Friday, 28 December 2012

Can we wholly condemn Man?


                                  Can we wholly condemn Man?
                                  Take a look at his History and Character.
                                  Yes, we can.

24 comments:

  1. Direct and to the point.

    History books are worse than horror fiction.

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    1. true; the news are terrifying - the horrormovies not at all

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    2. In horror movies death is usually quick, in real life the suffering is lifelong.

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    3. Is that because history books are meant to be more true than horror fiction? Or history books are more true when they are horrible? I must admit to one memorable christmas where my respite from the season of good will was reading the collected works of Primo Levi who was a man with every reason to avoid the truth, but who wrote the truth as neutrally as he knew how to. In his neutrality lay his truth.

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  2. Karl as an Irishman could have as well quoted this infamous line from Ulysses:
    "History is a nightmare from which i am trying to awake"

    But after all it lacks the consequent antinatalistic element, I guess.

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    1. Sadly, Martin, Joyce was a life-lover. Once when he was dining with a friend, the daughter of the latter came along and anounced she was pregnant and was going to have an abortion. Her father and Joyce spent the next several hours talking her out of it, going on about the 'sanctity' of life etc.

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  3. Karl, this is off post topic, but here's a couple of more Beckett short ones.

    Birth was the death of him.

    God is good. Yes or no. No.

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    Replies
    1. Yup, Beckett was the man, alright. Always eminently quotable.

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  4. Great bit :)
    I was about to ask you "why so optimistic" because I was thinking you would relieve man somewhat of guilt. Thankfully, I was wrong :)

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    1. Not even OJ's lawyers could get Homo Rapiens off the hook:-)

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  5. This is line from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. Commander Adama is speaking at the decommissioning of "his" "battlestar" just before the genocidal attack on humanity by the Cylons (artificial humans and/or robots)

    [his decommissioning speech]
    Adama: The Cylon War is long over, yet we must not forget the reasons why so many sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom. The cost of wearing the uniform can be high, but...
    [very long pause]
    Adama: sometimes it's too high. You know, when we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question "Why?" Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed and spite, jealousy, and we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we've done, like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. And when that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn't our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you've created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can't hide from the things that you've done anymore.


    This is true even in mundane day-to-day human interactions.

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    Replies
    1. Superb quotation, Filrabat. It's amazing how people will discuss ethical issues such as the creation of Artificial Life, genetically modified humans etc and yet never question the basic act of procreation itself. Classic avoidance.

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    2. Brilliant posts, filrabat and karl. Our collective history as human beings has been so bloody, so violent and painful and sad...I can't help but wish the first humans had never existed.

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  6. Equal Opportunity Troll31 December 2012 at 01:24

    Can we wholly condemn Woman?
    Take a look at her Credit Card Account History, and Character.
    For sho', man.

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  7. Hi Karl,

    I came across this blog because of your post on "happy atheists". When I was an agnostic I did not relate much to most atheists due to the smugness you have observed. I am a Christian now and I just wanted to comment on this post in particular, that you and the bible are in complete agreement as to whether we can wholly condemn mankind. This is Gods overall assessment of mans great accomplishments:

    Isaiah 40:17

    Before him all the nations are as nothing;

    they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.

    This is what King Solomon observed:

    Ecclesiastes 9:3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead

    You are the bible are in complete agreement as to the state of mankind:

    Psalm 53:3

    Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.

    You fundamentally agree with the bible on the contents of mans heart:

    Jeremiah 17:9

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

    The bible says the reason for all of this corruption is sin. It says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. This is why Jesus Christ humbled Himself to live as a man and die on the cross for our sins. He took the punishment we deserve so that we could be forgiven, regenerated, and receive eternal life.

    You said the goal of religion was to save mankind, and then you asked whether mankind is worth saving. The answer is no! We are not worth saving. That is the point, because what Jesus did was an act of mercy and grace and love for a planet full of wicked sinners who deserve death. We don't deserve a single thing except death and hell, but Jesus gave us what we don't deserve, which is the way to receive forgiveness for sins and eternal life.

    God will replace our fallen nature with His nature, and work the character of His Son into our character. To be in Christlikeness. Jesus doesn't want to give you a religion, but a personal relationship with Him, that is experiential. He asks that you repent from your sins and live for Him instead for your self. That is the ultimate cure for the selfishness you have spoke of. Through Him you will have meaning, and purpose, and value, and above all, hope.

    I know you can't believe it because you don't have any faith. God says draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Faith is a gift from God and He will give it to you if you're an honest skeptic. Just say these simple words to God:

    God, I don't know if you're there or not, or if the bible is your word or not, or if Jesus is your son or not, but I promise to follow the truth where ever it may lead, if you will show me what it is. If you do I promise to live for you.

    After say that, read the gospel of John and ask God to help you understand what you're reading. Don't read it quickly..but read it line by line and ask for understanding. If you do that I guarantee you that by the end of the book your skepticism will fly away and you will come to know the living God. God bless.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, washed. Appreciated. I'm glad you've found your own way to cope with life. The Bible is indeed a store house of pessimism and condemnation of humanity. hopefully, it might encourage people to be kinder to each other if read in the right way.

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    2. No problem. I would like to elaborate on something you said here, which is that I chose Christianity to cope with life; nothing could be further from the truth. Christianity is actually the last thing I would have ever chosen. I became a Christian not because it helped me cope but because of undeniable evidence.

      As an agnostic, I was willing to die a meaningless death. It didn't particularly bother me either; I was fairly pragmatic about it. I didn't like the idea of dying, particularly, but I wasn't searching for something to console me about it either. It was just the way things were and I accepted it. I accepted that life was essentially meaningless.

      I only changed my mind after experiencing the spiritual reality and being led to become a Christian by God. What many atheists do not realize is that God works by personal revelation. He does not put a sign in the sky saying "Here I am, worship me!" because He wants to give everyone a reasonable choice. Therefore He works in less obvious ways that you are not aware of. There is no way you could know anything about God unless He revealed Himself to you.

      The bible is only about one thing: Jesus. What Jesus says is that we've all got a sin problem, and this is the reason the world is utterly corrupt, and that He is the only solution to this problem. He has solved the three biggest problems we all have: sin, sorrow and death.

      Jesus doesn't give us the option to write Him off as a great teacher of wisdom..He said He is the Savior of the world, and God incarnate. If that isn't true the bible is worthless.

      What the bible tells us is how to know Jesus and be saved, a living God who is available to you right now. Not to make you feel good but because without Jesus, the hell of this world will seem like disneyland compared to what is coming. He is knocking on your door..will you answer it?

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    3. Thanks, washed. If I hear the call, I'll follow it, but I don't. In the meantime, Jesus or no Jesus, the suffering world rolls on....

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    4. Hey Karl,

      Let me suggest this to you..you have perceived that the world is not the way it ought to be. This means that there is a way it ought to be, a standard for what is right. There is something in you which tells you this is wrong, and that there is a better way. That something is your conscience and it testifies that as the scripture declares, God writes His laws on our hearts. Thus your standards are derived from His standards and you are argeeing with God when you declare the entire human race to be corrupt.

      2 Timothy 3:3

      For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

      Don't you find it strange that you're in complete agreement with God on the state of the human race?

      You're looking for the way in philosophy, but the problem is that you're no different from anyone else. You can't fix corruption with corruption. It's like trying to glue a shattered mirror back together..it will never reflect anything purely.

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    5. Thanks, washed. I agree that an issue ANs or pessimists generally need to face more is that they must, as you point out, have some standards of goodness or right that leads them to strongly condemn life. The question is: what is it and where does it come from?

      For you, it's God's law as found in the Bible, but the Bible says a lot of contradictory things, and if you're not a believer you're left wondering what, if anything, can be done.

      As for God generally, the strongest argument against his existence is the age-old problem of evil and suffering. Why create anything at all in the first place? Why is Being an improvement on Nothingness? What could possibly justify the suffering of innocents? The old questions with no really acceptable answers, alas!

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    6. Hey Karl,

      Yes, it is a good question to ponder where the standard of good comes from. I think there are two important things

      to consider. First, that this standard is nigh universal in every culture. Don't kill, don't steal, don't cheat,

      don't rape, etc. There are some deviations of course but there is a basic morality inherent in every culture that

      has been universal in history. This is pointing towards a moral sense within man that transcends culture and is

      universal among human beings. Tests show that even psychopaths know right and wrong, but they choose to ignore it.

      Second, as you have pointed out, the whole of history is pointing not to mans goodness but mans depravity. If

      this mandate for moral good was something evolutionary, would it not have been discarded long ago? After all, no

      good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes. We can see that the system is clearly stacked to favor people who

      have ignored their better angels and stepped on the backs of those who refused to compromise their values. Success

      and lack of scruples seem to be directly proportional in all societies. So how could universal morality make sense

      in an evolutionary paradigm?

      I do not believe the bible contains contradictions, but I will admit it contains things which are difficult to

      understand without fully grasping the whole or redemptive history. It is also easy to rip things out of their

      context and use them in a way never intended. The bible is actually remarkable in its harmony. The bible contains

      an internally consistent narrative from start to finish, which is miraclous in itself considering it was written by

      40 different authors over a period of 1500 years on three different continents in three different languages. Its

      diversity in authorship is also remarkable. Some of its authors include a fisherman, a scholar, a shepard king, a

      doctor, a musician and a tax collector. It's also been proven to be historically accurate, in that an

      archeological find has never once contraverted a biblical reference. It has also been used to make many

      discoveries, including entire civilizations. Even more impressive are the fulfillments of prophecy, some of it even a thousand years in advance. In any case, if you have any contradictions you would like to venture, I would be happy to examine them.

      In regards to the problem of evil, I believe this has been overcome by Plantigas free will defense. Here is a short (and amusing) video explaining how:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv85tvudi7Y

      You ask why did God create anything in the first place. I can answer this. God, within His trinity relationships, had perfect love before He ever created anything. So, God did not create out of necessity, or boredom, or lonliness as some have postulated. Rather, He created out of a superabundance of His perfect love. The purpose of this creation, among other things, is to share the superabundance of His perfect love with creatures who will freely choose to receive it.

      I believe the video answers to what justifies the suffering that we undergo, but I will also elaborate further. In the scripture God communicates that He works through both good and evil circumstances to draw people to Himself and to further His purposes in the world. The evil of a man born severally handicapped, for instance, may lead to millions of changed lives which would never have happened otherwise. Nick Vujicic is the personfication of this line of thought:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXlCeKBWfaA

      He has brought inspiration to millions going through difficult circumstances because of his testimony and his amazing perservance and good natured attitude in the face of extreme adversity.

      Delete
  8. Sorry Karl, because I did not preview my post I failed to notice the messed up formatting. I am reposting it here:

    Hey Karl,

    Yes, it is a good question to ponder where the standard of good comes from. I think there are two important things to consider. First, that this standard is nigh universal in every culture. Don't kill, don't steal, don't cheat, don't rape, etc. There are some deviations of course but there is a basic morality inherent in every culture that has been universal in history. This is pointing towards a moral sense within man that transcends culture and is universal among human beings. Tests show that even psychopaths know right and wrong, but they choose to ignore it. Second, as you have pointed out, the whole of history is pointing not to mans goodness but mans depravity. If this mandate for moral good was something evolutionary, would it not have been discarded long ago? After all, no good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes. We can see that the system is clearly stacked to favor people who have ignored their better angels and stepped on the backs of those who refused to compromise their values. Success and lack of scruples seem to be directly proportional in all societies. So how could universal morality make sense in an evolutionary paradigm?

    I do not believe the bible contains contradictions, but I will admit it contains things which are difficult to understand without fully grasping the whole or redemptive history. It is also easy to rip things out of their context and use them in a way never intended. The bible is actually remarkable in its harmony. The bible contains an internally consistent narrative from start to finish, which is miraclous in itself considering it was written by 40 different authors over a period of 1500 years on three different continents in three different languages. Its diversity in authorship is also remarkable. Some of its authors include a fisherman, a scholar, a shepard king, a doctor, a musician and a tax collector. It's also been proven to be historically accurate, in that an archeological find has never once contraverted a biblical reference. It has also been used to make many discoveries, including entire civilizations. Even more impressive are the fulfillments of prophecy, some of it even a thousand years in advance. In any case, if you have any contradictions you would like to venture, I would be happy to examine them.

    In regards to the problem of evil, I believe this has been overcome by Plantigas free will defense. Here is a short (and amusing) video explaining how:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv85tvudi7Y

    You ask why did God create anything in the first place. I can answer this. God, within His trinity relationships, had perfect love before He ever created anything. So, God did not create out of necessity, or boredom, or lonliness as some have postulated. Rather, He created out of a superabundance of His perfect love. The purpose of this creation, among other things, is to share the superabundance of His perfect love with creatures who will freely choose to receive it.

    I believe the video answers to what justifies the suffering that we undergo, but I will also elaborate further. In the scripture God communicates that He works through both good and evil circumstances to draw people to Himself and to further His purposes in the world. The evil of a man born severally handicapped, for instance, may lead to millions of changed lives which would never have happened otherwise. Nick Vujicic is the personfication of this line of thought:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXlCeKBWfaA

    He has brought inspiration to millions going through difficult circumstances because of his testimony and his amazing perservance and good natured attitude in the face of extreme adversity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. washed, I'm afraid I just don't buy the 'God's secret plan' idea. Nothing can justify the suffering of countless billions, many helpless infants, in the name of some hidden formula. After all, God could have created a perfect universe of bliss and love, but didn't.

      Bottom line: you have faith; I don't.

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    2. God is either an incompetent moron or a sadist.

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