Re: virus: Why religious?
Wed, 6 Nov 1996 22:26:45 -0600 (CST)

On Mon, 4 Nov 1996 wrote:

> Marc Miller wrote:
> > In a message dated 96-11-02 11:14:16 EST, you write:
> >
> > > > > > > >On the other hand, religions often restrict people in their
> > actions, thus
> > > > > > > >curtailing their enjoyment of life. I am an athiest because I
> > believe in
> > > > > > > >maximum freedom for everyone - religion goes against this belief,
> > and so
> > > > > > > >I must oppose it!
> >
> > Religions do two different things: talk about God and provide a moral code.
> > You (as an atheist) are talking about moral code here, rather than God. And
> > your moral code is "maximum freedom" for everone. Isn't that Free Will, the
> > basic tenet of Christianity?
> >
> > Thus, your belief meme is a variant of one of Christianity's memes (or vice
> > versa).
> >
> > Marc Miller
> >
> I'm afraid that my main point of the argument is that Christianity (but not just
> Christianity, I'm purely carrying on your example) does not advocate total
> free will.
> Kenneth Boyd added:
> > WHICH Christianity's memes???
> >
> > Certainly not the Calvinist branches of Protestantism. Many other branches
> > gasp in horror at this one precisely *because* the Calvinist branches
> > insist on the total *absence* of free will with respect to "salvation".
> >
> > //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
> > / Towards the conversion of data into information....
> > /
> > / Kenneth Boyd
> > //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
> Thanks Ken for putting that in the my abscence over the weekend.
> Let me cite an example to support what I have said. Some of you might have
> heard of two famous cities: Sodom, and Gommorah (sp?). Both of these
> cities were supposedly destroyed by the wrath of God, because they refused
> to follow his moral code. Now in my books, morality is something that an
> individual can do what he likes with, because then maximum freedom for the
> maximum number can be attained. Wiping the people out who make a stand for
> their freedom is slightly reminiscent of various Fascist and Communist
> dictatorships which litter this world's history.

I wouldn't call what Sodom and Gomorrah were doing "maximizing freedom".
For mythological/mythohistorical purposes, keep in mind that Abraham
"plea-bargained" God down to "ten righteous men is sufficient to spare
these cities." And the definition of "righteous" must be pretty weak
here, since Lot was "righteous" according to whoever wrote Peter I or II [Lot
was willing to offer his daughter for (?)rape(?) to keep the crowd at
his door off his guests....] I will not speculate on how forceful the
attempt by the crowd to enter against Lot's will was. It DIDN'T stop
after the crowd was blinded.

The following 3 paragraphs are invoking the Old Testament Law. There are
MAJOR technicalities which I would rather discuss after the 3 paragraphs.

> Another example, which I have posted before is that the Bible also advocates
> the putting to death of Homosexuals. Personally, I'm not gay, but a couple of
> my friends are, and strangely, they're not Christians. I know that the
> modern Christian faith would not support such actions now, but the fact
> remains that it was still stated in the Bible as the "word of God"!
> How about this one: Despite the fact that I don't agree with most religions,
> I will not prevent anyone believing something, because it is their own
> free will to believe what they want. Therefore, I would say that preventing
> someone from believing in something is a curtailment of their freedom!
> So perhaps saying that any man who has a genital disfigurement may not
> join the followers of Christianity is pretty unfree as far as I can see.
> That's in the Bible too by the way, and admittedly probably not practiced
> today - the point is though, it's still there.
> Here's a good one: Did you know that if a woman who is having her period
> sits on any of your furniture, then you have to take it out and burn it?
> That, I believe, is in Leviticus somewhere, it might be chapter 13, but
> I can't remember.

Chapter 15 is even more fun: if the act of sex you just had COULD result
in children, the participants are automatically unclean!


Another way of thinking about Old and New Testaments is Old and New
*Covenants*. While the New Testament imports many definitions from the
Old Testament, it cannot be presumed that the actual rules are copied

[Flopping into Emotionally Fry UltraConservative Christian Mode]
For instance, Mark 7:15 explicitly contradicts all of the rules about
clean/unclean foods. [Whether such things exist is fairly basic!] This
is augmented somewhere in Acts, and Galatians.

Another major kicker: Barring details about punctuation and 1980+
translations that don't follow the known Greek, it is demonstratable from
the attributed-to-Paul NT [I Cor 6:12, 10:23; Romans 14:somewhere after 14]
that no physical object has the primitive trait 'sinful'. This
contradicts oh-how-many OT references?

In general, it is pointless to claim that Christianity directly imports
every single civil and/or religious law documented in the Pentateuch.
The continual attempts to do so is censured by the major branches of the
Church, and is one of the main reasons for the existence of Galatians.

I *do* understand Drakir's point about freedom, at least on short-term
scales. He isn't going far enough!

In general, the moral code specified in the OT is not meant to be
possible to keep. At least, if you controlled your actions, the only
thing that could trip you up is Commandment 10. Which no one is going to
enforce very hard if it never shows in your actions. Note that 'unclean'
is a weaker term than 'sin' [otherwise, you wouldn't have children
without requiring major atonement.]

The moral code specified in the NT is even harder to keep. Now, doing
the 'right' action can be 'sin' if done for a corrupt reason--and
subconscious corruption doesn't get you off the hook! The 'wrong'
action? If it's that blatant, even committing to it required corrupt

[End Emotionally Fry UltraConservative Christian Mode]

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd