If you're crazy, that's something mostly beyond your control. (In some cases, making sure you take your medication can help.) Depending on how crazy you are, you may be able to act more or less normal, but a person with deep mental illness can not simply refrain from doing crazy things. It's kind of like saying you can choose not to die of cancer, or choose not to lose your memories and mind if you have Alzheimer's.
Interesting use of "mostly". Except in the most rare and exceptionally uncommon cases (and even these are late stage progressions to which the following would still have applied at some point), people with mental illness still have enough lucidity to willingly choose to seek help...if they choose to do so. This was my point. Having mental illness isn't a free excuse to do whatever you want and just get away with it. The mentally ill should still be held accountable for seeking help. Not only medications, but psychotherapy, psychosocial therapy, diet, exercise, and education about their illness, their own personal triggers for that illness, and coping skills for dealing with the stresses of everyday life and those triggers -- all of these things have been proven to be essential in managing and overcoming mental illness. Mental illness is not comparable to the other cases you presented in this regard. (Granted, Alzheimer's does target the brain, but it's not a "mental illness" in the same context as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, major depressive disorder, manic depressive disorder, etc.)
Along with your other examples, I see that you take a behaviorist view of human nature: as long as someone acts normal, they're not crazy. As long as someone doesn't molest kids, they're not pedophile. Your implication, I assume, is that as long as someone doesn't sleep with people of their own sex, they're not gay. This does not strike me as a particularly Christian way to look at it.
Actually I don't generally take a behaviorist view, because people's thoughts are what lead to their actions. Christ taught that if a man lusts after a woman (in his mind) that he is already responsible of committing adultery with her. Someone with homosexual tendencies would therefore be equally responsible of sin for fantasizing about men, watching gay porn, etc. It doesn't mean that I'm not a sinner myself (or that I haven't ever been responsible for lusting after women), but sin is sin. All men fall short of the glory of God, which is why we needed a perfect mediator to pay the price that justice demanded.
Why do we need a book to tell us to be good to others?
This exact logic could be extended to the question, "Why does government need to create laws?" People are generally good, but we are still naturally disposed to certain not-so-good things (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, etc.). If everyone was perfect and could always be expected to do the right thing, then not only would we have no need for government whatsoever, I will assert that we would even have no need for religion or God. The truth of the matter though is that people are simply not perfect. As human beings we need
things like government to keep us in line. Some of us need a book to tell us to be good to each other (because, honestly, my intellectual superiority complex would make it so
much easier to just say, "F*** YOU ALL!!!" and be done with it). This particular aspect doesn't necessarily apply to everyone (just as not everyone would go and murder someone if there was no government or law preventing it), but it does apply to some. The secular parallel of government should make this rather transparent.
How do we know which parts are still good to follow, and which are outdated, unhelpful or bigoted/sexist/racist?
What if God really does think slavery is ok, and that women are lesser to men? Is he right? Should we follow this? If God says something's moral, is it truly moral and good?
I've pointed out several times that just because a particular commandment was given at one point in the Bible doesn't mean that it was meant to apply globally for everyone. Putting things in their proper context makes what might seem atrocious into reasonably understandable acts. Many commandments (e.g., the Mosaic law) were explicitly revoked, and replaced by a higher law. Some commandments were given as tests, some to subject punishment. Even outside of religious texts, context can be the essential difference. This is especially true when looking at religion though, because honestly, a fair and just God isn't going to treat unequal people as equals.
As to whether something is moral because God says it is, this is an interesting matter for debate because morality itself is so loosely defined. An example that springs instantly to mind is Abraham being commanded to kill his son Isaac. From what we know, Isaac had done no great evil to deserve this punishment, but the commandment was given as a test of Abraham's faith. Because
Isaac did not deserve to be slain, God provided a lamb. If the lamb had not been presented and Abraham had slain his (apparently) innocent son, would Abraham have acted morally? That's a very existential question, but from my viewpoint a perfect, loving, and just God would not have given this commandment if he was not going to provide an out. So to me, it would have been less morally correct to disobey the commandment, but that also comes from an understanding that Abraham had a close enough relationship with God to understand that it truly was a commandment being given by God.
Now, on to the original discussion. Regarding the question whether religion contradicts science or not.
Uh... Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this (I'll be off to bed soon, and I'm not going looking for it now), but I don't believe that I
ever said anything
about "the original discussion" involving "whether religion contradicts science". I have
expressly said that I don't believe that they do contradict each other, that I believe they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, etc., but I don't recall the original topic having been about this. Because, honestly, it's not what I wanted to debate...
...use secular law to justify killing someone.
I believe that Obama can provide that answer
...this "religion vs science" debate that appears to be going on
Yes, let's not engage in that.
...a major difference between science and religion...
thread, wat r u doin?? thread, stahp!
Often, these debates are labelled as "fruitless" or "pointless".
I recognized that from the get-out, but isn't the point of a debate
(vs. an argument
) that both sides are able to share their thoughts, feelings, impressions, and ideas? To me, a debate isn't won or lost, it's just about the exchange. I'm not going to get butt-hurt that someone doesn't agree with me here, and I certainly hope that no one gets butt-hurt by my religious beliefs (although AFAIK, the only other inflammatory thing I've said other than being a creationist theist is that I believe homosexuality is a choice and a sin...in which case, if someone gets butt-hurt over the gays, the irony would actually make it worth it).
The difference between science and religion...
This made me worried.
...is that most religions state that it is a fact that there were some prophets...
I actually find this humorous, because I don't think it says
what you mean
. It is
a fact "that there were some prophets", the question is whether these persons were actually divinely inspired. I'm sure you meant the latter, but essentially all it takes to be a prophet is to make a prophecy. Doesn't mean your prophecy is true, or that you're actually speaking on behalf of a higher power.
...it is the best to have no sex before marriage...
Wait a second, you mean to tell me that some people don't consider this an absolute and irrefutable fact?!? Hah! What silly, backwards people those must be!
Morals are a bit different. Is it good to kill somebody? Are there circumstances where it is less bad or good to do so? Who tells you if it is?
Everybody has to ask for himself. In general, if you are not influenced by religion or science most people will come to the same conclusion. Based on this we can form a system of law on which most of the people agree.
If it gets to morals, there is one simple sentence which you can answer all question: "Don't treat others in ways you wouldn't want to be treaten yourself!" or "Don't harm others because you don't want them to harm you".
This is pretty fair, but I think "not influenced by religion or science" amounts to approximately zero people.
Science and religion can go hand in hand but when something is proven to be true or to be false, you shouldn't call it religion any more. Religion is about beliefs. If you know something for sure, you do not need to believe it, you just know it. So guys, stop criticizing each other and just open your eyes and ask things. Just keep asking Why? until he/she doesn't know the answer or the answer is already found.
Interesting. I don't really have much else to say about it, but I do find this interesting. And perhaps even agreeable.
miguel, I think
, etc. WARNING: SUBJECTIVITY AHEAD!!
) that sometimes Khris' statements come across as inflammatory when it's not necessarily his intent. That's not to say he never says any inflammatory things, but I feel like the two of you especially are bashing heads and getting nowhere. I myself don't agree with a fair bit (most?) of what Khris has said in this thread, but that doesn't mean I'm going to hold any hard feelings toward him afterwards. Khris and I are clearly at two very different ends of the spectrum, and I think that while your heart may be in the right place, your point is being lost entirely in the heat of battle. [/entirely-blatant-subjectivity]Three new posts while I was typing. Will post and edit if I have anything else to say.