Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
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18-02-2016, 01:52 PM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
(18-02-2016 01:10 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-02-2016 10:15 AM)Aliza Wrote:  I plan to respond to your other points, but I'm just about to run out the door. Can you please provide me with some examples of what you mean? General references in the Hebrew Bible will be sufficient if looking up exact verses is too tedious.

Well I'd refer to the nearly seven hundred passages of the bible which refer to the heart.

That even begins in Genesis, in which God himself after destroying his own creation, recognizes in the aftermath that it was futile, that "the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth". That evil stems from the heart.

And the numerous passages in which love of God, reconciliation of God is matter of the heart as well. That God looks at the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)

Or a passage like the one in Isaiah 29:13: " This people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote." Emphasizing the heart, and meaningless of empty gestures.

And I believe that the NT verse, of without love, we have nothing at all, is as much a truism for Judaism as it is for Christianity.

The evil inclination being discussed in Gen 8:21 basically just means that an animal instinct is inborn, but wisdom and maturity are learned. Go to a toy store and watch how a two-year-old vs. a ten-year-old behave when they can't convince their parent to buy them a toy.

The evil inclination (ie animal instinct) is in all of us, but we have the power to control it through education, wisdom, and compassion.

It is NOT a permanent state that marks all humans as being sinners who need saving through some guy who doesn't hit the scene for another few thousand years. You can't gain maturity or "G-d's favor" by praying away the evil inclination. You have to do the work to learn and grow. Educate yourself, act with compassion toward others, and just be a good person.

Regarding Samuel, I'm not near my Tanakh, but just in what you said I think I can explain that. It says "G-D" looks at the heart. Not us. While you're down here, your actions weigh more heavily than your intentions. Your good heart won't provide medicine to sick children in India. Only your money does that. Or your education if you're one of the people making the medicine, or one of the people who solve logistical issues in getting the medicine out to the villages in India.

You really want to make G-d happy? Get a degree in some bioscience and figure out how to effectively feed the rising world population. Oh, I'm sure he'll be so proud.
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18-02-2016, 03:58 PM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
(18-02-2016 01:52 PM)Aliza Wrote:  Regarding Samuel, I'm not near my Tanakh, but just in what you said I think I can explain that. It says "G-D" looks at the heart. Not us. While you're down here, your actions weigh more heavily than your intentions.
Your good heart won't provide medicine to sick children in India.

A good heart is what drives those who sacrifice and dedicate their lives to the poor, a cold one is what stirs resentment and apathy towards the suffering. I don’t care to do a single thing for a suffering stranger, a starving child, a victim of injustice without a heart directed towards them. Without love, I would just easily dissolve into my own selfishness. A good heart is what drives a man to forgiveness, to extend mercy, to reconcile, to be in communion and friendship with others.

As is true for both Judaism and Christianity, the greatest commandment, is the one that commands us to love. Maybe your version of Judaism doesn’t subscribe to this? Perhaps Judaism doesn’t place an importance on love as Christianity does. Perhaps when John speaks of God as Love, that’s a statement radically outside of the belief of historic and modern Judaism? Perhaps even blasphemous? I don’t know, but you can answer that.

Quote:The evil inclination (ie animal instinct) is in all of us, but we have the power to control it through education, wisdom, and compassion.

I don’t think that perspective is particularly biblical, lol. It seems to be taken right of the page of the humanist manifesto. It’s entirely modern belief, that ties goodness with education. An educated father doesn’t particularly entail a good one. A man can be great philosopher and a shitty human being.

While I think your belief is expressive of what most Jews believe, I don’t think it’s particularly aware of basic contradictions of human life. It’s the sort of slogan that people who see themselves as good, get to pat themselves on the back about it, but for the rest of us, trampled by circumstance, who see no path to the good life, just a worldly one of temptations, the one you try to pave does not exist.

In our world, God and Goodness have died the same fate. On the question of Goodness, we’re bewildered and confused, nihilism has become the thing most believable. When we can say a man motivated by his own distaste for the poor to give to charity, is a good man, we might as well remove the term from our vocabulary all together. It’s lost all it’s meaning.

Quote:It is NOT a permanent state that marks all humans as being sinners who need saving through some guy who doesn't hit the scene for another few thousand years.

The sinners needs saving, every sinner knows that. A man is consumed by his transgressions and failures. All in need of some redemption story that never comes, all in need of love that extends grace and forgiveness, and offers him the good news. No man showed up a few thousand years later and changed the cosmic order, he only made it human, reduced the unknown God to flesh and blood, a brutalized victim at the hands of his very own humanity.

But what I find both curious and perplexing about the sort of Judaism that you express, is that it doesn’t really seem to say anything, that the rich traditions that paved it seems lost. Another relevant religions among a slew of irrelevant religions. It seems to be sort of like the patriotic christianity of some Americans, a more a cultural fixture than anything else. God and beliefs in your words seem to be deemed as irrelevant, that they might as well be forgotten? It’s hard for me to understand what Judaism means for you, other than a source of ethnic pride. Sort of the way Hinduism has become for many of my educated fellow indians.

It’s becomes a religion reduced to one of Dawkins bus posters: “be good for goodness sake”.

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18-02-2016, 07:08 PM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
(02-01-1970 10:25 AM)dateline='145554'TheInquisition 5285' Wrote:  I thought you said you weren't going to post on this forum anymore?
I changed my mind.

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18-02-2016, 07:46 PM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
(18-02-2016 07:08 PM)Alla Wrote:  
(02-01-1970 10:25 AM)dateline='145554'TheInquisition 5285' Wrote:  I thought you said you weren't going to post on this forum anymore?
I changed my mind.

Clap

#sigh
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18-02-2016, 07:53 PM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
(18-02-2016 07:46 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(18-02-2016 07:08 PM)Alla Wrote:  I changed my mind.

Clap

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18-02-2016, 07:59 PM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  In our world, God and Goodness have died the same fate. On the question of Goodness, we’re bewildered and confused, nihilism has become the thing most believable.

Nihilism is indeed the most believable, because nihilism is fact.

"Nihilism is true", however, is not equivalent to "let's all be assholes".

(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  The sinners needs saving, every sinner knows that.

Mmmmmnope.

(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  A man is consumed by his transgressions and failures. All in need of some redemption story that never comes, all in need of love that extends grace and forgiveness, and offers him the good news. No man showed up a few thousand years later and changed the cosmic order, he only made it human, reduced the unknown God to flesh and blood, a brutalized victim at the hands of his very own humanity.

Remarkably pretentious, without a hint of actual substance. And a nice aftertaste of condescension. Truly, an excellent word salad.

(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  It’s becomes a religion reduced to one of Dawkins bus posters: “be good for goodness sake”.

If you need more than that to motivate you, you should be very worried.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
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18-02-2016, 08:39 PM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
I think that there's something of a false dichotomy created when we try to separate actions from beliefs. My actions are directed by my beliefs. Without them I would act senselessly and randomly. On the other hand, beliefs are pointless without action. They simply rattle around inside my head until I expire having no impact on the rest of the world. At a bare minimum, I must perform the simple act of communicating my belief to another in some manner.

Actions are beliefs that have escaped the bone cages of our skulls and been translated to a medium other than the firing of neurons.

Actions and beliefs cause each other in such wonderfully complicated interactions that trying to causally divorce them is an exercise in pigeonhole assignment at best. We need only look at religion to know that this is true. Any religion that does not act on its beliefs in some fashion dies with its founder, extinguished by apathy. Any religion that lacks belief defies the definition of religion.

What is probably more useful is to examine the honesty and sincerity of a given set of actions and beliefs. The matter that gave rise to this thread is a decent example.

Aliza became irritated at the proseletyzing by her associate, who I will refer to as Christa. In Aliza's case, it was her associates actions, not her beliefs that were the source of the conflict. Had Christa not been so ridiculously heavy-handed and insistent in her attempts at indoctrination Aliza would likely never have given Christa's religious convictions more than passing thought. This is in good agreement with Aliza's professed belief that actions trump belief.

By contrast, Christa would have us believe that it is belief that is paramount. That 'tis better to be a self-destructive heroine junky who believes in Jesus than a decent, healthy and loving person who does not. Yet when the chips are down, Christa betrays her actual convictions by succumbing to the need to act on her religious beliefs in the most annoying way possible short of using a bullhorn.

Christa's need to act betrays the hypocrisy that is the foundation of Christianity. It should be patently obvious that any religion requires both faith and deeds in order to survive, so any claim to the contrary is a load of horse shit. If Christianity simply owned up to that fact there would be no problem. Instead it pretends that all you have to do is believe and doesn't start reeling you in until you've already got the hook in your mouth.

This glaring piece of theological dishonesty is attributed to Christ himself in his final hours in the utterly implausible setting of delivering a sermon to two fellow victims of the Roman Department of Corrections and Enertainment whilst writhing on the cross. I can only imagine the murderer's pithy reply.

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19-02-2016, 06:09 AM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
(18-02-2016 07:08 PM)Alla Wrote:  
(02-01-1970 10:25 AM)dateline='145554'TheInquisition 5285' Wrote:  I thought you said you weren't going to post on this forum anymore?
I changed my mind.

Any statement you would like to make about god or whatever will be evaluated in terms of you being a proven liar.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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19-02-2016, 07:09 AM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
(19-02-2016 06:09 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  
(18-02-2016 07:08 PM)Alla Wrote:  I changed my mind.

Any statement you would like to make about god or whatever will be evaluated in terms of you being a proven liar.

Big Grin I ain't seen ol' Inquisition so pissed since Galileo got let off.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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19-02-2016, 07:16 AM
RE: Theists, which matters more: action or belief?
(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  A good heart is what drives those who sacrifice and dedicate their lives to the poor, a cold one is what stirs resentment and apathy towards the suffering. I don’t care to do a single thing for a suffering stranger, a starving child, a victim of injustice without a heart directed towards them. Without love, I would just easily dissolve into my own selfishness. A good heart is what drives a man to forgiveness, to extend mercy, to reconcile, to be in communion and friendship with others.

But you've neglected the possibility that maybe other reasons motivates someone to give to the poor. In Chas's example, $50,000 is given in the name of protecting property values. A business might donate purely for the image it builds in the community.

ALL reasons for giving to charity are good ones, even if you might characterize these reasons as not being good enough. But it doesn't matter.... because it still gets done. There are lots of different people out there who are motivated by lots of different things. We ALL have a responsibility to help out, and our motives don't factor into the equation.

(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  As is true for both Judaism and Christianity, the greatest commandment, is the one that commands us to love. Maybe your version of Judaism doesn’t subscribe to this? Perhaps Judaism doesn’t place an importance on love as Christianity does. Perhaps when John speaks of God as Love, that’s a statement radically outside of the belief of historic and modern Judaism? Perhaps even blasphemous? I don’t know, but you can answer that.

Love is great, but no commandment is greater than the others. That’s like telling G-d that some of his ideas for us were less wonderful than others. It just smacks of ungratefulness and disrespect.

Obviously anything from John is blasphemous. He promotes idolatry, and that is the most heinous crime that a Jew or Gentile can commit. (No punishment for this crime. Let’s not get carried away here. We just regard it as ignorant and morally corrupt.) We don’t hold Gentiles to the standard of believing in or worshipping G-d, but we do expect that they won’t commit idolatry. This is a basic concept which the atheists on this forum seem to intuitively understand. –No matter how cool we think a person is, we don’t worship that person as the creator of the universe. Why don’t Christians get this? No other group of people worships a human in this day and age; not Buddhists, not Muslims, and not Hindus… no one.

(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-02-2016 01:52 PM)Aliza Wrote:  The evil inclination (ie animal instinct) is in all of us, but we have the power to control it through education, wisdom, and compassion.
I don’t think that perspective is particularly biblical, lol. It seems to be taken right of the page of the humanist manifesto. It’s entirely modern belief, that ties goodness with education. An educated father doesn’t particularly entail a good one. A man can be great philosopher and a shitty human being.

Lol! It’s totally biblical, and it’s far from being modern!

Maybe it makes you feel better believing that we Jews are complete incompetents who bumble around and concoct ever more creative interpretations for our own bible to excuse our rejection of your Jesus guy. If I could only get a dollar from every Christian who thinks that they know our bible better than we do… There would be no more hunger, no more sickness. I’d spend it all on healing the world.

… Okay, maybe I’ll need more than a dollar, but just go with it.

We officially recorded our understanding about the evil inclination about 2,000 years ago in the Talmud. You can check out our views on the Evil Inclination here on Wikipedia! And just because it was finally recorded 2,000 years ago doesn’t mean that we didn’t hold the idea previously (but that is another conversation for another time.) Our understanding of the evil inclination, and the core nature of man has always been, and remains a cornerstone of Jewish thinking.

(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  While I think your belief is expressive of what most Jews believe, I don’t think it’s particularly aware of basic contradictions of human life. It’s the sort of slogan that people who see themselves as good, get to pat themselves on the back about it, but for the rest of us, trampled by circumstance, who see no path to the good life, just a worldly one of temptations, the one you try to pave does not exist.

Just to clarify, my belief is an expression of what all of Judaism believes.

I think my beliefs are expressive of what all people believe. We see this being played out in our children. Toddlers are little monsters, and they become refined, civilized people when they get older. This is how it actually works.

I think it’s sad that Christians are constantly under the cloud of doom and gloom. The Torah promises you that you have the intellectual capacity to build upon your initial software. You have the choice to go from something lesser to something much greater. For us, this is a source of hope and inspiration. If you Christians want to believe that you’re horrible, miserable people with no hope for a brighter tomorrow, then go right ahead and do so. –But don’t drag the rest of us down with you.

(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  In our world, God and Goodness have died the same fate. On the question of Goodness, we’re bewildered and confused, nihilism has become the thing most believable. When we can say a man motivated by his own distaste for the poor to give to charity, is a good man, we might as well remove the term from our vocabulary all together. It’s lost all it’s meaning.

If you read and believe in the Hebrew Bible, then you’d understand that G-d cannot die because G-d is not a man who dies. Goodness is always ours to achieve. We choose to be good, or we choose to be bad.

If one man gives $1,000 to charity because he really wants to help the poor, and another man gives $1,000 to charity because he’s aware that he has a Torah obligation to do so, then the end result is that the charity now has $2,000 to spend on blankets and food for the homeless.

We do not judge the intentions of man. You cannot, no matter how hard you try, know for sure if either man’s actual motives are driven by what he says. Furthermore, if the curmudgeon only gives money because he’s following the law, then he’s a good, law abiding person.

(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(18-02-2016 01:52 PM)Aliza Wrote:  It is NOT a permanent state that marks all humans as being sinners who need saving through some guy who doesn't hit the scene for another few thousand years.

The sinners needs saving, every sinner knows that. A man is consumed by his transgressions and failures. All in need of some redemption story that never comes, all in need of love that extends grace and forgiveness, and offers him the good news. No man showed up a few thousand years later and changed the cosmic order, he only made it human, reduced the unknown God to flesh and blood, a brutalized victim at the hands of his very own humanity.

The sinners just need to stop doing bad things. For example, instead of worshipping false idols like Jesus, just worship G-d or no one at all. Then you won’t be a sinner anymore! It’s so easy!

(18-02-2016 03:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  But what I find both curious and perplexing about the sort of Judaism that you express, is that it doesn’t really seem to say anything, that the rich traditions that paved it seems lost. Another relevant religions among a slew of irrelevant religions. It seems to be sort of like the patriotic christianity of some Americans, a more a cultural fixture than anything else. God and beliefs in your words seem to be deemed as irrelevant, that they might as well be forgotten? It’s hard for me to understand what Judaism means for you, other than a source of ethnic pride. Sort of the way Hinduism has become for many of my educated fellow indians.
It’s becomes a religion reduced to one of Dawkins bus posters: “be good for goodness sake”.

That is so incredibly ignorant, I almost can’t excuse it. I honestly don’t even know how to respond to that.

If you cannot look at other religions or other ways of life and find all of the richness and beauty of their cultures and see the good that they’re doing and accomplishing in this world, then I’m sorry, but you’re just as arrogant and self-serving as they come.
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