A Civil Religious Discussion


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I understand, I just think that instantly debunking them as useless overall is silly. I try to limit myself to "normal" considerations usually, but I like to get more philisophical on this thread. I don't usually get the chance.


Again, I apologize for going into such a rant mode. Forgot what thread I was on.


'Sokay.

Liberty's Edge

Ha-HAA! Still here!


If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, is the road to Heaven paved with malice and ill will?

Dark Archive

Id Vicious wrote:
If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, is the road to Heaven paved with malice and ill will?

HAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA


Id Vicious wrote:
If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, is the road to Heaven paved with malice and ill will?

I guess anyone can get to hell, because even if you don't have a car to drive on the road to hell you can walk it. But, heaven may involve chartering a flight or a ship over the seas of sin, so it takes some planning to get there. At least, this is how my 'metophorical logic' is working.

Scarab Sages

Id Vicious wrote:
If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, is the road to Heaven paved with malice and ill will?

Ok. While you were probably just trying to be cute and not really looking for a real answer, I still felt like I should address this.

At least in theory...

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions" -- the focus of this statement should have much more to do with "intentions" rather than "good". The idea is that getting to Heaven requires a bit more than "intentions". Of course, this is true with just about anything. You can "intend" to get a degree and never get it. You can "intend" to climb Mount Everest and never do it. You won't ever get there until you actually do it.

Attempting not to sound too preachy --

The converse should be "The road to Heaven is paved with being [insert appropriate religion here]"

The point of the statement is if you want to get there, then do what is necessary. Don't just talk about doing it.


Moff Rimmer wrote:
Id Vicious wrote:
If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, is the road to Heaven paved with malice and ill will?

Ok. While you were probably just trying to be cute and not really looking for a real answer, I still felt like I should address this.

I was half being snarky, half actually wanting to know what it all meant. (I know, I was surprised, too.)

Scarab Sages

Id Vicious wrote:
I was half being snarky, half actually wanting to know what it all meant. (I know, I was surprised, too.)

I was debating whether or not to answer. I'm glad I chose to. :-)


Moff Rimmer wrote:
The point of the statement is if you want to get there, then do what is necessary. Don't just talk about doing it.

So shouldn't it be more, 'poop or get off the pot' then?


I have a pretty hard time believing in hell as a place. Someone once told me that proper translation for the word used in the original Greek simply means 'death' or 'the grave', so in actuality (if you believe in that sort of thing), people don't burn forever in a fiery pit; they just die, almost as atheists think of death. Anyone else heard that?

Scarab Sages

CourtFool wrote:
So shouldn't it be more, 'poop or get off the pot' then?

Cute. Not exactly though. With the "road to heaven/hell" statement, there is a definite end point/goal. Not sure what the ultimate goal is with the "poop" statement. (Aside from the proverbial line of impatient people behind the person waiting for them to make a decision.)

Scarab Sages

Riskbreaker wrote:
I have a pretty hard time believing in hell as a place. Someone once told me that proper translation for the word used in the original Greek simply means 'death' or 'the grave', so in actuality (if you believe in that sort of thing), people don't burn forever in a fiery pit; they just die, almost as atheists think of death. Anyone else heard that?

Wow. This is starting up again? Not a problem.

The ancient Hebrew language tended to leave a fair amount of room for interpretation. Especially with regards to the Old Testament.

There are a number of passages in the New Testament that talk about Hell in a different light --

Luke 16 (NIV) wrote:
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

There are also a number of places in Revelation and more than likely other places as well that I can't think of off the top of my head.

But if you don't believe in the Bible, I'm not sure why heaven would exist either.


Moff Rimmer wrote:
Riskbreaker wrote:
I have a pretty hard time believing in hell as a place. Someone once told me that proper translation for the word used in the original Greek simply means 'death' or 'the grave', so in actuality (if you believe in that sort of thing), people don't burn forever in a fiery pit; they just die, almost as atheists think of death. Anyone else heard that?
Wow. This is starting up again? Not a problem.

Sorry, I admit I didn't scan the thirty-some-odd other pages, but if this particular bit has been discussed, I'll see what I can find. I sort of assumed it hadn't, apparently naively.

Moff Rimmer wrote:

The ancient Hebrew language tended to leave a fair amount of room for interpretation. Especially with regards to the Old Testament.

There are a number of passages in the New Testament that talk about Hell in a different light --

Luke 16 (NIV) wrote:
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

There are also a number of places in Revelation and more than likely other places as well that I can't think of off the top of my head.

But if you don't believe in the Bible, I'm not sure why heaven would exist either.

There are just so many interpretations of things, I wanted to see if anyone knew much of the original translated word. It's tough because specific references can be taken to mean a lot of things, like how the rich man in your example could just be metaphorically suffering and communicating. Gets me all /confused.

Scarab Sages

Riskbreaker wrote:
There are just so many interpretations of things, I wanted to see if anyone knew much of the original translated word. It's tough because specific references can be taken to mean a lot of things, like how the rich man in your example could just be metaphorically suffering and communicating. Gets me all confused.

There are a LOT of pages. If you want to print out this thread, expect a ream or two of paper and couple of cartridges of ink. :-)

I will admit that I am not really the expert in this stuff as much as I would like to be and I usually defer to others and their knowledge. Erian_7 knows more about this stuff than I do (if he is watching).

The passage in question was a story of sorts told by Jesus. There were a number of points that Jesus was trying to get across by telling the story. From reading the passage, I get the feeling that he was not trying to convince the crowds whether or not Heaven or Hell existed. He seemed to be talking about it as though everyone already accepted this as though it were true. I get the feeling that Jesus' main point was that there will be a large number of people that will be surprised about the afterlife.

My point in mentioning the passage was showing where some of the idea that 'Hell' is about fire and brimstone and suffering, etc. A lot of what Jesus said could very well have been alagorical. However, He took what was believed to be true and didn't discount it as being false.


Moff Rimmer wrote:


The passage in question was a story of sorts told by Jesus. There were a number of points that Jesus was trying to get across by telling the story. From reading the passage, I get the feeling that he was not trying to convince the crowds whether or not Heaven or Hell existed. He seemed to be talking about it as though everyone already accepted this as though it were true. I get the feeling that Jesus' main point was that there will be a large number of people that will be surprised about the afterlife.

My point in mentioning the passage was showing where some of the idea that 'Hell' is about fire and brimstone and suffering, etc. A lot of what Jesus said could very well have been alagorical. However, He took what was believed to be true and didn't discount it as being false.

That makes a lot of sense. I think you're right in focusing on the intended point rather than hanging on every word, as it were. He was talking to a country full of assumed-believers, after all, not those of us in the modern world.


Moff Rimmer wrote:
Not sure what the ultimate goal is with the "poop" statement.

I would think the goal is to poop.

Scarab Sages

Riskbreaker wrote:
He was talking to a country full of assumed-believers, after all, not those of us in the modern world.

I don't know that he was talking to "assumed-believers". The "believers" of the time really didn't like him at all. I think that he was trying to teach people things regardless of where they were at. He used examples and situations that made sense to them at the time. Even today, if I were to talk about 'heaven' or 'hell' everyone here would have some kind of mental picture that would have a number of similarities. And not everyone here would consider themselves a "believer".

As far as the 'modern world'...

If the Bible is 'just' a relic of the times, then I really don't see much reason in putting much more faith/belief in it either than maybe some names, places and a few events. Because if we take your stance, then NOTHING that Jesus/God said applies to us at all in the "modern world" -- and I'm not sure that I buy that either. And you could say the same thing about anyone in history. (But they were talking about 'those' people -- not us.)

I'll stop now... :-)

Scarab Sages

Moff Rimmer wrote:
Not sure what the ultimate goal is with the "poop" statement.
CourtFool wrote:
I would think the goal is to poop.

"To poop or not to poop -- that is the question"


Moff Rimmer wrote:
Riskbreaker wrote:
He was talking to a country full of assumed-believers, after all, not those of us in the modern world.
I don't know that he was talking to "assumed-believers". The "believers" of the time really didn't like him at all. I think that he was trying to teach people things regardless of where they were at. He used examples and situations that made sense to them at the time. Even today, if I were to talk about 'heaven' or 'hell' everyone here would have some kind of mental picture that would have a number of similarities. And not everyone here would consider themselves a "believer".

I meant believers in God and followers of the old testament, not necessarily believers as we might call people in our countries today. Israel was built and run on not only a belief in God, but a belief that they were God's chosen and that God led them there and gave them that land and their laws. I assume they still had non-believers, but Israel then and the modern world now aren't really comparable as far as a basic belief that God exists and that our law is his law, etc. Atheism and philosophy have come a long way in establishing alternate world-views, not to mention those of other religions not touched on by Jesus .

Moff Rimmer wrote:

As far as the 'modern world'...

If the Bible is 'just' a relic of the times, then I really don't see much reason in putting much more faith/belief in it either than maybe some names, places and a few events. Because if we take your stance, then NOTHING that Jesus/God said applies to us at all in the "modern world" -- and I'm not sure that I buy that either. And you could say the same thing about anyone in history. (But they were talking about 'those' people -- not us.)

I'll stop now... :-)

I don't mind, and I get where you're coming from. But I don't see it hard to put Jesus's audience at the time into context and consider that he was talking to a bunch of people with certain inherant understandings and misunderstandings which may be different from ours today.

For a believer, that doesn't necessarily cheapen the basic concepts that Jesus came, was the son of God, performed miracles, died for our sins, and will come back one day.

What I meant was actually geared more toward what you were saying rather than establishing a stance of my own, in that we in the modern world can still focus on the ideas Jesus was trying to get across without getting confused by some of the contexts, a lot of which no longer apply, since many of us are no longer ancient world Middle Easterners.

We can study his reference of the Eye of the Needle, for example, and get the basic point of what he meant without already knowing what and where the Eye of the Needle was. That point is no less valid for us today as it was then, similiar to the idea of loving one's neighbor as yourself, turning the other cheek, and many other core Jesus points.


Yeah, but Bill and Ted said it better. "Be excellent to each other."


This is really the most amazing thread.

I've been rereading the last couple of pages, and have some comments I want to post, but I must away for errands. I'll post when I come back.


It's good to see this thread start back up again. It makes for good procrastinating when I supposed to be writing an Old Testament essay :)

Riskbreaker wrote:
I have a pretty hard time believing in hell as a place. Someone once told me that proper translation for the word used in the original Greek simply means 'death' or 'the grave', so in actuality (if you believe in that sort of thing), people don't burn forever in a fiery pit; they just die, almost as atheists think of death. Anyone else heard that?

I am by no means a scholar on either language, but I'll try my best.

In the Old Testament, (written in Hebrew) there was one word, Sheol, which is usually translated "death" or "the grave."

In the New Testament, (written in Greek), there are two words. The first is "hades" which in Greek thought / philosophy (and common usage I think), means simply "the place of the dead". ie, where dead people (good and bad) go. This is usually translated as "hell".

The second word is "Gehanna" Gehanna was the name of the rubbish pit outside the walls of Jerusalem that was constantly burning. This word is (nearly?) always translated as hell.

Although the Bible (especially Jesus believe it or not) often talks about hell, it doesn't often describe it. And when it does, it is hard to work out whether it is literal, metaphorical, or allegorical.

What is clear from the Bible is that hell exists. And it is a terrible place. A common description (used often by Jesus), is that it is a place of "weeping and gnashing of teeth."

But I am interested in why you have a hard time believing in hell. I mean the philosophical / spiritual concept, rather than a particular version. Cause let's face it, a lot of our current understanding (and I include myself readily in this as well), comes more from a combination of Milton's "Paradise Lost", Dante's "Inferno" and mystical Catholicism than what the Bible actually says. So what is it about hell that makes it so hard to believe?


mevers wrote:
A common description (used often by Jesus), is that it is a place of "weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Public high school?

Scarab Sages

mevers wrote:
A common description (used often by Jesus), is that it is a place of "weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Id Vicious wrote:
Public high school?

No. Public middle school.


Moff Rimmer wrote:
But if you don't believe in the Bible, I'm not sure why heaven would exist either.

Sorry. My military training convinces me not to rely on single source intelligence. :)


Well I personally don't believe in Heaven or Hell because to me the whole concept is ridiculous. It doesn't make sense to me that there would be some all powerful being watching over us and deciding to either reward or condemn us in an afterlife based on whether we were nice to each other. I have to go with the atheist perspective. When you're dead you're dead. Your consciouness ceases to exist and you know no more. I think people just have trouble wrapping their head around the concept of nothingness, and maybe it doesn't offer much hope (though I personally don't find the notion of nothingness being depressing- its seems restful and peaceful to me, which is what you would want heaven to be anyhow), but at least it gives you some incentive to live your life to the fullest while you still exist.

But I am interested in why you have a hard time believing in hell. I mean the philosophical / spiritual concept, rather than a particular version. Cause let's face it, a lot of our current understanding (and I include myself readily in this as well), comes more from a combination of Milton's "Paradise Lost", Dante's "Inferno" and mystical Catholicism than what the Bible actually says. So what is it about hell that makes it so hard to believe?


Moff Rimmer wrote:
mevers wrote:
A common description (used often by Jesus), is that it is a place of "weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Id Vicious wrote:
Public high school?
No. Public middle school.

Public school in general.

Scarab Sages

P.H. Dungeon wrote:
Well I personally don't believe in Heaven or Hell because to me the whole concept is ridiculous.

I don't think that it is all that "ridiculous" to believe/hope that your actions here and now have some kind of impact.

I have a really hard time understanding why people have morals without religion. If your actions have no ultimate consequences, then why be "good" at all (unless you get something out of it more than you would have otherwise).


Moff Rimmer wrote:
I have a really hard time understanding why people have morals without religion. If your actions have no ultimate consequences, then why be "good" at all (unless you get something out of it more than you would have otherwise).

That's exactly the point. The longer I live, the more I learn that, in any human society, benevolence and kindness are exceptionally useful traits. Morality can be quite self-serving, as long as you accrete it experientially instead of pulling it willy-nilly or wholesale out of a book.

Example: If you're involved in a two-person job that goes well, and you pull more than your share of the load but sing the praises of your partner, word gets out that you're modest, easy to get along with, and not a complainer. Your co-worker also finds out what you've said about him/her, and even if he's a total jerk, he has to "pay it back" to some extent, or else everyone KNOWS he's a jerk. The net result is that, by showing kindness, you've made your own life twice as easy. Take it a step further. Say the job involves risk, and you bail out your partner; now the obligation is twice as deep, and you're in an even better position. If there's no one else in the world, this fails, but with a larger group, you'd be amazed how well it works.

Now, if you believe that "morals" have something to do with banning gay marriage or whatever, then you're in for a big disappointment. But the basic golden rule is suprememly functional when a group of people is taken into account.


Moff Rimmer wrote:
I have a really hard time understanding why people have morals without religion. If your actions have no ultimate consequences, then why be "good" at all (unless you get something out of it more than you would have otherwise).

The religious have a monopoly on morals? I think that is an extremely dubious position.

I find I have exactly the opposite problem -- If this is the one and only existence we have (no afterlife) then morals make sense because if we're not good to each other now, then the only existence we have is made a living hell but if we are good to each other, than the short time we have is made a paradise (to the extent that we can be). Thus morals make the most sense to me if there really isn't a God or an afterlife.

However, if you believe in an afterlife, then the consequences of your actions in this life are meaningless -- you care more about how your actions will affect your passage to the afterlife, and thus the most horrible atrocities are justifiable being "what God wants me to do, so I can get into Heaven."

Scarab Sages

Sean, Minister of KtSP wrote:

The religious have a monopoly on morals? I think that is an extremely dubious position.

I find I have exactly the opposite problem -- If this is the one and only existence we have (no afterlife) then morals make sense because if we're not good to each other now, then the only existence we have is made a living hell but if we are good to each other, than the short time we have is made a paradise (to the extent that we can be). Thus morals make the most sense to me if there really isn't a God or an afterlife.

No I don't think that religions have a monopoly on morals.

I understand what Kirth is saying, but I still feel that it is a rather selfish position. It ends up being -- I will only be good as long as I get something better out of it.

What I don't get is how being good to others makes it a paradise now for me. If I am wealthy, why do I care that there are people starving? As long as I am happy in my little world, what difference does it make?

(Please understand that I don't advocate the above, I just don't understand how being selfish makes my world a "living hell" -- and I'm playing a bit of 'devil's advocate'.)


Moff Rimmer wrote:
I understand what Kirth is saying, but I still feel that it is a rather selfish position. It ends up being -- I will only be good as long as I get something better out of it.

Which is exactly the position of people whose "morals" are derived from an established religion. No matter how you look at it, they're self-serving (I'll explain what I mean in a second). In my example, you get some benefit, but you are also manifestly helping others as well, so there's net good--you've made the world a better place for others, not just for yourself. If your "morals" tell you to stone witches, there's a net loss: you get to feel virtuous, and you feel like you're serving God, and so you get a lot out of it; it's obviously extremely self-serving--but someone else bears the cost for you. That's exactly analgous to your "little bubble" millionaire.

Obviously, a lot of religiously-inspired morals can have a net good result, too (charity with no expectations) or at least be zero-sum (charity, but it gives you a captive audience for proselyzation, for example). I'm not saying one is better than the other--but that cuts both ways. At the end of the day, there are no morals at all that are not self-serving. It's just a question of what coin you expect to be paid off in. Being "virtuous" because you read in a book that you're supposed to is no better than doing it because you've found it to be useful. In the one case, you're paid off in self-image ("I'm so virtuous! I'm serving God!"); in the other, you're paid off in reciprocal goodwill.


Moff Rimmer wrote:
What I don't get is how being good to others makes it a paradise now for me. If I am wealthy, why do I care that there are people starving? As long as I am happy in my little world, what difference does it make? I just don't understand how being selfish makes my world a "living hell"

As I've said, it's a group thing. Your millionaire gets vast tax breaks for charity--because in a group dynamic things work out better for those who give--he actually keeps more of his millions by giving some of it away than he does by keeping it all. Look, too, at Exxon's "save the tiger" campaign--the ill will the company received from public perception after the Valdez accident hurt their bottom line badly-- to the point where they decided the only way to recoup some of those losses was by trying to publicly make up for it. Was that effort self-serving? You bet! Did it help a lot of tigers, too? Most likely. Notice also that the accident and its attendant ill feelings are remembered a lot better than the habitat they bought for tigers in Asia. In a group setting, a lack of morality hurts far more in the long run than a show of it helps.

Are there exceptions? Absolutely and without a doubt. Some people do eat their cake and have it, too, committing ill deeds and yet going unpunished. But that happens no more often than people who are, in my definition, absolutely evil, and who yet filfill to the letter quite a number of Biblical injunctions--it's the few injunctions they misinterpet that you have to watch out for.

Contributor

Moff Rimmer wrote:
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
Well I personally don't believe in Heaven or Hell because to me the whole concept is ridiculous.
I don't think that it is all that "ridiculous" to believe/hope that your actions here and now have some kind of impact.

I don't think it's ridiculous, but I do think its better to realize your actions here and now have an impact in the here and now.

Moff Rimmer wrote:
I have a really hard time understanding why people have morals without religion. If your actions have no ultimate consequences, then why be "good" at all (unless you get something out of it more than you would have otherwise).

Nothing has an ultimate consequence, but as the saying goes, the journey is more important than the destination.

Are you good just to get into heaven? Or do you realize that being good has a practical purpose? I don't think either option is mutually exclusive nor intrinsically linked.

Scarab Sages

Hill Giant wrote:
Are you good just to get into heaven? Or do you realize that being good has a practical purpose?

I'm not in it for "fire insurance". While I realize that it's a bit like defining a circle as a circular figure -- I feel like I am "good" because it is right.

I don't feel like I am good because it has a "practical purpose". That requires too much thought. I think that on some level, I feel kind of like 'what goes around comes around' or something like that. Sometimes I wish that it would happen more regularly -- on both sides -- then again it's probably better that it doesn't.

Here's another thought though -- what defines "good"? Is it a balance idea as Kirth suggests? Is it based on what the person(s) feel is "good" at the time? Is it defined by what the courts say? What makes something "good"?


Moff Rimmer wrote:
Here's another thought though -- what defines "good"? Is it a balance idea as Kirth suggests? Is it based on what the person(s) feel is "good" at the time? Is it defined by what the courts say? What makes something "good"?

The only definition I've found that I agreed with was what sold me on Buddhism: "good" is a net lessening of total suffering (self + others). "Evil" is a net increase in suffering. Note that it's quite possible to have a small amount of short-term suffering reduce, over the long run, a great deal of suffering (as in cutting out a tumor). The reverse is also true (as in taking heroin).

Scarab Sages

Hill Giant wrote:
Are you good just to get into heaven?

And for what it's worth --

I've said it before and I will say it again. The Bible doesn't say that "being 'good' will get you into heaven".

Scarab Sages

Kirth Gersen wrote:
The only definition I've found that I agreed with was what sold me on Buddhism: "good" is a net lessening of total suffering (self + others). "Evil" is a net increase in suffering. Note that it's quite possible to have a small amount of short-term suffering reduce, over the long run, a great deal of suffering (as in cutting out a tumor). The reverse is also true (as in taking heroin).

Thanks. I kind of know where you are coming from. However, is there some kind of 'measure' for suffering? I'm really more curious than anything.


Well I for one have never believed you need religion to have morals. If that were the case I should in theory be going around killing and stealing all day long. Morality needs to be ingrained in people in order to have a functional society. This can happen without religion. Religion is needed by some people to help them deal with fears regarding things that we can't understand, like death, and why we are here etc... However, there are plenty of philosophical answers to these questions as well that aren't based around religion. One of the big problems I have with people who are very devout is that they all think they are "good" people and are going to heaven. Overall I try to live my life in a decent way, but I try not to let myself get so arrogant that I woud say I am a "good" person. There are things I do everyday that are harming the people around me. I drive a care that pollutes the air. I buy clothing from companies that essentially use slave labour. I buy food from big companies that use toxic fertilizers and treat animals inhumanely. I buy medicine/drugs from pharmaceutical companies that try to force governments into passing laws that will keep impoverished nations from having access to cheap generic drugs. Nearly everything I do somehow supports a corrupts social system built on greed. As long as I continue to support this system I don't think I can possibly be a truely "good" person.

When people I see people walking around thinking that they are such great people because they are so pious and go to church and think they have good "christian values"- well it just makes me frustrated because these people are deluded. Nearly every purchase and action we take as citizens of first world nations is helping to support and sustain a system that keeps us at the top, while the majority of the people of the world suffer in abject poverty- we are not good people (as much as we wish we were or try to claim otherwise). We live off the backs of slaves. The only difference is that now they in far away countries where we can't see them suffering.

Moff Rimmer wrote:
Sean, Minister of KtSP wrote:

The religious have a monopoly on morals? I think that is an extremely dubious position.

I find I have exactly the opposite problem -- If this is the one and only existence we have (no afterlife) then morals make sense because if we're not good to each other now, then the only existence we have is made a living hell but if we are good to each other, than the short time we have is made a paradise (to the extent that we can be). Thus morals make the most sense to me if there really isn't a God or an afterlife.

No I don't think that religions have a monopoly on morals.

I understand what Kirth is saying, but I still feel that it is a rather selfish position. It ends up being -- I will only be good as long as I get something better out of it.

What I don't get is how being good to others makes it a paradise now for me. If I am wealthy, why do I care that there are people starving? As long as I am happy in my little world, what difference does it make?

(Please understand that I don't advocate the above, I just don't understand how being selfish makes my world a "living hell" -- and I'm playing a bit of 'devil's advocate'.)


Refer to my above post. If you live in the western world you aren't a "good" person. You are a bastard. We all are period. You might like to think otherwise because you are kind to the people around you and respectful of your family and friends, you go to church blah, blah, blah, but guess what your a horrible person. There are thousands of people living around the world growing your food and making your clothes and all the other crap you own for vitually nothing, and then going home to completely inadequate living conditions, just so you can have the nice little life that you have become accustomed to. If you want to be a good person you need to travel to one of these countries, sacrifice every valuable possession you have, and live a life of complete and utter modesty helping these people that we have been exploiting. Then you can call yourself a good person.

Moff Rimmer wrote:
Hill Giant wrote:
Are you good just to get into heaven? Or do you realize that being good has a practical purpose?

I'm not in it for "fire insurance". While I realize that it's a bit like defining a circle as a circular figure -- I feel like I am "good" because it is right.

I don't feel like I am good because it has a "practical purpose". That requires too much thought. I think that on some level, I feel kind of like 'what goes around comes around' or something like that. Sometimes I wish that it would happen more regularly -- on both sides -- then again it's probably better that it doesn't.

Here's another thought though -- what defines "good"? Is it a balance idea as Kirth suggests? Is it based on what the person(s) feel is "good" at the time? Is it defined by what the courts say? What makes something "good"?

Scarab Sages

P.H. Dungeon wrote:
Morality needs to be ingrained in people in order to have a functional society.

Just checking -- is this the core of what you are saying? That people should have morals for the good of society? And that whether or not something is good for society determines what is 'moral'?

Scarab Sages

P.H. Dungeon wrote:
... You are a bastard. We all are period. You might like to think otherwise because you are kind to the people around you and respectful of your family and friends, you go to church blah, blah, blah, but guess what your a horrible person...

So much for 'civil'...

Is this why you don't believe in either heaven or hell? Because no matter what happens, no one is 'good enough' for what heaven is supposed to represent?

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps I am not a 'good' person. I am certainly not 'good enough' to make it to heaven.


Moff Rimmer wrote:
Is this why you don't believe in either heaven or hell? Because no matter what happens, no one is 'good enough' for what heaven is supposed to represent?

P.H. Dungoen's view sounds suspiciously like the Christian "we're all sinners" viewpoint we discussed some pages ago--the one where God pretty much thinks we're all worthless, and only by Jesus does one get to cheat and get into heaven. Dungeon puts morality in economic terms (work-units per unit gain), rather than in Biblical ones, but his basic message is more or less the same.

Moff Rimmer wrote:
Thanks. I kind of know where you are coming from. However, is there some kind of 'measure' for suffering? I'm really more curious than anything.

In answer to that question, no, I don't know of a "suffering-o-meter" that one can use to make quantitative measurements. That's one of the things that makes the morality business a challenge. We all just have to do the best we can.


Well I don't mean to be a jerk or to centre you out. I think you can have good intentions and have morals and still not be a "good" person. I think we are all terrible people and should be ashamed of the lives we lead. I just happen to think that if you believe otherwise you haven't taken a very close look in the mirror, as I've said we've done a good job at keeping all our slaves far away where we don't have to look at them and maybe feel guilty about what we are doing. However, if you think that your god will let people into heaven who participate in and support a society built entirely on greed that exploits millions of their fellow human beings and forces them to live in complete and utter poverty then that's your business. Personally, I'm glad I don't believe in god because if I thought that there acutally was a god up there looking down on me and judging me based on the life of greed and consumption I live I would be very concerned for the future of my soul. I'm ashamed enough of it as it is. We all should be, but the fact of the matter is we are too comfortable with our lifestyle to consider giving them up, and most of us will never have the guts to make the changes needed to truly be "good" people.

Moff Rimmer wrote:
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
... You are a bastard. We all are period. You might like to think otherwise because you are kind to the people around you and respectful of your family and friends, you go to church blah, blah, blah, but guess what your a horrible person...

So much for 'civil'...

Is this why you don't believe in either heaven or hell? Because no matter what happens, no one is 'good enough' for what heaven is supposed to represent?

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps I am not a 'good' person. I am certainly not 'good enough' to make it to heaven.

Scarab Sages

P.H. Dungeon wrote:
Personally, I'm glad I don't believe in god because if I thought that there acutally was a god up there looking down on me and judging me based on the life of greed and consumption I live I would be very concerned for the future of my soul.

As would I. I guess that it's a good thing that the Bible doesn't suggest this at all.

Scarab Sages

Kirth Gersen wrote:
P.H. Dungoen's view sounds suspiciously like the Christian "we're all sinners" viewpoint we discussed some pages ago--the one where God pretty much thinks we're all worthless, and only by Jesus does one get to cheat and get into heaven.

Yes and no. It kind of feels to me like P.H. Dungeon is saying that this is some kind of proof that there isn't a god or heaven.


I certainly am saying that we are all sinners, sort of- I don't acknowledge the concept of sin. I'm not suggesting somehow that something does or doesn't prove the existence of god. I don't believe in god, but I can't prove that it doesn't exist. I don't think that praying is really a solution to the "sins" we commit. I think we need to actively go out into the world and try to atone for the shameful lives we lead/enjoy. I personally don't do this to enough of a degree that I consider myself to be a "good" person, though I do consider myself to have morals. I don't actually even believe in good or evil. I'm more of the "there's only pleasure and pain" mentality, but I think that the things we do in our lives indirectly cause a lot of people a lot of pain. I think living a life based on morals gives one a higher chance of having more pleasure than pain in one's life.

Moff Rimmer wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
P.H. Dungoen's view sounds suspiciously like the Christian "we're all sinners" viewpoint we discussed some pages ago--the one where God pretty much thinks we're all worthless, and only by Jesus does one get to cheat and get into heaven.

Yes and no. It kind of feels to me like P.H. Dungeon is saying that this is some kind of proof that there isn't a god or heaven.

Scarab Sages

P.H. Dungeon wrote:
I don't think that praying is really a solution to the "sins" we commit.

For what it's worth, neither do I.

It sounds like (for better or worse) that you believe in some form of 'balance' similar to Kirth. Maybe to an extreme, but you bring up some really good points. And probably something that all of us really need to consider.

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