We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, June 10. 2007
It's about Goodness without meaning. Scriptorium. We might call it "obsessionalism," "sanctimoniousness," or "piousness" nowadays.
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I did not get the denouement of that piece. It didn't have one, I guess, because the piece had no definitive premise.
But this stumped me:
"while both divine simplicity and changelessness may have disadvantages, both protect God’s ethical independence (“He is the Good, answering to nothing else.”), his praiseworthiness (“His very essence is the Good Itself.”), and his sovereignty."
Why does God need anyone to protect anything about Him?
This was a so-so article about a really intriguing phenomenon. Thanks for the link, and for encouraging us to dust off our Plato...
The down and dirty way of addressinig such people nowadays is to ask "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy!"
I could relate it to Jesus' words about "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." A righteous exterior, and cruel interior. Many modern Christians tend to likewise loosely label people Pharasaical for being sanctimonious. See this brief outline of the three main sects within Judaism during the time of CHrist to see how simplistic this is...
Phoenix, I would answer your question (hesitantly, as you are more skilled with logic than I am) simply that I don't believe God needs anyone to protect Him. But it reveals our true nature to Him whether we try to or not: "32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." (Matt 10-:32) We need to do so, because that is how we learn the breadth and depth of our commitment to anything. You are willing to defend what you love. Also, although we cannot hurt God, our actions have huge effects on our fellow humanoids, and God cares what we do because He cares about all of His creatures. I wonder if perhaps He wants to see if we get it, if we can proclaim even a rough aproximation of who He is. I imagine Him wincing at the Rabbi Kushner heresy of saying God doesn't create Natural Disasters, but is a kind of cheerleader and comforter (a Cosmic Rogerian therapist!
It's interesting that we are at our most revolting when we are beinig self-righteous. We all fall into this trap. The trouble with the dialogue described is that it implies that only a few people belong to this obnoxious type. In fact, it is part of all of us...
For myself, I find myself behaving in this revolting way most often when reciting grievances to a spouse, elaborating upon his faults and my own virtues. Shameful that I am nastiest to the person I swore to love and cherish, and usually with a glow of being right! God is probably up there snickering at assortative mating, and all but bursting at not sky-writing "Takes one to know one" for my benefit....My flippant point, tho, is that we are all prone to this, and can be quite cruel in the name of being "right."
Rambling even more than usual today, exhausted from running, hiking and working out with the kids. Wanting to be lazy and take a nap but have to go teach Sunday School. They would be more succinct: Nobody likes a Teacher's Pet. Betcha Euthyphro was one.
Euthyphro was probably also a playground.... er, a gymnasium bully.
Nice explanation, Retriever.
I'm not sure I'd go along with God testing our faith by seeing how steadfastly we defend him. If you believe, you believe, and I don't think he needs tests. I think you might disagree as you are very conscious of sin. I am not.
I laughed at your example of fighting to be right with hubby. My first thought was who fights to be wrong, but I know what you're talking about and would give a different name than 'right'. Who can tolerate an injustice? I think most fights start over a perceived injustice and 'setting it right' is what sustains the fighting. Then we come back to wanting to be right, so it's all a little cycle of justice gone awry.
"I wonder if perhaps He wants to see if we get it, if we can proclaim even a rough aproximation of who He is."
Considering the plethora of religious sects in Christianity alone, do suppose this is possible?
Here's how I figure it:
How do you know the difference between good and evil?
You give it power.
And you're probably correct that God is snickering at you when you squabble with your husband. That's hardly evil. Sticking up for yourself is a good thing.
(Reading Plato makes me want to eat a lot or take a nap. Or pick a fight with someone. :)
Here is one of my all-time favorite quotations:
"Wisdom implies knowing what you are, Knowing your place in the world, being able to take the wide view with a due sense of proportion."
Phoenix, i was raised by a family who adored everything Greek, and knew my Greek mythology before I read the Bible. But I feel somewhat the same way about reading Plato. Sometimes can revel in it, but others can't stomach it. From an early age found myself irritated by those wordy middle aged Greeks lusting after fair youths...and treating their wives like mules....especially since my own tribe, despite all its faults, was chivalrous, romantic to a fault, and in fact consisted chiefly of matriarchies. At any rate, the women around me were the equals of their men...
Was just bullying one out of shape kid into exercising on the various machines downstairs with me, watching "Troy". I never cease to be amazed how sedentary my kids are by comparison with my generation! Very good exercise movie! Pondering the characters in the story and the quote you shared from Sophocles. And my Brit schoolmasters' reiterated bromide about moderation in all things. Immoderate greed, lust, pride, etc. the cause of so much misery...And yet that "due sense of proportion" can get pretty tedious. Love, lust, cool stuff, adventure, learning new things make live feel worth living... Hence the appeal of gods and goddesses, heroes, myths that can transport us far from our everyday efforts to be good...
In Sunday School tonight having to teach from a mediocre curriculum on John the Baptist and Jesus' temptation by Satan. The curriculum focussed on obedience (John obedient to the call of God, Jesus ditto) My daughter and I (we co-teach) having fun acting out the story for them of a fire and brimstone J the B blasting sin, and miserable, scared penitents. Then asking the kids if they thought that Jesus had the same attitude. "Oh, no," one serious minded seven year old exclaimed "he loves us, and he came to teach us how to do better, so that we could live with Him forever. He might get mad at us when we are bad, but he would never hate us or scare us. That John the Baptist was a mean guy..." Out of the mouths of babes, I thought...
That is a great quote Phoenix. Hadn't seen it before. You may disbelieve but that is how I try, and do I ever try, to sort my life out. In my interactions with my fellow humans I first try to do no harm. Golden Rule all the way. Not that I don't speak up when I see BS, but I attempt to take the wide view upon the narrow focus of my predicament. Burning bridges is not my style. I'll stop here.
Of course, upon preview, R. blows me out of the water :-)
Good night all, I am a very tired dog indeed...Girlchild wants me to take her running at 5 am. My paws are aching at the thought...
Out of the mouths of babes is right. Remember Dr. Bliss' post about how differently people picture God? Most of the visions were horrific, and for sure, few were gentle and comforting. That little boy has it right. What kind of God would want people to love him out of fear? What empty love that is.
Burning bridges is not my style either. Although, as I get older and realize I have succored friendships that wear me out, I am learning to burn a few bridges and I like it.
What I like about that quotation is the reminder to take the wide view. Retriever worries about the due sense of proportion, but I think if you have the other foundations in place, the rest comes naturally. She named it - moderation. It's the key to a healthy life. Taking the wide view is sometimes hard. I've always interpreted that part to mean being open to new ideas and to being accepting, tolerant of ideas that may threaten at first glance. I've never thought of the message of the quotation in the sense you said: 'to sort my life out'. But I have to say when I first read it - back in my early twenties, I used it for exactly that purpose. Since then, I read it when I need a shake-up. What am I saying? I'm using it just as you said! :)
(Darn Plato messed me up.)
Who has known heights and depths shall not again
Know peace - not as the calm heart knows
Low, ivied walls; a garden close;
and thought he tread the humble ways of men
He shall not speak the common tongue again.
Who has know heights shall bear forevermore
An incommunicable thing
That hurts his heart, as if a wing
Beat at the portal, challenging;
And yet - lured by the gleam his vision wore -
Who once has trodden the stars seeks peace no more.
Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.
The soul that knows it not Knows no release from little things:
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear
The sound of wings.
How can life grant us boon of living, compensate
For dull gray ugliness and pregnant hate
Unless we dare The soul's dominion?
Each time we make a choice, we pay
With courage to behold the restless day,
And count it fair.
-- Amelia Earhart
Great excerpts there again Phoenix. It does take nerve in stepping out from the shadows. And, yes, ones world will never be the same. But I could never imagine not doing so.
Sigh. I love that you got it, Luther.
"Unless we dare the soul's dominion?"
...and take the wide view.