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  1.    #1  
    I'm starting this thread because of another thread about america's leaders. No flames, please. This is going to be a mature conversation without bashing people or their beliefs or else I will ask the moderator to remove this thread.

    Just so people know, I am not for government subsidized religion, which is what the "separation of church and state" is all about. I am for an ethical standard that can be followed when applying laws. That is what a law is anyway, an ethical standard. If you break, the standard, there are consequences according to the ethical standard/law.

    - Burns
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  2. #2  
    I don't think the bible meets the condition of an Ethical Standard. It's too big and too subject to interpretation. The bible:

    -Supports the death Penalty
    -Supports Slavery
    -Supports the Gang Rape of your daughter to save your skin
    -Supports absolute pacifism

    ...and so on. Even if the inconsistencies and disagreements about interpetation could be resolved, it wouldn't make it an adequate standard for U.S. law, because it has no authority for America as a nation. There are plenty of other religious texts that ought to be given equal status (at worst).

    The best ethical standard for America, in my opinion, is probably object utilitarianism.
  3. #3  
    Why I think Object Utilitarianism is a good ethical standard upon which to base laws:

    1) It makes no statement with regard to religion, class, race, gender, etc.
    2) It is justified by the mutual benefit of a society, which is probably the best common ethical denominator around, unlike systems based on God, or the words of Confucious, or something else.
    3) It can contain general principles upon which laws can be based. Unlike standard utilitarianism, which is often interpreted to be an individualistic, case-by-case ethics.
    4) It is easily understood by many people, unlike a kind of Universal Imperative theory, which usually gets bogged down in its own attempts to justify itself.

    Downsides:

    1) Personal freedom is guaranteed only insofar as it benefits the society as a whole
    2) The primary justification, the benefit of society as a whole, is open to interpetation and mis-interpretation. i.e. it isn't the absolute, undeniable, and universally agreed-upon word of god. (but does such a thing exist, anyway?)

    ...but I think the downsides are easily overcome, and pale in comparison to the benefits.
  4.    #4  
    Yes, the Bible supports the death penalty. I've shown that in the other thread.

    No, the Bible does not support slavery. It records that it happens and sets guidelines to the treatment of a slave in a society that had slaves as well as treatment of slaves' masters by the slaves'

    No the Bible does NOT support gang rape. It simply records the incident. The Bible is more than just a standard, it is also a historical record.

    The Bible does NOT support absolute pacifism. How many times did God send the Israelites out against some nation to defeat it? How many times does God tell the Israelites to kill everything in a town, even the animals? Look it up. It's often.

    Thought I'd clear that up.

    - Burns
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  5. #5  
    Originally posted by Burns
    Thought I'd clear that up.
    Well, I disagree with your interpretations of those incidents. I don't think we really want to go through Bible events point by point... I'm willing to be I wouldn't be able to convince you and I'm also willing to bet you wouldn't be able to convince me.

    Even if you managed to convince me, however, my point still stands that the Bible is not a good ethical standard upon which to base U.S. law.
  6. #6  
    How does "Thou Shall Not kill" translate into "Thou shall kill but only if thy kills another"?

    People in the past have use the Bible and other religious books to justify their (mostly bad actions) --- Capital Punishment, Slavery, mutilation etc etc.
  7. #7  
    Originally posted by yardie
    How does "Thou Shall Not kill" translate into "Thou shall kill but only if thy kills another"?
    Well, if you go back and read the stuff after the 10 commandments, God lays out various punishments for various acts: being stoned or killed for eating pork, having an affair (only if you're a woman, of course), killing, stealing, etc.

    ...Of course, Jesus said to turn the other cheek, and that he's fulfilling the old law by placing his golden rule commandment above all others, but you know, we don't need to get into that.
  8. #8  
    Originally posted by dietrichbohn


    Well, if you go back and read the stuff after the 10 commandments, God lays out various punishments for various acts: being stoned or killed for eating pork, having an affair (only if you're a woman, of course), killing, stealing, etc.

    ...Of course, Jesus said to turn the other cheek, and that he's fulfilling the old law by placing his golden rule commandment above all others, but you know, we don't need to get into that.
    Isn'r this contradictory and inconclusive? Why then would some folks use the bible to support thing such as Capital Punishment?
  9. #9  
    Originally posted by yardie
    Isn'r this contradictory and inconclusive? Why then would some folks use the bible to support thing such as Capital Punishment?
    Yep. That's my point.

    However, with a consistent interpretation and an intelligent and adequately authoritative voice behind it (i.e. the church), the bible can be made to look consistent and meaningful. The standard Catholic interp. of the bible does a surprisingly good job of this. Problem is, that solution doesn't have the necessary elements for an ethical standard. Specifically, is lack advantages 1 and 4, above, and perhaps also 2 and 3, depending on your take.
  10.    #10  
    This is not contradictory. The purpose of the Mosaic laws was not only to setup a code of conduct but to show the Israelites that they could not be perfect in God's eyes. There were and an incredible number of laws that they were to follow and it was not humanly possible to follow every last one of them. That's the purpose of the sacrifices. When Jesus came, He FULFILLED the law by being perfect and by being the ultimate sacrifice. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't still try to live up to God's standards. What is meant by Jesus fulfilling the law is that when you accept him as your substitutional savior (i.e. he substituted himself for you to save you from your death penalty) you no longer have to sacrifice and you no longer have to worry about the ETERNAL consequence of your sin: death. Jesus still taught the principles behind the laws "Love the Lord with all your heart" and "Love your neighbor as yourself"

    Let me guess that dietrichbohn will again say that this is just my interpretation, but it is also the most common among those who know the Bible well.

    - Burns

    [just as a side note, I am not catholic]
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  11. #11  
    Originally posted by Burns
    This is not contradictory.
    I already admitted that it is possible to resolve most, if not all, of the contradictions with a well thought-out interp.

    The purpose of the Mosaic laws was not only to setup a code of conduct but to show the Israelites that they could not be perfect in God's eyes. There were and an incredible number of laws that they were to follow and it was not humanly possible to follow every last one of them.
    Then why is it a good standard?

    Let me guess that dietrichbohn will again say that this is just my interpretation, but it is also the most common among those who know the Bible well.
    I agree that this is the most common interp. And even if I said it was just your theory, I wouldn't put a value on it any more or less.

    2 things:

    One, you still haven't shown that, even if you can give a consistent interp of the bible, that it is a good ethical standard. See my 4 advantages, above.

    Two, The most common interp. in catechism and church is far, far away from the most common interp. in practice and in public life. If Jesus says "Love thy neighbor," and "turn the other cheek," why is it ok to execute him? People talk about the words of god and Jesus, but they don't use the same interp in their acts that they do in their justifications. It violates 3 and 4.
  12. #12  
    I have to agree with Burns on that last one. BTW for those who care (which I am sure there aren't too many) I am not Catholic either.

    I have debated Capital Punishment in my mind quite a bit, and I am in favor of it in certain cases. One for example was Timothy McVeigh. I know that I can't force anyone to accept that capital punishment is right, and no one can make me think that it isn't. It is something that each person should ponder and pray about. There are many questions that can be debated, and I think that the best way to know if something is right, is to, as James says in the bible, "let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him" (James 1:5). If you ask God with sincere intent, believing that you will receive an answer, he will answer you. You will be able to feel in your heart what is right. I can't explain why I am in favor of the death penalty, but I am, because I feel that it is right.
  13. #13  
    Originally posted by dietrichbohn


    One, you still haven't shown that, even if you can give a consistent interp of the bible, that it is a good ethical standard.
    I agree that the Bible should not be used by the government to establish laws. It should however, be used in each persons life as an ethical standard. If people would just live good wholesome lives, we wouldn't have to worry about the death penalty, or anything else of it's nature. But this isn't the case, so we get to deal with it.

    I think that government needs to do what is in the best interest for the country. Obviously, that is why criminals get locked up, etc. If the law supports capital punishment, then it is important that everyone knows that the consequence of murder is death. There needs to be consistency in the punishment. If everyone knew that if they were to kill someone, that they would die, I doubt that there would be as many murders. But, there are those convicted murderers that walk free after just a few years in prison.
  14.    #14  
    Ok, I'm gonna make this one short, and since I don't know how to do the nifty little quote thing (anyone willing to inform?) I'll do the best I can:


    Then why is it a good standard?
    As I said above, these were God's standards. Therefore they are perfect.

    I know, I know, short simple, but hey, it's true.

    - Burns
    Check out my page on Visors:
    Burn's Visor page
  15.    #15  
    Good point chuckster. Look at the stats in Texas. When the death penalty became strictly and swiftly enforced, crime decreased.

    - Burns
    Check out my page on Visors:
    Burn's Visor page
  16. #16  
    Originally posted by chuckster
    I agree that the Bible should not be used by the government to establish laws.
    Then what are we arguing?

    It should however, be used in each persons life as an ethical standard.
    I disagree, but we'd just go 'round and 'round. Different Strokes for Different Folks.

    If people would just live good wholesome lives, we wouldn't have to worry about the death penalty, or anything else of it's nature. But this isn't the case, so we get to deal with it.


    Right.

    If everyone knew that if they were to kill someone, that they would die, I doubt that there would be as many murders. But, there are those convicted murderers that walk free after just a few years in prison.
    I disagree. Research has shown that a shocking number of death row inmates have mental problems that preven them from understanding the consequences of their actions. Spreading the "eye for an eye" message won't reduce murders. Stopping child abuse, recognizing mental disabilities early, and providing a network of support for the above will.
  17. #17  
    Originally posted by Burns
    Good point chuckster. Look at the stats in Texas. When the death penalty became strictly and swiftly enforced, crime decreased.
    As it did elsewhere, where there never was nor is a deathpenalty.
  18. #18  
    Originally posted by Burns
    I'm starting this thread because of another thread about america's leaders. No flames, please. This is going to be a mature conversation without bashing people or their beliefs or else I will ask the moderator to remove this thread.
    I think what you actually mean is that you want a conversation without bashing beliefs that agree with yours. This close-minded attitude is demonstrated by the fact that you necessarily tie in a death penalty discussion with 'biblical principles'. Maybe you should start off by stating specifically the version of the Bible that you're using as the 'perfect word of God'? Then everyone that does not follow that particular version can know that their basis for their opinions are automatically not perfect? "No flames, please."? This thread is begging for some.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  19. #19  
    ...Phew! I was afraid I was the only Pagan left!
  20. #20  
    Originally posted by Burns
    [just as a side note, I am not catholic]
    That's pretty obvious, but I must admit curiosity to why you thought it was relevant. IME, people that make a point to start these sort of religious discussions aren't (or they're converts and not 'cradle Catholics').
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
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