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Moral Guidance-- Where?


des
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Ok here's a nice safe topic. But I don't think the Bible is much of a guide for moral/ ethical behavior. It's got some nice rules in it (don't kill, steal, etc.) but those are mixed in with statements like "dont' covet they neighbors manservant". You cannot covet your neighbors wife (don't worry about husbands). And the stuff about killing etc is all in ancient and quite pagan cultures. (You can kill people NOT in your clan, but that's ok in the Bible too.)

 

It also comes in with support of slavery (just be a good slave and be nice to your slaves, also you should only keep slaves in adjoining countries, like Canada! :-))

 

It doesn't mention stem cell research, keeping people alive on life support, homosexuals in committed relationships (yes it does nix homosexuality in some ways of interpreting things, but no one forsaw homosexuals *loving* each other).

 

Some advocate "consistent morality". I don't exactly see "consistent morality" in the Bible, not with God killing everybody but an ark in a huge flood/tsumani; sending "she bears" after children; etc etc. etc. And in one place Jesus says to call someone a "fool" is very bad (apparently) but yet another he calls the Pharisees "fools". I understand modern Bible scholarship has an answer for these things.

 

As I said in another post: he other thing is that this "consistent morality" issue is a nice concept on paper, imo. It might even be an admirable one in some respects, but, imo, it does not deal with the complexities of life in the year 2005 (and beyond). We can continue the life of anybody, including someone who would otherwise have died long ago, should we? We can take an embryo with 180 cells and potentially make all sorts of useful organs, should we? We might be able to clone, should we? If the mother has a 80% chance of dying (or close), should we do an abortion to save the mother's life? Or what about the problem of a mother given in vitro fertilization to conceive using twenty embryos and they all become implanted. The woman has 0% chance of delivering all fo them and 50% if all but two are aborted. Do you give two a chance? (not so far fetched btw).

 

"Consistent morality" demands a single possible answer to each the above questions. That's perhaps a topic for another thread, but I think the questions- if there even are any-- are incredibly complex.

 

Even common sense type questions to me are much more difficult than the ancients seemed to think. But they lived in small rural communities. What does "stealing" mean when dealing with the internet, for instance? (I can see things that are clear cut and things that seem less clear cut.) What are sexual mores when you don't get married when your hormone levels are highest, no you wait ten years or more, and some of us never do get married.

 

 

 

Ok let er rip! :-)

 

--des

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I think you're right... the answer has to do with moral consistency.... it's not about the situation, it's about the standard for making decisions that you personally bring to any situation (or try :) ). How about Do unto others as you would have them do unto you???

 

Ex: 1,000 embryos. What to do? What would I want done to me? I would want to be allowed to make the decision; not legislated to or caught up in court with people who have never met me.

 

Ex: stealing on the internet - put yourself in the place of the other.

 

We're back to panentheism to some extent and quantum theory and buddhism... if we are all part of God, then can I harm you without harming myself??? I don't think so.

 

Then there is the mystery. If this always worked, it would be easy. So, for the times when you have limited information or the answer is not clear... how about live with no regrets. Planning to be able to look in the mirror 10 years later and say, "Given what I knew at the time, I did the best I could and acted in a way I can be proud of"

 

I think this allows for the fact that one answer is not desirable for everyone. That is where our system falls down. We know that people are very different, but we want one diet, one pill, one exercise program, and one faith that will work for everyone. Non-judgement????? Allowing people to do what is right for them... ahhh... but we KNOW that people will not do right (Romans 7) and apparently never have :lol:

 

Then the big can of worms opens: All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.

 

Where's the line between that and non-judgement?????

 

Yikes - a stream of consciousness post that has left me more confused! :P

Edited by Cynthia
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Ok here's a nice safe topic. But I don't think the Bible is much of a guide for moral/ ethical behavior. --des

 

I think the New Testament suggests strongly that we are equipped with internal guidance which is of the Holy Spirit. We have our consciences informed by the Love of God. In my mind, Christ ushered in a time in which mankind obeys a "higher law"; an inner law and not an outer law or the laws of men. This is a much more sophisticated and mature morality and a much more difficult one because we can not rely on conventional morality or wisdom, but must *hear* God and obey Him.

 

I feel that those who rely strictly upon the Bible or any law "written in stone" essentially miss the Holy Spirit and keep their consciences pacified by an easy righteousness codified by a group. They essentially obey men and not God. If our God is a Living God (and I believe in a *changing* God because I believe in a Living God) then it is vital that we listen to God in the present rather than adhere to "dead letter" OR the laws of men. Paul told us that "Love fulfills the Law", which means to me that any ethical or moral decision or position maintains itself in Love or in Law, one or the other. How do we know which is which? Law requires force and a "legislation of morality", while Love persuades.

 

I watched "Saints and Sinners" on the history channel last night, which was a history of the papacy. What struck me in the program was the tendency of Popes to establish law without persuasion. Pope John Pauls' position on abortion I both understand and support, but I disapprove of his failure to adequately teach the sacred dimensions of sexuality which is the basis of this church law. To the eyes of many his position on abortion and birth control seem arbitrary and imperialist. He failed, in my opinion, to persuade us of the sacredness of Life and Sex and Creation and so the result is people obeying law without any understanding of the spirit of the law, and so sex and the creation of life does not become more sacred, only arbitrarily hindered by Law, and nothing evolves or changes. We STILL have unwanted and starving children and aids run rampant and over-population and so on...

 

lily

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The Bible is the basis, the foundation, for me, but like Lilly, I believe the Holy Spirit also teaches, magnifies, clarifies, expounds, etc. But never contradicts the Bible.

 

It is very easy (and enticing) to want to "update" what the Bible teaches due to our knowledge, customs, modern times, etc. But that can quickly turn to justifying sin. For example, Jesus taught that the only acceptable reason for divorce was adultery. Not "we're growing apart," not "I don't love her anymore," not "we're on different paths," etc. I coud find many other reasons, which many rational people would support, why my wife and I should divorce (hypothetically, of course--I'm happily married!). But I come face to face with Jesus' teaching to NOT DO IT.

My point is, our feelings, however heart-felt and sincere they seem, are not always in line with God's teaching.

 

As always, when I do fall short, I am very thanful for the grace that is extended to me :)

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Divorce is a nice example. Seems pretty clearcut. But even here. Jesus may have said it, I'm sure some of you can quote better than I. But there are circumstances in which continuing a marriage could be wrong, in some cases "dead wrong". For example, if the spouse is abusive. The rate of improvement by therapy or miracle is extremely low. Jesus never said what to do in the case of spousal abuse, nor does it anywhere in the Bible. (To my knowledge conventional wisdom at the time *allowed* spousal abuse (as well as child abuse, go ahead and *beat* your child, he will not die). There was the imfamous rule of "thumb" (that means don't beat your spouse or child with anything wider than your thumb).

Jesus said you can only divorce if there is adultery but being abused isn't good enough.

 

Aletheia, I don't know about why Jews wouldn't except for adultery. I think *women* were more on the property status (women who *weren't marriaged* were in trouble in that they couldn't own property and weren't considered having the same status as males); marriages were generally arranged, so "loving" your spouse wasn't so important; marriage was the norm and being in marriage was more essential than it is now.

 

I don't think the Bible is too sufficient here. The Spirit could be a guide here, but if it were me, I'm not waiting around for the spirit to move.

 

I think the "do unto others" is a pretty good moral precept, thing is it isn't too unique. NOt unique to the Bible, certainly a part of all major religions and that includes paganism (what's the wiccan precept?, "do what you will, ....") I don't think there is *anything* in the Hebrew Or Christian Bible that hasn't been said elsewhere that I would consider a worthy value (wearing blended fibers isn't on my list!) Even pagan cultures or stone age tribes have rules of some moral precepts.

 

>It is very easy (and enticing) to want to "update" what the Bible teaches due to our knowledge, customs, modern times, etc. But that can quickly turn to justifying sin.

 

Yes, but what the Bible says NOTHING about is so wide that according to our own experiences, customs, modern times, is a big gulf. I listed a few of the more dicey moral dilemas. We are talking of thousands of years. The Bible doesn't anticipate any of these.

Cloning, stem cell research, abortion (at least til it would be called infanticide), keeping people alive on machines, taking an organ from a babboon or pig and putting it in a human, many other medical ethics aren't in htere anywhere. I find the above statement, not saying you think this, darby, but it seems a lot of times to be a desire for a time that is no longer here.

 

 

Fornication would be somethign that has changed as much in fact as in aspect. Sex is wrong outside fo marriage period. I don't think they ever could have predicted that sex could be unhinged with pregnancy; that people would live YEARS (and maybe their lifetimes) in a sexually active period but unmarriage. Teen pregnancy? They were all teens!! (Unless you count the dubious examples of Sarah, etc.) Mary was prob. 15-16. I don't think young teens should even get married in todays society. I don't think they should have sex either, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with "morality" but more that they may not be equipped to recognize the emotional load they are dealing with, the same might be said for marriage, etc.

 

I mentioned homosexuals in committed loving relationships. NOT in there anywhere (well maybe David ???). *Loving* isn't in there. Sex for hire or temple prostitution is prob. what they were talking about. I do not believe in a gay or straight church prostitute. :-)

 

What about behavior on the net, etc?? Even the "Do it yourself" thing is limited here. Would I want someone downloading my text or some photos *if* I didn't know about it?

I'd actually say I don't care. But then since I feel this way, it doesn't mean that someone else might not feel differently. OTOH, spamming me, stealing things off my harddrive (that's different, it's private), etc etc whether I know or don't is NOT ok with me.

 

 

BTW, I think it is kind of a misunderstanding to say Jesus completely wiped away the Torah. I think he showed that aspects of it were not so holy. OTOH, I htink it was used as kind of battering ram on Jesus. Woops heal on the Sabbath, bad on you!!

 

 

--des

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I like what Episcopal priest Brian Taylor says about the Bible in his book, "Setting the Gospel Free"--

 

"The Bible is not God. It is a collection of stories and teachings told by an ancient people concerning their experience with God. Sometimes they were wrong, and sometimes they were right on the money. This point of view will make some nervous (“Well, if we can pick and choose what to believe, what good is it?”). But it will also return ultimate truth to where it belongs: to God. God will highlight and burn in our souls from scripture what we need to hear and heed. God will use this imperfect, human document (what other kind of material does God have to work with in this human life, anyway?) to awaken us to the miracle of our life. God will use teachers, friends, books, and the Spirit within to sort out what is eternally true from what is culturally misguided in scripture.

 

On the other hand, as people of the biblical tradition, we take the Bible seriously. For we recognize that it represents centuries of broad experience, an experience of thousands of people, many of whom were utterly devoted to and graced by God in profound ways. This representation far outweighs the limited experience of our own individual lives. While we may have more wisdom than one or another of the particular voices of scripture, we cannot make this claim about the broad themes and recurring truths that shine through its human limitations.

 

While we take scripture seriously, we must also give ourselves permission to have some perspective on it; it's all right for scripture to anger, awaken, bore, annoy, delight, confuse, inspire, and leave us feeling neutral. All of scripture doesn't have to be enlightening. To treat all of the Bible as a kind of divine object that we are supposed to grimly revere, even if it seems way out of whack with our own experiences is to give it an oppressive authoritarianism that its authors did not intend.

 

With a contextual approach to scripture we allow it to be for us what it is: a varied collection of inspired beauty, misguided delusion, paradoxical mystery, spiritual immaturity, and divine wisdom. With this attitude we can take it lightly or importantly, we can trust that the same God who spoke to the authors and characters of scripture, real people in time and place, will also guide us through its use and speak to us in our own time and place."

 

Sorry, this turned out to be pretty long! :blink:

 

Peace,

curlytop

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I take the Bible seriously alright. And I think that as such there are certain things that will always still relate to our present situation. They transcend date and history. For example, I think the Great Commandments do that. There is no way anything could happen in our history or culture where this wouldn't be valid.But I also agree that not all of it is moral or true. ("She-bears" eating children comes to mind. :-))

 

And then there are ways of interpreting meanings that make them less historically and culturally vulnerable. (Or that make certain things that are said less offensive, imo).

And there are of course stories, mythos and the like. Some of which, imo, tells us not so much and some of which is loaded with meaning.

 

But I think that there are some things going on today that are outside anything that the Bible can even point to. To take an extreme, what about cloning? I think it might be bad from totally non-ethical concerns (for example identical DNA might be less robust than DNA that is from "real sources"). Perhaps a belief that diversity is good, wonderful is the most "Biblically based idea"-- lots in the Hebrew Bible about the glories of God's creation. But in the end, I don't think there is too much assistance here.

 

I'm sure the Spirit continues to guide us, but how do you know what it is saying?

For example in the recent Terri S. case, was it saying "she is already dead let her go" or "she is alive so keep her that way". ? (not that I want to get into a big argument about that, but it is the kind of moral dilemna we are faced with in the 21st C which is not at all clear cut.)

 

--des

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here two quotes about the Bible from bnet I really liked:

 

"The Bible is the cradle that holds Christ. That "cradle" includes written collections of earlier oral folktales of prehistory; court documents; poetry; polemics; allegory; crafted historical narrative; pastoral letter. Parts of the Bible are indeed historically factual; other parts are folkloric, or metaphorical. (Scholars use the same techniques to ascertain which are which that they would use to study any other ancient documents.) Truth is not synonymous with factuality. The Book of Jonah, for instance, is a beautiful little story of God's grace and inclusivity that speaks a truth about God whether one reads it as a series of historical events or as a parable."

 

--- and ---

 

"In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul was defending his ministry to some people in Corinth who questioned his authority. Paul says that you can tell his authority from the power in his words. "For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake." (2 Corinthians 4:5) That is, he isn’t claiming that the Corinthians should have faith in him. He is claiming that they should have faith in Christ.

 

They should listen to what he’s saying because of the effect Christ has in their lives. "For it is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Co. 4:6) That is, he doesn’t want them to believe his message. He wants them to believe what God is revealing through his message.

 

He goes on to say, "But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us." (2 Co. 4:7) That is, they shouldn’t look at Paul to see how perfect or blessed Paul is as a sign of their assurance. Paul isn’t the assurance, God is.

 

This is how I see the Bible. The Bible is a clay jar that contains the treasure of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To put it another way (borrowing from a well-known theologian), the Bible is like the manger in which the Christ child is laid. Some of the boards might be warped. Some of the nails might be bent. But the greatest treasure we'll ever find is contained therein.

 

God's contribution to the Bible isn't the words, it's the Word. "

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Ok here's a nice safe topic. But I don't think the Bible is much of a guide for moral/ ethical behavior. It's got some nice rules in it (don't kill, steal, etc.) but those are mixed in with statements like "dont' covet they neighbors manservant". You cannot covet your neighbors wife (don't worry about husbands). And the stuff about killing etc is all in ancient and quite pagan cultures. (You can kill people NOT in your clan, but that's ok in the Bible too.)

 

Don't forget that it ALSO says you ar enot to covet your neighbor's ass, which in today's social setting makes for an interesting concept.

 

As I said in another post: he other thing is that this "consistent morality" issue is a nice concept on paper, imo. It might even be an admirable one in some respects, but, imo, it does not deal with the complexities of life in the year 2005 (and beyond).

 

That's the problem, it DOESN'T deal with the complexities of modern society because people who wrote the actual text of the Bible could not possibly fathom what we live with on a daily basis where it is no longer acceptable to keep slaves, kill or main someone who wrongs or insults you, conduct sacrifices and so forth.

 

woman has 0% chance of delivering all fo them and 50% if all but two are aborted. Do you give two a chance? (not so far fetched btw).

 

Morality aside, personally I think people have far too much of an obsession with fetus' and tissue, with the overpopulation problems, global warming, pollution, coming poil shortages and all the rest that this planet has the LAST thing we should be doing right now is bringing yet MORE mouths into this world. The breaking point is rapidly being approached, large segments of the world's population don't have enough food, clean water, South Africa and other areas have huge long term droughts and the USA simply cannot feed the entire planet either by producing the food or by economics.

Something is GOING to give, and we are already seeing the start of new and serious diseases, antibiotic resistant germs, glaciers and pole ice melting at phenominal rates never seen at any point in history, climate changes and all the rest.

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Ani-man said,

 

>Morality aside, personally I think people have far too much of an obsession with fetus' and tissue, with the overpopulation problems,

 

Hah! reminds me. Have you seen Monty Python: The Meaning of Life". There is a very funny song in there about birth control and the sanctity of ######. And this couple are having a discussion about birth control how awful. Anyway upstairs the kids start singing "Every ###### is sacred every ###### is good every ###### is needed in your neighborhood", and kids keep coming and another drawer opens and kids are coming out of sock drawers singing this, and the room is filled with them. Then they have various celebrities like the queen and Margaret Thatcher singing.

 

It is a great underrated Monty Python bit, imo. :-)

 

--des

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IMO, The "Wesleyan Quadrilateral" is a very useful tool for moral and ethical discernment.

 

John Wesley was an priest in the Church of England (and the founder of the Methodist movement) and he added the vital role of Experience to the traditional Anglican "tripodic stool" of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.

 

So, if one seeks to give full consideration to Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience when they confront a moral dilemma, or seek to ground their theology, etc. one is far more likely to come to a solid and satisfactory result than if they don't.

 

This said, different people may apply these four factors and come to somewhat different conclusions and the same person may apply them and come to a different place later in life than they do now.

 

Thus, this is a living, flexible, and messy process. There is no other way! : )

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Hah! reminds me. Have you seen Monty Python: The Meaning of Life". There is a very funny song in there about birth control and the sanctity of ######. And this couple are having a discussion about birth control how awful. Anyway upstairs the kids start singing "Every ###### is sacred every ###### is good every ###### is needed in your neighborhood", and kids keep coming and another drawer opens and kids are coming out of sock drawers singing this, and the room is filled with them. Then they have various celebrities like the queen and Margaret Thatcher singing.

 

 

 

I haven't seen it Des but it sounds funny :)

 

In biology of course all males produce far more ###### than could ever be used, it's the order of things that most of these cells simply die or go un-used, it's like buying a 2 liter bottle of soda taking one sip and pouring the rest down the drain but that's how the whole thing was designed.

 

The cells are constantly replaced over a specific cycle like every other cell in the body is. It's been shown I know at least in dogs that if they are not used for stud for long periods of time the first batch of spern collected are of poor quality and it takes flushing those out once or twice to produce the fresher much better quality ###### cells. So obviously just "sitting" there un-used is detremental and that can be proven scientifically under any microscope.

 

It's also been shown that sexual inactivity can cause prostatitus and other problems, and it wouldn't surprise me if some testicular and prostate cancers coul dget their start this way.

 

Females are born with all the eggs they will ever have, most of them die off before puberty. I forget the numbers but female dogs are born with a huge number of eggs, something like 200,000 and by the time she has her first cycle at 6- 12 months of age the numbers are down to something like 4,000, so a massive number of the eggs are similarly discarded naturally by the body.

So with basic biology there one can see a better picture of these eggs and ###### cells and see that they are little different than any of the multitudes of other cells in the body that are created, divide, grow, die and are replaced- skin, organs, muscles, blood, bone etc.

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Thankfully, we don't have to follow the arcane ceremonial laws of ancient Israel. However, those laws did keep Israel "pure", in prepration for the coming of the Messiah. The moral laws, found in the Decalogue and in the "first and second greatest commandments", are still in effect today, and provide a clear and valuable framework from which to confront ethical dilemmas.

 

As far as the environmental "problems" go, they've been mis-diagnosed. Overpopulation isn't the problem (it isn't even A problem), the problem is lack of economic development and corrupt governments. Population wouldn't even be an issue if third-world countries had the kind of economy the U.S. has.

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As far as the environmental "problems" go, they've been mis-diagnosed.  Overpopulation isn't the problem (it isn't even A problem), the problem is lack of economic development and corrupt governments.  Population wouldn't even be an issue if third-world countries had the kind of economy the U.S. has.

 

I think you need to do a bit more research into this area and take a look at the vanishing rain forests clear-cut stripped and slash burned for more agriculture, the global warming, melting ice caps- all proven via historical imaging and scientific instruments. Go to china, india or third world countries and see the families with ten kids each, not enough food, water, jobs, living quarters and more.

Check out how China's energy use according to Smithsonian Magazine 75% from burning of dirty coal. The human population has grown far too large for the finite resources there ar

all it will take to cause a huge sum of misery and a lot of deaths is a couple of back to back years or so of bad crop years and that can come from a repeat of the 1930's so called "Dust bowl" or a volcano erupts like the one in 1809 that caused the year to be known as the year that had no summer as the dust, ash and pollution blocked so much sun the temperatures dropped, crops failed, people died.

We are at the point where one oil refinery gets blown up and put out of commission for the months or years it takes to rebuild it, and the price of gas, gasoline, heating oil, electric and everything else- including food skyrockets.

 

Think gasoline going from $1.39 to $2.50 a gallon on a year is bad?

talk about $4-5 a gallon gas as a result and see what that does to food prices, food requires oil and it's derivatives to plant, grow, fertilize, harvest, process, transport, store. People who have money will be able to buy it, people who don't are the problem.

What happens to the poor people when heating oil hits $4 a gallon? they switch to gas? they and 50,000,000 OTHER people switch to gas at the same time, now the gas shortage hits and the price skyrockets.

Think the cities and Govt will be able to help or fix that? a Govt in a 6 TRILLION dollars deficit and growing?

 

We are also due for a major pandemic, we have been real lucky, time will come this luck will run out and in a major city like LA, NYC, Chicago, Miami, Boston, Beijing, Tokyo, London, Seattle all it takes is one sick airplane passenger to infect one planeload of fellow passengers, each of whom disembarks in different cities infecting other people and you are looking at a very serious problem! 100 years ago it wasn't as bad, things like this stayed local, not you have a plane in London and a few hours later it's in NYC and then it heads to SanFrancisco, this threat didn't exist till modern times.

 

So while right now for the moment we have enough for the population we have, it won't last and with this level of population to sustain it will only take a bump in the road to cause a major major problem.

One small tsunami now kills 100,000 people, 100 years ago probably no one would even have noticed it, but now people are packed in those areas like sardines and this tsunami resulted in the death of 100,000. What if next time this hits NYC? or terrorists set off a small crude nuke there under a bridge or tunnel or even threaten to in order to cause a panic?

 

How do you evacuate a city of 9 MILLION people on an island, how many weeks would it take assuming no one panics? and more importantly WHERE do you evacuate them TO?

 

See the problem?

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>As far as the environmental "problems" go, they've been mis-diagnosed. Overpopulation isn't the problem (it isn't even A problem), the problem is lack of economic development and corrupt governments. Population wouldn't even be an issue if third-world countries had the kind of economy the U.S. has.

 

Actually, environmentally speaking, overpopulation is not as much of an issue as development (right now US far far in the lead in terms of green house gas emissions), OTOH China with its fast development AND high population (though has been at a low increase for awhile) is a possibly deadlier mix. You combine high population with very fast development with almost zero environmental standards, use of dirty coal, rapid increase in cars (using limited technology for clearing the air) and it's a pretty bad mix. Cities have very bad and often dangerous air quality most of the time. India promises a similar situation, combined with a fairly unresponsive "democratic style" government. (Some of the gas price situation is directly because China is getting some of that gas, well quite a lot of the gas actually. Animan describes the logical senario in prices.)

 

Other scenarios in terms of epidemics and pandemics; clear cutting and destruction of rain forest and just forest in general (also similar overfishing poisoning of coral reefs) are equal serious.

 

So I'd agree that overpopulation by itself isn't the exact problem, but when all these mouths need to eat, keep warm, have jobs, have improved lives. THAT'S when it all gets messy!

 

 

--des

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>The moral laws, found in the Decalogue and in the "first and second greatest commandments", are still in effect today, and provide a clear and valuable framework from which to confront ethical dilemmas.

 

 

Well how about any of the questions I brought up initially?

I think the "consideration to Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience" provides a more useful anchor at least. Of course, experience and tradition and scripture fail when we are faced with brand new dilemnas that were unimaged/unimaginable 2000 years ago (or even 10 in some cases). I think we are left with reason.

 

--des

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>The moral laws, found in the Decalogue and in the "first and second greatest commandments", are still in effect today, and provide a clear and valuable framework from which to confront ethical dilemmas.

 

 

Well how about any of the questions I brought up initially?

I think the "consideration to Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience" provides a more useful anchor at least. Of course, experience and tradition and scripture fail when we are faced with brand new dilemnas that were unimaged/unimaginable 2000 years ago (or even 10 in some cases). I think we are left with reason.

 

--des

 

 

Yes, but we reason according to Principles that do not change. This does not mean that it is not incumbent upon us to *hear* the Holy Spirit with an open and loosened mind, but that there are certain Laws or Principles in effect within which intuition has free rein to judge all things. In other words des, there is nothing new under the sun. If you plant an oak will you grow figs?

 

Love can be applied to any situation, as can Justice and Mercy, Wisdom and Understanding...Reason and Intuition and so on. But, there is an Order in things and we can discern it and live with true freedom within it. We are not without guidelines. I don't believe we bounce from lawnessness to legislation, but within the discernable Laws of God, which are undeviating.

 

I don't support attempts to "legislate righteousness". I believe we as religious should teach through the testimony of our own lives the undeviating Justice of Gods Law. Otherwise, "he who has not sinned can cast the first stone."

 

My own conviction is that abortion, as an example, is the fruit of misunderstanding Divine Law. It's the fruit of another root problem, which is our not understanding the Law of Procreation and of the sacredness of sexuality, which is essentially rooted in our not knowing who we are. I myself do not fully understand it yet...so, how can I condemn those who do not understand it at all? Nevertheless, I believe that the consequences of going against Divine Law are sure, and as I wrote in another post, not as punishment, but as herewegoagain back to first principles and another lesson. But I deem it hypocritical to inflict law on others when I can not offer better in its place. Until we understand Divine Law and LIVE it and are able to manifest the fruits of it for the nourishment of the world...we restrict the rights of others to live according to their *lights* unjustly and to no avail.

 

Just my two cents...

 

 

lily

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Des said:

So I'd agree that overpopulation by itself isn't the exact problem, but when all these mouths need to eat, keep warm, have jobs, have improved lives. THAT'S when it all gets messy!

 

This is a round-about way at looking at this, yes true, but remember that each individual in the USA when they are born start using paper/disposable diapers by the hundreds, then comes the clothing, baby furniture, toys and so forth.

 

When they hit 18 it's usually the case they get a driver's license and a cheap OLD V8 car to drive around for a while, then they buy a brand new car- so there's another car on the road.

Then they soon move out to another place out of mom/dad's hair and now you have another space that requires electric, heat, air conditioning, trash disposal, lawn chemicals, sewage, water, paint, furniture, carpeting and all the rest.

 

Eventually the individual may build a new house, clear cutting some location in the woods, pave over part for a driveway and so forth.

 

That is why now there is very little in the way of remote areas that one can buy that isn't public lands. More food required means more forests get cut for agriculture, more pesticides applied, more chemicals, fertilizer, nitrogen etc that leaks into the rivers, streams etc.

 

 

If the US had 1/2 the pop it does now then there wouldn't be much of an impact.

Just 500 years ago there was no New York city with 9 million, it was forest!

It was forest til the 1600's, and it was still woods and all in the Northern half into the 1800's before the "grid" was laid out and eventuially paved.

 

By the 1870's all of Manhattan was paved over with housing and streets except Central Park and a few pocket parks here and there.

You can see the dramatic change in so rapid a time frame and this is true of just about every large city with some variations on time.

All of the old growth forests are gone except those few remaining pockets with the redwood trees, allmost all of the virgin forests that had diversity are gone, replanted with commercial species like Douglas fir, we have totally changed the landscape in a couple hundred years or less and it will never go backwards to what it was.

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But look at where we are now compared to when the U.S. had half its population. Not only do we have a higher standard of living, we're able to treat the environment better because our technology has improved. It makes better economic sense to reduce pollution, since pollution is waste.

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Of course the US has had a negative population growth for years, unlike China which is developing, improving their living conditions *and* increasing in population.

 

BTW, Thom I really agree with you. I was kind of being "cute" in the sense of "ok it isn't really population but .... A roundabout way of saying well it really IS population growth.

:-)

 

--des

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  • 3 weeks later...
>The moral laws, found in the Decalogue and in the "first and second greatest commandments", are still in effect today, and provide a clear and valuable framework from which to confront ethical dilemmas.

 

 

Well how about any of the questions I brought up initially?

I think the "consideration to Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience" provides a more useful anchor at least. Of course, experience and tradition and scripture fail when we are faced with brand new dilemnas that were unimaged/unimaginable 2000 years ago (or even 10 in some cases). I think we are left with reason.

 

--des

 

I was thinking about this the other day... with issues like abortion, stem cell research, and cloning, you can go to the Bible and see that humans are valuable because they were made in God's image. (This isn't an idea confined to the Bible; we know intuitively that we are valuable.) With the value of humans as one of our fundamental assumptions, we can more easily approach these complex issues. That's just one example of how the Bible can inform our worldview, even with the issues of our day.

Edited by DCJ
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