Like Sheep Among Wolves.

Lets think about that for a minute. What happens to a sheep when it's surrounded by wolves? Chances are It won't survive. Now lets bring that analogy a little closer to home. What happens if we threw a cat in among dogs? Chances are it won't survive.

Why would we throw a sheep in among wolves or a cat in among dogs? To get the sheep or cat to depend on us? To trust us? I wouldn't, but thats just me. The atheist with no moral compass.

If the sheep, cat or us get shredded is it because we didn't trust enough? Trust presumes that there is something to trust in. Some way out. But when bad things happen to us, its not Gods fault.

Everything happens for a reason.

Its a result of Mans Sinful Nature.

And everything works for the greater good.

So lets pray for help, faith, tolerance. Sometimes the answer is no. And everything happens for a reason.

So who's reason is it? How did we get to be among wolves?

When we pray what is there to pray for? What is there to hope for? God already knows doesn't he? He threw you in there among those wolves didn't he? And its for the greater good. Everything that is happening to you is the result of mans sinful nature. God already knows what you want, He already knew what the result would be. Why do you think your prayer is going to change his mind when everything happens for a reason, and it is for the greater good and Its caused by mans sinful nature anyway? You have some responsibility for what is happening to you. What you are going through must be part of Gods plan. If you get stuck and the only way out is to burn to death or jump 100 floors to your death, remember God is a strong tower, and this is happening to you because you were thrown in like sheep among wolves, everything happens for a reason, it happens for the greater good and it is the fault of mans sinful nature, and you need to pray for faith and strength to withstand the fear and pain of falling or burning to death. Trust in Jesus, he's stronger than the tower you are stuck in.

In the next second whatever happens to you is part of a chain reaction of evil that people do to each other. It is an infinite regression of evil deeds and consequences. You may be the innocent victim, but are you sure there is not something you could have done differently to avoid this? What happened to you is not someone else's fault, you share the responsibility with whomever is doing you harm. It is a recursive loop of evil actions and consequences right back to the beginning, so don't expect god to get you out of this, you did it to yourself.
* You were thrown in like a sheep among wolves
* The bad thing happened for a reason, and
* its not Gods fault,
* it is the fault of mans sinful nature
therefore, there is a correlation between the reason and mans sinful nature.
* therefore it happened because that is what you would expect to happen to a sheep among wolves.
* therefore since it doesn't make sense to throw us in like sheep among wolves without a way out, Jesus is the way out.
* So pray about it, but remember, sometimes the answer is no.

Just like it would be if there was no God and everything happened by Chance. What Was Jesus Thinking?

Here's a praise prayer that I used when things went south.
"Thank you Jesus for not completely squashing me like a bug."

27 comments:

You don't argue with wolves.... said...

You have a lot of hate, don't you Lee?

Obviously, you have become one of the wolves. Too bad you can't see it.

Pvblivs said...

I have long wondered. When people talk about "the good shephard," do they understand what the shephard ultimately does with the sheep?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi "ydaww"
As usual there is something wrong with me, but not the guy that admitted to throwing you in there among the wolves.

I assume you don't agree, so where is it that my argument breaks down?

Karen said...

You throw a sheep in among the wolves to feed the wolves, don't you? Presumably as part of a pack relocation activity -- and if you're being humane, you kill the sheep first.

Wolves aren't evil. For that matter, neither are dogs, even my next-door neighbor's dog who mauled my cat to death. (Long story; I didn't safeguard the cat adequately, and the dog is an absolute sweetheart to humans.)

I firmly believe that people, and only people, can be agents for evil in this world. However, I also believe that the distress/damage/disaster caused by unexpected consequences of evidently good -- or at least neutral -- activities outweighs that caused by evil people.

If there were a Deity, S/He could only be worthy of worship if S/He clearly inhibited the more dreadful of the Unintended Consequences. While one can almost always imagine how a situation can be worse than it is, I haven't seen any sign of miraculous mitigation of unintended consequences.

richdurrant said...

Here's something interesting to chew on.
http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jan/robots-evolve-and-learn-how-to-lie/?searchterm=Robots
I found this quite thought provoking. It's interesting that a robot learned to deceive other robots. I think it's an interesting parallel to the "sinful nature" people often refer to.

As far as what is there to pray for? plenty. What is there to hope for? That someday people will figure out how to play nice;)

"God already knows what you want, He already knew what the result would be. Why do you think your prayer is going to change his mind when everything happens for a reason, and it is for the greater good and Its caused by mans sinful nature anyway?"
I didn't think I was trying to change Gods mind, or his plan, but trying to figure out what I can do about it.

"In the next second whatever happens to you is part of a chain reaction of evil that people do to each other."

So like I have said before, lets learn from our mistakes and stop the cycle.

zilch said...

Rich- your link doesn't work. At least in my browser, it doesn't fit in the frame and the end gets lopped off. Please see here for how to make links at blogger.com. I'd like to see your link- sounds interesting.

richdurrant said...

I have a hell of a time with the html tags for some reason so let me try again. I think there is more about the study somewhere bu this I actually read from my discover magazine from Jan 2008. so I am still interested in finding more on the topic.

richdurrant said...

It didn't even show up at all that time, CURSE THESE COMPUTERS!! or maybe it's just me :)

cross my fingers

If this doesn't work I'll have to guide you there manually,LOL

richdurrant said...

It worked for me finally, I just needed the html for Christians guide! thanks zilch

zilch said...

You're most welcome, Rich. And it's not just Christians that need help with html- this atheist, at least, took quite a while to get the hang of it. I finally got some help from my computer-savvy Christian friend Stefan.

The study on robots looks provocative, but there's not enough information there to judge what has really happened.

richdurrant said...

It does and I am trying to find if it published somewhere online so i can read more about it. It was a top 100 science stories of the year article so the study came from somewhere. If I find it I'll certainly post a link. I thought I followed your formula from that other post twice, but I guess the third time was a charm.

Shygetz said...

I found this quite thought provoking. It's interesting that a robot learned to deceive other robots. I think it's an interesting parallel to the "sinful nature" people often refer to.

Or you could look at science, and see that in social game theory deception is often a useful technique when employed selectively.

Unless you're now saying that plastic and silicon have "sinful natures". Was there a robot in the Garden of Eden?

richdurrant said...

"Unless you're now saying that plastic and silicon have "sinful natures"."

uhh not even.

"Was there a robot in the Garden of Eden?"

Snake, Adam, Eve, flaming sword, nice animals, I don't recall a robot. Also noteworthy is that some robots exhibited hero behavior. Whether you put God in the equation or not, people do bad things to others. It's as if we are hardwired to be naughty. So for those who are religious to call it "sinful nature" or label it what suits you, it's there. Why I thought it was interesting is because those who conducted the experiment didn't expect robots to be deceitful, but there it is, a little robo-naughty, some silicon wolves ready to watch your will to compute sucked dry while they feast on power.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
thanks for contributing that link. I don't see why a christian would want to point that out.

The first thing is that I don't think the article gives enough information about how the result came about. I haven't heard anything about it in my podcasts yet, and usually they are on top of the latest relevant science.

But if it is true that the outcome was a surprising result in artificial intelligence then, it shows that lying is a natural result of developing a survival strategy. And this does intrude into the religious domain. And I have posted another article on my other blog that provides a solution to the mind-body problem that if true shows that consciousness can arise out of the physical process of naturally occurring algorithms in the brain and defeats the argument for the soul.

This also shows that an act is simply an act until interpreted by a human whether its giving all your money to charity or persecuting children as witches. One is a viable survival strategy, and the other isn't.

zilch said...

Lately, there's been a fair amount of research on deception in chimps. Here's a film showing a chimp feigning disinterest in food when the experimenter is present, but going straight for it as soon as he is gone. And here's a review of Why we lie: The evolutionary roots of deception and the unconscious mind, by David Livingstone Smith, which looks to be an interesting study. A quote from the review by Tamar Frankel:

"In the evolutionary context, living things that lie do not intend to lie, mislead or deceive. In fact, they might not even intend to survive by means of deception. They simply do. Thus, evolution cleanses lying of its pejorative sense. The reason why beings lie does not relate to these beings' intent or choice. It relates to their innate abilities and the resultant survival by greater procreation."

The question remains: do plastic and silicon have sinful natures? Or must you have a mouth and a need to be sinful? If robots can be built with mouths and needs (and they can), then where exactly does sin come in? Are deceptive chimps sinful? Deceptive Neanderthals? Cro-Magnons? Of course, from a naturalistic point of view, the question is meaningless. But the dualists who insist that "sinful" is a meaningful characteristic must make up fairy tales (biting the apple, infestation with Body Thetans, etc.) to define and confine it.

richdurrant said...

Yes the article is just stating one of the 100 best science stories of 2007. It appears that if you want to read the research it comes at a price.

So if lying is a natural trait, is there such a thing as trustworthy? Or are people we claim are trustworthy just better at lying? If trustworthy is really achievable then it would follow that we can overcome our natural instincts. So all this we can't help how we act, think, ect, comes into reasonable doubt to me. Certainly sin is a label put on certain acts by someone.

There is a passage in the Book of Mormon about the natural man being an enemy to God. Asking that we put off the natural man. So learning to tell the truth seems to go against our nature, but if our goal is to become more like Christ and achieve eternal life, we have to learn not to lie, cheat, steal, and so on.

"And I have posted another article on my other blog that provides a solution to the mind-body problem that if true shows that consciousness can arise out of the physical process of naturally occurring algorithms in the brain and defeats the argument for the soul."

That was interesting. But just because it can arise doesn't necessarily mean it did. If we consider that these robots achieved consciousness, did it come naturally or by design? It appears that from the little we get from the article it was by design of those conduction the experiment.

As far as your question zilch, I think to have sinful natures we have to define what that is. If we define deceit as sinful, and that occurs naturally in consciousness, then it would be sinful nature by definition. And that only has meaning to those who define it as such, like you said.

So then for a naturalist, would lying for survival be morally acceptable behavior? It would appear that it is.

zilch said...

Rich, you ask:

So then for a naturalist, would lying for survival be morally acceptable behavior? It would appear that it is.

How do you conclude that? That's an example of the "is-ought" fallacy. Just because something is "natural" doesn't mean that it's acceptable. It's "natural" that people die of appendicitis too. We have a fair amount of leeway to think about what we want, what kind of world we want to live in, and to act accordingly.

As far as "lying for survival" goes, that's a pretty large category. I suppose counterfeiters and people who lie about products (e.g. advertisers) could be considered to be "lying for survival", and I don't find that to be morally acceptable behavior. On the other hand- would you lie to save the life of a loved one? I would. Hard to draw lines. In any case, it's something we have to think about, not something that's obvious.

richdurrant said...

How do you conclude that?

Actually it's not a conclusion, it's thinking out loud about you last comment. It was kind of looking for a general rule thing, which always come with exceptions, that you quickly pointed out.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
If trustworthy is really achievable then it would follow that we can overcome our natural instincts.
yea, so what? but lying is not my natural instinct. Don't tell me its yours.

So all this we can't help how we act, think, ect, comes into reasonable doubt to me.
this is a straw-man of my position, you are all conveniently leaving out the qualifiers that go with that. Not being able to choose to feel fear, is different that not being able to choose not to do harm.

And the problem with DOGMA is that it gets you backed into a corner. For example
* is lying bad? yes.
* even when it is protect someone from harm? no
* Well which is it? is it good or bad?
You can't decide because context is involved, and that means there are qualifiers that need to be considered. Almost every moral choice I can think of depends on qualifiers.

* is it bad to kill? yes.
* even if it is to save the people in the room at virginia tech? no.
see how that works?

There is a passage in the Book of Mormon ...So learning to tell the truth seems to go against our nature,
is it your nature to lie? Do you really have to work that hard to tell the truth? I doubt it. Think about it Rich.

That was interesting. But just because it can arise doesn't necessarily mean it did. If we consider that these robots achieved consciousness, did it come naturally or by design? It appears that from the little we get from the article it was by design of those conduction the experiment.
It appeared to me that it may have been from design, but it seems the result was unexpected, and the result of simple rules that were organized in a way that ended up in a survival strategy that gets labeled as lying. Is it moral? It depends on the perspective of who it benefits. And another thing, if it can arise naturally in most cases, what is going to stop it? If it occurs naturally in most cases, then unless something prevents it, it should occur. If you want to say that it won't in most cases, then you need to provide a plausible and likely way that it wouldn't. Like me saying that just because a ball can fall to the floor, doesn't necessarily mean that it will.


So then for a naturalist, would lying for survival be morally acceptable behavior? It would appear that it is.
I can't speak for naturalists, but I think it is a moral imperitive for you to lie to protect your daughter if you need to. It ultimately comes down to what is more important doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Have you actually considered deep in your heart the reality of God in your life? If you believe in evolution, as most atheists do, then how do you explain our conscience? Why do we feel bad about things we do? Is it because we were programmed to feel bad? Or is it because we know good from bad, right from wrong? If there is evolution then why did everything stop evolving since modern man has been around? Why are there still primapes? Why is there no creation in between humanity and primapes? Why is there not any "evolved" human beings? Natural selection isn't being proven anywhere in the world, neither is evolution. If you can tell me what's evolving that would be great. Since you don't believe in a creator then explain, in your OWN terms how we are here. Everyone against Christianity falls back on other peoples opinions. Are you going to tell me it's fact? Because science say's things are fact all the time, until they aren't. Evolution is taught in school like it is fact, but it's theory. And if science suggests there is no truth, then why try to make your views the truth? Wouldn't that be contradictive. You won't be able to understand Christianity as long as you don't look at the deep things in life. You all may have been Christians at one time, and i feel horrible that you've fallen away. Did Christ leave you or did you leave Christ? Did you lose faith or did you lose Him? What happened to each of you to stop believing? Is it because you don't want to accept accountabiblity for your actions? You don't want to have Someone to judge you for your immorality? Is it because the media makes Christians out to be out of control hypocritical violent liars? Or are you ashamed in a Creator who would love you throughout anything and even when you became a slave to your own selfish desires He came and died for you? You know why i believe in God, and Christ? It's because i've experienced Him. Are you looking forward to dying and "nothing happening?" What is there to live for? If you have nothing to die for then you have nothing to live for. You can say Christianity is wrong b/c the scientific community, the media, and most of the world say that it's false. But what does the Bible say about a time like this? Doesn't it talk about false prophets, false teachers, apostasy? Everything that's happening right now is further proof of the authenticity of the Bible. I love you because my Father in heaven loves you. Did you know that the Father loves you as much as He loves His Son, Jesus? He created all of you for companionship. He's been in love with you before you were created, before even time was created. He knew your name. Maybe He put trials in your path and that caused you not to believe. Maybe He just wanted you to look at Him, ask Him for help. There is no proof of evolution. There is no proof of the Big Bang THEORY. Darwin even admitted on his death bed that evolution was just a theory? If Jesus and the disciples were lying then why did they lie unto death? Why did Stephen, while being stoned, look up to heaven with a smile? Why did Jesus, if He wasn't the Messiah, just say so while He hung on the cross? Why would the Apostles suffer similiar torture if they knew their Lord and Savior did not rise from the dead? And why does Christianity spread in the face of persecution? Is it because people want to die and be hated? Or could it be that others see the grace and love that Christians have, even in the face of death. You may not believe in God any longer, but tell Him that. I won't be pursuaded to not believe in God because i know God personally. I've talked with God, i've talked with Jesus, and i've felt His presence. I"m sure you'll delete this message from your blog, but i don't care. I want you to read this and think about it.

richdurrant said...

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm convinced now!

zilch said...

Anonymous: I don't have the time or energy to deal with all the misconceptions in your post, but one thing I must address. You say:

Darwin even admitted on his death bed that evolution was just a theory?

Now, in the first place, what is a "theory"? In scientific usage, a theory is an explanation for a body of facts. Evolution is a theory; so is gravity. This meaning of "theory" is often confused with the common idiomatic usage meaning "conjecture, unfounded hypothesis". This has been pointed out over and over to (mostly) Christians who say that "evolution is just a theory", but somehow the word does not seem to get around that all scientific explanations of facts can be called "theories", without meaning that they are unsupported. Gravity is "just a theory" too- why not jump off your roof?

In the second place, anonymous, do you consider it moral behavior to spread lies? That is what you are doing, if you claim that Darwin said something on his deathbed that he did not. There is no evidence that Darwin said anything about changing his opinion about evolution, or God, on his deathbed. There is a popular story still going around among Christians that Darwin recanted on his deathbed. It was started by a "Lady Hope" in 1915, who claimed that she visited him at Down House and found him reading a Bible. The story is a fabrication, clearly based on the same kind of wishful thinking that has lead Christians to claim that Einstein was a believer- it was debunked by family members right away, and there's no reason to believe that it is anything other than a lie.

As for your misconceptions about evolution: they are so illformed that they can't really be debated. If you want to engage in real debate about evolution, you'll have to do some reading. Talk Origins is a good place to start.

richdurrant said...

Hi Lee
yea, so what?

So maybe we have choice after all. To some people, you're right to exclude me from this, it is a struggle to tell the truth. I know a guy that the only thing you can count on is that he is lying about something. Can he learn to overcome this seemingly uncontrollable behavior? I think he can.

And the problem with DOGMA is that it gets you backed into a corner. For example
* is lying bad? yes.
* even when it is protect someone from harm? no
* Well which is it? is it good or bad?


No corner here for me. Yes lying is bad. Can you be justified to lie? depends on the circumstances like you point out but that doesn't change the general rule that lying is bad, it add exceptions, and makes it not a hard fast rule.

Almost every moral choice I can think of depends on qualifiers.

I can't think of one that doesn't.

is it your nature to lie? Do you really have to work that hard to tell the truth? I doubt it. Think about it Rich.

Not my nature to lie but other things are that I do need to work at. Everyone is different, obviously. I used lying because of the robots, nothing more. If it is a natural survival instinct then it must be part of man also.

Is it moral? It depends on the perspective of who it benefits.

Lets head to the gospel of Rich ch 10 verse 20 that says: Sin is defined as knowingly choosing to do something that is contrary to the will of God. Maybe that was from Richipedia, I can't remember now. Anyway I'm sure that somewhere there is a situation that doesn't fit this but I think it's holds pretty true. Now the only trick is to figure out what exactly the will of God is, let's not mention just how tricky that is.

Like me saying that just because a ball can fall to the floor, doesn't necessarily mean that it will.

That's true, but the bread always lands butter side down;)

Lee Randolph said...

HI Rich,
I know a guy that the only thing you can count on is that he is lying about something. Can he learn to overcome this seemingly uncontrollable behavior? I think he can.
by sheer willpower? by praying about it? by seeing a psychologist? How can he do it rich, and how are you qualified to say that? Because it doesn't happen to you? Have you put one ounce of thought as to what might be behind that except for (oooooooooh) "EVIL"?


lying is bad, it add exceptions, and makes it not a hard fast rule.
You should rephrase that to say that
Lying is bad when its intended use is to do harm.

Lying is not bad when its intended use is to prevent harm.

If we are going to stick to DOGMA lets at least fix it so that it applies to reality.

When I was teenager about 15, my stepdads teenage daughter ran away from her abusive stepdad and showed up at the house when my parents had gone out. Her stepdad and her mom showed up sometime later, believing she was in the house, demanding she come out or I let them in. I knew they could not KNOW she was in the house and I lied telling them that since she wasn't here they had better get busy finding her before something bad happened. The guy even threatened to force his way in but I told him that once he got inside one of us was going to wind up dead.

They left. She remained safe for a little while longer. Was I wrong?

I can't help but think that people who speak in generalities need a heaping helping of reality.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anonymous,
I"m sure you'll delete this message from your blog, but i don't care. I want you to read this and think about it.
You knowingly violated the rules for posting, as you pointed out.

I left it there because zilch added some value to it.
thank you zilch.

and I also left it there as an example of how your belief system will allow you to self-justify 'breaking the rules' to meet your objective.

This is a characteristic of 'you people'. It has resulted in much tearing of robes and gnashing of teeth. I want you to read this and think about it.

richdurrant said...

by sheer willpower? by praying about it? by seeing a psychologist?

A little of all and emotional support from friends and family perhaps. Or are you saying that a pathological liar has no hope?

How can he do it rich, and how are you qualified to say that? Because it doesn't happen to you? Have you put one ounce of thought as to what might be behind that except for (oooooooooh) "EVIL"?

Do I have to have a PHD to so I can be qualified to form an opinion? And I have actually put pounds of thought into such things. it doesn't mean I'm right But I have opinions and I keep an open mind for new information that might change my mind.

If we are going to stick to DOGMA lets at least fix it so that it applies to reality.

Are you sure this fixes the DOGMA?
Maybe there are times when lying that brings harm can still be wrong.

They left. She remained safe for a little while longer. Was I wrong?

I'll go with it sounds like you made the right choice.

I can't help but think that people who speak in generalities need a heaping helping of reality.

I've had my share of reality, but I think everyone speaks in generalities, generally speaking;)

Andre RG Sanchez said...

When you pray, you are not asking for anything. You are telling God that you trust him, and declaring that you accept his love and understand that he is the source of everything. You don't pray for God, you pray for yourself.