I'll check that book out some time.
I'll try to have more to say on this in a while; at the moment it still demands more thought. It's a great question, albeit one with many variables.
Quote fromWait what is Jesus message again? I thought it was something like a simple line everyone could understand: "Treat strangers like they were bros and forgive the sins of your brotha and sista." or something like that. "Don't do stuff to people you wouldn't want others to do to you." Why should we need 500 hundred pages to remind us a line? In fact, why do we even need a line?
Jesus Christ's message, as it is popularly distilled, is as follows:
1. Love God.
2. Love your neighbour.
On these two sayings, it is said, hang all the laws and the prophets. This does not mean that you can just ignore the laws and the prophets, though; it means that an understanding of and appreciation for the laws and the prophets is essential to being able to carry out those two tasks. Christ came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it; He did not discard the Hebrew scriptures, but cited them and called them holy.
What's more, His message also includes a number of clauses concerning Hell and the difficulty of life. Hard sayings, they're sometimes called, and their truth and utility are not immediately or intuitively apparent. It's also a dicey proposition to love God without knowing who God is, or to love either God or your neighbour without knowing what "love" is meant to signify in this context.
This might be the reason for a collection of documents
- describing certain facets of His life
- providing accounts of His sayings
- including commentary thereupon by those who knew Him and lived at that time
- appending a collection of the documents that He Himself found essential.
Thus you get your bible.
In some instances, certainly; in others, not so much.Even 3000 years before Jesus people knew the difference between a moral action and an immoral action.
The appeal to relativism is not helping your case, as, of the two types of moral relativism most commonly propounded, the one undercuts your argument about the sameness of religious morality while the other undercuts your Kant.And all that is relative anyway because some values change through time and culture. But Kant proved that any man had the ability to determine (through reflexion) what was more morally acceptable in any given moral dilemma. You always have an obligation towards others and towards yourself.
If you're appealing to what is called descriptive moral relativism - that there are clear and irreconcilable differences between the moral outlooks of certain differing cultures and systems - it is not so very easy then to argue that all of the world's religions and moral codes are somehow the same thing with different window dressing. If you're appealing to what is called metaethical moral relativism - that the morality of a certain act is dependent upon the culture in which it is undertaken (pursuant to DMR but not elementally the same) - it is not so very easy to hold up the practical reason of the individual as a reliable source of moral information.
I tend to agree with Kant on the value of practical reason in such questions, but an important thing to remember about this is that practical reason doesn't come with all of the data pre-installed. You need information about things before you can come to a good moral judgement about them, and this might entail - alas - reading some books.
You might also need a book because you'd be poorly-informed without one.You don't need a book be a good person. You only need it because you're scared. Scare people and give false hope. That's what religion does best.
Let's face facts: you had to read what Kant wrote before you knew what he said, didn't you?
Quote fromReally? Damn. I had that idea. I guess I'm going to have to go read it now.
I had the same thing happen to me recently with a novel about an adventure involving the two sets of James brothers so important to American history (Frank and Jesse, murderous outlaws; Henry and William, novelist and philosopher). It chunnered away on the back burner for a while until all of a sudden, one day, there it was on the bookshelf, written by some guy I'd never heard of. It was like magic.
Pretty good, honestly. I have no classes this summer, having overloaded on them during the fall and winter, and as such am taking it easy, doing research at whatever pace I like, idling, etc. I'll be moving to the nation's capital in the fall to start the PhD, but for now I'm enjoying a fairly wet and relaxing summer. How about you?By the way, how's it been?