X-Message-Number: 15107
From: "Dani Kollin" <>
Subject: RE: CryoNet #15090
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 14:22:14 +0200

Hi John,

Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner. Twins on the way, in-laws staying
over. What's a committed cyronically centered, ethical monotheist to do? ;)

Anyways, here goes.

 Message #15090
From: "John de Rivaz" <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: destrying symbols of coercion
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2000 16:49:44 -0000

> Message #15083> From: "Dani Kollin" <>
> Subject: RE: CryoNet #15068
> Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 12:23:41 +0200


> And just to be clear, these are the tenets of ethical monotheism:
> There is a God.

This is not something that can be proved or disproved


> God's primary demand is ethics.

Really - what about the ethics of the world that we observe. Never mind
human beings, the ethics of the jungle. Mind you, I am not sure that anyone
can really define "ethics" in any absolute manner. Most people seems
distressed with scenes of cuddly little animals eating each other alive in
natural history films, so maybe that behaviour is unethical. Of course all
animals have to eat - they can't get their energy from clay and sunlight. I
recall reading C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters" as a child, and thinking
that the junior devil around which the book revolved  was created to eat
souls, he had no alternative. What else could he do?

> God without ethics leads to religious evil.
> Ethics without God produces secular evil.

And I would imagine that that requires a definition of "evil". Is it evil
for a cobra to eat a fluffy little lion cub? For a grown lion to eat a
graceful gazelle? For humans to feed their pets whale meat?

You seem to tie in observable nature with ethics and ask how we can derive
the definition of ethics (good/evil) from say, a "cobra eating a fluffly
little lion cub". Good question.

The movement to identify God with nature is simply not accepted by most if
not all Ethical Monotheists. It reduces the idea of God to not Thee Creator
but a creation, and it reduces what I personaly believe to be God's greatest
creation, man (who is now only one more part of nature, created in the image
of stardust and bacteria, not in the image of God). I hear a "yes!" "yes!"
coming from you on this but I make this distinction not lightly. While I
believe man is part of nature and has about him, "natural" instincts, the
one thing that does distinguish him from the rest of the "animal" kingdom is
his ability to choose between right and wrong - so how those words are
defined is important.  And whether that distinction is a result of "natural
progression" or "spiritual infusion" or simply "what makes us different"
make a big difference. Why? Because if you subscribe to the view that all we
are is a part of the animal chain and it's up to us to derive what is
ethically or morally correct based on either that chain or simply the notion
of reason than you get reasonable men creating reasonably made gas chambers
to reasonbably kill millions of people. Which isn't to say that Religion
doesn't have it fair share of horrors (See "God without ethics leads to
religious evil). But in a numbers war you'd be far pressed to show that
Religion has done anywhere near the damage in terms of actual lives lost
than have what I'd deem the secular religions of communism (under Mao and
Stalin) and Nationalism. But I dither.

The moral problem with "God is in nature" is obvious. Since nature is amoral
then isn't safe to assume that so maybe is God? Which then leads to the
dilema of trying to discern good from evil in it. According to what I have
learned and the basic tenets of the 10 commandments, God cares about the
weak. God commands us to take care of our neighbor; while nature commands
nothing ethical - only survival of the fittest.

Further, if you subscribe to the view that God is represented by the natural
order of things (and therefore from whence comes ethics...see "fluffy lion
cub above") then the logical problem is that if God's goodness is
represented by what is "natural" then mad cow disease and AIDs are naturally
God's will as well. That's pantheism (worship of nature). And if you want to
cull your ethics from the wild be my guest....or actually maybe not. You
might kill me because you you covet my wife, my wine cellar and my great
country music cd collection (ok maybe just the wife and wine).

And finally I would argue that ethics and morality are a faith system even
for an athiest. For the athiest treating others humanely is the right thing
to do.  His leap of faith is to his ethics, but make no mistake it is a leap
of faith. Mine is to a Creator who I personally believe is the source of
ethics. By holding myself responsible to something that I believe is greater
than myself I am making a conscious decision to, when it comes to ethics,
not rely on mine or any one persons "reason" alone. History has born out
that it seems to be too flimsy a platform for too important a sociological

It could be and has been argued that creation is a continuous process, and
all the blood and guts and ageing and disease is merely a step on the way to
something better (for example planned bootstrapped evolution using nano).
However if the creator has to work that way because he can't do it any other
way then he is not omnipotent, ie he is not god.

It could be argued yes. However I don't. And I certainly, staring into
heavens with my limited understanding of the wonders of the universe from
the atom to quasars, have no idea how the Creator plans his work much less
make judgement on it.


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