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Interesting Easter Conversation, pt. 2 - Kurt's Life (or lack thereof) [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kurt Onstad

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Interesting Easter Conversation, pt. 2 [Mar. 31st, 2002|06:38 pm]
Kurt Onstad

Kurt: Why is sacrifice necessary to your beliefs?
IQ Pierce: Probably because it seems self-evident to me that sacrifice is closely wrapped up with the vast majority of things we call "good" at all. Even your live-and-let-live morals may demand some sacrifice... not indulging in selfishness as much as you're inclined to, at the very least.
IQ Pierce: The beginning of killing mere selfishness and egoism is the ability to say "less of me", which is the first sacrifice and the root of morality.
IQ Pierce: ...As pride, or saying "more of me", is the original sin.
Kurt: Is all pride sinful?
IQ Pierce: Well, you have to split hairs grammatically. Taking "pride" in your nation or family is not sinful, and inasmuch as it focuses attention on something that is not yourself, that makes it good. (But if you consider yourself better because of your nation or family, then Pride by my definition is present and it is a sin.)
IQ Pierce: Also, taking a true "objective" pride in yourself, appreciating your abilities in the same way you might appreciate someone else's, wouldn't be sinful; but it's very rare, I think. At least for me.
Kurt: But can't you only improve yourself if you're able to look at yourself critically, and take pride in the good parts and feel shameful of the bad parts? My belief doesn't mean that I don't want to improve myself or the world. I just don't see how focusing on a specific deity is important to that process.
IQ Pierce: Well yes, there are of course times when you recieve the approval of your own conscience. I just find it highly unreliable... I'm too likely to tip the scales. But the point is, even to achieve some sort of "live and let live" moral equilibrium, I must make a sacrifice by merely not saying "more of me." But I can't stop there, and also I don't think that "less of me" in itself is enough... what is the Me being replaced by? Thus I find it inevitable to say "More of You and less of me."
Kurt: But why can't "You" be the rest of society, instead of God?
IQ Pierce: Here I'm talking not about sacrifice, but of replacing... that's the thing, "less of me" is inherently negative, but thankfully the tearing down is done and the rebuilding begins... that's where the positive statement "more of You" appears. And what I mean there is rebuilding my entire life around Him. Every "less of me" statement is a shadow of that great and continuing sacrifice...
IQ Pierce: So as far as that goes, the last thing I want to build my life around is this society!
IQ Pierce: Well, maybe not the last. But certainly not the best.
Kurt: Well, yeah, not this society...But, using whatever energies that you would have spent focusing on yourself instead focus on improving society in one way or another. What is made better by sacrificing to God?
IQ Pierce: For one, as I said, self-improvement of personal morality will yield better social morality as well.
But I don't want you to get me wrong, I don't believe sacrifice to be somehow inherently good. I just consider it an incredibly valuable indicator of moral direction on the lower levels. Eventually, again, sacrifice gives way to better things, and the focus becomes not on destroying the old life but building up the new one.
IQ Pierce: This was one of my first points, I just didn't make it clearly enough... I believe that a person is continually growing to either greater peace with God, with his fellow man, and himself; or else greater violence with God, his fellow man, and himself.
IQ Pierce: I believe that eventually all three are inherently linked, and fault in one will begin to spread into the others, and growth in one will begin to spread to the others.
Kurt: And we're now to "Know Jesus, Know Peace. No Jesus, No Peace."

I don't see it that way. I think I can grow to greater peace with my fellow man without involving God at all.
IQ Pierce: But we come back to why the question of whether or not there is a God is so important. If there is, surely he is our first priority above our fellow man? Thus Christ says that the first law is to love God and the second to love your fellow man. And surely that must be the case if God exists at all?
Kurt: That's assuming that one of the Christian religions is correct. What if the ancient Chinese had it right, and we should be looking to our ancestors for guidance?

I think it comes down to can you be a good person without the crutch of having someone above you to focus on and hold up as the ideal. You say the answer is no, I say the answer is yes.
Kurt: Let me clarify that for a moment. Instead of "someone above you," I should say "some diety above you." There are plenty of people that I can look to as people to emulate in one way or another to become a better person, but I don't need a perfect God in that position.

More to come...