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Consensus of Religions -- Virtue?

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posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 04:28 PM
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So I’ve had this notion rattling around in my head for some time now, but I cannot come to any conclusion on it since I lack the education/knowledge.

Without debating which religion is more or less correct than another, would it be a fair statement that the goal of most religious beliefs is Virtue? ...the goal of most (religious) people is to be as virtuous as possible?

No matter the religion, the dogma, the beliefs -- we’re all trying to be Good people. (Well, I hope so anyhow...)

Thus, it doesn’t really matter which path you walk because we’re all walking up the same mountain, working towards the same (virtuous) goal.

Thoughts?




posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 04:51 PM
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I'd have to agree OP. Most religions try to teach people to be good, do unto others, etc.

However, they also introduced their own virtue called FAITH.

Now all TRUE virtues are basically BALANCE. You can be a coward, or foolhardy. Courageous is in between. You can be too compassionate (which can turn kids into brats) or you can be the opposite (mean). Charity is in between. It's balance between two extremes.

What's faith? It's ignorance. It's blind belief in something without proof. It's not a form of balance.

Some people think that without religion, we would all be devoid of any virtue... yet I've strived for virtue my whole life and I'm not religious. Some people just need religion... kinda like a support group for people trying to be virtuous. Unfortunately, religious leaders often take advantage of their "flock" and good people in turn can do horrible things in the name of their "god".



posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 05:02 PM
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^
I agree with most of your post. (And thank you for your reply!
)

However, why does faith not apply to Virtue?

I understand the term "faith" as a synonym for "trust". Therefore, if I have faith in something, I place my trust in that thing, or idea, or whatever.

If my neighbor, say, steals from me, then their action has damaged our relationship. I do not have to let them into my house. But, if I am truly on the virtuous path, I have to allow that person the chance to change their ways... to prove that they realize their wrong-doing, and are working towards being better.

Thus, I cannot cut them out of my life altogether. That would be more wrong than their act of thievery. (Two wrongs don't make a right.)

I have to have (at least a minimal amount of) faith in that person (or in people in general), so that they may change.

I ask it of others when I mess up, so it's only fair to reciprocate.

How else can we ever hope to be virtuous?

Thoughts?



posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 05:50 PM
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Yeah I suppose you're right... faith is trusting in something. But I'm not sure it should be considered a virtue.

Trust is something that should be earned... it's not completely up to us to put trust in something... someone else has to make an effort for that trust to happen within us. You can trust too much.

For example, I trusted my mom when she told me about Santa... in hindsight I shouldn't have. I was deceived. Surely putting yourself in the position to be deceived/taken advantage of can't be considered a virtue? (PS. not saying my mom was bad or anything, just using that as an example
)

Point is, one can have too much faith... but you're right, one needs to have a little. I have faith in humanity for instance, despite our many failings.

Perhaps the definition of faith is simply lacking. It's a broad term which can be used for control. The church wants you to have complete faith in them without question. That, IMO is not virtue. One should keep an open mind but still retain a fair bit of skepticism. That's balance. Believing in everything the preacher tells you isn't.



posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 07:15 PM
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Guess I was lucky with regards to Santa... my parents told the stories, but then my dad wrote the notes, and his distinctive handwriting gave it all away. I think I was 5 when I realized who Santa was...


I think any virtuous quality has a moment when it can be distinctly un-virtuous.

Lying - traditionally, it's wrong. However, when you compare 2 lies (Santa Claus vs. "It's your child"), the degree of wrong-ness becomes apparent. Yes, both are wrong, but one is definitely worse than the other...

Or, consider Kant's Case of the Inquiring Murderer (heavily paraphrased, mind you): An unknown man comes running up to your door, bangs on it, and (when you answer) pleads to come inside. He says that there's a known axe murderer chasing him. You consent, and he scurries into the basement. "Please don't tell him you saw me!" A few minutes later, an axe-wielding man comes to the door and asks for the location of the first guy.

Do you tell the truth, tell the murderer that the stranger's in your basement? Or, do you lie, say that you haven't seen him, and send the murderer on his way?

Any sane, moral person would lie. But Kant maintains that lying is always wrong. Without getting into the specifics, suffice it to say that any action has to be context sensitive.

By nature, I'm a very trusting person. I have been, and hope that I always will be. But there are, most certainly, situations where placing an automatic trust/faith in someone/something is just wrong. And there are times when my "un-earned" (automatic face-value) trust has proven worth the efforts.

If I may ask you: Why must someone earn your trust? Why not just give it?

IMHO, everyone deserves respect and trust -- until they prove themselves unworthy. At that point, they must re-earn that respect and trust. But because I ask people to trust me prima facie ("on the face of it"), then I must extend them the same. Otherwise, I'm a hypocrite... (which is the worst insult, as far as I'm concerned.)

This isn't saying trust a stranger with your newborn (again, context), but I don't understand not extending at least some degree of trust... ((I don't mean to sound like "shame on you!". I'm simply trying to understand your philosophy. That's all.
))


****
Edited to add: While I'm thoroughly enjoying the discussion, I guess I should refer people back to the opening post as (I think?) we're straying from the original topic. (Not much, but kinda... maybe... sorta? not sure!)

[edit on 31-8-2007 by Diseria]



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 09:04 PM
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Padre pio said live by faith. Too much faith is good, and it has lead to saints who raised the dead and seen angels.

The difference between santa and Christ or God, is the history of miracles, it helps my faith, and ive seen many miracles myself as well.

For saint Gemma faith was no longer faith but proof.

peace.



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 10:56 PM
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What IS virtue, though - truly? 'Good' is a totally relative term and individually defined in various ways...what is 'good' to one man is not always seen as such by the next.

The trouble is that being human causes us to have a propensity toward self-orientation which becomes downright selfishness in its most intense manifestation. Many people appear to be doing 'good' but are driven by personal desires or selfish ends - and even they themselves no doubt have not the slightest idea that they are really acting for self instead of 'good.' Otherwise they would re-focus - I do feel humans are for the most part sincere and are hindered by things natural to the self-protective mechanisms we are born with to cope with fear and insecurity.

So....I have become increasingly aware of the benefits of EMPATHY....not compassion or sympathy or even just charity in the sense of giving to give...but rather the literal idea of trying to mentally put one's self in the shoes of another.

Because doing good things do not go as far as literally understanding eachother and accepting both ourselves and eachother for just what we are, at any particular point in our existence.

We are ALL essentially the same - humankind is bound by an inner unity.

We all want to be heard and understood. We all want to be appreciated and allowed to live our lives the best way we can, without being judged by others for whatever comes naturally to each of us.

I believe that eventually empathy will bring a unity that doesn't make us all like clones of one another but instead allows us each to shine as the unique individuals we each are, even as we share our common human spirit.

And this is also how peace will come about on this planet.

I also don't think it is a choice so much as it is a inevitable course of spiritual evolution that grows more orderly rather than chaotic. Much like growing up in the physical - a one-way road to maturity that just IS because we ARE.



posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 11:24 PM
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Originally posted by Diseria
If I may ask you: Why must someone earn your trust? Why not just give it?


Good point... I guess it's another example of our actions being context-sensitive.

I'll trust some things with a stranger, other things only with a close friend. Some things I wouldn't even trust with certain close friends.

As I get to know someone, I'm eventually able to determine how trustworthy they are. Questions come to mind like: if I tell them something personal now, will they tell that to someone else if we ever have a falling out? You can usually see this by how many confidential things say about ex-friends. This is an example of someone NOT earning my trust, at least when it comes to telling personal secrets. That same person might however be trusted with other things, they just have a weakness for gossip. There's degrees of trust, and it varies between people.

Why should we have faith in what a church teaches? Perhaps we should! A little... After all they do teach some good things and I think we can learn bits of truth in many areas of life. But we shouldn't have complete trust in them. Rather a guarded, educated trust. Churches teach us all sorts of things which we are supposed to believe blindly. It's a mutilation of the concept of "faith". An extreme, which is not what virtues are known for.

If I could redefine what Faith means... I'd say it's the "ability to trust within reason".

[edit on 9/1/2007 by Kruel]



posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 12:07 AM
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Originally posted by queenannie38
The trouble is that being human causes us to have a propensity toward self-orientation which becomes downright selfishness in its most intense manifestation. Many people appear to be doing 'good' but are driven by personal desires or selfish ends - and even they themselves no doubt have not the slightest idea that they are really acting for self instead of 'good.'


Indeed. We all seek our own self-fulfillment, whether by selfish or selfless means. When we sacrifice ourselves for others, we're actually doing it for ourself since we'll be happier with ourselves afterwards. In the grand scheme of things, everything we do is selfish. We've simply found that sacrificing ourselves for others is usually a rewarding experience. It's the stuff movies are made of, and stories written about.

But would WE give our life for someone? Everyone wants to be a hero, but if came down to the nitty gritty would we really have what it takes, even if it meant our demise? Or would we wimp out and regret it? I think by training ones self to be virtuous, we're removing the weakness within us (often genetic and not even our fault) to become the person we want to be, and to do what it takes when the moment to prove ourself is at hand.

I suppose we could look at virtues as our guides towards self-fulfillment. They help us to achieve mastery over ourselves, to the point where we can live a life with no regret. After all, if we have mastery over our emotions and instincts, we can make logical decisions and regret would be a thing of the past.


Originally posted by queenannie38
So....I have become increasingly aware of the benefits of EMPATHY....not compassion or sympathy or even just charity in the sense of giving to give...but rather the literal idea of trying to mentally put one's self in the shoes of another.


All the stuff you said about empathy, I wholeheartedly agree. I think we may be headed towards such a future, though it involves a technological revolution (the singularity). Empathy would be a lot easier if we were all linked on a more conscious level. We'll just have to be careful with our thoughts if everyone's an empath.



posted on Sep, 3 2007 @ 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by queenannie38
What IS virtue, though - truly? 'Good' is a totally relative term and individually defined in various ways...what is 'good' to one man is not always seen as such by the next.


I'd argue that Virtue, itself, doesn't change -- the perception of it changes. What it meant for a soldier in Sparta to be 'virtuous' is not the same as a French farmer in the 1400's...

What does it mean to be 'courageous' changes -- as per the situation, the time, the culture, the person, et cetera. Same with 'charitable' and 'compassionate' and everything else.

However, there are (at least a few) lines that most cultures draw and agree with. I.E. Randomly murdering someone, or child molestation...

If you want the long, and thorough, version of 'What is Virtue?', read Aristotle and Socrates.

In short (and horribly paraphrased), Virtue is the life-long journey towards being a Good person through education (schooling, both formal (classroom) and informal (person-to-person)), wisdom (experience), and habituation. Teaching oneself to act in the right way, at the right time, with the right person, in the right place. When logic/reason and emotion speak with the same voice, when you are no longer tempted to do the wrong action (keeping a found $5 bill instead of looking for who lost it), when you do the right action because you know that it's the right thing to do, not because of the consequences...

The list goes on. Give a read over the links I provided if you are at all interested in what Virtue Ethics is. (VE is the modern extension of, and discussion of, Aristotle's and Socrates' teachings.)




We all want to be heard and understood. We all want to be appreciated and allowed to live our lives the best way we can, without being judged by others for whatever comes naturally to each of us.


Prima facie ("on the face of it"), I agree.

However, I'm sure you can name at least one 'personal propensity' that comes quite naturally for that individual, but is (on the whole) societally un-acceptable...

Our actions must be judged by others. It's inherent in our wiring. If I see someone beating their dog, then my brain makes a judgment call on that person. Say that the next time I see that person, they are helping a local elderly person with their groceries. That counters my original perception, but presents a fuller picture of that person.

My judgments may be off -- based on my mood, my understanding of actions, et cetera. And I fully allow for that because humans are fallible.

But our actions are always, and I dare say should be judged by others. We live in a society, and thus the individual's actions are judged.

A person’s private and internal thoughts, feelings and motivations do not match up to the executed actions -- that which can be perceived by many. Society can monitor and judge each person’s actions, but not each person’s thoughts. Individuals are responsible for educating and fixing their thoughts, and actions, so that they act properly.

It might come quite naturally for someone to want to do unmentionable things to children. Does that mean that we should allow them to execute those actions without judgment? Obviously not. Why? Because we, as a society, have decided that those actions are not only wrong, but immoral. And that's a collective judgment, mind you.

Do we allow a judgment to remain stationary and unchangeable, even in the light of new information? No, we shouldn't. An alcoholic is not always an alcoholic if he/she has, truly, stayed sober. A liar is no longer a liar if they tell the truth. A thief is no longer a thief if they've stopped stealing.

Virtue is determined at the end of our lives. No one moment can, or ever will, permanently define us as 'virtuous' or 'un-virtuous'. That's not the way Virtue works.

So any judgment passed today, tomorrow, and the day after is only meaningful in the immediate context. In the long run, these judgments are used to look at the person's whole life and mark how far they've come...


I agree with the path of Empathy -- a re-connection with strangers that reminds us that we're not as separated as we were taught to think. It's quite the mental exercise that needs to be embraced and practiced by many.

However, (and meant solely as a warning to taking anything to an extreme), if we think and feel hard enough, we might have empathy with Hitler... And yet, we still agree that the actions of he and his ilk are the very definition of 'evil'...



posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 09:50 PM
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No, guys its simple.

Patience helps ourselves and others. It helps us except problems and get through hard times. whereas someone without it is always yelling.

humility makes a person last minded in their own nothingnesss without God, but with God they are a child of God.

Pride builds a person up so much that its impossible to be around or like that person.


chastity was given to men because it seperates men from Angels. God creat our sex organs for this life, but angels have none, and we are called to be like them. In heaven sex will not exist.


Charity ofcourse is the opposite of selfishness.

God bless.



posted on Sep, 5 2007 @ 03:48 PM
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Originally posted by JesusisTruth
No, guys its simple.


So I'm told... but it always becomes more complicated when put into practice. (so frustrating...)


Patience helps ourselves and others. It helps us except problems and get through hard times. whereas someone without it is always yelling.


Agreed.


humility makes a person last minded in their own nothingnesss without God, but with God they are a child of God.


I like humility. But, much like pride, I think it must be kept to a reasonable level... (see below)


Pride builds a person up so much that its impossible to be around or like that person.


True. However, pride (kept to a reasonable level) creates ambition...

I bring this up because all my life, I've hated those who were filled with self-pride. The smug, self-loving conceited assholes of the world. I don't want to be like them.

And now I find that don't like myself... so many years of killing my own confidence/pride that I don't think I'm good enough, or that I can't do something, or that if I do, it won't be good enough, et cetera.

It's all about moderation, methinks.



In heaven sex will not exist.


Really?? ....don't know how I feel about that...



Charity ofcourse is the opposite of selfishness.


I think that you're right, but only if it's done in the right way... A man who holds his $50 up for all to see before putting in the offering basket -- is that really selfless? Wouldn't it have been more selfless to have slipped it in on the bottom, no show? (and no turning around and writing it off on the taxes either....)



posted on Sep, 5 2007 @ 06:13 PM
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To me it seems that the more common themes of all the religons are pretty much based on the laws of reaping and sowing. For the most part they all agree on these principles.

As far as trust goes i agree it should be given immeadiatly and within good reason, trust is one of those things that you have to prove good stewardship over the longer you carry the basic trust without harm to the other party the more inclined they will be in turn to trust you with more.



posted on Sep, 5 2007 @ 11:07 PM
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I agree with your replies deseria, excpet ambition with alittle pride. I think God wants us to reach a point where all motivation is humble baised.

About sex. The angels are talked about in revelations, innocent men and women, not knowing sex but are angels who dont have sex organs.

God created the fealing of sex by a little organ. Now can you even imagine what he is capable of. I dont want people putting all their trust in a couple minutes of pleasure.

I think Jesus said, man has not seen nor heard what God has in store for those who love him. We cant even imagine.


The guy with 50 dollars has an unhumble first minded charity. God talks about these hypocrites in scripture.

I meant charity with humility. But the charity I talk about is a fealing of love that can get so deep that I cant even explain it, and ive felt it after communion, its like a fire that I cant describe.

God Bless, peace.



posted on Sep, 6 2007 @ 02:54 PM
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reply to post by Jovi1
 


Reaping & Sowing...

For the most part, I agree -- each person must deal with the consequences of their actions. This most definitely requires cognitive awareness, a sense of responsibility and shame, and (in theory) the will power to change one's thoughts/behavior upon recognizing the actual consequences, as opposed to what we thought would happen.

And yet, I don't think that consequences are not the end-all-be-all of deciding what's Right or Wrong. A definite step, but not the final one.



JesusisTruth:

I'm amazed at how we agree on many points, even though we're coming at it from two very different angles. I think it fair to say that we are, indeed, climbing up the same mountain...

I am still pondering your thoughts on pride. (Oddly enough, your idea of motivation being based in humility is very intriguing. Reminds me of the Baghavad Gita, specifically the renunciation of fruits. I shall go hunting for the quote I'm thinking of and post it...)

A question for you: Do you consider it an insult to be called a hypocrite? I ask because "hypocrite" is the worst possible insult a person can hurl at me, or anyone studying ethics/morality (philosophy in general). And I'm intrigued just how similar our separate paths are...


[edit on 6-9-2007 by Diseria]



posted on Sep, 6 2007 @ 09:58 PM
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Yes, I can tell you are a smart person that loves virtue, or innocent people?

What do you see god in may I ask in his creation? Like I see Gods innocence through animals and it helps me ect..

" Is being called a hypocrite an insult "

It depends on who calls you it.

If its a human with flaws then they are the hypocrite, if its God then be scared for your life.

If a man calls you a hypocrite but fail to pray for your soul to convert, than they have handed down the judgement.

Nobody is without flaws.

Im not either.

Peace.



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 02:49 PM
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Originally posted by JesusisTruth
Yes, I can tell you are a smart person that loves virtue, or innocent people?

What do you see god in may I ask in his creation? Like I see Gods innocence through animals and it helps me ect..


Thunderstorms... so much chaos and energy, and yet I feel at peace. (after I close all the windows!
)

Recently, I've noticed an inner-peace when I see people doing good deeds. My neighbor is, usually, very selfish and violent towards his girlfriend. The other day I saw him (I continue to associate with him for his girlfriend's sake -- I don't know what else to do other than to be available for her as a friend...) and he mentioned that he had to get home so that he could make her dinner before she got home from work... I smiled, "awww..." He smiled, "She deserves it."

Reminds me that there's some good in everyone... and everyone has the capability to be truly good if they sought it.



If a man calls you a hypocrite but fail to pray for your soul to convert, than they have handed down the judgement.


How would someone's prayer help me to not be, or become less of, a hypocrite? Wouldn't a conversation do better? (maybe both?)

...is handing down a judgment a bad thing? Or because they do not pray, there's the understanding that no prayer will save you?



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 07:53 PM
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Originally posted by Kruel

Perhaps the definition of faith is simply lacking. It's a broad term which can be used for control. The church wants you to have complete faith in them without question. That, IMO is not virtue. One should keep an open mind but still retain a fair bit of skepticism. That's balance. Believing in everything the preacher tells you isn't.



What? The church wants it's congregation to have complet faith in them? No, that's not how every church works my friend. Maybe some two-faced, deceitful church assembly, but not every church. It's clear that the christian church is to congregate in faith and worship... of God. Not the church. You don't know more than 2 local pastors do you? maybe none?

Not every church and pastor is involved in TV scam operations or insincere fellowship for money. Maybe to a certain group, but then... that would be ignorance right?

Also, this was a good one, you pretty much said every christian should remain skeptic of his or her faith and ministry. People know when they're being hood-winked. If they are true christians, they themselves engage in their own study of the bible and are accurate gauges of wether or not a pastor or church is doing things it shouldn't or spreading false doctrine.

And to someone who said "Faith is ignorance". Nope, faith is humbled trust, not in your own brain but in the master brain, God.

God knew of the vast multitudes of gods on earth. He manifested Jesus to be the "living" God. The God who could be heard, seen, felt, and spoken to. Not a bronze idol, not a stone carving. The God that doubters could not doubt.



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 08:01 PM
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Originally posted by depth om
You don't know more than 2 local pastors do you? maybe none?


Actually I've known quite a few! Having been raised in a strict Catholic family, going to church every Sunday, and even was interested in the seminary life when I was younger.

Basically when my questions couldn't be answered with logic, they always said I needed to have "faith". That's just their easy way out. When logic fails, trust in faith. Then they go on about how the institution has been around for 2000 years and they know better than me, bla bla bla.

Maybe your pastors are different. I've known a few, and they were all different. Funny thing is, the ones who were more logical were often considered "liberals".



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 09:51 PM
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Thunderstorms. I don't see god in them, but they do cause the fear of him in me.

How can prayer help?

I don't know if you quite know what grace is Diseria. If my brother is a player which he is, then instead of hammering him, I pray for graces to be given him to realize that life is not a shallow fling.

Thats why that girls friend is not always mean and made dinner. we are not in the same state of mind all the time.

An example. When I was younger I used to be a lazy selfish, yet I still stayed away from major trouble, type of kid, I went to three different alternative schools and dropped out at 9th grade.
I would yell at my mother and be completely rude.

The turn around in my life, because of his grace is incredible.

I also grew up with kids whos fun would go around beating up kids for fun, throwing rocks at peoples head. I would never join them, but they didnt have a conscience, a heart, fealings, no graces.

Now youll see what I mean after this world is all said and done, but the simplest way I can say it, is evil is the opposite of grace, which is love.


so prayer works.

peace.




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