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Replies to This Discussion

Good to hear that  Onyango. I hope their boat sinks as it sails away :-)

this is a boat that will sink even without leaving the berth

That's me sittin' on the dock of the bay....

@Simon - No, not at all. I am saying that the Bible or Koran are obsolete as templates to teach children. I would not use a computer book from the 1970’s to teach children how to write software for the Internet. I might refer to the book at some point by saying “This is what people used to use to get their programming knowledge”. This would only be in a historical context and I certainly would not claim that any of those instructions are absolutes that must be followed today. I would also show them other historical books that explained other way to program that were written in different languages.

I think they're useful, but confusing, and have a lot of bad stuff besides the good stuff.  It's easy to find fault with the teaching in them because often it's not comprehensive enough. 

However, as an illustration of what he meant, it's hard for anyone to top Jesus forgiving the people who crucified him. 

I think Nadia Henry is right to want to teach some more organised, comprehensive ethics alongside the Islamic religious texts.  That's probably the best overall approach in a strongly Moslem country. 

"I certainly would not claim that any of those instructions are absolutes that must be followed today.

- I think it should be more a case of "these are the rules of the game, it's up to you how you play the hand that you've been dealt".  This encourages people to think for themselves and not to suck down wisdom passively.  That just leads to problems. 

I've seen beginners' books caution readers against certain programming methods on the grounds that they cause "X" (and they use a term that will be meaningless to a newb, and even if they stopped right there and spent three pages explaining, even the situation would be meaningless to a newb).

I suspect there'd be a LOT of benefit to teaching a small language that lets you shoot yourself in the foot...so that you can go find out how painful the bullet wounds are and how they happened.  Another benefit, the language is generally simple enough to give people a feel for what programming is all about.

Yes, I like to think of the Bible as God's unconditional love letter to me as I have a personal relationship with him so he won't burn me forever.

I think this is the reason why religion is incoherent - there's no way to reconcile the two: 1) God's unconditional love and 2) God's judgemental conditional love.  They come from two separate sources: 1) from the living world's universal pressure to flourish, and 2) from the need to coordinate large groups internally using an all-seeing policeman in the sky, coupled with conspicuous adherence to same in order to facilitate trust. 

Nadia Henry is absolutely correct in my opinion to want to teach a coherent course on ethics alongside religion, and this can bring out the good side in religion.  The problem is that moral philosophy is itself incoherent, in the sense that it's a disconnected mess of bits of knowledge. 

When we have that, it can allow us to understand both sides better: the religious and non-religious aspects of moral philosophy, which kind of blur together. 

I just don’t see the need to introduce the Bible into any modern conversation about morality. It is not necessary. It does not bring any value to the subject.

To me it is analogous to saying that the Bible is useful for lessons in modern Biology because it tells us that womankind was created from a man’s rib. Maybe the teacher could say “this is what or how humans used to think thousands of years ago when we were less knowledgeable on the subject”. Now that we have better knowledge and therefore a greater scientific understanding of biology we know the biblical Creation story to be nothing other than a myth similar to those of other pre-enlightened cultures.

The same goes for biblical morality. It is of no value or merit as a teaching aid. It has long being surpassed just as it has as a “science” book.

You might be surprised to find what a valuable resource the religions are when it comes to moral philosophy.  Jesus came out with many useful and quotable remarks, so did Mohammed, and Buddha.  Also, their essential model is simple (what is the most loving thing to do) and turns out to be the same as the secular one.  So the two sides work very well together.  Religion is also part of the fabric of society that everyone grows up with, so it is good to take something familiar and expand it.  I ignore the Old Testament, because it was written by any old herberts and isn't really a work of moral philosophy. 

unconditional / conditional

- what is coherent with both of these is to say that God assists us to do highly ethical behaviour - expending effort and taking risks in order to benefit others; and I find this is borne out by experience (whatever the mechanism may be - karma / God / who cares).  That's something that religious people can grab hold of and is compatible with their existing framework. 

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