8 Characteristics of True Humanity

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Dustin phil
 
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 05:53 pm
@dancinginchains,
dancinginchains wrote:
While I most honestly respect the great point you've made with that Dustin, I want to caution you with quoting the Bible because much of it was not written to be taken literally.


What point do you assume I've made?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 05:53 pm
@Israelite007,
Quote:
To some degree all faith is without understanding, therefore according to your logic all faith is arbitrary - personally I disagree with that. If we understood everything about that which we believe, what purpose would faith serve? None whatsoever.


The key being "to some degree". We can only understand to some degree, and that is hardly reason to suggest that all understanding is arbitrary. Much less is it a correlary of my logic.

Faith without understanding is arbitrary. That was the claim. I did not claim that we must understand absolutely everything in order for our faith to be something other than arbitrary.
If we have faith, and some understanding about that faith, our faith is no longer arbitrary because we, at least to some degree, understand that faith. We might be misguided, and our faith might change as our understanding deepens.

Quote:

Faith is subjective; the only person it's meant to be helpful for is the individual who believes. I don't see the point of complaining how it isn't helpful to anyone, when truly by nature faith isn't meant to be helpful to anyone other than the individual.


And arbitrary faith is not helpful to the individual. Arbitrary faith is unquestioned faith. Arbitrary faith tends to lead to violence, both mental and physical. Both towards the individual and towards others.

Shouldn't and individual's faith be helpful to others? It seems to me that faith should cultivate what is good, and therefore, make the person of faith a better person. And certainly, if I'm a better person, I am more helpful to others.
 
Dustin phil
 
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 06:10 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Shouldn't we first establish what the faith is before we can determine if it's harmful or not?
 
dancinginchains
 
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 06:52 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
Shouldn't we first establish what the faith is before we can determine if it's harmful or not?


We already have established what faith is.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
The key being "to some degree". We can only understand to some degree, and that is hardly reason to suggest that all understanding is arbitrary. Much less is it a correlary of my logic.

Faith without understanding is arbitrary. That was the claim. I did not claim that we must understand absolutely everything in order for our faith to be something other than arbitrary.
If we have faith, and some understanding about that faith, our faith is no longer arbitrary because we, at least to some degree, understand that faith. We might be misguided, and our faith might change as our understanding deepens.

And arbitrary faith is not helpful to the individual. Arbitrary faith is unquestioned faith. Arbitrary faith tends to lead to violence, both mental and physical. Both towards the individual and towards others.

Shouldn't and individual's faith be helpful to others? It seems to me that faith should cultivate what is good, and therefore, make the person of faith a better person. And certainly, if I'm a better person, I am more helpful to others.


But the problem with that is one individual's faith is not meant to be helpful to others, it's meant to be helpful to the individual that's why faith is subjective. Nothing about an individual's faith in God or any higher power is meant to serve the greater good of his or her surrounding community. If it were faith wouldn't be subjective at all, but faith is subjective. What someone chooses to do with their faith is something totally different that can and ought to be used for the greater good of his or her surrounding community, but that is not the same as having faith - that is simply what one does with one's faith. To put it simpler, if one has faith in God but does nothing for the greater good of his or her community that doesn't mean they don't have faith at all. Moreover, it is impossible to prove that their faith is arbitrary simply because they don't act based on the good of the community.

I get an impression of what you mean to say but so far your argument seems to lack this important distinction.
 
Dustin phil
 
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2008 07:45 pm
@dancinginchains,
dancinginchains wrote:
We already have established what faith is.



I was actually supporting you. To help clear things up, I meant we should first establish if the particular faith / belief is harmful to another.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 12:15 am
@Israelite007,
Quote:
But the problem with that is one individual's faith is not meant to be helpful to others, it's meant to be helpful to the individual that's why faith is subjective


But in what way is it supposed to help the individual? If faith helping the individual does not help the individual help others, I think we'll have to rethink what we call faith.

Quote:
Nothing about an individual's faith in God or any higher power is meant to serve the greater good of his or her surrounding community.


"Love thy neighbor as thyself"

I think just the opposite of what you say here is true. Jesus did not preach a selfish doctrine, quite the opposite.

Quote:
If it were faith wouldn't be subjective at all, but faith is subjective.


Why does a subjective faith demand that faith cannot be of benefit to others?

Again, faith is central in Christian theology, and Jesus certainly taught altruism. Loving others is core to Christian faith, and loving other people certainly seems to be a good thing for those other people. So, obviously, an individuals faith can be of some good to others.

Quote:
What someone chooses to do with their faith is something totally different that can and ought to be used for the greater good of his or her surrounding community, but that is not the same as having faith - that is simply what one does with one's faith.


Sure, we might have some faith that causes us to be inconsiderate of others, but this does not mean that faith must be inconsiderate of others.

I would suggest that faiths which tend towards being inconsiderate are probably arbitrary, and held by people with very little understanding.

Quote:
Moreover, it is impossible to prove that their faith is arbitrary simply because they don't act based on the good of the community.


Maybe it's impossible to prove such a thing, but I think we will notice a close relation between faith with little understanding, and faith which cultivates inconsiderate styles of living.

Quote:
I get an impression of what you mean to say but so far your argument seems to lack this important distinction


What distinction? Between being able to prove something, and being able to notice patterns, specifically, that violence and ignorance go hand in hand?

I do not argue, anywhere, that people cannot be ignorant and violent, and support all of this ignorance and violence with some statement of faith based in ignorance. They certainly can, and certainly do everyday.
My point is that these are not good - for either the individual practitioner or the rest of humanity. Instead, we should have faith with understanding, so that we do not cultivate violence and ignorance. Faith with understanding allows our faith to help others. And that's a good thing.
 
dancinginchains
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 12:19 am
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
I was actually supporting you. To help clear things up, I meant we should first establish if the particular faith / belief is harmful to another.


Thank you for clearing that up, and I do apologize for misunderstanding you.
 
dancinginchains
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 01:16 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Oh boy where do I begin, so much to rebuttle and so little time. Well as they say in conducting "let's take it from the top."

Didymos Thomas wrote:
But in what way is it supposed to help the individual? If faith helping the individual does not help the individual help others, I think we'll have to rethink what we call faith.


A little common sense would answer this question rather easily. Since religion is a spiritual matter, obviously faith would help the individual in a spiritual way. I don't think drawing a picture to illustrate this is necessary. Faith is solely the individual's passionate belief in the objective uncertainty (i.e. God). There's no need to rethink what we call faith, because at the end of the day that is what faith is.

Faith has nothing to do with how the individual helps others, that is solely the individual's personal responsibility. Wheter or not someone believes in God has nothing to do with how they treat people, they have to do with how they treat people.

Quote:
"Love thy neighbor as thyself"

I think just the opposite of what you say here is true. Jesus did not preach a selfish doctrine, quite the opposite.


This is true Jesus did not preach a selfish doctrine. However the Golden Rule can be applied to individuals regardless of whether or not they have faith in God. It is not a religious doctrine, it is a humanistic doctrine that has been preached in a multitude of different ways by many different people over the past 2500 years. Jesus did not doctor this up, this can be traced back likely to the time of Socrates or earlier. Not only that but it has since been preached by a multitude of figures throughout history. It is a humanistic doctrine and not a religious one and therefore has nothing to do with whether or not an individual has faith in God.

Quote:
Why does a subjective faith demand that faith cannot be of benefit to others?


Subjective faith demands that an individual's faith cannot be of benefit to others because if it were it would not be characteristic of subjectivity. The very nature of subjectivity does not care the least about the benefit of others, only the benefit of itself. Therefore since faith is subjective an individual's faith cannot be of benefit to others.

Quote:
Sure, we might have some faith that causes us to be inconsiderate of others, but this does not mean that faith must be inconsiderate of others.

I would suggest that faiths which tend towards being inconsiderate are probably arbitrary, and held by people with very little understanding.


How many times must one define faith before others will recognize that definition and stop beating around the bush simply for the sake of playing devil's advocate? Having faith in God has nothing to do with being considerate of others. Having faith in God simply means the a passionate belief in the existance of God on an individual basis. Wheter or not someone is considerate of others has nothing to do with a person's faith, it has everything to do with the person just simply being inconsiderate. Faith has nothing to do with whether or not someone is a jerk, the only thing that is in control of whether or not someone is a jerk is the person alone - not faith. If you would stop equivocating faith with opinion (which I must say works rather conveniently to your argument) perhaps things will begin to make sense. You may or may not agree with it and that's fine but hopefully it will eventually make sense conceptually.

Quote:
Maybe it's impossible to prove such a thing, but I think we will notice a close relation between faith with little understanding, and faith which cultivates inconsiderate styles of living.


Faith doesn't cultivate anything. The only common denominator in the comparison of both of those is the person's own shortcomings that would be there regardless if they have faith in God or not. I think I've noticed a commonality in your argument: you've been frequently refusing to acknowledge an individual's personal responsibility for their actions, and instead blame them on something that is completely unrelated - their faith in God. The only ones we have to blame for our shortcomings are ourselves, not our faith.

Quote:
What distinction? Between being able to prove something, and being able to notice patterns, specifically, that violence and ignorance go hand in hand?


No, being able to distinguish between subjectivity and non-subjectivity. If something is subjective then the only one that stands to benefit is the individual alone since that is the very nature of subjectivity.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 10:47 am
@Israelite007,
dancing in chains - You need to stop, and reread our debate so far. Perhaps after doing so, you will no longer confuse yourself by trying to argue against claims I have not made.

Quote:
A little common sense would answer this question rather easily. Since religion is a spiritual matter, obviously faith would help the individual in a spiritual way. I don't think drawing a picture to illustrate this is necessary. Faith is solely the individual's passionate belief in the objective uncertainty (i.e. God). There's no need to rethink what we call faith, because at the end of the day that is what faith is.

Faith has nothing to do with how the individual helps others, that is solely the individual's personal responsibility. Wheter or not someone believes in God has nothing to do with how they treat people, they have to do with how they treat people.


Yes, faith can, and often does, help the individual. Arbitrary faith, without any investigation, is harmful to the individual and those around him. Faith with understanding, on the other hand, should be of great benefit to the individual and those around him.

Faith is not necessarily a 'belief in the objective uncertainty (i.e. God)'. Sure, it can be. Depending on our conception of God, we might take the question of whether or not God exists to be an objective consideration. Or, we might reject the notion of God as an object and in doing so take God out of objective consideration altogether. We might also have faith in something other than God.

I've never claimed the individual is not responsible for the way they treat others. They certainly are responsible as we are responsible for our faith, whatever that faith might be. What I'm claiming is that faith with understanding is good for the practitioner and those around him, and that arbitrary faith, faith without understanding, without consideration, without investigation, is dangerous and causes harm to the practitioner and to those around him. Whatever sort of faith a person has, and how that faith influence himself and others is that person's responsibility.

Do not mistakenly assume I claim that faith is necessary for treating people well. It isn't.

Quote:
his is true Jesus did not preach a selfish doctrine. However the Golden Rule can be applied to individuals regardless of whether or not they have faith in God. It is not a religious doctrine, it is a humanistic doctrine that has been preached in a multitude of different ways by many different people over the past 2500 years. Jesus did not doctor this up, this can be traced back likely to the time of Socrates or earlier. Not only that but it has since been preached by a multitude of figures throughout history. It is a humanistic doctrine and not a religious one and therefore has nothing to do with whether or not an individual has faith in God.


The fact that we can arrive at the Golden Rule by secular means of reasoning does not mean that Jesus did so. Further, most of the advocates of the Golden Rule, whatever the form, from those thousands of years, advocate that rule in a religious/spiritual context.

Yes, the Golden rule is a humanistic doctrine. However, it is also true that the Golden Rule is a religious doctrine. The Golden Rule does not necessarily have anything to do with faith or God, but often the Golden Rule does. In the case of Jesus' teaching, to claim his teaching of the Golden Rule is somehow not religious is to completely ignore the context of his teaching.

As the example of Jesus preaching "love thy neighbor" is an example of religious teaching, and is a matter of faith on par with love for God; if loving someone is good for the person being loved, faith can be good for someone other than the individual with faith.

Quote:
Subjective faith demands that an individual's faith cannot be of benefit to others because if it were it would not be characteristic of subjectivity. The very nature of subjectivity does not care the least about the benefit of others, only the benefit of itself. Therefore since faith is subjective an individual's faith cannot be of benefit to others.


But obviously faith can benefit people other than he who has faith. Faith does not necessarily benefit others, but it most certainly can. As a matter of faith for billions of people, helping others is paramount. Regardless of your conception of faith as subjective or whatever else, it is a matter of empirical fact that the faith of some people is inextricably connected to helping others.

Quote:
Having faith in God has nothing to do with being considerate of others. Having faith in God simply means the a passionate belief in the existance of God on an individual basis. Wheter or not someone is considerate of others has nothing to do with a person's faith, it has everything to do with the person just simply being inconsiderate.


Does any of this show that faith cannot be these things? Obviously in the Christian tradition, having faith and being considerate of others have a great deal to do with one another - they are the two most important commandments.

While faith may not necessarily be tied to how we treat people, faith certainly can, and in many cases does have a great deal to do with how we treat other people.

Quote:
Faith doesn't cultivate anything.


Then faith isn't anything.

Quote:
you've been frequently refusing to acknowledge an individual's personal responsibility for their actions, and instead blame them on something that is completely unrelated - their faith in God. The only ones we have to blame for our shortcomings are ourselves, not our faith.


Where have I claim that we are not responsible for our faith?

Really, making things up is not helpful in any discussion.

Quote:
No, being able to distinguish between subjectivity and non-subjectivity. If something is subjective then the only one that stands to benefit is the individual alone since that is the very nature of subjectivity.


Then do some things for me:
1. Define subjective
2. Show that if something is subjective it can only benefit the individual

Because I fail to realize how being subjective demands that something only benefit the individual. Subjective is relative to objective, the former designating the bias of one perspective, the later being related to objects outside the mind.

Again, I mention the teachings of Jesus as an example. Central to Christian faith is 'love thy neighbor'. Now, if we take your view of subjectivity and faith, we have to say that loving someone does not benefit the person being loved. I think you have some explaining to do.
 
Dustin phil
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 11:31 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Plainly spoken, I believe Didymos Thomas is trying to say that our beliefs can have an effect on others, since we might make decisions based on a particular belief system.

Dancinginchains, I believe is trying to say that having faith in God is not really going to harm anyone, and seems to be saying that he mainly keeps his faith to himself.

But if believe something like we should fight for God or something along those lines, this would seem harmful, and I'm not sure if many would disagree.
 
dancinginchains
 
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 05:38 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
Plainly spoken, I believe Didymos Thomas is trying to say that our beliefs can have an effect on others, since we might make decisions based on a particular belief system.

Dancinginchains, I believe is trying to say that having faith in God is not really going to harm anyone, and seems to be saying that he mainly keeps his faith to himself.

But if believe something like we should fight for God or something along those lines, this would seem harmful, and I'm not sure if many would disagree.


I think what I'm saying more is faith in God is in no way related to treating other human beings with decency, because some of the genuinely most decent human beings are both Christian and atheist, or perhaps I should say monotheist so as to welcome decent human beings from all 3 monotheisms. I know it's the cool and hip thing to trash talk believers these days, but there are in fact just as many decent people out there who do believe as there are who don't believe. It is because of this that faith cannot be linked to treating others curtiously and with decency, the only thing that governs that is the individual's choice of how they treat other people that would still exist regardless of religious belief. Faith has nothing to do with it.

To put it in a simpler analogy let's say hypothetically you're an Aquarius, and you're also a jerk. It is not because of the fact you're an Aquarius that you're a jerk since there are a plethora of others, who are the same sign as you, that are in fact (this may shock some of you reading this) not jerks at all. The only thing that makes you a jerk is your decision to act like a jerk. My point more emphasizes taking accountability for ones actions and not shifting to blame someplace where it doesn't even come close to belonging. The only person we have to blame for our actions is ourselves and our own personal shortcomings that would be there regardless of what we believe or don't believe.

No I would not disagree with you, but that is not faith. That is what one particular individual may choose to do with their faith that is governed by part of their individual personality. Again their personailty is something that would still remain the same regardless of whether or not the individual believed in God. If they didn't believe in God they'd find something else they would go out and fight for.
 
 

 
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