Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quiz Aug24/25

HP Intro

1. What is the chief thing that philosophy can do for us?

2. What originally unpolitical Greek school of philosophy prepared the way for Christianity?

3. What Renaissance philosopher was its most typical exponent?

4. Whose fundamental certainty of his own existence led to "insanity" and a loss of common sense in philosophy?

5. To what two opposite dangers is every community exposed?

You may also reply to classmates' posted quiz questions. Claim a base for each correct answer up to five today (and, up to however many questions appear on my quiz each day).

Discussion Questions (DQ)

  • Russell says philosophy occupies the No Man's Land between science and theology (xiii). Are scientists and theologians not philosophical? Or are they philosophical in a way different from Russell's? Do you like his definition of philosophy? Are you philosophical, by his definition?
  • Is your duty to God more imperative than your duty to the state, to your fellow citizens, or to humanity? xvi
  • Does Copernican astronomy influence your personal philosophy? How? (Or, why not?) xviii
  • Do you acknowledge the authority of any individuals or institutions to interpret the truth for you? WHy or why not? xx
  • Please post YOUR DQs. Each is worth a base.


50 comments:

  1. Regarding the tiger/sheep analogy, is it better to be the free tiger and let it destroy others or is it better to be the tiger behind bars and let it destroy you?

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    1. Lydia Bechtel6:46 PM CDT

      It depends. Do you view yourself and your success in a higher light than those around you? And if so, what does that say about you and your morals?

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    2. @Megan Westcott
      Although the fundamental objective and concern for all beings is self preservation and the well-maintenance of one self. This would conflict with the self inflicted destruction through restraint. However, on the other hand, one's moral code may dictate the actions of oneself more profoundly than their own natural instinct. Depending on the Tiger and its' on philosophy, it will chose to harm itself or others. But, in opinion, it is better to cause harm to one aggressor, rather than cause harm to many innocents.

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    3. Depends on which does the mot damage, the loss of you or the sheep. Also one must way the option of trying to kill the tiger.

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    4. @Megan Westcott

      If the bars you're placed behind destroy you, then maybe the mindset could change towards self reflection. Being the beautiful tiger alone might be more satisfying than being a sheep within a herd.

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    5. Sean Winsett (H3)11:37 AM CDT

      I believe it would be better to be the free tiger for the reason that a herd of sheep all have a single following and rarely would they think of the big questions on their own, much less the answers. On the other hand, the free tiger would be the one to lead, creating the following and in some cases destroying. If there were no free tigers and they were all kept behind bars, how would philosophy ans civilization advance? I believe it would go to a standstill and very little would change.

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    6. Sam Eisenberg H312:01 PM CDT

      @Sean Winsett

      I both agree and disagree with that analysis. Yes, setting the tiger free does release its beauty and majesty, as Russell pointed out that the romantics were doing. It does allow us to explore the unorthodox approach to leadership and enlightenment that Renaissance was aiming to do. But by destroying the sheep, it can also foreshadow the destruction of "for the people" social structure. If you are targeting people whose views are too different from your own, then that is just as dangerous as keeping the tiger behind bars. The tiger has more power to kill the sheep at any disagreement the tiger felt necessary. If the tiger escapes freely, he may begin to suppress others, just as he once was.

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    7. I would keep the tiger behind bars as mankind we are to value life. It is the most precious gift. If it destroys me or destroys others either way is awful but the need of the many out way need of the few. In the end if it completely destroys me then I feel obligated in order to protect the many.

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  2. In response to our duty to God over our duty to the state. God has commanded us to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”(Mark 12:17) and so there is no immediate conflict between choosing who to obey, since you can obey both. You are commanded by God to obey the state, UNLESS the state says or does something that God has commanded to be wrong or immoral and thus the God follower chooses to obey Him over the state. And yet if the follower were to sacrifice his beliefs in order to satisfy the state's will, then what does that say about his faith? His will power?

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    1. In doing so one would perhaps be abandoning their own faith. If to satisfy the state that only commands one in their mortal life, rather than to satisfy the commands of the power which will remain into the afterlife. It would be a testament to one's weakness in will to bend to the will of a power of state and turn against the will of his or her god.

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    2. Isabella Barnett (H3)12:06 AM CDT

      As Lydia said duty to God and duty to state are, for the most part, independent of each other. It resembles the idea of separation of church and state, though the line these days seems to be a bit blurred. I'm not very religious so I would lean towards the duty to state and my fellow citizens. I guess it also depends on whether you are looking for instant gratification (satisfying the needs of state) or a long-term approach (satisfying the needs of God). However, I don't believe there are many points to which the two conflict, though I'm far from an expert on either. My personal belief is that if your duty is to humanity, you are also following God's will.

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    3. I think the real question is which one is "god." Every person is ultimately loyal to their deity, whether that is the Goddess Democracy, the cult of personality for some great leader or person, or perhaps the almighty dollar, or any other number of things.

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    4. Victor Sanchez8:32 AM CDT

      (H3) I believe you would also have to look at those leading these states. It is now commonplace to have a state composed of people who worship many gods (although in the Persian empire Kings such as Cyrus to allow worship of many different gods in exchange for loyalty). So should a leader of a state be loyal to a god as well? Harvey Mansfield's translation of Machiavelli's "The Prince" states "This has to be understood: that a prince, and especially a new prince, cannot observe all those things for which men are held good, since he is often under a necessity, to maintain his state, of acting against faith, against charity, against humanity, against religion."

      So it will be one thing looking at yourself as an individual of the state, but would your perspective change if you were in charge of that state? What does that say about ones character?

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    5. Grace Tipton9:50 AM CDT

      @Lydia, I think a person's faith and will power would be shown to be void if they abandoned their beliefs to satisfy the state. Many of the horrible acts of the Nazis would have been prevented if most Germans had held to their beliefs in goodness over their belief in the needs of the state.

      @Isabella, I think that most often fulfilling your duties to humanity is following God's will, but I think it can be a dangerous road to follow. Much of the violence during our Civil Rights Era was caused by a genuine belief that racism was legitimate, and would benefit society. Many perpetrators of "hate crimes" were putting what they considered to be the good of humanity above what they knew to be morally good.

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  3. (H3)
    In response to the first discussion question, I would suggest that theologians are, by nature of their work, philosophers of sorts; while on the other hand, scientists can choose whether or not to make philosophical conclusions based on their discovered data. More succinctly put, science cannot interpret itself, while theology must inherently examine the purpose for its own existence.

    Can anyone think of any exceptions in strict science or theology that would dismantle this little hypothesis of mine? (which I assume, of course, is nowhere near original to me).

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    1. An exception from a scientists point of view would be that scientists are philosophers in some ways as they ask questions that the general population would never consider. The only perceivable difference from true philosophers and scientists is the way they go about finding these answers. Philosophers would generally look for these answers while in deep thought while on the other hand, scientists would prefer to use the scientific method and research to find an exact, proven answer. An example of this would be the question 'Why are we here?'. Philosophers would typically attempt to find their own answer to this question and debate/discuss it with others to amend/affirm their own solution. Scientists on the other hand would pin this down to an exact, concrete explanation, thus showing that while philosophers and scientists go about finding the answers in different ways, scientists still tend to ask the same questions as many philosophers and take time to think through them.

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    2. Sean Winsett (H3)11:20 PM CDT

      The last reply was mine

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    3. H1
      @Ben, I like your hypothesis. I originally wrote this in answer to that same discussion question: "I believe that scientists and theologians are philosophical, applying philosophical thought to their respective fields. Their philosophy is different from his in that they apply it to what they consider to be facts (revelations and empirical observations)."

      I think you're right in saying that scientists have the option of involving philosophical thought; their actions can be kept at a mechanical level. I think theology always involves philosophical thought, it's just usually within or examining the perimeters of the particular religion.

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  4. Sean Winsett (H3)11:09 PM CDT

    In response to the last discussion question, no, I personally do not acknowledge the authority of any individuals or institutions to interpret the truth to me. Although I do acknowledge their opinions and possible truths, I prefer to discover the truths myself, sometimes using those individuals or institutions 'truths' as guidelines, sometimes pursuing the truth in my own way, either through research or through deep thought.

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    1. I believe that all sources of knowledge can only be regarded within the context of your interpretation. One must decide for themselves what is the truth, or what is the correction interpretation for themselves. Allowing someone to decide for you is potentially a very dangerous thing. Anyone ever read Fahrenheit 451, or 1984?

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    2. Martin Davies H310:54 AM CDT

      I believe there cant be a single form of instruction that is the ultimate source of philosophy or universal truth. When you stick to only one source, you cannot grow in wisdom. I agree with you, Sean. When you take sources as more of guidelines you can allow growth. Without the ancient philosophers challenging ideas, we would not be philisophically where are today.

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    3. Christian Brooks (H3)11:48 AM CDT

      I think many members of society are wary when it comes to academically important or point-of-view-changing information, regardless of the authority or source it comes from.
      A much more important question, I believe, is under what circumstances do you, or an average member of society, accept new information as fact without questioning validity?
      Last year I remember someone seeing an image similar to this ( http://bit.ly/2bfIBDh ) and accepted it without a second thought, then proceeded to tell others as a sort of fun fact.

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    4. Sam Eisenberg H312:23 PM CDT

      Going off of what Christian said, I believe that some people are very skeptical about information coming from various authority figures. Especially those who believe that much of our media now is very biased on what they want to tell us, and how they portray stories to manipulate our understanding. However, there are other people who believe literally anything you tell them or that they see on the internet. That being said, many people do tend to see through very obviously incorrect information from unreliable sources. But there are some simple truths that we generally trust to supply us with accurate information or at least accurate recollection of facts. If we hear from various news and radio stations that there was a shooting somewhere across the country, we will easily believe that that is a fact. But if the stories about the shooter's history, background, or reasoning are even slightly varied between sources, we may be more wary of what actually happened during said shooting. All in all, I believe that some facts are just a given that we are trusted to believe. But if we are personally interested in details, we may be more skeptical to research our own truth about that fact to the best of our ability. While others will believe absolutely anything from anyone, regardless of credibility.

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  5. Isabella Barnett (H3)12:43 AM CDT

    In response to the first discussion question, I agree with Russell's definition of philosophy. While theology, science and philosophy overlap they are distinct in their method of investigation and their end result. If we are to simply adhere to Russell's explanation, theology is speculative about indefinite knowledge yet gives confident answers. Science immerses itself in definite knowledge but, as Russell suggests, does not answer questions of the most interest to speculative minds. Philosophy concerns itself with indefinite knowledge but appeals to reason, does not attribute answers to someone else's interpretation, and allows each individual to speculate his or her own solution, no concrete answers like theology claims and science ascertains. I equate it to a three-circle venn diagram, in which each have distinct characteristics, but each overlaps with the others. I think I'm more of a scientist than a philosopher in that I occupy my mind primarily with answerable questions, definite knowledge. I like dealing with questions that have ascertainable, definite answers (right or wrong), but I also enjoy deliberating over and usually frustrating myself with the unanswerable.

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    1. I would argue that Philosophy leans more toward science that theology. As theology claims to give hard answers to big questions like "why are we here" and "who are we" often. As any follower of a religion must operate within this frame work it is a lesser form of philosophy I think, as it does not seek to push boundaries but only debate over finer points of dogma.

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    2. Ah, but wouldn't someone who rejected the notion of God's existence be equally limited in their philosophical framework as any follower of religion? That would eliminate any space to debate on any points of dogma whatsoever.

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    3. Victor Sanchez (H3)10:52 AM CDT

      I would think that believe of the existence of a god would just limit certain questions one may ask. Why ask the question if you truly believe that it has already been answered for you. So do I think a believer and a non believer both be philosophers? Absolutely.

      It is also entertaining to listen to the Podcast "What is Philosophy?" and to see that Philosophers have their own definition, some that are in close relation to Russell's definition. Then there are others who simply chuckle because the question itself is Philosophical.

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    4. Ben Waldecker12:11 PM CDT

      I would argue that the philosophy leans more toward the theology spectrum, as theology doesn't just ask the question about if there is a god, but more about the existence of things unworldly that we as a people cannot explain. Philosophy associates with more of the same ideas as theology, as they are both theoretical and not definite with concrete answers like science
      H3

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  6. Here's a question. Assume for a moment, if you are not, that you are a christian, is the bible still the ultimate authority on knowledge and wisdom, or is it only some of the time? Is it a co authority with other sources? or only something to take in advisement?

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    1. As a Christian, my answer would be that the Bible is the ultimate authority on all subjects it covers, the most prevalent being the workings of the relationship between man and God. On the flip side of the coin, I would also say there are plenty of subjects the Bible is either silent on, or gives no clear answers for. In those cases, yes, it can be taken as advisement or a supplement due to the principles it contains.


      The Bible tells us what we need to know, not everything there is to know.

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    2. @Bryce B.

      The bible as I understand is used as a tool of learning rather than actual worship. Think of god as the destination and the bible as the wheel of the ship. Use the wheel correctly and learn your terrain and you may be headed in the right direction, misuse this guide and you will end up in unknown waters far from the original course you set sail on.

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    3. Sean Winsett (H3)11:27 AM CDT

      I agree with you, Jake, in how the bible is a tool rather than an ultimate authority on knowledge or wisdom because the bible while the bible does offer some knowledge and sage advice, it can be improved upon and bettered. Using the bible as a single tool can help you understand many things about life, but most of which you have to rely on your own experience and multiple other sources in order for growth to occur. If you acknowledge the bible as an ultimate authority on knowledge or wisdom, you are stanching that growth because you would believe solely and firmly in the bible, throwing out some facts or advice as untrue or unwise.

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    4. It's not the Bible in which Christian's rely on for it's ultimate authority, it is the authority of God. It is not that the Bible limits you in knowledge, so much as it only has a limited amount of information in it like all books, but rather that it limits you morally. Such as, don't do that or do that. And true, the Bible does not contain the full knowledge of the world especially concerning things of this day and age, however, for Christians it touches on the most important aspects and stories of God, their relationship with Him, and how to serve Him, and many other things. Also, while the Bible is much like a "tool of learning" it is more than that. It provides a way of life. That way of life includes worship, not necessarily through the reading of the text but rather through experiences, such as prayer, musical worship, preaching to others, and so on. The issue with perfecting any text, including a text hundreds of years old, is that first of all, the text loses its significance and genuine character. Also, it can lose key information that is vital for understanding the text as a whole or understanding the religion/religious responsibilities that a Christian should hold to. And if the text were altered or "improved" what would that imply about the religion as a whole but that it is willing to cave on its own beliefs in order to satiate the constantly changing and demoralizing views of this modern day and age?

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  9. Phil-H1

    What's your definition of "philosophy"? My understanding of philosophy is to open your mind beyond the typical understanding of life and push yourself to ask the questions that can't necessarily be answered but can be pondered and reflected. I see it as almost a type of wisdom meditation. Constantly questioning the world around you while simultaneously answering questions about your true self whether intended or by arrival to that conclusion. Do you have a favorite philosopher? The philosopher I most closely follow is Alan Watts. His understanding of life is beautiful and leaves one pondering the complexities of existence as a whole and as an individual. Can you summarize your current, personal philosophy of life? We will, for as long as we exist on this earth, be within ourselves. An ongoing conversation with the mind. You will never come into contact with anyone as often as yourself. This leads one to need to become aware and accept this fact. Learn more about what truly makes you the being you are; come to realize your true self. Self reflect and share your findings of yourself with others so that they too may be able to find the answers within themselves. We are all here together as a whole, but we are each very much so within our own worlds.

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  10. Kaite Berry H0110:16 PM CDT

    In response to the last question, no I would not allow someone to interpret the truth for me. Oddly enough, this was something of discussion during my biology class. Allowing someone to decide the truth for you would be to allow them to decide your life for you. Everyone's life and world is made up of truths and lies in some form or another. For example, would I allow someone to tell me that Newton's Laws were not truth, but a made up fable? Something like that even in things that aren't science can change the world and your life. Truth, though a seemingly objective thing, is truly subjective. While I would not deny another person's truth, I would not wholeheartedly accept it. Rather, I would take their idea and use it to help support and develop my own. Most great scientists, philosophers, and great thinkers have done this as well. For example, B.F. Skinner did not accept Wundt's previous thoughts as truth, but rather used them to develop his own ideas.

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  11. Kaite Berry H0110:20 PM CDT

    Also a question for everyone else as well, do you believe as Russell said that liberalism is the escape? If you don't, what do you believe is the escape?

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    1. Michael "Pemo" Maldonado (H2)11:30 PM CDT

      I believe so because we ARE (even though some believe otherwise) all equals and deserve liberty, being children of Mana (Earth).

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  12. Michael "Pemo" Maldonado (H2)11:25 PM CDT

    (DQ) Einstein often asked himself “Am I or the others crazy?”
    What do you think of that? I find myself asking myself that very often; sometimes I think I'm the crazy one, and other times the opposite. I wonder when am I right. One might debate that right and wrong are relative terms and there is no absolute meaning, and in regards to that debate I think that's how the world was envisioned when it was first created.

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  13. H1
    DQ: does Copernican astronomy influence my personal philosophy?

    The placement of the earth and the size of the universe do not influence my personal philosophy; I don’t think that that size is what make a thing important. The idea that the importance of my existence is influenced by the size of my surroundings doesn't make sense to me. If the fact that the universe is large and the earth is relatively small influences my worth, then by that logic a person standing next to a redwood oak is less important than the person standing next to a bonsai tree.

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  14. H1
    DQ: Do you acknowledge the authority of any individuals or institutions to interpret the truth for you? WHy or why not?

    As a Christian I have accepted the bible as a work of revelation, holding truth and wisdom. Questions about it and use logic in my considerations. I do not think that any individuals or institutions have the power to tell me what I must believe the truth to be. I am eager to learn from others, but do not consider other humans to be infallible.

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  15. H1
    Is your duty to God more imperative than your duty to the state, to your fellow citizens, or to humanity?

    Yes. His wishes matter more than that of other people or the state. Following God's wishes over the wishes of fallible and passion-led humans is what I consider to be the wisest course of action.

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  16. H1
    DQ:Russell says philosophy occupies the No Man's Land between science and theology. Are scientists and theologians not philosophical? Or are they philosophical in a way different from Russell's? Do you like his definition of philosophy? Are you philosophical, by his definition?

    I believe that scientists and theologians are philosophical, applying philosophical thought to their respective fields. Their philosophy is different from his in that they apply it to what they consider to be facts (revelations and empirical observations).
    I think Russell's is a rather restrictive and purist view of philosophy; logic-based thought asking and answering questions on reason do not lose their value when they are applied to specific fields. I am a christian, so he would probably dismiss my philosophical thoughts.

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  17. https://www.amazon.com/Watchmen-Philosophy-Rorschach-Blackwell-Culture/dp/0470396857

    If anyone is interested in the philosophy and psychology of Alan Moore's Watchmen novel and film.

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  18. H02
    DQ: What is more important- family, or the state (the government)?
    What is your justification?

    I came up with this question after reviewing some Roman politics and speeches, and came across this quote. "Further, the state is by nature clearly prior to the family and to the individual, since the whole is of necessity prior to the part; for example, if the whole body be destroyed, there will be no foot or hand.... For when destroyed the hand will be no better than that." -Aristotle

    The idea behind this is to put the government, or society as a whole, before family or self. The logic of it is because without a structured government or system, man can not progress beyond himself. This idea is also in the famous series Divergent- "faction before blood". In the movie, the idea is represented by Jeanine Matthews, who is the accepted enemy. However, is that really the case?

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  19. H02 DQ Answer

    Do you acknowledge the authority of any individuals or institutions to interpret the truth for you? WHy or why not?

    No, I do not allow anyone to tell me what the truth is, because I will only accept MY truth. HOWEVER, I will accept council and opinions to help construct my opinions, but they are my opinions. A simple example is reading- not everything that is written down is true, but many often choose to accept it as truth with little-to-no proof.

    Also, I accept the fact that there is more than one truth. EX- Someone is killed in a grocery store. Now, even though all the witnesses were present at the same event, every person will have a different rendition. This is because everyone has their own frame of reference, shaped by their knowledge, education, experience, and personal values. This often makes it hard to determine the truth. Someone could be insistent that one thing happened, while someone else insists something else happened. This doesn't necessarily mean that one is lying, or even that one is wrong. It only means that they viewed an action through different frames of reference.

    So no, I do not allow others to tell me what is true or not true, because there are many truths, and I choose to create my own.

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  20. DQ asked by Michael "Pemo" Maldonado: Einstein often asked himself “Am I or the others crazy?” What do you think of that?

    Answer: Everyone is crazy. Every single person has their own individual thoughts and opinions. The Merrian-Webster definition of crazy is: "full of cracks or flaws, unsound." I'm not sure how others feel, but as far as I know, everyone has cracks or flaws, or at least in their minds. There isn't a single person out there that doesn't have a single negative thought about themselves at some point. Does that not make them flawed in their minds? And then therefore crazy?

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  21. DQ question posted by Bryce B.: "Here's a question. Assume for a moment, if you are not, that you are a christian, is the bible still the ultimate authority on knowledge and wisdom, or is it only some of the time? Is it a co authority with other sources? or only something to take in advisement?"

    When people ask me if I'm Christian, I never know what to say. I believe in a singular, all-powerful God. I believe in Satan. I believe in Heaven and Hell.

    I DON'T believe that women should be stoned. I don't believe in being cursed to Hell just because a man slept with another man, or if you express love to an earthly possession. I don't believe you should tear out your own eye because it committed a sin. I don't believe in going to Hell just because you had sex before marriage. I don't go to church every Sunday.

    What most people don't understand is that the Bible was not written by God, or Jesus, or even Mary. It was written by his disciples, aka humans. Is there not a very famous (and provenly true) saying that goes "to human is to err"? Then would this not also apply to these disciples?

    So I suppose it depends on your personal definition of a Christian. I believe I am, but others would say I'm not.

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    1. Melissa, I see your point but in I would like to clarify something. Perhaps you were using those extreme examples of stoning and such just to make your point, which is fine, but I would like to clear a thing or two up. Stoning was considered wrong by Jesus, the Bible does not advocate we stone people for sinning. That practice was already a part of the culture before Jesus came into the world to discourage such practices. The tearing out your eye because you commit a sin is of course also not literal. It was a form of rhetoric used to get a point across about how bad it is to sin. Also, you won't go to hell because you had sex before marriage, if you repent of your sin and accept Jesus as your savior. Also, you don't have to go to church everyday to be a Christian. And yes, the Bible was not written directly by God, however, He did in some way speak to the apostles to tell them what to transcribe. Of course they had their own writing style, made some errors, and translators have surely made errors in their attempts to spread its news.

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