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Discussion in 'Book Reviews & Editorials' started by shearwater, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. shearwater

    shearwater
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    Dr. Dallas Willard, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, has written a number of good articles in philosophy and Christianity. <www.dwillard.org> He received his PhD. from the University of Wisconsin, and has been teaching college courses ever since. He has perhaps one of the best articulations of Christianity in his book, "The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God." His philosophical interests are in the area of phenomenology, i.e. Edmund Husserl. Sikhs who are predisposed to this field of study will enjoy reading some of his articles.

    A sample of his writings are at:

    Amazon.com: The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God: Dallas Willard: Books

    Dallas Willard ARTICLES
     
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  3. spnadmin

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    This sounds like a good book, Shearwaterji
     
  4. shearwater

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    Dallas Willard is a great person whose influence on conservative evangelical Christianity in the United States is well established. He does believe in some practices that Sikhs do not, i.e. fasting, etc. But the book would give you an excellent understanding of evangelical Christianity and why it is a significant world view. He is writing a book on evil in this present world with the title something like, "The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge." It is written for those who are what might be called technicians, i.e. professors of philosophy, Christian ministers, theologians, etc. I am waiting for it to be released.
     
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  5. spnadmin

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    shearwater ji

    The absence of moral knowledge is a topic very interesting to me. Maybe when the book is released you could write a synopsis of the main ideas in Interfaith Dialogs. It would probably be very interesting for the multi-faith membership on SPN to read, digest and react to in discussion.
     
  6. Tejwant Singh

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    Shearwater ji,

    I must apologise for my ignorance. I do not know Dallas Willard but it would be a nice name for a TV weatherman.:)

    I am just puzzled about the title of the book,"The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge."

    How can moral knowledge disappear? What is it flying on? No pun intended.

    Absence of knowledge can not be blamed for its disappearance.

    Let me ask you some questions regarding this.

    1. Are moral values universal,cultural or dogmatically religious?

    2. Do different religions have different moral values and what happens if and when they clash?

    3. Is there or should there be a compromise? If there is, then does that change the religious values which were based on moral values of a person?

    3. Are moral values human values irrespective of a person being a religious or an atheist?

    Would love to hear your opinion and anyone else's about the above.

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  7. shearwater

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    Shearwater ji,

    I must appologise for my ignorance. I do not know Dallas Willard but it would be a nice name for a TV weatherman. Check out his bio at <www.dwillard.org>

    It will be predicated on the fact that values change over time because of misuse or neglect, and then disappear. Dallas explores all the iterations of how we came to the point where moral values have disappeared in our culture. Let me just cite some examples. America use to be a country where everyone regarded Sunday, as a holy day and refrained from buying and selling because of the Ten Commandments which say, "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. The seventh day is holy." That value in American culture has disappeared. From a secular and sociological standpoint, values are what they are because they are defined within a subcultural context. In other words existentialism is the only value that holds which mean every man does what he is right or expedient for himself. The Bible put it this way. "Every man did what was right in his own eyes." Bringing that into American culture we see this everywhere, particularly within political groups. If people do not like a law that allows women to abort babies, they bring in a new law that changes that so that a women can abort a baby for just about any reason, up until birth when it is "partial birth abortion." That violates another commandment, "You shall not commit murder."

    Let me ask you some questions regarding this.

    1. Are moral values universal,cultural or dogmatically religious?
    Values are proscribe within subcultures and therefore are not universal. I believe that moral values are universal because God is the same everywhere and in every culture.

    2. Do different religions have different moral values and what happens if and when they clash?
    Every culture has its own set of values and different religions have different moral values. These values indeed do clash and sometimes explosively as Islam versus Judaism.

    3. Is there or should there be a compromise? If there is, then does that change the religious values which were based on moral values of a person?
    There should be a point on which differing religions can disagree agreeably.
    This was demonstrated in Jesus' life since he was approachable by everyone, including tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes and Samaritans which at that time were hated by the Jews. Jesus demonstrated that the moral values held by the Pharisees of his time were based on the traditions of men and not on God's laws which Jesus held were condensed into one statement. "You shall love ten Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Additionally you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

    3. Are moral values human values irrespective of a person being a religious or an atheist?
    Moral values are human values of course, but originate with principles set down by God, i.e. the ten commandments delivered by Moses at Mt. Sinai. Sometimes atheists may be quite moral while at the same time not believing in a deity. But with God that is not the issue. The fact that they may deny God and as a consequence of that repudiate another's belief system will indicate that they have violated another of God's commandments . . . "you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

    The Apostle Paul commented that the Greeks of his day were wise and moral and for that he commended them. The Greeks were not atheists since they believed in a pantheon of gods.
    But though they were wise in a worldly sort of way this was inadequate to bring virtue and joy into their lives.

    Shearwater
     
  8. spnadmin

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    Shearwater ji

    The conversation is in truth veering in the direction of an Interfaith Dialog. The thread may need to move to that part of the SPN forums. The book sounds very interesting. But as you can see from the responses of VaheguruSeekr ji, the philosophy of Dr. Willard is very different from the philosophy of Sikhism regarding good and evil and. As we move into explanations based on the 10 Commandments and the God of Abraham, the idea of the thread "Good Philosophy Site for Sikhs does start to be very different from the content of the conversation that is unfolding.

    One thing that needs to be addressed is why Sikhs would find the site "good." Maybe you mean we would find it educational as an insight to the point of view of another religious tradition.

    So we have to take a look at whether the thread should be moved. :)
     
  9. Tejwant Singh

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    Shearwater ji

    Guru Fateh.

    btw. Who did you vote for in the last presidential elections?

    Tejwant Singh
     
  10. spnadmin

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    Vaheguruseekr ji

    How can moral knowledge disappear? What is it flying on? No pun intended.
    A good question.

    The way I understood the idea of the "disappearance of moral knowledge" was in terms of subjective awareness. For example, what happens when large segments of a culture, or even world-wide civilizations, begin to anchor ideas of good and evil in their own subjective definitions of "what is good for me or bad for me" or "what I think is good is therefore a virtue because I say so" ? Individuals or groups then mistake their self-interest for moral values. Ideas like good and evil begin to be defined subjectively instead of in terms of broader moral principles that most cultures/religions will acknowledge are virtues. For example, reverence for life is widely endorsed as a virtue. Should it be defined in terms of narrow individual values or cultural norms, or is its meaning broader than that?

    Taking me too long to make my point. When awareness of virtue becomes subject to subjective preferences and looses its principled nature, then there is no morality, but rather moral ignorance. And there ceases to be a way to discuss good and evil in a broader way.

    Sikhs, Christians, Jains, <Jews>, Hindus, Buddhists can and do endorse "reverence for life" as a virtue. We may differ as to how this reverence is expressed in terms of specifics. But the common idea that it is a virtue makes it possible for members of these faiths to have a discussion based on shared meaning. We can communicate in spite of differences. For ethical traditions where "reverence for life" is not part of a moral reality, communication becomes exceedingly difficult.

    Taking meaning out of the realm of the subjective and private, and into the realm of shared and collective, makes for more objective and rational discussions. Just my thoughts.
     
  11. shearwater

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    I voted for John McCain reluctantly simply because he supports a capitalist pro-growth economy as well as conservative fiscal policies of eliminating earmarks from bills that go through congress. I like the idea of a black president but am afraid from what I listen to that Obama is a "hollow man." He talks with a lot of bravado but is leading this country toward high government regulation and socialism. I don' believe he understands economics 101.
     
  12. shearwater

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    I understand.
     
  13. Tejwant Singh

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  14. spnadmin

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    Vaheguru Seekr ji

    With your forgiveness -- I am glad you raised the questions you did, and hoped that you would. I need a little time to get back with the answers because I am moderating right now.

    But those were exactly the questions I hoped you would ask. Kind of guessed that you would be the one who would ask them too. :wah:
     
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  15. spnadmin

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    VaheguruSeekr ji

    Have now checked all the new threads and can focus better on your question. :)

     
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  16. Tejwant Singh

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    Shearwater,

    Guru Fateh.

    Thanks for the response. My question was very simple. I did not ask you the justifications of you voting for McCain and not voting for Obama but I am surprised you as a Christian who has some affection for Sikhi for whatever reasons would bring President Obama's color into the equation. One wonders the underlying reasons. We will leave that for some other time. You have distorted the facts about Obama. He is not black. He had a white mother. And as we are at the hue of people's skins, what color do you think Jesus was? A blond with blue eyes?

    The reason I asked you about whom you voted for and did suspect that you did vote for McCain was for the Christian moral values you tend to talk about a lot.

    The fact is that McCain is an adulterer and I am surprised you did not mention anything about that but you did talk about the 10 commandments in your thread and also in your response you gave some generic justifications in a political sense. I thought we were talking about moral values especially when you are promoting a book by a Christian that you seem to admire and its title is, "The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge."

    Where did you moral knowledge disappear when you embraced an adulterer?

    So, my question is why this hypocricy in the name of a religion ?

    How come you set aside your moral values that you base your religious life on when you knowingly voted for an adulterer?

    What kind of punishment is subscribed for an adulterer in Christianity?

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
  17. shearwater

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    Voting for John McCain was the matter of voting for the lesser of two evils. Many people regarded him as a hero because of his internment in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. I regard socialism and communism fostered by Barrak Obama as a cruel evil that is beyond dispute because of his associations in Chicago, and elsewhere. John McCain didn't have the intellectual credentials to excite my interest nor had he any business experience. But he was a force in the senate.
     
  18. shearwater

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    Guru Fateh.

    Thanks for the response. My question was very simple. I did not ask you the justifications of you voting for McCain and not voting for Obama but I am surprised you as a Christian who has some affection for Sikhi for whatever reasons would bring President Obama's color into the equation. One wonders the underlying reasons. We will leave that for some other time. You have distorted the facts about Obama. He is not black. He had a white mother. And as we are at the hue of people's skins, what color do you think Jesus was? A blond with blue eyes?

    No. I would assume that Jesus was semitic in his appearance and had brown eyes and olive skin color. As a matter of fact, my interest in having a brown president is simply my belief that intellectual capacities and virtue are not exclusively confined to any one racial origin but God has embued every nation, race and color with these qualities.

    The fact is that McCain is an adulterer and I am surprised you did not mention anything about that but you did talk about the 10 commandments in your thread and also in your response you gave some generic justifications in a political sense. I thought we were talking about moral values especially when you are promoting a book by a Christian that you seem to admire and its title is, "The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge."

    Where did you moral knowledge disappear when you embraced an adulterer?

    As I mentioned in another post. McCain was the lesser of two evils and I considered Obama as the greater evil because of his world view and his anti capitalist propensities, i.e. socialism.


    So, my question is why this hypocricy in the name of a religion ?

    I don't think I am hypocritical because my only other choice would be not to vote at all.

    How come you set aside your moral values that you base your religious life on when you knowingly voted for an adulterer?

    I did not set aside my moral principles. I will venture that most presidents we consider are not virtuous people. Most of them were adulterers or philanderers at some point in time. Bill Clinton was an adulterer. John F. Kennedy was the same. I am told from my reading that President Isenhower had a mistress while as a general was commander of allied armies in WW2.

    What kind of punishment is subscribed for an adulterer in Christianity?

    The Bible says that unrepentant, these kinds of people will go to hell. They may get the applaud of contemporary society but will suffer the greater loss when they discover that their souls experience of hell. Christianity says that these kinds of people, if they do these kinds of evil deeds are to be ignored so that the guilt of their sins will have its effect in redirecting them toward God and purity available in Jesus Christ, who the Bible says, was tempted in all points as we are, yet never sinned.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-20 (New International Version)


    9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
    .

    Shearwater
     
  19. oniss

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  20. spnadmin

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    oniss ji

    Please elaborate. Why is a site related to Irish Symbols useful to Skkhs? How does it shed light on Sikh religion? Please share your understanding.
     

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