The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

SPLC Statement on Shooting at Family Research Council

By Hatewatch Staff on August 15, 2012 - 2:00 pm, Posted in Hate Crime

We’ve seen news of the shooting of a security guard today at the Family Research Council office in Washington, D.C., and are getting media inquiries about it. There are unconfirmed reports that the shooting was ideologically motivated. We condemn all acts of violence and are following the story closely.

  • aadila

    Oh hush, Think.

    And stay out my watermelon patch with your pen knife and furtive smile.

    You little sinner!

  • Think A Minute

    Erika: You said: “his main issue which is opposition to sex – hence the opposition to abortion”
    Abortion is not a pre-requisite for sex. People have been known to engage in sex without killing one single little girl. I believe you know that.

    Next: “so as to punish women for daring to engage in sex”. I don’t want to punish women for daring to engage in sex, but I would liket to stop people from punishing little girls for daring to exist. I would like for the final gasps of all 1700 hundred little girls who found out today that they will never enjoy that gift of sex, to ring in your ears the next time you do.

  • aadila

    To be on the safe side, I just checked again with the 3-year-old guru and the instantaneous, direct answer is just as enlightened as the first one:

    “How many virtues are in a pineapple?”
    “Yes!”

    Try saying “Yes!” to all your doubts. The Mondo is finished. Now let us meditate.

  • aadila

    Rey your opinings are edifying but the question isn’t really how many virtues did Aristotle ponder when he was cutting a hole in a pineapple and found himself punished by the gods.

    You are using your logical mind, and yes that is one answer. But it is not a definitive answer. What of its other virtues? Are you certain you have counted them all?

    To solve a question of this nature you need insight, not logic. It is a koan of sorts. There is the superficial answer, which is a perfectly reasonable attempt to list the immediate virtues. But what of the other virtues…does it not reproduce prodigiously? Does it not compliment its ecosystem? Does it not provide a form of economic activity for growers?

    And yet those answers miss the point too. And by missing the point you are missing out on understanding your own virtues. When we realize that our first answer is not truly correct, we answer it again (well, some will….Think will look in his holy books and dictionaries for answers and they say little about pineapple which is useful for answering the question. Frustrated he will give up, and never be able to solve it).

    But it CAN be solved.

    Go on thinking about it. Stop all other thinking and concentrate your whole consciousness on this simple question: how many virtues are in a pineapple. Go on thinking of all the possibilities, all the alternatives, all the arguments for and against. Go on thinking about it; make it a deep meditation. Then suddenly one day thinking will stop, because you cannot find any alternative through thinking. And when thinking stops, it is not going to be that you will get the answer. Because the purpose of the question is not to have an answer.

    The purpose is to understand the nature of virtues, the nature of pineapple, the nature of self. There are no final answers, only more and more questions, more and more doubt. And by exhausting all these questions, realizing (through trying, not by giving up) that they cannot ever be answered, we go beyond the original question and arrive at perfect understanding.

    The same understanding as a three year old:

    “I don’t know. I like pineapple.”

    Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.

  • Reynardine

    In the Aristotelian sense, the virtues of a pineapple are its sweetness, its fruitiness, its vitamins, its ability to digest and tenderize animal proteins, and, of course, its prickliness. But the latter two qualities gave rise to a Brazilian expression signifying to have sexual intercourse with one, which compares a situation to that of a male who has done so, and faces excruciating pain if he pulls out and enzymatic amputation if he doesn’t (e.g., Uncle Sam in Iraq). Any man who has ever been in such a situation would naturally regard pineapples as evil, whereas if he had confined himself to the proper use of them, they would have appeared to him in a light wholly virtuous and good.

  • aadila

    Gee Think, you really flopped there.

    I asked you a very simple question and you were unable to answer it. Do you really need to consult your holy books about pineapple? How dole, or should I say, droll…you pointed your eyes heavenward and gurgled. According to your own rules of logic that means you were completely perplexed.

    Oddly enough, I asked a little boy who just turned three the same question, and he had no problem answering spontaneously and authentically, without resorting to scripture.

    “I don’t know. I like pineapple!”

    If a little boy knows more about the universe than you do, and you have to actually consult a dictionary to answer a question which can only be answered through experience, it is because you cannot think. You are so paralyzed by Biblical indoctrination that your mind cannot cope with a simple question. So, you are not qualified to discuss good and evil or any of the ontological questions you raise. If you have to resort to some obscure reference to “postmodernism” when we are talking about a piece of fruit, it’s obvious that you are so lost in theory that you will never be able to put any of it into practice. If God created you, he created pineapple. You should be able to answer the question.

    But instead you point your head upward like a turkey and gurgle gurgle gurgle…

    If you have to resort to dogma every time there is any ontological doubt and the cracks in your scriptures appear, then either you are failing your religion or your religion is failing you. You have utterly failed to demonstrate any truth, except perhaps, that you are absolutely deluded about the nature of the universe. Your faith fell to a fruity bromeliad.

    I urge you to think about what this means about the nature of your beliefs and how truly blind you have become to simple human existence. If you ponder the pineapple enough, you may one day come to a realization about the nature of truth. Remember, child, the original sin was eating the fruit of knowledge.

  • Erika

    Since fresh pineapple is one of the yummiest things there is, it seems that Think has revealed his main issue which is opposition to pleasure (especially sex – hence the opposition to abortion and birth control so as to punish women for daring to engage in sex). The fact that he thinks he is evil reveals a particularly masochistic mindset – likely he’s some sort of fire and brimstone Baptist who opposes anything that people might find pleasurable.

    But think, you aren’t evil – you’re human :)

  • Think a Minute

    Aadila: Regarding your “virtuous pineapple” analogy. I’m not a postmodern so I’m not at liberty to engage in nonsense. But if you’re interested in a serious discussion about such things as Truth, life, judgment, love, and sin, I’m willing to and even anxious to spend time with you.

    Your question: “If God made you in his image, and you are evil, then God must be evil. Is this not so?” is a very good one and cuts right to the core of the sin problem that man has. Contrary to what you and Erika stated, I am not SELF righteous. My righteousness does not come from myself. That’s why I said I am evil. If one is evil, how can they be righteous?

    Now to your great question: God originally made man according to His image. That is with the ability to love, think, create and most importantly with a free will. Without a free will, man (mankind) would be unable to truly love God (not merely have an affection for a person – like your black lab) but real love. Now God also made man without sin. But man on his own free will CHOSE to sin. That act of disobedience broke his perfect relationship with the Creator and consequently lost his righteousness. That’s how man can be evil and still have been created by God.

    There’s much more that I’d like to share with you if you’ll allow me.

  • aadila

    While you are chewing on the pineapple question, I would like to press a bit futher about your other comment: that life is sacred because God made humans in his image and HE is sacred.

    If God made you in his image, and you are evil, then God must be evil. Is this not so?

  • aadila

    No virtues, eh? I wonder if you try the three day experiment with starvation … hmmm. Your dictionary definition may not apply then. What does the dictionary tell you about pineapple? Does it tell you how it tastes? Honestly think, no matter what your dictionary says about the matter, I think you must agree there is really much goodness in a pineapple. It is nourishing, sweet, and fragrant. It has a pleasant aspect, and a curious shape. Do you not see these virtues?

    I see in your heart you do.

    So, come, now. Let’s not be coy. Try again: How much goodness does the pineapple have?

  • Aron

    Ladies, Think has at this point far surpassed the requirements for a troll. As such, I would simply recommend that you, like me, ignore him.

    He isn’t worth your time or mental energy.

    Just stop feeding him, and he’ll take his bloviation elsewhere.

    And that’s the last you’ll hear from me on this thread.

  • Think A Minute

    Human Life is sacred because God made man in his image, and HE is sacred.

    A pineapple has no virutes as defined by the dictionary (moral excellence; goodness; righteousness) because it is not man. What game are you playing here?

    Question for you: how many questions of yours must I answer before you answer one of mine? Or are you hiding again. I understand if you are. You’d have something in common with Richard Dawkins.

  • aadila

    How many virtues are in a pineapple, Think?

  • aadila

    Think,

    Also please answer this question:

    “How many virtues are in a pineapple?”

    If you can’t answer it will clearly show that your argument is a fallacy. Go on now, answer it.

    You know something, Think, you are a self righteous hypocrite and a Pharisee. You had the opportunity to save a soul, but you have driven me from Christ by your example.

  • aadila

    If you are evil how do you explain the comment:

    “Life is sacred”?

  • Think a Minute

    That’s easy. I am absolutely evil. My heart is desperately wicked all the time. Inspite of Erika’s accusation that I am SELF righteous, I am just the opposite. She once again, misunderstands me. The answer is Evil.

  • aadila

    Think,

    Are you good or evil? Answer the question. Black or white. One or the other. Which is it?

    Answer the question.

  • Erika

    Think, the fact that you’ve admitted that you know that if abortion is made illegal there would still be abortions (including by rich women who can afford to fly to other countries for the procedure) and that some of these illegal abortions will be unsafe resulting in women dying from them shows that you are a very callous and cruel person.

    You also support people who demonize homosexuals and that results in people getting hurt.

    Rather than supporting people who favor policies such as universal health care, universal access to effective birth control, and living wages for working families which will actually reduce abortion, you support people who oppose policies that will actually reduce abortion because they give the right slogan. Those same people also support policies that will result in millions of people being killed and maimed.

    You claim to be against hurting people yet you would force rape victims to carry their rapist’s child to term which is unspeakably cruel.

    That shows that your claimed moral absolute that hurting others is wrong is not so absolute after all.

    It also shows that you simply are not an honest person because you do not admit that there will always be moral ambiguous situations because people are not angels and are not perfect.

    And that is the problem with your bumper sticker black and white mentality. You claim moral absolutes but act moral ambiguty because you are a human and humans are not perfect. And in order to truly live by moral absolutes people would have to be perfect. If humans were perfect, God would not have had to send Jesus Christ and enabled forgiveness. Have you even ever actually read The Bible or gone to church? For such a self righteous Christian you seem to know very little about Christian beliefs.

  • Think A Minute

    Aadila and Aron:
    A few years ago a creationist asked Richard Dawkins a question, on camera, about evolution. It was a well designed question. Its purpose was to reveal to Mr Dawkins and anyone with access to the internet that the claims of evolutionists are vacuous and indefensible. As expected, this educated messenger of evolutionism could not answer the question. He looked at the ceiling for what seemed like an eternity and gurgled.

    I have always been taught to ask questions because the inability of your opponent to answer is a sign of the fallacy of their arguments. So far I have asked each of you the same simple question multiple times. Each time you have chosen to confuse & confound, to demagogue, to run and hide, to disengage and to filibuster. But in all that, you have never answered the question.

    Last week, Aron demanded that I answer his questions. What did I do? I answered them. While it is true that he did not LIKE my answers, it is equally true that he could not LOGICALLY REFUTE my answers and didn’t even try.

    Like Mr. Dawkins, I can only assume that the reason you refuse to answer my questions is because you CANNOT without revealing the futility of your own arguments. It seems that any conscientious thinker would be so bothered by their inability to answer a simple question that they would want to open their minds to find out what it is they believe that is so fatally indefensible. I know I would. If there was even ONE question that you could ask me that I could not answer simply and succinctly in a way that you could not logically refute, I would begin to sincerely doubt the veracity of what I have committed my life and eternal security to. Not so with you. Your insistence on living in ignorance is astonishing.

    Note Yet Again: It is NOT MY OPINION that I am prepared to prove to you. It is absolute, irrefutable Truth that did not come from me. That is because (again) my opinion, like yours, is irrelevant. I am prepared to prove to you that not only is Truth absolute, but that it came from the only place it could… the Creator of the universe. The way I am prepared to prove it is not by TELLING you (that would open me up to accusations that I am trying to force my opinion on you), but by asking you questions that you cannot answer without acknowledging the Truth, and therefore I have no doubt that you WILL NOT answer them.

  • aadila

    Think, your arrogance to think you know what others believe or feel in their hearts is in shockingly bad taste to say the least.

    I realize it is difficult for someone indoctrinated by your set of values to begin to see beyond your limitations. Others here in this very forum who are Christians have my total reverence because they are aware of the moral trap of the absolute. You however, do not see the trap of your own absolute morality. You have no awareness of the trap of self righteousness.

    There is nothing in my statements or my mind that indicates my morality requires absolutes. You have again taken your moral outrage over the holocaust and attributed these feelings to me. You apparently have a very hard time understanding what you think and feel has zero applicability to anyone else.

    You seem to imply that without moral absolutes, humanity would be lost in moral perdition. We cannot be trusted to guide ourselves through the vagaries of human life and therefore must submit to the will of some unseen and unprovable God, handed down through the most precarious of translations and redactions and outright scrub jobs on separately written scriptures that cannot even be accurately identified as to their specific origins, much less being attributable to “God”.

    I am not asking you to abandon your morality. I am not asking to to take on my own morality for yourself. How am I insisting on moral absolutes?

    Morality is best determined by the results of our actions and intents. As such every action, every thought, every word, each second of our lives, involves a complex set of dependent relationships and interactions. I urge you to look into this before you respond: dependent origination. This is a vital concept to understand before you will understand my morality.

    Nazism was the fruit of moral absolutes. Absolute nationalism, absolute duty, absolute loyalty, absolute ethnocentricity. This was a rigid and highly dogmatic moral code based on supreme belief that what the Nazis were doing was right. Where your argument fails is that even if I believe the Nazis were “wrong”, they believed, at least some, that what they were doing was “right” or at the very least necessary to avoid being killed by those who did feel what they were doing was right. They held compassion as a weakness, a moral failure. They were, just like you, moral absolutists. And they were, like it or not, in their own minds, doing the right thing. This is not an apology for Nazi atrocities. This is recognition of what makes human nature tick.

    And who are you to judge anyone? Can you truly state with any certainty that if you were in the same situation that you would have done anything differently? I don’t believe you can. I think you may lie to yourself or get smug in your dogma, but you are closer to being a Nazi than you may care to admit.

    Here is an experiment for you. Try going without food for three days and see where you morality goes. Try it. I don’t mean think about it, I mean actually try it. Hunger HURTS. It makes you do things you might even contemplate otherwise. See what happens to your thoughts during a brief experiment with starvation. You might even kill if you got hungry enough. And don’t say you wouldn’t unless you have been there. If you doubt me, try it. If you don’t have the courage to see for yourself where your morals go, then shut up about it because you are a fool.

  • Think a Minute

    Aadila:
    How are you and I and Aron the same: We all hold to certain moral absolutes.
    Thnk’s Moral absolute: abortion is wrong.
    Aadila’s Moral absolute: killing 6 million Jews is wrong.
    Aron’s Moral absolute: “think does not have any right to deprive anyone of their right to undergo the procedure” (and I could find many more if you give me 30 more seconds)

    Now: How are you and I and Aron different?
    Think holds to certain moral absolutes and ADMITS it.
    Aadila holds to certain moral absolutes and DENIES it.
    Aron holds to certain moral absolutes and refuses to answer my main question that I asked him four separate times so he doesn’t have to deal with it.

    We all hold to moral absolutes but some of us admit it and the rest of us will do ANYTHING to deny it.

  • aadila

    Think,

    I have no desire to change your opinion. That is a view common to people who feel they must force their morality on others. Obviously you see yourself in some kind of war over morality, or seized upon some idea somewhere that one must either see things are morally absolute or morally relative and decided to carry that battle flag forward instead of looking for ways to reduce the harm in the world.

    Go spout platitudes to the woman in Latin America or Africa who gets kicked in the stomach until she aborts because there is no safe alternative. Or to the infant who starves to death. Or the child born with HIV. Or the one sold into sexual slavery. Or the one who is left to its own without love of any kind until finally shot by some policeman paid by a merchant who is tired of street kids stealing his goods. It’s easy for you to do so because you are not in their shoes.

    You know something, Think, I don’t have a problem with Christ or his teachings. I’ll even accept Christ as my personal savior if it makes you feel better, because Christ’s teachings on love and kindness are clearly the product of an enlightened being.

    But I do have a problem with people like you who think being Christian gives them the right to tell others what is right or wrong when in the name of God, people have tortured, raped, and enslaved other people for virtually the entire history of your religion. Your moral absolutes are an insult to my spirituality.

  • Aron

    There is a word to describe people like Think:

    Obtuse. He is being willfully obtuse.

    Everything is Right. Everything is Wrong.

    Everything is True. Everything is False.

    Everything is Beautiful. Everything is Ugly.

    And this Post has become Painfully Boring.

  • Think A Minute

    Aadila: Your words and your actions contradict each other. you said: “Good and evil are never moral absolutes because they cannot exist without individual interpretations”. Yet your actions tell me you believe quite differently. Your actions tell me what’s in your heart. You keep coming back, trying to convince me that your way of thinking is the way one should think. Yet at the same time you say there is no absolute right way to think, no absolute truth. It’s all subjective. It’s all in the mind. Then what is wrong with the way I think? What is wrong with the FLC? Let’s say they’re a terrible hate filled organization that molests homosexuals. What’s wrong with that? In a world where right and wrong, good and evil depend on personal experience and have no absolute reality outside the mind, what is “wrong” with it. Indeed in such a world, what is wrong with exterminating 6 million Jews? So the Nazi’s had a different set of personal experiences than yours. What gives you the moral superiority to make any claim of wrong doing by the Nazi’s? You say: “Words and ideas reside in the mind, and have no absolute meaning except that which you ascribe to it.´ So the Nazi’s ascribe good wholesome feelings to mass murder. Does that make it okay? How is it that YOU are right and THEY are wrong. The classic postmodern response is “well I’m not hurting anyone.” But that doesn’t solve the dilemma. It’s a non-answer. Because my next question is “Well what’s wrong with hurting someone?” Where did you come up with that as the place where you draw the line? That’s YOUR line. The Nazis might have a different line.

    These are not word games. This is the crux of the whole matter. Without absolute truth, right and wrong, good and evil, you have no moral superiority over anyone else. It’s all just your opinion, which is what I was trying to show Aron. Why are you trying to change my opinion to match yours if it’s all subjective? Why is the SPLC labeling certain groups Hate Groups if it’s all subjective? What’s wrong with Hate Groups? It appears to me that the SPLC absolutely believes there’s absolutley something wrong with Hate Groups. Would not you agree? Why was Hitler “wrong” if it’s all in our individual interpretations, his interpretations, your interpretations, my interpretations? We all have different individual interpretations, so how is it that YOUR interpretation ends up being the right one?

  • Think A Minute

    Erika:

    90% of what you think I believe, I don’t believe. You’re all over the place. Focus on one thing and ask (don’t tell) me what I believe about it.

  • aadila

    Three answers:

    1) I never said what you imply by clipping out my words. When I said I base my understanding on science instead of poppycock, it was specifically in reference to ontology and blind religious fervor. If the Bible says the earth is 10,000 years old, and science says millions, I’ll go with science thanks. Clear now? Of course “good” has meaning as a concept, but it is subjective meaning and depends upon symbolism. Words and ideas reside in the mind, and have no absolute meaning except that which you ascribe to it. Stop trying to twist my words because the two comments were never phrased the way you present them, and it’s obvious to anyone of limited intelligence what I meant. Of course we experience things we enjoy, find wholesome, and define as good. But these things are not moral absolutes.

    2) Hate has meaning in so far as it is an expression of ignorance. Whether or not you consider the statement you quote as hateful depends on your own mind. Apparently you do, and I don’t. Thus my point is proved. Notions of love and hate reside in the consciousness, not in the object, person, statement, or idea being loved or hated. You must feel these things to understand them. As such, they are entirely subjective.

    3) You question twists my words. All words can and do have meaning in terms of experience, but they do not have absolute reality separate from the mind. Notions of good and evil are experienced in the mind and as the mind is dependent upon senses, I refer you to my previous statements for clarification on their ultimate reality. Good and evil are never moral absolutes because they cannot exist without individual interpretations. I think my point was quite clear from the beginning, without tedious word games that do not advance your argument about the existence of gods or moral absolutes. I consider these things to be superstitions, you consider them as truth. If you have a soul to be rewarded or damned by some unseen “God” for reasons unknown, can you show it to me?

  • Erika

    Think: “Absolute Truth comes from God alone”

    me: That is what you believe. Its also what Osama Bin Ladin, Fred Phelps, the Taliban, the Imans who run Iran, the Ku Klux Klan (especially the 1920s KKK which was explicitly a right wing Christian organization), and all of the other religious nutcases throughout history and the present believe.

    So that pretty much shows the “flaw” in your reasoning.

    If “absolute truth comes from God” who determines what “God’s absolute truth” is?

    Perhaps you should spend less time reading the Old Testament to pick and choose which of laws of the Torah you want to selectively enforce – while ignoring the inconvient ones – and spend more time reading the Gospels where Jesus had some pretty strong opinions regarding the people (the Scribes and Pharisees) who claimed to decide what “God’s Law” met.

    And you still have even more problems than just the fact that humans have been interpeting what God’s Law is pretty much since the Torah was first written (good luck btw, determining when that was). And likely even before then, the Scribes and the Pharisees were so important in the Judism of Jesus’s time in part because the Torah was not written down so that regular Jews could read it.

    Thus, even if the Torah originated with God – and any reasonable mainstream historian would note the fact that the supposed God’s Law – including some of the most beloved passages among the right wingers – borrows a lot from Hamarabi’s Code [which is not surprising when you note that much of the Torah is the ancient Hebrew civil law code and Hamarabi's Code was the most influential civil law code in the ancient world]. In fact one might wonder why there was such conflict between the Hebrews and the Babylonians in the Old Testament – given that the Hebrews obviously borrowed legal concepts from the Baylonians. You have to impose several thousand years of man interpreting what it means. And disagreeing and arguing about what the Torah – and later passages of the Bible means.

    To use the example of “killing” – here is where your black and white world collaspes upon itself. Why?

    because everyone knows that if abortion is outlawed, illegal abortions will occur and it will result in the death of women. Even you admitted that earlier. Yet, you have no problem with that – apparently because those women are “murderers” according to you so apparently they deserve to die. Or maybe the lives of women just do not matter for you.

    Add in the fact that the people who claim to be inspired by God and God’s law have no problem voting for people who promote a whole lot of killing. Just consider, the Republican Party supports tort reform, eliminating consumer safety laws, and eliminating workplace protection. Those policies will all result in people dying. Everybody knows that. One of the classic instances of tort law involves the Ford Pinto – Ford deliberately to save a tiny amount of money on each car sold a car they knew would explode and kill people. General Motors did the same thing in some of their vehicles (and then burned the evidence). The tobacco industry for years denied that smoking kills people – and were aided and abetted by Congress.

    Not to mention the fact that the invasion of Iraq doesn’t exactly meet Saint Thomas Aquinas’ definition of a Just War does it?

    Basically, honey, the people who are telling you to oppose abortion and to vote to eliminate abortion have a whole of blood on their hands. They knowingly promote policies which they know will kill people. You blindly follow the bouncing ball because you support a policy which they pretend to support – again admitting that you know it will result in women dying.

    Basically you may speak out against killing, but you are actually saying that God isn’t always opposed to killing after all. So God might be against murder, but he’s perfectly fine with a large corporation eliminating workplace safety protections so that people will be killed and maimed (and no worker’s comp either). Of course, perhaps you should read some more of the Torah – and not just the out of context bits which people like the Family Research Council (in some ways, a modern version of the Scribes and Pharisees, in other ways, just a right wing front group funded by people who are also funding pro-abortion studies and pro-abortion groups) ignore because they aren’t exactly pro-right wing. And also read the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles – Jesus is definitely not down with laws that have the known effect of killing people and place a very low value on human life and he doesn’t think very much of rich people who don’t want to pay taxes.

    Basically, what you claim is “God’s absolute law” is really whatever Think a Minute believes – or more likely whatever people with a financial interest in cutting taxes for the rich and abolishing workplace and consumer protection laws (as well as destroying tort law) tell you to believe.

    You are nothing but a sucker. You claim “absolute truth” for the portions of the Bible you want to use to impose your will upon others – you ignore the portions of the Bible about faith, love and charity. I’m also guessing that you are not engaging in all of the animal sacrificial rites which the Torah lists. You then ignore that even within the religions who worship the God of Abraham (that would be Jews, Christians, and Moslems) there are hundreds if not thousands of different beliefs within those religions. See, honey, I’m a Christian too (but also qualify as a nice Jewish girl) and its pretty obvious that what they are preaching in my church is much different from what they are preaching in your church.

    Most people understand that there is a difference between what comes from God and what comes from man. Jesus of Nazareth was pretty clear that there is a difference between laws and man and laws of God. Jesus and the early church also specifically went away from many of the Jewish laws. Especailly since many of the Jewish laws were in fact actually the civil law code of the ancient Hebrews (and um borrowed from the Bablyonian Code) which means that they were laws of man (and as historians of noted, many were extremely practical given the circumstances).

    I guess you do have the Ten Commandments – something tells me you don’t actually follow them though. OF course, neither did Jesus of Nazareth – and neither did the ancient Hebrews since judging by the number of people killed in the Old Testament (odd that conservatives are calling for a book filled with so much sex and violence to be mandatory reading for school children – not that they really want people to read the Bible for themselves because if people actually do that, they will see how much the conservatives distort it – probably why so many conservatives support the King James Only belief – or if they are Catholic only support the Latin Mass and the Latin Bible – they know that people are not going to understand the arachaic languages therein).

    Meanwhile the sun has finally come out and its a holiday so I have better things to do than to try to educate someone whose mind is welded shut. You pretty much remind me of a bumper sticker on a car on one of my neighbors that i saw growing up “God Said It, I believe it, That Settles It” – even as a little girl who went to Sunday school every week i could tell what the problem with that closed minded attitude it – it sets you up for control from people who will claim to speak the word of God, but have their own agendas.

    When not even people within the same denomination of Christianity (let alone when you add in Jews and Moslems) agree on many things, how do you know it was really God talking? When its at least 5000 years removed from the oldest books of the Bible and approximated 1900 from the newest, and the Bible has been repeatedly translated over time – how can you be sure what is really God’s – and what is man’s interpretation of God? You claim God’s law – but it really is Think a Minute’s law – or more likely whatever modern equivilent of the scribes and pharisees snake oil salesman who convinced you to think that God supports whatever will line his pockets the most.

    *sigh* even trying to wrap things up and end this so i can enjoy my day off from work – and the fact that it is no longer pouring down rain and the sun is finally out, i just can’t help myself. I don’t even know why i bother, since Think a Minute obviously has his mind welded shut (and he likely agrees with Saint Paul that women should just keep their mouths shut about religion anyway so it could well violate God’s law for him to even listen to me talk about religion. Or maybe he decided to ignore those portions of the Bible). *sigh* why do i bother?

  • Think A Minute

    Aadila said: “good” and evil are entirely misleading symbolic constructs born of ignorance. They have no ultimate meaning and entirely subjective upon your experience…. I base my understanding of the universe on the advances of SCIENCE, and TESTABLE experience”

    3 Questions?
    1) Can you describe the SCIENTIFIC TEST you ran which proved that good has no meaning?

    2) Consider this quote from a poster: “I think it is because they don’t really care about hate crimes or hate groups at all, they just want to find a convenient reason to keep hating” Question: Does the kind of hate expressed in the above quote have any meaning?

    3) If ‘hate’ can have meaning, then why can’t “good” have meaning, since neither ‘hate’ nor ‘good’ are scientifically verifiable.

  • aadila

    Think,

    There is no good and evil except that which you, as observer, ascribe to a given action or intent. The good and evil reside in your own mind, not in the action you observe.

    Even the very words you use for “good” and “evil” are entirely misleading symbolic constructs born of ignorance. They have no ultimate meaning and entirely subjective upon your experience of being raised and/or indoctrinated in a given faith to the exclusion of all other views, ideas, and understanding.

    Whether or not you wish to believe in such utter poppycock is your own business. I prefer to base my understanding of the universe on the advances of science, and testable experience.

    Particularly, I would like to point to quantum physics and the interconnectedness of all things, which are completely indivisible into paltry mental constructs such as good or evil. These ideas may be comforting in a universe whose order is difficult to grasp, and where suffering exists, but they have no more meaning than you give to them. Of themselves they are just ideas, and like all ideas they arise from consciousness and return to consciousness like a wave.

    They have no ultimate reality.

    “If man thinks of the totality as constituted of independent fragments, then that is how his mind will tend to operate, but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole.”

    –David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980

  • Think A Minute

    Erika:
    You’re still relying on your opinion. For example – in the last post you said “which I BELIEVE to be true”. What you and I believe is irrelevant to absolute truth. If what you believe is YOUR truth and what Hitler believed about killing Jews for expediency is HIS truth, what makes your truth any better than his. Absolute Truth comes from God alone. It’s His truth that we are called to live by. He says in his Word that killing is wrong. Therefore it’s wrong. No debating. That means that Hitler is as wrong as the pregnant woman who kills her baby for any reason short of the baby killing HER of course. I’m afraid that includes rape and incest. God did not place qualifiers. And yes that would mean capital punishment. That might be MY pet cause as a conservative just like abortion might be yours. But God is neither conservative nor liberal. He’s God and he gets to make the rules. I may not LIKE them. You may not like them – but that’s irrelevant . And yes killing Hitler (as much as I would have loved being the one to pull the trigger) WOULD HAVE BEEN WRONG ACCORDING TO God’s law.

    About God’s absolute law, I’m not expecting you to believe me based on MY opinion. That’s what I was trying to tell Aron. No one cares about my opinion, least of all you. But I am expecting you to believe your own sense of logic. Two opposites cannot both be true at the same time and in the same relationship. There’s no example in this life, or in nature, or in the cosmos, or in the human experience where you can show that two opposites are both true at the same time and in the same relationship. You can draw scenarios where people are deceived, or don’t have all the information, or are lying. But that does not change the Truth. Your abortion and murder examples above do NOT contradict each other. Only your OPINION contradicts someone else’s OPINION. You said murder is wrong. Correct. But then you said “so if killing Hitler is moral… “. Incorrect. “Killing Hitler is moral” is YOUR opinion. “Murder is wrong” is God’s opinion. Therefore Killing Hitler is IMMORAL, because God says it is. So the correct answer is not “everything is shades of grey” That statement contradicts itself because IF everything is shades of grey, then THAT statement would ALSO be shades of grey, and if THAT statement is also shades of grey, then NOT everything is shades of grey. The correct statement is “SOME things are shades of grey and OTHER things are Black and White. The flavor of ice cream that is the best tasting is Shades of Grey, it’s relative. When your pharmacist dispenses drugs she works in black and white world. When you check your bank balance you work in a Black and White world. The computer screen you’re reading right now was designed in a black and white world. When NASA launches a satellite NASA works in a black and white world. Now are there Grey areas in all of those endeavors? Of course! But there are also very very very Black and White rules involved having to do with electricity, gravity, mathematics, physics, biology. To say that EVERYTHING is shades of grey is rationally self defeating AND practically impossible since such a world does not exist.

  • Erika

    Think, the best way to understand this might be for me to list two statements about abortion which I believe to be true:

    1) Abortion other to save the life of the mother is immoral.

    2) Its immoral to force a rape victim to have the baby of her rapist.

    See the problem? Statement 1 and 2 are contradictory. Yet, I believe them both to be true. That is the problem with absolute truths – because an absolute truth does not take into account individual circustances, it can conflict with other “absolute truths.”

    Take the “murder is wrong” example – leaving aside the definitional question of “what is murder” for which millions of trees have died to print cases which argue that very point – a classic hypothetical question is “if you could travel back in time to kill Hitler would you?” Of course, that would be murder – even though Hitler was responsible for murdering millions of other people, its still murder to kill him. So, if hypothetically murdering Hitler to prevent millions of deaths is moral, then aren’t people in fact that murder is not always immoral? See also the death penalty.

    Thus, what happens is that what you think is an absolute truth may not turn out to be such an absolute truth afterall once you start looking at individual fact patterns. Every individual has millions of things which they believe to be true – some of them turn out to contradict each other. That is why everything is shades of grey. You simply cannot exist if you just look at everything as an absolute truth because eventually two of your absolute truths will conflict. It is from that conflict between “absolute truths” that the fact that everything is different shades of grey.

  • aadila

    Think,

    If you enjoy Hume, I also suggest Alfred Jules Ayer, who proposed some useful methods to evaluate statements of ideas such as yours.

    I would like to point to science in reference to your idea that Truth exists without.

    Your view is dualistic, i.e., we exist separately from the Truth. As a monist, I feel that we are Truth, and that there is no distinction between our existence as humans and the dyamics of the universe as a whole. This monistic view is supported by quantum physics and the evidence that matter is comprised of subatomic wave forms, which suggests that there is no objective thing in the universe but instead a complete and dynamic unity.

    In eastern mysticism this very recent scientific understanding for thousands of years has already been understood, accepted, and referred to, in Sanskrit, as prat?tyasamutp?da (“dependent origination”).

    Therefore, the observation in the Heart Sutra, “form is emptiness, emptiness is form” is scientifically accurate as well as spiritually meaningful, and shows the ability of the meditative mind to perceive the mysteries of the universe in their effulgent nature of oneness.

    Such a realization is nothing short of mind-blowing.

    “The task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what no body yet has thought about that which everyone sees.”

    –Arthur Schopenhauer

  • Think A Minute

    aadila: Your post was escellent! I can’t wait to talk about Hume and Kant. I just taught a class last Sunday at church about Hume, Kant, Keirkagaard and the post modern movement. I’m no expert and probaly don’t know as much as you do about them, but when I get a chance to write again I’m going to share with you something Hume (the greatest skeptic) said that will blow your mind.

  • Think A Minute

    Erika: Nice job. You nailed a couple things that told me I’ve not communicated well. (not the first time). You see, I’m not positing that there’s no such thing as “preference”. That’s as extreme and unrealistic as positing that there’s NO absolute Truth. Of course there’s preference. In fact that’s the whole crux of my argument. Talk about cookie dough! Almost everything we say is preference. Scroll to the top again and skim down. All you’re going to see is cookie dough. “they’re a hate group, it’s your fault for labeling… we’re tolerant … they’re bigots … we’re inclusive … they’re lying, blah blah blah”.

    I’m trying to get buy in from you on this: There is personal preference BUT there is also a thing called absolute Truth. Absolute Truth does not depend on someone’s taste, or temperament, or physical constitution or political affiliation or worldview. Yummie is a relative term. Like “big”. Who killed the clerk is an absolute. The person who killed the clerk we’re going to call person X. Even if the jury, or the judge or the prosecutor doesn’t know who X is. Even if X who did the killing is insane or high and doesn’t know himself that he did the killing. He still did the killing. That’s my entire point! The fact that no human knows who X is, does not change the absolute truth that Person X killed the clerk. Whether X is A or B or C or none of the above does not change the absolute truth that X is the killer. No one in “this” world may know who X is (including X himself) but person X is known. Do you understand what I’m saying to you? Person X is known.

    Please mediate on this: “Everything is shades of Grey” is itself a Black and White Statement. Let’s call it Black. And like black it has an opposite which is White. White says “Everything is NOT shades of Grey” That’s the White version (if you will). And there is also (are you ready for this?) a Grey version: Grey says: “Everything Might Be shades of grey”. So if you want to be intellectually honest (and not contradict yourself) you have to say “Everything MIGHT BE shades of grey”. But be carefull!!!!! As soon as you say that, I’m going to jump all over you. Why am I going to jump all over you? What is my next post going to be if you claim that “everything Might Be shades of grey” ?

  • Think A Minute

    “The only truth is that all other statements are false. Go beyond, Think. Go truly beyond.”

    Indeed aadila. Indeed. But let’s really go beyond. Let’s imagine that if that statement can be true, there just might be at least one more…

    Shall we?

  • Think A Minute

    Aron: I’m sorry you chose to disengage. My whole effort was to lead you methodically to a new way of thinking. Step by step, so that you would know at every step that it wasn’t MY truth, it wasn’t My opinion, because my opinion is of no consequence. As aadila pointed out, I’m fallible and so are my opinions. I was trying to lead you to the Truth with a capital T. Trying to get you to acknowledge that it existed. Then I was going to help you see where it comes from. Not from within. Because as we said, we’re all fallible. Humans are fallible. Everyone has an opinion, they’re a dime a dozen. But I was going to help you come to the undisputable conclusion that Truth comes from outside of ourselves. You use the word “sophist” easily, but I wonder if that’s not just a smokescreen, especially because you don’t put any justification behind the charge.

    In this thread, some have thrown up this and that conservative position that they think I believe, or “your republican masters” or whatever. They’re missing the point. They might be shocked to know that I don’t defend any of those positions. That’s why I didn’t respond. She assumed that I agree with them. I do not. Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Romney (I use as a metaphor for conservatism) are as ignorant of Truth as Obama, Combs, Olbermann. They all get their “truth” from the wrong place, inside themselves. Most Republicans have no idea what the Truth is because they’re too busy following their ideology to “think”, just like liberals do. Tonight they’re having Clint Eastwood in an attempt to woo the hip wing of the conservative party, like the last time they used Arnold Schwarzenegger. Neither of these men have any idea where Truth comes from, yet there they are, in the “conservative” spotlight.

    Our minds, yours and mine, need to advance far beyond man made ideologies. There are only two groups that matter: those who know from whence Truth comes and those who make up their own. I hope one day you understand that Truth does not come from the suitcase full of life experiences that you draw from, or the pitiful grab bag of personal life experiences that I call my mind. Truth is way bigger than both of us. It wouldn’t care if we both ceased breathing right now. It would not change by one infinitely small idea. It does not depend on you or me or Billy Graham or Mother Theresa or Adolph Hitler. It is the Truth and it can never change. Ever.

  • Aron

    I didn’t come here for philosophical discussions. And certainly not with sophists like Think.

    He is producing logic so perfectly circular that one might surmise it was produced with a compass.

    We’re done here. You can feel free to go back to your study Bible. It obviously has All The Answers.

  • http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/heartsutra.html aadila

    The only truth is that all other statements are false. Go beyond, Think. Go truly beyond.

  • aadila

    Think, my dear, your equation of 2+2=4 may be factually correct, but it says nothing about the nature of truth.

    An equation is nothing more than a tautology. Tautologies are useful, but they do not contain any information about fact itself. This is because truths of pure reason are valid precisely because they lack any factual content. Equations, formula, and analytical methods are useful in the examples you provide, but they do not describe the nature of truth.

    You say that 2+2 = 4. And I agree. However, 4 can also be arrived at by 16/4. Or we can go to imaginary numbers if you wish, and propose -8 + 12 = 4. We could do the same in binary, or use grains of rice, or count on your fingers, or use any symbol you wish. None contain any factual statement about the nature of truth. Although the equation may be true, it is not, nor does it define, “truth”.

    If you were to read a bit of David Hume, you would find a division of genuine propositions into two classes: those which concern relationships between ideas, and those which concern matters of fact, which comprise a priori propositions of logic and pure mathematics. These propositions are necessary and certain, but they do not make any assertion about the empirical world.

    Empirical propositions on the other hand may rely upon logic for probable outcomes, but never with total certainty. For an empirical hypothesis to be verified, we rely upon experience and the senses. It cannot be logically proven for example that there are moral absolutes, that God exists, or that there is such a thing as an immortal soul.

    Even if you wish to claim that truth is absolute, what is the premise upon which your proposition was deduced? Did you or did you not begin with your senses?

    No statement about “truth” transcending the limits of senses and experience can have any literal significance whatsoever. And for that, I refer you to Kant. Your very statement that truth is absolute requires symbols which are devised by the human mind and it would be absurd to claim it has literal significance outside of subjective experience.

    As Wittgenstein once said, the only reason we suppose the world could not defy the rules of logic is that we have no means to describe how such a world would look.

    And yes, my son, I did study logic.

  • Think A Minute

    Erika: You said: “That is the problem with you binary black and white thinkers who do not realize that everything in the world is shades of grey.”

    Still waiting for your answer to this question. Obviously the above statement, being part of the world, is neither black nor white, that is: neither true nor untrue. Given that it isn’t true, how should I interpret it?

  • Think A Minute

    Aron: I didn’t give you an “a priori” argument. I didn’t give you ANY argument. I only gave you conclusions because you demanded them. I wasn’t ready to give you said conclusions because I knew you would take them as my opinion. And that’s exactly what you did, and rightly so, when you said “you are simply stating that you believe in your own morality for your own morality’s sake. You can give me no greater evidence than ‘it is God’s job”. I CAN give you greater evidence, if you’ll let me. But without leading you through the process of premise-argument-conclusion, anything I (or anybody else) claim is mere conjecture. Speculation. Opinion. Why would you care about my opinion? Aren’t you interested in TRUTH?

    In other words: If I can’t convince you that there’s Absolute Truth, then why should you believe me? Why would you even ask for something called p-r-o-o-f ? What is p-r-o-o-f ? That word has no meaning in a world where absolute truth doesn’t exist. If I can’t get you to even answer the question I’ve posed three times now, how can I PROVE anything? If I say 2+2=4. It always equals 4. It always has, always will, no matter what mood you’re in, no matter if you look through spider’s eyes or human eyes, no matter “what the essence of my subjectivity” is, then how am I going to prove ANYTHING to you much less the existence of God. I wouldn’t even be able to prove YOU exist. YOU might be the figment of a spider’s kaleidoscopic imagination!

    When you go to the pharmacy to pick up your meds, does it matter whose meds you get? Why? Why would it matter? If you get short changed on your next paycheck are you going to go to the book keeper and say “I think you shorted me this week”? What if she says “no, it’s really all there. Just put yourself in a parallel frame of mind. You’ll see. Really. It’s just that you’ve been indoctrinated by a limited belief system.” Are you going to say “wow, cool man, you expanded my universe, far out”? No. You’re going tell her to fork over the money. Right? Of course. So what’s the difference?

    In order for me to prove ANYTHING, you must accept the universal laws of logic, which so far you have not accepted. But you have USED those same laws of logic in your responses, without actually acknowledging that they even exist: Example: On Aug 17th you said ”Gestation begins at conception”. That is an example of an absolute truth. It does not depend on the color of your mood ring when you say it. But on Aug 23rd you said “in terms of Truth and Right, there is no absolute.” You contradicted your absolute truth statement about gestation by stating there’s no such thing as absolute truth. You refuted your own position.

    Again I ask: What do you think of the statement : “Thus truth cannot be absolute.” Do you agree with it? Is it absolutely true?” Yes it’s absolutely true or no it is not absolutely true. Can you please answer? Pretty please even?

  • Erika

    Since you asked nicely, Think I will get on my Fox News tart outfit and explain it to you respectfully.

    See, it is like this – consider a concept which on the surface appears to be a black and white type of statement. To avoid any controversy the concept I will use as an example is “Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is yummy.” Easy statement right?

    Wrong, its actually a statement of opinion – thus, someone who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies dough ice cream would not say its yummy. Thus, whether chocolate chip cookies dough ice cream is yummy or not will depend upon the individual (as aadilla already explained to you). Thus, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is yummy will always be a true statement – but not everyone can agree, The simple (black and white) part is that the statement is true – I do find chocolate chip dough ice cream to be yummy. The complex (shades of grey) part is that not everyone finds chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to be yummy.

    And the truth is actually more complex than just a matter of opinion – some people are gluten or lactose intolerant, some people are diabetic – thus, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream not only is not yummy, it will actually make them sick. And even if chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is yummy, it is not just a simple matter that everyone should eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream – it after all could make you gain weight or even develop diabetes or other medical conditions. That really has nothing to do with the inherient yumminess of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream – its just the decision on whether to eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is more complex than just “is it yummy?”

    Now, many things which appear to be black and white statements are statements of opinion which are simply teh view of the individual. Those statements are always going to be true for you, but could be wrong for everyone else.

    Let’s look at situations and events now:

    Here is a seeming black and white situation: Everyone agrees that murder is wrong. Its universally illegal and its prohibited by all values system. Thus, that people are opposed to murder

    Here is where the greyness comes in – what is murder?

    Yes, you can look at the definition of murder – but like many things, it adds more questions than answers. That is because nothing is that simple.

    More greyness comes in when you actually look at the specific stiuation that might be murder.

    Let’s see – seeming black and white situation – A robs the Blackacre Convenience Store and steals money and kills clerk B.

    Where does the greyness come in – lots of places.

    First, what if C looks similar to A and witness W identifies (scientific research shows that eyewtiness testimony is extremely unreliable) C as the killer. What if C is a person with intellectual disability who gives a false confession (the science on false confessions is pretty interesting as well)? C then gets convicted for a crime that A committed.

    I would hope that everyone would agree that is also a black and white “wrong” there to have an innocent person convicted and sent to prison (or worse).

    But say A was caught and goes to trial – well, greyness already has shown from the C hypothetical – what about the evidence? Then assuming A who is in fact guilty is convicted – what to do with him?

    That is a pure grey situation in which there is only an answer that is opinion. As mentioned above, opinions as a personal statement are always “true” statements – yet, they are also always “false” because they are opinions. That is a pure shade of grey.

    Thus, you are only looking at the surface – on the surface things might appear black and white but that is only because you are looking at the surface. Below the surface, things are incredibly complex. Humans are likely the most complex creature in existance. The human brain is extraordinary powerful. Human society is extraordinarily complex.

    That complexity – in something as seemingly simple as deciding whether you will eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream – is where the grey comes from – and that is why everything is grey.

    Your opinions are always black and white for you – but they are always shades of grey for everyone else – even in something as seemingly uncontroversial as “chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is yummy” can lead to potentially violent disagreements from fans of rocky road.

    What to do about your opinions are always grey.

    Human events are always colored in shades of grey.

    Public policy is always shades of grey.

    Thus, in a way you are right that there is a paradox in that it is true there can be no black and white and everything is shades of grey. However, that ignores where differences of opinion comes in and the human decision making process. By saying that everything is shades of grey, that means that everything is complex and nothing is as simple as your opinions say they are.

  • Aron

    Think,

    You gave me a priori arguments in response to my questions. I asked for legitimate proof. And I’m still waiting.

  • aadila

    By the way Think, I am not encouraging you to abandon your noble moral principles. I just point to their nature as not being tantamount to truth.

  • aadila

    Think A Minute said,

    on August 27th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Erika: “That is the problem with you binary black and white thinkers who do not realize that everything in the world is shades of grey.” I have a question for you. Obviously the above statement, being part of the world, is neither black nor white, that is: neither true nor untrue. Given that it isn’t true, how should I interpret it?

    With an open mind.

    I think the problem here, Think, is that you were indoctrinated with very limited belief systems, which has been reinforced by very strong faith. This is not “wrong” but it does limit your understanding of dialectical concepts, such as subjective truth.

    When you speak of “right” and “wrong” as things which exist as entities (and personified by religion into gods and devils) you are forgetting that these are concepts by which you interpret your experience.

    In turn your experience is 100% dependent upon your various senses and the physical structure of your body, including your brain. What you see and perceive as real would look very different if you were looking through the eight eyes of a spider, or the strange polygonal eyes of the dragonfly. However, we tend to operate on the assumption that what we see is what is. And in fact, we are not even seeing what is, but relying upon a lens which captures reflections of light, and this information is interpreted and recognized by the brain.

    In other words you may go to your grave insisting that grass is green because you see it this way. But if you saw without the ability to differentiate the color spectrum, or were born without eyes, you would have no concept of what “green” really is. No matter how much you tried, you would never fully understand the truth that grass is green. And in fact, grass is NOT green.

    We perceive the grass to be green through very limited and self-referential means. It becomes quite apparent that all of our assumptions and moral ideas rely upon even more subtle mechanics of thought and experience. You yourself admit you make mistakes on this thread, and yet you put so much credence in your ability to define what is true and what is real.

    The best you can hope for is to define what truth seems to be for you. And this is the essence of subjectivity. Even the very word “truth” has absolutely no meaning apart from what you ascribe to it, because you have to be there to perceive it.

  • aadila

    Look, Think, I am happy for your faith, but that doesn’t give you the right to lie about me. You put words in my mouth, attributed comments to me that someone else made, and claimed that I called you names, which I did not. So stop lying to me and to yourself and you might find that there is greater complexity to this question than you apparently perceive. Your entire argument is based on falsehoods and metaphysical arguments which by definition cannot be tested by logic. How can you claim “absolute Truth”?

  • Think a Minute

    aadilla: I messed up, he’s not so new. I went back and Ruslan is all over this thread. I just hadn’t interacted with him recently.

    Erika: I guess I didn’t see your response to my question. Can you repeat it, or should I repeat my question to you, to keep you from having to search?

    Aron: likewise , I didn’t see your answer to my question. Shall I restate it?