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Post 0

Monday, May 1, 2006 - 6:40amSanction this postReply
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I liked the short story, Luke.



Post 1

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 12:54amSanction this postReply
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My father is not the church pastor, but still, I will never tell him of my religeous beliefs, or lack there of. It would be absolutely devistating to him, if he were to find out about my atheism.
    I love and admire my father for many things. He is a great man. Mistaken on many subjects, but still great, and admirable.




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Post 2

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 11:24amSanction this postReply
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A warning: this post may go a bit off topic and may contain personal revelations of the author that have not much to do with a criticism or praise of the article in who's thread it is attached.  I mention this only in light of reading other threads that go off topic after many a posting and in hopes that this doesn't happen too quickly in this thread (or if it does, that the "collective" members of SOLO don't throw me out the door on my ear ;)  That being said, I submit the following:

This story definitely hit home for me in several ways.  I was once a member of the ICOC (it seems Jenna and I have something in common) and am now an atheist.  Looking back, I sometimes have a hard time understanding what it was that led me to the ICOC.  I think in many ways it was the fact that as a freshman in college, and somewhat lacking in friendships, I grabbed onto the first group of people that wanted to be my "friends".  And, growing up Lutheran, I didn't find the fact that it was a church group that disconcerting.  Of course, as at least one other can probably attest to, hindsight is twenty-twenty and the brand of "conditional friendship" that the members of the ICOC offered quickly became unsatisfactory (some say I have a gift for understatement). 

Anyway, once I "fell away" my relationships with the members of the church disappeared.  I was quite confused for some time, being afraid to even think of an unsavory word for fear of the Almighty's wrath.  I truly felt in part of my being that the decision to leave the church was a damnable choice.  Fast-forward several years, and after discovering The Fountainhead (through the webmaster at bodyinmind.com) I discovered Objectivism.  Now, I'm definitely still a newbie to the ideas of Ayn Rand, but have been careful not to replace one religion with another.

To try and curtail myself before I ramble too much more, my recent switch from ardent Bible thumper to Atlas Shrugged thumper (hope you get the joke) would most certainly come as a surprise to my own father.  In fact, a comment he made to me recently disturbed me quite a bit.  In a discussion on religion and it's validity, I put forth the idea that religion, or belief in any supernatural explanation for unknowns, is just a psychological "scape goat" and has no basis in concrete reality.  My father said that he believed in God, because if there were no God, he would be "very lonely".  This really struck me hard.  I felt so bad for him.  I, on the one hand understood to some degree what he felt, but on the other hand, now realizing that I am a glorious being all to myself and don't need a higher powered figure to validate my existence, I wished he could feel how I do about the world and myself now.  Maybe in time.

Yes, that is quite a ramble, but these are the thoughts that this story brought out in my mind.  Thanks for submitting it and allowing others to voice their thoughts.

Bauer




Post 3

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 5:19pmSanction this postReply
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Bauer,

I think your post is right on topic.

Good day,
Dean



Post 4

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - 11:40pmSanction this postReply
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I suppose I have a particulary deviant perspective. As an admirer of theories, I like to see the world through many different eyes.

I don't necessarily attribute corrupt malice to religiosity, nor stupidity but perhaps ignorance cultivated by the lack of wisdom.

I have found the exploiters of religion, as well as the true-believers that seek virtue in the junk-yard of history. Lets not attribute malicious evil, or stupid-evasion, or sloth where it doesn't belong.

Many devout religious see it as a means of virtue, and, working through them, it is. Lets judge according to context, not prejudice.

One day I heard some Bible-thumper explaining predators didn't eat prey until after the fall of Adam! That was it for me. I had to believe too many incredible things before breakfast each morning!

Yet, we shouldn't try to destroy ignorant foolishness at the expense of despair and disollusionment.

A recent documentary about Thomas Aquainas described "God" as pure "Form". - Laws of physics?

There's no reason to offend and discouraged while dispelling the mist of superstitious stupidity.

The theists appreciate love, mercy and progress, as do we.

Scott



Post 5

Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 4:58amSanction this postReply
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Scott,

I definitely agree with your comment that "theists appreciate love, mercy and progress, as do we."  Now, these things may take different forms for each, but at the heart of the matter, we have our own moral codes.  It is just a matter of where we get that moral code.  Is it from some set of rules written between 2-4 thousand years ago, or is it derived from our own intellect and sense of life?  One thing I find intriguing, and frustrating at times, is the idea that many theists think that atheists are immoral.  Why does morality have to come only as a package deal with belief in a deity?  As with many things, I can see both sides of this coin to a degree.  Having been in a "the bible is the true and infallible word of God" church before, and being drawn into that web, I can think back on my experiences and thoughts/feelings at the time and somewhat understand where this idea comes from.  However, as has been written on this site before, there is a difference between a "rule" and a "principle".  Bible thumpers use rules for morality.  Objectivists (true Objectivists) use principles to guide there way.

Bauer

P.S.  Dean, thanks for the kind comments.  When I start to write something, I start out with the idea that my words should be like a scalpel, precisely cutting to the heart of a specific issue.  Many a time it is that, after reading what I have written, I feel like my words are so voluminous that my scalpel has become a butter knife.  I guess I use the idea of just getting the words out onto the page (screen) and neglect the obvious step of editing.  On the one hand, I am not overanalyzing to death, but on the other I may sacrifice clarity by saying too much.  "Everything in moderation, my young cicada."




Post 6

Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 5:06amSanction this postReply
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Scott wrote:

The theists appreciate love, mercy and progress, as do we.

Objectivists appreciate justice, not mercy.  That said, leniency and generosity can be forms of justice that consider context.

Both Nathaniel Branden and Leonard Peikoff discuss these distinctions in detail in their treatments of Objectivism.




Post 7

Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 5:28pmSanction this postReply
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Theists often package morality as a package deal, as often atheists package nihilism and B.F. Skinner's brand of materialism with it. Too seldom are objectivist concepts in the debate.

Mercy was a poor word choice, perhaps charity. The opposite of looking for excuses to provoke, entrap, condemn and dominate. I've read Peikoff's take on justice in ITOE. I was disappointed he didn't deal with cultural as well as personal responsibility. Its only realistic to acknowledge statistics - that individuals in bad environmnts often go bad.

I'm surprised Rand wasn't more in agreement with Aristotle here, that is, on the influence of upbringing and habit on moral character, as well as choice.

Scott



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Post 8

Friday, May 5, 2006 - 5:57amSanction this postReply
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Scott, if it makes you feel better, Edwin Locke of ARI has stated in his tape on setting goals that heredity, environment, and volition each play a role in the shaping of character.



Post 9

Saturday, May 6, 2006 - 12:23amSanction this postReply
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As I thought about this for a couple of days, something dawned on me. In her plite to be honest with herself, and everyone in the church, she was being dishonest with the 2 people that meant the most to her. If honesty were so important to her, why is it she wasn't able to be honest to her parents, about her true beliefs? In not telling them why she really didn't want to go through with the ceremony, she was in fact lying to them.



Post 10

Saturday, May 6, 2006 - 5:24amSanction this postReply
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To lie is an act of telling an untruth knowingly.... to not speak or tell, is thus not a lie, even if the implication could be referred to as alluding to something else than is....



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Post 11

Saturday, May 6, 2006 - 7:28amSanction this postReply
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David, to elaborate on Robert Malcom's valid point, remember that the root of all of one's values is one's own life.  Honesty serves the self.  For Melissa to blurt all her deepest private thoughts -- which are her property to dispense as she sees fit -- when her parents could barely handle the superficial facts would not have served her long-term self-interest.



Post 12

Sunday, May 7, 2006 - 3:58pmSanction this postReply
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If this is the case, Robert, and Luke, what would have been the harm of just going through this silly little ceremony for the sake of her parents emotional stability?
   The morality that I got from the story is that she needed to be honest at any cost about going through with the ceremony. She needed to be honest with herself, her parents, and others in the church. But she didn't feel the need to be completely honest with everyone. This is the same hypocracy that I see from most christians.
   I don't necessarily disagree with her decision not to tell her parents. I have decided never to tell mine about my atheism. Just don't call yourself being totally honest with them by not accepting presents or a party.





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Post 13

Sunday, May 7, 2006 - 4:14pmSanction this postReply
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To be blunt - it is none of their damned business what the reason[s] are, so they're 'entitled' only to such as is given, at the giver's discretion....




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Post 14

Sunday, May 7, 2006 - 4:54pmSanction this postReply
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David, the moral of the story was that Melissa was discovering how to assert her relationship with objective reality honestly.  I can relate.  Untangling the mess of religious lies I had been fed for the course of my development into a young man took many years.  Melissa had a head start by seeing through them as a young girl.  She had numerous "right" or justifiable options to manifest her moral awakening.  Rome was not built in a day and neither is a morally righteous person, especially when she has to fight the people closest to her in her efforts to self-cultivate such a character.  She did the best she could given what she knew and how freely she could act.



Post 15

Monday, May 8, 2006 - 12:31amSanction this postReply
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Robert, I am sorry I asked. You seem pretty angry about my asking.
  A childs life belongs to their parents until such time they are able to care for themselves. So Robert, yes, it is their business. You need to know what is going through your childrens minds so that you can guide them to what you feel is a moral life style. A parent that doesn't want to know, is a parent that doesn't care about his children.




Post 16

Monday, May 8, 2006 - 12:38amSanction this postReply
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Hey Luke, I understand about the malfunctions of religeous upbringing, I was raised a southern baptist. I had that shit pounded in my head all of my life. I understand how it can screw up a person perspective, and mess with your head for years after. I was scared as hell when I first started questioning religeon, and the existence of God. It took me several years to get past that fear.



Post 17

Monday, May 8, 2006 - 2:06amSanction this postReply
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That is the error - a teenager is not a child - an immature young adult, perhaps, but not a child......



Post 18

Monday, May 8, 2006 - 5:16amSanction this postReply
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David wrote:

A child's life belongs to their parents until such time they are able to care for themselves.

Correction: The stewardship of a child's life falls to the parents with a gradual transfer of such stewardship from the parents to the child between birth and fully functional adulthood.  The life of the child ultimately belongs to the child herself.  Under your theory, a child would have no rights at all since the parents own her life and can thus dispose of it as they wish.

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 5/08, 5:17am)




Post 19

Tuesday, May 9, 2006 - 10:12pmSanction this postReply
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This ugly scene reminds me of Rand's discussion on the morality of taking tax money. We're locked in a dirty-grey system which penalizes us if we don't participate. I suspect Luke would probably prefer to work for a private concern, but private concerns don't have NASA's budget, do they? And the government has subjected the whole economy to a dreadful, atrocious opportunity cost.

In perfect hinesight, I suppose a wise young lady could "probe" her parents to see how much of there rationality was contaminated by "linkages" to tradition, authority and irrational sentimentality.

If her parents would disown her, perhaps refuse her help with getting a college degree, then like going to jail for tax evasion, or refusing to use the roads or mail or subsidized air travel or any other service, it isn't very practical.

Wasn't that the context Rand made about conscription, "suicide pacts, when she was asked if there was a "duty" to suffer harm for an ideal?

Certainly, Kant would demand honesty in the spirit of the religious ideal of truth. Perhaps Rand would argue that parents *forcing* an un-real creed on a child, by their rewarding or punishment, was not a trade of value, but a trade of harm.

Scott



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