Debate and Discussion

Heaven, do we deserve it?
Kroatz at 3:36PM, Feb. 5, 2010
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Heaven might exist and it might not exist, no one knows for sure and we will all find out eventually.

The question I raise here isn't if Heaven exists or not but, assuming it does, do we really deserve to go to heaven?

Do our actions on this planet, as an individual or as a race, accumulate to something good or something bad?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:23PM
demontales at 4:00PM, Feb. 5, 2010
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When I believed in heaven I thought it was some kind of personal place where everyone had his own heaven, may it be living happily with a family or slaughtering people all day long if that was your thing. I never thought, and was never teached, that some people couldn't go to heaven.

Now, much later, I have come to think alot about the fact that maybe nobody is really doing things on their own will, or that there is no such thing as true “will” except in appearances. In that point of view, I don't know how someone could derserve heaven more than anyone else, or if there would be a purpose to heaven.

If I look at it thinking that yes everyone is free of their actions, I could tell you that a certain type of people should be allowed in heaven, others not, but that would assuming I am god alike to be able to divide people like that.

I know that your question was more about do we dersever heaven as a group/community/entire world but I really hate putting everyone in the same bag. The answer that comes to my mind is no, though.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:10PM
mlai at 8:06PM, Feb. 5, 2010
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If we're discussing individuals, then dividing people along human moral lines, as a God, is unfair.

A child born in a nice family in suburban America has much more opportunity to be righteous compared to a child born in the slums of Zimbabwe. Should God be able to look past that?

As a species? As a species there is no right/wrong in the eyes of a higher being such as God. We extinguish other species? Asteroids do that with greater efficiency. We pollute the planet? Mars died as an ecosphere with no help from intelligent life. So, there is no “deserve” or “does not deserve,” as a species.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
Product Placement at 10:21PM, Feb. 5, 2010
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Would we really want Heaven? I mean, sure, it's supposed to be a paradise and all but you're stuck there for eternity. What happens if you're put in a situation where you have everything you'd ever want or need? You get bored. Sit there for million billion years, with no end in sight, Heaven might just start to look a little like Hell.

Now if they'd offer some sort of mind wipe, I suppose it would be more bearable. You could in theory start all over again.
Those were my two cents.
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TheFlyingGreenMonkey at 11:47PM, Feb. 5, 2010
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Product Placement
Would we really want Heaven? I mean, sure, it's supposed to be a paradise and all but you're stuck there for eternity. What happens if you're put in a situation where you have everything you'd ever want or need? You get bored. Sit there for million billion years, with no end in sight, Heaven might just start to look a little like Hell.

Now if they'd offer some sort of mind wipe, I suppose it would be more bearable. You could in theory start all over again.
My idea of heaven is paradise but not just paradise but also the ability to be reincarnated. I'm not that informed on traditional religion that has reincarnation in them, but my idea is that you can choose to be reincarnated if you wish to be and still come back at the end of that life with all of your “life exprences.” This way if paradise is getting boring you can pop down to earth.

But lets go back to the subject. I do not agree with the idea that we are judged base on group, race, nation nor species. I believe in free will. If a nation/race/group decides to kill another nation/race/group is it the fault of everyone in the nation? Is it the beggar's fault for his countries leaders' actions?

Now on the individual side of things, I agree with Mlai. How are we suppose to draw moral lines when there are so many different cultures? Each culture has it's own set of morals and ethnics.

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:18PM
isukun at 12:29AM, Feb. 6, 2010
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Would we really want Heaven? I mean, sure, it's supposed to be a paradise and all but you're stuck there for eternity.

It really depends on how one defines things like happiness, joy, paradise or heaven. I would think a being of ultimate knowledge and power would have the foresight to not design a heaven where the residents get bored and frustrated.

As for the question at hand, it really depends on what morals would stand as the criteria for getting into heaven. Not all people view the world in the same way, so really all this topic seems to be asking is do you personally feel that humanity lives up to your personal moral standards. For me, that would be a yes. Sure there are some horrible people and what I consider to be copletely backwads social structures and practice, but on the whole we seem to be moving in the right direction towards a global society. And as this global society grows and matures, we have a tendency to show more concern for those around us and not just the people around us, but every aspect of our world.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Kroatz at 3:48AM, Feb. 6, 2010
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isukun
As for the question at hand, it really depends on what morals would stand as the criteria for getting into heaven. Not all people view the world in the same way, so really all this topic seems to be asking is do you personally feel that humanity lives up to your personal moral standards.

It is hard and probably not fair to judge others, who are we to decide wether they deserve heaven or not. It is possible to judge yourself though, do you personally feel that you yourself live up to your personal moral standards.

I do a lot of things that I am not all that happy about, sometimes I do stuff that may not be pure evil but isn't that good either, I have in the past stolen stuff and I have had several fights where I knew I was wrong.

If it where possible I'd like to go to heaven but I do not think I'd deserve it, Not because I don't go to church or because I do not believe in god but because I know that my personal actions combined have done more damage than good. Mostly to nature but to certain people too.

Do you all play by what you know is right?
I know I don't.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:23PM
Futon at 12:54PM, Feb. 6, 2010
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I don't really care if there is a Heaven or not.

We should do good for the sake of doing good, not for a pie in the sky. Whether you believe in God or not.

So, to me, the question if we deserve Heaven or not, is pointless. It shouldn't matter.


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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:32PM
Kroatz at 2:06PM, Feb. 6, 2010
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Futon
We should do good for the sake of doing good, not for a pie in the sky. Whether you believe in God or not.

I agree, but the question is do we do enough good?
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Zad at 4:27PM, Feb. 6, 2010
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Well, from what I understand, if you make one mistake, you can never do enough good to make up for it. In God's eyes, the child who took the cookie from the cookie jar is as sinful as the murderer.
So, no, unless you're Jesus, you will never be good enough. (I think babies are a special exception, though.)
The only reason we get to go is because God ‘loves’ us, or something.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:54PM
Dave7 at 10:19PM, Feb. 6, 2010
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I actually think that the concept of an afterwordly paradise kind of negates our existence in this world. When you look back in history, you see that while religion has done a lot of good (unifying communities, founding civilazations, helping the less fortunate, etc.), it's also been the cause of a lot of problems (wars, terrorism, justification for political acts and propoganda, etc.). We could sit here and argue all day about whether religion overall has done more harm than good and vice-versa, but I really don't feel like beating a long-dead horse; that's a subject for different forum topic entirely.

I've met people who, because of their personal beleifs, treat this life like they're on trial, or even like some painful ordeal, in the belief that they'll somehow be rewarded after death, which can inspire them to great acts of generosity and kindess, or to acts of cruelty and war. And on the other side, I've met people who've sought comfort in the notion of an almighty entity, sometimes to the point where they'd have trouble living their daily lives without it; who through their faith, have found the endurance to withstand whatever difficulties and tradgedies they have, and eventually will, face in their lives. And in some cases, I'd have to say that for these people, their belief has allowed them to survive a lot of hardships that they otherwise might not have been able to.

But the main point is this; what if THIS is all we get? What if this IS eternity? What if there is NOTHING after this life? What if we somehow KNEW that when we die, we're gone for good?

Couldn't that inspire us to all come together, maybe unify us to be kinder to each other as a species? Maybe even take better care of our world, because we would know, that THIS is it; THIS is all we get, and when we leave it behind, we leave it as is for future generations; for better or worse?

Anyway, those are my thoughts.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:09PM
isukun at 3:59AM, Feb. 7, 2010
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I don't know, I've known atheists who devalue life as well. Taking spirituality out of the equation does not necessarily result in rainbows and holding hands. It certainly hasn't worked for places like Russia, China, and North Korea. Some people need that extra incentive.

Although, I have to admit, my personal belief is that God does not judge people based on how they act, but on whether or not they believe and trust in divine judgement. People get too hung up these days on specific rules and not the intentions and the message behind those rules. It is understanding and believing in that message and those intentions which really matters, though. If people did that, the actions would come naturally. The fact that so many people do break the rules just shows that people still have doubts in their own faith, whatever it may be.

Ultimately, though, I think this has little to do with how I would evaluate mankind as a whole. Instead, our race is defined by how we record and learn from our past. In that sense, we improve and become better with each new generation. I think society itself gravitates towards the good. It is just a slow and lengthy process.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
ramlama at 10:08AM, Feb. 7, 2010
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Kroatz
Heaven might exist and it might not exist, no one knows for sure and we will all find out eventually.

The question I raise here isn't if Heaven exists or not but, assuming it does, do we really deserve to go to heaven?

Do our actions on this planet, as an individual or as a race, accumulate to something good or something bad?

I dun' have time to read through the responses to get a sense of what others have said, which I'm curious about, but here's my gut response: what we deserve is the world we leave fr our progeny, and what we get is the world left to us by our ancestors. If we can create heaven without creating hell at the same time, then we have every right to it. Until then, it's purgatory for us in this big ol' boat.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:00PM
Kroatz at 11:58AM, Feb. 7, 2010
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ramlama
dun' have time to read through the responses to get a sense of what others have said,
Come on Ramlama, it's only twelve posts, that's a two minute read…

Anyway,
ramlama
If we can create heaven without creating hell at the same time, then we have every right to it.
Do we? create heaven without creating hell at the same time? Every year millions of people celebrate christmas while millions upon millions of other people starve to death.

I'm from a rather wealthy country so my children will not starve, by paying taxes and by helping out at community projects I help make my country a better place for my future children. I must say that besides a little contribution every year I do squat for poor people, in my country and beyond it's borders…

I must be one of the causes for hell on earth.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:23PM
demontales at 3:23PM, Feb. 7, 2010
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Someone
In that sense, we improve and become better with each new generation. I think society itself gravitates towards the good. It is just a slow and lengthy process.

I always felt that the world keep turning in round, not necessarily at the same pace for every societies though. There is rarely something turning good without something bad happening and vice versa. Often I hear people saying how much we “evolved”, how much we became acceptant of others and differences for exemple. If we think 50 years back and locally(north america here), yes, it is true. But others before us were much more open minded than us until we came to them and told them they were wrong.

Of course, that is only a social aspect and cannot justify my point of view on everything. But I still don't feel evolution is a straight line forward. The things around us change, but we don't really. We are supposed to have learned from our mistakes, we are still violent, egoists, etc. And we also still are loving, compassionate. We still have the same needs we did from the dawn of humanity but we satisfy them otherwise.

Someone
Do we? create heaven without creating hell at the same time?
We create earth, that sometimes seems like heaven, sometimes like hell. I don't really believe in things as distinct as good/evil, hell/heaven. I think it's like trying to simplify something very complicated to get what we want from it.


Woah that was my longest post ever.

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isukun at 4:05PM, Feb. 7, 2010
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We are supposed to have learned from our mistakes, we are still violent, egoists, etc. And we also still are loving, compassionate.

First off, I'm talking more about people as a society, not individuals. Our society is not the same as it was at the dawn of time and there is definitely a sense of linear evolution from then until now. Of course, it isn't a simply black or white thing and not all aspects of our society evolve at the same rate, so you will see some cultures which seem to go backwards or stagnate, but the fact is that everybody does eventually move in a particular direction. Part of that process, however, will be conflict between those who move faster and those who resist change. Whether you walk, run or are dragged, however, everyone seems to be moving in the same direction.

Now that we have begun to form a more global community, we will see some of the slower cultures start to catch up with those who are moving faster.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Kroatz at 4:15PM, Feb. 7, 2010
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isukun
Part of that process, however, will be conflict between those who move faster and those who resist change. Whether you walk, run or are dragged, however, everyone seems to be moving in the same direction.

So the harder we as a people work towards the same goal, the better the world becomes. In other words, the more we work together the more we deserve heaven? (be it happiness, eternal fields of glory, the biggest open bar ever or some other personal view of heaven)

Does that mean that people who stick to their own warped beliefs, extremists and similar more dangerous fanatics, deserve hell? even if they do what they believe is right?
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Orin J Master at 6:48PM, Feb. 7, 2010
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Kroatz
Does that mean that people who stick to their own warped beliefs, extremists and similar more dangerous fanatics, deserve hell? even if they do what they believe is right?

actually, extremists don't really believe most of the crap that they preach. the leaders are as a general rule, totalitarian power-mongers, and the rank and file are almost always poor desperate people that got caught up in promises of a better life and realized too late that they were in DEEP trouble, and are too scared for their lives and families to got back on it.

an important part of belief is introspection, questioning the things you believe yourself to make sure that it's actually a good thing to believe. most mono-theologies rail against this though because it's very easy to look at their beliefs and go “wait, this is dumb” and quit, or simply ignore the organized faith for your own interpretations.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
demontales at 7:36PM, Feb. 7, 2010
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Someone
First off, I'm talking more about people as a society, not individuals.

I was also talking about society more than individuals but I agree my post wasn't very clear. I'd really like to know what you mean by we're all eventually going in the same direction, what is that direction? I really fail to see it as a continuous progress.

Also, when I meant we haven't changed much since the dawn of time, I was mostly talking about how we deal with our surrounding and technology, but that was really not clear. I tried to say too much at the same time while not beeing sure if it fit in the thread. So my point was:

For exemple: human have always had a need to move faster than on foot. So we tame horses, than made vehicules, than cars, etc. The means we use to satisfy ourselves changes, may it be technology, food, comfort, etc. But we, as people aren't much different. The only thing that I could say have changed us is the elaboration of our languages. But take someone from centuries ago and put him here, make him learn all he's gotta know about our new time, and I don't think he'll be such a different person.

Well that's my look on things. But I'm interested in knowing more about your way to see the subject.

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ozoneocean at 8:10PM, Feb. 7, 2010
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Dave7
But the main point is this; what if THIS is all we get? What if this IS eternity? What if there is NOTHING after this life? What if we somehow KNEW that when we die, we're gone for good?

Couldn't that inspire us to all come together, maybe unify us to be kinder to each other as a species? Maybe even take better care of our world, because we would know, that THIS is it; THIS is all we get, and when we leave it behind, we leave it as is for future generations; for better or worse?
Isukun is right.
The idea of “this is it” and “no heaven” doesn't make people nicer or value life more. Often the opposite is true. It's funny really, it's the person and that matters, not their crazy beliefs.

In fact the “this is all we get” idea should if anything encourage excess, not worrying about WTF future generations will do. If you're going to die and this life is all you get then you may as well live it up and do as much damage as possible while you can. ^____^

…You see? You can rationalise destructive amoral attitudes whether you believe in an afterlife or not.
——————————–

When it comes down to things though, religion is a cultural social construction. The only way it could really exist as we imagine it is if the human consciousness exists in some form after death and if there is a sort of social grouping of “souls”, “intelligences”, awareness's, energies or whatever that carry on with their former cultural preconceptions.
Very speculative.

If that's the case “deserve” as an outside thing would never come into it. Either you'd judge for yourself in a conscious or unconscious way, or the group would judge you- choosing to exclude or include you.
 
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LOOKIS at 8:36PM, Feb. 7, 2010
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ozoneocean
When it comes down to things though, religion is a cultural social construction.

Religion came into existence back when life was much, much tougher for the average person. If you're going to work your ass off just to survive, if half of your children are going to die before they are 3 years old, if you yourself are going to die before you are 50, then just maybe you would like a little bit of hope, like possibly some kind of second future life after you die in this life if you just keep plugging away in this one and remain honest and kind.

Now that many people already have Heaven on Earth in this life, or at least they have a good chance to live an easy life and die at an old age, it's difficult to imagine what a Heaven after death could possibly be. An even easier life?

Heaven for me would just be another life like this one. Start over again as a baby in a new body with a new name and no memory at all of this life. Hey… maybe that already happens?!
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ramlama at 9:55PM, Feb. 7, 2010
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Kroatz
Come on Ramlama, it's only twelve posts, that's a two minute read…
You, sir, greatly overestimate my cognitive capabilities. I think slowly.

Personally, on an individual level, I try to live as though my admission into heaven were based on a vote among my ex-girlfriends. By that criteria, I think I'd make it through the pearly gates. I suppose, really, that's as close as I need to get in order to satisfy my conscience.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:00PM
Kroatz at 2:35AM, Feb. 8, 2010
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ramlama
You, sir, greatly overestimate my cognitive capabilities. I think slowly.
That'd be a cool tag! Sir Kroatz! the magnificent…
anyway, sorry I overestimated your cognitive ability… I'll type slowly from now on lol!
Lookis
Now that many people already have Heaven on Earth in this life, or at least they have a good chance to live an easy life and die at an old age, it's difficult to imagine what a Heaven after death could possibly be. An even easier life?

So people who have it hard right now deserve heaven… live their second life in America (or if the depression kicks in, in some other country).
As long as they treated their ex-girlfriends fairly…
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isukun at 2:31PM, Feb. 8, 2010
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So the harder we as a people work towards the same goal, the better the world becomes.

That's not at all what I'm saying. I'm not talking about an either/or scenario or a correlation between hard work and bettering society. I'm saying that as a race, our society evolves towards a stronger, better society. As I've been saying, this is not a black and white thing and it works a lot like biological evolution. You will find exceptions to the rule. Random negative mutations may seem to go against this (your dictators, third world nations, poverty, or general rat-bastards), but if you look at the big picture, as a whole the world is moving in a positive direction, at least as far as humanity is concerned.

But take someone from centuries ago and put him here, make him learn all he's gotta know about our new time, and I don't think he'll be such a different person.

That still sounds more like the individual than society as a whole, to me. The individual has not changed significantly over the generations. We still have he same motivaions and instincts which drive us, just towards different things. Our society, however, has evolved and has never really gone back to any previous stage of development. We started with anarchy and since forming hunter/gatherer tribes have never looked back to that system.

Over time, those groups have expanded, our cultures and civilizations have grown more complex. Technology has brought about new social orders where it is no longer about providing for a family, but providing for a village, or a city, or a country, or, in the modern era, for the world. So sure, are we driven by the same sense of self preservation? Yes. But our society has evolved to the point where despite this fact, people are contibuting to something much larger. This in turn makes us healtier, happier, smarter, more free, and expands our world view.
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LOOKIS at 10:15PM, Feb. 8, 2010
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isukun
Our society, however, has evolved and has never really gone back to any previous stage of development.

You're just looking at a brief span of time. I have no trouble imagining a future where we end up back in a previous stage of development. Nuclear war could do it, a pandemic, a large asteroid strike, a big fluctuation in solar output, running out of oil, sea levels rising…

Who knows what stress might be enough to make us devolve? It all seems pretty fragile to me. And there are plenty of examples in history of civilizations that became extinct.
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isukun at 1:09AM, Feb. 9, 2010
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You're just looking at a brief span of time.

As far as social evolution among humans is concerned, 14,000 years is not a brief span of time.

Who knows what stress might be enough to make us devolve?

Only the total destruction of civilized society and once you get to that point, you aren't really devolving, you're starting over. It's like wiping out all life and watching it evolve again out of nothing. The problem with that scenario is it requires two things to happen. One is the death of the majority of skilled professionals in the world, likely along with the majority of humans in general. The other is the destruction of all recorded knowledge. While the first could happen, the second is far less likely even in the scenarios you present.
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Kroatz at 6:53AM, Feb. 9, 2010
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isukun
One is the death of the majority of skilled professionals in the world, likely along with the majority of humans in general. The other is the destruction of all recorded knowledge. While the first could happen, the second is far less likely even in the scenarios you present.

The sad thing is that we don't learn from mistakes in the past. if the world gets destroyed we will probably have to go through the same stages in history that we had to go through the first time around, recorded knowledge preserved or not.

But ok, let's assume we only go forward as a civilisation from now on. the way we treat earth will be better and everything will turn out to be rainbows, pink unicorns and lollypops. heaven on earth will continue to grow and life becomes easier.

isukun
That still sounds more like the individual than society as a whole, to me. The individual has not changed significantly over the generations. We still have he same motivaions and instincts which drive us, just towards different things. Our society, however, has evolved and has never really gone back to any previous stage of development. We started with anarchy and since forming hunter/gatherer tribes have never looked back to that system.

Humans will probably not change, even if life on earth is achieved we will still try to have a better life than the ones around us. 'Evil' will still be used as a means to an end, even if earth is perfect humans will not deserve it.
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isukun at 5:53PM, Feb. 9, 2010
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And who is to say that an individual's sense of self-preservation is necessarily “evil”. Think about it this way, the good of society is reliant on the self-centered nature of human individuals. We contribute with work and good behavior not in the interest of bettering society, but in the interest of bettering our own quality of life. We work for money, we behave for security, we take an interest in politics and charities for peace of mind. Everything we do is a product of selfishness.

Now also consider that the very concept behind Heaven is also meant to appeal to our selfish natures. Heaven serves no purpose if people do not selfishly pursue it. Selfishness is a necessity in human society and the standard for human individuals. In and of itself, it is not an evil. What it comes down to is how we go about finding our individual happiness. Sure, you will always have your serial killers and jerkwads, but the actions of the few who seek happiness through the misery of others does not necessarily negate the many who do contribute to bettering society.
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demontales at 7:18PM, Feb. 9, 2010
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For once I agree with isukun on some point, we're not evil when we try to have a better life than others. Sometimes we do stupid things trying to achieve that, I'm not saying it is a good thing to do though. We're made like that, it is to us to decide if we try to have a good life in benefeit of others too, but even then we always seek something for ourselves, even if we are not directly aware of it.

If we would be evil doing so, than heaven would have to be excluded of any possibilities. But than if nobody goes to heaven, heaven has no purpose to be and probably is inexistant. So asking if we deserve heaven doesn't make much sense.

Someone
Over time, those groups have expanded, our cultures and civilizations have grown more complex.

I understand your point, but is that really a sign of progress? I won't disagree on the fact that the society I live in is better now than when humanity was only some small clans. But after a certain degree, once a majority of people live, not only survive, is the complexity of our systems making everything better, or only bigger? Only reflecting what we would be if we were smaller.

By that I mean, if you take two people alone and stick them together you've got a couple, which is much different than someone alone. Than you go like that for awhile and at some point do you lose that feeling of “wow now that we're that much we can do something that'll really change things”. Of course the more we are, the more we “evolve”, the more we become powerful. But is that necessarily better?



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isukun at 10:04PM, Feb. 9, 2010
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I would argue yes. It is the goal of social evolution, just as it is of natural evolution to benefit the whole of a species. Survival of the fittest. The more complex and larger our society gets, the stronger and more fit we are to survive both as a collective and as individuals. For the human race, that is a positive goal. Hell, for any species that is a positive goal. Nature is all about competition, so our own survival is key above any other issues.

In our particular case, though, I think our species benefits from taking a role as global protector. I don't see how this could be a bad thing if it leads to us not only working towards the betterment of our own species, but life in general.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM

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