[an error occurred while processing this directive]
About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Forward one pageLast Page


Post 40

Tuesday, April 6 - 10:02amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks for providing the link, Bill. I had assumed you meant that that quote was from Wikipedia itself, which would have shocked me. It is actually from some self-published individual's website. No reference is made whatsoever to any published authoritative thinker whether Aquinas or Rick Warren.



Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 41

Tuesday, April 6 - 10:42amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I love it! Ted wrote,
"Have a nice day"? You say that like it's a threat.
Oh, pardon me. How curious that you view that as a threat, when you feel free to engage in condescending sarcasm, insult and ridicule whenever it suits you. But if someone says, "Have a nice day," he's crossed the line.
Hypocrite is your word Bill. I never used it. You used it six times in order to change the subject when it was pointed out to you that an argument that Jesus is necessarily morally perfect since his will as God defines what is moral is incompatible with Rand's description of Jesus as ideal, a term which presupposes some objective standard. I assume you admit, although you seem reluctant to say it out loud, that that was not at all Rand's point.
Oh, come on, Ted. Rand's point was that Christians regarded Jesus as a moral ideal, not that by some objective standard, he was a moral ideal. And as for the term "hypocrite," it was you who argued that Christ didn't practice what he preached and that this was widely recognized by orthodox Christians. Well, what do we call someone who doesn't practice what he preaches? We call him a "hypocrite." So, if Christ was widely recognized by orthodox Christians as not practicing what he preached -- i.e., as a hypocrite -- then I would think that would include the pope. So, my question to you was: do you seriously think that the pope would say that Jesus Christ was a hypocrite? I'm still waiting for your answer.
In case anyone has missed my point, Jon did stumble on it, albeit as if he were disccovering something I hadn't already said repeatedly in plain English from my first post. I repeat, while her other points are valid, Rand's characterization of Jesus as an ideal embodiment of man is her own (understandably) confused notion, not orthodox Christian theology. Finally, I inadvertently omitted the source for this quote above, from Atonement at the Catholic Encyclopedia. You will notice the article says nothing about ideal humans.
So what? That doesn't mean that orthodox Christians don't view Christ as perfectly moral and in that sense an ideal man. You, who demand evidence, have failed to provide any evidence whatsoever of your claim that Jesus Christ is widely regarded by Christians as not practicing what he preached and therefore as less than morally ideal.

Have a blessed day!

- Bill




Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Post 42

Tuesday, April 6 - 1:17pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"Rand's characterization of Jesus as an ideal embodiment of man is her own (understandably) confused notion, not orthodox Christian theology."

Rand uses words as if they had objective meanings. What a surprise! The only source of confusion is to accept the muddled notions put forth by Christian theologians of various stripes - all of whom indulge, here and there, in using words as if meanings are adequately elastic to encompass revelation, faith, miracles, and the various tales told of people alleged to have walked the earth thousands of years ago, and as if we really know with great specificity what they said and did, as if they were... well, the gospel.

Rand said in that interview, "... I do regard the cross as the symbol of the sacrifice of the ideal to the nonideal."

I wonder what meaning she had in mind for "ideal"? Was she referring to 'ice cream'? No, maybe 'obeyed all commands of the Christian god'? Probably, not - that might be 'ideal' in a Christian context, but her context would have been more abstract, and universal. She might have meant something more along the lines of, "a person or thing conceived as embodying such a conception or conforming to such a standard, and taken as a model for imitation." Well, actually, she did say something very much like that. She said, "He personifies that which men should strive to emulate."

And by saying, "non-ideal" she maintained that same context and in doing so guaranteed that her meaning addressed sacrifice - regardless of the standard one is working from - Christian or Objectivist. What ever the concretes are derived under the particular standard or model, it is sacrificed to the non-ideal (Kill Galt for Mooch, or kill Christ for sinners).

If Christian theologians disagree with this characterization, they can always claim that God works in mysterious ways and who are we to know the will of God, and therefore whatever we represent with logic can be superseded, they claim, with mystical revelation.



Post 43

Tuesday, April 6 - 1:32pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Bill, your sputtering and insincere response (I am to believe that your otherwise bizarre "have a nice day" wasn't sarcasm?) and your repetition once again of the word hypocrisy, which I never used and need not defend, does not merit taking seriously.





Post 44

Tuesday, April 6 - 1:55pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Did you read the article on atonement I linked to above, Steve? You will notice that it doesn't say that Jesus' death was able to redeem mankind because Jesus was a morally perfect human being. That is not the Christian belief. It was because he was also God that his death is held to redeem mankind.

While your points are largely correct in the wider context and from an Objectivist standpoint, they miss the point of what the actual (orthodox) Christian belief is.

Again, if some morally perfect but merely human being had been sacrificed, some Christian version of John Galt, born of mortal parents in a state of original sin, then his death would not have redeemed mankind.

Maybe an imperfect analogy will help. Lets say that Jesus was God, and so he was perfect, and so Jesus was sinless. And Jesus was sacrificed on the cross to redeem mankind. It no more follows that the redemption of mankind was accomplished by his sinlessness than it would follow to say that Jesus was God, and so he was perfect, and so he was perfectly physically attractive, and so the sacrifice of a perfectly physically attractive man redeemed mankind. It was neither his inhuman beauty nor his human moral perfection that made his death redemptive, but the fact that he was God in human form.

Herein lies the difficulty. Jesus had two natures. He was both fully divine and fully human. Not a "perfect" human specimen, in the sense of superior, but a fully human specimen. He wasn't the fastest or the strongest, or the prettiest human being. And he did exhibit perfectly human not stoically Olympian traits like impatience with his mother at the Wedding of Cana, despair on the cross: "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?" and outrage at the moneychangers. Apparently none of this amounted to sin on his part, but it did amount to enough to show that he was fully "human."

I am not a Christian. I fully understand, and am sympathetic with Rand's ethical points and the way you expressed them. But as regards actually held belief, if an Objectivist were to try to engage in a debate with a knowledgeable Christian and to try to tell the Christian that the reason Jesus was able by his death on the cross to atone for the sins of mankind was because Jesus was a morally perfect human, the Objectivist would at best be seen as confused.




Post 45

Tuesday, April 6 - 2:34pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ted,

I grasp the point you are making. But my argument still stands. Rand is talking about sacrifice. The fact that she doesn't share a given Christian theologian's understanding of Christ and "human ideal" doesn't change the validity of her argument. If allowing or causing Christ's death was chosen by God and the purpose was redemption, then it was sacrifice. But the bigger problem with attempting to argue at this level is the need to grant a degree of validity to the concepts God, Christ as divine, life after death, the whole kit bag of mystical nonsense. In order to keep a kind of delusional purity to their ideology, they just 'change' the concretes.



Post 46

Tuesday, April 6 - 2:56pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
So then you agree that "while her other points are valid, Rand's characterization [of the Christians' belief in] Jesus as an ideal embodiment of man is her own (understandably) confused notion, not orthodox Christian theology."

(Edited by Ted Keer on 4/06, 2:58pm)




Sanction: 28, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 28, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 28, No Sanction: 0
Post 47

Tuesday, April 6 - 3:41pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Bill, your sputtering and insincere response (I am to believe that your otherwise bizarre "have a nice day" wasn't sarcasm?) and your repetition once again of the word hypocrisy, which I never used and need not defend, does not merit taking seriously.
"Sputtering" response?? What is that supposed to mean? Ted, you are just weird. And how was my response insincere. Yes, "Have a nice day" was mildly sarcastic; I wasn't denying that, but you objected to it as a "threat," which I found rather ironic in view of the insults and sarcasm that you regularly engage in.

As for the issue of hypocrisy, I wasn't saying that you used the word, but you very clearly used the concept without naming it when you accused Christ of violating his own teachings when he chased the money changers out of the temple. You then said in so many words that orthodox Christianity acknowledged this kind of moral failing, which I disagreed with. Hence my question: Do you honestly think that the pope would say that Christ didn't practice what he preached, i.e., was a hypocrite?

Well, do you? Why don't you just answer the question, instead of continually evading it?

In your response to Steve (Post #44), you wrote,
I am not a Christian. I fully understand, and am sympathetic with Rand's ethical points and the way you expressed them. But as regards actually held belief, if an Objectivist were to try to engage in a debate with a knowledgeable Christian and to try to tell the Christian that the reason Jesus was able by his death on the cross to atone for the sins of mankind was because Jesus was a morally perfect human, the Objectivist would at best be seen as confused.
Yes, he would, but that's certainly not Rand's argument, nor was it mine or anyone else's on this thread.

- Bill

(Edited by William Dwyer on 4/06, 4:14pm)




Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Post 48

Tuesday, April 6 - 4:04pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
No, I don't agree that, "...Rand's characterization [of the Christians' belief in] Jesus as an ideal embodiment of man is her own (understandably) confused notion, not orthodox Christian theology."

There is nothing confused about about Rand's statement - there is confusion in any attempt to resolve "fully divine and fully human" or a "God who chose to fully assume human nature." That is the kind of identity-denying, reality adverse, contradiction-embracing mysticism that makes any rational discussion into nonsense.

Bill is on the right track. Are the traits Jesus is known for to be emulated (according to Christians)? Yes, then he embodies ideals. That is straight forward English as opposed to Christian-speak.

I enjoy delving into the mystical details of Christian theology about as much as I would enjoy searching with bare hands for something that dropped into a pile of steaming feces. I just can't figure out why you didn't phrase your sentence more like this: "...Rand's characterization [of the Christians' belief in] Jesus as an ideal embodiment of man, understandably, does not match the confused orthodox Christian theologian's notion."



Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 49

Tuesday, April 6 - 4:24pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I didn't realize that you see this as a matter of Ayn Rand's honor, that the main issue is my using "confused" in relation to Rand. It is a correct use of the word in the third sense of my Oxford American Dictionary.

I never denied that the doctrine itself is confusing. I think I mentioned that it is called a mystery.

Rand's report of Christian belief, of which she has an understandably confused (i.e., imprecise, imperfect, sketchy) notion, is inaccurate.





Post 50

Tuesday, April 6 - 4:27pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Does anyone with access to the CD ROM know if there is another reference to this beside the Playboy article?



Post 51

Wednesday, April 7 - 12:38amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Point to take home:

When in an ethical discussion with a person who calls himself a Christian, ask why he thinks the atonement works.

All possible answers are absurd or morally grotesque.

Let him bait the trap, proceed from there.



Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 52

Wednesday, April 7 - 6:36pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Knowledgeable Christians generally consider the tale of Jesus whipping the moneychangers out of the temple as an example of his virtue, not as a flaw. Their arguments seem to converge on the notion of property rights (though they don't seem to explicitly think of it as property rights):

Their argument boils down to:

1) Jesus is the Son of God (and also is God himself, if you can figure out the convoluted rationalization that is the Trinity).

2) The church belongs to God.

3) The moneychangers were violating God's rules as guests in His house by exchanging money.

4) Thus, Jesus was rightfully enforcing His property rights by driving them out of His father's house.

They don't generally address the excessive use of force involved in whipping them without first making a polite request for them to leave, but then they generally aren't libertarians interested in the NIOF principle.




Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 53

Wednesday, April 7 - 6:42pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ted:  So then you agree that "while her other points are valid, Rand's characterization [of the Christians' belief in] Jesus as an ideal embodiment of man is her own (understandably) confused notion, not orthodox Christian theology."

No, Ayn Rand was spot on there. Orthodox Christian really do believe that Jesus was perfect, an ideal man, a being whose life should be emulated as much as possible. Their goal really is to strive to live a Christlike life. (And Mormons explicitly state that their goal is to eventually become a God themselves just like Jesus, as they "perfect" themselves in the afterlife.) This is how all the fundamentalist Mormons and Catholics and Protestants I know think.

If you think otherwise, can you provide a link to some prominent orthodox Christian who reflects mainstream Christian beliefs who believes otherwise?

(Edited by Jim Henshaw on 4/07, 6:45pm)




Post 54

Wednesday, April 7 - 7:23pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Yes, there are all sorts of low church everyone-a-theologian, biblical literalist protestant preatures out there rationalizing Jesus's use of a weapon in the temple,

. . . just as I am sure that there are plenty of bible thumpers who have never heard of the nicene creed and so forth who will explain why it was actually virtuous for Jesus to be rude to his mother at the feast of Cana,

. . . why it was virtuous of him to despair on the cross "Eloi, Eloi, lama Sabcthani"

. . . and so on.
"4) Thus, Jesus was rightfully enforcing His property rights by driving them out of His father's house."
. Yes, the same Jesus who said, turn the other cheek, he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword, my kingdom is not of this world"? "Property rights"? Like the rich guy and the camel of the needle's eye? You make me giggle

Here is the scripture:
13And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

15And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;

16And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

17And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
This is not a proof of Jesus' perfect adherence to a moral code. It is yet another Old Testament prophecy "the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" the fulfillment of which shows that Jesus is the messiah.

But none of this has anything to do with any actual reputable Christian philosophy. It won't get you anywhere in any orthodox church's school of theology.

And it ignores the fact that Jesus was sacrificed not, as Rand said, because Jesus was morally perfect (even if you concede the point) but because he was God incarnate as man. That alone invalidates her point.

I congratulate you on totally missing the same objections which I have made explicitly what, five times now? And in two posts even. But every Objectivist is entitled to his expert theological opinion, even if he can't find a relevant theological text to support it. I am so impressed I will sanction you. Twice.





Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 55

Wednesday, April 7 - 7:52pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"...Jesus was sacrificed not, as Rand said, because Jesus was morally perfect (even if you concede the point) but because he was God incarnate as man. That alone invalidates her point."

Repeating myself, I'll quote Rand again, "... I do regard the cross as the symbol of the sacrifice of the ideal to the nonideal." And, she talks about the moral transaction which is what a sacrifice is. Jesus being God incarnate as man (apart from being absolute blather) doesn't invalidate her point at all. Human ideal, God, either could be seen as an ideal and either could act as the object of sacrifice.

Let's get very precise here, and start by noting that she says, "...I do regard...", not, "...Christians do regard..." and then she talks of the sacrifice of the ideal. That seems to be your main quibble. That Jesus can not properly be thought of "ideal" - because he drove the money lenders from the temple and then you go into this business of his being God in human form. Going back to the temple, I notice that it isn't really a whip, but some woven chords, and that it doesn't say that he hit anyone or even threatened them with being hit. He drove them out, which could be with strong demands and no more - and maybe the woven chords were for whipping the animals? Don't know... wasn't there. Is there somewhere that says he actually struck them? Not that it changes things much at all.

You said, "... it doesn't say that Jesus' death was able to redeem mankind because Jesus was a morally perfect human being. That is not the Christian belief. It was because he was also God that his death is held to redeem mankind."

You are talking about a purpose for an action, and the mechanism that implements that purpose. "Gee, I want to redeem mankind of their sins - that's my purpose, but how will I do it? What mechanism would effect that? Oh, yeah, I'll sacrifice Jesus on a cross." Notice how neither the purpose nor the mechanism stop this from being a sacrifice.



Post 56

Wednesday, April 7 - 8:28pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
What is the point of this, Steve? Ideal means ideal according to some standard, not divine. I have already said this and you already know it.

All of this has been addressed. I have not budged one iota from my original position, while the rest of you continue to throw the pasta at the wall to see what sticks. Rand's analysis of the morality of sacrifice is correct, but her notion of what the actual Christian philosophy is is wrong. That is all. No different from her saying you shouldn't smoke cigarettes because you can get lung cancer which is caused by nicotine in the bloodstream. The attribution of the cause to nicotine in the bloodstream would be a confused notion. Just as the idea that Christians believe what was needed was the sacrifice of a morally perfect man is a confused notion. Easy. Simple. End of story. It doesn't make Rand look bad. She wasn't a specialist or a scholar. Unless, maybe, she has to be infallible?

I mean, what the hell is wrong with you people? Are you mentally ill? Where the hell is my is my whip? Huminnah, huminnah, #&$@!

Sorry, that was my money-changer moment.

I really don't get the goal you want to achieve at this point. Jon Letendre, thinking he was going to trick me, actually stumbled upon the exact same truth I have been exp[ressing all along, and got sanctioned for it, but without, apparently, realizing that he had read me say it in my first post.

Rand was wrong on a minor detail. So what? Why are you people attacking me as if you were the zealots and this were the inquisition?




Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 57

Wednesday, April 7 - 9:24pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Yes, Ted, we are pasta throwing zealots who refuse to honor your scholarly observations. We blindly lash out at any imagined slight to our God Rand.

You just continue to ignore what we have pointed out. That Rand did NOT address what the Christian Theologians think of this - No where did she do that. She said it was a sacrifice (in objective terms). She said Jesus was the ideal (man or God). She had no need to address the nonsense of the Christian idea of Jesus' identity as God/Man/Whatever or the nonsense of the mystical mechanism redemption.

You just insult our motivations and get onto what feels like a condescending scholar's box and repeat your points while ignoring our arguments. Why do you persist in claiming that Rand was wrong on this tiny little detail? Clearly, if you read what we've written, really read it, you'll see that it is in your mind, maybe because of the depth of your studies of the details and concepts in this area, that you jumped to wrong conclusion. Read it again - she is not discussing Christian theology - she is, as always, working from her Objective framework.



Post 58

Wednesday, April 7 - 10:35pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Please drop the "poor me, you insulted my motive" routine. It's umanly.

In case you don't notice, you didn't answer my response to your last objection that ideal means ideal according to some standard. I take your silence as a concession.

But now you have once again changed your objection. Now you object that Rand didn't say Christian theology? Okay, so we won't use the word theology to describe Christian beliefs about the essence and nature of the divine being and the supernatural effects of his death and resurrection.

Nevertheless, there is no statement of Christian philosophy that holds that Christ redeemed mankind because he was a morally perfect human.

Did Rand or did Rand not, in addition to expressing her disgust with Christ's execution, make a statement of fact about Christian belief?

It's quite clear she did, and it was inaccurate.





Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Post 59

Wednesday, April 7 - 10:53pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ted wrote,"...Jesus was sacrificed not, as Rand said, because Jesus was morally perfect (even if you concede the point) but because he was God incarnate as man. That alone invalidates her point."

Whoa! Where does Rand say that Jesus was sacrificed BECAUSE he was morally perfect? She doesn't. Here are her exact words: "Christ, in terms of the Christian philosophy, is the human ideal. He personifies that which men should strive to emulate. Yet, according to the Christian mythology, he dies on the cross not for his own sins but for the sins of the nonideal people. In other words, a man of perfect virtue was sacrificed for men who are vicious and who are expected or supposed to accept that sacrifice." So although Rand does say that Jesus, a morally perfect man, was sacrificed to the morally imperfect, she does not say that he was sacrificed BECAUSE he was morally perfect. Moreover, from her reference to "a man of perfect virtue, it is easy to see that by "ideal" she simply meant morally ideal, not ideal in some other respect.

You have continually claimed that orthodox Christianity doesn't regard Christ as morally ideal, but you have provided no evidence for that claim; you've simply asserted it. In post #53, Jim Henshaw asked you, "If you think otherwise, can you provide a link to some prominent orthodox Christian who reflects mainstream Christian beliefs who believes otherwise?" Well, can you? So far, you haven't. And I have asked you repeatedly if you honestly think that the pope (whom, I assume you regard as an "orthodox" Christian) would say that Christ didn't practice what he preached. Well, do you?

- Bill

(Edited by William Dwyer on 4/08, 8:33am)




Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Forward one pageLast Page
[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]