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I need help concerning the word Agnostic

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Mr. P

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Niall:Do you have any refernce to this language? Any analysis?Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of PainHEY! Is that a ball in your court? - Mr. PI came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Just hitting Interbane's last question (still trying to get the hell out of Dodge), I'd say that 100% certainty on any issue is a mistake. It's hubris, since only the mind of God (in the omniscient Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition) could know anything with absolute certainty.
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Interbane

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Thanks, it was closer to rhetoric than to actual pondering. You used the word hubris... I need to start another thread I believe. About the excessive pride of a person.
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Dissident Heart

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MA: Better to postpone love in order to talk about it, rather than to love wrongly and dangerously.Still, there is something/someone you are protecting from this potential danger- out of a duty to love. You will postpone loving, out of a sense of love. There is a prior, basic, fundamental love that is saying, "We must postpone loving until we understand it correctly- because we do not want to harm the things we love." I think the question "Does God exist?" is much like chasing the root and source of this basic, fundamental love behind all loving.MA: You deny, then, instances where justice might best be expressed and attained through the imposition of punishment?The crucial component between Justice and Punishment is Mercy. The key impediment to Mercy is Ressentiment. Punishment arising from Ressentiment leads to Vengeance. Vengeance leads to Vengeance, leads to a perpetual cycle of destruction, making Peace impossible. Peace is the goal. Justice with Mercy leads to Peace. Justice as simply Punishment leads to War. If the Punishment is nothing more than Ressentiment seeking Vengeance, there can be no Justice. Love is a matter of healing the wounds of war, and reconciling the grievances of the ressentiful with the power of forgiveness.The Ressentiful cannot forgive, deny the validity of mercy, seek only vengeance, and are left with punishment as their only tool for justice.MA: Would you deny the possibility of love that is ultimately destructive, as in some forms of fetishism or obsession?I would not define actions that lead to pitiful demoralization or increasing isolation or decreasing freedom as loving actions. Love is not ultimately destructive...actually, what love ultimately is, brings us back to the initial quest to find that love beneath, between, and behind all loving. MA: my only wish is that everyone involved would choose to approach it (this board) in such a way as to encourage actual discussion and genuine intellectual inquiry. Personal comments are unlikely to do so.So, genuine intellectual inquiry does not involve actual persons, or their quandries, weaknesses, character defects, spells of stupidity, ugliness, and occasional lapses of decency? Is the intellect necessarily so separate from the person, such that all the juicy stuff of messy emotional nonsense and passion has no part? What is the point of actual discussion that avoids actual persons? MA: It's an observation based on a comment typed in a single post. To make it into a full-fledged observation about Interbane's character, you must extrapolate it and assume that it in some way describes who he is.No, it's an observation finding its roots in multiple occasions across many threads on this board...a series of exchanges where the issue of "loving inanimate objects, elements of nature and animals in personal ways" has been a guiding theme. Thus, your valid concern over dangerous hasty diagnoses does not fit this set of circumstances. Although, it does say something about your own haste to diagnose yours truly.
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DH: The crucial component between Justice and Punishment is Mercy.But here again, you haven't demonstrated whether or not punishment is an apt expression of justice. Rather, you've introduced an intervening term without establishing why it is in the best interests of justice to evade punishment.The key impediment to Mercy is Ressentiment.I would argue that there are other "impediments to mercy", such as law, social order, and in some cases, love.Peace is the goal.Peace is the goal of what? Not of justice, I would say, as the demands of justice sometimes require violence. Nor of love, since love has often led to violence as well.If the Punishment is nothing more than Ressentiment seeking Vengeance, there can be no Justice.This, I would predominantly agree with. But that "if" denotes the possibility of exception, ie. cases in which punishment does not arise from resentment (we can drop the French, I think, unless we're talking about a sense that isn't included in the English word) and would actually serve as a legitimate expression of justice.I would not define actions that lead to pitiful demoralization or increasing isolation or decreasing freedom as loving actions.Well, now we're back to the question, aren't we? So we can add this characterization to the (so far, rather short) list of descriptive terms that go into your understanding of love: non-destructive. Anecdotally, I don't always find that to be the case. I can think of instances where love has been the apparant motivation behind a great deal of destruction. For example, there are cases where a parent's love for their child has led that parent to kill another person, cases where a person has committed suicide in order to spare their loved ones certain measures of pain (the crucifixion of Christ serves as an analogue for both cases, I would say). Love of nationality has led to numerous wars, and love of money (that much deplored "root of all evil") has certainly destroyed its fair share of people, places and ideals. Some would even argue that the love of God has instigated some of the worst human atrocities known to man (thought I would argue that politics are more often at work than mere religious sentiment).So, given all of those exceptions, it's left in your charge to either re-examine your own view of love (which I think unlikely), or to explain what other factor pre-empts love in cases where love apparantly does lead to destruction.So, genuine intellectual inquiry does not involve actual persons, or their quandries, weaknesses, character defects, spells of stupidity, ugliness, and occasional lapses of decency?My point is that, by taking the position of a person who presumes to be qualified to comment on another person's personal life, you assume a position of authority. In doing so, you negate the possibility of discussion on equal terms. And I've seen it happening on both sides of the fence in this discussion: the theists feel at liberty to explain why the agnostics are ultimately unhappy, and the agnostics feel inclined to explain why the theists are so eager to delude themselves. Very few seem particularly eager on every occasion to meet at some sort of respectful common ground in order to carry on a legitimate conversation capable of leading to actual re-evaluation.Yes, obviously we're all real people on the opposite side of this computer screen, and we all have our own flaws, and those are specifically our problems. And it is neither the place nor, honestly, the capacity of anyone else on this board to sort those problems out for us. To even try demonstrates a certain level of vanity. (Oops, there I go being all hypocritical.)No, it's an observation finding its roots in multiple occasions across many threads on this board...a series of exchanges where the issue of "loving inanimate objects, elements of nature and animals in personal ways" has been a guiding theme.Well, if it adds any fuel to your fire, let me jump on the bandwagon by saying that I, presumably like Interbane, do not accord the same kind of love to inanimate objects that I do to living ones. Nor do I accord the same kind of love to other species of plant or animal that I accord to humans. And while I'm at it, I made the statement long ago, and still think it valid, that I love no idea so much as I love a person.Given all of that, why don't we talk about the nature of love, rather than diagnose one another with some form of emotionally stunted growth, hmm? If I'm somehow frigid and stunted, I'll work that out on my own time, but my experience is that the sort of presumption that leads people to tell other people "what's wrong" with them is the sort of thing that kills message boards.Although, it does say something about your own haste to diagnose yours truly.Please, do tell. Sheesh.
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MA: you haven't demonstrated whether or not punishment is an apt expression of justice. Rather, you've introduced an intervening term without establishing why it is in the best interests of justice to evade punishment.I've described how Punishment devoid of Mercy impedes Justice. Punishment with Mercy is the act of stopping the offender from harming themselves or others. It is bringing superior force to cease the unloving action of another. IF Punishment is simply a way of inflicting Misery to "teach a lesson", then it has nothing to do with Justice, and everything to do with Vengeance...and it is a terribly poor teacher too! Punishment is only valid as a means to stop, impede, and derail unloving behavior. It is not valid as a means to teach or instruct or educate. Mercy is the element that stops Punishment from becoming simply a method of delivering Misery; and simply delivering Misery has nothing to do with Justice- and, is the opposite of Love.MA: I would argue that there are other "impediments to mercy", such as law, social order, and in some cases, love.I agree, until you include Love. MA: Peace is the goal of what? Not of justice, I would say, as the demands of justice sometimes require violence. Nor of love, since love has often led to violence as well.Peace is the goal of goals, the point to which all trajectories of Justice are heading- but only IF Mercy is protected and nurtured and given its necessary role. The violation of violence is an issue only if Mercy is denied, at which time Justice is neither directing, nor is Peace the goal. It is not Love that leads to violence, but the ranking of some person/place/thing as more deserving of Love than some other person/place/thing. In other words, as soon as we decide someone deserves more Love than someone else, we are prepared to commit Violence, and are willing to Violate the Peace of those less deserving. As for Love leading to destruction, again, it depends upon the role of Mercy in the equation, as well as Ressentiment. The great and tragic mystery of Life is that it requires a great deal of Death. We kill to live all the time, and not only we, but everything that lives must kill to continue living. When this monstrosity is approached in Love, with Mercy to stabilize, Justice to guide, and Peace as the goal, then Forgiveness is possible, thus avoiding the terrible cycle of Vengeance that Violence promotes.As I see it, Love is only pre-empted by Love. More precisely, a flawed and disabled attempt at Loving is pre-empted by a better equipped and more lucid Love. Or, as Dar Williams put it, "What do you love more than love?"
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Interbane

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Dissident: "When this monstrosity is approached in Love, with Mercy to stabilize, Justice to guide, and Peace as the goal, then Forgiveness is possible..."Pardon my interjection, is it God doing the forgiving? I think that path is a balancing act beyond our abilities. Were we to have mercy, would unloving acts not still occur in humans who gain nothing from from mercy given to them? Then to decide when mercy will not stop an unloving act, thus requiring punishment, is also to play God in determining justice, which no man or men can do. To make exceptions is to make mistakes, causing more pain and misery. To assume the values/definitions you've placed on these principles accurately reflect reality enough that you can approximate a course of action is not wise. Causality is never so simple.
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Dissident Heart: We kill to live all the time, and not only we, but everything that lives must kill to continue living.Then is it apt to say that the only way to perpetuate one's own life is to observe the rule that we must love some lives more than others?
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