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Old 06-05-2013, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,191 posts, read 9,079,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Do you really agree with the lost sheep moral? I cannot imagine looking at the situation through the eyes of the responsible brother and not wanting to smack someone in the face if they came along and lectured me about sour grapes. Would you mind if this sort of thing happened at the work place? You put in long hours and devoted care, and when promotion time comes around it instead goes to some slacker who was drunk on the job, avoided any task he could elude, and is just now returning to the office after three months in rehab. "Oh, sorry mordant, we decided to give the promotion to Mr. Junkie Juicehead instead of you, for he was in rehab and now he is clean! Now don't take that attitude, c'mon...."

Sour grapes? Really?
I have three brothers and if one of them were profligate (actually the eldest was, briefly, in his salad days) then I would be delighted and relieved to see them get their act together and I would be eager to welcome them back (with a few caveats).

I have seen firsthand in situations of this nature, the "responsible" siblings tend to over-compensate. A good acquaintance of mine is the sibling of a convicted and confessed murderer and sociopath, and he has actually said in so many words, "I have felt extra responsible to my parents to be the good son. To make up for my sister." Now that is an example of how his sister's self-absorbed actions have materially harmed others in her family, and if she were truly repentant someday (unfortunately she's one of those "I did it and I'm glad I did it" types), part of that repentance would be humility in seeking to acknowledge the harm she has done and to do what she can to make it right. On the other hand, that real harm wouldn't give him license to play the role of martyr: "I've been the good son all these years and you're not worthy to scrape the c__p off my shoes."

Nor would the father be justified in disacknowledging the "good son", nor would a boss be justified in passing over the "good employee" to promote the "returned prodigal employee". That is where the parable drifts a bit off course, however, I don't recall that the prodigal was put in a position of authority or promoted in some way over the elder brother, simply that he was completely forgiven and accepted and there was real happiness about his return. And I also recall a difference in attitude between the two sons: the prodigal "came to his senses", stated he was "not worthy" to be accepted, but maybe his father would allow him to be a hired hand or some other lowly position. On the other hand the elder son was arrogant and prideful and felt it necessary to disacknowledge his younger brother -- he was interested in schadenfreude instead.

Bottom line, in this case the elder brother simply resenting the prodigal son for getting any kind of acceptance or love and was resenting anyone feeling kindly toward him. In my experience the best test of someone's character is their ability to be happy for someone else's good fortune in an area where their own fortune is not good. Such a person understands that love and acceptance are not a zero sum game, there is enough love to go around for everyone and no one can get so much of it that it subtracts from what's available to you.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:01 AM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,249,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I have three brothers and if one of them were profligate (actually the eldest was, briefly, in his salad days) then I would be delighted and relieved to see them get their act together and I would be eager to welcome them back (with a few caveats).

I have seen firsthand in situations of this nature, the "responsible" siblings tend to over-compensate. A good acquaintance of mine is the sibling of a convicted and confessed murderer and sociopath, and he has actually said in so many words, "I have felt extra responsible to my parents to be the good son. To make up for my sister." Now that is an example of how his sister's self-absorbed actions have materially harmed others in her family, and if she were truly repentant someday (unfortunately she's one of those "I did it and I'm glad I did it" types), part of that repentance would be humility in seeking to acknowledge the harm she has done and to do what she can to make it right. On the other hand, that real harm wouldn't give him license to play the role of martyr: "I've been the good son all these years and you're not worthy to scrape the c__p off my shoes."

Nor would the father be justified in disacknowledging the "good son", nor would a boss be justified in passing over the "good employee" to promote the "returned prodigal employee". That is where the parable drifts a bit off course, however, I don't recall that the prodigal was put in a position of authority or promoted in some way over the elder brother, simply that he was completely forgiven and accepted and there was real happiness about his return. And I also recall a difference in attitude between the two sons: the prodigal "came to his senses", stated he was "not worthy" to be accepted, but maybe his father would allow him to be a hired hand or some other lowly position. On the other hand the elder son was arrogant and prideful and felt it necessary to disacknowledge his younger brother -- he was interested in schadenfreude instead.

Bottom line, in this case the elder brother simply resenting the prodigal son for getting any kind of acceptance or love and was resenting anyone feeling kindly toward him. In my experience the best test of someone's character is their ability to be happy for someone else's good fortune in an area where their own fortune is not good. Such a person understands that love and acceptance are not a zero sum game, there is enough love to go around for everyone and no one can get so much of it that it subtracts from what's available to you.
I imagine this is part of what makes scripture so interesting, you get out of it what you bring to it. I read this passage a lot more like Grandstander, but a big part of that is my wife is going through it in a very real way right now. She is the "good" child, and get overlooked, minimized, and disparaged by her parents while making tremendous sacrifices for them, while the sibling who has made( and continues to make) poor choices, mooch off the parents, and contributes nothing is the one who gets a fuss made over them.

I think the story of the prodigal son has some good insights into how one might not want to allow jealousy and hurt to damage your relationships, but too often I think it approached as the whole story, the final word in relationships. One could just as easily tell the same parable from the older son's point of view as a cautionary tale about setting boundaries and being an enabler. After all, we are not told if the prodigal son actually changed, or if he was back to his profligate ways as soon as he got his money back.

My take away is that mythic literature, or indeed any kind of literature can contain a lot of truth, but often what we take away is based on what we bring with us. It certainly does make for interesting discussions!

-NoCapo
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,143 posts, read 19,189,484 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ONTVisit View Post
What do you atheist think of Jesus Christ? Do you like his teachings on mount of sermon? Do you have Jesus statue or images of him in your car or house?

I myself is an atheist, but I still admire him. May sound silly, but I do have Jesus picture in my house and a cross in my bedroom even though I do not believe in god(s). I do not see Jesus as god, but as an amazing person. Even Gandhi agreed with it.

I hate religion, but love Jesus.
There are too many different versions of Jesus; some I like and some I hate. In the end though, they all boil down to ideals and concepts rather than a real-life flesh and blood person.

Jesus the man is just a character in a story but Jesus is also an archetype for a wise and just leader who seeks to raise others to his level rather than dominate them and knows how to wield immense power without being corrupted by it. What's not to like about that?

But I HATE the contemporary Christian Kenny Loggins look-alike Jesus who is your personal best friend and is just waiting in the clouds to jump down and give you a snuggly hug when you feel down.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
40,888 posts, read 18,557,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
I don't recall that the prodigal was put in a position of authority or promoted in some way over the elder brother, simply that he was completely forgiven and accepted and there was real happiness about his return.
This was the elder son's complaint:
Quote:
But he answered his father, "Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him."
Luke 15:29-30

The wayward son was being given an honor for returning, which the brother had never received despite his loyalty and hard work.

Moral...be a screwup and come crawling back and you get the fatted calf. Work hard and stay sober and you get to watch the screwup having a party thrown for him, one you never got.

Some other points about this story...It begins with the younger son going to his father and asking for his share of his inheritance...prematurely...because he wants to blow off the farm life in favor of adventure. The son goes on to lose all that he has been given and gets reduced to working in a pig stye. That is when he "comes to his senses" and says
Quote:
"How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough to spare, and I'm dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants."
Is this someone who is repentant of his ways or just someone desperate because his ways have left him in a humiliating, destitute state? You could easily interpret the above passage in a cynical manner with the son's attitude being..."I blew the money, I'll go home and put on the humble act and hit the old man up for some more." See anything in the passage which clearly identifies actual humility and regret? I do not.

The context of the parable is Jesus answering charges made by some Pharisees who are complaining that Jesus spends too much time consorting with sinners. Seems to me that Jesus could have come up with some illustration of the joy of forgiveness which did not come at the expense of some non sinner. He could have taken the Willie Sutton approach....."I am here to forgive sins and sinners are where sins are found."
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,026 posts, read 54,523,130 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I treat the philosophy of Jesus as I do any other prescription for living...take from it whatever I find of value, don't concern myself with the rest.

In general the whole love your neighbor/other cheek concept really only works if there is some reward/punishment based post corporal state of being. Otherwise you are just going through life permitting others to take serial advantage of you.

I found some of the parables to have what I view as bad moral points, especially the Prodigal Son tale where the irresponsible wastrel son gets placed above the loyal, hard working son, simply because he finally staggers home after years of debauchery. Yeah, that was fair.

Some of the other parables, I couldn't figure out what the moral was supposed to be. The Wedding Feast one where the king's bigshot friends send excuses for why they can't attend the prince's wedding ("I have bought some oxen and must try them" is my favorite) so the king invites all the lower class people to the wedding instead and at the wedding he finds one who isn't wearing a wedding garment. This fellow is cast into the darkness with the traditional teeth gnashing etc. The moral, Jesus explains, is "Many are called but few are chosen."

Huh? wtf? Are they sure they heard Jesus correctly? Maybe it was actually "Many are cold, but few are frozen."

The New York Daily News once had that phrase as their front-page headline on a winter day.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
40,888 posts, read 18,557,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Hepburn View Post
I don't believe GS that you will want to open to anything that I will say...

.
I asked you how what happened demonstrated any paternal love or sensitivity for the feelings of the son who stayed home and worked while his brother was off in Vegas on the Jordan or wherever one went in those days to indulge in bacchanalia and debauchery. I am certainly open to your answer to that, but I was unable to locate it in your response.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:23 PM
 
67 posts, read 56,630 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ONTVisit View Post
I hate religion, but love Jesus.
This is not the first time I've seen this form of proselytization directed at atheists.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
40,888 posts, read 18,557,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hirilorn View Post
This is not the first time I've seen this form of proselytization directed at atheists.
I don't think it qualifies as proselytizing. This is a poster expressing admiration for a philosopher and his teachings, not an argument for the divine nature of that philosopher.

The thread asks what we think of that philosopher, not what we think of this god.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Lower east side of Toronto
10,586 posts, read 10,766,202 times
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Who said you have to be religious for admiring the finest mind every to appear on earth? War has been going on since the beginning of time. No person can figure out how to stop war...Christ had the answer..."Love your enemy"...THAT is the only thing that works...also if you are a real socialist...Christ would be someone to look up too..."Take your money and put it into a public purse where all could come and take as needed" - Or sharing food and other materials...Set the example of taking a fish and some bread and feeding the hungry...Once the crowd saw this kindness they all reached under their robes and pitched in with food they had hidden for themselves...Christ was a pragmatic guy and did not need smoke and mirrors to prove his point.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Germany 2014
185 posts, read 153,108 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hirilorn View Post
This is not the first time I've seen this form of proselytization directed at atheists.
No. I do not believe in any god or gods. I ask what you think of Jesus as philosopher and human being.
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