Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Making Value Decisions

There is a big debate in the world as to the existence of the opposite of good. In other words, the question of the day is not just is there a God, but just as important is the question of is there an “Anti-God?” Some would call him Satan or the “Devil.”

If you believe in the idea of the “Ying and Yang”, or balance in the world, that is for every major topic that you can think of there are “equal and opposite sides”, then you will easily see my points that follow.

Again, if you can not see that you can not have hot without cold, up without down, left without right, good without evil, etc, then you are doomed to live in a world that makes no sense and the reason is that you will be fooled by the side of the balance that wants you to believe that there can be good in the world without evil. One side will refuse to even let their brain entertain the idea that evil exists.

So many people in this world refuse to admit to themselves this one fact, that since there is good in the world, there must be evil. Not only can you not “have” one without the other, you cannot “learn” the difference without both.

Now, for a moment, let us assume that there is not only a God, but also a Devil.

If there were such an “Anti-God” force or being, his job would be to teach us to do the wrong things instead of the correct things, or Wrong instead of Right, Incorrect instead of correct, etc, etc.

How would he do that?

First, he would recognize that there is a struggle going on between a man’s inner self that is between his “carnal self” and his “spiritual self.” The carnal self wanting to do whatever the flesh desires, and the spiritual self wanting to do whatever may be good, and those two things will often conflict.

Next, he would want to deceive us into believing that what we think is good, will actually be wrong or evil by using our carnal desires to fool us. Carnal desires are closely tied to “worldly” things, so as soon as our brain begins to think in terms that are philosophically good, he will “wake” us up by having us encounter the “real world.”

And finally, he will make us believe that our choices are clear and easy. Now, if you were him and you made the choices between good and evil easy, do you think there would be much evil in the world? Of course not! If it were easy, then almost everyone in the world would be like all of the great moral leaders in the history of the world, take your pick.

So, how does he make the waters muddy? How does he fool so many people?

He does it by making us make “Value Judgments” between two competing values; with only one of them the “best” answer. The entire key is seeing that the outcome is not the most important thing, it is the choice on how to get there is. Was the choice evil or wrong. He wants to make us think that the end justifies the means.

For example: Suppose you must choose between not lying and lying to save a life. That one is easy, most people would say that even though lying is wrong, the outcome of saving a life was worth it. So he mixes a right and a wrong.

But, Satan is much more cleaver than that.

He usually makes us choose between more difficult “actions” to achieve the desired outcome. A little better example would be self-defense. Many people will recognize that this is a tough choice. Taking someone else’s life in order to save your own. Many will say that we should just let the attacker kill us instead of defending our life by killing him. Many can see that point of view, but think that it is correct to want to protect your own life.

These are the types of examples that make it important to read a book like “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis because he makes it fun and interesting to see how a person could be manipulated by an evil force if there is one. It is a great study on the workings of the criminal mind. Understanding what makes people choose evil over good.

Because we are often placed in positions of having to make value choices like abortion, where the rights of the mother are pitted against the rights of the baby, and like the “The Patriot Act” where many of the provisions are making us decide between freedom and security.

Those with a great understanding of how the “Dark Side” really works can easily see that the reason why we even have “Conservatives” and “Liberals” is that often both sides have their values and often both values are by themselves good, (like security and freedom), but when pitted against one another, we must make the hard choice.

Welfare is another good example. Do we all love to help the poor? Of course, but the “devil is in the details.” The methods we choose can be ones that can make it seem like a tough choice to those with an understanding of how Satan works. Use the government to force people to help by taking tax dollars from everyone or let the individual people be responsible and be rewarded by their individual charity. To some on each side the choice seems obvious, but I submit, if it were easy, there would not be balance and there would be almost everyone on the same page.

Spiritual versus Carnal, Emotion versus Logic, etc, etc, etc.

We make value choices that are difficult, but Satan makes them look easy to each side. Once side is making the correct choice, but what happens to people is that once you start making these value choices, you get comfortable in that “zone” or hemisphere of the brain. If it is the Spiritual side, then you have chosen the side that is without the emotion of the desires of the flesh and often it will be the correct side.

The choice again should be directed by asking yourself, “Which is more important, the means or the end?” This is the key question, and Satan usually makes it difficult. Once we make enough of the wrong choices, our brain and our ego will be most comfortable continuing to make the wrong choices.

Everyone likes to believe they are a good person. Even Al Capone when asked if he was a good person, said yes, of course, I am. I never killed anyone that didn’t deserve it, and all I did was to offer goods and services to people who wanted them.

When we are deep in either side of our brain, we can loose our objectivity and just follow the partly line, because we are comfortable there. If we are not sure about an issue do we really give different views a chance, or do we look to Daily Kos, or National Review to see “how we should think?”

Most will brush off a worldview that conflicts with theirs and easily accept one that agrees with theirs. Human Nature.

But life's value choices are not so easy.


At 3:38 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

This is the essence of the story of the Garden of Eden. We have been banished from paradise where we had no knowledge of our nakedness and no knowledge of the difference between good and evil. Once we eat the forbidden fruit, which we as humans always do, we have knowledge of the difference between good and evil.

Once we know the difference, we then have choices and with choices come responsibilities and with responsibilities come consequences.

Since the path to the garden is blocked by cherubs and fire, most humans try to abdicate responsibility for their choices to others, whether it be a parent, minister, priest or politician. The thought is that "since Pat Robertson told me to do it, it must be okay"; "since this self-proving book claims to be holy, I can do whatever it says and claim exemption from the consequences"; "if our president says so, it must be true".

So few people take full responsibility for their choices and the consequences thereof and own their views of the world. Thus, they do nothing more than parrot the views of those who make them feel the most comfortable and enforce their decision not to use their brains.

An ex of mine took me to a local temple for Kol Nidre services, the night before Yom Kippur. The rabbi was discussing the Garden Of Eden and handed out a paper that had various interpretations of the story. He encouraged the congregation to think about the various interpretations, the contexts in which they make sense and to ponder the real meaning of the story. All without endorsing any of the options. That is a true man of wisdom, who demands others own their religion instead of leasing it from him.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Very true. On this we have total agreement.

If someone slips on a floor somewhere, it must be someone else's fault, because they can't be responsible for anything they do.

So True, so true.



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