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Old 01-27-2008, 05:16 PM   #1
Samuel Dravis
 
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What we mean when we talk about God

I've recently been wondering what people mean when they say statements like the following:

"God judges me."
"God loves me."
"God forgives me."
"God told me to do X."
"God hates X."
"God is calling you."
"God is love."
"God is truth."
"God is good."

None of those statements can be literally interpreted as true. As an example, I'll take the first one, "God judges me." What does it mean to judge someone? Well, it means to pass judgment - do something critical of the person to be judged. A judge would declare a punishment on a criminal commensurate with their crimes. Of course, if he never punished anyone - regardless of what they did - we wouldn't say that the judge was doing much judging, would we? No, of course not. Many people do bad things, yet God doesn't seem to have punished anyone. In what sense is God a judge, then? I'm not sure. Perhaps it could refer to the prohibitions in the Bible or other holy texts against some actions, but then there is a difference between having a law and judging someone based on that law. It seems reasonable to wonder why we say that God is a judge when he doesn't act like a judge.

Another example from the above is "God is truth." So, what do we mean by truth in this context? It's hard to figure out. Usually when we say something is true, we mean that it is true relative to some standard, i.e., if I claim that there is a monster under the bed, the way to find out if I'm telling the truth or not is to look under the bed. If I say that a table is in the hall, you can look into the hall and find the table there. If I use this classic:

All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.


I mean that, if the conclusion follows from the rules of logic, it is called true.

But what does it mean to be true without some type of standard with which to evaluate that truth? I don't know. If we don't differentiate between true and false, how can it be said that something is true? Perhaps someone can enlighten me. From what I can see now, it looks like "truth" cannot be applied in the way it is in this context; it just doesn't make sense to say it.


These along with the other statements seem impossible to evaluate literally. So what exactly do people mean when they say them? Going from the statements, it looks like we're talking about a person, perhaps an Olympian god such as Zeus (we even say God is a "he").

"Zeus judges me." (He acts like a judge)
"Zeus loves me." (He acts in a loving way)
"Zeus forgives me." (He acts in a forgiving way)
"Zeus told me to do X." (He actually said to do something)
"Zeus hates X." (He acts hateful towards X)
"Zeus is calling you." (He asks out loud or animates a statue to tell you he wants you)
"Zeus is love." (? - similar treatment to truth)
"Zeus is truth." (? - see preceding paragraph on truth)
"Zeus is good." (Perhaps Zeus acts like a good person)

But wait-- God isn't Zeus! We don't want to say God is like an Olympian god. He doesn't appear to us like Zeus would. He doesn't have a corporeal presence like Zeus does, etc., etc. OK, that just means we're being figurative. God is like Zeus in some ways. It seems like we're constantly using similes with these statements, then. But if it's possible to describe a fact with a simile it must also be possible to drop the simile and say exactly what we mean, just as I did above in the parentheses. Can we drop the simile here when we use God and still retain anything? I can't see a way to do that - we seem to have comparisons that do not compare to anything (and some that can't even be understood as comparisons).

That is the question then: What do we mean by statements like this when we can't take them literally and can't take them figuratively either?

Perhaps we must mean something other than what the words themselves mean. "God judges me." = "I act as if there were a judge over me." In this case the statement isn't talking about what God is, if anything. It merely means, "This is how I live."

Thoughts?


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 01-27-2008, 08:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
But what does it mean to be true without some type of standard with which to evaluate that truth? I don't know. If we don't differentiate between true and false, how can it be said that something is true?
Yes, that doesn't work for me either. I approach the question assuming the nature of God must transcend all standards for comparison and not be subject to the dichotomy of truth and falsity. Therefore, I assert God is both true and false simultaneously.

I further suggest God's transcendence allows for synthesis an otherwise intractable paradox. When it comes to a question about the God and you see an "either/or", think "both/and". Everywhere and nowhere. Good and evil. Free will and destiny. Mind and body. Real and imaginary. Unity and multiplicity. Personal and impersonal. Everything and nothing.

That these dichotomies could be unified and still retain their own split nature simultaneously, this is what is provided by transcendence.

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Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
"God judges me." = "I act as if there were a judge over me."
Yes and further: "God judges me" = "I judge myself" = "I judge God" To me these are all equivalent.
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Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
"This is how I live."
This is how God lives.


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Old 01-27-2008, 09:02 PM   #3
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Well if we say God will judge me, it can mean after death. He may judge you worthy of entering heaven, or deem you unfit to enter. In that sense the judgement is his. Though technically he is more like Congress in that he determines the rules.
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Old 01-27-2008, 11:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tk102
Yes, that doesn't work for me either. I approach the question assuming the nature of God must transcend all standards for comparison and not be subject to the dichotomy of truth and falsity. Therefore, I assert God is both true and false simultaneously.

I further suggest God's transcendence allows for synthesis an otherwise intractable paradox. When it comes to a question about the God and you see an "either/or", think "both/and". Everywhere and nowhere. Good and evil. Free will and destiny. Mind and body. Real and imaginary. Unity and multiplicity. Personal and impersonal. Everything and nothing.

That these dichotomies could be unified and still retain their own split nature simultaneously, this is what is provided by transcendence.
I'm not sure what you mean. If you say that True=False, then the concept of truth appears to be rendered useless. Would you agree that, since nothing differentiatable is asserted by the statement, the assertion itself is meaningless?

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Yes and further: "God judges me" = "I judge myself" = "I judge God" To me these are all equivalent.This is how God lives.
Alright, thanks.

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Originally Posted by Tommycat
Well if we say God will judge me, it can mean after death. He may judge you worthy of entering heaven, or deem you unfit to enter. In that sense the judgement is his. Though technically he is more like Congress in that he determines the rules.
Ok, let's look at that idea, then. Judgement. Can we judge dead people? No, generally we don't say we judge corpses; we might be able to say, "Get rid of that smelly thing!" but not judge in the sense that a court judges a person. What you mean by "after death" must mean something other than a deciding to dispose of a corpse or not. So, what is it? Usually people say it's the soul, or spirit, that is judged.

Sure - now, what's a soul, and can a soul be judged? Let's see what we mean by soul (spirit is a synonym for soul in this context, so I put those in too):

He has no soul.
His soul has left his body.
He is a soulless murderer.
He has a great soul.
He is a noble spirit.
He has spirit!

Alright, now let's see what we mean when we say these things, what context we use them in:

He has no soul. (he doesn't empathize/care about what happens to others)
His soul has left his body. (He's dead.)
He is a soulless murderer. (He is not sorry for what he's done)
He has a great soul. (big-hearted; generous, kind)
He is a noble spirit. (similar to the above)
He has spirit! (he tries very hard to do something)

But there is a problem. We never use soul to mean a sort of non-material "you" after you're dead (whatever that means). So... we can't mean what we usually mean by soul or spirit in this context of "God judges the soul."

What do we mean, then? Not sure; no one ever says what they mean by soul. They give more similes: "A soul is like a person." Ok; show me the person - but there is no person! So, it's another simile. Can we restate it in terms of the facts? No. It, like the ones in the original post, seems to be without meaning and we're back to just saying some words.

"A soul is a person without their body." But "person" is never used outside of talking about people with bodies. What sense does it make to say a person doesn't have a body? Suppose someone had two baskets and a bucket of absolutely identical marbles. They then proceed to separate the marbles into the two buckets. They said they have a criterion for separating the two; but the marbles are absolutely identical. There is no possible meaningful criterion for their separation. In the same way, there's no possible meaningful criterion to distinguish an incorporeal soul from nothing at all...so why would we say it can be? A=B, but B is somehow different from A? Even though we've defined them as being absolutely identical? I don't know how to make sense of that.

So no, I don't know how God could judge a soul, or send a soul to a place, or do anything else with a soul, since soul is essentially descriptive of an attitude, not a thing. Send an attitude to hell? What's that supposed to mean? Attitudes can't be sent to places, they're just descriptions of the actions of people...

We give words meaning, but they can't have meaning if we don't distinguish them from each other. The soul, if it does not mean what we use it to mean, does not mean anything. A meaningless word can't be judged any more than a dead person can.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:39 AM   #5
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You are making a mistake of assigning corporeal traits to something non-corporeal. You are also making the mistake of using figures of speech and all its trappings to label what is and is not a soul. When someone says someone has no soul, it has no more meaning than saying a person has no heart. If a large group of people say that a dolphin is a fish, that does not make it true. You need to consult the experts in that field A soul as defined by religious scholars is the entity of the person, that which makes the person unique beyond physical appearance. All creatures are born with a soul. When their bodies die, their soul lives on.

And judging happens after death in some cases anyway. So your argument fails on that front as well. Since a person can also be judged innocent of charges.

You are taking a very narrowly defined judge and applying it to a very loosely defined soul. If you are going to use a scholarly defined judge to define what a judge is you should use the scholarly defined soul as well, because quite honestly we judge people after their death all the time. If I say Stalin, people make a judgement immediately. If I say Hitler, people make a judgement. If I say Mother Theresa or Ghandi, people make a judgement. So by that standard, we can be judged after death.
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:51 AM   #6
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To pick a single point of the original post and inflate it unfairly, SD (mayst I call thee 'Sam'?), you ask by what standard God is 'love', 'truth', etc.

Generally, is not a defect in ones personality - a lack of love, truth etc. not a flaw, or limitation? If God is extra-material, and is not limited, presumably, then, he cannot not be perfect, love, truth etc. Also, the fourth way.

I'll post a proper response later.



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Old 01-28-2008, 10:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommycat
You are making a mistake of assigning corporeal traits to something non-corporeal.
Well, the problem seems to be that there are no traits assigned to a soul. What is a trait that does not have anything to do with reality? Perhaps you can tell me, since you appear to have knowledge on the subject.

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You are also making the mistake of using figures of speech and all its trappings to label what is and is not a soul. When someone says someone has no soul, it has no more meaning than saying a person has no heart.
I am simply pointing out what we can't mean when we say soul - what we usually mean - and I'm glad you agree.

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If a large group of people say that a dolphin is a fish, that does not make it true.
I'm not sure you understand. I'm not saying that the objective isn't real; when people say dolphin they mean "the sort of mammal that lives in the ocean and looks like THIS." They of course don't need to use that specific word; other languages have different words for dolphin, or I could have a nickname for dolphins, etc. The point is that there exists a standard on which to judge whether something is a dolphin or not - reality. There is no such standard for soul, hence the problem.

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You need to consult the experts in that field A soul as defined by religious scholars is the entity of the person, that which makes the person unique beyond physical appearance.
But this is an instance of the very issue. They're saying something but we can't make sense of it! What makes people unique beyond what they do, what they are, how they live, their appearance, their kindness, their love? I don't know, you don't know, no one knows, but these people keep saying there is such a standard. All I am asking is this: If we can't use the normal meaning of soul, some of which I enumerated in my last post...then what exactly do we mean? Can we differentiate that meaning from anything else? If not, then I suggest the word, used in that way, is without literal sense (it may have another meaning, like "This is how I live", but not this one).

Quote:
All creatures are born with a soul. When their bodies die, their soul lives on.
What would differentiate a creature born without a soul from one born with one? Also, since when has anyone ever lived without their body? Explain exactly what it means to live without a body... and define your terms.

Quote:
And judging happens after death in some cases anyway. So your argument fails on that front as well. Since a person can also be judged innocent of charges.
But that type of judging is quite irrelevant to the person. There is no possibility of punishment or reward; the most we can say about that is that judgment is for the living, not the dead. That type of judging is not the same as the type we're interested in - like that of a judge presiding over the fate of this specific person. That is the way in which God is supposed to judge us, isn't it?

Quote:
You are taking a very narrowly defined judge and applying it to a very loosely defined soul. If you are going to use a scholarly defined judge to define what a judge is you should use the scholarly defined soul as well, because quite honestly we judge people after their death all the time. If I say Stalin, people make a judgment immediately. If I say Hitler, people make a judgment. If I say Mother Theresa or Ghandi, people make a judgment. So by that standard, we can be judged after death.
Indeed, you can use judging to mean this type of action. However, I think you can see the differences between this type of judging and the type we say that God will do. We're not presiding over the fate of someone, we're expressing outrage of someone's actions - something different, although certainly related (A judge could express his outrage in his sentence).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth InSidious
To pick a single point of the original post and inflate it unfairly, SD (mayst I call thee 'Sam'?), you ask by what standard God is 'love', 'truth', etc.
Certainly, I don't mind at all.

Quote:
Generally, is not a defect in ones personality - a lack of love, truth etc. not a flaw, or limitation? If God is extra-material, and is not limited, presumably, then, he cannot not be perfect, love, truth etc.
Well, that is interesting. So, even if God lacks what we think of as love, it is not a flaw. By virtue of his perfection he must have something called love, though?

OK. Suppose we took it as unnecessary that we define love in order to say that god has it. What do we mean when we say it, then? It's not our type of love, what we understand as love. Even so, people attempt use the word "God is love." in the same sense that I use "I love my mother." - but we can't use it that way. Incorporeal beings (whatever that means, the words seem to contradict each other) can't express love. Did we just steal a word in a failed attempt to describe the indescribable? Certainly if we don't mean we we normally do by love, saying that "God is love" is equivalent to saying that "God is gklfn." Well, if we define him as infinite, maybe so (although there is, of course, no way to check if the idea is contradictory or nonsense since we never defined it in the first place). Regardless, it still doesn't mean anything to say; telling someone that "God is gklfn" doesn't enlighten them in the least.

Also, we are still using the Olympian view of God. God's not Zeus, though. How are we even talking about it when we're saying that God is like Zeus but not really, only the times when we want to talk about his attributes?

Quote:
Also, the fourth way.

I'll post a proper response later.
I look forward to it.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

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Old 01-28-2008, 11:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
I'm not sure what you mean. If you say that True=False, then the concept of truth appears to be rendered useless. Would you agree that, since nothing differentiatable is asserted by the statement, the assertion itself is meaningless?
No, either/or logic is not meaningless. True/false is practical in regards to describing the differences between the Many Things but impractical when trying ascribe differences within the One Thing / No-Thing.


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Old 01-28-2008, 12:07 PM   #9
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What can meaningfully be said about the world if it is treated as the same thing? I.e., if we said, "everything is essentially the same as everything else" then we lose the ability to say anything about it. What's the difference between a chair and a man? The word "difference" doesn't mean anything in this context. The question is nonsense.

Now this may seem useful from an ethical point of view: "I am the same as everything else" - but if we attempt to make a normative statement: "I should (act this way)" from "It is (the same as I)" it doesn't follow. We don't treat other people like we treat rocks, for example, even if both are "essentially the same."

Everything is everything? A tautology that needs not be said. Yes, when we define the collection of facts A=∞, any specific fact B will always be present in A... but why would we ever use A in the first place? We couldn't be saying anything meaningful by it since we're not distinguishing between anything. If something is true and false at the same time, that merely indicates that logic cannot be applied to the statement as it is, not that it actually is "true" and "false." See the liar paradox. Kripke's interpretation is most similar to mine.

Similarly, we couldn't be saying anything meaningful when we talk about the "One-thing / No-thing" since we don't distinguish between anything there either. Unless you mean something else by "One-thing / No-thing", I don't know how to understand it as an assertion.


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Old 01-28-2008, 12:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
"Zeus loves me." (He acts in a loving way)
Or he shags you, preferably in the form of a wild animal. And yes, this applies to most dieties out there.
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Old 01-28-2008, 12:35 PM   #11
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Or he shags you, preferably in the form of a wild animal. And yes, this applies to most dieties out there.
Mmmm...nope.

As an Egyptologist, I object. The Graeco-Roman deities are somewhat unique in this, as far as I know.



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Old 01-28-2008, 01:09 PM   #12
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Eh.

What we mean when we talk about God? We talk about an diety who controls us. Absolute power and all that. If God was weak, he wouldn't have followers. Plain and simple.

The end. God can judge us, but that power of judgment stems from the fact that he got aboslute power. So, God="Absolute power".

Is God good? He's also supposed to be perfect, so, say, God is perfect. But it's not about 'perfect' that I follow God, I follow God because God is, well, better than me. He created me, for crying out loud! Why should I disobey him?

So, um, twist my statement, kay?


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Old 01-28-2008, 01:15 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by SilentScope001
Why should I disobey him?
Why should you obey him? What if he has bad things planned for you? Do you not deserve a chance for something better, even if you must make it for yourself?


“This body is not me. I am not caught in this body.
I am life without limit.”
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
What can meaningfully be said about the world if it is treated as the same thing?
You're still clinging to either/or: Either the world is many things or it is one thing. It is both many things and one thing and nothing.

In our day-to-day point of view the of many, we may say whatever you like about the world since we know it as many things. Words imply divisions between things. So it must be One Thing/No-Thing would "speak" only one word which means everything. Combine John 1:1 and Mandukya Upanishad: In the beginning there was the Word and that word is AUM.

So who is the one trying to meaningfully say something?


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Old 01-28-2008, 01:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by El Sitherino
Why should you obey him? What if he has bad things planned for you? Do you not deserve a chance for something better, even if you must make it for yourself?
Depending on your definition of 'God', one could argue that if He is perfect, including being omnibenevolent, then He cannot do something bad to you, since this would contradict His divine will. Of course, this again, relies upon a specific understanding of omnipotence as all-powerfulness that does not contradict its user's will....



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Old 01-28-2008, 02:17 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Darth InSidious
Depending on your definition of 'God', one could argue that if He is perfect, including being omnibenevolent, then He cannot do something bad to you, since this would contradict His divine will. Of course, this again, relies upon a specific understanding of omnipotence as all-powerfulness that does not contradict its user's will....
However, the most generally accepted thing about "God" is that he has a plan.
Some people it seems are destined for only bad things in his plan. So, how does this work?


“This body is not me. I am not caught in this body.
I am life without limit.”
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:19 PM   #17
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Why should you obey him? What if he has bad things planned for you? Do you not deserve a chance for something better, even if you must make it for yourself?
El Sitherino, God made me. If God didn't make me, I would not exist. Ergo, I owe my loyalty to God.

To disobey him would basically be an act of pure egoism, which seems just dumb. I am not that great, I am not that grand, and I don't see the point of rebelling against the very thing that granted you life.

It's not about some 'plan' that I have to follow him, it's due to basic knowledge that you owe featly due to all the favors he granted you. Why are you worried about a string of bad luck, when you still got the gift of oxygen?


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"The Cambodian government has established many exciting-sounding 're-education camps' where both intellectuals and everyday citizens can be sent at any time," Day said. Well, we at Barnes & Noble have always supported re-education in America, and we intend to extend this policy to our new customers." For every hardcover book sold, Barnes & Noble will donate a dollar to the Cambodian government to help re-educate local children.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:23 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by El Sitherino
However, the most generally accepted things about "God" is that he has a plan.
Some people it seems are destined for only bad things in his plan. So, how does this work?
'Plan' implies time. AFAIK, God is meant to exist outside time. The inaccuracise of a 3-D language...I suppose one could both argue that God invites us all to live a 'good' life, and some of us choose to live a rubbish one by our actions, or that it's his right, but the first relies upon supposition and the second, of course, is another debate entirely.



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Old 01-28-2008, 02:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentScope001
El Sitherino, God made me. If God didn't make me, I would not exist. Ergo, I owe my loyalty to God.
I still don't quite see why one should be loyal simply because he is their creator.

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To disobey him would basically be an act of pure egoism, which seems just dumb. I am not that great, I am not that grand, and I don't see the point of rebelling against the very thing that granted you life.
I'm not great, nor am I grand. I do however know who I am as a person and don't need some sky-daddy to plot my life by. It's not about ego, it's about a personal choice, one which he supposedly granted me. I'm fallable, I'm corruptable (in the sense all thinking entities are), and I'm mortal. I however, am also knowledgable and capable of learning many things throughout life without owing some blind allegiance.

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It's not about some 'plan' that I have to follow him, it's due to basic knowledge that you owe featly due to all the favors he granted you. Why are you worried about a string of bad luck, when you still got the gift of oxygen?
I owe only 2 people for things they've granted me. My parents, without them having fornicated at the moment in time that they did, I would not be here. Infact, my replacement would probably be a completely different form of person.

Also, I'm not worried about a string of bad luck. I'm well aware that life is a cycle, it has it's ups and downs. I believe however it is up to me to make my ups and limit my downs.

And not everyone thinks the gift of oxygen is that.


“This body is not me. I am not caught in this body.
I am life without limit.”
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Old 01-28-2008, 04:36 PM   #20
SilentScope001
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I still don't quite see why one should be loyal simply because he is their creator.
I see no reason why one should be loyal for any other reason. To do so would be tanamtount to betrayal.

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I'm not great, nor am I grand. I do however know who I am as a person and don't need some sky-daddy to plot my life by. It's not about ego, it's about a personal choice, one which he supposedly granted me. I'm fallable, I'm corruptable (in the sense all thinking entities are), and I'm mortal. I however, am also knowledgable and capable of learning many things throughout life without owing some blind allegiance.
And you still think therefore that you are better in that you don't need some other person to guide you. That's exactly what I meant by an ego problem! Thinking you have rationality, that you can think, that you don't need the help of someone else! Thinking that you are more intelligent than the 'sky-daddy'! Now, if the 'sky-daddy' doesn't exist, yes, you can make an logic. But the 'sky-daddy' as, defined in Judeo-Chrisitan mythos, states that he is all-powerful, all-mighty, and all-knowing. Thinking you don't need to listen to his logic is just pure folly.

You think you are smart enough. I don't. I recognize my limitations.

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I owe only 2 people for things they've granted me.
The Big Bang? The American Revolution? The Roman Republic? What about those things too? They made you who you are too.

And who made them?


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Old 01-28-2008, 04:46 PM   #21
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And you still think therefore that you are better in that you don't need some other person to guide you.
Wrong. Hell, sometimes I ask tk and Niner for advice.

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That's exactly what I meant by an ego problem!
K, sorry you don't understand the idea of an ego.

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Thinking you have rationality, that you can think, that you don't need the help of someone else! Thinking that you are more intelligent than the 'sky-daddy'! Now, if the 'sky-daddy' doesn't exist, yes, you can make an logic. But the 'sky-daddy' as, defined in Judeo-Chrisitan mythos, states that he is all-powerful, all-mighty, and all-knowing. Thinking you don't need to listen to his logic is just pure folly.
How? If I'm doing pretty much all the same stuff he wants people to do, but without listening to him, how am I incorrect?


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You think you are smart enough. I don't. I recognize my limitations.
Way to make assumptions.

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The Big Bang? The American Revolution? The Roman Republic? What about those things too? They made you who you are too.
Uh, kind of, yet not quite. My personality and definitions of myself as a human being and living entity are not determined by these labeled events.

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And who made them?
Their parents->their grandparents-->proteins and such that developed into life as it is today.


PS: Loyalty is earned and deserved. Not an automatic right.


“This body is not me. I am not caught in this body.
I am life without limit.”
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:55 PM   #22
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Or he shags you, preferably in the form of a wild animal. And yes, this applies to most dieties out there.
I'll keep that in mind if I see a bull where it shouldn't be.

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Originally Posted by SilentScope001
Eh.

What we mean when we talk about God? We talk about an deity who controls us. Absolute power and all that. If God was weak, he wouldn't have followers. Plain and simple.
But what constitutes a "deity who controls us"? The "who" makes it sound like a person, but there is no person. The "control" makes it sound like there someone affects things but there is no distinguishable controlling going on. So what does "deity that controls us" mean? It's not what we usually mean, whatever it is.

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So, um, twist my statement, kay?
Hopefully that will be unnecessary.




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Originally Posted by tk102
You're still clinging to either/or: Either the world is many things or it is one thing. It is both many things and one thing and nothing.

In our day-to-day point of view the of many, we may say whatever you like about the world since we know it as many things. Words imply divisions between things. So it must be One Thing/No-Thing would "speak" only one word which means everything. Combine John 1:1 and Mandukya Upanishad: In the beginning there was the Word and that word is AUM.

So who is the one trying to meaningfully say something?
So you mean a sentence like this: "AUM is everything that is the case"? If so, I'm not sure what you'd use it for. Anything with meaning that you'll ever say will imply its reality, so having a word for it seems redundant. "Everything that exists exists"? Yes, of course, otherwise we wouldn't be able to talk about it.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:13 PM   #23
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having a word for it seems redundant. "Everything that exists exists"...
Yes, except for one important thing. AUM is actually 4 elements. A+U+M+___

The 4th element is silence. That which is not spoken. The AUM encompasses those things that do not exist and that which cannot be verbalized.


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Old 01-28-2008, 08:38 PM   #24
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Er. Agree to disagree then. Sorry then. Look like I lose again.

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But what constitutes a "deity who controls us"? The "who" makes it sound like a person, but there is no person.
Well, in which case, I make an assumption that the diety is a person, not a human, but a person who can think, talk, and have its own will.

It's an oversimplication that could be seen as heritical in the wrong light, but it works for me, and is probraly how many people see God, as a person. Besides, if the diety is NOT a person, with its own ability to think, then you are claiming God to be the Big Bang.


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Originally Posted by The Onion
"The Cambodian government has established many exciting-sounding 're-education camps' where both intellectuals and everyday citizens can be sent at any time," Day said. Well, we at Barnes & Noble have always supported re-education in America, and we intend to extend this policy to our new customers." For every hardcover book sold, Barnes & Noble will donate a dollar to the Cambodian government to help re-educate local children.
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Old 01-28-2008, 09:56 PM   #25
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Do you not deserve a chance for something better, even if you must make it for yourself?
Why? Because of some inherent quality within us that gives us the right to do what we want? I don't think we deserve anything. If you took a piece of playdoh and molded it into a figure of a man, would you expect that object to have some kind of "right"?

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Originally Posted by El Slitherino
How? If I'm doing pretty much all the same stuff he wants people to do, but without listening to him, how am I incorrect?
I'm not sure how that would apply. What, are you just worshiping him by accident? (I'm pretty sure that's something that, at least for Christians, we are supposed to do....)

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PS: Loyalty is earned and deserved. Not an automatic right.
But isn't that putting yourself on the level of God? I myself would consider God someone to be followed simply because he is God - heck, if He really is God, where do you think you get the idea of "loyalty" from in the first place? In that case, it wouldn't be something that man thought up.
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:06 PM   #26
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Well, the problem seems to be that there are no traits assigned to a soul. What is a trait that does not have anything to do with reality? Perhaps you can tell me, since you appear to have knowledge on the subject.
No, it only seems as if the traits are not assigned because the traits are not tangible.

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I am simply pointing out what we can't mean when we say soul - what we usually mean - and I'm glad you agree.
But your defining of such is from unqualified sources. It would be like asking the general public to define DNA, but not asking a geneticist. The general public doesn't have enough knowledge on the subject to make the determination.

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I'm not sure you understand. I'm not saying that the objective isn't real; when people say dolphin they mean "the sort of mammal that lives in the ocean and looks like THIS." They of course don't need to use that specific word; other languages have different words for dolphin, or I could have a nickname for dolphins, etc. The point is that there exists a standard on which to judge whether something is a dolphin or not - reality. There is no such standard for soul, hence the problem.
In relation to the definition of an etherial object(be it a soul, ghosts, 4th dimentional aliens) you need to consult the sources, and if the source is not readily available to you, the experts in that field. In the case of a soul, you need to speak with a religious expert.

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But this is an instance of the very issue. They're saying something but we can't make sense of it! What makes people unique beyond what they do, what they are, how they live, their appearance, their kindness, their love? I don't know, you don't know, no one knows, but these people keep saying there is such a standard. All I am asking is this: If we can't use the normal meaning of soul, some of which I enumerated in my last post...then what exactly do we mean? Can we differentiate that meaning from anything else? If not, then I suggest the word, used in that way, is without literal sense (it may have another meaning, like "This is how I live", but not this one).
No, YOU can't make sense of it because you choose not to believe in the etherial. Yes, it is the person without the squishy crunchy body. And believe it or not they have referred to people without the body as people. I think a good example is "The 6th Sense" when he says, "I see dead people" that is at least one example. Many people believe that they can talk to the dead(Still not sure how I feel about that subject) meaning the dead person who is not attached to the body. What makes us who we are outside of our physical appearance is our soul.

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What would differentiate a creature born without a soul from one born with one?
One would be a plant, the other has a unique personality.
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Also, since when has anyone ever lived without their body? Explain exactly what it means to live without a body... and define your terms.
Posession: when a soul of another inhabits the body of another. There have been cases of this, however I'm still not sure whether those cases are confirmed as more than mental illness. Still as we are not defining it as something that has to be proven(as it deals with the etherial, it can never be proven/disproven). Then there are the large number of "hauntings" which have people's living spirit not ready to accept that they were supposed to be dead.

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But that type of judging is quite irrelevant to the person. There is no possibility of punishment or reward; the most we can say about that is that judgment is for the living, not the dead. That type of judging is not the same as the type we're interested in - like that of a judge presiding over the fate of this specific person. That is the way in which God is supposed to judge us, isn't it?
Not necessarily. Because in order to use the judging you use, you have to use the narrowly defined living soul as referred to by religious scholars. That being the person without the squishy crunchy bits.

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Indeed, you can use judging to mean this type of action. However, I think you can see the differences between this type of judging and the type we say that God will do. We're not presiding over the fate of someone, we're expressing outrage of someone's actions - something different, although certainly related (A judge could express his outrage in his sentence).
Meh, You're using generalities about souls, so why can't we use generalities about judging?
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:26 PM   #27
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No, it only seems as if the traits are not assigned because the traits are not tangible.
Give me an example of an intangible trait that souls have, then, that doesn't fall under the problems given in the original post. No, it can't be an analogy. No, it can't be a word stripped of meaning. Yes, I already know that "he's a good soul" means he does good things, but remember that those are similes and consequently don't say anything metaphysical.

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But your defining of such is from unqualified sources. It would be like asking the general public to define DNA, but not asking a geneticist. The general public doesn't have enough knowledge on the subject to make the determination.
Unqualified sources? Don't YOU know what you use soul to mean when you say it? If you didn't that'd be like you suddenly deciding to mumble gibberish in the middle of a sentence! There need be no asking an "expert" what WE mean when we say soul.

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In relation to the definition of an ethereal object(be it a soul, ghosts, 4th dimensional aliens) you need to consult the sources, and if the source is not readily available to you, the experts in that field. In the case of a soul, you need to speak with a religious expert.
I am simply asking the people who say this type of thing ("God loves me") to explain what they mean by that. You say you know what a soul is since you have chosen to assert that a soul does exist other than the normal uses of the word. The ONLY QUESTION you have to answer is: what do YOU mean by it. And for that you require no expert. You don't need someone to tell you what you believe.

But even if we were to ask what a soul was of a religious scholar, it would get us no further. An example from the Catholic Encyclopedia here makes it clear that it is defined no better than as what people do:

"The soul may be defined as the ultimate internal principle by which we think, feel, and will, and by which our bodies are animated."


You notice that all of those terms are easily explainable in context of their use, and absolutely none of them means anything without an actual person involved. Of course, if you think the Catholics are questionable in their theological definitions you're welcome to find another source; however, don't be surprised when you discover that none of them mean anything beyond what they are normally used to mean.

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No, YOU can't make sense of it because you choose not to believe in the ethereal. Yes, it is the person without the squishy crunchy body. And believe it or not they have referred to people without the body as people. I think a good example is "The 6th Sense" when he says, "I see dead people" that is at least one example. Many people believe that they can talk to the dead(Still not sure how I feel about that subject) meaning the dead person who is not attached to the body. What makes us who we are outside of our physical appearance is our soul.
Many people say many things. Some people say that there's an ether in which the universe floats. What are we to make of this ether? It has no attributes, so what could they possibly mean by "float" or "in"? I haven't a clue, and I doubt you do either. I choose to not talk about the ether for the same reason I choose not to talk about your "ethereal." - there is quite literally nothing meaningful to say.

I do know what ethereal means, however. It's used to describe when something is wispy, transient, fragile, delicate, etc. None of those fit with what you're trying to say, so its meaning is somewhat up in the air when it's used in this way... it's sort of like saying that the color blue smells offensive. Uh, ok? How would people respond to that? By pointing out that colors don't smell. In this case I'm just trying to point out that existence isn't used as a property of "something" undifferentiated from nothing. "People" don't exist if "they" are undifferentiated from nothing. Judgment does not take place over "something" undifferentiated from nothing. Etc., etc.

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One would be a plant, the other has a unique personality.
So we talk about a plant as if is a creature? I have never heard someone do that and I would never do that. A plant creature? Perhaps a reference to that horrible 80's movie in which a plant starts eating people. I suppose a plant could be someone's "baby" - but that just means that they care for it especially well and take an interest in its development.

No, what I asked was: "What would differentiate a creature born without a soul from one born with one?" Indeed, what is the criteria for distinguishing this? The same as how we distinguish between a plant and a human? If that's true then soul simply means, "human." But that's not what is meant, is it? And if it's not the difference between things that defines a soul, then what meaning does it have?

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Possession: when a soul of another inhabits the body of another. There have been cases of this, however I'm still not sure whether those cases are confirmed as more than mental illness. Still as we are not defining it as something that has to be proven(as it deals with the ethereal, it can never be proven/disproven). Then there are the large number of "hauntings" which have people's living spirit not ready to accept that they were supposed to be dead.
All I see in those is 1) people acting totally crazy, at which point we call them possessed (especially if they start trying to talk about God(?) or eating souls(?) and whatnot); and 2) Happenings that are simply unexplained. Neither require anything beyond what is happening at face value, and what's more, we don't talk about possession outside of these specific, objective circumstances. Curious, isn't it? What reason have we to separate the actions from the word? I submit that there is absolutely no reason to do so.

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Not necessarily. Because in order to use the judging you use, you have to use the narrowly defined living soul as referred to by religious scholars. That being the person without the squishy crunchy bits.
They haven't defined anything if we can't understand what they mean, and I hope I've made it clear in this thread that they most definitely haven't defined their terms.

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Meh, You're using generalities about souls, so why can't we use generalities about judging?
In this case, judging is used as if were relating to a specific context of being judged in a court. If you disagree with this assessment, feel free to correct me.

Also, if you have an alternative coherent and specific definition of soul, then I will certainly be glad to talk about that if you prefer. I certainly don't want to be using a strawman.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

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Old 01-29-2008, 12:06 AM   #28
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Why? Because of some inherent quality within us that gives us the right to do what we want? I don't think we deserve anything. If you took a piece of playdoh and molded it into a figure of a man, would you expect that object to have some kind of "right"?
Uh, you seem to have missed the point.

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I'm not sure how that would apply. What, are you just worshiping him by accident? (I'm pretty sure that's something that, at least for Christians, we are supposed to do....)
I'm sorry you're not sure.

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But isn't that putting yourself on the level of God? I myself would consider God someone to be followed simply because he is God - heck, if He really is God, where do you think you get the idea of "loyalty" from in the first place? In that case, it wouldn't be something that man thought up.
No, it's not putting myself on the level of God. That's good for you, I'm not, hell I'm not even convinced there is a God. And no, loyalty is a human concept. Faith is the matter of God. It's not about loyalty for him, it's about belief in him. You don't owe him some blood-debt, he just hopes you worship him because he likes it.


“This body is not me. I am not caught in this body.
I am life without limit.”
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:24 AM   #29
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First off I have already given you my definition of a soul. It is a person without the squishy crunchy bits(aka body). NOW whether you agree with that or not is irrelevant. You are asking what I mean by a soul, and I have defined it. From my perspective there is more to a person than the physical appearance. Take every thing that is a person aside from the physical body, and that is the soul. The mind, the memories, the personality, the life force, the morals, emotional traits, and basically everything that makes YOU different from ME on the forums.

Again, as far as posession or hauntings are concerned, you cannot rule out fully that those are not souls living beyond the physical body. So they do represent the possibility of a soul living on. YOU just choose not to believe it as such. You even admit to the unexplained. Could it be possible that the haunting is a soul?

As for your question about the plant/creature comment, it was somewhat tongue in cheek. It's like saying what do you call a person born without a body. Since I believe they are both required for a person to be born, asking what it is without it is meaningless. Perhaps we could say it is the stillborn child.

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Old 01-29-2008, 12:36 AM   #30
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It's also very probable, and usually, it's someone with schizophrenia or some sort of multiple personality disorder.


“This body is not me. I am not caught in this body.
I am life without limit.”
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:44 AM   #31
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Yeah as far as posessions are concerned I concede(I think I was even kinda leaning that way in my post bringing it up) that it is very possible that it is mental illness. However hauntings tend to carry more weight as more people have those types of experiences. And some are still unexplained.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:13 AM   #32
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First off I have already given you my definition of a soul. It is a person without the squishy crunchy bits(aka body). NOW whether you agree with that or not is irrelevant. You are asking what I mean by a soul, and I have defined it.
You've used words in a way that doesn't mean anything. I suggest you go back to post #4 and either refute or agree with the argument there about the nature of the word "soul." If you deny it, I do expect you to provide a definition for what a soul is, and by that I mean you have to meaningfully show that having a soul is different than not having one.

If you disagree with the method of analysis I used, it would be helpful to me if you said what exactly the problem with it is.

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From my perspective there is more to a person than the physical appearance. Take every thing that is a person aside from the physical body, and that is the soul. The mind, the memories, the personality, the life force, the morals, emotional traits, and basically everything that makes YOU different from ME on the forums.
I'm sorry but you've just done exactly what I've spent the entire thread showing you that you can't do!

How do we know about a person's memory? Because they act like they remember! How do we know what a person's personality is like? Because they act that way! What is a person's emotions? It's how they act! How do we know what it is for someone to live? Because we see them live! When do we say someone is a moral person? When they act morally! What is the mind? There is no object called a mind! The word is used as an expression - I've got something on my mind, He's lost his mind, my mind is made up, etc. Literal interpretation of an expression is sure to fail, as it is doing so famously in this very instance.

Our language is bound up intimately with what we are because it is an expression of our humanity. There can be no abstraction of human concepts; no pasting them onto entities they don't fit. What we mean by love is human love; emotions, human emotions; living, human life...

"If a lion could talk, we would not understand him." - Wittgenstein

Soul is a word we use in relation to certain circumstances in our lives. You're using it outside of the normal circumstances and so it doesn't make sense. Either show it has meaning in this context or stop misusing a perfectly good word.

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Again, as far as possession or hauntings are concerned, you cannot rule out fully that those are not souls living beyond the physical body. So they do represent the possibility of a soul living on. YOU just choose not to believe it as such. You even admit to the unexplained. Could it be possible that the haunting is a soul?
I invite you to examine my arguments and tell me where I have ever tried to say that there can exist no thing called a soul. Rather, I have - quite simply and reasonably - inquired as to what people mean when they say it. So far it seems like they don't mean what we usually mean when we say soul. The same goes for God; when God is talked about as if he was Zeus, we don't mean he actually is Zeus. Ok - but what is God then? What is the soul? You can see the problem, I'm sure. It's not that a meaning cannot be given to God or the soul, it's that no one wants accept a meaningful definition of those terms.

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As for your question about the plant/creature comment, it was somewhat tongue in cheek. It's like saying what do you call a person born without a body. Since I believe they are both required for a person to exist, asking what it is without it is meaningless. Perhaps we could say it is the stillborn child.
Alright, I will accept that. A stillborn baby does not have a soul; it doesn't have a soul in the same way that dead people do not have souls. That makes perfect sense if soul is meant as an expression of the things people do. "His soul has departed his body" indeed. A dead person's body was once animated; it is no longer. His "life force" is gone. I do understand these ways of using the word...and then there is your use of it, which I do not understand.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

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Old 01-29-2008, 01:47 AM   #33
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That's the problem we use soul and heart for things they do not mean. We use sayings like he has no soul and he has no heart interchangably. Neither means that person is literally without that item, nor does the saying mean that that is the definition of that item. Does the saying mean that a heart should be only referred to as empathy?

The soul is made up of many things combined. Life force being one. And no, actions do not define the person. The thoughts define the person. Actions define the person to others. Are you saying that a person who is paralized cannot feel emotion? They cannot remember? They cannot have a personality? So is it ok to slap around someone who is paralyzed or in a coma? Again there is more to the person than the physical.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:18 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Tommycat
That's the problem we use soul and heart for things they do not mean. We use sayings like he has no soul and he has no heart interchangably. Neither means that person is literally without that item, nor does the saying mean that that is the definition of that item. Does the saying mean that a heart should be only referred to as empathy?
Should? It means what we use it to mean. There is no "should." The correct usage of word merely means that people react in a certain way to it. "He has no heart" expresses what we mean perfectly in the correct context. Indeed, you could consider it to be one word, the word that we say when a man isn't displaying empathy: Hehasnoheart (someone learning English might hear someone say that and interpret it as one word).

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The soul is made up of many things combined. Life force being one. And no, actions do not define the person. The thoughts define the person.
Thought without action is meaningless. "I always loved you in my mind!" But that's not love. "I was a good person in my mind!" But that's not being a good person. "I wanted the best for you!" But suppose the person saying that had methodically destroyed your life?

"I thought about the ramifications of buying a car" means, "I am able to discuss certain things about buying a car easily now." If you asked this person about it, they would have the information present and ready to talk about. Someone who hadn't thought about it would not be able to discuss the question easily. "Thought" is something we say in these contexts to show our ability to do something.

No, (metaphysical)thoughts do not define a person, actions do... and actions include the words they use.

Saying "I thought about it" is an action that points to other objective facts.

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Actions define the person to others. Are you saying that a person who is paralyzed cannot feel emotion? They cannot remember? They cannot have a personality? So is it ok to slap around someone who is paralyzed or in a coma? Again there is more to the person than the physical.
There are many people whose brains do not function like ours. They do not seem to react to pain like we do; they don't take their hand off of a hot stove until they see their hand actually burning. Do they feel pain or not? No, I suggest they don't feel pain.

There is a man who doesn't remember anything past three minutes. Why? Because when three minutes is over, he goes over to you and asks your name. Again. Just like he did three minutes before. Would you ever say of someone that they can't remember past three minutes when they act exactly as if they do remember? Of course not. The acting is the remembering; the two can't be taken apart and made into some sort of mind/body duality.

To be honest, I don't know if a person who is completely paralyzed can feel emotion. It's not our emotion, anyway. They certainly don't, or can't, express it. What sense does it make to say that they hate someone when they just keep on staring ahead doing absolutely nothing? In what way are they said to love?

A totally paralyzed person would have no personality, just as we talk about some people having less personality than others. The measuring stick? How they act. "He has a great personality!" (He's fun to be with) As you're older than me (I think, anyway ), you've even had more time to see - and use - these expressions firsthand.

Is it ok to hurt someone if they can't feel it? I don't have much interest in that subject, at least in this thread; I was mainly trying to find the meaning of the statements in the original post. However, I will say this: the expression of a moral judgment is as much a part of language as everything else. Please note that this fact does not make good and evil subjective.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

Last edited by Samuel Dravis; 01-29-2008 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:17 AM   #35
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No, because even if a person does not show it physically, they can have emotions. If you have love for someone but don't express it, it only means that you don't express it. Acting is NOT remembering. I remember things all the time without acting on that memory. In fact I remembered an old band mate from years ago that just popped into my head. From what you are saying here is that my memory did not exist until I just now stated it on this board. I'm saying it existed to me, but not to you, as that is merely your perception of my memory, not whether I actually remembered.

Actions do not define the person. The person's thoughts do. Only your perception changes when you see the actions. A man can be racist, but never act on that racism, never say anything about his feelings, that does not mean he isn't racist. It simply means he has not acted on that racism. A man can be intensely in love with someone and never act on that love, that does not mean he has no love. It just means he never acted on that love. I can be an internally violent and disturbing person, but on the outside I can pretend to be all nice and "normal" but really be ready to slit the throat of a random person just to see the red. It wouldn't mean that I'm not psychotic until I actually act on that thought. Only your perception would change to see the psychotic person that lurked inside me.

So what you are saying is that you used a poor method of defining soul because by your last statement, hehasnoheart is one word so hehasnosoul is also another word not defining the soul at all, but only the phrase itself.
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Old 01-29-2008, 03:38 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Tommycat
No, because even if a person does not show it physically, they can have emotions. If you have love for someone but don't express it, it only means that you don't express it.
When have you ever heard someone say, "He is sad" when the person, quite clearly, is not sad? Perhaps they would say this in certain circumstances. "His mother just died and he has gotten drunk" (i.e., he's not acting sad at this moment), but we understand that he is drunk because he is sad. But to say it of someone who never, ever did anything we associate with sadness? It would just be an incorrect use of the word. To say of a child playing on a swingset laughing: "She is a very sad girl." How to handle that? I'd probably reply, "Don't you know what sadness means?"

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Acting is NOT remembering. I remember things all the time without acting on that memory. In fact I remembered an old band mate from years ago that just popped into my head. From what you are saying here is that my memory did not exist until I just now stated it on this board. I'm saying it existed to me, but not to you, as that is merely your perception of my memory, not whether I actually remembered.
What I am saying is that words describe what we do. "Remembering" as an objective word does not rely on your personal subjective experience. Whatever you might "remember" without acting on it is not remembering in the same sense the the word is used. What is more, there is no such thing as subjectively remembering something; words are objective and only have objective meanings.

Subjective "memory" has no objective ground and therefore you could not assign any truth value to it. However, objective memory (as it is used in language) is about whether the circumstances of reality conform to what you say about those circumstances. I.e., you DO have the bandmate you thought about; you say you remember when you talk about something that has happened. However, there's always a distinction between a false memory and a true one. If this memory was true it would have THESE results. A subjective memory has no such correction measure and therefore it says absolutely nothing significant.

The past isn't what you feel it was; the past is what actually happened at such-and-such time, and memory is the word we use to talk about that concept.

You say you just remembered that band member. Guess what? You've just made an objective statement! Instead of a feeling, there is something concrete involved. Like I said before, even using words is an action.

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Actions do not define the person. The person's thoughts do.
I have already addressed these exact statements in #34.


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Only your perception changes when you see the actions. A man can be racist, but never act on that racism, never say anything about his feelings, that does not mean he isn't racist. It simply means he has not acted on that racism.
I ask you: in what circumstances do we say someone is racist? Feels racist?

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A man can be intensely in love with someone and never act on that love, that does not mean he has no love. It just means he never acted on that love.
I ask you: in what circumstances do we say someone is in love? Has love?

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I can be an internally violent and disturbing person, but on the outside I can pretend to be all nice and "normal" but really be ready to slit the throat of a random person just to see the red. It wouldn't mean that I'm not psychotic until I actually act on that thought. Only your perception would change to see the psychotic person that lurked inside me.
I ask you: in what circumstances do we say someone is psychotic? Violent? Disturbing?

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So what you are saying is that you used a poor method of defining soul because by your last statement, hehasnoheart is one word so hehasnosoul is also another word not defining the soul at all, but only the phrase itself.
Hehasnoheart is used in a specific situation. Hehasnosoul is also used in a specific situation. The trouble arises when people start using them in ways that haven't been defined. As expressions, they are very similar in meaning, with Hehasnosoul perhaps being a little more critical. Try saying Hehasnosoul about a rock to someone; they'll have to ask you what you mean, just as I ask you here what soul means when you've taken it out of context.


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

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Old 01-29-2008, 04:13 AM   #37
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Ok, so those poker players out there always show the exact emotion on their faces, in their actions etc? If I have a Royal Flush, I'm gonna be pretty well tickled pink about it. If I show that emotion, then I give away my advantage. That is just one example of an emotion that is not expressed. It is there, but the other players are not able to see that expression(unless I am a terrible poker player). I SOOOOO want to play poker with you. All I have to do is show I'm sad and you think I am sad.

WE say someone is in love, racist, etc by what they show, but they do not have to show it. They can be in love without acting on it.

For instance I was in love with a woman at one time that was married. I did not show that love. She had no idea I was in love with her. I was best friends with her husband, and could not show that love. So I held it inside and kept it hidden away. There is an exact example that occurs so often it appears in literature from almost every culture. Thought without action. It appears that you have never experienced this in your life. Great for you.

Look I'm not going to sit here and pick everything apart. All I'm going to say is in your example "His soul has left his body" What has left his body? That is the only example from post 4 that "soul" could not be interchanged with "heart"(though technically if his actual heart did leave his body, I think the soul wouldn't be far behind). Or you can turn it around and state that the soul is the non-literal version of the heart(aka not the blood pump).

I would really love to get back on topic, but we are stuck on this whole soul business.

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Old 01-29-2008, 04:40 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Tommycat
Ok, so those poker players out there always show the exact emotion on their faces, in their actions etc? If I have a Royal Flush, I'm gonna be pretty well tickled pink about it. If I show that emotion, then I give away my advantage. That is just one example of an emotion that is not expressed. It is there, but the other players are not able to see that expression(unless I am a terrible poker player). I SOOOOO want to play poker with you. All I have to do is show I'm sad and you think I am sad.
Not at all. Circumstance! In a poker game, I know what is expected of people. They will be intentionally hiding physical reactions. They quite literally aren't expressing emotion, being emotional. I won't say that they felt a certain way or not, since I don't know except by what they say or do afterwards. They could say, "I felt great about that hand!" and I know what they mean in the context of a poker game. If they were playing another game where bluffing did not matter, I would wonder why they were being so serious. Different games, different expectations, different meanings.

I wouldn't say that someone who was on the ground writhing and screaming horribly "could be faking." I would see what was wrong with them and perhaps get an ambulance. Different circumstance. I might ignore such actions from a person in a play, however.

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WE say someone is in love, racist, etc by what they show, but they do not have to show it. They can be in love without acting on it.

For instance I was in love with a woman at one time that was married. I did not show that love. She had no idea I was in love with her. I was best friends with her husband, and could not show that love. So I held it inside and kept it hidden away. There is an exact example that occurs so often it appears in literature from almost every culture. Thought without action. It appears that you have never experienced this in your life. Great for you.
Ok, you agree that the standards by which we say people are in love are their actions. Good. Further, you assert that these actions are not the only thing that constitutes being in love. OK; I can handle that. Now I ask: "what else constitutes being in love then?" And you say: "well, I feel a certain way." Alright. I ask, "So how do I know if someone is in love, then? What sort of thing will let me on that love is in the air?" And you answer: "There's no way because I refuse to give any criteria to distinguish love from not-love." And I determine that your use of "love" is meaningless. You're not even attempting to communicate anything.

But you might object: "It is not meaningless! I do so know what love is!" to which I have to say, "If you don't have anything to compare love to then how do you know it is real love?" "It is real love because I defined it so." Ok then: "Well--you can't define something meaningfully without a standard." I don't know how to reply to that without acknowledging that I can't define it without a standard. Feelings aren't standards, so either we have to say that there is some objective facts that can show I'm in love - or I haven't been using words properly.

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Look I'm not going to sit here and pick everything apart. All I'm going to say is in your example "His soul has left his body" What has left his body? That is the only example from post 4 that "soul" could not be interchanged with "heart"(though technically if his actual heart did leave his body, I think the soul wouldn't be far behind). Or you can turn it around and state that the soul is the non-literal version of the heart(aka not the blood pump).
Well, in the normal use of the term, when we say, "His soul has left his body" it simply means that the guy is dead. Nothing leaves like someone can leave a house; it's just a particular arrangement of words we say to refer to this circumstance. That's why I pointed out that "He has no soul" can be smashed into one word and still retain its meaning (of a heartless person). We can do the same to this: Hissoulhaslefthisbody.

The meaning of a sentence is independent of the words used in that sentence. I'm sure you're familiar with aphorisms like "When in Rome do as romans do." It doesn't mean ONLY for Rome, it is more general than that. So: Wheninromedoasromansdo. I was just trying to show that a sentence is an expression of a particular meaning, and it can be thought of as a single "word" (so that literal interpretations of each word are not necessary).


"Words are deeds." - Wittgenstein

Last edited by Samuel Dravis; 01-29-2008 at 04:58 AM.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:22 AM   #39
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BUT by your definition of emotions, they had no emotions during that game because they did not show them. That is false. They had emotions, but did not express them. Your judgement about the requirement of actions is incorrect. Why does there have to be a specific circumstance for a person to hide their emotions? Some people just don't like people to know too much about them. Actually strangely enough that former band mate of mine did a great job of hiding his emotions. He seemed very happy. Right up until he shot so much heroine into his veins that it could have killed 4 healthy people. But no, he wasn't unhappy at all until he decided to act on it? WRONG, he was unhappy for a long time, but never expressed it.

I have more memories of other things in life that make me happy and sad in my daily life, but those memories need not be spoken about to exist. Memories of things that I wanted to do but never did. I have memories of desires that I never filled. Memories of things that will never happen(ie stories I had come up with). I have thoughts that will never go spoken. I have emotions that will never be displayed. While to an outside observer it may appear that I do not have these thoughts, memories, and desires, they do exist. That memory of my former band mate did not go spoken about until this forum. It was an example of one that I had that no action came from(obviously until this forum). Hence actions do not define the person. The person is who he is despite what his actions show the public. For instance a tough guy may actually be a coward. His actions show him to be tough and brave on the outside, however he is afraid on the inside.

You missed the point. You haven't answered what is leaving the body. Sure you say he is dead, but they could say He'sDeadJim. So what has left the body that makes him dead. In My estimation and by my definition, all that made him who he is, is no longer there. I'm stuck with this body to get rid of in whatever manner we generally do. You used the others to define what a soul is, but this one you left out what soul meant in the phrase.
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Old 01-29-2008, 07:25 AM   #40
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Frankly, I think some people really do mean an outside force that they believe is ruling over/overseeing what goes on "down here".


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

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