Does it matter?

Christos
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Does it matter?

 

It is good to seek understanding of our universe and how it relates to a possible deity. However, does this never-ending discussion about God change the way we should live? I'm not talking about opinions on specific issues such as abortion or the death penalty. Rather, I'm talking about service.  Is it right for me to have so much while others have so little? Is the aesthetic life meaningful or beneficial? Regardless of religious belief, shouldn't we be more focused on helping others instead of debating God? One only needs to look at Africa, Honduras or the homeless shelter in their town to see the struggle with poverty, disease and hunger. Let me be clear that I am not saying that atheists are immoral. That would be an ignorant statement to say that atheists lack ethics. My problem is that I don't see the point in  debating, discussing and evangelizing while so many people suffer.

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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Christos wrote: It is good

Christos wrote:
It is good to seek understanding of our universe and how it relates to a possible deity. However, does this never-ending discussion about God change the way we should live? I'm not talking about opinions on specific issues such as abortion or the death penalty. Rather, I'm talking about service.  Is it right for me to have so much while others have so little? Is the aesthetic life meaningful or beneficial? Regardless of religious belief, shouldn't we be more focused on helping others instead of debating God? One only needs to look at Africa, Honduras or the homeless shelter in their town to see the struggle with poverty, disease and hunger. Let me be clear that I am not saying that atheists are immoral. That would be an ignorant statement to say that atheists lack ethics.

It would also be the most ginormous non-sequitor of all time considering what you wrote before it. 

 

Quote:
My problem is that I struggle with  debating, discussing and evangelizing while so many people suffer.

If this is eating up too much of your time, stop and go feed the homeless. Or go watch TV, or masturbate, whatever. You've got to make time for you and the people you care about, and I can see how 7 whole posts over the last two days could cut into that.

Some of us can find time to talk here, hold down a job AND give some blood and time to charity. It really isn't difficult.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Discussing and increasing

Discussing and increasing the secular / atheist movement does provide a purpose.  It aims to remove religion.

How do you help one poor country, when one country says that they are evil and deserve to die? How do you help in Africa while they follow the pope who tells them to not use condoms that only encourages the STD rates.

I don't think that you can walk into a country and just give them money.  You have to build their education and their infrastructure.  You have to make it possible for them to feed themselves.  But it's difficult to build these things while people are tied up with religious wars, and killing themselves in the name of the pope.


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Actually I'm with Christos

Actually I'm with Christos in this one in that I don't personally find arguments about the existence or non-existence of god interesting.  I know the arguments, i know which one is more persuasive based on the evidence (non-existence) and for me, the outcome of the argument doesn't have any practical consequences.  So it just doesn't engage me as much as other aspects of the larger debate about religion, Christianity, society etc.

 But I do appreciate the existence of people who are interested in these arguments and willing to carry them out endlessly, because I think it's a fundamental part of the discourse.  I don't think they're wasting time, certainly. 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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What makes you think that no

What makes you think that no one here volunteers or donates to charity?  That's rather presumptuous of you.

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Christos
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I never said that no one

I never said that no one here donates to charity. I'm sure that many people do. I just don't necessarily see the point in constantly debating God. Does the outcome alter our responsibility to improve the welfare of those who are less fortunate? Shouldn't we devote our lives to the poor, sick, and un-educated?  Regardless of religious belief, is there any justification for a lifestyle that is even partially aesthetic?

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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Christos wrote: I never

Christos wrote:

I never said that no one here donates to charity. I'm sure that many people do. I just don't necessarily see the point in constantly debating God. Does the outcome alter our responsibility to improve the welfare of those who are less fortunate? Shouldn't we devote our lives to the poor, sick, and un-educated?  Regardless of religious belief, is there any justification for a lifestyle that is even patially aesthetic?

We constantly discuss god here because that's what this forum is for.  I do not go home and try to engage my friends and family in these discussions (well, occasionally).  I go home and take care of the things I need to do.

Yes, I think it is important to help the poor.  I think the best thing we could do to help the sick is allow our scientists to continue on with their researches instead of having a debate about the morality of stem cell research.  That's why I come to this forum.  I would love it if our scientists and doctors could do things to help the sick.  I think education is equally important as well.

At the risk of sounding like a selfish jerk, I also don't think its necessary to devote my life to other people.  I contribute when I can, but I will not compromise myself for the benefit of another. 

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If you want to make a

If you want to make a difference, go join the peace corps. Actions can speak louder than words, hence, "lead by example".


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The hardest thing about

The hardest thing about growing up (for me) is the realization that you are not here for just yourself. Everyone else comes first. The saying that “If dad is not happy- no one is happy!” Really extends a lot farther in my house. I have tried to explain to my children that having a good day is dependant on how the people around you are doing. You do your best to make sure you affect everyone in a good way – That is a good day.

A good day is hard to accomplish. Not really for sure if I ever truly accomplished it. I do know I’m not grownup yet.


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Christos wrote: One only

Christos wrote:
One only needs to look at Africa, Honduras or the homeless shelter in their town to see the struggle with poverty, disease and hunger. Let me be clear that I am not saying that atheists are immoral. That would be an ignorant statement to say that atheists lack ethics. My problem is that I don't see the point in  debating, discussing and evangelizing while so many people suffer.

 

Oh, for the sake of Gold!  Of course there is suffering and poverty.  We should be thankful for it.  Through the poverty of others, we have affordable, confortable lives.  Can you imagine how horridly uncomfortable life would be if everyone had even shares of resources?  You would be forced to make your own food and clothing.  Who is going to work in a sweatshop if they have the means not to? 

Now, if you are going to use service to the poor as a way to assuage your guilt for using the poor for your own creature comforts, then I accept that.  You are doing it because you feel good at the end of the day.  So, yet again, you use the poor and their poverty to your own ends. 

It is a positively delicious issue because of its ancient origin.  You can find Emperor Augustus, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Calvin Coolidge discussing the very same points.  So, an optimal reality is to be able to have a life built on the backs of others and not be forced to witness the unpleasant side of reality; however, if you insist on believing that you owe them service and that makes you feel good, go with it.

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


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Think of it this way: A

Think of it this way:

A good tithing Christian who makes $50,000 a year gives $5,000 to his or her church.

If we can deconvert 20 of these Christians this year, that can free up $100,000 a YEAR that can go to a real charitable cause!  If we do that each year for 10 years, that's $1,000,000 a year! 


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Christos wrote: My

Christos wrote:

My problem is that I don't see the point in debating, discussing and evangelizing while so many people suffer.

That's my biggest problem with the evangelical church. 


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Nero wrote: Oh, for the

Nero wrote:

Oh, for the sake of Gold!  Of course there is suffering and poverty.  We should be thankful for it.  Through the poverty of others, we have affordable, confortable lives. 

Honestly, I hope you are joking with that point. There is no way I can be thankful for poverty.

My point is that we should live to serve others and end poverty, regardless of our religious beliefs. My overall question for the thread is: Is there any legitimate reason to live an aesthetic life?

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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When I jest, it will be

When I jest, it will be clear.


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Christos wrote: Nero

Christos wrote:
Nero wrote:

Oh, for the sake of Gold!  Of course there is suffering and poverty.  We should be thankful for it.  Through the poverty of others, we have affordable, confortable lives. 

Honestly, I hope you are joking with that point. There is no way I can be thankful for poverty.

My point is that we should live to serve others and end poverty, regardless of our religious beliefs. My overall question for the thread is: Is there any legitimate reason to live an aesthetic life?

Live to serve others?  No offense, but I don't plan on being anybody's servant.  I waited table for six years, serving other people sucks.  You're asking us to be willing to sacrifice ourselves and our lives so that there won't be any poor? 

There is poverty, there is sickness and ignorance and ultimately death.  It's a fact, an ugly one, but a fact nonetheless.  Yes, there are things we can do to change this, and there are things being done to combat this.  Suggesting that the only point of my life should be to serve others is ludicrous and insulting.

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Thank you, Jane.  I agree

Thank you, Jane.  I agree most heartily.  As Thoreau said, we must look at life and decide whether it is hard; and, if it is, we must say it is so.

 

Life is hard.  In most respects it is revolting.  We come into the world as a filthy, hungry grubs.  We scrape and fight to position ourselves to get a lion sized portion of the resources.  Then, we die and soil our linens. 

Most people don't want to look at life that closely. It is okay not to, but don't act shocked and scandalized when someone points out that the rose you're sniffing is actually a dog turd.

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


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TO: Any 'professing atheist'

Mod edit -  removed spam


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ajay333 wrote:TO: Any

(edit: no need any longer.)


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ajay333 wrote:

ajay333 wrote:
Mod edit -  removed spam.

Please do not try to derail other threads with this. It's annoying and it's called trolling. Knock it off.

Thanks.

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pariahjane wrote:   There

pariahjane wrote:

 

There is poverty, there is sickness and ignorance and ultimately death.  It's a fact, an ugly one, but a fact nonetheless.  Yes, there are things we can do to change this, and there are things being done to combat this.  Suggesting that the only point of my life should be to serve others is ludicrous and insulting.

 

Serving others is not the only point of life, but is it the most noble? Kierkegaard wrote about the truly ethical life as a higher mode of existence than the aesthetic. If this is true, is there any legitimate justification to live a life that is mainly aesthetic?

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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Nero wrote: no need any

Nero wrote:

no need any longer

 

Don't avoid the question. Is there any justification to live a life that is mainly aesthetic?

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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Christos wrote: pariahjane

Christos wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

There is poverty, there is sickness and ignorance and ultimately death.  It's a fact, an ugly one, but a fact nonetheless.  Yes, there are things we can do to change this, and there are things being done to combat this.  Suggesting that the only point of my life should be to serve others is ludicrous and insulting.

Serving others is not the only point of life, but is it the most noble? Kierkegaard wrote about the truly ethical life as a higher mode of existence than the aesthetic. If this is true, is there any legitimate justification to live a life that is mainly aesthetic?

I don't know much about Kirkegaard but no, I don't think serving others is the most noble thing to do.  I think building a life for yourself, being content/happy and making those around you content/happy is pretty a good deal.  I think always challenging yourself and constantly trying to better yourself is good.  I think not being a leech on society is a good goal.  But I think serving others in the attempt to be noble is not.

Yes, I help people out, before you accuse me of having no altruism.  Again, I don't think sacrificing my own life or happiness in an effort to make someone else's life good is very beneficial to me. 

If god takes life he's an indian giver


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pariahjane

pariahjane wrote:

 

Again, I don't think sacrificing my own life or happiness in an effort to make someone else's life good is very beneficial to me. 

 

You make a good point, however I'm talking about helping people so that they can continue living. That would be sacrificing happiness so others could continue to live. Obviously this means combating hunger, famine and disease. Can we justify not giving our lives to people with extreme need for the sake of our own happiness?

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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There was an article that I

There was an article that I read recently that really struck a chord with me and gave me pause to think about how society really works.

The article was simply about a new game controller being developed that uses small movements of your facial muscles to control the game. The user wears it as a headband and then uses a mouse for aiming.

What struck me was the reason they're deveoping this. This is the same technology that Stephen Hawking uses to control his computer, and in fact he actually helped them to test this device and work out the kinks. The reason that they're making this into a game controller is to drive down the price of this technology so that someone in his position can afford it! Currently the technology costs patients over $2000. This game controller will start out at $300, and of course will go down as it becomes more popular.

So even though this company stands to make a big profit, the bigger picture is that they are promoting a product that will help people who do not have full use of their body but may not be able to afford the things that allow them to interact with the rest of the world. Is that greedy of the company? Is it altruistic to buy the product? Does altruism ONLY come in the form of placing money directly in an individual's hand? Or can we help others by simply living our lives to the best of our ability and helping to drive the innovation that may have uses beyond our own entertainment? After all, the internet also caused a leap in science by connecting scientists with their peers - if we drive the demand for better communication technology, that can only help. P2P technology gave rise to the distributed computing projects for things like protein folding (folding@home) and other persuits that ultimately benefit humanity. ...and on and on and on.

So I have to say that I don't really know what is meant by things like "doing good". We can give our time to charitable causes, but that's not the only way good things are done.  We can benefit the greater good in real ways by just doing the things we normally do.

If you have the urge to do something but feel short on time, try the distributed computing projects. Maybe you can find the cure for some cancer or Alzheimer's while you debate religion or play computer games Eye-wink


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Christos wrote: pariahjane

Christos wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

Again, I don't think sacrificing my own life or happiness in an effort to make someone else's life good is very beneficial to me. 

You make a good point, however I'm talking about helping people so that they can continue living. That would be sacrificing happiness so others could continue to live. Obviously this means combating hunger, famine and disease. Can we justify not giving our lives to people with extreme need for the sake of our own happiness?

I'm not sure I follow.  This is what I think you're saying 'I should sacrifice my happines if it allowed other people to live'.  If that is the case, I still say no.  Look, I'm not trying to come off like a total asshole and I do what I can to help out but if I have to be miserable for the rest of my life so some kid in Ghana can be happy, I wouldn't do it.  If I saw a person caught in a trapped car that was on fire, yes, I would most certainly do what I could to help that person.  However, I would not die to save that person.  My life is more important to me than some strangers.  If it was a loved one, my outlook would be different.  I realize you must think this is terribly selfish but it's the truth.  I imagine more people feel this way than they care to admit.

I give to charities even though I don't have a lot of money, but I give to the ones I feel are important.  I don't donate to religious orgs, for example. 

 Just for the record, this is my personal point of view.  I personally don't think it's a bad or even selfish point of view, but I'm sure others do.  Don't apply my POV to other people on this forum.  I speak only for myself.

If god takes life he's an indian giver


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ABx wrote: So even though

ABx wrote:

So even though this company stands to make a big profit, the bigger picture is that they are promoting a product that will help people who do not have full use of their body but may not be able to afford the things that allow them to interact with the rest of the world. Is that greedy of the company? Is it altruistic to buy the product? Does altruism ONLY come in the form of placing money directly in an individual's hand? Or can we help others by simply living our lives to the best of our ability and helping to drive the innovation that may have uses beyond our own entertainment?

Absolutely.  If we just strive to do good in our lives by being productive then I think it will have a trickle effect on society.  I think people do this sort of thing every day and it's wonderful.

I feel the Christos is more focused on the idea of willingly giving something up to help someone else, though.  If I'm wrong, my apologies. 

If god takes life he's an indian giver


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pariahjane wrote:   Look,

pariahjane wrote:

 

Look, I'm not trying to come off like a total asshole and I do what I can to help out but if I have to be miserable for the rest of my life so some kid in Ghana can be happy, I wouldn't do it. 

 

 

I'm not talking about sacrifice of happiness so a kid in Ghana could be happy. I'm talking about sacrifice so a kid in Ghana can stay alive. Honestly, I think that matters more than anyones happiness. Even if the kid in Ghana is a complete stranger.

However, I will say this. You are right that more people feel like you and are not willing to admit it. At least you aren't afraid to state how you actually feel.

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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Christos wrote: pariahjane

Christos wrote:
pariahjane wrote:

Look, I'm not trying to come off like a total asshole and I do what I can to help out but if I have to be miserable for the rest of my life so some kid in Ghana can be happy, I wouldn't do it. 

 

I'm not talking about sacrifice of happiness so a kid in Ghana could be happy. I'm talking about sacrifice so a kid in Ghana can stay alive. Honestly, I think that matters more than anyones happiness. Even if the kid in Ghana is a complete stranger.

However, I will say this. You are right that more people feel like you and are not willing to admit it. At least you aren't afraid to state how you actually feel.

I'm curious what you think about my position.  If you don't mind.

If god takes life he's an indian giver


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pariahjane wrote: I'm

pariahjane wrote:
I'm curious what you think about my position. If you don't mind.

This is a very difficult question. I definetly understand the desire to live for personal happiness. Personally, I'd much rather live my life to fulfill my own needs. However, in the end I don't know if my life is so important that I can't give all I have to complete strangers who need the help.

Certianly right now I'm not following through on these thoughts. However, I still have a long life to live in service to those with extreme needs.

I'm hesitant to call your position selfish. Like you said, you give money even though you don't have a lot. That is very admirable. I find that almost all of humanity has your similar desire to better themselves and gain happiness in life. Furthermore, some of the best aspects of life have nothing to do with service or giving. I haven't yet decided how this factors into the discussion on service and aesthetics.

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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Tarpan wrote: How do you

Tarpan wrote:

How do you help one poor country, when one country says that they are evil and deserve to die? How do you help in Africa while they follow the pope who tells them to not use condoms that only encourages the STD rates.

Not to get off topic or anything, but do you have any sources for that information?  I'd like to read about it.  I'm interested in the religious practices in Africa... I didn't realize they had that many Catholics. 

Ah, the pitter patter of tiny feet in huge combat boots.


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Wishkah311 wrote: Not to

Wishkah311 wrote:

Not to get off topic or anything, but do you have any sources for that information? I'd like to read about it. I'm interested in the religious practices in Africa... I didn't realize they had that many Catholics.

This is a couple years old.  And is purely focused on Catholics.

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/164/story_16421_1.html

Here's some other stats:

http://www.nationmaster.com/red/country/sf-south-africa/rel-religion&all=1 


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Jane, you should have zero

Jane, you should have zero fear that looking after your own happiness makes you look bad.  If people were honest, they would admit that they prefer that their happiness come first as well.  I am sure that Ghanaen children would love to live, but they have pulled an unfortunate card on the poker table that is the world.  Why should we feel bad because their parents chose to procreate and bring them into that situation?

I will not pay for their survival but will happily trade their government ways to sterilize their population in exchange for their natural resources.  That is the way the world actually goes round.  I prefer to swallow that bitter pill with the champagne of pleasure than the seawater of righteousness.

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


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Christos wrote: However,

Christos wrote:

However, in the end I don't know if my life is so important that I can't give all I have to complete strangers who need the help.

But who is to say that those lives are more important than your own? Do you feel as if you're insignificant in some way? Why would you feel that perhaps there is someone else out there who is more worthy of your life?

I can only measure the importance of my life and the lives of those whom I know.

Christos wrote:

I'm hesitant to call your position selfish.

You're more than entitled to your opinion and I'm sure there are many out there who would say that my position is criminally selfish. I say it is self-preservation. I want to live. I love this life that I have. It would have to be for a very good cause or for a very special person that I would be willing to risk losing my life.

Christos wrote:

Like you said, you give money even though you don't have a lot. That is very admirable.

I only give to causes that I feel are necessary or worthy. Last year I gave money to the AIDS foundation in NYC that helps single parent families affected by AIDS. I've given to homeless shelters. But the thing is, it's not a sacrifice, nor is it particularly admirable. I like doing it. It makes me feel good. I've helped a cause I think is important.

Altruism does not have to be sacrifice. It should be what people do for one another because they want to do it. It's only when people begin placing a value (i.e. a life for a life) does altruism become something different.

 

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Wishkah311 wrote: Not to

Wishkah311 wrote:

Not to get off topic or anything, but do you have any sources for that information? I'd like to read about it. I'm interested in the religious practices in Africa... I didn't realize they had that many Catholics.

Its not just Catholics.  Remember a few years ago when Bush was cutting funding to services in Africa that provided abortions?  Often times places that provide abortions are also doing the sex ed & condom distribution.   His policies were focused on abstinance.

Evangelical Christianity is also spreading rapidly in Africa, and they also focus on abstinance, often times to the detriment of sex ed.


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Christos wrote: Nero

Christos wrote:
Nero wrote:

no need any longer

 

Don't avoid the question. Is there any justification to live a life that is mainly aesthetic?

 

I think Tarpan and Andy have given quite satisfactory answers to this, don't you? There are not many here that consider this to be a primarily aesthetic cause and I agree, the ideal charitable interest is to get many (if not all) on board if you can, and the RRS is a quite real medium for that, doing your little bit happens off-page and can only be cursorily addressed in this context.  Still its good that you bring it up anyway, it serves as a reminder for everyone. 

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Nero wrote: Jane, you

Nero wrote:

Jane, you should have zero fear that looking after your own happiness makes you look bad. If people were honest, they would admit that they prefer that their happiness come first as well. I am sure that Ghanaen children would love to live, but they have pulled an unfortunate card on the poker table that is the world. Why should we feel bad because their parents chose to procreate and bring them into that situation?

I will not pay for their survival but will happily trade their government ways to sterilize their population in exchange for their natural resources. That is the way the world actually goes round. I prefer to swallow that bitter pill with the champagne of pleasure than the seawater of righteousness.

Nero, I love the poker analogy.  And, of course, I agree with you whole heartedly.   

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Nero wrote: Jane, you

Nero wrote:

Jane, you should have zero fear that looking after your own happiness makes you look bad.  If people were honest, they would admit that they prefer that their happiness come first as well.  I am sure that Ghanaen children would love to live, but they have pulled an unfortunate card on the poker table that is the world.  Why should we feel bad because their parents chose to procreate and bring them into that situation?

I will not pay for their survival but will happily trade their government ways to sterilize their population in exchange for their natural resources.  That is the way the world actually goes round.  I prefer to swallow that bitter pill with the champagne of pleasu  re than the seawater of righteousness.

 

I'm sorry Nero, but your position is very selfish. If you were an orphan in Africa, wouldn't you want someone to hp you? Isn't life about using our fortunate state to aid those in need? Is personal pleasure so important that others should suffering and die for it? I do not see that as a true justification for an aesthetic life.

Jane, I'm not saying that I am less significant, I'm saying that all people are equal. Part of emphasizing that equality is stating that my social class shouldn't change my responsibility to give and serve extensively to those with serious needs.

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

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Nero wrote:  I am sure

Nero wrote:

 I am sure that Ghanaen children would love to live, but they have pulled an unfortunate card on the poker table that is the world. Why should we feel bad because their parents chose to procreate and bring them into that situation?

 My sense of empathy causes me to have a different attitude than you have.  I understand that I have flopped 4 Aces in this poker table of life.  I understand that there is nothing I can do to change the situation that the countless suffering people are in.  But I do think that we, as a species, will benifit long term by showing compassion, expanding education, and doing what we can to ease suffering.  

 We are all benifiting from the work of complete strangers who had the forsight to build systems of infrastructure.  I see nothing wrong with extending this work to other suffering areas of the world as technology and economics allow.


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I don't think what Nero was

I don't think what Nero was saying was selfish.  (You were being sarcastic about the sterilizing part, right?) Not everyone has it easy.  Some people have it really bad, some people have it very good and the rest of us end up somewhere in the middle.

Why would you feel responsibility because of your social class?  Granted, I happen to get to see on a regular basis the disgustingly rich and spoiled, and yes, they are disgusting (sweeping generalizations and stereotypes!)  These are people who would push an old lady down the subway stairs if they actually took the subway instead of a town car. 

Eh, got sidetracked.  I've worked very very hard to get where I am.  I don't see why my success should also be my punishment.  I didn't try to put myself through school and work 2 jobs for someone else. I did it for me.  Why should I turn around and just 'give' beyond my limits?  I don't see the logic in working hard and struggling and then turning around and giving it all to someone who's had a shittier time than me.  You're talking about sacrifice, and that's what a sacrifice is.  

As far as I'm concerned, if you are from a higher class you're responsibility to society is to be a decent, educated, contributing member to society and to not be a total arrogant twatwaffle.   

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Christos wrote:

Christos wrote:

 

It is good to seek understanding of our universe and how it relates to a possible deity. However, does this never-ending discussion about God change the way we should live? I'm not talking about opinions on specific issues such as abortion or the death penalty. Rather, I'm talking about service. Is it right for me to have so much while others have so little? Is the aesthetic life meaningful or beneficial? Regardless of religious belief, shouldn't we be more focused on helping others instead of debating God? One only needs to look at Africa, Honduras or the homeless shelter in their town to see the struggle with poverty, disease and hunger. Let me be clear that I am not saying that atheists are immoral. That would be an ignorant statement to say that atheists lack ethics. My problem is that I don't see the point in debating, discussing and evangelizing while so many people suffer.

Do you ask this question of everyone that happens to be undertaking an activity not directly related to helping end poverty and hunger, or just those debating religion? Do you go to sporting events and movie theatres and lay this same trip on people? Just curious.

For what it's worth, I agree in spirit. I think it's an unacceptable situation when between two thousand and three thousand people die horribly from severe malnutrition and starvation every single day. I'm just wondering why this forum is being singled out.


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Christos wrote: I'm sorry

Christos wrote:

I'm sorry Nero, but your position is very selfish. If you were an orphan in Africa, wouldn't you want someone to hp you? Isn't life about using our fortunate state to aid those in need? Is personal pleasure so important that others should suffering and die for it? I do not see that as a true justification for an aesthetic life.

You never defined what a "true justification" is.  I refuse to play the thought experiment about being a child in Ghana.  I can't imagine that kind of interaction with flies and hold the contents of my stomach as well. 

Here's all the justification that I need: I am able to do it, owe them nothing, and understand how a global economy works.  QED.

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Christos wrote: Isn't life

Christos wrote:
Isn't life about using our fortunate state to aid those in need?

Do you base this on anything other than an appeal to emotion?  

I'm not an Ayn Rand devotee, but I think she explains it well in Atlas Shrugged:  The policy writ large "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" doesn't work.

 

 

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zarathustra

zarathustra wrote:

Christos wrote:
Isn't life about using our fortunate state to aid those in need?

Do you base this on anything other than an appeal to emotion?  

I'm not an Ayn Rand devotee, but I think she explains it well in Atlas Shrugged:  The policy writ large "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" doesn't work.

 

 

The Existentialists would posit that life has no meaning and is absurd as a result.  There is pain associated with this realization, known as "existential angst."  As Sartre discusses in Being and Nothingness, humans find many was to avoid the revelation that there is no point to what we do.  Some merely revel in the fact that absurdity dictates all.  Others try to build a false meaning in acting for others, but it does not matter because their lives are absurd constructs as well.

So, why don't existentialists bother with feeding the homeless?  Nothing matters.  What don't they build great works of art?  Nothing matters.  Why do they take what pleasure is available in while this absurd life goes on?  Nothing matters.

Some people would kill themselves over this.  Albert Camus did.  I like corporeal pleasure; thus, I hang out in absurdity to enjoy all that makes no difference.

I know you are going to hate being told your life has no meaning and that you will want to argue helping people gives it meaning.  Just understand that you are building an illusion.  The sooner you realize that the faster you can understand the angst and reply in an appropriately wild way (ie. a Saturnalia for your closest friends.)

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


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Nero wrote: So, why don't

Nero wrote:

So, why don't existentialists bother with feeding the homeless?  Nothing matters.  What don't they build great works of art?  Nothing matters.  Why do they take what pleasure is available in while this absurd life goes on?  Nothing matters.

Blech.  lol.  I'll be the first one to admit that I don't understand a lot of philosophy but I'm working on it.  But I hate this part of it. 

Who cares if nothing matters?  Though I think I disagree, but like I said, I'm don't have knowledge to back up my argument.  I think life has a meaning, its just that our lives, and our meaning, are very fleeting. 

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Quote: Can we justify

Quote:
Can we justify not giving our lives to people with extreme need for the sake of our own happiness?

Of course we can. And yes, it means that we are selfish, and no, we don't care. Selfishness is what has allowed us to survive to dominate this planet. Everything I will ever do adheres to some hedonistic ideal. If you examined yourself, you would probably find that the same thing applies to you as well. Deal with it.


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pariahjane wrote: Nero

pariahjane wrote:
Nero wrote:

So, why don't existentialists bother with feeding the homeless?  Nothing matters.  What don't they build great works of art?  Nothing matters.  Why do they take what pleasure is available in while this absurd life goes on?  Nothing matters.

Blech.  lol.  I'll be the first one to admit that I don't understand a lot of philosophy but I'm working on it.  But I hate this part of it. 

Who cares if nothing matters?  Though I think I disagree, but like I said, I'm don't have knowledge to back up my argument.  I think life has a meaning, its just that our lives, and our meaning, are very fleeting. 

 

I didn't say it would be pretty, Jane.  I find the issue of the existence of God and the existence of a meaning of life to be two sides of the same coin.  There is no god.  No one can prove his existence.  Likewise, there is no meaning.  Where would such meaning come from?

If you would like to argue that meaning can be constructed by our interactions with other people (see David Hume), that is fine.  However, you must first accept that no a priori meaning of life exists.  Who would dictate such a meaning?  Is there a different meaning for every person?  If there is a multitude of them, is it no a construct like god?

Absurdity sets us completely free.  You must choose each moment what you are and what you do.  Philosophically, there is nothing to stop your complete freedom of action either. (I am aware that the construct called society would stop you.  It would argue it has the right to for the "greater good,' which is another construct.)

Embrace your freedom of thought, action, and emotion.  There is no guilt here.  The only issue to contend with is the fact that absurdity means you have no real purpose.  Accept that, and you will find yourself giddily happy.

By the way, part of this freedom allows me to completely ignore the problems of starving Ghana babies.  In fact, this freedom allows me to take pleasure in their difficulties while i dig in to a four course meal.  (I understand that society frowns on this, but society hates the freedom of the individual.)

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer


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LosingStreak06

LosingStreak06 wrote:

Quote:
Can we justify not giving our lives to people with extreme need for the sake of our own happiness?

Of course we can. And yes, it means that we are selfish, and no, we don't care. Selfishness is what has allowed us to survive to dominate this planet. Everything I will ever do adheres to some hedonistic ideal. If you examined yourself, you would probably find that the same thing applies to you as well. Deal with it.

 

Bravo.

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I think I'm confused.  Why

I think I'm confused.  Why does meaning have to come from god.  Or why must there be an a priori meaning?  Don't we develop our own meanings?  What means something to me doesn't mean something to someone else and once I'm gone, so is that meaning but it was there while I was.  If that makes any sense.

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Nero wrote: By the way,

Nero wrote:

By the way, part of this freedom allows me to completely ignore the problems of starving Ghana babies.  In fact, this freedom allows me to take pleasure in their difficulties while i dig in to a four course meal.  (I understand that society frowns on this, but society hates the freedom of the individual.)

Heres the problem with your thought process: it completely lacks morality. Gaining comforts and luxuries while children starve is morally indefensible. If you want an atheist who supports that point, look at the philospher Peter Singer.

Furthermore, why does there need to be a god to derive purpose to life? Shouldn't we help others for the sake of humanity, not becasue an all-powerful deity tells us to? Don't we have a responsibility to save the lives of the suffering? Nero, if you were a starving child, wouldn't you want someone to help you? If the answer is yes, how can you possibly justify not taking that action with your current staus? 

Although selfishness is common, that does not make it moral or defensible. If we as a society refuse to give extensively for the sake of our own comfort, that shows a serious lack of ethics. Society cannot sustain itself if people enjoy pleasureful lives in the midst of suffering and poverty.

Btw- I do not go to sporting events and lay this speech on people. There are a lot of intellignet people on this forum, and I wanted to bring the issue up.

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


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Christos wrote: Heres the

Christos wrote:

Heres the problem with your thought process: it completely lacks morality. Gaining comforts and luxuries while children starve is morally indefensible. If you want an atheist who supports that point, look at the philospher Peter Singer.

While Nero's position isn't exactly, imo, pretty I still hestiate to call it immoral. 

Again, if I'm working for my worldly goods and I'm creating the effort then I see no reason why I should be expected to hand them over to a person who has not worked for them.  However, expected is the operative word here.  Would I help someone? It would depend on the circumstances, but yes.  Do I think I have a responsiblity to?  No.

Christos wrote:
 

 Don't we have a responsibility to save the lives of the suffering?  

Yes and no.  It would behoove us to try and help people in order to keep the species going.  However, personal survival will still be the greatest pull. 

Christos wrote:
 

Although selfishness is common, that does not make it moral or defensible. If we as a society refuse to give extensively for the sake of our own comfort, that shows a serious lack of ethics. Society cannot sustain itself if people enjoy pleasureful lives in the midst of suffering and poverty.

I think selfishness can be completely moral and defensible.  Society can most certainly sustain itself regardless of whether people are suffering or not.

There have always been those who suffer and those who have not.  There will always be those who suffer and those who have not.  It might not seem fair, but that's just too bad.

Why do you feel that sacrificing your pleasure is so important?  I'm not quite sure why there must be a sacrifice involved.

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LosingStreak06

LosingStreak06 wrote:

Quote:
Can we justify not giving our lives to people with extreme need for the sake of our own happiness?

Of course we can. And yes, it means that we are selfish, and no, we don't care. Selfishness is what has allowed us to survive to dominate this planet. Everything I will ever do adheres to some hedonistic ideal. If you examined yourself, you would probably find that the same thing applies to you as well. Deal with it.

 

Now that we, "dominate the planet," shouldn't we now do more to end poverty? In todays age, if more people gave money and time, it is a real possibility to end world hunger. Isn't it time that we turn away from primitive selfishness and towards compassion for all humans?

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)