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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: Talking about Christianity
Thread: Talking about Christianity This thread is 51 pages long: 1 2 3 4 5 ... 10 20 30 40 ... 47 48 49 50 51 · «PREV / NEXT»
artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted November 11, 2019 12:12 AM

JJ, I really think you should take a closer look at what Homo Narrans (the storytelling man) actually means. Prometheus is not an individual, he is a fictional archetype that symbolizes something. And there is a reason he was imagined the way he was. I guess, we both agree that humans had moral codes and social behavior before monotheistic religions, since this is not an opinion but an observed fact and even primitive primate species such as baboons or gorillas are observed to have culture: Behavioral patterns that are learnt, not genetically transferred, that have distinct variants that differ from one group to another. This literally means they have a sense of morality, a sense of doing the right or wrong thing, even though extremely simpler, of course. The goal can be survival (of the group or of the group member), there is nothing that excludes survival from moral conduct. When you learn to swim, this is not morality, it is an ability, when you learn the behavior of saving children from a burning fire or committing seppuku if you fail your master, this is moral conduct that is still related to the survival and well-being of the group. Behavior patterns about your own survival and well-being, as long as they are not at the cost of the group, are also moral norms. Moral norms, when traced back, are at the core, about survival and well-being anyway, there is no dilemma there.  

Now, what you're desperately trying to claim is that the stories (religions) of some cultures are constructed somehow perfectly isolated from their moral codes. Claiming this, is not much different than claiming the Frankenstein story was just a description of the industrial revolution with no moral implications, because the doctor was just an individual! Myths are metaphorical or allegorical stories that show what meaning cultures give to the world surrounding them, they are explanations, yes, but they are not empirical explanations. They reflect and construct/reconstruct the moral code of the society that is telling them. Prometheus, similar to Doctor Frankenstein, gave humans something that was not meant for them to play with, fire. And they then "ruled over the animal kingdom." The moral of the myth is, "it is dangerous to play god and actual gods (nature) will punish you if you take it too far. You may not agree with the idea but there is a moral core to this type of storytelling. A more contractual version can be to directly label pride or vanity as a sin, like in Abrahamic ones.

And about Rome and modern secular law, no, it is not the same thing happening today because in secular law, the local courts don't take local religions' norms as a reference. That is, in cultural pluralism of a Roman model empire, muslims will be free to marry 15 year old brides because their own Sharia law allows it, where as another group with customs that don't allow it will still ban it in their own local courts. Where as in a modern secular state, there will be an age of consent, defined by pedagogical measures and no one will be able to marry a child.
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Oddball13579
Oddball13579


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Thread Destroyer
posted November 11, 2019 04:46 AM
Edited by Oddball13579 at 04:47, 11 Nov 2019.

artu said:
Prometheus, similar to Doctor Frankenstein, gave humans something that was not meant for them to play with, fire. And they then "ruled over the animal kingdom." The moral of the myth is, "it is dangerous to play god and actual gods (nature) will punish you if you take it too far.
Except that Prometheus was a god, a titan, to be exact. So he wasn't really "playing god".

And Prometheus gave fire to man in the very beginning, when he created them. He gave it to them when all the traits like cunning, swiftness, wings, fur, strength, were given to all the wild creatures of the world. So Prometheus made man stand upright like the gods did and gave them fire.

Zeus stole fire from man as a punishment after he was tricked by Prometheus into accepting only fat and bones as sacrifices from people's meals. Prometheus then defied the Olympians and stole fire and gave it back to Man.

And then, as you well know, Zeus punished Prometheus over his theft and defiance.

So technically, fire always belonged to man and it was always meant for them.
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artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted November 11, 2019 07:40 AM
Edited by artu at 07:42, 11 Nov 2019.

Yes, I know he was a Titan, I never said he was human, I said what he represents in the story is "for humans to play god." I even thought about also mentioning him not being human while mentioning he wasn't an individual but it seemed a little pointless after "fictional archetype." Besides, like most myths, there are different variations of the story and although not as popular as the "titanic" version, there are versions where he is the first human made out of clay. What matters is fire (godly power of technology) being presented to humans which brings punishment and curse (trouble).

Prometheus was the symbol of nobility, generosity and sacrifice for the human race. This Greek god was also a symbol of overcoming obstacles and intelligence that is used for the greater good. Prometheus’s brother Epimetheus, gave all the animals good characteristics and when he came to humans, there was no good characteristic left. To help humans be superior over animals, Prometheus decided to give humans fire and help them rule over the animal kingdom. After Prometheus did this, there was no option to take away from the humans what the god has given them, so Zeus decided to hate the entire human nation and to punish Prometheus.

Another source:

Fire is referenced repeatedly throughout Prometheus Bound, and it is symbolic of many things in Aeschylus's play. Fire at once represents Hephaistos, the Greek god of fire and blacksmiths, as well as Zeus's power, and the spark of human intellect and knowledge given to humankind by Prometheus in the form of reason.

Not so different than "forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge" in this regard, is it.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted November 11, 2019 08:10 AM
Edited by JollyJoker at 08:15, 11 Nov 2019.

Right.

Artu, your connections are wrong. You claim that all religions are the carrier for a normative moral or moral, and I contest that claim. It's just not true. Let give me an example now.
Masturbation has been a moral no-no - purely moral, because obviously it's not illegal.
What does the Bible say as the most probable source of this "moral"? The story is told in Genesis 38, and it's the story of Onan, who is the second-born son of Judah. Judah takes a wife for his first-born (fathers seem to chose wives for their sons) Er, but Er is "wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him." Then Judah tells his second-born Onan to marry Er's widow and knock her up, so that she can have children "to his brother" (so the children would be considered not Onan's but Er's). And then: "And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother.
And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He slew him also.

EDIT: The main thing with Prometheus in this regard is - he disobeyed the highest god and survived. Prometheus has been a hero for humanity. Unlike "the serpent" who is the villain for beguiling Eve into plucking the apple and sharing it with her husband. Prometheus did what he did, suffered from it, but in the end all was well. The serpent did what it did, ALL suffered from it and nothing was well.

So can you see a "moral" in this story? The only thing I see here is "obey your father. If you don't do it by the word the Lord may slay you." (which the Lord can do because He's the Lord.) It's definitely not "do not masturbate", bcause that's just the way Onan wanted to "bypass" his father's command which he didn't like.
And we learn that the Lord slays people who do things he doesn't like - however, this story also doesn't make too clear what it is that God doesn't like (escept, maybe disobeying the father). From Er we only know that "he was wicked in the sight of the Lord" - but clearly Judah didn't mind that, because he was intent on allowing children in his name, so wicked in the eyes of the Lord or not, he wanted the name of his first-born to continue (which was not wicked in the eye of the Lord).
Try as I might - where the hell is the moral? I mean, obeying the father would have been the very first thing children would learn - you don't need religion for that, the strong hands of the fathers would make sure without it.

Now. Did HUMANS slay people who did things they didn't like? Has that been common behavior? Would actually Judah be the one slaying both of his sons because they did things he didn't like?
I suppose, if that was the case there wouldn't be any Jews left standing, because every son does things their father don't like.

Unless otherwise clearly marked (as in some books of the Bible, where laws are given), religion and its stories are unclear. As in every story there are heroes and villains, and more often than not the villains are gods who are infighting, humans being their collateral damage - or, sometimes not, when the humans can make it through, more or less unscathed.

What I want to say is not that there is NO moral to be found in religion. Instead you can find each and every moral in religion you want to find, if you look at it, even in monotheism, much more so in polytheism with their plethora of gods, because it's just stories and each story has its own purpose. Look at this list. The amount of deities is mind-boggling.

So you must look for a specific moral - a specific story -, but if you didn't look (life and parents and other people would teach you whatever "moral" there actually was), it was just stories you could tsk over. If you did look, then you would look as long as it would take you to find the right god. Later, people would page through the Bible until they found the right quite to underline their purpose.

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artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted November 11, 2019 08:57 AM

Dude, you're impossible: "Obey your father" IS a normative moral suggestion. It suggests that the right behavior is to obey your father, even if you disagree. Another kind of morality may object by saying you should only obey him under certain circumstances, another one may suggest, obedience shouldn't even be at the core of parenthood. (And why should slaying people become common behavior, that's not how it works, nobody said it was. Your logic is too absurd to even follow. God ordered Abraham to kill his son and he was really going to, until the last moment. Doesnt indicate he will now order everybody to kill their sons all the time, it means Abraham was rewarded for following his orders no matter how outrageous they seemed, he surrendered to God's will and earned a happy ending.)

Stories being open to interpretation doesn't mean they don't suggest morals. Sheldon can (and does) interpret Star Wars as "the Empire is the good guys trying to bring order to a chaotic galaxy." Doesn't change the actually intended symbolism. There are also many interpretations of Christianity, hypothetically, endless interpretations but there is a thing called stretching it too far. And yes, there are countless deities in polytheism, just like there are countless saints in Catholicism or countless angels, demons, etc in other monotheistic religions. So what? It's just naming lesser gods differently since "there can be only one king" becomes the dominant social norm.

"Prometheus did what he did, suffered from it, but in the end all was well." Except, Zeus, THE god, hated humanity for it. I guess, in your world, this was just like a high school friend tweeting he no longer likes you!

I don't know why you have this weird idea that myths need to be as brief and clean-cut as lease contracts to have moral implications but I am now convinced that you will never change your mind about this and try to come up with new "loop holes" to argue back against extremely obvious conclusions, instead of admitting you were wrong. So, good luck with inventing a new school of anthropology and a structuralist method of text analysis in which religions have nothing to do with morality and their myths are naturalist illustrations.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted November 11, 2019 09:34 AM

Please stop dudeing me. Thanks.

I don't know why these things always have to end with extreme hyperboles. Again: you cannot claim something universal (ALL religions...) and expect that everyone nods their head, when even basic reading material suggest otherwise.

Look at it this way: do FAIRY TALES create and convey morals? Or are they stories that breathe the moral of the time they were written in? Do modern MOVIES create and convey morals or are they stories that breathe moral of the time they were written in?
Do supernatural beings star in fairy tales and movies? Oh, yes, more than their share.

Was religion in any way different? Well it sure is when it comes to Abrahamic religions - but the polytheistic ones? Really? Shrines and statues? Is there really that much difference with kids having Spoderman figures and a room full of Star Wars relics?

Probably. But one thing should be clear: religion hasn't been INVENTING the morals you can find when you look for them (and you can, as I said, find every moral you want to find, but it doesn't matter).

The main proof here is that as much as Christianity is built on Jesus and as much as the New Testament gives ample examples for moral behaviour in a real sense (since it is November, sharing of what you have got with the poor for example) - do you see ANY of that being widely adopted as a moral where Christianity ruled for the next thousand years after it was the dominating religion until the schism (which resulted from that).
The answer is no.

Religion has been part of people's life in ancient times, but in much a different way than that which became the norm for the peoples following the Abrahamic religions (and religion is still handled very different in Hinduism).

The main difference is, that religion is a lot less normative to an extent that it can be ignored and taken by everyone as they want to take it. That the stories breathe the spirit of their times is pretty logical.

Now, the times being as they were, you'd think, morals would have had to be rather plain. Only a chosen few, rather harsh - something akin to the ten commandments. However, in fact, there is a multitude of stories, and if polytheistic religions have a moral than that the gods are fickle, there's no reliable way to get their favor and that you can try and do everything provided you have some cover. In other words, it's like a read of your future in some palm-reading.

When you read the wiki article about Morality, Religion has it's own entry, but what is said in the main article is telling:

Quote:
Religion and morality are not synonymous. Morality does not depend upon religion although for some this is "an almost automatic assumption"[sic] According to The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, religion and morality "are to be defined differently and have no definitional connections with each other. Conceptually and in principle, morality and a religious value system are two distinct kinds of value systems or action guides.


The [sic] and bold pront is for you.

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artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted November 11, 2019 10:18 AM
Edited by artu at 10:29, 11 Nov 2019.

But, I havent said "morality depends upon religion" or "morality and religion means the same thing," did I. On the contrary, I said it is older than religion, it can even be observed in other primate species and I also said, we shouldn't base our morality on religions because they are not flexible when it comes to changing norms. What I said was, religions are explanations of their times that suggest moral codes and this is not exclusive to Abrahamic religions. Just because according to today's norms, ancient gods behaved badly (did all sorts of immoral crap in your words), you can not conclude their stories did not contain moral implications or did not reflect what people thought was the right thing to do back in their day. People embed in the stories they create, their moral norms. The very function of the stories is to tell people how to behave. It has always been like this. Religions of book are comparatively more contractual, especially as they evolve into more sophisticated institutions such as the Church but in terms of reflecting moral norms, they are not significantly different at all. If you go back to the times of early Christianity, you'll find there are many oral variations of it, it wasn't until the institutionalization, it becomes more contractual. Monotheism is not  the defining factor there, today, Hinduism is more institutional than catacombs times Christianity.

JJ said:
Religion has been part of people's life in ancient times, but in much a different way than that which became the norm for the peoples following the Abrahamic religions

Yes, obviously, but that again doesn't mean those religions had nothing to do with morality of their times, they had, but in a different way. Even if you take one single Abrahamic religion, it is a part of people's lives in very different ways under different circumstances. Christianity isn't a part of a Christians's life exactly the same way in 200's Rome, 1500's Spain, 1800's London or 2000's Texas. The norms are different, so the interpretations, the customs, the dominance vary accordingly.

JJ said:
Now, the times being as they were, you'd think, morals would have had to be rather plain. Only a chosen few, rather harsh - something akin to the ten commandments. However, in fact, there is a multitude of stories, and if polytheistic religions have a moral than that the gods are fickle, there's no reliable way to get their favor and that you can try and do everything provided you have some cover.

There are multide of stories in Abrahamic times just as well, even the four Bibles dont tell the story of Jesus exactly the same way and the Old Testament is a collection of various myths from a very long period that goes way back to times of the Gilgamesh legend. Those myths are not always coherent with each other either. And there were very similar "commands" in polytheistic religions just as well, but since they remain much more local and forgotten today, it's usually archeologists reading some stone tablets who know them in detail. Within a 30 minute search, you can find countless examples such as "marrying your sister is forbidden by this god, paying tax to your king is ordered by that god" etc.
JJ said:
Was religion in any way different? Well it sure is when it comes to Abrahamic religions - but the polytheistic ones? Really? Shrines and statues? Is there really that much difference with kids having Spiderman figures and a room full of Star Wars relics?


Polytheists took their religion "for real" just as well. You can say, in times of religion, grown ups were also kids with Star Wars relics. Don't Christians have relics. And the stories they took for real, naturally also sum up their moral conduct and customs.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted November 11, 2019 10:38 AM

Now you are avoiding the real point here, and the real point is that religion and their stories in those ancient times was the same thing than fairy tales and folk stories later and movies, comics, stories, and so on today. OF COURSE there is a moral somewhere to be found, if you look there.

But my point is - people DIDN'T LOOK (the way the Jews and later on muslims and Christians did look to the Bible); they saw it in much the same way than later people saw fairy tales and folk stories and nowadays movies and novels and comics.

In other words - no, or a lot less to none, normative force and value. As kids nowadays look for their superheroes - some prefer Batman, but some definitely really like the Joker, the Penguin, or Catwoman - the same way people then preferred this or that god, because there was some kind of connection. But they chose them because they already have likings and dislikings and what is cool and good (or evil) and right FOR THEM. You can't please all gods anyway, if even anyONE. So they pick their favorites.

It's a lot more to do with entertainment than woth moral, and now that I write this, Schiller wanted to his plays to be moral (so the spectator might also be advised morally), other than Goethe who wasn't interested a lot in "moral". I don't think that the ancient religions come close to the morality of Schiller's plays, and I don't mean quality here, but content.

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artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted November 11, 2019 10:58 AM
Edited by artu at 11:01, 11 Nov 2019.

JJ, the "real point" here is that people created those stories according to their moral norms in the first place. Institutionalization and having a church and a local priest in every town with the same text will, of course, make things more formal and contractual about what's right or wrong but a mother telling a tale to her children before they go to sleep also involves moral teachings. You can easily analyze bed time stories according to which norms they favor. You can do this with any religious myth also. So they do consist of moral suggestions that favor some normative behaviors against others.

You develop norms according to how you explain and give meaning to the world. Animists or polytheists or monotheists or Buddhists are not categorically different in this regard.
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted November 11, 2019 11:16 AM

artu said:
JJ, the "real point" here is that people created those stories according to their moral norms in the first place. Institutionalization and having a church and a local priest in every town with the same text will, of course, make things more formal and contractual about what's right or wrong but a mother telling a tale to her children before they go to sleep also involves moral teachings. You can easily analyze bed time stories according to which norms they favor. You can do this with any religious myth also. So they do consist of moral suggestions that favor some normative behaviors against others.

You develop norms according to how you explain and give meaning to the world. Animists or polytheists or monotheists or Buddhists are not categorically different in this regard.

No. The real point is that if a story is being told, the teller doesn't tell it because of the moral, but because of the entertainment, except when it's a priest with a certain intention to suggest something. And the listener is lostening to it because of the entertainment as well, not because they want to be morally taught, escept when they do it with the explicit intention to.
And since the stories are quite varied and also different (and even contradictory) in their moral content, the normative force in comparison with simply living life is just not there. Life was hard enough for people to not ENJOY a good story when it was told, instead of trying to find a moral there.
Or: LIFE was formative enough already.

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artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted November 11, 2019 11:29 AM

So, now you switch from "religion was science" to "religion was entertainment." Such strict distinctions didn't exist back then, religion wasn't just one thing. Religion was a cultural output that functioned like science (explaining the world), morality and law (behavioral guidance and regulation), entertainment (social bonding, ceremonies etc.) You don't assume they sacrificed goats to Mars just to entertain themselves, do you. The dominance of one function can outweigh the other circumstantially, but they were all there.
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JollyJoker
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posted November 11, 2019 11:52 AM

I don't switch. What I've been saying is that, yes, as every story religion stories are a mirror of the morals of their time - as are the bloody stories of all times including now. But its main purpose wasn't teaching or suggesting moral - I doubt that word would have had a meaning for the vast part of the population, except for some philosophs.  It's main purpose was to suggest an "explanation for everything" (something which is done by science now), and in an ENTERTAINING way (something that is done by entertainment industry now). Moral was a BASIC thing, not a complex web of different decisions, like, should I do the right thing, even if it cost 100 lives. And people didn't need religion for that, as much as they don't need science and entertainment for it now. Now we have basically the law, and that's it. And then you have believers with moral ideas.
But the strong normative force of religion-based moriality is something that only comes with Abrahamic religions. Jews have their book of law in their story book, which makes things dramatically different.

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artu
artu


Promising
Undefeatable Hero
My BS sensor is tingling again
posted November 11, 2019 12:23 PM

The very difference from today’s stories is that they were also considered “science” of their day and they were the main framework of culture, unlike sectoral entertainment. People dont have Jedi funerals.

Morals of any time is simple for a regular person. Pagan, jew, christian, most people just try to make ends meet and dont dwell in ethical or theological debates, to them morality or religion is simply the basics of the culture they are born into and that’s enough knowledge to follow the rules. They don’t find themselves in positions where they have to make overwhelmingly complicated moral decisions. Your usual medieval peasant didnt get lost in the arguments of bishops and cardinals either now, did he.

It’s like there is not an overall body to what you’re saying at all and you try to come up with some new objection each post only not to accept pagan religions also maintained their own moral codes. In polytheist India now, does religion have nothing to do with morality, are the sacred texts of Vedas not any different than Bollywood stories in terms of moral guidance?
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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted November 11, 2019 12:55 PM
Edited by JollyJoker at 13:04, 11 Nov 2019.

artu said:
The very difference from today’s stories is that they were also considered “science” of their day and they were the main framework of culture, unlike sectoral entertainment. People dont have Jedi funerals.
No, because people didn't have such a concept at the time which is pretty new. The "explanation of everything" (their stories of what the world was and how it worked) was basically what they had instead. There was no distinction.
However, we are turning in circles here. You say all religions contained some moral code, I say, to say that dilutes the definition of morality because in most non-Abrahamic the normative force is so low. Every story contains something that somehow mirrors some moral code.

This is basically in keeping of what you said on page 48:

Quote:
Morality:

1. Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.

2. A particular system of values and principles of conduct.

3. The extent to which an action is right or wrong.

All examples fit all the definitions. A law can be, and in may cases is, based on moral values. It’s simple, when you talk about normative “rights and wrongs” you are talking about moral values.

This river is created by god: Not normative.
It is a sin to bath in this river: Normative.

It is a sin to bath in this river but you have a legal right to do so: A secular morality based on “human rights” surpassing a morality based on “god’s order.” Still normative.


Religion wasn't that normative in ancient times.

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Skeggy
Skeggy


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posted November 11, 2019 02:19 PM

Now, about that Onan story,

1.meaning: the cultured breeder.
Probably a breeding instructions in a sense: "If you have a household consisting of one father, two sons and no mother, then you should avoid forcing your sons in an arranged marriage and if you by any means succeed in arranging such marriage, then you shouldn't be nitpicky, because then you could end up killing both sons. And also, don't expect heirs from that marriage." AFAIR, the story doesn't go in quantifying why mother isn't present, meaning the reason itself isn't important.

2.meaning: the horny father.
Father kills his wife because she finds out about his affaire with younger women. In order to ease the shock of her disappearance, he orders his elder son to marry that same woman he has affair with. Son (Er) does that, but when he (Er) discovers that the father continues to have relations with that woman (now Er's wife), father kills him. In order to continue the charade, the father orders the younger son to marry the same woman. Son agrees but refuses to have offspring with her if his father would have the main say about raising his son.

3.meaning: upward mobility.
Father is concerned about his social status after the passings of his wife, so he orders his elder to marry. Er agrees, but Er like buttsnowing and Er's new wife is talking about that around the village. Father is embarrassed and offs Er. The younger son takes off whit a new wife, but he doesn't want to have offsprings just yet, so he snows all-around her.
Father offs him too because the social status is more important than everything, even if it means offing two sons.

So, yes, I believe it's more like JJ says.

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


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posted November 11, 2019 03:26 PM

Well, the whole story goes that, his wife had born him a third son, and Judah told his unlucky duaghter-in-law to stay at her father's until the third would reach maturity to marry her. When Judah's wife did, he visited his old friend which was were his daughter-in-alw now lived as well, who learned from his visit. When she saw that the 3rd son was grown-up, but hadn't been offered to her, she took off her widow's cloting, covered her face and set down at the way Judah passed, who took her for a prostitute because of the covered face and hired her, for a lamb of his flock. She accepted, but only for a pledge he would get back when he paid. She conceived (twins) from that, but since she "disappeared" the pledge disappeared as well. When her pregnancy was found out she was supposed to be burned for being pregnant after whoring, but had the pledge, and Judah, who was supposed to be her judge said it was entirely his fault because he didn't give her the 3rd son. She ended up getting twins directly from Judah.

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artu
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posted November 11, 2019 03:55 PM
Edited by artu at 15:59, 11 Nov 2019.

JJ said:
No, because people didn't have such a concept at the time which is pretty new.

People didn't have a concept of "one universal norm that should apply to all human kind" but they still all had their own norms that they belonged to. Having norms is as old as having culture. Culture = learnt behavioral pattern = doing the right thing.
JJ said:
To say that dilutes the definition of morality because in most non-Abrahamic the normative force is so low.

It's not as contractual but it isn't "low." It is more local.

@Skeggy
All your interpretations have normative values in them. JJ says the Abrahamic tradition is different because things are more clear cut. You just linked a story from the Old Testament with three various interpretations. It was me who emphasized there were also various interpretations of Christianity and the myths of the Old Testament were just like the polytheistic stories. My exact words were:

- The Old Testament is a collection of various myths from a very long period that goes way back to times of the Gilgamesh legend. Those myths are not always coherent with each other either.

And I kept on:  And there were very similar "commands" in polytheistic religions just as well.


Here's more interpretations on Onan story, again all normative and all about survival norms:

Disputes

According to some Bible critics who contextually read this passage, the description of Onan is an origin myth concerning fluctuations in the constituency of the tribe of Judah, with the death of Onan reflecting the dying out of a clan Er and Onan are hence viewed as each being representative of a clan, with Onan possibly representing an Edomite clan named Onam, mentioned by an Edomite genealogy in Genesis.

Also, it has been suggested that God's anger was directed not at the sexual act, but at Onan's disobedience by refusing to impregnate his brother's widow. By "closely analyzing the language used to describe Onan's offense", other scholars challenge that interpretation. They argue that Onan was punished both because of a perverted sexual act, i.e. "to waste his seed on the ground", and his rejection to provide an heir for his dead brother. It is said that those who followed Onan's act break "the social bond with their 'criminal hands', wasting the precious fluid that had been designed to perpetuate the human race"

Just because polytheistic religions weren't institutionalized on a scale such as, say, the Catholic Church, doesn't mean they didn't suggest anything about right or wrong behavior. They were just as normative to their audience, only the norms didn't claim universality. There is no difference between having various interpretations of the Prometheus story or the Onan story. (Of course, if you stretch the meaning  endlessly, common sense would part ways, that's how religions die in the end, anyway.)


And here is Osiris, this is as ancient and polytheistic as it gets:


The idea of divine justice being exercised after death for wrongdoing during life is first encountered during the Old Kingdom in a 6th dynasty tomb containing fragments of what would be described later as the Negative Confessions performed in front of the 42 Assessors of Ma'at.

Judgment scene from the Book of the Dead. In the three scenes from the Book of the Dead (version from ~1375 BC) the dead man (Hunefer) is taken into the judgement hall by the jackal-headed Anubis. The next scene is the weighing of his heart against the feather of Ma'at, with Ammut waiting the result, and Thoth recording. Next, the triumphant Hunefer, having passed the test, is presented by the falcon-headed Horus to Osiris, seated in his shrine with Isis and Nephthys. (British Museum)

At death a person faced judgment by a tribunal of forty-two divine judges. If they led a life in conformance with the precepts of the goddess Ma'at, who represented truth and right living, the person was welcomed into the kingdom of Osiris. If found guilty, the person was thrown to the soul-eating demon Ammit and did not share in eternal life. The person who is taken by the devourer is subject first to terrifying punishment and then annihilated. These depictions of punishment may have influenced medieval perceptions of the inferno in hell via early Christian and Coptic texts. Purification for those who are considered justified may be found in the descriptions of "Flame Island", where they experience the triumph over evil and rebirth. For the damned, complete destruction into a state of non-being awaits, but there is no suggestion of eternal torture.


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JollyJoker
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posted November 11, 2019 04:30 PM

Let me just say to this (quote]They argue that Onan was punished both because of a perverted sexual act, i.e. "to waste his seed on the ground", and his rejection to provide an heir for his dead brother. It is said that those who followed Onan's act break "the social bond with their 'criminal hands', wasting the precious fluid that had been designed to perpetuate the human race.
that this would be understandable if the precious fluid was limited to that one shot. As it is, killing the guy for it wastes a lot more, real and potential life, so this is just illogical bull.

As the source is of course doubtful, since the guys tend to overinterpret things - it's the BIBLE after all, so everything must be analyzed and analyzed again and overfraught with meaning.

Also, please not that my comment abot the moral, obey your father to the word or keel over dead, was meant utterly sarcastic, which you didn't even realize, because I feel a moral is difficult to see here, especially when reading the whole story.

Egypt, what you quote, is the end result of a long development. Initially that was different, and the Pharao was considered a god as well to dwell between the stars upon their death. In the course of time many Pharaos - since they were considered gods - changed religion themselves and they were also worshipped. Egyptian religion is quite chaotic and also misses normative force for the general population.

Which I uphold. No matter how you try to debate that away, different religions have different normative force and the older and more chaotic they are, the less normative force they have. I've repeatedly given you the reasons.

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artu
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posted November 11, 2019 05:15 PM
Edited by artu at 17:20, 11 Nov 2019.

JJ, you really dont need a time machine to see how fact tested your reasons are, just look at tribes living in isolated parts of the world such as depths of the Amazon jungle or Sub-Saharan Africa or Tibet mountains etc.  These people are actual “time capsules” in the sense that they live similarly to our ancestors of pre-imperial times, most of them dont have alphabets which means storytelling traditions are oral, they dont have institutionalized religious facilities etc. Do they have moral norms, yes, do they have religion, yes, mostly resembling animism or shamanism of our ancient times, do their moral norms manifest themselves in their religious stories, yes. Is religion part of what holds the group together in terms of moral conduct, yes.


And “this would have been true if the fluid was limited to one shot” is again thinking like a modern man and expecting the ancients to do the same. Once people realized the link between reproduction and semen, it is very presumable that they attached symbolic meaning and value to it, as some blessed juice of fertility etc. Just think of how blood functions in many ceremonies and rituals. A tradition in Turkic societies is to never spill the blood of nobility, so if they are going to be executed, they are strangled, not decapitated or stabbed. This is certainly not about “not wasting the fluid” is it. To you, a dream is a neurological process, to an ancient, it was a gateway to the realms of the beyond, it was revelation. To understand how myths function, you must first imagine yourself as someone who lives in those times. Instead, you reason anachronically, looking back with today’s knowledge and rationale.
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JollyJoker
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posted November 11, 2019 06:13 PM

That's strange, because my distinct expression is, that is exactly what you do. You also should consider that I tend to be quite sarcastic when it's about the "Old Testament" - in this case you don't see the point, which is KILLING the guy, thereby wasting a lot more of the fluid and robbing him ANY chance to reproduce. If that was so important... You know, they were not thick or something.
And it makes no sense when you want to prove an ALL do X, to pick one as an example that just fits. I could pick a few myself, but you can generally say that the priests play a decisive role in how normative things in any given religion really are; the more powerful the priests are the more normative the religion (and vice versa).

So if you have a society with a varied and not very powerful priesthood...

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