Sin and Salvation

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Godmachine, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Dream —
    I think it's commercialism that's the problem. People springing up all over, selling their own brand of salvation.
     
  2. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    Commercialism? I see what you mean, although I know through literature and firsthand of some exceptions. In particular a church doesn't even have to have a paid staff, and it can still go into a multi generational dispute. It can be all volunteer and still break apart. Commercialism is definitely a huge problem in churches though. Things would be much better without it.
     
  3. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    They are most welcome. The fundamental is 'humane action', 'dharma'. That is why Indian religions do not worry about Gods, jainism and buddhism are atheistic, hinduism and sikhism are theistic, but they all stress on 'dharma'. The person who follows 'dharma', goes straight to heaven on celestial aircrafts (vimanas), whether he/she worships a God or not (or is released of the cycle of birth and death - nirvana, nibbana, moksha).
     
  4. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    What gives you the idea that karma is blind to compassion? I think you have got it wrong. I do not think the karma philosophy in Indian religions is in any way deficient or that the christian philosophy is unique other than it requires acceptance of Jesus as the son of one true God, so that Jesus can speak on your behalf sitting on the right (or left) of one true God when it is time for judgment. Karma sees giving of alms, it also sees the reason of the act. Killing to save a woman from rape will give a lot of credit, but also some debit, because after all one has indulged in a killing. One does not get away scot-free.

    Karma is a very simple philosophy. It is like a bank account, good deeds increase the balance, evil deeds reduce it. The credit total decides the period of stay in heaven, the debit total decides the period of stay in hell. None is discounted. It is automatic in jainism and buddhism, it is overseen (and not interfered with) by Yama, the lord of Death in hinduism, and by the 'Akal Purukh' (one who is beyond time) in sikhism.
     
  5. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    lol :> So is Calculus.
     
  6. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Aup, good reply! As I understand it from the Pali Scriptures (a Buddhist Source, I admit), it tracks both good and bad behavior, like a bank account, as you said.

    My question for you, is “attachment” even though for an ethically correct reason, part of Karma or not. The Pali Scriptures can (from a Western Point-of view) can be interpreted in this way… attachment, even in the last moments of life even if for ethically good reasons, can bring one into the cycle again.
     
  7. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    True, it was a good reply. I shouldn't detract from the main conversation.
     
  8. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    That is what you say, but it broke my dreams of a Ph.D. in Physics before being 24 years old (if everything had gone as planned, I would have done my masters at 20). I should not blame Calculus alone, it was also because of my impressionable age. :( :)
     
  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Attachment can land one in various problems, like alcoholism does. An attachment can induce a official to give a job or a contract to a person who does not deserve it. A judge might overlook evidence to absolve some one of his/her crime. One may be greedy or proud. The wrong action under the influence of attachment will give rise to bad karmas. That is why it is to be shunned in all Indian religions. It does not mean dereliction of duty (or what we aught to do). Equanimity, Samata - same for my brother as well as an enemy, on the other hand, will promote good karmas. In short, we are rooting for fairness.
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Aupanyav —
    My post was largely rhetorical, thanks for coming to karma's aid!

    I don't think it is, but the way it is presented in discussion seems fairly mechanistic. The Law of Cause and Effect, as a natural law, is amoral. It seems to me many assume karma to be amoral as well.

    Nor do I. As I said, when I see deficiency, I usually assume it's my understanding that's at fault, not the doctrine.

    So there is a moral/ethical dimension to karma? That implies more than simply a natural law, surely?

    How does karma distinguish between the motive of the giver of alms in the analogy of Aquinas? If karma covers the intention behind the act, then that presupposes mind, does it not?

    What, for instance, is the karmic effect of non-action? By what process is the balance added or subtracted when someone chooses not to act ...

    But I'm sure it addresses quite sophisticated issues.

    The example of killing you mention is itself simple. Our version is a man cuts off another man's hand. Why? He's a doctor, the man has gangrene – it's the hand, or his life. He's a pianist, and he's jealous ...

    ... but these examples are themselves quite simple. The giving of alms is more subtle, and requires insight into the motivation behind the act. At a mechanical level, both are equal — the poor gets alms in his bowl — it's only at the level of intention that there is distinction, and then it's a moral/ethical evaluation, and the analogy can become infinitely complex.

    But at the heart of the matter is a moral/ethical evaluation of the reasons why man does what he does. Hinduism and Sikhism seems to have that covered, but I can't see how Buddhism does?

    S'funny. We have 'indulgences', pretty much the same thing, yet some people get really incensed at its mention.

    Then I would say that man can demonstrate more virtue than the gods ... which is something of a contradiction, is it not? Man can forgive his neighbour, whereas this system that judges man seems automated and non-negotiable ... a bit kafkaesque, d'you not think?
     
  11. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Thomas said"It would be interesting exercise to count all the Christian denominations in the world, and determine what percentage were founded in America under the laws which allow religious freedom. As time went on, religion in the US seems to have become a commercial enterprise like any other. 'Truth' seems to have become 'the most attractive commercial proposition' once the message got to your side of the Atlantic."

    Perhaps. Though seems to me that there was already plenty of Christian denominations popping up before the concept of religious freedom in the U.S. ever came along. And many western religious traditions never seemed to be averse to accumulating material wealth before then either.

    Indeed, a case could be made that of the two, salvation came along before sin. After all the might of many western religious traditions could be said to be founded on this concept. In order to gain control, people needed to be told they needed to be saved. And before they could be saved a host of actions that have been common to humans since the species began had to be redefined as sins.

    The scenario unfolded something like this.

    Joe Religious Figure. There's this new thing going round. It's called salvation and trust me, you need it.

    Joe Public. I do? Why?

    Joe Religious Figure. Because salvation will absolve you of your sins.

    Joe Public. Sins. What's that. Some kinda disease? Is it contageous?

    Three meter long scroll unrolls. Text in minute print.

    Joe Religious Figure. See these are all sins.

    Joe Public. They are? Since when? We've been doing stuff like this for a hundred thousand generations and we never needed no stinkin' salvation before!

    Joe Religious Figure. But you do now.

    Joe Public. Why?

    Joe Religious Figure. Because they are sins now.

    Joe Public. Why are they sins now?

    Joe Religious Figure. Cause without them being sins you wouldn't need saving.

    Joe Public. Well that's the most absurd reasoning I've heard in a hundred thousand generations (And that is saying something!).

    Joe Religious Figure. MayBeSo but that's our story and we're sticking with it.

    Joe Public squints at list again.

    Joe Public. But man, half the stuff on this list is, like, uh, fun!

    Joe Religious Figure. Yeah. Bummer isn't it.
     
  12. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Recording good and evil karmas separately is built up in the algorithm. :)
    Yes, implies more that a natural law for the theist. For an atheist like me, karma is the effect of actions without any ethical and moral component, i.e., one might escape the effects of a bad karma if one may not be caught in this life, and there is no other. In the case of theists, one can never escape the effect of karmas. :D
    God wrote the program. And remember, Gods can do anything they want, make a stone heavier than they can lift.
    Simple. When a person is supposed to act in 'dharma', but does not, then it is dereliction of duty and a deduction, like not trying to save a person who is being mugged.
    Could not quite understand the problem. Who is jealous of whom? The doctor cuts of the man's hand is understandable. And doctor's have the Hippocratic oath or its equivalent elsewhere - only in the interest of the patient. Credit. A meddling with hippocratic oath is sin.
    I agree, giving money to an alcoholic would be to his detriment. Therefore, the need to think about a 'supatra' (good candidate, person whom the alms would benefit) and a 'kupatra' (bad candidate, giving gifts to a rich and immoral brahmin). Works against you.
    Who knows, perhaps the nature acts in this way. Even otherwise, it supports 'dharma'.
    No. A God or a king has additional responsibilities. They have to be the role models to the society. They can't help it. The people who show exemplary virtue are revered no less than Gods in Hinduism, these are the sages. Lord Rama had to send Mother Sita in exile knowing fully well that she was innocent. That was his kingly reponsibility and his limitation.
     
  13. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    G-Knot, I think you're letting the worst person in a group represent the group as a whole. I think there might have been many different reasons why people chose to spread their faith, one or two of them might even seen some sort of logic to it all?
     
  14. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Thomas said "It would be interesting exercise to count all the Christian denominations in the world, and determine what percentage were founded in America under the laws which allow religious freedom. As time went on, religion in the US seems to have become a commercial enterprise like any other. 'Truth' seems to have become 'the most attractive commercial proposition' once the message got to your side of the Atlantic."

    I may try that. If one looks at the various “Great Awakenings” I think you are onto something here. Let’s see now, the National Council of Churches represent the 35 or so “traditional” churches from Orthodoxy to Methodism (about 8 were founded here). The American Council of Churches (a fundamentalist anti-NCC group) has 7 (all founded here). The National Evangelical Association has 60 (over 40 founded here). There are over 700 (probably closer to 1000) Pentecostal groups (the vast majority founded here) .

    Based on this very cursory look, I think he is probably right. Makes sense if you think about how the colonies were founded… a huge emphasis on congregations in New England, not-quite-kosher Anglicans in Virginia, and the openness of Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. From the very beginning religious diversity (while not tolerated, especially in Massachusetts) was part and parcel of our culture here.
     
  15. Gordian Knot

    Gordian Knot Being Deviant IS My Art.

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    Remember that bizarre sense of humor of mine I warned you about? Though the post may be silly, the message contained therein is not. GM asked which came first. It occurred to me that salvation could have come before sin; hence the quirky explanation of how it might have happened.
     
  16. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Continuing on the buddhist theory of Karma, even if I do not remember the exact wording in the 'sutta', this is what Buddha said:

    1. If the theory of Kamma is correct, then good deeds will bring benefit.
    2. Even if the theory of Kamma is false, the person who engages in good deeds will sleep peacefully, knowing that he has done the right thing and will have no remorse.

    Buddha was smart. I do not think anyone can provide a better reason for engaging in good deeds.
     
  17. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I think that sums up why I do what I do, perfectly melds idealism and pragmatism infused by agnosticism.
     
  18. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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  19. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I happened across 'New Thought' which covers a tranche of denominations founded in the last century, or just before ... and there's over thirty of them. All basically doing their own thing, sort of, in the wave of Spiritism and a fascination with all things occult that marked the later 1800s and into the 1900s.

    As said, one of the ideals was good business. 'Prosperity Theology' is founded on the notion that God rewards good Christians with money. Other 'New Thought' writers were Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich" or Charles Haanel's "The Master Key System" Thus Christianity or whatever gets a makeover and harnessed to the American Dream.

    It's also notable that many influential figures and church founders suffered illnesses of various sorts (whether real or imaginary is debated, apparently). Then again, illness and miraculous recoveries are de rigueur in cult practice.
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK. But then it doesn't cover the Aquinas analogy, and in that sense is deficient, because ends don't justify the means. It's the intent that counts, not the act?
     

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