The Parable of the Absent Parents

Discussion in 'Religion' started by James R, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    By creating that universe, or as the foundations of the universe.
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  3. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    He didn't transgress, he just decided to do it.
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    No limits, no transgression. What's to forgive?
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  7. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    Forgive who?
  8. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    He doesnt know if Hate is heaven worthy.
  9. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

  10. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

  11. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    I imagine it refers to Leviticus - the statutes. The first ten chapters is a lot of persnicketing about who should sacrifice what animal by what method. Then comes a lot of nonsense about dietary restrictions - to keep the Jews from socializing with other peoples. (Yes, I know there's been much rationalization of the pork rule, but no reasonable objection to lobster, camel or cooking dairy and meat products in the same pot.) - and then a lot of public health and hygiene regulations; a list of sex taboos, and finally, the code of behaviour: theft, fraud, alms, perjury, prostitution, etc., interspersed with rituals and injunctions against the practice of other religions.
    Note: there is a clearly shown price-list for sins: the penalty is restitution, animal sacrifice, exile or death. Not a word, AFAIR, about imprisonment or hell.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  12. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    It isn't is it?
  13. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

  14. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    But, by the time you know that hate is the underlord you are met with resitance, and formidable devil.
  15. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    "formidable devil" what does that mean?
  16. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    A worthy adversary, or a anti-hero if you will.
  17. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    Have seen the cartoon "One Punch"? That might answer your many questions.
  18. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Straw man number one, that the "rules" are arbitrary "whims". You can only entertain this notion with your pretense that this little story is not an analogy to religion. In the real world, religious adherence correlates to many objective benefits, for the individuals and society. And I'm not interested in arguing what those are. You've probably heard them, and maybe seen the studies, and you either dismiss them or not. Guidelines that correlate to real world benefits cannot be arbitrary. As such, the boy had a chance to discover this for himself, even by simple trial and error.

    As pointed out by others, the next straw man is that God is an absentee parent. To those who have freely chosen to separate themselves from God, that may seem valid. But they are runaways, not orphans.

    Aside from repeating the first straw man, the "rulebook" includes many reasons. It is not an "or else" coercion. It tells the natural consequences of bad choices. If you choose to do highly addictive drugs, can't control your gambling, etc. you will find yourself in a living hell, where you've condemned yourself. And it's that self-condemnation that you will carry with you into any afterlife. It's like a simple lie that you have to continue to compound with more lies. You're trapped, when simply telling the truth would free you from that vicious circle, of justifying bad behavior and thereby reinforcing it.

    This just combines both your first two straw men, repeating the first for the third time now. There really doesn't seem to be much "there" there.

    Again, a repetition of a previous straw man. And Christians do not follow the orthodox Jewish laws, nor consider there to be "a few thousand rules". There's really only ten hard and fast rules, with most of them having pretty obvious reasons to any rational human. Humans have reason so they can abstract principles for themselves. Or freely choose to employ rejecting and dismissing things they find distasteful, like children and broccoli. You can tell a child the benefits of eating broccoli all day, but without their own intention to understand, you won't get anywhere.

    Your skepticism seems as shallow as your straw men.
    davewhite04 likes this.
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    They aren't arbitrary? So, based on higher principles, then?

    So the parents' rules are based on the parents' real-world experience of how actions tend to play our with consequences in the real-world. Is that what you're saying? In that sense, there's nothing special about the parents' rule book. Anybody could write an equivalent book, based on their own real-world experience, and it would be just as authoritative. Right?

    The only difference I can see between the parents' rule book and the rule books written by other people, in that case, is that the parents have the power to enforce their rules. Would you agree?

    Does your own God tell you how to act? How does he do that? From your previous descriptions, it sounded to me like he was effectively absent. Now you're telling me he communicates with you on a regular basis? Explain how that works, please.

    That metaphorical hell would be just as real in reference to any other hypothetical rule book, whether written by the parents or not. Do you agree? Those consequences you mention will be there whether or not the parents are absent.

    Ah! But now we come to role the parents actually play. They turn up on the doorstep at some point and drag you off to prison because you didn't follow the rules. This consequence is no metaphorical abstraction like it was before; it's a real outcome imposed by force of the parent's assumed authority over the boy.

    In the case of God, of course, we are told that the very real punishment is to be eternal, after death. God abstracts his wayward followers from their metaphorical hell and keeps them for all eternity in a literal hell.


    Lies? Justifying bad behaviour? What?

    The ten commandments? Ah yes, an excellent summary of the most important moral principles, as given by the Almighty.

    The first four, most importantly, all deal with God. How do they go?
    1. Yahweh is the biggest god, so don't you go worshippin' some other god.
    2. Don't make any idols. [This one is obviously as important as the one about murder, coming later.]
    3. Don't be naughty and use God's name as a swear word! [God gets offended by that shit.]
    4. Dedicate your Saturdays to the worship of the Lord. [He likes that shit.]

    Then we get to the non-God-related ones:
    5. Honor your father and mother. [What, even if they abuse you?]
    6. Don't kill. [God forgot to make this one clear. Probably he means don't murder, but there's no way to really tell. Oh, and murdering certain people or groups is apparently approved elsewhere in the bible.]
    7. Don't commit adultery. [God's marriage institution is sacred!]
    8. Don't steal.
    9. Don't bear false witness against your neighbour.
    10. Don't covet. [Thought crime will get you in trouble with God!]

    Yes, clearly these are the most important rules that all human beings need to follow. It's such a comprehensive list of the most important things, too. God did a good job there. Certainly didn't leave out anything important. Agree?

    Wait! Where's the Golden Rule? Oh, never mind, God added that as an amendment when he sent Jesus down, so he got there in the end even if he forgot in the first instance.


    Which brings us back to the question of whether parents (God) did anything wrong in dragging the boy off to prison (sending wrongdoers to hell for eternity).

    Amongst all your bluster and righteous indignation, it looks like you forgot to answer that, Vociferous.

    Best to threaten them with prison if they don't eat it. That'll learn them!
  20. Vociferous Valued Senior Member

    Based on reality. If you murder, make false accusations, hate your parents, etc. you will have a harder time in life.

    Maybe anyone could write a rule book, but why reinvent the wheel? And just like children benefit greatly from their parents teaching them how the world works, and that their natural instincts will get them into trouble, even adults benefit from organizations focused on reiterating those same sorts of lessons, but for adult experiences. The community organized around the "rule book" is a support structure to encourage good choices. I've never met an adult Christian who was genuinely afraid of God enforcing the rules. Because aside from children, and perhaps new converts, they know why they're following those rules, and it's not just punishment avoidance. You have to be pretty deluded to believe that all religious adults have no clue why they follow their religion other than fear. Maybe your straw men aren't intentional. Maybe they just demonstrate a severe lack of understanding of your fellow humans.

    Is the defining characteristic of your own parents that they "tell you how to act"? Or is it the love and support they show you? And do you only recognize that love and support when it's direct and obvious? Or do you recognize their motives in small and otherwise insignificant things?
    I've already told you that humans communicate on a regular basis. That's how that works. Like the above mentioned support structure, for instance.

    Except there's a conspicuous lack of such secular rule books.
    Rather telling, that.

    Really? Not metaphorical, in a "rule book" replete with parable and aphorism?
    It's a real outcome, as a result of the individual's choices that separate them from God. After so many times hitting bottom and so many times rejecting chances for redemption, the only thing eternal is their own willful stubbornness.
    And not "wayward followers", non-followers.

    An example of how justifying behavior can trap you in that behavior. You know, the "eternal" you were just talking about.

    Wow, I wonder if that was a Freudian slip, duplicating one commandment to leave out another. One has to wonder if you covet your neighbor's wife or just their goods. Your 1 & 2 are the same commandment. That said...
    1. False gods can be anything you lend undue importance to in life. Sacrificing family or principles for work, vice, etc..
    2. Your number 2, see above.
    3. When a bride takes her husbands name, she not only represents her husband in name, she's expressing her marriage vow. Likewise, when someone takes the name of God, by calling themselves a Christ-ian, their actions represent God and violating that can turn others from God.
    4. Akin to work becoming a false god, life requires some balance.
    5. Harboring resentments, especially lifelong ones against your parents, is unhealthy. Blame is one of the primary ways people justify their own bad choices.
    6. There's actually a longstanding Jewish understanding, spoken of throughout the Bible, of that as unlawful killing.
    7. Your own vows should be sacred.
    8. Glad to see you have no objections to not stealing.
    9. Same for bearing false witness. Good for you.
    10. Jealousy is not healthy, whether of goods or wives. It's not the thought, it's whether the though generates envy.
    The Golden Rule is an encapsulation of many of the Ten. You don't cheat on a spouse, for one, because you wouldn't want to be cheated on, etc..

    God doesn't drag anyone off to hell. They condemn themselves, like the criminal who makes a mistake, as if wanting to be caught. I answered that, you just didn't realize it.

    Straw man. You try to instill good habits that will someday take root. You only want the best for them, but must allow them to eventually make decisions for themselves. And their own decisions will be what could lend to obesity, diabetes, etc.. Those are natural consequences, not anything a parent imposes.
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Based on what you've written, it sounds to me like you don't need God for your morality. Would that be a fair assessment?

    In general, do you think morality comes from God? (Other than in the sense that you believe God is responsible for the existence of everything that exists, that is.)

    Strange that you say that, then complain that there are no secular rulebooks (which is false, by the way).

    The bible does a pretty poor job at teaching morality, if that is the aim. Do you agree? Does God bear any responsibility for that, do you think?

    It seems to me that God is not a vital part of such a community. Any moral rule book would do as well as, say, the bible. Do you agree?

    Maybe you should get out more?

    Does it have anything to do with God?

    Sorry. Are you addressing me, or "you" in some generic sense?

    I put a hypothetical scenario and some questions up for your consideration, and for anybody else who is interested in responding. Where are the straw men?

    My parents have been present in my life. See the thread title and the example. What have present parents got to do with anything?

    And what has this got to do with God?

    Hardly. There's a vast literature about secular morality. Maybe you should consider reading more widely.

    If you like your morality packaged like the bible, you could do worse than to start with A.C. Grayling's The Good Book, as an example of the kind of secular rule book that you were unaware existed until just now. Check it out! It does a significantly better job of codifying morality than the bible does.

    Seems a bit of a harsh punishment - eternal damnation for failing to obey God's rules in one's brief mortal life.

    Coming back to the question of the thread: do you think God should bear any part of the blame for this outcome, if it occurs?

    It is an anologous situation that the boy in my parable faces, vis a vis his parents, is it not? I assume you would say that the parents have no case to answer, there. Is that right? You pooh poohed my suggestions regarding the parents' culpability. Are they faultless in that scenario, then, in your eyes?


    Tell me why being a "follower" (i.e. theist) exempts a person from God's punishment. Does God not care for non-followers (atheists)? On what basis does God make a distinction between followers and non-followers, when it comes to deciding who goes to hell?

    Sorry. You've lost me. I have no idea what you're talking about.

    No. I was simply using lists of the 10 commandments that some Christians put up on the internet for their fellow Christians.

    Different Christians make different variants of the list. Not surprising, since God apparently forgot to clearly enumerate the ten in his holy bible. What's your preferred list?

    "Do not covet" would cover both of those things, in my opinion. You think that needs two separate commandments? Which one do you choose to ditch in order to emphasise the importance of not covetting as two of God's most important commandments, then? Or do you merge two of the others on my list into one?

    Is that your only change then? Merge my 1 and 2 into a single commandment, thus de-emphasising God, and split my commandment 10 into two separate commandments, thus placing quite a lot of emphasis on that particular thought crime? You're really worried that people shouldn't covet stuff, I guess...

    God sure left a lot of things to personal interpretation, didn't he? Couldn't he have expressed his most important commandments a bit more clearly?

    You seem to be filling in the gaps that God left.

    Is that all it is? You don't think that God left anything important out of his ten most important commandments? You don't see any significant gaps there?

    Arguably, all criminals condemn themselves. Do the crime, do the time. The authorities are there to make sure you do the time. In my parable, the relevant authorities are the parents. In your bible, the relevant authority is God. The authorities are the enforcers. They make sure that those who stray from the dictated path are punished.

    I understand that, in the modern era, there's been a drift away from the literal idea of Dante's Inferno. I'm not particularly surprised if you have a watered-down concept of hell which amounts to little more than a separation from God. (Which is torturous because... ?) In the past, people tended to take the threat of hell rather more literally than you do. I think you'll find there are still people who believe in a literal fire-and-brimstone hell, and it scares the willies out of them.

    Are you saying, by analogy, that your God doesn't impose anything on human beings? If that is the case, then would you agree that he truly is an absent parent?
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
    davewhite04 likes this.
  22. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    If that's gonna happen anyway, why bother punishing somebody for punishing himself?
    You overlooked the reality-base of the idolatry rules.
    Nope. Nothing like that is mentioned in Leviticus, where the rules are elaborated in mind-numbing detail. He's talking about actual contemporary rivals: other gods.
    So, a woman who falls over the lawnmower her husband left by the back door, and exclaims: "Oh, Gordon!" is thereby turning other people away from marriage?
    Maybe, maybe not. Hate, life-long resentment and mental health are not mentioned in the commandment. Just "honour", which mostly means 'obey'.
    The murder a fellow citizen is unlawful in all societies, with and without gods, while the slaughter of other nationalities is celebrated with medals and monuments. Jehova didn't invent this double standard.
    Coveting has nothing to do with health or jealousy. The commandment is about desire, greed and lust. People wanting each other's stuff is destabilizing to a society; it makes sense to discourage the tendency, just as it makes social sense to discourage lying and stealing. That's common sense and common law - not mortal sins.

    You don't see a lot of modern Christians burning the fat of lambs anymore: they just sacrifice money. You don't see them worrying too much about the rule against shaving, uncovering their heads, strong drink, touching unclean things - or knowing which many, many things God considers unclean.

    But, of course, the only mortal sins in the OT are pissing off God. Like burning the wrong brand of incense, like those two sons of Aaron, who were instantly turned to ash. Or trimming your beard in the Assyrian fashion.
    No long-term consequences whatsoever: he'd strike you dead on the spot, or give you a chance to buy an ox or sheep or whatever animal you're supposed to kill for a specific transgression.
    You'd think He could have just said so. Saved a lot of stone.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
  23. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    I still can't work out what a straw man is. Have you seen the original worzel gummidge?

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