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Everything posted by Ellinas

  1. Assertions that evil proves the existence of god and that there is considerably more evidence for the christian god than for Allah? All morphed into a longwinded failure to explain anything, summed up in the line "So we don't know why God didn't heal Nabeel, but we know why we don't know why"? An explanation that amounts to bollocks pickled in bullshit.
  2. That has some potentially interesting ramifications in itself. What intent? Are all altars created equal, so to speak? In the instances I give, these are hellenic and pre-hellenic symbols of some relevance to me. What intent do I need to turn these into altars? And, as the physical composition would likely be unaffected, how can anyone know the difference between the altar and the display? Also, does focusing on intent mean that an ancient altar, no longer the focus of religious activity, ceases to be an altar in the absence of continuing intent? Which, in turn, raises the question of whether your altars are always altars, and my displays always just displays?
  3. I honestly don't know. I have a shelf with a bust of Athena on it, and the top of a small cabinet has figurines of the Minoan Snake Goddess, labrys and a bull's head based on an ancient Minoan rhyton. Are these altars? They have no practical use. I make no offerings on them. Perhaps they are just vaguely symbolic shelf displays? What makes these more or less altars than the other shelf with the figurine of Cthulhu and a little wooden Buddha (an odd combination that would probably give many a Chaos magician a headache)? On balance, no, probably I don't have altars in any generally accepted sense. Leaving that to one side, there is nothing unusual about your practice in pagan circles.
  4. It's to do with the "covering of glories" in 1 Corinthians 11. Basically, it is possible to trace it through as: The woman is the glory of the man; therefore she is covered by her hair - v7 & 15; The woman's hair is the glory of the woman; therefore she is covered by a hat, veil or whatever - v15; The man is the glory of god; therefore he is uncovered (wears nothing on his head) - v7 Symbolically, therefore, nothing is seen to be in competition with the glory of god, as the glory of man and woman are both covered. It also reinforces patriarchal hierarchy - the woman with short hair (therefore an "uncovered" woman) dishonours "her head" (i,e, the man) - v3 & 5. This is interpreted so as to indicate that the woman must not, even symbolically, compete with the man. Another ramification of this outlook is that women are regarded as obliged to wear their hair long (because it both their covering and their glory) but the man to wear his hair short (because, as the glory of god, he must have no covering). Don't shoot the messenger. Just answering your question. I know it's bullshit.
  5. I have a problem here. I'm trying to think of something I believed as a Christian that does not come under the heading of "weird". So, the answer would appear to be "Everything I believed as a Christian was weird"...
  6. Well. some of us may not have answered because we can't backslide from an atheism we never embraced... Fuego's experiences are interesting. Probative of absolutely nothing, but fertile food for thought. And also, unless I misunderstand him, perfectly consistent with atheism (save for the line on Cernunnos et al, perhaps).
  7. A work colleague goes to a weekly yoga class. She calls it "fart club" because of the effect it has on her flatulence (very difficult to hold it in when in certain positions, apparently). Does that count as exorcism?
  8. In which case, fine. Whatever makes sense to you, For others, mythology and the idea of a discrete deity may well have some point. And a fair few of us do not seek community. I have an online presence on a pagan forum, but. beyond that have not joined and have no intention of joining any physical group. The church provided quite enough of that for my lifetime.
  9. Welcome back indeed. I tried to PM you when you had apparently disappeared for a while but, as I recall, your inbox was too full. I believe you are correct that it is hardly surprising that there is relatively little "spiritual" engagement on a site such as this. And those of us who have such a side to our current worldview expressed online quite likely focus it elsewhere.
  10. The daftest relatively recent example was my wife's uncle, on what was effectively his death bed (or would become so within a month or so), in decrepit old age, thanking god for his blessings and the hospital food that had been placed in front of him (which I very much doubt he ate given his skeletal condition). Apparently his illness could simply be forgotten. He went into a prayer of thankgiving which quickly went from the (for him) superabundance of his meal to the "blessings of salvation". Fortunately, visiting hours then drew to a close. I never saw him again.
  11. In all honesty, I find advice almost impossible to give. Every marriage has its' own dynamic that only those inside it can fathom. In general terms, I would expect her to be afraid. Not necessarily for you, though it may be rationalised as concern for you. Rather, fear that her own way of life, her social circle, the certainties on which she's depended, are about to be torn away from her. For that reason I agree with the comment above that it is important not to try to deconvert her. There may, however, come a time when you will need to explain to her the importance of not trying to reconvert you. The import of your joint backslidden status is something I cannot compute. It makes her current approach the more apparently illogical. If you are lucky, time itself will resolve this. I think, in your position, I would try an approach of quietly sticking to my position - not seeking confrontation, stating my position when challenged and otherwise leaving well alone. Whether that is actually a sensible approach, only you can judge
  12. Ellinas

    Moral law

    Firstly, I don't understand what you mean by "itemize morality". One can only itemise what pre-exists. It is the nature of morality that it is purely subjective, variable from individual to individual and from society to society, and there is no "collection" of moral precepts to be observed and itemised. Law is not an itemisation of some pre-existent state of affairs that legislators are struggling to identify. It is the canon of rules that legislators consider best suited to the particular needs of a society (or the needs of society's rulers, its' rich and powerful, if we are going to be cynical about it). Secondly, i don't understand your doubt of human ability to define morality, since it is both created and defined in the human mind. Thirdly, I find it bizarre that you consider law to be an attempt to "hit the (moral) high spots". I have heard, with tedious regularity, the complaints of Christians I know about the immorality of current UK law - issues such as gay marriage, abortion, even the absence of a death penalty. Others might consider those same laws utterly reasonable. So, there is no agreement even as to what counts as a "high spot" let alone a codification of some identifiable moral background. And the law is still undeniably law, regardless of any moral viewpoint. The reality is that the majority of the legal canon has little or no morality behind it. If it did there would be cause to debate the moral superiority of the UK's national speed limit (70) versus that of the USA (which I understand to be 55) and the absence of any such limit on German autobahns. In fact, these are just rules based on figures plucked out of the air by whoever thought of them at the time. Likewise much financial regulation, the basis of land ownership and so on almost ad infinitum. So, no. I still do not understand how you connect law and morality
  13. Well done. Glad it went well for you.
  14. Ellinas

    Moral law

    I'm equally uncertain how you connect the two. What is the relevance of a feeling of revulsion against certain convicts? Levels of revulsion or attraction seems to me at best a rather blunt instrument to identify moral issues - otherwise, presumably, chocolate would be morally superior to brussel sprouts. Granted that such feelings can coincide with moral judgements, and that moral judgments can coincide with legally defined concepts, but that coincidence is not the same as saying that law, morality and such feelings are all the same thing. I'm Welsh, but speak no Welsh. I've met a Greek who speaks more of the language than do I. Welsh speaking and being Welsh can coincide - but are not the same thing. Same with law and morality. Coincidence is not identity.
  15. I think I've got one set out in there somewhere. Go ahead. No problem here,
  16. Ellinas

    Moral law

    I'm not entirely absolutely sure precisely with which part or parts of the section you quoted, you disagree, but I presume from the above that it centres on the statement "There is no moral law because morality is not codified into a legal framework" That is not a denial that what is called "morality" is used in deciding how laws should be framed, but merely an observation that morality is amorphous, uncertain, uncodified and not, of itself, enforced as law. It seems to me undeniable that law is institutionally created and procedurally enforced. I practice criminal law. If a prosecutor were to stand in Court and say: "This person has done something morally wrong", the reply would be "That is irrelevant. What offence known to law do you allege?" If a defence advocate seeking an acquittal were to say "This person has acted in a manner that is morally unimpeachable" the answer would be: "That is irrelevant. Explain how the conduct does not amount to the alleged offence". Murder, in a strange sort of way, makes the point. What are its' moral boundaries? Did the Spartans murder those children they flung from the cliff? Clearly not - as they acted in accordance with their law. Does the hangman murder the criminal? Not if the law states such killing is lawful, or at least does not proscribe it as unlawful (depending on the precise concept of "legality" in a given legal system). Killing is not automatically wrong as a matter of morality, the precise boundary of the moral issues are unclear and the offences of murder and manslaughter (I use UK terminology) merely set out those circumstances in which society has decided that killing is so damaging as to require action. The question of what makes a killing unlawful is not a moral issue. It is decided purely on what the law says. Moral judgements may bring about pressures for legal change, that is true. But morality, demonstrably, is not law, and law does not depend for its' validity upon morality. Hence the two are distinct. I leave aside issues over whether morality actually has any coherent meaning anyway - a point upon which I have doubts. But that's another discussion.
  17. The good the bad and the prejudiced exist in every outlook. Thought the precise ratio of the three may change...
  18. Ellinas

    Moral law

    Plymouth Brethren - specifically the more conservative end of the "open" Brethren. Bible bashers in the extreme sense of extremity. Now a bizarre and individualistic form of Hellenist, who also thinks it makes sod all difference what you believe, as long as you don't try to push it onto anyone else. Does use of extra large font make a post more convincing? Anyway - in ancient Sparta it was considered acceptable to chuck weak children off a cliff and to toughen up the rest of them by whipping seven colours of crap out of them whilst they tried to steal cheese in rather surreal ritual. Ancient society habitually exploited the weak via slavery - a condition in which the owner had the power of life and death and could simply dispose of the unprofitable. Adultery is merely institutionalised and given another name in polygamous societies (including the earlier old testament way of doing things). Rape and murder has long been an accompaniment of conquest. I could go on (aggression for instance - the Roman army made modern terrorist organisations look like a jam making committee of the Womens' Institute; sorry if that terminology doesn't translate into anything familiar to US members). So, yeah, I'm really impressed by the idea that people and societies have an innate concept of right and wrong (sarcasm employed there, for the less perceptive of you). Also, I don't understand how a Christian can at once claim that man has an innate moral code and then claim that men are nothing but evils sinners through and through. I'll re-phrase that. I don't understand how a Christian can support the logical somersaults needed to claim that man has an innate moral code and then claim that men are nothing but evils sinners through and through. Bingo. I take Sdelsolray's point save insofar as "law" in this thread seems not to be employed in the sense of laws of nature or physics but of the rules governing human behaviour within society. Law is what the legislature says it is. In fact, to be strictly, if cynically, accurate, law is what the judiciary says the legislature has said it is. There is no moral law because morality is not codified into a legal framework. Indeed, I know Christians who dispute the morality of much of modern UK law. But law it is, and law it remains. When I deal with a case, I do so in relation to courts of law. I have never seen and do not know of a court of morality. Hence, there is no moral law. It's a myth, convenient for those who maintain what, in jurisprudential terms (i.e. philosophy of law), is the concept of "Natural Law" - a quasi theocratic view of legal validity that is, quite frankly, twaddle when compared with positivist based ideas.
  19. The basic concept behind this can be easily demonstrated in this question: Can an omnipotent deity create a weight so heavy that he is unable to lift it? If yes - he is not omnipotent because he cannot lift the weight. If no - he is not omnipotent because he cannot create a weight too heavy for him to lift. As pointed out above, the argument only holds good for a concept of god that alleges omnipotence. That is not the only concept out there, however practically is the only one that is going to be applicable in dealing with Christians.
  20. Perhaps because it involves seeing things other than as they are to ordinary perception. If the spiritual is the antithesis of the mundane (an idea I don't accept, but probably a pretty common outlook) then perception that appears to somehow transcend, or at least be at odds with, the mundane is automatically seen as spiritual. No idea if that is correct, but, at the moment, it seems as good an answer as any.
  21. OK, as there's clearly no attempt at rational argument in your post, I'll play the same game. You say the Bible is the Word of God. No it's not. If you want to follow an egomaniac concept of deity on the basis of some collection of ancient writings, go ahead. I have more sense.
  22. If you are indeed prepared to "elaborate" - which, by the way, is a different concept to "assert" - why from the Bible? Why not the Qur'an, the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedas, the Tripitaka or the various pagan myths? Is it just your faith that tells where to find your texts? Does it not occur to you that your faith, exercised on the basis of other texts inconsistent with the Bible, may - and to a good many people does - provide just as much certainty as you now assert, thereby undermining the exclusive claims and hence the "truth" of the faith you espouse?
  23. Yes there is. Hmm, I could get to like this "arguing by assertion". It's so much simpler than reason and logic.
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