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Old 2010-01-26, 11:18   #34
xilman
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Originally Posted by Joshua2 View Post
And I hope that it is obvious that killing a newborn baby is wrong, although without using our christian heritage there is no reason to say its wrong.
It is far from obvious. Indeed, it is just plain not true. There are many reasons which have been put forward which have nothing to do with Christianity.

Just one example: Buddhism says that killing a newborn baby is wrong.


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Old 2010-01-26, 13:12   #35
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Originally Posted by Joshua2 View Post
Other cultures kill newborn babies to appease the spirits if the teeth come out in the wrong order for example.
If you don't have a link to show that then it is not true.

No religion has the moral high ground. Christianity is no different from any other religion. It has both good and bad aspects to it just like all the others.
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Old 2010-01-26, 15:20   #36
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Joshua has a very interesting post here. Hmmm. Although I take issue with almost every small grouping of words within it (assumptions and semantics), in general spirit it deeply aligns with much that I hold to be important.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2010-01-26 at 15:28 Reason: overpraised perhaps but simplicity has charm. I ignore "without using our christian heritage there is no reason..."
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Old 2010-01-26, 16:20   #37
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Originally Posted by jasong View Post
On another note, there are plenty of ways that Christianity has influenced Americans and their politics. Americans ideas of human kindness are very much influenced by Christian idealism. Even if you go to another country, I doubt you'll find a whole heck of a lot of free clinics based on Buddhism or Islam. Mercy is a very Christian concept, one could say that Christianity is grounded in mercy.
I don't think I can convey to you how offensive and condescending I find this paragraph, because we obviously come from completely different philosophical backgrounds. If you want to know why I and others find some Christians smug, you need only re-read what you have just written.

I have no use for Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, or any other religion, but I believe in mercy, I have morals, and I believe that murder is wrong. I don't take what's not mine, and I try to hold myself to the standards I would hold other people. I'm probably less moral than some Christians, and more moral than some other Christians. I also believe that many Buddhists, Muslims, and other religious people can be highly moral in their conduct, or not, depending on the individual.

I am discouraged to hear people talk the way you do in this day and age.
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Old 2010-01-26, 16:24   #38
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I'm waiting for Ernst to change the thread name to say "mortality" instead of "morality"...
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Old 2010-01-26, 17:24   #39
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Originally Posted by retina View Post
If you don't have a link to show that then it is not true.
I'm sorry I don't have a link, but I heard it last weekend first hand from a missionary to Africa who had seen it first hand. If you look at infanticide on wikipedia under Africa you will see something similar. "Africa some children were killed because of fear that they were an evil omen or because they were considered unlucky."
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Old 2010-01-26, 17:29   #40
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Originally Posted by FactorEyes View Post
I don't think I can convey to you how offensive and condescending I find this paragraph, because we obviously come from completely different philosophical backgrounds. If you want to know why I and others find some Christians smug, you need only re-read what you have just written.
I agree it is not good to be snug, and he might have phrased it better, but there is some truth to that point. At the very core of its beliefs Christianity is a faith of mercy, because God had mercy on sinners enough to die himself on a cross so that anyone could be restored from sin and have a relationship with him again. Contrast to the say evolutionary ideas of survival of the fittest, there is no reason to show mercy, but kill the weak or handicapped, or unwanted babies. In fact if the evolutionary mindset is true then that is the best thing to do because it will help the gene pool and no one will have to spend money and time to take care of them and more useful things can be done. Buddhists do not believe in God in the way that the western mind normally thinks of God. There is no supreme being, or someone to have a relationship with or worship. I just realized I have to go I will have to revise this and finish it later, sorry the arguments are in a bad state at the present.
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Old 2010-01-26, 17:37   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua2 View Post
Contrast to the say evolutionary ideas of survival of the fittest, there is no reason to show mercy, but kill the weak or handicapped, or unwanted babies. In fact if the evolutionary mindset is true then that is the best thing to do because it will help the gene pool and no one will have to spend money and time to take care of them and more useful things can be done.
Evolution is not a belief system, it is a fact of life. We are evolving as a species every day whether we like it or not. Are we evolving OPTIMALLY according to some definition of optimal? That is where all the emotional baggage gets attached to evolution, when people start talking about killing babies, etc.
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Old 2010-01-26, 18:48   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua2 View Post
Contrast to the say evolutionary ideas of survival of the fittest, there is no reason to show mercy, but kill the weak or handicapped, or unwanted babies. In fact if the evolutionary mindset is true then that is the best thing to do because it will help the gene pool and no one will have to spend money and time to take care of them and more useful things can be done.
Now you're doing it: a lack of religious belief does not imply a belief in evolution as some sort of moral code. Evolution is a theory of gene/trait propagation and speciation, and nothing more. It's not an either/or between the two: they answer different questions. Libraries in heavily Christian colleges have books on evolution. There are probably atheists who disbelieve evolution, just as there are many Christians who believe in evolution.

Why use the construction "contrast to"? I don't believe that religion and the theory of evolution address the same questions: they're orthogonal axes that talk about different things.

Perhaps saving the weak or useless is an adaptive trait that. The point is that evolution doesn't care: it has nothing to say on the issue, because evolution is not a moral code. Maybe our species will die out because we protect the weak, or maybe not, but we make all sorts of moral choices that hurt or help the viability of our species without caring. I'm plenty atheist, and I think it's great that we take care of the weak. Given that even wild animal populations are known to do so, it's far from clear whether evolution has anything to say about this, anyway.

But that leads to my fundamental question: Why is a lack of Christian faith so closely identified in many minds with killing babies? Is the result of pro-Christian propaganda? It's just weird: atheism <-> evolution <-> killing babies.

Do you understand why atheists might find this sort of talk offensive?

I might be pardoned for feeling that Christians are brainwashed, because killing babies comes up often - a scenario for every occasion, it seems - but past Christians had no problem with abortion, seeing as it was legal and a service provided by midwives through the end of the 19th century.
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Old 2010-01-26, 19:37   #43
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Originally Posted by FactorEyes View Post
Why use the construction "contrast to"? I don't believe that religion and the theory of evolution address the same questions: they're orthogonal axes that talk about different things.
They do talk about very different things, on the surface anyway. But they both address the big questions of life, "How did we get here?", "Why are we here?", and "Where are we going?".
Evolution (in general) says, "The Big Bang and evolution.", "No particular reason, we just are, due to evolution.", and "Nowhere. Life ends when your biological functions cease and that's that."
Religion (very generally) says, "We were created by god(s).", "To serve (the) god(s).", and "To an after life based on how you lived."
Would you disagree?
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Old 2010-01-26, 20:10   #44
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Originally Posted by Mini-Geek View Post
They do talk about very different things, on the surface anyway. But they both address the big questions of life, "How did we get here?", "Why are we here?", and "Where are we going?".
Evolution (in general) says, "The Big Bang and evolution.", "No particular reason, we just are, due to evolution.", and "Nowhere. Life ends when your biological functions cease and that's that."
Religion (very generally) says, "We were created by god(s).", "To serve (the) god(s).", and "To an after life based on how you lived."
Would you disagree?

I do, and this gets at why evolution and religion are not incompatible. Evolution, as I said before, is a fact of life. It is a process, nothing more. It directly follows from the fact that our genetic information is imperfectly inherited from previous generations. Evolution does not talk about anything. It is what it is and we just have to deal.

Religion fits in because it can help cope with the implications of this process. Gods/Moral codes/Religions are one way of providing meaning to peoples lives and/or a sense of purpose that evolution does not in any way attempt to provide. If you think that it does, then IMO you are trying to make evolution something it is not.

Last fiddled with by bsquared on 2010-01-26 at 20:19
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