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  #101  
Old 18 June 2007, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Naw... We all get it now and then.

While the ancients (Jews, Egyptians, Romans, all) were not "children," they did have less understanding than those in later times.
Did they, though? Do you mean they has less knowledge? I'm not sure you can argue that their capacity to understand was any less. I'd put up Aristotle against Paris Hilton any time.

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One argument, then, is that God issued his decrees in terms that people at the time would understand. No one had come up with the Germ Theory of Disease, so God just said, "No shellfish."
Well, possibly, but what great leap forward in disease control occurred between the OT and the NT?
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  #102  
Old 18 June 2007, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
If you mean will I ask people who seem to be saying something despicable to clarify what they say to make sure they're not saying something despicable, then yeah. . . .
I don't know if this helps at all, but I didn't see the analogy as "despicable."

There really has been progress in our world; we know things now that earlier ages did not. (And could not!) It isn't "despicable" to observe that ancient civilizations kept slaves, something we consider immoral. Those ancient civilizations had a less mature morality than ours.

(Specifically, they could formulate the concept of universal morality in the words of the "Golden Rule," and then turn right around and violate it. Of course...so can we...)

I think that if you were to ask a number of Rabbis, at least some of them would agree that, yes, the very early Jews had a child-like comprehension of The Law. At the time, it was simply a decree which must be obeyed blindly; only with time came the enlightened Jewish tradition of studying The Law and trying to comprehend it fully.

In Moses' time, it would have been abomination and heresy to say, "Well, it's because shellfish can go bad and might kill you." You'd have been stoned to death for uttering it.

Today, that is a theory that Jews may or may not agree with...but they are willing to discuss it.

This thread is based on the loose proposition that Islam may, at last, also be willing to undergo the self-examination required for growth to maturity.

Silas
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  #103  
Old 18 June 2007, 09:55 PM
Base Ten
 
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
I don't know if this helps at all, but I didn't see the analogy as "despicable."

There really has been progress in our world; we know things now that earlier ages did not. (And could not!) It isn't "despicable" to observe that ancient civilizations kept slaves, something we consider immoral. Those ancient civilizations had a less mature morality than ours.

(Specifically, they could formulate the concept of universal morality in the words of the "Golden Rule," and then turn right around and violate it. Of course...so can we...)

I think that if you were to ask a number of Rabbis, at least some of them would agree that, yes, the very early Jews had a child-like comprehension of The Law. At the time, it was simply a decree which must be obeyed blindly; only with time came the enlightened Jewish tradition of studying The Law and trying to comprehend it fully.

In Moses' time, it would have been abomination and heresy to say, "Well, it's because shellfish can go bad and might kill you." You'd have been stoned to death for uttering it.

Today, that is a theory that Jews may or may not agree with...but they are willing to discuss it.

This thread is based on the loose proposition that Islam may, at last, also be willing to undergo the self-examination required for growth to maturity.

Silas
Just for the record, I disassociate myself from any use of the simple example I gave to call any people at any point in time "child-like". (If I haven't already made that clear...)

Base Ten

P.S., Go get'em, Chloe
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  #104  
Old 19 June 2007, 12:17 AM
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P.S., Go get'em, Chloe
Well, bugger. I've only got ten minutes, but I'll have a go!
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  #105  
Old 19 June 2007, 12:25 AM
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I don't know if this helps at all, but I didn't see the analogy as "despicable."
Not the analogy, but its implications. To suggest the ancient people of the world were childlike is one thing--totally wrong, as we shall see , but one thing--and to suggest that people who today follow a minority religion are childlike is quite another (though I acknowledge that Base Ten didn't intend to do so).

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There really has been progress in our world; we know things now that earlier ages did not. (And could not!)
True. They lacked our technological knowhow, for instance.
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It isn't "despicable" to observe that ancient civilizations kept slaves, something we consider immoral. Those ancient civilizations had a less mature morality than ours.
I'll have to stop you there. There are places in this world today where slavery exists. Are those cultures childlike? (I know we differ on this sort of thing, so I may end up sorry I asked). Do we consider slavery immoral because we have grown and matured intellectually? Or because our culture teaches that slavery is immoral? Earlier cultures than ours have been vegetarian, pacifist, etc.--are they more mature than us?

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(Specifically, they could formulate the concept of universal morality in the words of the "Golden Rule," and then turn right around and violate it. Of course...so can we...)
Indeed we can.

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I think that if you were to ask a number of Rabbis, at least some of them would agree that, yes, the very early Jews had a child-like comprehension of The Law. At the time, it was simply a decree which must be obeyed blindly; only with time came the enlightened Jewish tradition of studying The Law and trying to comprehend it fully.
But the very earliest ones not only studied the law, they invented it! Unless you want to say it was handed down on stone tablets. What is tweaking to that?

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In Moses' time, it would have been abomination and heresy to say, "Well, it's because shellfish can go bad and might kill you." You'd have been stoned to death for uttering it.
Cite?

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Today, that is a theory that Jews may or may not agree with...but they are willing to discuss it.

This thread is based on the loose proposition that Islam may, at last, also be willing to undergo the self-examination required for growth to maturity.
Islam, a later religion than Christianity, ought to be more morally mature, no?
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  #106  
Old 19 June 2007, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
I'll have to stop you there. There are places in this world today where slavery exists. Are those cultures childlike? (I know we differ on this sort of thing, so I may end up sorry I asked). Do we consider slavery immoral because we have grown and matured intellectually? Or because our culture teaches that slavery is immoral? Earlier cultures than ours have been vegetarian, pacifist, etc.--are they more mature than us?
I think that there are some real and objective standards. Neither of us would consider a civilization "mature" that condoned the physical abuse of women. There are such societies in the world, and we (rightly) condemn them.

Open inquiry and tolerance of dissent are among those criteria that indicate the maturity of a society. To a great degree, modern Judaism is quite a bit more mature than it was in the time of Moses, or the conquest of Judea, or the Kingdom, or the Temple in the time of Jesus. In much the same way, Christianity today is vastly more mature than it was in the time of the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, or the era of Religious Wars of the mid 1600's.

Islam, alas, had a high-water-mark of cultural maturity under the Caliphate, and has sunk.

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But the very earliest ones not only studied the law, they invented it! Unless you want to say it was handed down on stone tablets.
Tricky: I don't want to transcend the myth entirely. I can talk about Noah's Ark and the Flood, while also knowing that these are fables. To the Jews of the time of David, it would have been unquestioned that the law was handed down on stone tablets. Today, Jews are a little more comfortable with the idea that this is only metaphorical.

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Cite?
The OT has a number of references to the death penalty for heresy.

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Islam, a later religion than Christianity, ought to be more morally mature, no?
I don't see how that follows. Societies, cultures, and institutions don't age the way humans do. I could just as easily say that Islam, being younger than Christianity, ought to be less mature. It's only had 1300 years to grow, whereas Christianity has had 2,000.

Again, Islam went through a period of great enlightenment and maturity, of sophistication and inquiry, even of scientific advancement. Then invasions from the far east -- Tamerlane, Genghis, etc. -- put out these lamps of wisdom, and they have not been rekindled since.

In any case, all I'm saying is that I do not hold it "despicable" to suggest that the OT Laws were given by fiat by a God who felt that people weren't ready to hear the full reasoning behind them.

(I do have a mild sense that such a God would, himself, be in the wrong. As I said, half an hour of clear talk about health and hygiene would have been far more effective than the declaration, "No shellfish, no pork!")

Base Ten: apologies for muddying the waters, and attempting to rehabilitate a point-of-view you had already repudiated. Anyway, I think you can see that you weren't being singled out for special harassment: we snopesters all treat each other this way!

Silas
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  #107  
Old 19 June 2007, 02:21 AM
Base Ten
 
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Read This!

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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Base Ten: apologies for muddying the waters, and attempting to rehabilitate a point-of-view you had already repudiated. Anyway, I think you can see that you weren't being singled out for special harassment: we snopesters all treat each other this way!
Silas
No problem - as long as other's viewpoints aren't attributed to me.



You'll find me, in general, to be very forgiving.

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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
To the Jews of the time of David, it would have been unquestioned that the law was handed down on stone tablets.Silas
Wasn't it only the 10 Comandments that were handed down on the stone tablets? Weren't the rest of the other laws (613 of them total?) handed down through Moses, but not written by the hand of God onto the stone tablets? I think those (603) were the dietary laws, among others, that we were discussing.

Base Ten
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  #108  
Old 19 June 2007, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonny T View Post
Did you read the bible passage I linked to?

The only parts of the old testament law which apply to non-Jewish Christians refer to blood, meat of strangulated animals, meat sacrificed to idols, and sexuality. that is all. as spelled out. in the text. explicitly. I don't see how this is "really not very clear".

the Old Testament is told as the story of one ethnic-religious-political-tribal group of people and their relationship with their God. it is made very clear through the text that the laws being given apply to Jews/Israelites, not society as a whole. the wikipedia article on the Noahide Laws gives some insight into the background for this:

Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matt. 5: 17). Notice the next verse, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (vs. 18).
So basically one of the first things the early Christians did was throw out the law, that even their savior accepted.
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  #109  
Old 19 June 2007, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Base Ten View Post
Wasn't it only the 10 Comandments that were handed down on the stone tablets? Weren't the rest of the other laws (613 of them total?) handed down through Moses, but not written by the hand of God onto the stone tablets? I think those (603) were the dietary laws, among others, that we were discussing.
Very right you are; I had some context slippage. However, the notion that the Law was directly narrated (if not engraved) by God was the prevailing view in the years of the conquest of Judea and in the time of the Kingdom of Israel. The the senior Rabbis had "invented it" (as Chloe said) would have outraged any Jew.

(I do not know what the state of "literalism" was in later times. During the Maccabean uprising or the time of Herod, would it have been a shock and an outrage for a "liberal" Jewish scholar to suggest that the Law was written by men, not dictated word-for-word by God? I have a sense that it would have been, and that literalism was still the only interpretation existing.)

Silas
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  #110  
Old 19 June 2007, 05:28 AM
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If the reason for the different set of laws is not because one group is more mature or more chidlike than the other, perhaps a better analogy would be societies where there is, say, one set of laws for black people and one for white people?

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Originally Posted by Judecat View Post
Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matt. 5: 17). Notice the next verse, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (vs. 18).
So basically one of the first things the early Christians did was throw out the law, that even their savior accepted.
I found that odd myself, I quoted that same thing on page 3.
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  #111  
Old 19 June 2007, 05:36 AM
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The key is to look at what was fulfilled. When Jesus fulfilled the law, he made some of it obviously obsolete. He was a sacrifice once, for all the sin of the world. The parts of the law that specified what sacrifices had to be made at which times of the year no longer applied. The law still applied - a sacrifice was needed - but the need for ongoing sacrifice was fulfilled, making a part of the law obsolete. Theologians (and non-theologians for that matter) have debated over the years what of the Law still applies and what doesn't. There have been many answers.

me
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  #112  
Old 19 June 2007, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
Well, possibly, but what great leap forward in disease control occurred between the OT and the NT?
There were considerably fewer plagues of locusts and frogs. (Not to mention that new treatments were found to combat the Angel of Death, to replace the older treatment of lamb's blood, to which It had become resistant.)
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  #113  
Old 19 June 2007, 07:02 AM
Base Ten
 
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Read This!

17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Jesus was speaking to an audience who were under the old covenant. The covenant with the laws given at the time of Moses. This covenant applied to them, and God required them to live by its terms.

Recall the following events -
Jesus at the last supper, with the wine, declaring a new covenant with his blood;
Jesus's words on the cross - "It is finished" (completed - paid in full);
Jesus's words to the disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection - his recounting of the Old Testament scriptures that were fulfilled in Him.

In Jesus, the law was fulfilled, just as He said He had come to do.

From Paul's letter to the Galatians:

Galatians 3
Faith or Observance of the Law
1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
6Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."[a] 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you."[b] 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."[c] 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."[d] 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them."[e] 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."[f] 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The Law and the Promise
15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed,"[g] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.

21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ[h] that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

Sons of God
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Footnotes:

[a] Galatians 3:6 Gen. 15:6
[b] Galatians 3:8 Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18
[c] Galatians 3:10 Deut. 27:26
[d] Galatians 3:11 Hab. 2:4
[e] Galatians 3:12 Lev. 18:5
[f] Galatians 3:13 Deut. 21:23
[g] Galatians 3:16 Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 24:7
[h] Galatians 3:24 Or charge until Christ came
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  #114  
Old 19 June 2007, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Judecat View Post
Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matt. 5: 17). Notice the next verse, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (vs. 18).
So basically one of the first things the early Christians did was throw out the law, that even their savior accepted.
for the love of....

Old Testament: God has a set of laws which apply to the Israelites; they do not apply to the Gentiles.

New Testament: God has a set of laws which apply to the Israelites; they do not apply to the Gentiles. Gentiles may now know God through a new covenant brought about by Christ.

what's being thrown out here, again?

As far as fulfilment goes, the general understanding is that the OT law - specifically those parts associated with redemptive animal sacrifice - was a prefiguring of the sacrifice of Christ, and that with this carried out, the sacrifices became unnecessary. Not a throwing out; a progression. I would recommend you read Hebrews.
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  #115  
Old 23 June 2007, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
I think that there are some real and objective standards. Neither of us would consider a civilization "mature" that condoned the physical abuse of women. There are such societies in the world, and we (rightly) condemn them.
I'm not sure I'd consider this a question of "maturity." To do so suggests that we are constantly progressing, and while I'd like to accept it, look at Auschwitz, the fruit of a "mature" society.

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The OT has a number of references to the death penalty for heresy.
I was asking for a cite not for the idea that heresy is punishable by the death penalty ("Jehovah!"), but that the suggestion that God might have had a good reason for his rules would have been heretical.

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Again, Islam went through a period of great enlightenment and maturity, of sophistication and inquiry, even of scientific advancement. Then invasions from the far east -- Tamerlane, Genghis, etc. -- put out these lamps of wisdom, and they have not been rekindled since.
There are certainly Muslim scientists contributing to the advancement of knowledge.

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In any case, all I'm saying is that I do not hold it "despicable" to suggest that the OT Laws were given by fiat by a God who felt that people weren't ready to hear the full reasoning behind them.
Neither do I. I think, though, it is despicable to suggest (if anyone cares to) that Jews who still practice the same observations are more childlike that Christians who have a different dispensation. And any theory that points to stages of human devlopment to account for the different rules must also account for the problem of contemporary Jews, who, having had *more* time to "mature," according to your theory, should be more mature than any of the rest of us.
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  #116  
Old 23 June 2007, 07:24 PM
Jonny T
 
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Silas, this is something I've been meaning to bring up for a while. I've seen you post several times about progress and cultural maturity but I'm not quite clear on what your view is. When you speak of a culture or particular trend being "mature", what do you mean?
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  #117  
Old 23 June 2007, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonny T View Post
Silas, this is something I've been meaning to bring up for a while. I've seen you post several times about progress and cultural maturity but I'm not quite clear on what your view is. When you speak of a culture or particular trend being "mature", what do you mean?
Patient; willing to take a long-term view; willing to invest in the future; tolerant; able to deliberate before acting; able to see another's viewpoint.

Modern Islam shows immaturity in its hasty reactions to perceived affront.

Chloe: cultural maturity has little to do with age. Islam has risen and fallen, and certainly Nazi Germany was a fallen culture if ever there was one.

And, yes, most certainly there are Muslim scientists. How many, however, are there per capita in Islamic nations, when compared to other nations?

Silas
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  #118  
Old 23 June 2007, 09:13 PM
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My question was less of what you consider maturity to be, and more of how you see it. For example, reaching maturity is generally considered a linear process developing over age; do you see cultural maturity in this way (it seems not)? if not how do you see it?

is a culture existing now necessarily more mature than one existing five hundred years ago? a thousand? two thousand?
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  #119  
Old 24 June 2007, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Silas Sparkhammer View Post
Chloe: cultural maturity has little to do with age. Islam has risen and fallen, and certainly Nazi Germany was a fallen culture if ever there was one.
But you are simply redefining "mature" to suit your argument. You cannot have it both ways.

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And, yes, most certainly there are Muslim scientists. How many, however, are there per capita in Islamic nations, when compared to other nations?
I give up, how many?
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  #120  
Old 24 June 2007, 01:20 AM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Jonny T View Post
My question was less of what you consider maturity to be, and more of how you see it. For example, reaching maturity is generally considered a linear process developing over age; do you see cultural maturity in this way (it seems not)? if not how do you see it?

is a culture existing now necessarily more mature than one existing five hundred years ago? a thousand? two thousand?
No, age is definitely not the key.

I'm not quite sure what is. I think that it is an issue comparable to wealth: why are some nations wealthy, and others not? Openness to outside ideas seems to be a sign of health here.

And...minds can snap shut. The Nazis took Germany from a very high place in the scale of nations -- educated, advanced, industrialized -- to the cesspool in only decades. The lamps of Islam were put out by foreign invasion.

Silas
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