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markdohle

Human alienation

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Posted (edited)

Human alienation

Our backgrounds can have a tight hold on us. They affect everything about us. How we relate to those around us, to authority, how we take care of ourselves etc. In our inner worlds the past and present co-mingle, tinting how we interpret those around us often by the lenses we were given when very young. Unconscious forces can be strong in controlling us and our lives.

Even in choosing to break away from the control of our past takes time, effort and many failures…..yet this desire or choice to change is necessary if ever the journey is to begin. It is easy to demand from others what I myself cannot do, this turning around ones life, breaking free from the limitations thrust upon us from the past.

It can be difficult to admit that freedom is not a state of being, but what happens after one small choice after another slowly becomes habit, allowing for ever broader choices in how one reacts to the situations of life.

I can feel stretched out, nailed down, hanging and fighting to breathe more deeply from life. Inner voices mock me, laughing at me, demanding that I do better, yet often I feel as if I am inwardly crumbling, bit by bit, yet I never do…. crumble that is. There is something deeper at work, calling me, giving me courage, gently demanding that I begin again….so I do. It seems endless, yet there is something important going on, for this suffering calls me to myself, demanding a response.

In Holy Week we gaze upon the sufferings of Jesus Christ, who says that he identifies with us, in fact is us, for perhaps most of us are among the least that he talks about.

This feeling nailed, unable to move forward, this desire to breathe more deeply, to become freeer and more loving, to be free from the bondage of the past, is this not Christ Jesus living in us, who took upon himself our lives, our failures, our sufferings, our deaths, our experience of feeling abandoned by God. Human alienation is a appalling thing, an horrendous experience, causing many to cry out in love, or frustration, or yes hatred: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

We nailed Christ to the cross, as we often do to goodness and love. We often mock those who are innocent or trusting. Many love destroying the virtue in others, and in doing so wound them-selves ever deeper. The human state is one of inner struggle, chaos, and failure, dying and rising. Christ Jesus took all of that, carried it, allowed our hatred, rage and inner sadness to flow over him, he took it, forgave us, loved us, in that is our freedom.

In the darkest times, Christ is with us, when there is no center, he is the deepest place in our souls that is constant, the same, loving, journeying with us, suffering with us, and in doing so bringing our lives the Father, for Holy Week is about how God journeys with us, he is immanent as well as transcendent, personal and loving, though that is a most difficult thing to understanding and at times to even believe.

Edited by markdohle

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Posted (edited)

All religions attempt to deal with human suffering. Christianity teaches that our suffering is made meaningful by being aware that Christ/God suffers with us. To me this is an wholly unsatisfactory answer. Indeed, the problem of natural evil is the 800 lb gorilla in the room no one wants to talk about.

Christianity offers several other stock answers, all of which are vacuous.

When we turn to non-human suffering, the problem is magnified tenfold.

http://www.huffingto..._n_5151230.html

I guess I should explain this article. The news story is a report on animal cruelty at a poultry procesing plant. The complaint of animal cruelty has to do with boiling chicks alive. The accompanying video shows the process of maceration, putting male chicks through a meat grinder, alive. This is an accepted industry practice.

Why is this so? From Wiki; "Chick culling is the process of killing newly hatched poultry for which breeders have no use." "About 200 million male chicks are killed each year in the United States."

This ethical stance comes from the Christian teachings that animals have no inherent worth, except insofar as man can use them.

Edited by redhen

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Posted (edited)

'redhen' timestamp='1397652792' post='5139704'

All religions attempt to deal with human suffering. Christianity teaches that our suffering is made meaningful by being aware that Christ/God suffers with us. To me this is an wholly unsatisfactory answer. Indeed, the problem of natural evil is the 800 lb gorilla in the room no one wants to talk about.

Actually everyone talks about suffering and not just religion. This subject is also a big part of philosophical discourse and writing. Many in fact lose their faith over this point, that is how central suffering is for human beings. It is everywhere. I see people everyday, of all faiths and of none, who are dealing with on going suffering, though they often keep it hidden. It is much larger than a 800 lb gorilla, so impossible to ignore in my opinion. Though I understand you experience may be different. I do not find the mystery of Christ death and Resurrection unsatisfactory, though many will agree with you.

Christianity offers several other stock answers, all of which are vacuous.

I don’t believe it is a stock answer, but something that is lived out on a regular basis, it is not really an answer, but it does point to the reality of both the immanence and transcendence of God.

This ethical stance comes from the Christian teachings that animals have no inherent worth, except insofar as man can use them.

That is not true my friend. Christianity has never taught that animals can, nor should they be treated in a cruel manner. All though history, animals have been mistreated. In the Jewish law this was mitigated, in fact in killing an animal, it had to be as painless as possible. Here is a site that deals with this issue that is up to date and modern:

http://www.nytimes.c...ights.html?_r=0

I believe that animals should not be treated cruelly, nor should they be used for sport. In fact even as a child we were taught that animals have a innate dignity as creatures of God and should be treated from that reality. I do think however that some of the animal rights groups go too far and in the end will actually hurt their cause.

In the end the 800 lb gorilla in the room is mankind, we are the cause of the majority of suffering in the world.

Edited by markdohle

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Actually the 800 lb gorilla I was thinking of was not moral evil (people doing bad things) but rather the gratuitous pain and suffering inherent in nature; earthquakes, fires, floods, ebola, carnivores, etc.

There is a long tradition of Christian thought that holds that we have NO moral duty to animals, from Augustine, Aquinas down to the present day.

Here's St. Thomas Aquinas (from Wiki)

"If in Holy Scripture there are found some injunctions forbidding the infliction of some cruelty toward brute animals ... this is either for removing a man's mind from exercising cruelty towards other men ... or because the injury inflicted on animals turns to a temporal loss for some man."

So, cruelty is not a bad thing because it causes unnecessary harm to animals, but because it causes psychological harm to people.

I guess my main point is that compared to human suffering, gratuitous suffering in the animal world is orders of magnitude higher. But that's ok, because they don't have immortal souls.

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Posted (edited)

Actually the 800 lb gorilla I was thinking of was not moral evil (people doing bad things) but rather the gratuitous pain and suffering inherent in nature; earthquakes, fires, floods, ebola, carnivores, etc.

There is a long tradition of Christian thought that holds that we have NO moral duty to animals, from Augustine, Aquinas down to the present day.

Here's St. Thomas Aquinas (from Wiki)

"If in Holy Scripture there are found some injunctions forbidding the infliction of some cruelty toward brute animals ... this is either for removing a man's mind from exercising cruelty towards other men ... or because the injury inflicted on animals turns to a temporal loss for some man."

So, cruelty is not a bad thing because it causes unnecessary harm to animals, but because it causes psychological harm to people.

I guess my main point is that compared to human suffering, gratuitous suffering in the animal world is orders of magnitude higher. But that's ok, because they don't have immortal souls.

Religions mature. Also today, when millions eat meat, I believe is one of the reasons that how we kill animals, by the millions, can be so cruel. Greed is one factor that motivates how we treat animals when using them for food. Also when we use them for sport. About animals, using them for food is something we can do. Also as farm animals as well.... do to so to a human would be immoral. However to be cruel and to torture, well that would be harmful to the human as well as causing pain to the animal, so yes to refrain from harm towards animals, is of benefit to humans. We are at the top of the food chain I guess, so yes we do have the right to eat other animals, but again, torture and cruelty are immoral.

In the future, as we learn more about animals, perhaps some of the higher ones will be treated differently, with more regard to "animal rights".....Peta, while often overstating their position (at least in my opinion) do serve a function, that do keep us aware that animals do suffer greatly, have emotions and can feel fear and anxiety, is perhaps something that we need to be told repeatably so that we will mature to the point where animals will be treated with more care, even those we use as food and labor.

As we become more numerous and our cities get larger, and we tend to want to live in areas near the sea, or over earthquake zones, like LA, it is to be expected that many will suffer and die when the earth has an 'event'. These events serve a function, earthquakes do release pressure that needs to be expelled, if not, worse things could happen, we just get in the way. Nature is impersonal, a system, has nothing to do with us.

As for as animals having an immortal aspect, I have no idea. Perhaps those with some self awarness do in fact surive in some way....I have no idea. I don't have many answers to questions, still trying to figure things out, which I will never do.........

Edited by markdohle

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Posted (edited)

I think I may have been too harsh. It's Holy Week, and as you commented;

"In Holy Week we gaze upon the sufferings of Jesus Christ, who says that he identifies with us, in fact is us, for perhaps most of us are among the least that he talks about. "

I'm sorry I injected the perennial problem of evil into the discussion, I shouldn't have done that.

The best part of Holy Week for me (as a non-practitioner) is the music and liturgy. This 17th century piece has quite a story behind it (which you can find on Youtube, but I'll just post my favourite performance.

I realize that it's a musical rendition of Psalm 51, and it ends with God's delight with burnt offerings of bulls, but when I listen to it (not being that familiar with Latin) I can put that aside.

Edited by redhen

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I think I may have been too harsh. It's Holy Week, and as you commented;

"In Holy Week we gaze upon the sufferings of Jesus Christ, who says that he identifies with us, in fact is us, for perhaps most of us are among the least that he talks about. "

I'm sorry I injected the perennial problem of evil into the discussion, I shouldn't have done that.

The best part of Holy Week for me (as a non-practitioner) is the music and liturgy. This 17th century piece has quite a story behind it (which you can find on Youtube, but I'll just post my favourite performance.

I realize that it's a musical rendition of Psalm 51, and it ends with God's delight with burnt offerings of bulls, but when I listen to it (not being that familiar with Latin) I can put that aside.

I never have a problem with your post, you are intelligent and thoughtful. Psalm 51 is a beautiful prayer, so thanks for sharing this. Yeah, I am glad we don't have to sacrifice bulls and oxen. The reason there are theologians is that we have to think and rethink, and grow in our understanding, as we mature so will our thought. Those who are extreme fundimentlist tend to make religion into a ideology which can cause problems.

Peace

mark

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