Monday, August 15, 2005

Wear for the 21st Century

In Junction 8 today, I saw a pseudo-pushcart stall with a T-shirt that read: "Social hazard. I will not conform to the pattern of this world." Wondering how they were being allowed to hawk products with such socially disruptive messages which will inevitably unravel the fabric of our society, causing it to descend into looting and rioting and the end of Singapore as we know it, I looked at the other T-shirts to see if they broadcasted similarly seditious and subversive messages.

I was mildly surprised to find out that the stall was selling "Funky Christian T-shirts" and other such merchandise. The usual trite slogans abounded (eg "No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace"), and it seemed that I'd unconsciously filtered them out, only being drawn to the one with the seditious message. Looking closer at it, I found that "Rom 12:2" was written at the bottom of the shirt.

After a quick glance at my portable concordance guide, I immediately conceptualised the most obvious sequel (at least to me) in the same vein: "I hate my family (Lk 14:26)". I also was put in mind of the corollary of the "No Jesus, No Peace" slogan:


"Know God, Know Sin. No God, No Sin."

22 Comments:

Anonymous searching said...

hehe.. i think the Know... No... is a bit simplistic in phrasing and can generate a whole lot of misleading presumptions or assumptions that arises. And a misunderstanding of the context of what it is said in would be funny. hah.

hmm but what do you mean by know God, know sin. and the No God, No sin?

Do you mean that it's God that created or caused sin ? Or God is he presupposition to sin?

I think it's an important thing to clarify as I search.
thx

Friday, August 19, 2005 1:07:00 PM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

"Know God, Know Sin
No God, No Sin"

In Christianity, every single thing is a sin - even being alive (original sin).

Christians are pre-occupied with their so-called sin and keep lambasting themselves even when they might not have done anything wrong (nothing a reasonable person would blame them for anyway). Even the most virtuous ones do not look at what they have done right, merely what they have (supposedly) done wrong, and continue flagellating themselves (metaphorically).

Rejecting Christian mythology means rejecting the idea that everyone is a sinner by the Christian god's impossibly high standards (which he himself cannot live up to), even if inadvertently. Ergo, No God, No Sin.

Alternatively, since the Christian god created the world, he also created sin ;)

Saturday, August 20, 2005 2:54:00 AM  
Anonymous searching said...

hmmm.. ok you seem to be putting sin on the same status as a 'created' thing. I mean for example, if you take a potter and a pot. I would understand 'No potter' 'No pot' because before there can be a pot there has to be a potter but if you were to say 'No potter', 'No broken pot', it would seem a bit strange to derive at that conclusion because although
granted that there can be no broken pot if there wasn't a pot in the first place but to link the brokeness of the pot to the potter in the absence of the potter would be strange u think?

hmmm, if like you say, there is no God, then there is no sin, how come in this Godless world where there is no god, there is still sin?

Since sin brings about the understanding of what is right and wrong, if there is no sin, then everything would be right and it is no man's right to say another is wrong since in a sense, man is his own god and determines the right and wrong.

But without God being in this world, in which there is still so much wrong (one man's right is another man's wrong), would it be more accurate to say 'No man, No sin.' We can't presuppose the existence of God in this instance at the moment because we cant verify his existence in any known way. All we have at the moment is what we would call vague circumstancial evidence. But what we can verify more readily is the existence of man.

So do you think to say that in a world where there is no God, where man exists, and man is god, he uses circumstancial evidence to convict an unseen being whom he cannot verify, of wrongdoing so that he(man) can be right in every way?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

Sin is a definitional issue. If no one tells you that being alive is a sin, you are not automatically a sinner.

If, as the Christian T-shirt says, one cannot know peace without Jesus, then why are so many non-Christians at peace? Ah, but then they are not truly at peace, supposedly. Ditto for sin.

I would say that the concept of sin is broader than being merely about what is right and what is wrong. Sin is something that the Christian god dislikes and finds offensive. Yet if there is no Christian god, he cannot blame us for what our supposed ultimate ancestors supposedly did thousands of years ago. If gods do not exist, there is no reason to suppose that masturbation or consensual sex out of wedlock between 2 consenting adults is wrong, say.

The Christian god's non-existence does not mean that we are gods, or that we can do no wrong. You're pre-supposing that a system must have a god (or gods) in the first place.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 8:22:00 PM  
Anonymous searching said...

so taking God out of the picture (the christian one), and not presupposing that there are any gods, would it be right to say that everyone can be right and there isn't a need for an understanding of sin. since sin is only taken into account when God is present.

This means that no man's actions has any right to be subjected to another man's judgment. and no man can accuse another of wrong doing.

would it be right to say it this way ?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

What you're saying is that without gods, there would be no such thing as morality and we wouldn't be able to make value judgments.

Non-theistic sources of morality have been proposed in the past, but let me put it to you this way: is something good because the gods think it's good? Or is something good because of some intrinsic property it has?

If the gods define what is good, then what if they tell you to murder someone, saying it is good? Will you disobey? But then the gods are the ones who define what is good in the first place; morality is merely obedience to arbitary commands. Furthermore, if the gods define what is good, they cannot meaningfully be called moral - they would be amoral by definition.

If something is good because of some intrinsic property it has, then why do we need the gods to tell us what is good? We should be able to tell what is good without their help.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous searching said...

yea, so i'm asking, in your opinion, how do you think right and wrong is defined in the absence of gods.

Or for that matter, in your opinion how would you say what is good and what is not good? (discussing this in a context where there is no God or gods)(moving from presupposition that there must be gods or God to determine right/wrong).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:43:00 AM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

I am a rule utilitarian. I believe that the greatest good should accrue to the greatest number, with a set of general rules to regulate decisions.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 7:39:00 PM  
Anonymous searching said...

hmmm.. ok.

then how do you think the good of unitilitarianism would be applied to decisions made in a society where race is a distinct marker of the greater number and the lesser number and decisions are made by the majority for the good of the majority such that the good of the mojority results in the oppression or to the disadvantage of the minority?

Does the good of the overall majority in this case justify what little disadvantage that the minority may be subjected to?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 9:56:00 PM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

Can you come up with some examples?

Thursday, August 25, 2005 12:30:00 AM  
Anonymous searching said...

mmm ok... hmm.. i was thinking of a simplified scenario in the previous post so that it wouldn't be too complicated.

Because i think in reality, things are not just restricted to one factor and a majority and a minority where race is the only factor separating people. It's only one of the many factors dividng people.

Let's take the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for example.
which camp should decisions be made in favour in? If decisions are made on utilitarianism, which side should be regarded as the greater number? The Isralies, the other Arab states, or the world(the greatest majority)?

I think the Palestinians see themselves as being robbed and exiled from their rightful land but the Israeli's see their right as what they think to be their god-given claim and with their superior fire power, the minority but substansial number of Palestinians cannot stand. How would the good of utilitarianism be applied in this case?

And to see it in the bigger picture, should the 2 groups of people just forget their history and differences and consider the greater good of world peace of the world majority?

On concerning that matter( of world peace), I think what would be a more viable solution for world peace is that everyone destroy all their weapons (guns and knives and all) so that nobody will be afraid of hurting each other. -for the greater happiness of everybody not being afraid of each other hurting each other. (hah, yes unrealistic as it is)

So with so many differnt groups of people being divided over so many different issues, each group justifying the righteousness of his happiness or cause and refusing to accept what is deemed to be good by the greater number, in your opinion, is the greater good of the greater number still justified ?

because i think what ultimately justifies utilitarianism is number. Be it ideology, race, political agendas, etc... what gives these people the right to define good, at the end of the day is their number.
Or more specifically, the happiness of that number.
The only reson the lesser number can find why as to forsake their own happiness is that so that the happiness of the greater number can be achieved! And very rightly so, they have every reason to be unhappy!

From what i understand of Bentham, the guy who suggested this philosophy of utilitarianism (my opinion of his philosophy, not what he is saying),
what then separates the invisble entity (of what some people call God )to this goal of the greater happiness of the greater number, which he (Bentham) proposes, is this visible entity of which the individual is the embodiment of.
i.e. the individual becomes god. The individual serves the greater interest(good) of his society because his interests are at stake. But what motivates him is not the greater good. It is his pleasure. Pleasure and pain governing. So if he being part of the greater number can experience pleasure at the expense of the pain of the small minority with no compromise to the greater happiness of the majority, his pleasure can be justified.
Or on the other hand, the greater happiness of the majority can be justified to be compromised as long as the individual can escape pain.

So in short, from what his philosophy proposes, the individual becomes god in a way (of course devoid of what power and characteristics a God is meant to have in a supernatural sense). The greater good is just a cover.-From what i understand of Bentham's philosophical viewpoint which assumes many things about human nature but does not say why is it the way it is.

With 'good' being defined by the relative self-interest of men after his own happiness (in the name of the greater happiness), do you think it is this case that when everyone is after his own happiness that they cause the pain of the overall?

Friday, August 26, 2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

??? Where did race come into the picture?

I don't see how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is relevant. In this case the Israelis have no business occupying the West Bank, since they already have a homeland, so they should vacate it. There are many more Palestinians than settlers, so the case is clear here. And what does the world have to do with them? The world does not live in Palestine. And if you're going to use the example of it inflaming terrorism, well, terrorists will just find another excuse to blow people up.

To fall back on holy writ solves nothing, since everyone has a different god.

What utilitarianism points to as an optimal solution has nothing to do with the ability of people to enforce it. And yes, utilitarianism is justified by number. It's better to make more people happy than less people, I'm sure you must agree. So, your point?

There are many types of utilitarianism. Most people subscribe to rule utilitarianism, as I understand it, and under this making others miserable on purpose is not justified. Besides which, assuming we can measure happiness, it is more hurtful to lose it than to gain it (eg Losing $10 is more painful than gaining $10 is pleasurable), so I don't see your point.

Your point about the individual becoming god is about rational self-interest? Why will people going after their happiness cause overall pain? And I don't see how this is a critique of utilitarianism.

Sunday, August 28, 2005 2:30:00 AM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

To quote some Raffles Guys' philosophy notes:


"Direct or act-utilitarianism and indirect or rule-utilitarianism are the two major forms of utilitarianism in most contemporary utilitarianism.

Act-utilitarism states that an act is morally obligatory if and only if it produces a greater balance of pleasure over pain than any alternative action avaliable to the moral agent.

Such an act is considered morally right and not morally wrong. However, some utilitarians reject act-utilitarianism in favour of rule-utilitarianism.

This form of utilitarianism states that the rightness of an action depends not on the consequences of the action itself, but on teh consequences of various sets of rules. Rule-utilitarianism states that one ought to abide by the set of rules that maximizes happiness/pleasure.

For instance, the act-utilitarian would say that framing an innocent person is morally right if it will prevent riots. However, the rule-utilitarian claims that any accepted set of rules that premit framing innocent people would be more destructive of social harmony and well-being (would not lead to the maximization of happiness/pleasure in the long run) than could possibly be made up for by the occasional prevention of a riot.

Thus, the rule-utilitarian would say that the act of framing an innocent person is wrong because it fails to accord with that set of social rules that would best produce overall social harmony and well-being (or, in other words, maximize happiness/pleasure in the long run)."

Sunday, August 28, 2005 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous searching said...

Yes race isn't a factor in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I think i didn't qualify why i brought up that example in the previous post. (my suggestion of race as a determinant was for the sake of using a sensitive factor for a make believe scenario. To bring in a more realistic real world scenario, I suggested the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (heh I hope this helps to clarify my thoughts))

I brought up that example not to show race to be a determinant or one of the determinants of the majority. but i wanted to understand in the light of utilitarianism, how, if there are many other determinants of what the greater number is, how could utilitarianism apply?

Although as you said, that the world does not live in Palestine, but what happens there may well escalate to have worldwide consequences because of the interconnectedness of each country's or nation's interest with each other..

So i understand that when we refer to the happiness of the greatest number, how could this possibly be worked out and understood when in a world with so many factions (here, i take the definition faction to be inclusive of countries, MNCs, tribe, cultures, etc..)split apart over their different interests and issues. Because to what i understand, utilitarianism automatically divides people into two groups i.e. the greater number and the lesser number.
But in a world where there are thousands of factions with different things that make each faction happy, how would the philosophy of utilitarianism be applied for the overall good of the majority? What would the definition of the majority be? Would the majority be the faction with the greatest number of people out of the thousands of factions or would it be the collective factions of people that oppose the faction with the greatest number? It is almost impossible to split these factions into two distinct groups of majority and minority. I wanted to understand how is it possible that utilitarianism would apply in this case.

So I had to assume a common global interest in which number justifies the good of the overall. I thought of the cliché world peace since it would be reasonable to assume that everyone would be happy with world peace.
but like i said earlier, when i considered the number of factions split over their different interests, it became almost impossible for 'world peace' to happen because of the self interest of the many groups.
(all this explaining my thought process in my previous post)

You said that what utilitarianism points to as an optimal solution has nothing to do with the ability of people to enforce it.
On the contrary, I think it has everything to do with the ability of the people to enforce it.
In the many factions of people that make up the world we live in, every faction (whether be it religious, political, racial, etc…) is consciously or unconsciously utilitarian whether they admit it or not). (And I do think this is a reasonable assumption to think that each faction thinks that the ideal world would be made of that faction’s ideals and to win over any opposition to their side or if not eliminate them.)
They all pursue the happiness of their group but what hinders the pursuit of their happiness is sometimes the happiness of other factions at stake. To find this empowerment to achieve this happiness, these factions try to do so with increasing their numbers (try to win as many converts as possible to their mindset). So the circumstance becomes then if you’re a hindrance to my happiness, you’re a pain and you either join me or I’ll reduce your number so that my faction remains the majority and our happiness or interests are justified because of our number. So now, it is because of the numerous factions of people in the world (each thinking that to make the world a better place, their faction should be the majority) wanting to become the majority that causes them to vie with each other that results in the pain of the overall (this is what I mean when I said the pursuit of happiness of the individual or group results in the pain of the overall) in that sense.

What each faction sees as the optimal solution of what utilitarianism points toward, they strive to achieve with their ability (and again I reinstate that every faction is utilitarian consciously or unconsciously). That is why I said earlier that I think that what utilitarianism points to as an optimal solution has everything to do with the ability of people to enforce it. It is because they have this ideology that they strive to enforce it with their ability which they think to be power in numbers.

If it is not true as what I say that everyone is utilitarian in worldview subconsciously or consciously, then I would qualify that what I have said above would apply still to the outcome if every faction became utilitarian.

On pondering further, what I perceive is that utilitarianism is not really about overall happiness but it’s actually about self-interest (or happiness) in the name of the overall. And in a situation where the individual utilitarian’s interest is at stake or when the utilitarian finds that his self-interest or well being is at stake, the good of the overall can (in dire circumstances explained next, it must be) be sacrificed.

For example, if in a fit of rage, a utilitarian (he is part of the society that sets the rules) kills someone, (the utilitarian rule set in the society for the happiness of the majority is that murderers or killers be hanged or sentenced severely as a deterrent for others who might do the same), what will be the motivation for that utilitarian’s (direct or act utilitarian) course of action? Self interest to preserve his well being or will he submit to the overall interest of the greater number to see him punished? Or he could strike a compromise of the two by covering up the killing and justify to himself or herself and say, “After all, I didn’t really mean it.” Like this, the majority is kept in the dark and so have no idea that the killing happened, they are happy and the person who killed is also happy since his well being is preserved.
Do you agree that these are the only 3 courses of actions available? Or is there another possibility? And anyone can predict the 2 most likely courses of action to be taken and it is definitely not to submit to the rule of the will of the majority which is for the utilitarian to be punished.

So this is what I understand of utilitarianism. It (direct or act) is not really concerned with the greatest happiness of the greatest number but it is motivated by the person’s pursuit for his or her own greatest happiness (this is the primary motivation) in the name of the greatest happiness of the overall (this is not the primary motivating reason but a package that holds the primary motivation).

Do you agree that the primary motivation of utilitarianism is self interest in the name of the interest of the overall?

So in saying that when everyone is after his own happiness, everyone causes pain to everyone because there are some interests that are entirely exclusive to the individual person or group. Granted although that there are some interests that are independent of others. But the good of utilitarianism is exposed only when it is tested in a multi interest dependent environment do you agree? (It is not realistic to talk about it’s theory presupposing a world that is divided into only 2 factions of majority and minority because the world is not as such.)

And so it is because of this primary motivation of self interest of everyone/group in the world that causes the pain or bad in the world (I’m not including natural disasters, etc..random acts of luck, catastrophe) not some unseen, unverifiable spiritual being called God.
I mean, the Christians just try to believe in a prescriptive make believe faith to give themselves some self stimulated or simulated hope so they can deny their present problematic world. Their bible is just a collection of some hocus pocus passed down by who knows who. They don’t know that really, it is Hinduism and the Greek gods that’s more sensible in explaining it all because Hinduism let’s us know about one of their many gods called Shiva-the destroyer that’s responsible and it’s probably Zeus with his attention too fixed on womanizing that his other gods are running loose on earth. With so many irresponsible gods (and responsible ones like Shiva who’s diligent work is experienced by many) ruling the earth., no wonder that we have what we have. .
The Christians just sum all the troubles and pain up and so as to uncomplicate matters, just refer to one entity - Satan. They don’t realize that actually there is no such thing as a good God. It’s more plausible to rationalize a Zeus run world, Satan or Shiva’s existence then that of the Christian God’s don’t you think? But since, even Zeus, Satan or Shiva cannot be verified in a self-assured scientific way, that too can be regarded as a myth- which leaves the world devoid of mystical beings except men.
(okay, forgive my rave..heh)

And since God and the devil do not exist, we can’t really comment about them as if they did exist. It would be unfair to say ‘Know Satan. Know pain. No Satan. No pain.’ because that is making some unverifiable mystical being responsible for the happenings of a readily verifiable entity such as man. So since without these beings in existence, we still experience what we know as pain in this world, do you think it would be more accurate and plausible to say then that, ‘Know man, Know pain (sin). No man, No pain (sin).' instead? (sin or wrong in the utilitarian sense, where any thing that causes pain to a person’s greatest happiness can be regarded as sin)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 6:36:00 PM  
Anonymous searching said...

As for the Raffles guy, in whichever case of utilitarianism he is proposing, one thing is for certain, he is not considering the core important motivation of the realistic utilitarian which is rational self-interest to be the determining factor of the utilitarian’s courses of actions. He assumes that the happiness of the majority to be the overriding factor to determine a utilitarian’s worldview.

If in the example that the RI guy gives about the act-utilitarian about framing the innocent person, the act-utilitarian was the innocent person being framed instead, do you think his act-utilitarian logic will take precedence and he will allow himself to be framed? No, definitely no! Why not?!! After all, according to his act-utilitarian logic, it would be the morally right thing to do if it would prevent riots right? The fallacy of the act-utilitarian’s logic! Or should I say the hypocrisy of that logic! His self-interest totally contradicts the worldview which he proposes. So that is why I think that neglecting the core determining, motivating factor of the utilitarian (which is self-interest or happiness and not the happiness of the majority) and not accounting for it in all circumstances gives a confused understanding of the ideals of the utilitarian and his motivation.

The utilitarian can only be truly a utilitarian when he subjects himself to the very same judgment of happiness that he makes. And when this happens, then yes, there truly will be social harmony. The utilitarian will then not be just satisfied with the happiness of what is the majority that he is part of but he will strive for the happiness of the majority till it becomes the happiness of the whole (if he is concerned with the happiness of the greatest number in the first place and not his own greatest happiness). But since his motivation is self happiness, he has no reason to strive any further if there is nothing threatening his self interest.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 6:38:00 PM  
Anonymous searching said...

And we haven’t gone to the part where what if a minority hold’s a utilitarian worldview? And the pursuit of his happiness adversely affects the happiness of the majority (practice of Satanism affecting ‘good’ public majority)? Is he bound to surrender the pursuit of his greatest happiness so that the happiness of the majority is preserved? After all, if he’s strictly utilitarian, then it would be the right thing to do. The happiness of the greater number would take precedence. And the only reason he has to, justify why he should forgo his happiness would be-number.
Rational self-interest vs rational majority interest
I guess it’s from situations like this, people come up with new terms like ‘dependent utilitarianism’. It depends.. (irrelevant comment, yea)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 6:39:00 PM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

I don't see what you're going on about. You have many misconceptions about utilitarianism.

Determining the majority would be done the best way we could. And the reason for a collection of factions opposing the one with the greatest number would have to be weighed. eg Moral objections would be tossed out, only substantive harm would be considered.

If everything has to do with enforcement, then might is right. No contest there.

Factions are not utilitarian. They seek to maximise their own good only, almost always. And even then factions are not monolithic entities, so I don't see your point. Pure self-interest is *not* utilitarianism.



"Know God, Know Sin" is plausible since the sin is in the mind of the believer. And what does pain have to do with sin?

Friday, September 02, 2005 8:03:00 PM  
Anonymous searching said...

Yes i think i may have some misconceptions of utilitarianism because i see as one outside of it and so comment as one outside of it
but i want to understand and make sense of the logic of it in my doubts and misunderstanding of parts of it.

Hmm.. What do you mean by 'Moral objections would be tossed out, only substantive harm would be considered.'? considered by who? I take it in this case the authority would be the larger faction and the smaller faction will have no say at all.
If substantive harm is caused to the minority by the decisions of the majority, and it would be beneficial to the majority both in the short and long run but cause substantive harm to the minority, is it still justifiable then that the minority be substantively harmed?

What if you as a utilitarian were to be part of the minority and since might is right, will you submit to the might of the majority and forgo your self interest.
For example, if a utilitarian is gay (which i assume to be a minority here), and he lives in a majority that disapproves and even punishes this orientation, is he bound to change his orientation to comply with the might of the majority?
the point here is that, i'm asking how does a utilitarian reconcile his beliefs when he is part of the minority and the his personal interests conflict with the majority in the short and long run. What will his conviction be based on? Is it the the pursuit of the happiness of the majority or is it his own happiness?

because i find the notion of self interest to be a major determinant that causes a contradiction in the utilitarian's beliefs. so i want to inquire how is it reconciled.
I am not suggesting pure self-interest is utilitarianism (pardon me if i did give that idea).
But what i am suggesting is that self interest is the main motivation behind a utilitarian's viewpoint and that this, in circumstances where self interest and the interest of the majority conflict, what will be the determinant of the utilitarian's actions? Especially in circumstances when the utilitarian is part of the minority. So I wanted to understand, as a utilitarian, how do you think this be resolved if you were to be in this minority?

Hmmm.. I don't think 'Know God, know sin' is simplistically thought in the believer's mind. I think this would be a biased superimposition of what a skeptic thinks of what a believer thinks.

From what i try to understand about this faith here and there, what i understand about the christian faith proposes is that (from the perspective of a searching fella. biased or not, anybody can say. but this is what i understand) 'know God (the Christian one), know Love (what i understand to be Love as known by what the christians understand of what Jesus did on the cross. Apart from this understanding first, it is impossible to understand the notion that their God is love. From what i conclude, this god is either a fool or he is love to do the thing on the cross (assuming if he is real in the first place))' and after knowing the character of this being comes the understanding of what is sin.

I think to miss the love part would give a misrepresentation of this christian god. It's like saying 'know Allah, know a terrorist (or terrorism)'
it's an unfair judgment because first of all if i don't know who Allah really is and only know the presupposed circumstances that misled followers portray, i would confuse the idea of Allah with the actual Allah (assuming if there is a real Allah)

but the point is this,
i think in whatever case be it Love or Sin, to be able to qualify the second 'know', i think there must be a true personal experiential knowing first or else it would be an impersonal biased judgment that misrepresents what might really be.

Saturday, September 03, 2005 1:04:00 AM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

Moral objections - You can't stop 2 gay men from having sex because it is "immoral" because it doesn't harm you. So your later example is invalid.

It's not that the smaller faction will have no say at all, it's that their interests will not be considered on par with those of the majority. What sort of decision are you thinking of, which would benefit the majority but harm the minority?

I never said might is right. That is what you were advocating. And as I already told you, utilitarians are not supposed to consider their personal interests when making decisions. How many times does this point have to be repeated?! You might as well level this objection at all moral systems. The answer you get will be the same as it is here. Self-interest inevitably contradicts at various times with almost all the moral systems one can think of. They are always reconciled in the same way, depending on how strongly the agent adheres to the moral statement.


The christian god is supposed to be about love, but the love offered is a faux, ersatz form of love:

"It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority punishment or reward.

In a nutshell, God had to kill Himself to appease Himself so that He would not have to roast us, His beloved creations, in HELL forever.

He loves us more than we can ever comprehend, but if we don't return His affections, He will make us regret it for eternity. Now that is AMAZING GRACE!"


In any case, sin is a very big part of christianity also. And relying on individuals' personal experience, one would have to conclude that Elvis is still alive, little green men abduct humans, homeopathy works and that every religion known to man is true. So what's your point?

Sunday, September 04, 2005 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous searching said...

and here harm becomes another definitional issue again.. who is it defining harm? what may be harm to you may not be considered harm by another person.. So the difference lies in what 2 factions see as harm.

If a utilitarian gay sees no harm in him sleeping with another guy, the reasonsing that causes him to think this way is because of his self-interest! His definition of harm is motivated by his self-interest! If the majority of a conservative society considers it a harm (may not be physical) to the traditional fabric of that society no matter moral or what, according to utilitarian logic, the majority possesses the ultimate authority to define what is good and what is not (and for that matter, what is harm and what is not).

You said that utilitarians are not supposed to consider their personal interests when making decisions but what i am stressing again repeatedly is that this is impossible because EVERYONE, utilitarian or not makes decisions based on self-interest!

And like i said, the utilitarian has no reason to consider the interests of the majority if his self-interest is at stake. Which is the precisely the point which you proved in the gay men example!.
The gay has every reason to consider his actions to be inconsequencial to society because it is between him and his consented partner. This reasoning is motivated not by interest in the majority interest but in self-interest. So it is this self-interest that blinds the gay person to see what harm he may be doing to the majority interest.
In what way is this not a valid example?
You have not helped me understand the case when what if a utlitarian is in the minority and his self interest is at stake but he holds a utilitarian world view. Help me understand what will he do?

You said that utilitarians are not supposed to consider their personal interests when making decisions but this contradicts rational self-interest which is the hardcore motivation of everyone not only a utilitarian's. There is no situation which i can think of in which a utilitarian (or for that matter anyone at all) would hold to his beliefs if he is the one in the minority and when his interests are threatened.

So that is why i am interested to know your convictions as to what would you do as a utilitarian if you are part of a minority and your self-intersts contradict with the majority, will you forgo your interests and submit to the pursuit of the happiness of the majority?

If i give an example, it might bring in complications and besides i can't think of any example in which a utilitarian would submit to the will of the majority if he is in the minority (because of rational self-interest).
This is the apparent contradiction i find between 'what is meant to be' and 'what is really the case'. I'm not so interested in what is meant to be because i think what it is not theory what counts but relity.

That is why i kept bringing in the issue of self-interest. I cannot understand how a utilitarian who is part of a mnority would make room to neglect his self-interest to uphold an opposing majority interest.

What would you do if as a utlitarian you are part of the minority, and your self-interest opposes the interests of the majority? How do you resolve this apparent contradiction?

(Sorry for the repetition of this pt again and again but this is the part i'm really trying to understand.)(Admitedly yes, self-interests inevitably do contradict in moral systems but i find this to be the same with a utilitarian system especially in the case when a utilitarian is part of a minority.)

Monday, September 05, 2005 3:59:00 AM  
Anonymous searching said...

Counterfeit or not, i do not know. But what i understand of the christian god is this. He subjects himself to the same judgment of sin (from what the christians perceive to be a just and holy god.)
that he makes for what was not his sentence.
And i can't think of any reason why he would do that. rational self-interest? That would be totally absurd because all that resulted from what this god did, to come down and die and all was a whole bunch of skeptics debating his reality and cursing his name.

When i consider the results and consequences of what this god did on the cross, to gain a world grown even more skeptical and one that curses him yet even more, i think this god dumb and foolish to bother with a world so troublesome. he had no good reason to come and bother at all yet still chose to.

and that is how i understood what the christian said when he said his god was love (from what i perceive to be a foolish choice with no reason to be made but was still made because of love). from understanding what this love is, i come to understand the consequences of sin (from what christianity terms as sin)which is the consequence of man living a life apart from a god who is love. From this intolerance of sin, i understand what a holy god is. my self-interest perceives him as petty because my self interest is interested in self preservation. And my self interest is also interested that i escape any judgment that this christian god might make.

this is what i understand about the christian god. He contradicts the value of self-interest which i hold of value.

I think your understanding of god having to kill himself to appease himself so that he would not have to roast us, his beloved creations, in hell forever is difficult to understand because if he was so powerful, why would he bother to go through all the trouble to kill himself and all. It's easier to just send people straight to hell and don't bother about the whole world.

how do you come to understand what motivates this god to do what he does? I find this god highly irrational (crazy) but not so stupid
to the extent of beating about the bush to put up a whole show of coming down, die for people, then tolerate pple cursing him and then at the end just end his fun by seeing them in hell. it's a dumb and long way to appease oneself. why take so long to send them to hell?

Monday, September 05, 2005 4:43:00 AM  
Blogger Agagooga said...

I see that there's no point continuing the discussion of utilitarianism. I have already answered your questions. If you don't accept my answers, then so be it. You won't be satisfied with further explanations so there's no point giving them.

As for the christian god, I will reply later.

Monday, September 05, 2005 12:09:00 PM  

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