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This is a continuation of the post about two distinctive worldveiws so prevalent in our society today. Let me say up front that even with violating my self imposed 500 word limit on posts this will only very lightly touch on the matter of good or evil. Lets pull a couple of quotes from yesterday’s post to concentrate on here.

Still, the distinction is real and important — and its implications touch on areas of our cultural life far beyond criminal justice. It helps to explain, for example, the very different ways that Platonic liberals and Pauline conservatives approach sex — with the former willing to trust in the power of rational sex education to help shape behavior, and the latter much more concerned about their children succumbing to sinful temptation no matter how many rational arguments they’re exposed to. 

SOURCE:  The real fault line in the culture war isn’t race or sex. It’s sin..

Different worldviews depending on whether you are a Platonic liberal or a Pauline conservative is an interesting concept.  I don’t necessarily agree with the liberal/conservative tags added but be that as it may. I will acknowledge that most people can probably be classified as one or the other of these groups. And then there are people like me, and I hope many others, who might look at it from a different angle.

As I always like to point out this issue is not black/white, Plato/Paul but instead shades of both. As the quote from yesterday said it is too simplistic that one view holds people as good and the other as people are evil because they are always sinful.  Let’s look at Paul and his teaching first.

In order to understand the words of Paul so dominant in the Christian bible you must look at his life’s experiences to see how his philosophy was shaped. Paul was first and foremost a Jewish scholar. He was all about rules. Rules on how to live, what to eat, how to pray, rules about everything. These rules are to keep you from sinning. Paul’s education and everything about him was jewish. When he saw his vision on the road to Damascus it made him realize that he had part of  it wrong. But only part. Since he was a very educated man he wrote much about his new-found faith but intertwined it with his jewish beliefs of rules and sin. I am one of those who align with Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts that Paul took the simple messages of Jesus and made them complicated.

Plato on the other hand generally believed in the goodness of man. He believed that this innate goodness came from our creator and was deeply embedded in us. He was more about shedding off faulty traditions than about rules. Plato was a very complicated guy but for this discussion his idea of innatism is at the center.  Innatism is a philosophical doctrine that holds that the mind is born with ideas/knowledge, and that therefore the mind is not a ‘blank slate’ at birth and that knowledge is generally about wanting to become one with your creator. Therefore he, unlike Paul,concluded that man is at his foundation good as it comes from God who is good.

Plato or Paul?  To me these are two different interpretations of how to live our lives. I personally gather some insight from both but probably align more with Plato. As my Quaker friends say I believe that “there is the light of God in all of us” and that light was given to us by our creator. But I also recognize that temptations are always there. So am I a Platonic liberal or a Pauline conservative?  I am a shade of grey somewhere in between.

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About Conservatives…..

February 19, 2013

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MizerI am have been thinking about the word  “conservative” lately and how I thought it defines me as far as fiscal things go and how it seems to define many of my friends as a general philosophy.  I know  like everything else you can’t put all conservatives in the same box but there seems to be some common traits I assign to that label.  Let’s start out with the basic definition:

noun

  1. a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas

adjective

  1. resistant to change
  2. having social or political views favoring conservatism
  3. unimaginatively conventional
  4. avoiding excess • a conservative estimate 
  5. conforming to the standards and conventions of the middle class

In the past I have identified myself as a fiscal conservative. From a governing standpoint I want to make sure that the money I send to Washington in taxes to do the people’s business is wisely spent. I don’t treat my money haphazardly and I don’t want my government to do that either. But after looking at the basic definition above maybe I think I need to find a new label. I am definitely not reluctant to accept fiscal changes or new ideas about monetary policies, in fact I would embrace one if I thought it would solve some of our problems.  I definitely would not call myself unimaginatively conventional when it comes to money  or anything else for that matter! If you have read much of what I have said in the blog I’m sure you would agree with that. Definition 5 is kind of muddled and without meaning to me so I won’t go there. The standards of the middle class seem to change on a daily basis especially as the conservative group continues to shrink.

But the definitions above do seem to describe many of my friends. They, for the most part, fear change instead of  embracing it.  Many seem to continue to live in the limelight of the Reagan years.  They hate all the change in the last twenty years; especially change brought on by the “liberals”.  Yeah, many of my friends are unimaginatively conventional.

Well, I seem to have decided that the traditional definition of the word “conservative” does indeed describe many of my less than progressive friends but doesn’t hack it when I apply it to myself for fiscal matter. 🙂   So, what should I call myself?   Maybe fiscally prudent progressive.  That has kind of a nice ring to it. From this day forward I am a FPP. Conservative describes those who hate or at least adamantly resist change and that is definitely not me. But I will kind of hold on to that label for some of my less progressive friends….

With Teeth & Compassion….

February 1, 2013

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“Can we make legislation with enough teeth in them for conservatives and compassion for liberals?”

I heard the above phrase, or at least something close to it, from a news commentator recently. I wish I could cite the source but I really don’t remember who it was.  But the phrase struck me as maybe a primary difference between these two groups.

Conservatives seem to be much more concerned about “law and order” than about being altruistic. They want to make sure that no one gets anything that they haven’t worked for or at least earned in one way or another. Liberals on the other hand are willing to give people the benefit of doubt and just don’t assume that everyone needing help is just  gaming the system.

Continue Reading…

Being Broad Minded….

June 2, 2012

Nothing makes a man broad-minded like adversity  –  Will Rogers

I can certainly understand this quote from Will. The adversity in my life, although coming more frequently than I would like, has certainly made me more broad-minded. Coming from humble beginning has made me sensitive to the daily plight of the homeless and financially challenged around me. Going deaf in mid-life has made me more aware of the challenges others face with handicaps every day. Being asked to leave a church because I didn’t have the “right” beliefs has made me aware of all those who are gun-shy about anything spiritual. Continue Reading…

About Fox News….

June 8, 2011

sen·sa·tion·al·ism

[sen-sey-shuh-nl-iz-uhm]

–noun

1. subject matter, language, or style producing or designed to produce startling or thrilling impressions or to excite and please vulgar taste.

2. the use of or interest in this subject matter, language, or style: The cheap tabloids relied on sensationalism to increase their circulation.

When I ran across this definition the absolutely first thing I thought of was Fox News.  I also admit that after thinking of it a bit MSNBC also came to mind. The reason this thought came up is because of discussions with my conservative friend about the Fox News article referenced in the last post.  Fox News seems to be the only national news organization to report it, especially with such drama.  The next day, as expected, the judges words were overruled by a higher court.  So now it is a waiting game to see what the next sensational news release they will put out. I’m sure whatever it is will get my conservative friend just as riled as this one.

This is just another example of the extreme bias in so much of the media today. Fox News in particular seems to latch onto anything that will push  their readers into a frenzy and as evidenced by my discussions with my conservative friend they do a very good job of that.  For you Star Trek fans you might say that they “will seek out inciting news where no one has gone before“. 🙂   No that is not a typo, the I meant to use the word inciting not exciting. I’m sure my conservative friend has Fox News broadcast on much of the time he is in front of his “boob tube” just as some of my liberal friends have MSNBC constantly on.

Will we ever be able to bridge the chasm between these two news views? I don’t know what percentage of the overall news viewers are latched to these two channels but I imagine it is the majority of total viewers. With all the screaming going on those two channels it is hard to remember that other news organizations have not succumbed to this mentality; at least yet. The PBS News Hour is one who remains somewhat neutral although those on the right and left of our political spectrum probably think otherwise.

Of course this type of bias is not really unique to our time period only. From my historical readings and reminders from some of the commentors here, the Adams/Jefferson presidential contest was strife with biased reporting. And of course, it has happened other times since then. That is one of the reasons that give me hope that someday we just might return to some normalcy in our media. But that probably won’t occur in my lifetime 🙂

But what do I know…..