Fallibility (for WillTom)

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_spiker067, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. B_spiker067

    B_spiker067 New Member

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    Thomas Jefferson got slavery wrong, he kept his slaves and worked them hard so he could live in luxury for years in France. They even probably funded the University of Virginia with the sweat off their backs.

    What else did he get wrong?

    Hmmmm....?

    1)Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives.

    [SIZE=-1] 2) He originally wrote "a wall of eternal separation between church and state," later deleting the word "eternal." He also deleted the phrase "the duties of my station, which are merely temporal." Jefferson must have been unhappy with the uncompromising tone of both of these phrases, especially in view of the implications of his decision, two days later, to begin attending church services in the House of Representatives.[/SIZE]

    Shit, did he believe or compromise his principles yet again? So, Jefferson fallible and Hitchens fallible (I assume you read my post on Hitchens regarding waterboarding). And not small fallible but big fallible. Two guys who really should have known better and did the opposite.

    What does this say about the morality of good atheists, tell me Will Tom :)
     
  2. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    It might or might not tell you about the morality of two particular atheists, but nothing about the morality of atheists.
    And what it tells you about the morality of those two atheists is ... well, you tell us, spiker.
     
  3. B_spiker067

    B_spiker067 New Member

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    Well, I think I know what it is. I think it is obvious. But I thought an introspective moment by an atheist might inform me. So I decline at the moment to comment.

    So what is the cohesive substance then for atheists' morality. Is each atheist a god unto himself? Who, what, when, where or why do we define this atheist morality that I think WillTom has been espousing? Something he seems to think is a natural consequence of being human; an evolved capacity a la Dawkins and not a spiritual inheritance.

    And yet if this genetic morality is true.... it begs many, many questions. Like why is it okay for lions to kill one another and each others cubs and not for humans to do so? We are suffering an over population of the planet and halving or quartering the current population might not be such a bad idea. What bounds atheistic morality? Utilitarianism? Tribalism? Feel good juices for doing the "right thing" What has been the right thing for communists or fascists (who have been by and large avowed atheists)?
     
    #3 B_spiker067, Dec 12, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  4. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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    I am only making a brief appearance on this thread to defend the honor and good reputation of my hero, the deist, Thomas Jefferson.

    ----------

    "Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read 'A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;' the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination" --- Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom


    (Some religious fanatics of the time wanted the name "Jesus Christ" inserted into the preamble of the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom, but Tom Jefferson lobbied hard against this amendment (Jefferson did not consider Jesus divine, but merely a man) - and he won. Why? Because the Jew, the Hindu, and the Infidel (atheist) must be protected too.)

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    "Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear" --- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

    (thank you, Tom. I will question with boldness the existence of a god - or gods. Reason is a better guide than faith or fear.)

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    "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes" --- Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

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    "The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills" --- Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814


    "Among the sayings and discourses imputed to Jesus by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being" --- Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, April 13, 1820


    (I, too, agree that the history in the biblical Gospels is doubtful and defective and man-made. There is some useful morality contained in them; as well as deep immorality)

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    "Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law" --- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814


    Sing it out, brother Tom. It is music to my ears.


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    "It is between fifty and sixty years since I read the Apocalypse {The Book of Revelations}, and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams" --- Thomas Jefferson, letter to General Alexander Smyth, Jan. 17, 1825


    ----------


    It is still possible to somewhat redeem the Holy Bible. Take our your scissors, cut out all the miracles and magick and supernaturalisms, the Virgin Births, bodily ascensions, walking on water, raptures and revelations... and voila! You're left with the "Jefferson Bible". For the enlightened man of reason.
     
  5. B_spiker067

    B_spiker067 New Member

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    WillTom, there is not a single personal thought. They are all quotes?:rolleyes:

    And quotes I've read before at that.
     
    #5 B_spiker067, Dec 12, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  6. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I don't see indiscrepancy here. Why would Jefferson's own beliefs prevent him from attending church? The capitol saw clergy of many faiths, not any one single faith, presenting various sermons and rites of their particular beliefs. Part of intellectual inquiry is investigating competing theories to help form one's own theory. One does not close one's eyes and ears to what one does not agree with. To do so is intellectually dishonest.

    An excerpt from John Stuart Mill On Liberty:

    This is one of the more brilliant essays on the value of Liberalism. I suggest reading it.
     
  7. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    1) Have you read Principia Ethica by G.E. Moore?
    It's a perhaps now undated but quite profound rumination upon the subject of good ... and there is no mention of god in its pages.
    Most moral and ethical philosophy is like that ... god may be everywhere, but he is not on the pages of those writers.

    2) Buddhism is widely regarded as having a highly moral effect upon its practitioners, and yet there is no concept of god in Buddhism. (Through syncretism, an idea of god does pop up here and there, but that is mixing whatever is pure about Buddhism with something else.)
    I should note that there are other non-deistic religions.

    3) Many religions, at least in the outlooks expressed in their holy books, seem flatly immoral to most human beings not part of the particular flock.
    And yet, most often, the average adherent to any of these faiths is nowhere near as radical as a particular holy book might advocate.
    What would this be if not proof of an inherent human morality which softens many of the ludicrous injunctions offered by many religions?

    4) You must know many agnostics and atheists. Do you really find them less moral than their religious counterparts? I certainly don't. But I would gladly hear whatever you have to offer on this subject.

    5) And then, of course, there are the myriad things done in the name of religion which any feeling being would denounce as morally and ethically retrograde.

    (For examples, I think you can seek an appointment with willtom.)

    Is there a connection between morality and religion?
    I can't prove there isn't, but I can say it seem tenuous at best.
    You will find good and bad people doing good and bad things among the religious, the explicitly non-religious, and those who never think of religion.


    If there is an onus here, spiker ... I think it is upon you.

    Addendum: Whoever said that atheists are infallible, any more than religious people?
    In other news, neither of the deletions that Jefferson made seem to have a clear significance. What do you think they mean? Are they even relevant?
    Hitchens at one point did condone waterboarding. I don't think that was necessarily immoral, just as I don't think all those who condone something that can be captured by the word 'torture' are immoral.
    The question of whether torture can ever be used is not a predetermined one. If I had to address it, I think I would probably come down on the side of never using it, but I'm not sure. And any rejection of torture on my part would be in large degree conditioned by my knowledge (everyone's knowledge, by now?) that it doesn't work. So there's a merely practical way of dismissing torture as an intelligence technique.
    But many found waterboarding a treatment that fell in a kind of gray area ... worse than leaving the lights on 24/7 in some alleged terrorist's cell, but not a patch on using electricity on genitals or inserting pins under fingernails.
    Hitchens decided to explore this question. Was waterboarding torture full-blown, or something less odious?
    His experience told him it was torture, full stop.
    His initial position was not flatly, irredeemably immoral ... and his willingness to put it to the personal test and announce clearly and truthfully where he finally stood, particularly since he had to renounce a position he'd taken publicly ... well, in my view, that was a very moral act.
    If you take another view, I'd be glad to hear you out.
     
    #7 D_Gunther Snotpole, Dec 12, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  8. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    You know, those are good questions.
    Another day, with more time, I might try to answer a couple ... but I know now that I would be taking shots in the dark.
    But my inability to answer, and anyone else's inability to answer, would have no particular significance.
    It would only mean we couldn't answer.
    It wouldn't answer the question of whether there is some sort of inherent human sense of the moral.
     
  9. Northland

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    Well, that is how Biblical teachings took hold. Just keep repeating things.


    Hmmm.... Do you suppose in 300-1400 years, atheism will give way to something new like a religion based on one Greater Being that created us all?
     
  10. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    What, like B'hai? B'hai seems practical to me. Buddhism does to. For the even less spiritually inclined I think Taoism works well too.

    There are long-established religions/spiritual traditions out there which already do this and I have to wonder why they're not more popular now in the west.
     
  11. Northland

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    In curiosity, I looked at various sects of Buddhism, and it all just seemed terribly complicated to me. To some degree, the different sects of Buddhism seem to fall in line with the different branches of Christianity. By this I mean, there are constantly changes in the way people understand and accept things according to the surroundings of the time.
     
  12. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    To a Buddhist, this constant and unavoidable change is just an example of impermanence.
     
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