Ch. 1 - Rival Theories -- and Critical Assessment of Them
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Author:  Chris OConnor [ Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:06 am ]
Post subject:  Ch. 1 - Rival Theories -- and Critical Assessment of Them

Ch. 1 - Rival Theories -- and Critical Assessment of Them

Please use this thread for discussing Chapter 1. :)

Author:  WildCityWoman [ Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:59 pm ]
Post subject:  I'm about to start . . .

Have glanced over the first few pages - my daughter was present when I did so, and tried her best to confiscate it - she wants to read it, but she can take it out on her library card.

Ven vee get older, vee get viser . . . heh! heh!

Author:  DWill [ Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

Just acknowledging the existence of so many rival theories, just that alone...perhaps that tells us something important? In the field of psychotherapy, the existence of so many theories has caused some to realize that none of them can be true (in the sense of exclusively true), so there is talk of theory "convergence." I wonder if that could be possible on the much larger scale we're talking about here? It does seem strike me as obvious that none of these can be true, either, in the sense of exclusively true. Well, I hope to be able to say something more specific about this chapter eventually!

Author:  WildCityWoman [ Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

In other woids?

Different strokes for different folks . . . heh! heh!

Everybody's got their own way of thinking about things. I guess culture, where you live, what religion, if any, you lean toward. And the workplace - where you work, what kind of work you do - that all affects the way people think.

I am going to put the book in front of my nose, right now (right this psychological moment, as my father used to say) and read the first chapter.

Author:  WildCityWoman [ Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

. . . is there no such 'essential' human nature, only a capacity to be molded by the social environment - by economic, political and cultural forces?

I have to admit that I've not been to college or university, and have had no formal training in philosophy. So my answers to these questions will come from nothing more than my own views of life, those views having been 'molded' over the course of the 64 years I have been alive on this planet.

That said, let me give my understanding of the word 'essential' . . . I'm taking it to mean 'what's needed', 'what's instinctively there'.

Here is something I often tend to think about . . . a baby is born somewhere - let's say it is in an undeveloped area, a woodland, a natural beach by a seashore or the edge of a lake.

The mother pushes the baby out, cuts (bites?) the cord away from her body and leaves the child right there. There would have to be a reason for this, I realize, as a woman I know a mother's true instinct is to hold onto the baby.

But let's just say circumstances prevent the mother from staying with the child - maybe she died right there on the spot and the baby lived.

The baby has nothing more than its instincts - those instincts would be:

1) eat;
2) keep warm and comfortable;
3) avoid danger.

Inside the womb, the baby ate by way of the mother's body - when the baby matured the full nine months, it instinctively pushed its way out of the womb.

(Is it the mother's body or the baby's need? Dunno')

But once out of the womb, the baby instinctively strives to:

1) eat . . .

a) the baby has a need to put something in its mouth - the thumb? The whole hand? Ahhhhhhh! Good! Suck!
b) until the breast is introduced, the baby doesn't know that's what it needs, so it instinctively goes for whatever is available;

2) keep warm and comfortable . . .

a) I don't like this! I'm no longer surrounded by the womb's fluids - shiver! I want to be warm!

b) I want to be held! Pick me up! Hold me! Whaaaaaaaaaa! That's the only noise I know right now, so that's what I'll do;

3) Avoid danger . . .

Of course a baby senses danger - loud noises, tension in its environment. We know this. A baby would sense danger by experience - a loud noise is immediately followed by getting dunked in a cold basin of water, or feeling the pain that ensues as something falls on it - the next loud noise would warn of danger - the baby wants to avoid that danger.

This didn't happen when I was enfolded in the womb - someone hold me! Keep me safe!

Although the baby hasn't yet been given words to express same, it knows it needs these things - food, comfort and security.

It doesn't matter if the baby is male or female - whether the baby's mother and her family were black, white, democrats, republicans, meat eaters, vegetarians, rich or poor - that's what the baby's immediate needs would be.

Individual 'essential' nature would be just that until other individuals came along to show the baby what was to be so.

As unlikely as it would be, IF and only IF, it so happened the baby survived on its own, grew on its own with no human (or animal) assistance, that basic essential nature would stay the same.

That's not to say the child wouldn't form opinions, likes and dislikes - the child would see the sun come up in the morning and its environment graced with light - the child would see the sun go down in the evening and experience darkness.

The child would favour the light over darkness, or the other way around.


Author:  WildCityWoman [ Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

The Bible:

P. 3 (near the bottom)

"What is man that Thou art mindful of him . . . Thou has made him a little lower than the angels, and has crowned him with glory and honour," wrote the author of Psalm 8 in the Old Testament.

I personally believe in the Higher Power, being God and have respect for religious scripture, even though I question what was actually written by 'man' and what is completely true.

But what I believe in is immaterial for the moment. Maybe I'll get a chance to spout my opinions on the existence of God further on in the text, but for now, I'll get off my soapbox.

What I'm wondering about is what relation this quotation has to do with the question at hand - essential nature of man.

I dunno' - anybody else know why this is here?


Again . . . The Bible

(right under that last part)

The Bible sees human beings as created by a transcendent God with a definite purpose for our life.

Well, I tend to think so myself - my belief is gained not only from religious teachings I was given as a child, gained by reading and other teachings - my belief is instinctive and experiential. I do not declare my belief in God because a priest, minister, rabbi or mullah or any spiritual leader told me I have to believe - I just do.

And having that belief, I'd even go so far as to say that before we enter our physical lives as beings on this planet, God (or somebody in charge up there) actually tells the individual soul/spirit to decide - what do you want to do this time around? Meaning, what do you want to do with your time on earth.

(Forgive me for being playful here, but I think this is a good way to think of it)

You might have said 'well, I'd like to find out how they get that stuff into the Cadbury bars' and God might say 'OK, but a coupla' other things too - you gotta' do something else with this life you're about to begin'.

So you said 'I'd like to get a university education, maybe have a couple of sons, a daughter and have one of them become the President of the United States.' Maybe you said you'd like to become a doctor and find a cure for aids . . . aids being something you knew would occur in your lifetime. Maybe even cancer - I'd like to take a large part in the eventual cure for cancer.

Maybe one of your fellow souls/spirits - in the same lineup as you - said he wanted to experience how it would be to die by way of violence - to die by being done in by a serial killer. You might have said, yeah ok - maybe I'll be that serial killer. Then we'll meet back here and discuss the experience.

OK - so I'm just rambling on, but you know what I mean. This is just to say, yes - I agree with this - we are created by a transcendent God with a definite purpose for life. When that purpose has been reached, it's time to move on - next life.


Karl Marx - The real nature of man is the totality of social relations.

He might be right . . . to an extent - we are inclined to be who we are because of our environment - we are, to an extent, products of our environment . . . true, but that isn't the 'real nature'.

I think the things we need and come to have feelings about is right there when we're born - the words to form our thoughts on it, come later.

Our ways of being is moulded by our environment - our family, fellow citizens, culture, etc., but not in 'totality' as Marx says.

I also believe a person can pick up personality traits through the biological parent. I know someone who has a mean streak; that person can be downright nasty toward his fellow man at times. His father was like that - jealous, obsessively posessive, and hateful of others. Yet he wasn't brought up with his father. He saw very little of him. The couple who raised him were kind, intelligent people who respected their fellow human beings. It is because of this that he is kind and compassionate at times and other times he's mean spirited and acts out in a nasty way.

So, Marx is right in that our nature comes from 'social relations', but NOT in 'totality'.


Now, just having read through these few paragraphs, I'm wondering how this is going to be . . . the thing is, all of it makes me think - eeeeek! All this thinking might change my opinions on this topic, so don't be surprised if I start contradicting myself - ha ha!

Author:  WildCityWoman [ Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

Jean-Paul Satre - Man is 'condemned' to be free' . . . he holds that we are free to do or think whatever we want to do.

I wonder what he means by 'condemned'? Would it be better if we were not free, if everything we did was pre-directed and there was no getting away from it?


P. 4

In contrast, recent sociobiological theorists have treated human beings as a product of evolution, with our own biologically determined, species-specific patterns of behaviour.

Well, maybe it's a bit both, eh? Like I said, an unpleasant trait could be picked up biologically, but the social environment a person lives in could cause the person to be kind.

Our social environment, culture, etc., has a lot to do with it, of course. But if a person's inclined to be one way or the other - i. e., sexual preference, I don't think the environment would make his/her general way of being any different.

If a child is raised with homosexual parents, does that necessarily mean the child will be a homosexual? Sexual preference is inherent/inate . . . the 'environment' wouldn't make a difference.

Sexual preference is one thing that has to stem from the individual's make-up.


How about alcoholism? Whether a person grows up to be someone who is dependent on alcohol/drugs would have to do with his/her own nature. I would think so, anyway.

In a family or community where everybody drinks to excess, a child could be raised and grow up to do one of the following two things:

1) avoid alcohol due to the distaste he/she feels from seeing others mess up their lives because of it;

2) drink a lot just because everybody else is doing it - just to 'fit in' maybe?

Still, it has been scientifically proven that alcoholism is caused by a chemical condition (somewhere in the brain?)

Who proved it, and what institution he/she was connected with, I don't know.

ARF - Addiction Research Foundation - right here in Toronto - the doctors and staff there claim this to be so.


Author:  WildCityWoman [ Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:23 pm ]
Post subject: 

It will not escape the notice of contemporary readers that these three quotations from The Bible, Marx and Sartre, all use the masculine word 'man' in English translation, where presumably the intention was to refer to all human beings . . .

Of course - when these quotations were written, society wasn't conscious of this term - most of society, that is. And if women were offended by this, they didn't say so - it wasn't considered to be important.

There were a few women, of course, who would have been conscious of this, but not a lot. And it has only been in recent times that it was socially acceptable to publicly contradict The Bible. If such contradictions or opinions were written about, women dared not take on such a task. We had enough of a job trying to be accepted as 'equal' and 'entitled' to our opinions - it wouldn't have done at all, for a WOMAN! to come out and question what had been written by MAN! in The Bible - ha ha!

But this, in itself, is a good example of 'essential nature'.

I, as a girl, teen and grown woman, have always been inclined to insert the words


into my writing, or speech. I realize the word 'man' would do it for most people, but I am conscious of a woman's place in this world and always have been. Women's Lib? Hell! I was conscious of a woman's right to freedom from the thumb of 'some man' long before it was fashionable to be considered 'liberated'.

And in my thoughts on same, I often blamed 'women' as much as 'men'. Women, in my personal opinion, will be as liberated as they want to be.

I could go on forever with examples of this, but will try to keep it down to a dull roar . . .

1) You've probably read this story from me a few times on this set of book forums, or others on the web, but at the risk of boring my audience to tears (of which there are none yet) I'll tell it again:

The year was 1970 - pant suits were the rage - everybody was wearing them - the women, I mean - the men wore 'suits'. But once pant suits for women came into fashion, the terms 'suits' and 'pant suits' meant two different things.

This year heralded the end of a long period of time where women were not allowed to wear pants to the office or to school . . . I don't know how it was anywhere else, but it was the general rule in Canada. Maybe France, or some other place in Europe was ahead of us in that way - I dunno'.

I was once sent home from High School for wearing pants into the classroom to write an exam. Why in the hell a teacher would think it necessary to send a student to the office, ensuing a strict lecture and be sent home, because she wore pants, beats me.

It was, however, considered as being very important. I had to schedule another time to write my exam because of it.

It was early spring, but still cold enough that I didn't want to wear a skirt with my silly garter belt and stockings - any woman around my age would know that it was darn cold.

Why I didn't just wear a skirt and put my pants on under it, I don't know. I could have just taken them off before I went into the classroom.

OK - I admit it - I did it out of sheer spite! I was in a strong rebellious frame of mind around that time - ticked off with a lot of things about school and wanted to challenge the system.

Around that time, I favoured wearing an old pullover sweater that came down to just below the hips - I wore it with my skirts, of course. And with my pants when I was off school.

I viewed the practice of wearing this sweater (and my boyfriend's black shirt) in emulation of 'beatniks'. I was just fascinated with that movement when I was around 14.

My father would have been furious had he known about this incident and my mother, being who 'she was', would have wrung her hands and agreed with everything he said.

She might have said 'well, I don't see why she can't wear pants - women wear pants to the factories, don't they?' But she would have said it very quietly, then changed the subject to avoid having to enlarge upon it.

My father wasn't the kind that demanded subservience from 'the wife' or that she agreed with everything he said. But he was the kind that considered the opinions of other people as being 'hogwash' and would wave his hand in such a way to say 'Aw, g'wan with ya' - that's plain foolish!'

Heh! Heh! My parents were loving people and always provided my brother and I with the basic needs, but they weren't exactly what I considered to be 'with it', if ya' know what I mean.

Anyway, on with this thing about the pant suits . . . in 1970, the year before I gave birth to my first daughter, pant suits had come into style.

I got one - the pants were black (synthetic, one of the worst things 'man' or 'woman' invented) and the top was long, to the top of the legs, and striped. As I remember it was black, brown and yellow and it was a 'shirt style' that buttoned at the cuffs and had three or four buttons at the neckline.

You remember pant suits - shortly after I got that one, the 'wet-look' came in. I got a red one! Ha!

I've got a picture of myself somewhere, where I'm wearing the long wet look shirt as a mini-dress and I'm wearing a blond curly wig! Sensational!

I was working for National Trust - typing forms from stocks, bonds, etc. It was through a temp agency and my title was 'statistical/financial typist'.

Peter was the boss of the department - he sat in the corner office, looking out from his glass windows onto his underlings, all women, who sat, their asses tied to typists' chairs, conscientiously typing.

He was a nice guy, Peter was - I liked him. A Brit, with baby twins at home - he understood women and wasn't too hard on us.

Myself and some of the girls (young and old) had asked if we could wear our pant suits to work. Peter didn't see why not - he wore bell bottom pants and hoped the higher-ups weren't going to object to same.

Anyway, they called a board meeting, the agenda of such meeting to be 'pants suits or no pant suits'. That was the question.

And a ridiculous question it was - like I pointed out to all the women in our office, we were free to do what we liked. If we all walked into the office the next day, each and every one of us wearing a pant suit, what would they do - fire us all right there and then?

It was something, in my opinion, that shouldn't have become a 'question' or a 'request'. As women, we should have just worn the pant suits.

But there was one woman in our office - an old maid who was around 50 or so . . . she very intelligently batted her false eyelashes, that she used get done at Merle Norman's and said 'I think women should be wearing skirts - it isn't proper for women to wear pants.'

I just about screamed! Because of people like 'eyelashes' there, who wouldn't stand up for the basic rights of women to wear what they liked, a meeting was necessary.

If she didn't want to wear a pant suit, she didn't have to, for heaven's sake! But why stand in the way of other women who wanted to wear them?

It was like my Dad, who was stubborn son-of-a-gun. He was one of the car owners on our street that had his own garage at the back of the property. When the neighbours came around and asked him to sign a petition requesting 'residential parking rights' for those who didn't have garages, he refused.

"Why?" I asked, in my usual exasperated fashion.

"Because" he replied, pounding his fist on the dinner table, in his usual fashion, "people who don't have garages shouldn't own cars!"

My mother could have signed it herself but wouldn't. Dad wouldn't have thumped her or cut off her household money over it; he would have laughed at her and made derisive comments, but she was free to do as she wished. He could get awful noisy and bark a lot, but he never bit a soul, to my knowledge.

Still, my mother just shook her head, looking everywhere for something to use to change the subject and said "Oh, that's up to your father - he's the one who drives."

Of course, I was right in there ripping and roaring and said I'd sign it myself. Which I didn't, 'cause nobody asked me - when people came to the door and asked to speak to one of my parents, they didn't take the issue up with a 12 year old. Especially a female . . . ha ha!

But that was back in the days where nobody (except me) thought there was anything wrong with using terms like 'the wife'.


Now, here's another example of 'essential nature' or 'nature by way of environment' . . .

My mother's family were mostly women - and OMG, you shoulda' heard 'em - they were yackers from way back. Even to this day, when there's a funeral, a reunion, or whatever, it's all the women talkin' a mile a minute.

The men are usually sitting off to the side, quietly having a beer, playing cards, checkers or whatever.

There aren't many of them left now, of course, but that's how it was.

I don't really know how it was with my grandmothers - maternal or paternal - I never felt all that close to them anyway. They were both judgmental and only spoke to me when they felt it was necessary to express some criticism, but I'm sure they meant no harm.

Both grandfathers were quiet men who kept to themselves. Both had good sense of humours though . . . I still think of Popper after a few beers on Sunday afternoon, breaking into some old love song, crooning away to Nana, just to embarass her, get her blushing away and saying 'Oh, nonsense!'

I never noticed, however, that either of the grandmothers were dominated in any way by their husbands. It didn't seem that way - they seemed to be equal partners in their marriages.

My mother's two older sisters were scanadalizing in their ways - both frivolous, money spender, (men)izers - a warped way of emulating the word 'womenizers'. The eldest one was kinda' wild - she unfortunately developed alcoholism and became the black sheep (ewe) of the family. In her older years, you didn't see much of her - not that she wasn't invited to family functions - not at all - she just didn't show up.

She was my favourite aunt - she drove a little sports car and had a little dog named Tippy. She did exactly what she wanted to do. Even when she was with her second husband, who drowned in a river up north while fishing, she didn't allow herself to be dominated in any way.

A cute story about Aunt Bessie - Uncle Jim once asked her why she hadn't pressed his pants. She said 'why should I press your pants?' He replied, 'Cause you're the one who wears them!'

There's a few cute stories about old Bessie, but I'll contain myself from telling them, seeing as how this thread isn't about my Aunt Bessie.

Now you would think that two things being in place;

1) my father being a bit loud and imposing in stating his opinions, but certainly not a 'dominating' man who would harm a woman or child;

2) my mother's sisters being willful and anything but 'subservient' wives;

with those two things being in place, you'd think my mother would be the same. You'd think she'd make her own decisions and wouldn't always be looking to her husband for permission, or to be told what she oughta' think.

Just the same, she always did just that. On voting day, she'd go out the door to put her ballot in - she'd ask my father who she should vote for. He'd say 'what are ya' askin' me for? Vote for whoever you want?' But she'd insist - she knew nothing about politics, didn't even watch the news and couldn't care less about current events.

Finally he'd say 'ok, vote for the NDP'. And that's who she'd vote for.

That was something that used to get me going - why the hell vote if you have to ask somebody to tell you who to vote for? If you don't want to learn something about who's running for office, that's fine - I've got nothing against that - but why should a man have two votes, by way of having his wife vote?

So I'd get my own fist pounding on the table about it all, and there'd be another round of yelling from my father - another round of 'You just mind your own business, Miss!'

Then I'd flounce off to my room and rant about it behind closed doors for an hour.

But this thing about my mother - you'd think she would have been more inclined to be 'of her own mind', like her older sisters, but she wasn't. She was an old fashioned woman who believed in a 'man' being a man, and a 'woman' being a woman, and anything in between wasn't spoken of aloud.

That was the way it was. And it has always confounded me.

Hey! If you guys read all this, thanks for doing so - I just love ranting about 'women's rights'.


Author:  WildCityWoman [ Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:10 pm ]
Post subject: 

So, now I've done all this blathering - I see there's over a hundred views, with no replies other than one from Will and several from me - and I'm not even finished chapter 1!

I feel a bit embarassed - ha ha!


After all this reading/thinking, do I still feel the same way? Does the 'essential' nature of an individual depend on environment?

I'm pondering that now . . . and I must say, I'm enjoying this book so far - it's made me think out of the proverbial box.

But, I'm still stumped on what's meant by 'essential'. Does it mean the same thing as 'mainly'?

I know the definition of the word is usually 'what's needed', 'what's necessary', what's 'most important'. But I think it's an entirely different word in this context.

I'm hoping somebody is reading the book and might add to my comments.


Author:  WildCityWoman [ Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:32 pm ]
Post subject: 

So, here I am, all alone in this thread - bored with myself already - but I'm forging on through this first chapter.

I don't feel I've explained my views on the 'he/she' thing well . . .

It will not escape the notice of contemporary readers that these three quotations from The Bible, Marx and Sartre, all use the masculine word 'man' in English translation, where presumably the intention was to refer to all human beings . . .

Where I said . . .

But this, in itself, is a good example of 'essential nature'.

Or, did I? Did you get what I mean by everything I said? About 'environment', the family, how they were, how women thought about things.

My having always 'felt it', needing to ask 'why' and 'why not'.

Was it because that's just the way I am, and always have been since birth? Or did my family environment influence this, one way or the other?

I won't go on about that, for fear I'll be off and running again.


Author:  WildCityWoman [ Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:52 pm ]
Post subject: 

I like the way the paragraphs in this book flow, one into the other - the feminism thing for about half a page, then back into 'God', with no warning whatsoever - yet it works.

If it is not 'God' that's in charge, being the one who decides how things are going to be for us . . .

If, on the other hand, we are products of society, and if we find that our lives are unsatisfactory, then there can be no real solution until society is transformed. If we are radically free and can never escape the necessity for individual choice, then we have to accept this and make our choices with full awareness of what we are doing. If our biological nature predisposes or determines us to think, feel and act in certain ways, then we must take realistic account of that.

So we think about the following:

1) God? In charge, controls all;

2) We are products of society - society must change if we want to be satisfied with our individual lives;

3) If we live mainly through 'choice', then it's up to each individual how to live;

4) If what we are depends on how we're born then we must be realistic and work with what we're given to work with.

What do you think?

Through reading and thinking about all this, I think it's a bit of everything - might even go so far as to say it's either:

1) Everything I am is due to who I was when I was born;

2) Everything I am is due to environment - I am a product of my environment.

Both? Maybe . . . I am inclined to think that God gave us this privilege - we're here to make our own choices, draw our own conclusions.

God, being the supreme power of us all, I mean.

We are part of that God. Every once in a while, through meditation, or through just sitting silently a while and allowing spirit to touch us, we experience that power higher than ourselves. It's there - we can pray to it, commune with it - but still, we must deal with each and every thing that falls into our path through our own perception - God isn't going to put any big signs up on the road, telling us which way to turn, or what to think.

Author:  WildCityWoman [ Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:58 am ]
Post subject: 

DWill wrote:
Just acknowledging the existence of so many rival theories, just that alone...perhaps that tells us something important? In the field of psychotherapy, the existence of so many theories has caused some to realize that none of them can be true (in the sense of exclusively true), so there is talk of theory "convergence." I wonder if that could be possible on the much larger scale we're talking about here? It does seem strike me as obvious that none of these can be true, either, in the sense of exclusively true. Well, I hope to be able to say something more specific about this chapter eventually!

Will, sorry I haven't directly responded to your post here till now. Guess I expected you'd be in and out and we'd exchange views.

I too, having been reading and thinking about this, wonder about that - no one of those theories could be true - exclusively true, as you put it.

Not having read any of the 'Sage' stuff yet, I guess it's not the right time to speak of 'Karma'. But I can't help having the thought - if 'Karma', which I tend to believe in, is true, then our lives couldn't be led by 'environment' alone, could it.

Then again, if someone wanted to consider 'past lives' as being part of an individual's 'environment', then it would be true.

It's mind boggling. Since I started reading this, I am obsessed with commenting on each paragraph - and this is making me think more deeply on what's being said.

I'm not generally the 'intellectual' type, but when I meet an 'intellectual' kind of person, I tend toward being the one who throws her hand up to ask questions.

Hell bent on making an ass of myself, I guess, 'cause I usually get shot down. Heh! Heh!

Author:  DWill [ Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:53 am ]
Post subject: 

The idea that occured to people back in the 18th Century is that religious truth was not absloute but relative. What the Muslim believed was just as true, for him/her, as what the Christian believed. Enlightenment thinking on religion was based in relativism, and I think relativism has a general acceptance today, even among adherents of a particular religion. Of course, fundamentalists of whatever persuasion are still in the business of convincing us that they are the only ones who hold the Truth.

One result of relativism is the idea that we can't criticize what other people believe, because those beliefs are valid to them, and our own beliefs might appear just as strange. Mormonism seems really weird to me, for example. I accept the principle of not criticizing those beliefs, but only as beliefs. When it comes to what people do in the name of a religion, that is different. Actions can be criticized and condemned. It might appear, then, that the beliefs that people profess as compelling them to act should be condemned, too. That may be, but for myself, I still focus on the action. A belief has no inherent power to compel anyone to action. People still must decide to act, and if they do they are responsible for the consequences of their actions; they can't hide from responsibility behind their beliefs.

The authors tell us that despite cultural relativism, we can use a rational process to deconstruct any system of belief. We can then say whether the system has validity in the scientific sense we have come to value. Maybe we can indeed do this, but as the authors also say, such an analysis may not mean anything to the believers, because their investment in the system is not dependent on reason.

Author:  WildCityWoman [ Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:21 am ]
Post subject: 

I've always maintained that nothing - meaning not-one-thing in religion (s) can be absolute.

We have only religious scriptures to go by and they were written by people.

The prophets received their messages, burning bush, etc., but there's nothing to prove it was true, or just partially true, with a little imagination thrown in.

Religion is 'theology', not 'knowledge'.

Author:  WildCityWoman [ Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

Christianity occupied a similarly dominant position in Western society: heretics and unbelievers were discriminated against, persecuted, even burnt at the stake.

That's something Christians to this day forget when putting their thumbs down on the cruel ways of other cultures. Christians were once guilty of fundamentalist injustice themselves.

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