fanatics violence is inevitable because fanaticism in the blind belief in its righteousness will never settle for a compromise. The ideas that you express in your posts prove that.

rusmeister
28-09-2012, 12:55
Have you ever considered that your beliefs are wrong?

Of course. It is the first principle of determining truth. You can't come to believe a position or worldview true from a different one unless you have challenged it first. I came specifically from the agnostic pluralistic views I had adopted as an adult, so considering the rightness and wrongness of opinions was absolutely central.


You completely disregard the fact that there are people out there who are just as convinced that their beliefs are right as you are about yours. Also, there are people who resent attempts to have someone else's ideas shoved down their throat. Don't they have rights to be respected? "No" should mean "no" - sort of like with rape. If people don't want to hear your "truths", they should be spared that pleasure.

I don't generally start threads here. I respond in threads started by others, so the emotional charge of "shoving ideas down throats", which implies that I force you to respond to my posts, when the ignore list works just fine, is completely false. I can say, with equal truth, that you andothers insistently shove YOUR ideas down MY throat. The difference is that I, being confident both in my truth and in the difficulty for modern people in arriving at it, take as given that you will have objections - and they are pretty much the same ones I had in abandoning agnosticism. The main problem for the pluralist is his shock at any challenge to his truth of pluralism, which he thinks to be unquestionable. He is shocked when it IS questioned, and always responds with the "shoving ideas" down throats" line.

I think you either didn't understand or ignored the reference to Jor-El. As soon as we apply your comments to that sort of situation - the same as the responses of the Kryptonian Council - they are shown, in any question of truth, to be nonsense. A thing is true or it is not. Christianity, is either of infinite importance or no importance at all. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.


I would much rather live in a society that is characterized by diversity of ideas and mutual respect for these ideas than in the kind of society you portray. I already lived in your type of society with one dominant idealogy imposed on everyone from above - that was in the Soviet Union. Thanks, but I don't want to live in such a society ever again and it does not matter whether the dominant ideology is communism or Christian faith. To me you are no different than a ardent Communist who wants to shape the world and people living in it according to his creed because every fanatic will eventually have to resort to violence to promote his ideas to overcome the resistance of those who do not share them and actively oppose them. When violence begins, any goodness that might have been found in your ideas, will evaporate in a blink of an eye. And with you fanatics violence is inevitable because fanaticism in the blind belief in its righteousness will never settle for a compromise. The ideas that you express in your posts prove that.


I am all for diversity of ideas. Someone might invent a better mousetrap. I'm all for that. But when, by diversity of ideas, you mean that there should be people in the same society for abortion AND against abortion, for gay marriage AND against gay marriage, for ease of divorce AND against it, for pedophilia/bestiality AND against it, then I am NOT for that. I think there are definite truths about the nature of man and his purpose in life that MUST exclude one set of views and advocate the other. We cannot speak about admiring diversity of views - you might as well apply it to views on slavery, the curse of the 19th century (and not only) in America. The idea of karma logically justifies a caste system. Do you admire THAT in your admiration of multiplicity of views (which fails, somehow, to admire mine)? I think you really admire only one view - relativistic pluralism - which you would impose on all and shove down everyone's throat.

Since my creed condemns resorting to violence to promote its ideas your comment on that is false and irrelevant. The ideas expressed in my posts prove nothing of the sort. On the contrary, I see force as the inevitable result of the multicultural society. Is there any pluralistic multicultural nation engaged in conflicts around the world at the present time, applying force to impose its views? How many nations are flying the banner of the cross in the imposition of military might? The truth is pretty much the reverse of what you have supposed.

Ghostly Presence
29-09-2012, 14:00
Rusmeister,

You are going way overboard by putting gay marriage and pedophilia in the same basket. The first one is a choice of two consenting adults, the second one is a crime against children - I hope in your religious fervor you are still able to appreciate the difference.

I am not asking for much really - I just want to live in a society where I have the right to express my ideas just as freely as you and not be afraid to be persecuted for that. Unlike you, I don't mind living next door to people who might preach a completely different set of beliefs, as long as they do not engage in criminal activity that is defined by pretty much the same criteria in the entire more or less civilized world.

You already changed your beliefs once, didn't you? Weren't a baptist before or something like that? I wonder if you were just as fanatical about your beliefs back then as you are now.... What if in the light of new evidence you change your creed once again? Will you start convincing all of us just as vehemently that your newly found faith is the only true one?

rusmeister
29-09-2012, 15:38
Rusmeister,

You are going way overboard by putting gay marriage and pedophilia in the same basket. The first one is a choice of two consenting adults, the second one is a crime against children - I hope in your religious fervor you are still able to appreciate the difference.

I am not asking for much really - I just want to live in a society where I have the right to express my ideas just as freely as you and not be afraid to be persecuted for that. Unlike you, I don't mind living next door to people who might preach a completely different set of beliefs, as long as they do not engage in criminal activity that is defined by pretty much the same criteria in the entire more or less civilized world.

You already changed your beliefs once, didn't you? Weren't a baptist before or something like that? I wonder if you were just as fanatical about your beliefs back then as you are now.... What if in the light of new evidence you change your creed once again? Will you start convincing all of us just as vehemently that your newly found faith is the only true one?

I appreciate that difference. YOU do NOT appreciate the ways in which they are alike. So "going overboard" is a rather subjective understanding here, and an incomplete one, I think.

Let me ask you - do you think that neo-Nazis, or the KKK should have the right to express their ideas just as freely as you? If your ideas became illegal tomorrow would you abandon them in order to remain legal? And in appealing to what is criminal or what is legal, you completely fail to address what is moral (I'm repeating this argument for the umpteenth time here and it is consistently ignored, as if I never said anything - because there IS no response to it). Hitler's depravities in Germany were legal; so were most of the Communist evils. If the "entire civilized world" legislates immorality into law, it does not suddenly become moral. What is criminal or legal can change tomorrow, as it has changed yesterday, so there is no appeal to law to determine morality.

On the last, the only relevant question is whether you have observed me to change. Anyone can discover an error and correct it and appealing to a previous position admitted to be error has no bearing on what is claimed to be true now. You say "In the light of new evidence". Where IS that hypothetical evidence that I have not already considered? There is no objection you have expressed that I have not already discovered an answer to that is better than the objection. At the VERY least, I am therefore quite sure that my view is closer to the truth than the agnostic one.

I cannot convince you because you don't want to be convinced, any more than you can convince me. It is only if third parties, less certain of their own convictions and actually open-minded (for anyone who has come to a final conclusion has closed their mind, for right or wrong), see anything that convinces them, that this discussion has any point.

You are shocked that a person can be (to you, seemingly) intelligent and also dogmatic about such things, and I think THAT is what you really object to. I think the materialist or the confirmed agnostic or atheist to be just as dogmatic and usually quite unaware that they are (which I'll try to maintain room for doubt that that includes you). The person who realizes that he is is the clearer thinker.

People typically and wrongly think that dogma is something only religious people have. I have discovered that everyone has dogmas; and most are ignorant of the fact. Dogmas are any absolute certainties which may or may not have been questioned, but in either case are not open to further questioning. If they HAVE been seriously questioned, then they are reasonable dogmas. If NOT, then they are unreasonable. If you are certain that no one can know the truth, then that is your dogma and you seem quite dogmatic about it.

Ghostly Presence
29-09-2012, 16:23
I appreciate that difference. YOU do NOT appreciate the ways in which they are alike. So "going overboard" is a rather subjective understanding here, and an incomplete one, I think.

Let me ask you - do you think that neo-Nazis, or the KKK should have the right to express their ideas just as freely as you? If your ideas became illegal tomorrow would you abandon them in order to remain legal? And in appealing to what is criminal or what is legal, you completely fail to address what is moral (I'm repeating this argument for the umpteenth time here and it is consistently ignored, as if I never said anything - because there IS no response to it). Hitler's depravities in Germany were legal; so were most of the Communist evils. If the "entire civilized world" legislates immorality into law, it does not suddenly become moral. What is criminal or legal can change tomorrow, as it has changed yesterday, so there is no appeal to law to determine morality.

On the last, the only relevant question is whether you have observed me to change. Anyone can discover an error and correct it and appealing to a previous position admitted to be error has no bearing on what is claimed to be true now. You say "In the light of new evidence". Where IS that hypothetical evidence that I have not already considered? There is no objection you have expressed that I have not already discovered an answer to that is better than the objection. At the VERY least, I am therefore quite sure that my view is closer to the truth than the agnostic one.

I cannot convince you because you don't want to be convinced, any more than you can convince me. It is only if third parties, less certain of their own convictions and actually open-minded (for anyone who has come to a final conclusion has closed their mind, for right or wrong), see anything that convinces them, that this discussion has any point.

You are shocked that a person can be (to you, seemingly) intelligent and also dogmatic about such things, and I think THAT is what you really object to. I think the materialist or the confirmed agnostic or atheist to be just as dogmatic and usually quite unaware that they are (which I'll try to maintain room for doubt that that includes you). The person who realizes that he is is the clearer thinker.

People typically and wrongly think that dogma is something only religious people have. I have discovered that everyone has dogmas; and most are ignorant of the fact. Dogmas are any absolute certainties which may or may not have been questioned, but in either case are not open to further questioning. If they HAVE been seriously questioned, then they are reasonable dogmas. If NOT, then they are unreasonable. If you are certain that no one can know the truth, then that is your dogma and you seem quite dogmatic about it.

Rusmeister,

I see no similarities between gay marriage and pedophilia - sorry. The first one may be repugnant but is completely harmless, the second one is a grave crime.

Morals change throughout time so it's a shifty foundation for social engineering.

As for Nazis and KKK - it's a tough call. I would be inclined to ban these organizations because their ideologies are based on HATE, but I would be open to discussion on this.

I am not going to dispute that my belief in that the ultimate truth can not be revealed to humans while we are alive is not a dogma. You can certainly call it such, if that pleases you, but unlike you I am not claiming that my belief in the impossibility of discovering the real truth is the ultimate truth in itself. Unlike you, I am more than willing to give up my dogma, should I encounter convincing evidence to the contrary. So far, I have not, but I do not exclude such a possibility in the future.

I believe that a pluralistic society that accomodates various worldviews is by its very nature more dynamic that a society that is dominated by one ideology. Recognition of a certain dogma as the ultimate truth by default requires to recognize all other views as erroneous (you are the prime example of that) and thus stifles development of human thought and ultimately human evolution. Religion might have contributed to social development in the past, but now it has long ceased to be the engine behind human progress. It still has and most likely will always have a place in human society exactly because some questions about our existence will always remain unanswered by science, but I believe its best years (or centuries, rather) are behind it.

rusmeister
30-09-2012, 07:32
Rusmeister,

I see no similarities between gay marriage and pedophilia - sorry. The first one may be repugnant but is completely harmless, the second one is a grave crime.

Morals change throughout time so it's a shifty foundation for social engineering.

As for Nazis and KKK - it's a tough call. I would be inclined to ban these organizations because their ideologies are based on HATE, but I would be open to discussion on this.

I am not going to dispute that my belief in that the ultimate truth can not be revealed to humans while we are alive is not a dogma. You can certainly call it such, if that pleases you, but unlike you I am not claiming that my belief in the impossibility of discovering the real truth is the ultimate truth in itself. Unlike you, I am more than willing to give up my dogma, should I encounter convincing evidence to the contrary. So far, I have not, but I do not exclude such a possibility in the future.

I believe that a pluralistic society that accomodates various worldviews is by its very nature more dynamic that a society that is dominated by one ideology. Recognition of a certain dogma as the ultimate truth by default requires to recognize all other views as erroneous (you are the prime example of that) and thus stifles development of human thought and ultimately human evolution. Religion might have contributed to social development in the past, but now it has long ceased to be the engine behind human progress. It still has and most likely will always have a place in human society exactly because some questions about our existence will always remain unanswered by science, but I believe its best years (or centuries, rather) are behind it.

There are a hundred civil and polite responses. Hopefully we can maintain that tone and understand that it is a battle of ideas, not an attack on persons.

First of all, I look for your ideal in your words. I really do my best to understand both what you are trying to say and the actual meaning/effect of your words. When I look, I see "dynamic" as an unqualified virtue, as well as development and human "progress" and "evolution". All of these things are NOT unqualified virtues, though. They can lead to death and destruction as easily as to life and prosperity. Mohammed Atta was very dynamic in achieving the destruction of the WTC, he and his cohorts developed a plan and carried it out. Progress? Progress is a comparative of which we have not determined the superlative. To speak of progress, you first have to identify what is good and what is the best, and only then can you speak about "progress" towards a "better". You can't use the comparative degree in isolation from the positive and superlative degrees. Chesterton as a journalist said that a hundred years ago, I have learned that truth over 18 years as a grammar teacher.

All of those ideas, put shortly, are dodges to avoid talking about what is good.


“We are fond of talking about 'liberty'; but the way we end up actually talking of it is an attempt to avoid discussing what is 'good.' We are fond of talking about 'progress'; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about 'education'; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good.

The modern man says, 'Let us leave all these arbitrary standards and embrace unadulterated liberty.' This is, logically rendered, 'Let us not decide what is good, but let it be considered good not to decide it.'

He says, 'Away with your old moral standard; I am for progress.' This, logically stated, means, 'Let us not settle what is good; but let us settle whether we are getting more of it.'

He says, 'Neither in religion nor morality, my friend, lie the hopes of the race, but in education.' This, clearly expressed, means, 'We cannot decide what is good, but let us give it to our children.”

You do not see any likenesses at all between two forms of sexual perversion. That does not mean that they do not therefore exist, only that you do not see them. You cannot even speak of harm until you know thoroughly what a thing is. People in the seventeenth century, and right up to the twentieth century, saw repugnance but no harm in smoking. They were not especially enlightened for the not-seeing of the harm. And in appealing to crime (free speech is criminal in totalitarian countries) you again evade the moral question. It is a fact that 125 years ago, agreement was universal among the public at large that all sexual relations outside of marriage, being a permanent relationship between one man and one woman, were sexually deviant and not to be publicly tolerated. Since then, many people have been taught to think that casual divorce, adultery, fornication and sodomy are normal and to be tolerated, and it has been a progressive advance, in each case people said that, in coming to tolerate one thing, the next thing remained unthinkable. And yet the next thing in its turn came to be tolerated. It is a wonder you still think bestiality and pedophilia to be perversions at all. If consent, and eventually mere acquiescence are enough, then they too must ultimately be decriminalized. If crime is your only principle, then in 1929 beer is wicked, and 1934 it is a fine thing.

But I'll refer back to Chesterton's words. I found that book (Heretics), along with "Orthodoxy" (not meant in the sense of the Eastern Church) and "What's Wrong With the World" (social politics) to be the most clear and complete commentaries on the nature of our differences.

Ghostly Presence
30-09-2012, 11:57
There are a hundred civil and polite responses. Hopefully we can maintain that tone and understand that it is a battle of ideas, not an attack on persons.

First of all, I look for your ideal in your words. I really do my best to understand both what you are trying to say and the actual meaning/effect of your words. When I look, I see "dynamic" as an unqualified virtue, as well as development and human "progress" and "evolution". All of these things are NOT unqualified virtues, though. They can lead to death and destruction as easily as to life and prosperity. Mohammed Atta was very dynamic in achieving the destruction of the WTC, he and his cohorts developed a plan and carried it out. Progress? Progress is a comparative of which we have not determined the superlative. To speak of progress, you first have to identify what is good and what is the best, and only then can you speak about "progress" towards a "better". You can't use the comparative degree in isolation from the positive and superlative degrees. Chesterton as a journalist said that a hundred years ago, I have learned that truth over 18 years as a grammar teacher.

All of those ideas, put shortly, are dodges to avoid talking about what is good.



You do not see any likenesses at all between two forms of sexual perversion. That does not mean that they do not therefore exist, only that you do not see them. You cannot even speak of harm until you know thoroughly what a thing is. People in the seventeenth century, and right up to the twentieth century, saw repugnance but no harm in smoking. They were not especially enlightened for the not-seeing of the harm. And in appealing to crime (free speech is criminal in totalitarian countries) you again evade the moral question. It is a fact that 125 years ago, agreement was universal among the public at large that all sexual relations outside of marriage, being a permanent relationship between one man and one woman, were sexually deviant and not to be publicly tolerated. Since then, many people have been taught to think that casual divorce, adultery, fornication and sodomy are normal and to be tolerated, and it has been a progressive advance, in each case people said that, in coming to tolerate one thing, the next thing remained unthinkable. And yet the next thing in its turn came to be tolerated. It is a wonder you still think bestiality and pedophilia to be perversions at all. If consent, and eventually mere acquiescence are enough, then they too must ultimately be decriminalized. If crime is your only principle, then in 1929 beer is wicked, and 1934 it is a fine thing.

But I'll refer back to Chesterton's words. I found that book (Heretics), along with "Orthodoxy" (not meant in the sense of the Eastern Church) and "What's Wrong With the World" (social politics) to be the most clear and complete commentaries on the nature of our differences.

I believe I understand your idea for the foundation of social engineering - the morality. The logical conclusion from your posts is that laws in a society should be based first and foremost upon certain moral principles, in your case - upon Biblical principles. Ok, let's imagine that a society exists where any kind of immoral, un-Christian behavior is legally prosecuted. Obviously, in an ideal world nobody would ever be punished according to such laws because everyone would be aware of the moral principles and would therefore be on his / her best behavior. However, you yourself have stated on numerous occasions that we are all fallen and by definition live our lives constantly struggling with our imperfections. Most of us never achieve the status of saints, many don't even try to be particularly good. What this means is that society where laws are based on strict Biblical principles might in its extreme form turn into a place where prosecution and violence against those who fail to meet the "moral" standard become commonplace.

Let's leave pedophilia and bestiality aside as extreme examples and use divorce for illustration purposes, to which you have also referred in your post. Divorce rates are high all over the world. In the US and in Russia it is somewhere near 50%. That means that a huge number of people fail to build successful unions on the first attempt. Some folks are never able to create a happy family for themselves and their spouses, but we are all trying because the desire not to live life in solitude is natural for us. I myself have found happiness in family life only in my second marriage. This means that if I lived in your kind of society where divorce is against the law, I would still be stuck in a failed marriage, hating my wife, myself and the world around me. Given the divorce rates, 50% of population would have been in exactly the same situation. This is what your "moral", Biblical principle would have achieved in this particular case. Is that what you really want - compliance with the "moral" principle at any cost, at the expense of human happiness?

As Depeche Mode used to sing "I give in to sin because it makes this life liveable". Unfortunately, it's true. Life would be unbearable if we had to spend it in constant struggle with our imperfections and the consequence of failure would be a prison sentence or another kind of punishment for any deviation from the "moral" principle.

I believe that in most places in the civilized world the laws are already based on moral principles as they prosecute the most extreme human wrong-doings (i.e. murder, rape, stealing etc) but there must be areas where laws have no business telling us what to do and how to live our lives, otherwise good intentions will once again lead us straight into self-made hell.

rusmeister
30-10-2012, 09:30
I believe I understand your idea for the foundation of social engineering - the morality. The logical conclusion from your posts is that laws in a society should be based first and foremost upon certain moral principles, in your case - upon Biblical principles. Ok, let's imagine that a society exists where any kind of immoral, un-Christian behavior is legally prosecuted. Obviously, in an ideal world nobody would ever be punished according to such laws because everyone would be aware of the moral principles and would therefore be on his / her best behavior. However, you yourself have stated on numerous occasions that we are all fallen and by definition live our lives constantly struggling with our imperfections. Most of us never achieve the status of saints, many don't even try to be particularly good. What this means is that society where laws are based on strict Biblical principles might in its extreme form turn into a place where prosecution and violence against those who fail to meet the "moral" standard become commonplace.

Let's leave pedophilia and bestiality aside as extreme examples and use divorce for illustration purposes, to which you have also referred in your post. Divorce rates are high all over the world. In the US and in Russia it is somewhere near 50%. That means that a huge number of people fail to build successful unions on the first attempt. Some folks are never able to create a happy family for themselves and their spouses, but we are all trying because the desire not to live life in solitude is natural for us. I myself have found happiness in family life only in my second marriage. This means that if I lived in your kind of society where divorce is against the law, I would still be stuck in a failed marriage, hating my wife, myself and the world around me. Given the divorce rates, 50% of population would have been in exactly the same situation. This is what your "moral", Biblical principle would have achieved in this particular case. Is that what you really want - compliance with the "moral" principle at any cost, at the expense of human happiness?

As Depeche Mode used to sing "I give in to sin because it makes this life liveable". Unfortunately, it's true. Life would be unbearable if we had to spend it in constant struggle with our imperfections and the consequence of failure would be a prison sentence or another kind of punishment for any deviation from the "moral" principle.

I believe that in most places in the civilized world the laws are already based on moral principles as they prosecute the most extreme human wrong-doings (i.e. murder, rape, stealing etc) but there must be areas where laws have no business telling us what to do and how to live our lives, otherwise good intentions will once again lead us straight into self-made hell.

My apologies for letting this one fall to the wayside.
First of all, a viable society MUST be based on certain moral principles: the ancients realized this, and so, were able to form societies in the first place. We are in a different position, one in which we are in the dreadful danger of taking society for granted and in consequence have difficulty grasping that we are able to de-form and destroy society if we abandon the moral principles on which it stands; that anarchy is a real danger to any society that begins to think morality something that may be dispensed with.

And morality includes much more than sexual mores, though it is upon them that the stable family, the cellular unit of society, stands. Murder is a violation of morality. The idea of personal property, and theft, are moral. The Ten Commandments are, more than anything, the lynch-pins on which a society can stand.

You begin to speak of "Biblical principles in an extreme form" without considering what Biblical (common-sense) principles would look like in their basic form. "Extreme" can only be defined in terms of a base and an absolute, and "extreme" can be good as well as bad. I doubt you would object to extreme good or self-sacrifice serving the common good and preventing great evils. But if I take your words there to speak about principles we agree upon, such as murder, the words become nonsense:
"...society where laws are based on strict Biblical principles (such as "Thou shalt not kill") might in its extreme form turn into a place where prosecution and violence against those who fail to meet the "moral" standard become commonplace. "

I should certainly hope that prosecution and necessary application of force against those who murder would absolutely be commonplace. So the thinking here is not clear, and is more clearly expressed as "I agree with you on murder of adults, but (perhaps) disagree on the murder of unborn babies or sexual immorality".

On divorce, you are thinking from the wrong end. I do not think we should start by making divorce illegal. That must happen is a change in the understanding of people of what marriage IS. People get divorced and don't know what they are doing because they didn't know what they were doing when they got married because they had a wrong conception of what marriage is, and there is no better illustration than that of a couple that draws up a "pre-nuptial contract". The correct idea of marriage (put shortly) is in taking an irrevocable and sacred vow for life, NOT a contract to be broken when you discover (as you must) difficulties in marriage. Therefore legality is NOT the basis on which to found marriage. Having the right attitude is.
Divorce makes no one happy. There are no people rushing to get "married" so that they might get divorced and achieve happiness. Divorce is a failure of marriage. The goal should not be to preserve divorce, but to prevent it; to make it improbable, rare and extreme. But I do agree is that law is not where the solutions should begin, but only be a response where the principles fail and anarchy (which is always ultimately destructive) begins.

Pedophilia (beginning with what we call "underage sex") and bestiality are only "extreme" at the moment. 75 years ago open homosexuality was just as extreme and 100 years ago, "living together" without marriage was an extreme that people could not (except for a handful of radicals) imagine, being "extreme". You are speaking within a narrow context of the very beginning of the 21st century. A historical vision allows us to see what people saw in the past and project how they might see things in the future - including the unimaginable proposition that they might disagree with what is taken for granted as good today, and see it as "backwards", "outdated", "medieval" and so on.

It is the Orthodox position that life is unbearable precisely BECAUSE we deviate from the moral principles, which are not chains, but boundaries within which we can be happy, and the violation of which break down the home and society where we can be happy.

Hopefully that rambling post has made my position clearer. Law and force are not enough. Understanding must come to people's hearts and minds. I personally think the success of Europe, and the even greater success of America in the world in history came from so many people understanding and consciously applying and insisting on those moral ("Biblical") principles, not only in their homes and personal lives, but in their society as well.

mds45
30-10-2012, 11:43
I think you guys should get into a ring - I'd pay to see that :)

rusmeister
30-10-2012, 17:58
I think you guys should get into a ring - I'd pay to see that :)

Well, the people in the ring can usually actually fight, and fight better than the spectators. That's why people filled NY's Mecca Temple (over 3,000 seats at the time, I believe, now the New York City Center) in 1931 to see the debate between Clarence Darrow and GK Chesterton. (If you don't know Darrow's background it's worth looking up - he's especially famous for having made a monkey out of William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes Monkey Trial, only to have Chesterton make a monkey out of him in NY.

So I take it as a complement! :)

Ghostly Presence
30-10-2012, 17:59
Rusmeister,

I am very sceptical about any attempts to change people's hearts and minds. In principle that would be an ideal approach towards dealing with any problem, however, due to human nature, that you yourself have described as full of imperfections on numerous occasions, it will never work. Sure, with due amount of effort certain improvements can be made, but you will never reach your high Biblical standards as people will always remain impertect. So, what would be a natural reaction of any State that strives to impose the Biblical principles on our way of life? No need to guess - it's good old violence either in the form of restirctive laws or worse.

You know, when Communists took over during the October revolution, there used to be a lot of talk about the need to create a "new Man" who would be able to build the perfect society they dreamed about. Apparently, the Bolsheviks quickly realized that you can't build a good house with rotten material, so they tried to clean the ranks by mass murder of the undesirable, "spoilt" social classes. Heck, I don't even have to go back that far into the past! Even I remember my history teacher who used to lecture us kids about what life is going to be like during the final "developed" stages of Communism. She said that there would be no money and you could just come to the store and pick whatever you need. I remember asking her how could this work - everybody would just sweep everything off the shelves, but she replied that people would be DIFFERENT and would only take what they truely need.

Obviously, based on this example, there are huge similarities between Communist beliefs and religious faith as in both cases creating a society that would live up to these ideologies' impossible standards a new kind of people will be required. You are advocating changing people via education and admonishing but I say this will never work and in the end you will resort to good old violence to achieve your goals. Come to think of it, recent scientific developments offer you another path towards achieving your goals - genetic engineering. With the help of these recent advances in science, perhaps a better version of a man is possible after all. :)

Jack17
30-10-2012, 18:19
If you respect the beliefs of others, either you do so out of a firm philosophical conviction or only respect those that will agree with you. The latter is hypocrisy coming from anyone who claims to generally respect differing beliefs.

. . . and the former? What's that?

All this drama over religious beliefs; most people really don't care. I live in a city where two Saudi Arabian 9/11 hijackers lived, worshiped in a local Mosque and trained for their murderous mission in peace. I know plenty of devout Jews, Christians, Russian Orthodox and then again many others who simply don't give a $hit about any belief. We all live peacefully together. The vast majority of people everywhere have enough sense and upbringing to know you don't attack other people's closely held beliefs. As for the few who don't have these manners and common sense, well, those are the outliers that good people in a free society simply ignore.

Now, if I had to live and work in Saudi Arabia, Iran or, increasingly in today's Russia, I would simply keep my mouth shut and mind my own business. Problem solved.

rusmeister
31-10-2012, 05:57
Rusmeister,

I am very sceptical about any attempts to change people's hearts and minds. In principle that would be an ideal approach towards dealing with any problem, however, due to human nature, that you yourself have described as full of imperfections on numerous occasions, it will never work. Sure, with due amount of effort certain improvements can be made, but you will never reach your high Biblical standards as people will always remain impertect. So, what would be a natural reaction of any State that strives to impose the Biblical principles on our way of life? No need to guess - it's good old violence either in the form of restirctive laws or worse.

On your first point, I agree. That is, I think that a person whose mind is made up is made up, rightly or wrongly. The people who MIGHT benefit are fence-sitters, especially people who have come to find that what they have believed doesn't work for them anymore, meaning, it doesn't correspond to what they see to be reality.

But for the rest, I get the impression you didn't actually read my previous post, where I pointed out that we do in fact have restrictive laws on Biblical principles like rape and murder, and rightly so. We must, and do in fact, impose moral standards in order to have a society. People who don't understand that are people who enjoy the benefit of a functioning society with no awareness that their society stands on those principles, and that without them it will collapse. They don't know how to build a society but are adynto destroy it in their naive experimentation. So you are not expressing the real point on which we disagree.


You know, when Communists took over during the October revolution, there used to be a lot of talk about the need to create a "new Man" who would be able to build the perfect society they dreamed about. Apparently, the Bolsheviks quickly realized that you can't build a good house with rotten material, so they tried to clean the ranks by mass murder of the undesirable, "spoilt" social classes. Heck, I don't even have to go back that far into the past! Even I remember my history teacher who used to lecture us kids about what life is going to be like during the final "developed" stages of Communism. She said that there would be no money and you could just come to the store and pick whatever you need. I remember asking her how could this work - everybody would just sweep everything off the shelves, but she replied that people would be DIFFERENT and would only take what they truely need.

The "new man" at that time was merely a transplantation of Nietzsche's diseased philosophy, which also (of course) drove Prussianism and Nazism. But all of this just goes to show that Man is indeed Fallen. Your teacher was expressing a desire/hope that man would become un-Fallen.


Obviously, based on this example, there are huge similarities between Communist beliefs and religious faith as in both cases creating a society that would live up to these ideologies' impossible standards a new kind of people will be required. You are advocating changing people via education and admonishing but I say this will never work and in the end you will resort to good old violence to achieve your goals. Come to think of it, recent scientific developments offer you another path towards achieving your goals - genetic engineering. With the help of these recent advances in science, perhaps a better version of a man is possible after all. :)


No, I don't think that people's hearts can ultimately be changed by mere education. Education can help us understand some things. Sometimes, we might make better choices as a result. But the thing needed to change us is something I'm not supposed to say, because I'd be accused of "preaching" (though you might guess). Funny how irreligious people are allowed to preach their solutions, though.
But what you are talking about IS what GB Shaw was left with. In his earlier years, he advocated education to change man and society. In his later years he despaired of that and placed more hope in eugenics, er, "genetic engineering" - until Hitler showed the world where that road leads. Shaw's dilemma was a result of rejecting the solution offered to him by his good friend and philosophical foe, GK Chesterton. (It's really valuable to realize that our discussions are nothing new, and to know their history.)

Since I already know that neither works, that eugenics will and must turn to evil and that an education that excludes the truth about the nature of man and his purpose in life is a destructive, rather than constructive thing, I don't waste my time hoping on them.
When I said "understanding must come to people's hearts and minds, I meant understanding of the truth. Not mere school lessons or seminars (education?) but realizing that a thing is TRUE, that there is a whole truth to our lives, and that in understanding and speaking that truth, we can be happy.

rusmeister
31-10-2012, 06:03
. . . and the former? What's that?

All this drama over religious beliefs; most people really don't care. I live in a city where two Saudi Arabian 9/11 hijackers lived, worshiped in a local Mosque and trained for their murderous mission in peace. I know plenty of devout Jews, Christians, Russian Orthodox and then again many others who simply don't give a $hit about any belief. We all live peacefully together. The vast majority of people everywhere have enough sense and upbringing to know you don't attack other people's closely held beliefs. As for the few who don't have these manners and common sense, well, those are the outliers that good people in a free society simply ignore.

Now, if I had to live and work in Saudi Arabia, Iran or, increasingly in today's Russia, I would simply keep my mouth shut and mind my own business. Problem solved.

Hi Jack! Long time no see! Are you back in town or "just visiting"?

Most people don't care about the questions religions raise and answer until materialism stops working for them, at the very least when they face death, the great snap of the fingers to wake us up out of the hypnotic allure of this life. Then - for most people, excluding a pitiable minority - it suddenly matters what you believe. It's no use speaking about living peacefully together to a person who perceives their own death, the fact of death and what it means to life. For them, the problem is NOT solved by saying it doesn't matter.

Ghostly Presence
31-10-2012, 10:29
When I said "understanding must come to people's hearts and minds, I meant understanding of the truth. Not mere school lessons or seminars (education?) but realizing that a thing is TRUE, that there is a whole truth to our lives, and that in understanding and speaking that truth, we can be happy.

How do you realistically plan on getting people to agree what truth is? Centuries have gone by and people still argue and disagree about the definition of the Turth, so you are speaking of the impossible. You can impose a certain version of Turth as a state ideology and even get people to follow it by fear of prosecution (let's remember Communism here again) but in the end your social model will collapse because unless we all witness the second coming of Christ, people will always disagree about what truth is.

rusmeister
31-10-2012, 11:32
How do you realistically plan on getting people to agree what truth is? Centuries have gone by and people still argue and disagree about the definition of the Turth, so you are speaking of the impossible. You can impose a certain version of Turth as a state ideology and even get people to follow it by fear of prosecution (let's remember Communism here again) but in the end your social model will collapse because unless we all witness the second coming of Christ, people will always disagree about what truth is.
I DON'T propose getting everyone to agree. I DO propose getting a few people who are intellectually honest and dissatisfied with what they have believed to agree. That may not be you; might be somebody else.

As I have said twice now, I DO think that any state must impose an ideology, and that people must, in any state, be forced to do some things and to refrain from doing other things or be punished. You don't seem to want to acknowledge that I say that.

Yes, people will always disagree. The important thing is that YOU find the Truth.

Double
31-10-2012, 12:21
I have just heard the news that the State Duma is considering a new law that will introduce 5 year jail sentences for offending "feelings of believers". I have no doubt that the law will p**** given today's political environment.

Good thing: ALL religions are respectable; only some "members" of some religion are not :)

And to fight some religion, no need to use dirty methods (films as against islam, pussyriots as against christianism, etc). There are already enough solid argumentation that can be used to fight a given religion.

So yes this law is a good one!

Ghostly Presence
31-10-2012, 16:42
I DON'T propose getting everyone to agree. I DO propose getting a few people who are intellectually honest and dissatisfied with what they have believed to agree. That may not be you; might be somebody else.



In this case I don't understand what the arguement is about. You should go into the masses and preach your version of the Truth (I don't think that ROC does it as much as the Baptists do with their evangelical work, for example) and you will assemble your "intellectually honest" bunch under the wing of your church. No need to change any laws to achieve that.

rusmeister
31-10-2012, 17:32
In this case I don't understand what the arguement is about. You should go into the masses and preach your version of the Truth (I don't think that ROC does it as much as the Baptists do with their evangelical work, for example) and you will assemble your "intellectually honest" bunch under the wing of your church. No need to change any laws to achieve that.

I'm not interested in "versions of the truth"; I'm interested in the actual truth, a thing which can stand up to its detractors and not fall to pieces on being challenged. I think that truth contrary to what passes for conventional and politically correct wisdom these days, so yes, I run afoul of some of you, because my ideas challenge yours, and are sufficiently based in reason to overturn popular ideas, such as that religion, the Christian religion in particular, (and especially Orthodoxy) is not compatible with reason. I think that I regularly show that it is.

There are responses to your doubts and objections. You may or may not want to hear and understand those responses. The former is intellectually honest; the latter is not. Dishonesty means not being willing to take challenges to what you believe, merely ignoring the challenges. Honesty means being willing to expose yourself to them and consider them. I had to go through it in converting from unbelief to belief, and quite literally change my mind and heart.

Jack17
31-10-2012, 20:15
Hi Jack! Long time no see! Are you back in town or "just visiting"?

Most people don't care about the questions religions raise and answer until materialism stops working for them, at the very least when they face death, the great snap of the fingers to wake us up out of the hypnotic allure of this life. Then - for most people, excluding a pitiable minority - it suddenly matters what you believe. It's no use speaking about living peacefully together to a person who perceives their own death, the fact of death and what it means to life. For them, the problem is NOT solved by saying it doesn't matter.
That's the conventional wisdom; but actually I think about death fairly often (memento mori). It's a very peaceful thought that takes me back to the care free days before I was born. Why should people worry more about life after death than about life before birth?

rusmeister
31-10-2012, 21:25
That's the conventional wisdom; but actually I think about death fairly often (memento mori). It's a very peaceful thought that takes me back to the care free days before I was born. Why should people worry more about life after death than about life before birth?
Because of continuity, Jack. If there is none, then your life means nothing right now. If there is, if we are setting ourselves up on eternal vectors as I believe we are, then aligning our lives to avoid making eternity a literal hell for us is essential. On our own, we have no idea how to do that, no way of knowing much of anything.

But a better way of putting it is that the sum of your life means something. Your question assumes that your life has no impact whatsoever on what might come after. I think that is false.

Memento mori should mean that at some point, you ought to wonder about the point of your struggling to learn anything, to become anything, and what becomes of THAT when you die.

Jack17
31-10-2012, 22:19
Because of continuity, Jack. If there is none, then your life means nothing right now.

But my life has plenty of continuity, from my first to my current bottle of Russki Standart.

Life is what it is - and what it isn't. Hopefully my children will perpetuate some of my better qualities in their lives and remember me fondly as I remember my parents who are deceased. Beyond that, since I'm no Shakespeare or Beethoven, the impact of my brief life is relatively minimal. The ancient admonition to remember the dead or "memento mori" was a way of avoiding hubris for the ancient Romans and Greeks. It is still good advice for all today.

rusmeister
01-11-2012, 05:11
But my life has plenty of continuity, from my first to my current bottle of Russki Standart.

Life is what it is - and what it isn't. Hopefully my children will perpetuate some of my better qualities in their lives and remember me fondly as I remember my parents who are deceased. Beyond that, since I'm no Shakespeare or Beethoven, the impact of my brief life is relatively minimal. The ancient admonition to remember the dead or "memento mori" was a way of avoiding hubris for the ancient Romans and Greeks. It is still good advice for all today.

The admonition is "to remember your own death", more specific than just remembering others who died (while YOU are happily 'still' alive). Its purpose is to combat the habit of thinking only in terms of the here and now.

Memento mori - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One of the devastating effects, among people who cease to be philosophical, in the sense of having a grasp on the truth, is to transfer understandings of meaning to children, as if the children will not themselves die. The error can be seen by thinking through to the end of the chain, when the last descendant dies, when the last human dies at the end of the universe, bringing an end to all meaning (by the logic of materialism) and talk of anyone's "going on" after our own deaths.

Who the heck cares what your great-great-grandfather hoped? Maybe he hoped you would learn what he had learned, and remain a devout Christian. You would certainly shrug your shoulders at such a hope. His impact, as such, becomes not "minimal", but non-existent. Materialism means the end of all meaning, Jack, and as such is inherently self-contradictory. As long as logic is valid, it CANNOT be true, whatever IS true about the universe. You may not have gone to materialism, but the attitude of seeing meaning only in this life, in the here and now, with its attendant "my children will go on" mentality, which COMPLETELY misses the point of momento mori, generally does.

BabyFirefly
01-11-2012, 05:48
This type of thing makes me happy I'm not there anymore. I want to enjoy living in Russia, don't see myself doing so if I have to watch out in case I offend some religious nuts....

rusmeister
01-11-2012, 07:24
This type of thing makes me happy I'm not there anymore. I want to enjoy living in Russia, don't see myself doing so if I have to watch out in case I offend some religious nuts....

That's kind of how I've come to feel about the US, and things like the fanatic activism of the ACLU contribute to that. I don't want to have to watch out in case I offend some irreligious nuts.

It goes both ways. The militantly irreligious are NOT sitting on high ground, offending no one.

The one thing that is truly not possible, that cannot be maintained, is a society where no one offends anyone under the principle that "what you believe has no relation to reality". Some form of reality must always be assumed, and acted on in public policy. If it's not a religious view, it will be an irreligious view. Somebody is going to be disappointed.

Ghostly Presence
01-11-2012, 12:30
You may not have gone to materialism, but the attitude of seeing meaning only in this life, in the here and now, with its attendant "my children will go on" mentality, which COMPLETELY misses the point of momento mori, generally does.

Rusmeister,

Why are you so concerned about the impact your life will have on the grand scheme of things and about the "continuity"? Perhaps life is an experience that is tailored specifically for you so that you learn certain lessons and travel your own path along the road of your personal spiritual evolution... Maybe the continuity and the impact on the future is not what this life is all about? Maybe NOW matters a lot more than THEREAFTER and in that sense "momento mori" is just a reminder that life is short and you should not waste the time that you are given?

MickeyTong
01-11-2012, 17:24
That's kind of how I've come to feel about the US, and things like the fanatic activism of the ACLU contribute to that. I don't want to have to watch out in case I offend some irreligious nuts.

It goes both ways. The militantly irreligious are NOT sitting on high ground, offending no one.

The one thing that is truly not possible, that cannot be maintained, is a society where no one offends anyone under the principle that "what you believe has no relation to reality". Some form of reality must always be assumed, and acted on in public policy. If it's not a religious view, it will be an irreligious view. Somebody is going to be disappointed.

http://i48.tinypic.com/fqm11.jpg

rusmeister
01-11-2012, 18:05
http://i48.tinypic.com/fqm11.jpg

I think Christians have been, ARE being, and will be persecuted for their beliefs. And I mean REALLY persecuted, not just yelled at by somebody. I mean executed, and tortured, and imprisoned.

Jack17
01-11-2012, 18:12
Materialism means the end of all meaning, Jack, and as such is inherently self-contradictory.

Well, I guess that's it because you've got it all figured out Rus.
However, Epicurus would have disagreed with you.

22838

I think, based on modern physics, that materialism actually encompasses most of what you consider to be Spiritual. Materialism, in your view, is some hollow, incomplete, concept of life - I don't see it that way. You're moved by an Easter Vigil in the Церковь; I'm moved by a beautiful задница and a bottle of Laphroaig 18; so which one of us is more spiritual - or materialistic? :shamp:

Jack17
01-11-2012, 18:14
I think Christians have been, ARE being, and will be persecuted for their beliefs. And I mean REALLY persecuted, not just yelled at by somebody. I mean executed, and tortured, and imprisoned.
You mean as they are in Russia today?

MickeyTong
01-11-2012, 20:14
I think Christians have been, ARE being, and will be persecuted for their beliefs. And I mean REALLY persecuted, not just yelled at by somebody. I mean executed, and tortured, and imprisoned.


http://i50.tinypic.com/ay6q0y.jpg

rusmeister
01-11-2012, 21:58
You mean as they are in Russia today?

I mean as they were in Russia YESTERDAY, in Africa and the Middle East today, and in America and Europe tomorrow.

rusmeister
01-11-2012, 22:07
Well, I guess that's it because you've got it all figured out Rus.
However, Epicurus would have disagreed with you.

22838

I think, based on modern physics, that materialism actually encompasses most of what you consider to be Spiritual. Materialism, in your view, is some hollow, incomplete, concept of life - I don't see it that way. You're moved by an Easter Vigil in the Церковь; I'm moved by a beautiful задница and a bottle of Laphroaig 18; so which one of us is more spiritual - or materialistic? :shamp:
I do not say that good things are not good. And I am very glad to disagree with Epicurus. But it is evident to me that the wiser view is one that appreciates and strives for the good things that last, rather than fleeting pleasures that are here today, gone tomorrow. Do the former, and sometimes the latter gets thrown into the bargain. Focus on the latter, and be left with bitterness and despair when the enjoyment becomes impossible.

And the Easter Vigil and Liturgy, besides being the most remarkable services, are focused on touching the eternal rather than the temporal. In that sense, it is certainly more "spiritual" (though "spiritual", in itself, can be good or bad).

"Hollow and incomplete" would be a refusal or inability to recognize the complete end of temporal appreciations and the implications of that - which the materialist generally expresses.

Jack17
01-11-2012, 23:25
But it is evident to me that the wiser view is one that appreciates and strives for the good things that last, rather than fleeting pleasures that are here today, gone tomorrow.

Or is it wiser to base our lives in the corporeal we know rather than place our faith in some pie-in-the-sky. The ultimate examples of this are the monastics who forego all "pleasures of the flesh" in exchange for a "pure" life of contemplation and communion with the Divine.

Why is it necessary for there to be some eternal being and for me to have some speculative "eternal life" for my life to have meaning? The best lives are a work of art and art has its own value that is appreciated in the moment. The opera or ballet begins at 8 and ends at 11; and while it lasts, it's a glorious experience that is its own justification. I don't understand why something has to be eternal to have real meaning. There are many things in this life that have great meaning and value and none of them, to my experience, are everlasting. Is Tchaikovsky's Evgeny Onegin "hollow and incomplete" because it has a first note and a last one? You're a Platonist Rus (as are all Christians and Jews) and I'm an Epicurian; that's all.

Ghostly Presence
01-11-2012, 23:40
Or is it wiser to base our lives in the corporeal we know rather than place our faith in some pie-in-the-sky. The ultimate examples of this are the monastics who forego all "pleasures of the flesh" in exchange for a "pure" life of contemplation and communion with the Divine.

Why is it necessary for there to be some eternal being and for me to have some speculative "eternal life" for my life to have meaning? The best lives are a work of art and art has its own value that is appreciated in the moment. The opera or ballet begins at 8 and ends at 11; and while it lasts, it's a glorious experience that is its own justification. I don't understand why something has to be eternal to have real meaning. There are many things in this life that have great meaning and value and none of them, to my experience, are everlasting. Is Tchaikovsky's Evgeny Onegin "hollow and incomplete" because it has a first note and a last one? You're a Platonist Rus (as are all Christians and Jews) and I'm an Epicurian; that's all.

I don't get that either. Why does "eternal" have to imply "good" and desireable? Life is wonderful because it is passing. Just imagine a life that never ends and continues long after you have nothing new to learn or experience, long after it has become unbearably boring! That would be a curse - not a blessing.

rusmeister
02-11-2012, 09:29
http://i50.tinypic.com/ay6q0y.jpg

My dear Mickey, that is simply a false claim. While there was always doubt and unbelief, thete never WERE atheist martyrs, who chose torture and death rather than denounce their atheism. The test is hstorical record. One can make a wild claim with no historical backing, or a claim backed up by solid and extensive historical record. The Chrstian martyrs are the latter, confirmed down through the centuries. "Atheist martyrs" are a product of human imagination, minus the above-mentioned historical documentation. (I'll add that radical activists writing imaginary modern histories do not count here, and the absence of primary sources is what shows up their "work" as partisan activism.)

Not impressed.
(Putting a "Dr" in front of O'Hair's name does not impress me, either. I am aware of modern pseudo-scholarship.)

rusmeister
02-11-2012, 09:54
Rusmeister,

Why are you so concerned about the impact your life will have on the grand scheme of things and about the "continuity"? Perhaps life is an experience that is tailored specifically for you so that you learn certain lessons and travel your own path along the road of your personal spiritual evolution... Maybe the continuity and the impact on the future is not what this life is all about? Maybe NOW matters a lot more than THEREAFTER and in that sense "momento mori" is just a reminder that life is short and you should not waste the time that you are given?

Hi, GP,
Sorry about the delay. On Thursdays I work long hours.

I am NOT concerned about the impact of my life on the grand scheme of things, I am not a megalomaniac that thinks the universe depends on me, as your understanding would imply.

The concern about continuity, though, is serious. What does it matter, what WILL it matter to you in a few short years, whether you learned lessons or not? What will it matter how much you "spiritually evolved" (whatever "evolve" means) if all that is left of you is a rotting corpse, then bones?

It will matter NOTHING to you if death is the complete end of you.

The typical response here is that "it will matter to my children" (or whoever remembers me). But what about when your children, and their children die? Who, then, will your "spiritual evolution" or lessons learned matter to? Still not to you, and then, not even to them. When the last person who could possibly remember anything dies, it will mean nothing to anybody.

So not only is hoping on posterity to make or maintain any meaning to your life vain, it simply puts off the basic fact that all you are, all you have become and learned, is lost. And even if, in desperation, you try to talk about "writing it down", you can hardly record a 1/1000 part of your experiences and lessons learned, and those that come after will only have a short time to even read any of it, and within a few generations, most of what anyone has ever written becones forgotten, and STILL, it cannot comfort those who died if they do not exist anymore. In the end, pretty much ALL is forgotten, all is lost. Put another way, who gives a hoot what lessons or evolution a second-century BC Roman slave (who I'll call Flavius) had?

So we come back to the basic fact that, under materialism, your death means the complete end, the complete erasure, of you. So much for lessons learned and personal evolution. Erasure. It means undoing. It means making nothing of your struggles with the pencil to write something down. It makes unmeaning of all your struggles; your entire life. It means that even now it doesn't matter, that your sense of things mattering is just a temporary illusion, undone with your death. It means that in the end, EVERYTHING is wasted.

I find that, not a harsh reality that I am simply uncomfortable with, as Russian Lad and others imagine, but as an irrational impossibility that makes nonsense of everything. So from there, ANY religion turns out to be more true and more rational. The one thing that turns out to be insane to believe is the idea that death is a final and complete end, an erasure, (not even oblivion, for in oblivion at least a person remains to forget what he knew). And so materialism defeats itself. No religion required to see it.

rusmeister
02-11-2012, 10:12
Or is it wiser to base our lives in the corporeal we know rather than place our faith in some pie-in-the-sky. The ultimate examples of this are the monastics who forego all "pleasures of the flesh" in exchange for a "pure" life of contemplation and communion with the Divine.

Why is it necessary for there to be some eternal being and for me to have some speculative "eternal life" for my life to have meaning? The best lives are a work of art and art has its own value that is appreciated in the moment. The opera or ballet begins at 8 and ends at 11; and while it lasts, it's a glorious experience that is its own justification. I don't understand why something has to be eternal to have real meaning. There are many things in this life that have great meaning and value and none of them, to my experience, are everlasting. Is Tchaikovsky's Evgeny Onegin "hollow and incomplete" because it has a first note and a last one? You're a Platonist Rus (as are all Christians and Jews) and I'm an Epicurian; that's all.

I mostly outlined it in my response to GP above; why the Epicurean MUST be wrong, why he CANNOT be right.

When you speak of a work of art, you are NOT speaking of a living human being who must die and have his knowledge and experience, his ego obliterated. In speaking of meaning, I am speaking of our lives. Not works of art, which are things left behind that we may, for a short time, admire. But the admiration becomes nothing when we die. If our descendants are fortunate, they might or might not come to admire the same thing or not, or something else altogether, or God forbid, nothing at all. But our admiration, under materialism, epicureanism, etc, becomes meaningless. A work of art is useless if either nobody is aware of it or there is and can be nobody to enjoy it. Unless art communicates something, it does not serve the function or purpose of art. If nothing is communicated to nobody, it is nonsense to speak of the value of art.

The whole point of the art, opera or whatever is that something should remain WITH US after we have seen it, that it should have lifted us up and communicated something to us that leaves us higher and better than we were. Only again, death erases all of that. If there is nothing left, no "you" to appreciate what you saw, then none of it can possibly mean anything to you. The only way, therefore, that we can speak intelligently of meaning is if it is eternal, if it is transcendent.

Once that is grasped as essential and undeniable, it becomes clear that it is most sensible if there is Someone to whom it ALWAYS means something (of course, some people, when they think it through that far, rush to deny it because of a standing dogma that there must BE no such Someone). But for now, I'm fine with stopping at that, at the necessity of transcendent meaning.

rusmeister
02-11-2012, 10:23
I don't get that either. Why does "eternal" have to imply "good" and desireable? Life is wonderful because it is passing. Just imagine a life that never ends and continues long after you have nothing new to learn or experience, long after it has become unbearably boring! That would be a curse - not a blessing.

I feel like I've said this before, GP (my apologies if it was to someone else!), but the base assumption you are coming from is that of Man remaining Fallen in eternity, and if that were what we thought true, I'd agree with you. Only we don't think that people will remain Fallen, unless it be by an individual's choice. For them, it WILL be hell, and I think what you've mentioned will be part of that experience. But a perfected man, in a literal infinity of things to learn and experience would not suffer boredom, or aging, or any of the effects of sin and death at all.

And saying that life is wonderful BECAUSE it is passing is logically the same as saying that it is wonderful because it is over. I think there IS a fragility that makes us love passing good more desperately and protectively, and I think you are speaking of that. But when a good thing is gone, we do NOT find it wonderful that it is gone, we grieve at its loss and desire its return.

Ghostly Presence
02-11-2012, 11:55
It will matter NOTHING to you if death is the complete end of you.

The typical response here is that "it will matter to my children" (or whoever remembers me). But what about when your children, and their children die? Who, then, will your "spiritual evolution" or lessons learned matter to? Still not to you, and then, not even to them. When the last person who could possibly remember anything dies, it will mean nothing to anybody.



My Dad once told me that we live forever because we don't know that we don't exist before we are born and after we die, so in between those two dates lies our eternity, since we are not aware either at its beginning or at its end. I think that this is an interesting thought.

If I am not going to be aware of the fact that my spiritual evolution and lessons learned are erased from the universal records upon my death and hence will not be able to grieve over that, then why should I be bothered by this while I am still alive? I am honestly not. Scientists claim that the entire Universe will eventually collapse upon itself, getting back to the point where it was before the Big Bang, so with this prospect in mind, why does anything have to mean something beyond what it is right here and right now?

The only reason why I hope that perhaps there is something else beyond this life is because I'd like to think that I will once again see the loved ones who passed away, because in some cases this separation is unbearable. As for my own life, it means nothing beyond this moment and I am perfectly fine with it as with my own mortality.

Jack17
02-11-2012, 19:00
The only way, therefore, that we can speak intelligently of meaning is if it is eternal, if it is transcendent.

How is that different from saying, "The only way we can speak of something is to fantasize it to be something other than what it appears to be?"

Rus, you live in your own dialectic, undisturbed by conventional logic or the phenomenal world; nevertheless, I like you because you are always polite.

I see nothing wrong in creating your own reality, divorced from the observable world where everything dies. If it helps you live a happy and rewarding life, then that's a good in and of itself. But in the end, you can't speak empirically about "eternity" because religion is a belief, not a science. In fact, the Sadducees believed the soul died with the body and there was no afterlife. I don't believe Buddhists believe in an afterlife either; so your belief in eternity is not even a part of every religion.

rusmeister
03-11-2012, 15:41
How is that different from saying, "The only way we can speak of something is to fantasize it to be something other than what it appears to be?"

Rus, you live in your own dialectic, undisturbed by conventional logic or the phenomenal world; nevertheless, I like you because you are always polite.

I see nothing wrong in creating your own reality, divorced from the observable world where everything dies. If it helps you live a happy and rewarding life, then that's a good in and of itself. But in the end, you can't speak empirically about "eternity" because religion is a belief, not a science. In fact, the Sadducees believed the soul died with the body and there was no afterlife. I don't believe Buddhists believe in an afterlife either; so your belief in eternity is not even a part of every religion.
It is quite different, Jack, and the whole point is at I am seeking, not to create my own reality, but to establish what must be objectively true for all of us.

When I approach meaning, I find that you cannot speak of it at all if it ends, if it ceases to be, that the one thing it cannot be, in regards to any absolute, something that today means something and tomorrow is gibberish, which is precisely what you DO have under materialism (which is more accurate regarding the overall effect of Epicurean thought, a thing that logically died out with the ascendence of Christian thought).

I really don't see why you are casting my thought as fantasy when I start from, as you say, the observable world where everything dies. Nor do I say that all religions must conceive of eternity; I can imagine an essentially materialist religion, as well as the known pagan ones with a final Ragnarok which still leaves us at the end of everything.

So it is the idea that you can make a private meaning now that I see to be the impossible fantasy, that becomes gibberish the moment after your death, that becomes unmeaning. It is precisely conventional logic and the phenomenal world that help me see that.

It's no good, Jack. You can't convince people who don't already dogmatically agree with you that my position is unreasonable and based on fantasy. I take death and sin, which I CAN observe, as positive starting points. It's not "creating my own reality", we can see sin on the street every day, and death at every corner, though a central weakness of our time is how we have managed to hide the fact of death to a great extent in our own lives. As to meaning, it is either a temporary illusion hiding overall and ultimate meaninglessness, as your position logically leads to, or meaning is transcendent, and life does not end with death, as my position maintains.