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1 hour ago, mrmarklin said:

Satan does not wish that we believe in him at all. Atheists, by denying God, also deny the opposite, Satan. This gives Satan great power, with terrible results. Witness the effects of communism, and national socialism. Even by atheistic standards it’s fairly evil. 

I believe in God. I don't believe in many of the scriptures that come from men.

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1 hour ago, mrmarklin said:

Satan does not wish that we believe in him at all. Atheists, by denying God, also deny the opposite, Satan. This gives Satan great power, with terrible results. Witness the effects of communism, and national socialism. Even by atheistic standards it’s fairly evil. 

Not really. An atheist can have a moral framework and can be even more aware of evil and better at rejecting it because of their atheism. Sometimes the religious tools of morality people use are counterproductive and evil.

Example: focusing more on a person's dress and language than their real character because of ones religious rules can trick us into mistrusting good people and trusting people with wicked intentions.

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11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

There must always be opposition.  Otherwise God could not exist as God (2 Ne 2:11,13).  There must always be a Satan, which is merely a title, not a name.

Opposition doesn’t have to be evil though. Resistance training in exercising is a form of opposition, yet no one suggests resistance bands, etc are somehow evil. 
 

Opposition is imo required for growth. We need to have to push ourselves in order to progress. Change occurs in the presence of need, opposition.  Whether or not that opposition needs to be also evil to grow into Godhood, I am less certain about.  
 

I think evil is more a potential of humanity agency where what is evil is that which elevates the self into supreme need where one rejects the desire to care about and for others while that which is good elevates “love one another as I have loved you” into the ultimate rule of behaviour.  This last does not mean ignoring the needs of ourselves because we can only love others to the best of our abilities when we are our best selves. Instead it is about working together so we all move forward into eternal progression as individuals and as a community/family of God. 
 

There is always a Satan because there will always be someone who chooses selfishness as their guiding principle. Not because something forces it, rather it is a result of agency and freedom. 
 

Maybe though if someday humanity could actually achieve all seeking out the good of others as well as ourselves, then there would be no need for an ultimate God because we would all be truly one with each other, everyone choosing the ultimate good in all their decisions. And therefore there would be no Satan either. However, as long as there are humans starting at the beginning of progression whatever that actually means where oneness with each other is beyond their current capability, there will imo be those who choose evil over good and therefore a need for God to provide an opportunity to be something better. 

Edited by Calm
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9 hours ago, california boy said:

 

Does anyone here really believe they are tempted to do evil by Satan or one of him minions?  

 

People are tempted by other people around them trying to influence them, so if there are humans that lack physical bodies that are still capable of interacting in some fashion with humans who possess physical bodies, then I see no reason that they would not also try to tempt/influence for good or evil other humans.  
 

Humans like to have influence on others, whether to help them, to create a more desirable environment to live in, to feel superior, to get a power trip, or something else.  I don’t see why that would change simply because someone lacks a body anymore than it would change if we lost the ability to speak. We would simply find other ways to persuade. 
 

I don’t see it as demons whose only function is to swarm around mortals whispering to their spirits “sin, sin, sin, you know you want to...”.  I see it as more likely what happens between mortals, in our own activities we try to persuade others to follow or support us because we want something from them. 

Edited by Calm
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18 hours ago, strappinglad said:

Is the battle between ' Good ' and 'Evil ' and eternal one, that is , never-ending, has always existed, will always exist ? Or is it created as needed for  each creation? We are told Satan will eventually be bound but is that permanent or temporary ? Then again we are told that " there needs be opposition in all things " /

Good and evil always have been and always will be in conflict with each other. Throughout all eternity, there never was a time or place when the war between good and evil wasn’t being waged  We know this because Lehi tells us nothing can exist unless existence is affirmed upon a eternal matrix or framework of choices between good and evil. The scriptures also tell us that all intelligences have agency, but agency cannot exist without the ability to make choices between diametric opposites, and foremost among the choices that can be made between diametric opposites are the choices made between good and evil. The only time any intelligence gets somewhat of a break from the eternal battle between good and evil is when in they are placed in temporary states of unaccountability, such as the state of innocence of newborn babies; but even then the battle between good and evil swirls all about them.

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6 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Not really. An atheist can have a moral framework and can be even more aware of evil and better at rejecting it because of their atheism. Sometimes the religious tools of morality people use are counterproductive and evil.

Example: focusing more on a person's dress and language than their real character because of ones religious rules can trick us into mistrusting good people and trusting people with wicked intentions.

Can you show where in any of the scriptures it says one can correctly judge between good and evil by merely looking at superficial external trappings rather than by discerning good or evil intent by examining the heart through the enlightening and clarifying power of the Holy Spirit? What you are describing as the “counterproductive and evil” tools of religion are, in actual reality, forcefully and consistently condemned throughout the scriptures. It’s important to differentiate between true and false religion and not stack all religion in the counterproductive and evil category.

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4 hours ago, Calm said:

People are tempted by other people around them trying to influence them, so if there are humans that lack physical bodies that are still capable of interacting in some fashion with humans who possess physical bodies, then I see no reason that they would not also try to tempt/influence for good or evil other humans.  
 

Humans like to have influence on others, whether to help them, to create a more desirable environment to live in, to feel superior, to get a power trip, or something else.  I don’t see why that would change simply because someone lacks a body anymore than it would change if we lost the ability to speak. We would simply find other ways to persuade. 
 

I don’t see it as demons whose only function is to swarm around mortals whispering to their spirits “sin, sin, sin, you know you want to...”.  I see it as more likely what happens between mortals, in our own activities we try to persuade others to follow or support us because we want something from them. 

Just speaking from my experience, it was a weird transition going from the paradigm of "the fiery darts of temptation" of devils to no belief in devils. Throughout my life, I was very careful to avoid the appearance of evil, and try to renew the Spirit so that I could withstand evil. Of course, since "as a (wo)man thinketh," so she is, I would even avoid many types of thoughts. Then, after belief in God and devils was over, I changed something. I allowed myself to think through an entire scenario.

Here's an example: suppose as a married woman I had always felt uncomfortable being alone with a man who was not in my family. If a repairmen was in my house in the past, I would have been afraid of temptations that I had been told could happen, even to the point of blocking any thought of the obvious stereotypical temptations and avoiding any unnecessary contact. But now, I don't block the thought, I think it through. Do I want to fool around with a man who is not my husband if given an easy opportunity and no one would have to know? What if he was real charming or handsome? I found something about myself and my marriage. No, I don't want any of that. I just want to be with my husband. It doesn't matter how "attractive" another man is in theory, the thought is repulsive because of the impersonal nature of such a thing and the betrayal it would represent. It's not tempting at all.

Since my beliefs changed I haven't had any prevailing desire to do wicked things, and this fact is actually very gratifying to me. It's nice to know that belief in God isn't the only thing that holds me back from doing wicked things. I have values that are part of who I am. 

I think that the belief in Satan and his minions and their temptations might rob us a bit of this knowledge of our own goodness, and what we really want. And therefore, that belief can rob us of joy.

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17 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

Can you show where in any of the scriptures it says one can correctly judge between good and evil by merely looking at superficial external trappings rather than by discerning good or evil intent by examining the heart through the enlightening and clarifying power of the Holy Spirit? What you are describing as the “counterproductive and evil” tools of religion are, in actual reality, forcefully and consistently condemned throughout the scriptures. It’s important to differentiate between true and false religion and not stack all religion in the counterproductive and evil category.

I think that for example, in Mormondom, the emphasis on things like appearance and language can create confusion in regard to the Spirit. And so people can become so accustomed to talking certain ways and grooming certain ways to invite the Spirit into their lives, that they develop a conditioned response to those things that mimics more genuine intuitive feelings about good and evil. And so they may think it's the Spirit when it's not, and they may think the Spirit is absent because they are made uncomfortable by a person's grooming and language, despite that person being a very good person,  just because they are different enough to make the observer feel uncomfortable.

Edited by Meadowchik
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7 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Not really. An atheist can have a moral framework and can be even more aware of evil and better at rejecting it because of their atheism. Sometimes the religious tools of morality people use are counterproductive and evil.

Example: focusing more on a person's dress and language than their real character because of ones religious rules can trick us into mistrusting good people and trusting people with wicked intentions.

An atheist, by definition has no morality.  How could one?  It’s all about the self.  The old Marxist meme that one civilization is as good as another comes to mind. Clearly not true as some, like tribes in Central Africa are totally degenerate, as opposed to Western civilization that has given us art and freedom. If one examines history only civilizations that have a belief system in a higher power have contributed anything.  And the civilization that has contributed the most believes in the Judeo-Christian ethic. 
Your morality decisions are rooted in the ethic you grew up with from a child. But the reality is that an atheist does what feels good for them at the time. 

Edited by mrmarklin
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22 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

An atheist, by definition has no morality.  How could one?  It’s all about the self.  The old Marxist meme that one civilization is as good as another comes to mind. Clearly not true as some, like tribes in Central Africa are totally degenerate, as opposed to Western civilization that has given us art and freedom. If one examines history only civilizations that have a belief system in a higher power have contributed anything.  And the civilization that has contributed the most believes in the Judeo-Christian ethic. 
Your morality decisions are rooted in the ethic you grew up with from a child. But the reality is that an atheist does what feels good for them at the time. 

You might start by simply asking me how I've built my moral framework.

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8 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Not really. An atheist can have a moral framework and can be even more aware of evil and better at rejecting it because of their atheism. Sometimes the religious tools of morality people use are counterproductive and evil.

Example: focusing more on a person's dress and language than their real character because of ones religious rules can trick us into mistrusting good people and trusting people with wicked intentions.

Thumbs up!

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11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Lehi's Law of Opposition makes it clear that evil exists.  Whether one wishes to define it as an entity or concept, or a social construction, takes us into some very abstruse areas of inquiry.

I believe that Lehi's discourse on opposition is concerning the ability to choose to do evil or to do good. Considering evil and good as a description of a thought or action is an easy concept to understand. Considering it as some abstract entity or whatever is less easy to understand. But maybe we are debating two sides of the same coin.

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55 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

An atheist, by definition has no morality.  How could one?  It’s all about the self.  The old Marxist meme that one civilization is as good as another comes to mind. Clearly not true as some, like tribes in Central Africa are totally degenerate, as opposed to Western civilization that has given us art and freedom. If one examines history only civilizations that have a belief system in a higher power have contributed anything.  And the civilization that has contributed the most believes in the Judeo-Christian ethic. 
Your morality decisions are rooted in the ethic you grew up with from a child. But the reality is that an atheist does what feels good for them at the time. 

They may even have more morality, because they are doing right because it's right, not because they've been taught to do right. And it's from the Atheist's God given moral compass they inhabit. 

I posted an article the other day on another thread that probably got bypassed, about people that are taught self control and obedience. Well, turns out they didn't do well on a test. The test was to give shocks to people for a wrong answer, I can't remember for sure, anyway there were people screaming in pain after the shocks, they were in another room. But little did the testers giving punishment know, but that they were fake cries. Many people quit giving the shocks when they heard the cries. But the people that had more self control, and obedient, kept giving the shocks to people despite hearing their painful cries. The people that weren't so good at self control or obedience seemed to have more heart and weren't able to go on with the testing and hurting someone. The people that were obedient were told they had to shock for wrong answers, did as they were told. I liken it to those that are Atheist, and aren't beholden to any religion, just their moral compasses. 

ETA: How about those that were instructed to kill all those innocent people, including women and children on Mountain Meadows, the MMM? They are doing evil, because they were told to do it under the umbrella that it's their faith and they all believed in God and weren't Atheist. I could add many, many more examples.

Edited by Tacenda
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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

But now, I don't block the thought, I think it through.

When you block a blow from an attacker, you don't ignore it, you prevent it from harming you.

If someone is trying to influence me, it makes sense to me to try and understand the implications of what they are trying to persuade me to do.  Blocking a negative thought for me was never about trying to pretend it didn't exist or ignoring it, but learning about it, how it drew strength and its weaknesses, thus learning how to remove its ability to harm me.

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

I think that the belief in Satan and his minions and their temptations might rob us a bit of this knowledge of our own goodness, and what we really want. And therefore, that belief can rob us of joy.

Does the belief that there are some people around us trying to influence us rob us of the knowledge of when we desire good and what we really want?

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57 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

Western civilization that has given us art and freedom.

And truly high forms of corruption, for example machines that can kill thousands at a time rather than a few.  A good section of the art of Western civilization is porn and pure escapism.

Edited by Calm
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6 hours ago, Calm said:

Opposition doesn’t have to be evil though. Resistance training in exercising is a form of opposition, yet no one suggests resistance bands, etc are somehow evil. 
 

Opposition is imo required for growth. We need to have to push ourselves in order to progress. Change occurs in the presence of need, opposition.  Whether or not that opposition needs to be also evil to grow into Godhood, I am less certain about.  
 

I think evil is more a potential of humanity agency where what is evil is that which elevates the self into supreme need where one rejects the desire to care about and for others while that which is good elevates “love one another as I have loved you” into the ultimate rule of behaviour.  This last does not mean ignoring the needs of ourselves because we can only love others to the best of our abilities when we are our best selves. Instead it is about working together so we all move forward into eternal progression as individuals and as a community/family of God. 
 

There is always a Satan because there will always be someone who chooses selfishness as their guiding principle. Not because something forces it, rather it is a result of agency and freedom. 
 

Maybe though if someday humanity could actually achieve all seeking out the good of others as well as ourselves, then there would be no need for an ultimate God because we would all be truly one with each other, everyone choosing the ultimate good in all their decisions. And therefore there would be no Satan either. However, as long as there are humans starting at the beginning of progression whatever that actually means where oneness with each other is beyond their current capability, there will imo be those who choose evil over good and therefore a need for God to provide an opportunity to be something better. 

In II Nephi 2:11-30, we are dealing with a cosmic concept (being and non-being), not with resistance training.

righteousness

wickedness

holiness, happiness

misery, punishment

good, righteousness

bad, evil, sin

free agency, moral agency, act

compound in one (one body), be acted upon

alive

dead

life

death

incorruption

corruption

sense

insensibility

eternal purpose, wisdom of God

thing of nought

power, mercy, justice of God

no purpose, no law, no sin

God

no God

existence

non-existence

sweet

bitter

truth

lies

liberty, eternal life

captivity, death, hell

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15 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

They may even have more morality, because they are doing right because it's right, not because they've been taught to do right. And it's from the Atheist's God given moral compass they inhabit. 

I posted an article the other day on another thread that probably got bypassed, about people that are taught self control and obedience. Well, turns out they didn't do well on a test. The test was to give shocks to people for a wrong answer, I can't remember for sure, anyway there were people screaming in pain after the shocks, they were in another room. But little did the testers giving punishment know, but that they were fake cries. Many people quit giving the shocks when they heard the cries. But the people that had more self control, and obedient, kept giving the shocks to people despite hearing their painful cries. The people that weren't so good at self control or obedience seemed to have more heart and weren't able to go on with the testing and hurting someone. The people that were obedient were told they had to shock for wrong answers, did as they were told. I liken it to those that are Atheist, and aren't beholden to any religion, just their moral compasses. 

ETA: How about those that were instructed to kill all those innocent people, including women and children on Mountain Meadows, the MMM? They are doing evil, because they were told to do it under the umbrella that it's their faith and they all believed in God and weren't Atheist. I could add many, many more examples.

Double thumbs up!

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20 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

I believe that Lehi's discourse on opposition is concerning the ability to choose to do evil or to do good. Considering evil and good as a description of a thought or action is an easy concept to understand. Considering it as some abstract entity or whatever is less easy to understand. But maybe we are debating two sides of the same coin.

Philosopher's of language will naturally ask whether the words used to describe the Law of Opposites logically refer to any thing real.  Is there a discernible logical argument, with premises and conclusions?  Or are we in the realm of Eastern Yin & Yang?

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25 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

The test was to give shocks to people for a wrong answer, I can't remember for sure, anyway there were people screaming in pain after the shocks, they were in another room

What the experiment actually demonstrates is debatable.  There are a number of problems with it, not the least it may not have been as described:

Quote

One of the most vocal of those critics is Australian author and psychologist Gina Perry, who documented her experience tracking down Milgram’s research participants in her 2013 book Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments. Her project began as an effort to write about the experiments from the perspective of the participants—but when she went back through the archives to confirm some of their stories, she said, she found some glaring issues with Milgram’s data. Among her accusations: that the supervisors went off script in their prods to the teachers, that some of the volunteers were aware that the setup was a hoax, and that others weren’t debriefed on the whole thing until months later. “My main issue is that methodologically, there have been so many problems with Milgram’s research that we have to start re-examining the textbook descriptions of the research,” she said....

In recent years, though, much of the attention has focused less on supporting or discrediting Milgram’s statistics, and more on rethinking his conclusions. With a paper published earlier this month in the British Journal of Social Psychology, Matthew Hollander, a sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin, is among the most recent to question Milgram’s notion of obedience. After analyzing the conversation patterns from audio recordings of 117 study participants, Hollander found that Milgram’s original classification of his subjects—either obedient or disobedient—failed to capture the true dynamics of the situation. Rather, he argued, people in both categories tried several different forms of protest—those who successfully ended the experiment early were simply better at resisting than the ones that continued shocking.

“Research subjects may say things like ‘I can’t do this anymore’ or ‘I’m not going to do this anymore,’” he said, even those who went all the way to 450 volts. “I understand those practices to be a way of trying to stop the experiment in a relatively aggressive, direct, and explicit way.”

It’s a far cry from Milgram’s idea that the capacity for evil lies dormant in everyone, ready to be awakened with the right set of circumstances. The ability to disobey toxic orders, Hollander said, is a skill that can be taught like any other—all a person needs to learn is what to say and how to say it....

He and his colleague Alex Haslam, the third co-editor of The Journal of Social Issues’ Milgram edition and a professor of psychology at the University of Queensland, have come up with a different answer. “The notion that we somehow automatically obey authority, that we are somehow programmed, doesn’t account for the variability [in rates of obedience] across conditions,” he said; in some iterations of Milgram’s study, the rate of compliance was close to 100 percent, while in others it was closer to zero. “We need an account that can explain the variability—when we obey, when we don’t.”

“We argue that the answer to that question is a matter of identification,” he continued. “Do they identify more with the cause of science, and listen to the experimenter as a legitimate representative of science, or do they identify more with the learner as an ordinary person? … You’re torn between these different voices. Who do you listen to?”

The question, he conceded, applies as much to the study of Milgram today as it does to what went on in his lab. “Trying to get a consensus among academics is like herding cats,” Reicher said, but “if there is a consensus, it’s that we need a new explanation. I think nearly everybody accepts the fact that Milgram discovered a remarkable phenomenon, but he didn’t provide a very compelling explanation of that phenomenon.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/rethinking-one-of-psychologys-most-infamous-experiments/384913/

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8 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Not really. An atheist can have a moral framework and can be even more aware of evil and better at rejecting it because of their atheism. Sometimes the religious tools of morality people use are counterproductive and evil.

Example: focusing more on a person's dress and language than their real character because of ones religious rules can trick us into mistrusting good people and trusting people with wicked intentions.

The problem with your reasoning is that if their is no god, morality is totally subjective. One gets his or her moral values basically from the environment in which they are raised. Each person can and I think most do modify their own set of moral values as they grow older, begin to think for themselves, and obtain more information from whatever their sources.

A cannibal's way of life is probably just as moral to him as is your way of life to you. Without God, without a person who knows all of the rules and laws of what is moral or immoral, there is no one to arbitrate between conflicting ideas of what is moral.

If a person follows the precepts of the Gospel of Christ, he or she will not be tricked into mistrusting good people because of physical characteristics such as skin color, hair styles, clothing, etc.

Glenn

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34 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

They may even have more morality, because they are doing right because it's right, not because they've been taught to do right. And it's from the Atheist's God given moral compass they inhabit

But how do you know what is right or wrong? If you do not mind check my reply to Meadowchik concerning this matter.

Glenn

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33 minutes ago, Calm said:

When you block a blow from an attacker, you don't ignore it, you prevent it from harming you.

If someone is trying to influence me, it makes sense to me to try and understand the implications of what they are trying to persuade me to do.  Blocking a negative thought for me was never about trying to pretend it didn't exist or ignoring it, but learning about it, how it drew strength and its weaknesses, thus learning how to remove its ability to harm me.

There's a difference between personifying a thought as evil and just considering it as a thought, though. Better to understand it as one's own thought, better to understand its own origins and implications if possible and try to respond with it healthily.

 

31 minutes ago, Calm said:

Does the belief that there are some people around us trying to influence us rob us of the knowledge of when we desire good and what we really want?

Well yes, it can. Especially if we believed there are eternally damned people doing that. It would be a very imbalanced way of seeing people and I think it would disrupt the potential good in our relationships. 

What works better, imo about actual people is some skepticism about our own knowledge of them. And to pay attention to their behavior as a demonstration of who they are and/or as a predictor of future behavior.  When our neighbor threatened to kill my husband, I sat with a close friend and discussed it. The friend helped me think through our knowledge of the neighbor and reasonably conclude that, most of the time, he would not risk prison by killing any of us in a way that could implicate himself. That evaluation based on his past behavior was not a guarantee, but it did help us feel less panicked about the whole thing. If we believed he was a eternally damned our conclusion would have been far different, and imo less accurate.

Edited by Meadowchik
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15 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

The problem with your reasoning is that if their is no god, morality is totally subjective. One gets his or her moral values basically from the environment in which they are raised. Each person can and I think most do modify their own set of moral values as they grow older, begin to think for themselves, and obtain more information from whatever their sources.

A cannibal's way of life is probably just as moral to him as is your way of life to you. Without God, without a person who knows all of the rules and laws of what is moral or immoral, there is no one to arbitrate between conflicting ideas of what is moral.

If a person follows the precepts of the Gospel of Christ, he or she will not be tricked into mistrusting good people because of physical characteristics such as skin color, hair styles, clothing, etc.

Glenn

Again, as I said to MrMarklin, you can just ask me how I build my moral framework. It would be more meaningful than you just imagining how I do.

Edited by Meadowchik
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19 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Philosopher's of language will naturally ask whether the words used to describe the Law of Opposites logically refer to any thing real.  Is there a discernible logical argument, with premises and conclusions?  Or are we in the realm of Eastern Yin & Yang?

But I am Just Basic. 😎 But Not Even Cool.

Glenn

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