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James, Var Religious Experience > James, Week 3, Lectures 6, 7, & 8

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message 1: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments I'm still working my mind on the earlier lectures, but time moves inexorably on and with it our reading schedule.

This week we get into lectures 6, 7, and 8. I have been too immersed in earlier lectures to do more than lightly skim these lectures to get an idea of where he is heading (which seems to be a continuation of the healthy mind discussion but with some emphasis on the other side of the equation, the unhealthy-minded soul, and then in Lecture 8 thye divided soul), but will catch up soon, I hope, with those who are ready to start the discussion of these lectures.


message 2: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie I found the chapter on The Sick Soul the most interesting so far, in that he discusses mental illness and evil in the world.
Here is a quote from towards the end of this chapter:

Arrived at this point, we can see how great an antagonism may naturally arise between the healthy- minded way of viewing life and the way that takes all this experience of evil as something essential. To this latter way.....healthy-mindedness pure and simple seems unspeakably blind and shallow. To the healthy-minded way....the way of the sick soul seems unmanly and diseased.

He ends the paragraph by saying that the healthy minded are less tolerant than the those of the opposing view. I agree with his opinion, at least as far as it goes for those who are suffering from depression.


message 3: by Wendel (last edited Jun 07, 2016 10:57PM) (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I found the chapter on The Sick Soul the most interesting so far..."

Agree, for two reasons. I feel we now start to understand the structure of James's argument/book, and we begin to see his personal involvement.


message 4: by David (new)

David | 2681 comments An article from a current perspective on the once-born and the twice-born from the Wall Street Journal. I found it helpful in understanding what James means when using these terms.

Spoiler alert! The article does mention some material from later lectures

The Once-Born and the Twice-Born


message 5: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 117 comments Interesting article, David. Thank you.

I still find it a strange assumption James makes when he insists that the healthy-minded ("once born") have no true experience of suffering. I think about all the people I know, or have read about, and I can't think of one who has not experienced suffering, be they positive or negative thinkers.

Is it possible that the age James is living in, with its protocols and manners and social rites, rituals, and rules, produced people who looked and acted like they were forever happy and content, but were in fact buried in social masks that disallowed them to reveal pain or suffering?

Just as an example, women weren't allowed to express anything related to female hormonal issues, including pregnancy. It would have been considered the worst sort anti-social behavior. Miscarriages were considered a "sickness" brought about by maladjusted behavior and was blamed on the woman. Whatever suffering women had in childbirth was not a socially accepted topic of discussion.

I'm skeptical about James's conclusions about the "once-born," and I'm not sure any such a person ever existed. I was surprised when James described Whitman as being shallow without any conception of suffering, and I had to laugh when I recently saw a MOOC announcement from the University of Iowa about a class they are offering called "Whitman's Civil War: Writing and Imaging Death, Loss, and Disaster."


message 6: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "I had to laugh when I recently saw a MOOC announcement from the University of Iowa about a class they are offering called "Whitman's Civil War: Writing and Imaging Death, Loss, and Disaster."..."

Thank you for that, Janice! Not sure yet what that does to the credulity of James. Sort of like a discussion I had this morning about the phrase "human nature never changes" -- does it matter that some individuals do change their nature? What is "human nature" and can its institutional or global nature change?


message 7: by David (new)

David | 2681 comments I have to ask, since the title of these lectures is, "The Sick Soul". does he presume that "surely" everyone knows what he means by soul, or did he defined it somewhere earlier and I missed it? What exactly does he mean by soul? The immaterial essence of a person, slang for a person (the ship arrived safely with all souls aboard), something material either biological or atomic (Lucretius), the music, or the food?

I am a little disappointed he does not seem to make the effort to more clearly define what he means by soul or tell us how in medical terms how something that is supposedly immaterial and immortal, if indeed that is his meaning, becomes sick. Does this mean that other immaterial and immortal entities are capable of becoming sick too?

Why are there healthy-minded people, but sick souls? Why not healthy-minded people and unhealthy-minded people, or sick-minded people or sick-minded souls? I suspect the answer may be that healthy-minded people do not require assistance in maintaining their positive outlook, but a sick soul can only be healed by divine intervention.


message 8: by Lily (last edited Jun 09, 2016 03:17PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments David wrote: "...I am a little disappointed he does not seem to make the effort to more clearly define what he means by soul ..."

What I perceive to be a lack of definitional rigor is driving me up a wall insofar as reading this. It is like, "what do we have here?"

Nor do I have confidence that others have come behind him and provided the rigor -- although perhaps for some well circumstanced situations. But so far I haven't found a follow-on bibliography for which this is one of the foundational texts. But, I haven't looked hard.


message 9: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 117 comments David wrote: "I have to ask, since the title of these lectures is, "The Sick Soul". does he presume that "surely" everyone knows what he means by soul, or did he defined it somewhere earlier and I missed it? Wha..."

Good point. I am maintaining the attitude that there are things that he and his audience (of that time) assume as true or accepted, and I think the idea of a human soul might be one of them. I am also keeping a lot of my questions in abeyance because I'm hoping there will be more clarity as the lectures progress.


message 10: by David (last edited Jun 10, 2016 06:51AM) (new)

David | 2681 comments
This sadness lies at the heart of every merely positivistic, agnostic, or naturalistic scheme of philosophy. Let sanguine healthy-mindedness do its best with its strange power of living in the moment and ignoring and forgetting, still the evil background is really there to be thought of, and the skull will grin in at the banquet.

James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (p. 113). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.
I think this says more about the author's own outlook than a more healthy-minded outlook. His frozen lake metaphor is also a bit over the top as well. I think James would have benefited from a good cognitive therapist or a reading of You're Only Old Once!

Maybe if the once-born were not so cheerfully tolerant they would be more openly and reciprocally critical of their twice-born counterparts for being so manic, dramatic, and too often gloomy in their outlook.


message 11: by David (new)

David | 2681 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "I'm skeptical about James's conclusions about the "once-born," and I'm not sure any such a person ever existed."

They exist. The description fits my grandfather. He was born in 1898 and lived through quite a bit. He met every setback and disaster with his characteristic, "it could be worse" and carried on optimistically but without the naive enthusiasm of a Pollyanna in la la land. He was well aware of how things worked. He taught his children by word and example that if you didn't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything unless you can find a nice way of saying it. He was quite proud to pronounce in his late 90's that alcohol had never passed his lips. Some would say his positive outlook was just second nature to him, but I would have to correct that and say it was his first and only nature.

He was still a very humble and unassuming man but I thought of my grandfather in his last years when I read this description of Whitman by James
He is aware enough of sin for a swagger to be present in his indifference towards it, a conscious pride in his freedom from flexions and contractions. . .



message 12: by Theresa (last edited Jun 10, 2016 06:13PM) (new)

Theresa | 856 comments Oh they do exist, I've met a few like that. They are blessed. I do, however, wonder if it isn't possible for such a character to be corrupted by truly horrible experiences such as the war crimes of the 20th century.

I think isn't Goathe's character Gretchin, in Faust, such a once born type? Even though she commits infanticide, she is not capable of binding herself to evil. She is imperfect, yes, a sinner, certainly, but is simply unable to fall in with the devil - despite how much she loves her partner who has himself fallen in with the devil.


message 13: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 117 comments We are or are not reading Lecture 8 for this section?


message 14: by Rex (new)

Rex | 206 comments In lecture 6, I found several assertions he made rather problematic. To take the most striking, I don't mind if he argues that "philosophic theism" has a tendency toward pantheism, even if that's a bit simplistic, but I find it odd for him to suggest that philosophic theism thus is more comfortable with giving God responsibility for evil. He seems to have Christianity in mind, but this is not actually true of classical Christian philosophic theism, which solves the dilemma in a very different way that goes completely unmentioned. Perhaps that reflects his Protestant experience; the American Reformed tradition of Jonathan Edwards is broadly influenced by the concept of "meticulous providence," and it is also one of the more philosophically-minded of Protestant sects. Or perhaps, despite his references to scholasticism, James has something broader in mind. His philosophic/popular distinction may hold slightly more true in India, for instance. At any rate, it's a tremendous generalization, and one that does not seem as obviously valid to me as it does to James.

His discussion of naturalism and sadness, both among modern non-religious and among ancient Greeks, put me in mind of David Bentley Hart's remarkable essay "Christ and Nothing." It also reminded me of John N. Gray, the only contemporary atheist philosopher I know of whose work I find beautiful and appealing (New Atheists, I think, tend to be very "healthy-minded" types). But perhaps that just reflects my own sympathies with the morbid temperament.


message 15: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1723 comments When James introduced the "healthy-minded," I thought it was meant ironically. But now he contrasts it with the sick-minded, so it seems not. By using such value-laden words, he seems to be taking sides on what type of religion is best, while still pretending neutrality. Is he being honest here?


message 16: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 568 comments Roger wrote: "When James introduced the "healthy-minded," I thought it was meant ironically. But now he contrasts it with the sick-minded, so it seems not. By using such value-laden words, he seems to be taking sides on what type of religion is best, while still pretending neutrality. Is he being honest here?"

Oh, that's an interesting question! I think he is.

I see this progression:
From a psychological and clinical perspective he is talking about healthy minds and those that are sick. So these wouldn't be value statements.
Taking this further, from a clinical standpoint, it seems reasonable one can determine which religious practices are healthy and which aren't.
The last evaluation then is to look at religions themselves
and determine which ones fit the "healthy-mind" profile.


message 17: by David (last edited Jun 13, 2016 03:22PM) (new)

David | 2681 comments I find it interesting that James defines evil as a disease, instead of the other way around. Is disease evil? Should we assume evil is purely a mental disease and exclude events like natural disasters?


message 18: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 117 comments David wrote: "I find it interesting that James defines evil as a disease, instead of the other way around. Is disease evil? Should we assume evil is purely a mental disease and exclude events like natural disasters?..."

I've never thought of natural disasters as evil, tho' they can certainly be tragic. I've always thought of them as part of the nature of the planet earth (literally, actually, as part of nature)... otherwise, if they were evil the earth itself would be evil, nature would be evil, as would the universe... etc.

And since I am not of the mind that the universe is evil, then I guess it would be as you say -- evil is a mental phenomenon, a value judgment, or a decision we choose to make.


message 19: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1723 comments Are pain and suffering part of the nature of the planet? Aren't they evil?


message 20: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 568 comments The religious melancholy James observes and focuses on has an equivalent in the spiritual life, acedia. Acedia is better known as ‘sloth’ and is one of the seven vices. Now acedia is much more than just laziness. It is a melancholy, listlessness, and feeling personally unworthy toward God and the spiritual life, but it also can encompass scrupulosity and hyper-business.
The word acedia is Greek for “lack of care.” Originally the word was used in connection with lack of care of burying the dead and was considered evil. The early Desert Fathers (3rd, 4th century), the men (and women) who went out into the desert to live as Christian hermits in loosely structured communities were the first ones to record acedia in spriritual terms. They called it “the noonday devil” as this melancholy would strike most often during the hottest part of the day.

Looked at another way, people who choose the religious life are “spiritual athletes,” and as any athlete can attest, there are times when you get the blah’s and can hardly rouse yourself to do the required training. The same goes for musicians, and any other discipline, for that matter. We’ve all experienced it in our personal and professional lives in one form or another. The antidote to acedia, then, is diligence, the corresponding virtue. …and sometimes one just needs a vacation! :) …though that is not what is sought in the spiritual life. You don’t take a vacation from God. This is precisely why it is a sin, because the person distances himself from God, withdraws his love for God.

Now I find it interesting that James mentions Protestantism as a place where you find this religious melancholy, this "conviction of sin." Up to this point in the book I can't tell if he knew of acedia. He got me thinking, however, how acedia would be addressed in a Protestant setting. Given the individual nature of Protestantism, how and to what extent is spiritual guidance practiced? John Bunyan was a deeply spiritual man yet he didn’t have the support network as the saints (and countless catholic lay people) had and have based on centuries of experience with the spiritual life in the roles of confessors, spiritual masters, and spiritual directors (=spiritual coach/teacher).


message 21: by David (new)

David | 2681 comments Kerstin wrote: "Now I find it interesting that James mentions Protestantism as a place where you find this religious melancholy, this "conviction of sin.. . .He got me thinking, however, how acedia would be addressed in a Protestant setting."

Harshly?
The Protestant work ethic (or the Puritan work ethic) is a concept in theology, sociology, economics and history which emphasizes that hard work, discipline and frugality are a result of a person's subscription to the values espoused by the Protestant faith, particularly Calvinism, in contrast to the focus upon religious attendance, confession, and ceremonial sacrament in the Catholic tradition.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protest...



message 22: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 117 comments Kerstin wrote: "Given the individual nature of Protestantism, how and to what extent is spiritual guidance practiced? John Bunyan was a deeply spiritual man yet he didn’t have the support network as the saints (and countless catholic lay people) had and have based on centuries of experience with the spiritual life in the roles of confessors, spiritual masters, and spiritual directors (=spiritual coach/teacher)..."

I converted from Protestanism to Catholicism many years ago because of this lack of guidance. I don't really remember any kind of Protestant support other than Bible study groups, sermons, and specific counseling by pastors. I was very happy with the idea of a recognized and defined process of spiritual growth as with the Catholic Church in its doctrines and in the writings of its mystics and saints. However, I have never really done much research on Protestant mystics or theologians, and since I don't remember any references to them or recommendations from Protestant friends or religious, I probably decided there weren't any worth following up on (which I'm sure has been my loss).


message 23: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1723 comments A while ago we read Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, in which Christian got a good deal of advice along the road, and met Sloth.


message 24: by Rex (new)

Rex | 206 comments Protestantism has historically inclined toward several models which provide spiritual support. The magisterial reformation depended on a network of confessing pastors. In many cases, even today (and especially in fundamentalism), there is a "prophetic" pastor who leads his flock charismatically. There have also often sprung up small, intense groups that monitor one another closely. This is a part of Weber's PWE theory, as it was an important feature of Puritan spirituality. As David mentioned, this is closely tied to the issue of acedia. The seeds are already in Calvin: a soul that has not been stirred from spiritual lethargy to zeal may not have received the transfusion of divine grace necessary for salvation.


message 25: by Kerstin (last edited Jun 15, 2016 09:26AM) (new)

Kerstin | 568 comments David wrote: "Harshly?

The Protestant work ethic (or the Puritan work ethic)"


There are certainly elements of Protestantism that come across as harshly. Probably due to its fragmented nature.

Ah, the (in)famous "Protestant Work Ethic"! Which was, if I remember correctly from other readings, vehemently rejected as soon as Max Weber put pen to paper. Alas, the concept fit the impression, so, print the impression :) (to paraphrase 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance')
The historian Rodney Stark wrote a great little book some years ago, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success and he goes further back in history than the 14th century (as mentioned in the Wikipedia article) and the beginnings of capitalism. He starts with the monastic tradition in the early Middle Ages where you had in the monasteries populations that accumulated wealth -- despite all their charitable giving back to their communities -- through their everyday work, but didn't procreate, so no heirs. As these places grew they had to be administered, and the primary capitalist concept of reinvesting profits in a systematic fashion was introduced for the first time in human history.


message 26: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 568 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "I converted from Protestanism to Catholicism many years ago because of this lack of guidance. I don't really remember any kind of Protestant support other than Bible study groups, sermons, and specific counseling by pastors."

Me too :)

Protestantism with all its myriad of expressions, it is hard to know what's what unless you're an expert. And when I go by personal experience, yours matches mine.
I have only begun to read the next segment and the chapter on conversion, it'll be interesting to see how James will present it.


message 27: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 568 comments Roger wrote: "A while ago we read Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, in which Christian got a good deal of advice along the road, and met Sloth."

You're right! It's been some time since I've read it, and I honestly don't remember Sloth.


message 28: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 117 comments Kerstin wrote: "Janice(JG) wrote: "I converted from Protestanism to Catholicism many years ago because of this lack of guidance. I don't really remember any kind of Protestant support other than Bible study groups...

Me too :)

Protestantism with all its myriad of expressions, it is hard to know what's what unless you're an expert. And when I go by personal experience, yours matches mine.
I have only begun to read the next segment and the chapter on conversion, it'll be interesting to see how James will present it..."


I've really enjoyed reading your descriptions and explanations of Catholic belief & experience, and I wondered at your depth of understanding because many of the cradle Catholics I've known (plus my own churched experience) don't express that extent of understanding. But knowing that you are a convert explains everything -- even the Church itself admits that converts have a much broader and deeper knowledge of Church doctrine and experience than those raised in the Church. It's all there, it just needs to be rooted out.

Currently, however, I am more catholic than Catholic right now... I am basically unchurched as I quietly (and heretofore hopelessly) boycott the male domination & patriarchal hierarchy that rules the Church. I am also discouraged that the Catholic Church remains the "Church taught" rather than the "teaching Church."


message 29: by David (last edited Jun 15, 2016 03:19PM) (new)

David | 2681 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "But knowing that you are a convert explains everything -- even the Church itself admits that converts have a much broader and deeper knowledge of Church doctrine and experience than those raised in the Church."

Maybe converts to Protestant churches know more about the Protestant church doctrine than those raised in it as well? Maybe if you converted back you would discover all of that previously missing knowledge?


message 30: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 117 comments David wrote: "Janice(JG) wrote: "But knowing that you are a convert explains everything -- even the Church itself admits that converts have a much broader and deeper knowledge of Church doctrine and experience t...

Maybe converts to Protestant churches know more about the Protestant church doctrine than those raised in it as well? Maybe if you converted back you would discover all of that previously missing knowledge?..."


It's very possible, since converts are usually very motivated to learn about their chosen sect. I have no plans to convert back to Protestantism, but I do plan to seek out more Protestant mystics and theological writings.


message 31: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 856 comments Roger wrote: "A while ago we read Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, in which Christian got a good deal of advice along the road, and met Sloth."

I've been thinking about that as well.


message 32: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments David wrote: "I find it interesting that James defines evil as a disease, instead of the other way around. Is disease evil? Should we assume evil is purely a mental disease and exclude events like natural disast..."

From a medical perspective, both physical and mental diseases are evil, in the sense of falling short of the ideal state. Natural disasters are outside the scope of medicine, and so the sense does not apply, unless one can conceive an ideal state of nature without breaking the laws of nature as we know them.


message 33: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Rex wrote: "In lecture 6, I found several assertions he made rather problematic. To take the most striking, I don't mind if he argues that "philosophic theism" has a tendency toward pantheism, even if that's a..."

What do you see as the differences between the classical Christian theism and Reformed tradition in their approaches to the problem of evil?


message 34: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Kerstin wrote: "The historian Rodney Stark wrote a great little book some years ago, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success ...the monasteries populations that accumulated wealth ...- through their everyday work, but didn't procreate, so no heirs. As these places grew they had to be administered, and the primary capitalist concept of reinvesting profits in a systematic fashion was introduced for the first time in human history. ..."

That's interesting. I've never thought of monks as forerunners of capitalists before. :)

What percentage of the monasteries in the Middle Ages fit Stark's description?


message 35: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 568 comments Nemo wrote: "That's interesting. I've never thought of monks as forerunners of capitalists before. :)

Neither did I until I read the book.

What percentage of the monasteries in the Middle Ages fit Stark's description?
"

I honestly don't remember. Its been many years since I've read it. I assume it started with the big ones, such as Cluny, and others who became a prominent within their given region and beyond.


message 36: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments The monks are not allowed to keep private property, which is a major obstacle to the accumulation of wealth. How did they overcome that?


message 37: by Kerstin (new)

Kerstin | 568 comments Nemo wrote: "The monks are not allowed to keep private property, which is a major obstacle to the accumulation of wealth. How did they overcome that?"

The monks themselves didn't own anything. It was the monasteries as institutions who due to their daily operations accumulated wealth over time. They also had wealthy benefactors and much of this wealth was re-distributed through the operating of hospitals, soup kitchens, and other charitable works to benefit the poor and the needy. All of this had to be administered.


message 38: by David (new)

David | 2681 comments Nemo wrote: "From a medical perspective, both physical and mental diseases are evil, in the sense of falling short of the ideal state. Natural disasters are outside the scope of medicine, and so the sense does not apply. . ."

If you define evil as the sense of falling short of the ideal state I have to agree but if we argue reductio ad absurdum there are some obvious problems calling anything less than ideal evil. Are hangnails evil? No only are some benign imperfections now evil, we are also faced with the problem of determining what is ideal and what is not.

Additionally, in regard to the comparison of physical and mental disease with natural disasters the implication seems to be that if we cannot do anything about it, as in the case of a natural disaster, it is not considered evil. Does that mean untreatable physical or mental diseases should not be considered evil as well? That would appear to contradict the claim that disease is indeed evil as well as the conventional thinking that some of the untreatable diseases are considered the most evil ones to have.

Or does the argument imply that natural events cannot be considered evil because as a property of being natural events? Are not diseases events that occur in nature as well? If that is the case then is it only possible to consider the non-natural as evil.?


message 39: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments David wrote: "No only are some benign imperfections now evil, we are also faced with the problem of determining what is ideal and what is not."

When you say something is "benign", you have implicitly determined what is benign and what is not. The same applies to "ideal". One has to make value judgments at some point.

Both disease and disaster occur in nature, and we can do something about both, at least to some extent. But, disease operates under a different mechanism from health, whereas the same natural event can cause both disaster and good fortune. In other words, a man can be healed of his disease and still be a man, but fire cannot provide warmth if it doesn't burn.


message 40: by David (new)

David | 2681 comments Nemo wrote: "David wrote: "No only are some benign imperfections now evil, we are also faced with the problem of determining what is ideal and what is not."

When you say something is "benign", you have implici..."


1. You said "in the sense of falling short of the ideal state." I was merely pointing out the problem with your claim that anything falling short of the ideal state is considered medically evil. For example, is it considered medically evil to be one pound underweight or is that benign? What about an ounce overweight?

2. Please explain significance of pointing out that there are organic an non-organic mechanisms and how they are defining criteria between evil and not evil. Both of these mechanisms occur in material nature according to physical, chemical and biological principles that we have some knowledge of. But how do you explain why the results of organic disease are considered evil and the results of non-organic natural disasters not considered evil.

Disease can bring about good fortune as well. What of the people who called off sick on 9/11 and were at home instead of in the towers? What about surviving diseases at an early age only to have a stronger immune system?


message 41: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments I don't know if I can make my point any clearer, but I'll give it another try. Here are the distinctions I'm making:

1. From a medical perspective, there are differences between healthy and diseased states, operating under different mechanisms. I'd judge the latter as evil in the sense of falling short of the ideal/healthy state. Overweight is "evil" only if it causes a diseased state of the body.

2. The same mechanism causes both disaster and it's opposite, therefore I can't judge it as evil in and of itself. By contrast, a disease cannot bring about good fortune, except indirectly by a mechanism different from it. In your examples, the decision not to go to work or the immune system.


message 42: by David (last edited Jul 06, 2016 01:22PM) (new)

David | 2681 comments Does the speed at which health declines make a difference? It may take a while for a pulmonary edema to drown a person or not, but a flood can drown a person much more quickly or not. In either fatal case the cause of death was drowning.

Isn't the "cause of death" always a medical one despite the presence or not of a natural disaster? What about epidemics that are the consequence of disasters of another kind, such as tropical storms, floods, earthquakes, droughts, etc? What about poisoning or chemical warfare?


message 43: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) | 117 comments David wrote: "Isn't the "cause of death" always a medical one despite the presence or not of a natural disaster? What about epidemics that are the consequence of disasters of another kind, such as tropical storms, floods, earthquakes, droughts, etc? What about poisoning or chemical warfare?..."

I'd love to make the comment that all disease is manmade, that disease is a consequence of human intervention with the natural state... but I don't want to take the time to seek out references, except to say that one reference could very well be the New Thought people James spoke of.

I have trouble with the word "evil." Are we talking about a value judgment of something that is offensive or unacceptable, or are we talking about an actual state of evilness that exists, like gravity, or like the weather?


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