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From the Christian standpoint, God commands us to love our enemies:

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Luke 6:27 - "But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."

Exodus 23:5 - "If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him"

Acts 7: 60 -" And (Stephen, while being stoned)  falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep."

Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
 
Mark 11:25 - "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
 

1 Corinthians 13 describes what the scriptures mean by "love". Love is not an emotion or sentiment we have for someone, rather it is the choice which governs our actions, particularly when we encounter some of the unpleasant realities of someone Else's humanity. However there is NOTHING loving about letting someone injure you over and over again, either.  The philosophy of pacifism lends towards turning into a state of passive-aggression that is not befitting of one's call to ministry.

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8 hours ago, ULCneo said:

However there is NOTHING loving about letting someone injure you over and over again, either.  The philosophy of pacifism lends towards turning into a state of passive-aggression that is not befitting of one's call to ministry.

First, pacifism does not require allowing others to harm you. It is a sign of poor problem-solving skills to believe the only way to avoid harm to yourself is to harm others. We have other options. So my basic position is to view use of violence as a personal failure to do right. People are all imperfect, however, so I am hesitant to treat someone else's personal failures as being worse than my own.

I would also just like to point out that passive-aggression is a very misunderstood cocept in popular culture. Also that when you speak of what befits a call to ministry you are suggesting that your conception of ministry is more "real" than someone else's. That is of course your right, and a perfectly natural position to take, but it runs counter to the philosophical underpinnings of the ULC. Religious freedom through religious equality - No hierarchy and no standards. Ordained for free and for life without question. See it?

Now, on a personal level, I do wonder why anyone would discourage me from following my conscience. If I should ignore the little voice telling me violence is wrong, why shouldn't I also ignore it when it tells me not to break my marriage vows?

Edited by mererdog

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7 hours ago, mererdog said:

I would also just like to point out that passive-aggression is a very misunderstood cocept in popular culture. Also that when you speak of what befits a call to ministry you are suggesting that your conception of ministry is more "real" than someone else's. That is of course your right, and a perfectly natural position to take, but it runs counter to the philosophical underpinnings of the ULC. Religious freedom through religious equality - No hierarchy and no standards. Ordained for free and for life without question. See it?

Now, on a personal level, I do wonder why anyone would discourage me from following my conscience. If I should ignore the little voice telling me violence is wrong, why shouldn't I also ignore it when it tells me not to break my marriage vows?

First understand that I DO NOT speak from the standpoint of religions other than Christianity. Not to say that I don't think that people shouldn't be free to practice that which doesn't cause harm to others, BUT I'm NOT going to support other religions in my teaching from the pulpit or elsewhere, because my own religion and faith defines that as being "NOT right" which then runs contrary to the ULC doctrine "to do that which IS right".

No, I'm not talking about "my conception" of ministry- Rather, I'm talking about ANY conception of ministry- as I'm sure that everyone agrees that "ministry" must be approached in a spirit of reference towards the religion the minister represents. The Christian scriptures make this clear, and I would be sure that the majority of other religions have a similar concept of sorts- One's ministry has a certain gravity that flows from it. Otherwise you invariably get the state of the blind leading the blind into the proverbial ditch.

Furthermore the notion that the ULC doesn't have "standards" is clearly erroneous. The ULC doctrine has a "standard" of a sort, albeit perhaps a very broad one - "To do that which IS right" Notice our doctrine does NOT say "Do that which we THINK is right" or similar- it says "...IS right". The virtue of that is that we have implemented a standard (however broad the standard might be). Within the Sense of Christianity "That which IS right " is that which does not run directly counter to the authority of Scripture". The SPIN is how one "interprets" Scripture, which is either inspired by God (or the powers that be) or it is NOT. If the interpretation is a reasonable one based upon the history and the ground rules of proper construction, and a person is convinced that the revelation came from God (or the powers that be) then so be it. It is NOT the Church's right of power to "DEFINE what is right/wrong", which rests on the following:

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Romans 13:1 (KJV) "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."

Hebrews 10:14-17 (KJV) (14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.(15) Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,(16) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (17) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

 

These two verses establish two things- The verse in Romans tells the church to let every person ("soul") be subject to the powers of God. It therefore flows that it is NOT the ministry's JOB to coerce one to do anything- rather it is the function of the ministry to "Teach, Counsel, and Advise". The verses in Hebrews make clear that it is GOD (not man) that instills the sense of Right and Wrong in the individual- The catch is that God USES man to accomplish that which he would accomplish. However, God DOES NOT use those whom will say that THEY were the ones that did a thing (as most ministers WILL these days, to some extent or another.- They talk about whom *They* won for God as if their doing God some sort of favor- which Scripture calls the Sin of Pride). Therefore the majority of mainline Christianity is far from God, and the ULC doctrine is quite a bit closer to what Scripture actually teaches-- the notion of relationship with God Vs. a Religion that speaks death into the people. (Which most religions do out of some form of legalism.)

The ULC draws its theology concerning ordination from the Christian Scriptures where it justifies the "ordination of all" on the basis of the fact that it is NOT man's job to discern the "calling" of another to ministry, among other things. The reliance of the "Priesthood" of all believers however, does NOT filter into the Christian ministry because of the fact that where the Christian Scriptures use the word "Priest" it very clearly means in the sense of the Old-Testament theology- where man had to go THROUGH the priest to have contact or dealings with God-- as opposed to the protestant doctrine that only Christ mediates between man and God, where we have the concept of Christ being "God in the incarnate". Hence in the NT dispensation, the notion then becomes that the minister acts as both the prophet (speaking on behalf of God in the pulpit) AND acts as nothing more than a "teacher and advisor". The minister however is NOT synonymous with the OT doctrine of the Priesthood, within the meaning of Christian doctrine, apart from the sense used within the doctrine  Catholicism.

Where you say "Now, on a personal level, I do wonder why anyone would discourage me from following my conscience" - Christian scriptures TELL US NOT to rest upon our own consciences- because one's conscience rests upon one's own "understanding" of the world.

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Proverbs 3:5 (KJV) -"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
 

This hence demonstrates that Man's Conscience can be come seared. Indeed some people don't even have one at all (what we refer to as a Psychopath.)  Therefore, one's conscience isn't really an accurate measure of anything- Hitler thought what he was doing was RIGHT in his own conscience, after all. So NO I wouldn't teach you to follow your own conscience, necessarily, because it's neither here nor there in what IS right or wrong.

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16 hours ago, ULCneo said:

"No, I'm not talking about "my conception" of ministry- Rather, I'm talking about ANY conception of ministry- as I'm sure that everyone agrees that "ministry" must be approached in a spirit of reference towards the religion the minister represents.

You would he wrong. Not everyone agrees. There are, in fact, ministers who represent no religion.  Now, I suspect the reflexive response will be to say that those people are not really ministers. I will point out that such a response simply reinterates the notion that their conception of a minister is not "real," while yours is.

As an example, I do not represent any religion, but I am a minister. I speak only for myself. My ordination came without question of faith, which also means it came with no obligation to represent a faith. Otherwise a person like myself, who has no religious beliefs, would be unable to be a minister. Once again, that would run counter to the ULC's commitment to religious freedom through religious equality.

Edited by mererdog

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16 hours ago, ULCneo said:

 Therefore, one's conscience isn't really an accurate measure of anything- Hitler thought what he was doing was RIGHT in his own conscience, after all. 

I get what you are saying. The thing is, my conscience is what I have. God does not talk to me, possibly only because I do not believe in Him and therefore don't talk to Him. But, either way, to talk me out of listening to my conscience leaves me with no replacement. 

If I am talked into accepting the proposition that there are exceptions to the rule against violence, would I not also be talked into believing there are exceptions to the rules against theft and adultery? How can I both believe morality matters, and that I should ignore the only way I have for determining morality?

As for Hitler, I said earlier that I believe all healthy adults have a conscience that is based on empathy. I also believe, however, that this conscience can become damaged by psychological trauma. In Biblical terms, the heart can become hardened. This perspective causes me to see Hitler as a tragic figure, as well as a villain. Not only did his actions harm others, but they made his own life so much shorter and less enjoyable than it otherwise could have been. If only he had been able to see himself in the other...

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5 hours ago, mererdog said:

You would he wrong. Not everyone agrees. There are, in fact, ministers who represent no religion.  Now, I suspect the reflexive response will be to say that those people are not really ministers. I will point out that such a response simply reinterates the notion that their conception of a minister is not "real," while yours is.

As an example, I do not represent any religion, but I am a minister. I speak only for myself. My ordination came without question of faith, which also means it came with no obligation to represent a faith. Otherwise a person like myself, who has no religious beliefs, would be unable to be a minister. Once again, that would run counter to the ULC's commitment to religious freedom through religious equality.

Has nothing to do with "conception" of anything so much as it has to do with  dictionary definition of the terminology. The dictionary defines "minister" in the following way-

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Minister (n)-  1. An Agent of someone or something. 2. "a person whose job involves leading church services, performing religious ceremonies (such as marriages), and providing spiritual or religious guidance to other peoplea member of the clergy in some Protestant churches".

"Religion" is defined as--

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Religion (n)-  4.  a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

In order to be as inclusive as possible we might  the broadest sense, ie.. a "minister" is a Agent of a religion, or an agent of the powers that be. The thing is that in your last post you represented a "Religion" because a statement of "non religion" is a "Religion" unto itself in its own right, by definition.

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5 hours ago, mererdog said:

If I am talked into accepting the proposition that there are exceptions to the rule against violence, would I not also be talked into believing there are exceptions to the rules against theft and adultery? How can I both believe morality matters, and that I should ignore the only way I have for determining morality?

 

There applies the rule of common sense here. There are certain times when violence will forced out of one's hand by virtue of the failure to act- in that violence includes in its definition violence against self. Rather, there comes a point that you have to become reliant on a higher power independent of and outside yourself, least you declare yourself creator of the Universe or subscribe to Darwinist thinking (and mind you Darwinism is deeply flawed- in that the theories are not demonstrated to be in operation anywhere today without explanation.)

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15 hours ago, ULCneo said:

Has nothing to do with "conception" of anything so much as it has to do with  dictionary definition of the terminology.

Same thing. The dictionary defines words based on common usage. Common usage is shaped by individual conception. Note that you did not cite every definition of religion, but merely the one that fit the conception of minister you are attempting to sell. Note also that dictionaries do not list all definitions, but only those that meet arbitrary standards of common usage, that vary from publisher to publisher.

Just to be clear, if you have to define lack of religion as a religion in order to make your point, your pont loses credibility in my eyes. If we can't differentiate between what is and is not religion, the word loses all meaning.

Edited by mererdog

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15 hours ago, ULCneo said:

Rather, there comes a point that you have to become reliant on a higher power independent of and outside yyourself

No higher power has made itself known to me, in a way that makes it possible for me to believe in it. This is not a complaint or an excuse, but a simple statement of fact. I cannot depend on what I do not believe in. If this is simply a weakneas on my end, it is not one I have any control over.

So, once again, if I don't listen to my conscience, I have no alternative moral determiner. I can listen to my conscience, or I can ignore morality completely. Which of the options actually available to me do you suppose is better?

Edited by mererdog

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9 hours ago, mererdog said:

Same thing. The dictionary defines words based on common usage. Common usage is shaped by individual conception. Note that you did not cite every definition of religion, but merely the one that fit the conception of minister you are attempting to sell. Note also that dictionaries do not list all definitions, but only those that meet arbitrary standards of common usage, that vary from publisher to publisher.

Just to be clear, if you have to define lack of religion as a religion in order to make your point, your point loses credibility in my eyes. If we can't differentiate between what is and is not religion, the word loses all meaning.

Not quite- rather its the "conception" of the majority that builds consensus of definition of terminology. The other definitions of religion have little bearing upon a sense of "spirituality".

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Just to be clear, if you have to define lack of religion as a religion in order to make your point, your point loses credibility in my eyes. If we can't differentiate between what is and is not religion, the word loses all meaning.

So then HOW then do you propose that the statement of a lack of belief isn't STILL inherently merely a statement of belief in the negative? A statement of belief in non-existence is STILL, notwithstanding, a statement  belief is it not? Otherwise we get to a standard of judgment that atheism because it is NOT a "religion" (i.e. it doesn't fit the dictionary definition) isn't afforded first amendment protections under the analysis of strict-construction properly  due to first-amendment interpretation. Therefore, we quickly see that your logic gets into dangerous territory.

 

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9 hours ago, mererdog said:

No higher power has made itself known to me, in a way that makes it possible for me to believe in it. This is not a complaint or an excuse, but a simple statement of fact. I cannot depend on what I do not believe in. If this is simply a weakness on my end, it is not one I have any control over.

So, once again, if I don't listen to my conscience, I have no alternative moral determiner. I can listen to my conscience, or I can ignore morality completely. Which of the options actually available to me do you suppose is better?

First I think you fail to see that I don't even use "Higher Power" in the context of a form of "religion" say per. I use it rather loosely in terms expressed in 12-step programs such as AA/NA.

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So, once again, if I don't listen to my conscience, I have no alternative moral determiner. I can listen to my conscience, or I can ignore morality completely. Which of the options actually available to me do you suppose is better?

BUT, how do you know that "your own conscience" isn't defective? What? is it built in complete with an cyclic-redunant error checking system? Psychopaths don't THINK they have any problem whatsoever based upon their own conscience (which exists in defective form)- rather its "everyone else" that has the "problem". So therefore, one has to subject their "Conscience" to an outside source as a standard of measure. Further we also know that intoxicants alter one's conscience over time in ways that are not obvious. Further we have in psychology what we refer to as "cognitive distortions". I'll let you do your own research on that.

Edited by ULCneo

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On 5/15/2017 at 1:11 PM, ULCneo said:

So then HOW then do you propose that the statement of a lack of belief isn't STILL inherently merely a statement of belief in the negative?

The difference lies in the phrase "I don't know." I neither believe that God is real, nor do I believe that God is not real. I do not believe either way. Allow me to demonstrate how this works.

You have never seen me. If asked what color my hair is, the honest answer is "I don't know." You do not believe I have brown hair. You do not believe I have blonde hair. You do not know.

Edited by mererdog

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On 5/15/2017 at 1:17 PM, ULCneo said:

BUT, how do you know that "your own conscience" isn't defective? 

I know that it is. I also know that it is all that I have to work with.

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On 6/2/2017 at 6:40 AM, mererdog said:

I know that it is. I also know that it is all that I have to work with.

 

So then, since you admit that your own conscience is defective, and you go with the argument that people should look to their own conscience to determine right from wrong, it becomes that the world in all reality is an endless pit of moral relevants.  In theory, this becomes the direct cause of anarchy, and history shows us that such is neither feasible nor functional. Yet isn't highly odd, if we are to seriously entertain your position, that most people believe that certain things are wrong or immoral? (being the reason, if we are to adhere to your apparent argument, that we are able to form a system of secular law?) Yet the theory of Darwinism teaches that there should be so much diversity among the human species that it would be unlikely for two people to have an agreement of conscience.

 

Therefore,  it seems that your argument collapses under its own ponderosity.

 

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38 minutes ago, ULCneo said:

 

So then, since you admit that your own conscience is defective, and you go with the argument that people should look to their own conscience to determine right from wrong, it becomes that the world in all reality is an endless pit of moral relevants.  In theory, this becomes the direct cause of anarchy, and history shows us that such is neither feasible nor functional. Yet isn't highly odd, if we are to seriously entertain your position, that most people believe that certain things are wrong or immoral? (being the reason, if we are to adhere to your apparent argument, that we are able to form a system of secular law?) Yet the theory of Darwinism teaches that there should be so much diversity among the human species that it would be unlikely for two people to have an agreement of conscience.

 

Therefore,  it seems that your argument collapses under its own ponderosity.

 

Sorry, but that's not what Darwinism teaches to me. Rather it teaches that evolution is needed in order to ensure survival. So if placed in a conscience setting, that would mean that inevitably there may be two people that are in accord, and that is how their society survives, or tries to. It doesn't imply that all societies will comply, either.

What works for one group, may not work for another elsewhere. Same as evolution for species.

In admitting his conscience is defective, he understands his limitations and is far more honest about it. You might well say a paradox exist then. He is moral (honest) while being morally defective, in a sense.

Did I get that, meredog?

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3 minutes ago, Key said:

Sorry, but that's not what Darwinism teaches to me. Rather it teaches that evolution is needed in order to ensure survival. So if placed in a conscience setting, that would mean that inevitably there may be two people that are in accord, and that is how their society survives, or tries to. It doesn't imply that all societies will comply, either.

What works for one group, may not work for another elsewhere. Same as evolution for species.

In admitting his conscience is defective, he understands his limitations and is far more honest about it. You might well say a paradox exist then. He is moral (honest) while being morally defective, in a sense.

Did I get that, meredog?

 

One of the fundamental teachings of Darwinism is vast diversity within a species. In fact, it is the starting point for the theory that a life form can somehow "evolve". Without diversity you cannot have "evolution" without "creationism" of some kind or another, because then the evolution would have to be projected from some form of outside force.  I think perhaps you really misunderstand Darwinism.

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4 minutes ago, ULCneo said:

 

One of the fundamental teachings of Darwinism is vast diversity within a species. In fact, it is the starting point for the theory that a life form can somehow "evolve". Without diversity you cannot have "evolution" without "creationism" of some kind or another, because then the evolution would have to be projected from some form of outside force.  I think perhaps you really misunderstand Darwinism.

"Outside force" could be something big, or something minute. Change always happens. It is because of the changes that evolution is created. Creationism might well be a starting point, might not.

Maybe I misunderstand, or maybe you do, in how it applies.

There may well be vast diversities, but also recognize even in this there are some that are the same.

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2 hours ago, ULCneo said:

 

One of the fundamental teachings of Darwinism is vast diversity within a species. In fact, it is the starting point for the theory that a life form can somehow "evolve". Without diversity you cannot have "evolution" without "creationism" of some kind or another, because then the evolution would have to be projected from some form of outside force.  I think perhaps you really misunderstand Darwinism.

Outside force does not necessitate divine force.  You are conflating the two. Gravity is an outside force, and I do not(nor does anyone else I know of) consider gravity to be divine.  Also, the term outside is relative.  For instance, light is an outside force as well, to anyone observing it.  However, to the star producing the light, it is not.

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On 5/15/2017 at 1:17 PM, ULCneo said:

BUT, how do you know that "your own conscience" isn't defective? What? is it built in complete with an cyclic-redunant error checking system?  So therefore, one has to subject their "Conscience" to an outside source as a standard of measure. 

By the way others react to me.  

von

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On 10/7/2017 at 12:54 PM, ULCneo said:

 

So then, since you admit that your own conscience is defective,

Until and unless some other moral authority is proven to be perfect, admitting my conscience is imperfect in no way suggests it is less reliable than any other source of moral guidance. As such, there remains no rational reason to ignore my conscience in favor of following something else. Note that I am not making pronouncements about what others should do, and am speaking only about the options available to me.

Edited by mererdog

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