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Aristotle's Atrium > Philosophy & Religion

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message 1: by Reggia (new)

Reggia | 2078 comments All here are free to share their perspectives on philosophy and religion. However, the scope of this group is simply to discuss -- not debate. To ensure this, keep in mind these words from Aristotle, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Please be gentle with your fellow humans, thanks!


message 2: by Werner (last edited Feb 13, 2009 06:39AM) (new)

Werner | 1531 comments I viewed this thread right after Reggia started it, but wasn't surprised that none of us have rushed to comment on it. Philosophy and religion are important areas that most of us have deep feelings about, and our beliefs do influence what we read and how we react to it. Personally, I'm a committed Christian, and that shapes my attitude towards literature --though there are a lot of non-Christian writers I like (and a lot of Christian books I don't care for). But it's a lot easier to discuss those attitudes in the context of reactions to a specific writing --at one remove, so to speak. Just stating baldly "This is what I believe about religion and philosophy and why" very often comes across to those with different beliefs as challenging/threatening, even if it isn't meant that way!

Since we have this thread, though, I thought that if one of us doesn't say something on it, we all sort of look, to visitors stumbling onto the group page, as if we never give religion and philosophy a moment's thought --which we all know isn't true! :-) Hopefully, what I've said explains why silence isn't indifference! And if anyone ever feels curious about what I believe, or wants to discuss religion with me, you're free to message me --I promise that, as Reggia said, I'm "gentle with my fellow humans."


message 3: by Reggia (last edited Feb 14, 2009 02:12PM) (new)

Reggia | 2078 comments
Werner said: "Just stating baldly "This is what I believe about religion and philosophy and why" very often comes across to those with different beliefs as challenging/threatening, even if it isn't meant that way!
It's unfortunate that that is true, so it is my great hope that here we can overcome the tendency, and feel that we each have an equal and respected voice. Feeding into my hope was the concern that our society, in its noble deference to be multi-cultural with sensitivity to our diversity, would in effect whip us into one homogeneous lump. And so when reading Ayn Rand's Anthem not long ago, I was very struck by this line, "As we all undress at night, in the dim light of the candles, our brothers are silent, for they dare not speak the thoughts of their minds. For all must agree with all, and they cannot know if their thoughts are the thoughts of all, and so they fear to speak."

In my own rough words, we need only to get along and not necessarily to agree.

That said, I find myself at somewhat of a crossroads in life. Still, it is with a Christian perspective that I have viewed the last 20 years of reading. I am a firm proponent of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater though; this may be partly due to my curiosity of what others believe and how it affects their words and actions.

I urge each person here to feel free in starting a new thread to discuss any specific philosophical or religious questions, books, teachers, etc.




message 4: by Rhonda (last edited Feb 13, 2009 10:15PM) (new)

Rhonda (RhondaK) I'm glad that someone else decided to write something in here. It wasn't that I was afraid to express my opinion, but I have a habit of expressing my opinion and bringing conversations to a halt; there was a time, of course, when one would have to claim to love vampires or something in order to stop conversations, but the world, sadly, has turned upside down, at least in this regard.

I also thought of writing down a profound thought by a great writer and hoping for the best follow-up discussions. Unfortunately, it isn't that no great thoughts have come to me, but that each of them, at least those which did not seem inane or trite, seemed either divisive or stand-offish, such as whether epistemology precedes ontology. If we ended up all being accidents of a natural world, the answer would be quite different from that of the believers of First Cause. Real philosophical questions ought to have more at stake than just an opinion. I think it was J Vernon McGee who said that the churches would be filled to the rafters the day following the Rapture.

Indeed, value systems have a way of being skewed when there is something serious at stake.
Nevertheless, as tempted as I am to ask about the advantages of fresh lime juice in a Margarita, I found an interesting quote which I think might provide an inaugural discussion.

Admiration for a quality or an art can be so strong that it deters us from striving to possess it.

In some way, at least, one would think that admiration for a quality or art would be strong enough to ensure that one DID do everything he or she could to possess it. Perhaps that desire is simply what keeps us away from it.

Any ideas as to whether this is true or not? Concrete examples will help the argument.




message 5: by Reggia (last edited Feb 14, 2009 09:03AM) (new)

Reggia | 2078 comments Appreciate your post, Rhonda! I am going to take that last part to give this "inaugural discussion" its own thread.

EDIT: Please visit this thread to respond to Admiration for quality or art, thanks.




message 6: by Rhonda (last edited Mar 03, 2009 10:40PM) (new)

Rhonda (RhondaK) Alice wrote: "I was on a yahoo group to discuss some unusual religious ideas but being "totally tactless" in spite of trying hard to be tactful I tend to steer clear of too much discussion in this area..."
In religion and politics, you can always be assured that someone will become upset. Unfortunately, I find that people become angry because he or she does not know exactly how to defend a point of view in words. I find that common even among Christians of which I am one. Just because you have even a million people who believe as you do doesn't mean it has any validity. If one believes something, then there should be some foundation for it, much more so than feelings or beliefs. If either of these was legitimate for action, all sorts of things would become legal.
There is nothing so reprehensible, in my opinion, than for someone to shout at another human being that he or she is going to hell because of his or her behavior: it performs no service whatsoever except to appear self-righteous, an act worthy of condemnation in itself. In its kindest guise, it is akin to expecting that a serial killer would reform after being read the 10 commandments.




message 7: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Amen, Rhonda!


message 8: by Reggia (new)

Reggia | 2078 comments
There is nothing so reprehensible, in my opinion, than for someone to shout at another human being that he or she is going to hell because of his or her behavior: it performs no service whatsoever except to appear self-righteous, an act worthy of condemnation in itself. In its kindest guise, it is akin to expecting that a serial killer would reform after being read the 10 commandments.


More and more, I become suspicious when fear is used as a motivator.


message 9: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (RhondaK) I am not suspicious of fear nearly as much as I am suspicious of the men and women who employ fear as a means to create doubt in one another unjustly. To do so is consciously iniquitous, even when it is done for ostensibly good reasons.
On the other hand, we have such things as knowledge and understanding which demands our respect, but cannot order us to obey. To me such a phrase would be the well known timor domini, principia sapientiae: the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Of course I acknowledge that I say this from a Christian perspective.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Isn't "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" a Bible verse?

My father was especially fond of "The Devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour". He enjoyed quoting it to us often as children and terrifying my little sister so much that she cannot even attend church today on orders of her psychiatrist! When in high school I had to read the sermon of some famous new England preacher.....was it Edwards? Its been so long ago and he would scare his congregation so bad it was said that some would pass out!


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 11, 2009 03:55PM) (new)

here I found the title of what I had to read in high school by Jonathan Edwards:

Why is Jonathan Edwards universally regarded as America’s greatest Protestant preacher?

Part of the reason, known to every school child, is that he preached America’s greatest sermon. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" has appeared in virtually every anthology of American literature for the past century, and often stands alone as the only sermon included in the text. Even the video-hardened youth of today blanche at the graphic language and exquisite imagery Edwards employed to vivify the horrors of hell. But their reaction pales in comparison to the dread it inspired in the hearts of Edwards’s contemporary listeners, adults and children alike. Add to that Edwards’s certainty that a significant portion of his hearers were, indeed, going to hell, and you have all the marks of the quintessential "fire and brimstone" sermon.

But Edwards the preacher was about far more than fire and brimstone. Yes, hell was a real place in Edwards’s mind, and therefore worthy of continual warning to avoid it at all costs. But this was emphatically not the subject that preoccupied his thoughts and visions. "Heaven" and "love" were the two most important words in Edwards’s sermons and he struggled weekly to bring those realities into the consciousness of his hearers. Edwards was far more concerned that his congregation come to a saving knowledge of God through an awareness of the beauty of God’s great and powerful redemptive love for them. Even a cursory scan of the titles of Edwards’ sermons will make this point forcefully.

Besides being a great preacher, Edwards was also a great writer, and so sermons that he composed three hundred years ago continue to bear the mark of a literary artist, as unique in his own realm as Milton was with verse or Mozart, Edwards’ contemporary, was with music. If not the most spell-binding orator of his age (that accolade certainly goes to George Whitefield), Edwards was among the greatest sermon composers of his age. Through thousands of closely scribbled pages of text, composed over decades of weekly preaching, Edwards etched words of literary brilliance and spiritual depth that continue to impress the scholar and inspire the believer.

For further bibliographic resources



message 12: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (RhondaK) Alice wrote: "Isn't "the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom" a Bible verse?

Indeed I should have mentioned that it is from Proverbs. This is the more common King James translation.
Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.



message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks! Proverbs is my favorite book of the Bible and I should have remembered this but having a rough day. My aunt is having bypass surgery on the 19th and I am too worried about her.
My grandmother's favorite Bible verse comes from Proverbs too..something about "it is better to have a good name than great riches".


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I have to say I do completely believe this Bible verse: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction."


message 15: by Rhonda (last edited Mar 13, 2009 04:17AM) (new)

Rhonda (RhondaK) Alice wrote: " My grandmother's favorite Bible verse comes from Proverbs too..something about "it is better to have a good name than great riches"
Proverbs 22:1  A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Proverbs 31 is my favorite, devoted to the concept of a virtuous woman. My brother read this at my mother's eulogy. It took me time to find my voice as I had to follow him.

Proverbs 31:30  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.





message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Rhonda wrote: "Alice wrote: " My grandmother's favorite Bible verse comes from Proverbs too..something about "it is better to have a good name than great riches"...."
Proverbs 22:1  A good name is rather to be c..."


Oh, you are good! I am supposed to know lots of Bible verses and be able to tell you where they are but have fallen down in what I was taught. I do have a Thompson's Chain Reference and make an effort now and again.

At the moment I cannot even think what my favorite is but if I get my Bible and look maybe I have it underlined.





message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

I found quite a few underlined and this is one that I really like:

Proverbs 10:3 - The Lord will not let a good man starve to death, nor will he let the wicked man's riches continue forever."

Another interesting one is:
Proverbs 13:22 - "When a good man dies, he leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren; but when a sinner dies, his wealth is stored up for the godly."

Very interesting to watch and notice whether this happens or not.

I also like:

Proverbs 15:17 very well...."It is better to eat soup with someone you love than steak with someone you hate".



message 18: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (RhondaK) One of the oddest things about human beings is our need to return to things we once learned in order that they be renewed. Of course this can be either undergone as pain or celebration. Sometimes when I must read something again, I am irritated that I did not recall something completely or learn it completely. Other times, I accept it as the glory of not being a machine, the glory of being truly human. It is the latter with which I celebrate Easter week.

This evening begins the Passover celebration and it is important to me, although I am not Jewish but Christian. This holiday is integrally related to our Easter in two ways; first, at Passover, it was the lamb’s blood (the lamb being sacred to the Egyptians) which was painted on the doorways to prevent the angel from taking the firstborn of the Hebrew’s houses. The crucifixion is the commemoration of the slaying of the lamb, Jesus Christ. Second, Easter week rightly coincides with the Passover (Pesach,) the 7 or 8 days beginning with Nissan 15 of the Hebrew Calendar.

Even when I was young, I realized that Good Friday, the day we commemorate Christ's crucifixion, was not 3 days away from Easter Sunday. It becomes complicated because the Hebrew day begins at sundown and goes through the next entire day until sundown. However, the day of the resurrection is clearly given (Matt. 28:1.) Counting back from this, "three days and three nights" (Matt. 12:40) is the day of the burial, which must have been before sunset, on the 14th of Nisan; i.e. before our Wednesday sunset.
Yet we can clearly see that the day of Christ’s crucifixion was the same day as the day of the preparation of the Passover lambs. In addition, the sixth hour (12 noon) to the ninth hour (3 PM,) the time he spent on the cross, was also the traditional time for preparing the Passover lamb. Thus he was removed and buried before sundown which marked the beginning of Passover, a Sabbath day. The real difficulty in reading the Bible comes from understanding that this is a week with more than one Sabbath.
I mention these things because of the coming Easter celebration in the hope that we all might remember the one who gave His life for us.
John 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.




message 19: by Reggia (last edited Apr 08, 2009 02:21PM) (new)

Reggia | 2078 comments Thank for this reminder, Rhonda. :) Being very preoccupied with survival these past months, I confess to not having given much thought this year to what season we are in.

Rhonda wrote:Even when I was young, I realized that Good Friday, the day we commemorate Christ's crucifixion, was not 3 days away from Easter Sunday. It becomes complicated because the Hebrew day begins at sundown and goes through the next entire day until sundown. However, the day of the resurrection is clearly given (Matt. 28:1.) Counting back from this, "three days and three nights" (Matt. 12:40) is the day of the burial, which must have been before sunset, on the 14th of Nisan; i.e. before our Wednesday sunset.


I am still confused on the "third day" regardless of which way I count so I ask for your patience: Doesn't counting back take us to Thursday night? And if the Passover is on a Sabbath Day, wouldn't it have begun on a Friday at sundown?



message 20: by Reggia (new)

Reggia | 2078 comments
Rhonda wrote:I am not suspicious of fear nearly as much as I am suspicious of the men and women who employ fear as a means to create doubt in one another unjustly. To do so is consciously iniquitous, even when it is done for ostensibly good reasons.


I'm sorry I missed this reply when it was first posted but yes, it is those employing the fear who arouse my suspicion.


message 21: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (RhondaK) Reggia wrote: "I am still confused on the "third day" regardless of which way I count so I ask for your patience: Doesn't counting back take us to Thursday night? And if the Passover is on a Sabbath Day, wouldn't it have begun on a Friday at sundown?"
There is no wonder there is confusion about this as it is complicated due to the Hebrew calendar which is based on the lunar cycle rather than the solar one. Remember that a day begins at sundown and continues to the next sunset. Thus it is that Christ was buried BEFORE the Wednesday sunset because Passover began after sunset and was a Sabbath (in addition to the regular Saturday Sabbath.)
The first complete day was Wednesday night and Thursday until sunset. The second complete day was Thursday night and Friday until sunset. The third complete day was Friday night and Saturday until sunset. Thus the new week began after sunset on Saturday and the women did not find Christ at the tomb the following morning: he was already risen.

What is confusing, perhaps, is that Christ apparently spends 3 complete days and then another night in the tomb, but recall that Christ was already risen when the women came early in the morning. According to the scriptures, He returned from the nether world after three days and three nights.(Matthew 12:40) That requirement would have been completed any time after the sunset on Saturday.

If all of this isn't enough to spark the mind and heart, you might be interested in a subject we were discussing this afternoon. Recall that one thief asks for forgiveness on the cross and Christ tells him "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."(Luke 23:43) Most readers think that this is another name for heaven, but Christ did not go to heaven yet: (Mark 16:19) he went to a nether world (Ephesians 4:9) which appears to be divided into torment and paradise. (Luke 16:17-31)
This brings up a problem with a later reference to paradise (2 Cor 12:4 and Rev 2:7), but that is perhaps another issue.




message 22: by Nicole (last edited Apr 10, 2009 10:25AM) (new)

Nicole | 1753 comments [Sorry to interrupt your discussion. We'll return to the regular programming in a moment.
Just wanted to let you know I'd had a look. I hadn't avoided the topic due to indifference. It's just a potentially tricky topic I venture into with people very carefully, and lately seem to be successful discussing only with people close to me of a similar mindset or very open to at least considering an idea (as Reggia's quote at the beginning says). Right now, I consider myself something of a seeker coming from a liberal and generally Christian background full of questions and doubts. And I'll probably just leave it at that here. :)]


message 23: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (RhondaK) Callista wrote: "[Sorry to interrupt your discussion. ...Just wanted to let you know I'd had a look. I hadn't avoided the topic due to indifference."

Thanks for looking in, Callista. One's alternative beliefs are no offense whatsoever and discussion is certainly welcome on any topic here.


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