Monday, November 24, 2008

Moral Ambiguity and the Dogmatic Prism

As I always do when I'm not furiously churning out posts (which has been since Wednesday's post went up), I got myself to thinking. And as usual, I come up with a catch phrase or a concise phrase every hour on the hour when I'm not eating, sleeping, or getting to know myself a little better while downloading porn (come on, you have to smile at that thought). And I have two that I have to expand on, so as to burn up time until Thanksgiving and not get to my post on the legacy of George W Bush (which is in the works but not one word yet typed).

Moral Ambiguity - This phrase in particular was inspired by a movie (Pulp Fiction) and a TV show (The Shield). In both, the main characters are not good people. They kill, they are often morally reprehensible, and they blur the line between right and wrong so bad that it's virtually nonexistent. Needless to say, they're both great viewing. I need to by Pulp on DVD one of these days just for the director commentary (as I have only an old VHS copy) and The Shield's final episode is Tuesday night (and considering the main character executed a fellow cop in the first episode, it's going to be messy).

Now why this is important comes back to those charming little younglings of mine. I'd never let them watch either of these any time until they're much older (15-16?), and then only if I'm there to provide some context. It's not the violence, nor the sexual content (although that is the other thing I want to keep them away from as long as possible), nor the language (trust me, I'm worse when the politics gets heavy) that tells me to keep them away.

The problem is moral ambiguity. Much of the stuff we watch has violence (Star Wars has a good heap, for example) and some of the language can get harsh. But the important thing is context. The best part of Star Wars Episode III, for example, is the fight between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. The battle ends (and if this is a spoiler, shame on you for not watching it) when Obi-Wan lops off Anakin's legs and other arm and leaves him next to a lava river where he catches fire. This of course results in the Darth Vader we all know and love being born. It's a little graphic, but it's the fate of someone whos effectively sold his soul. It's not gratuitous. It's unambiguaous as you can get.

My theory: If the line between good and evil is clear, then there is a context for violence in movies and TV. And that's how things can pass my parental muster.

The Dogmatic Prism - My post on talking to God pressed many of the usual buttons, from my liberal blogger buddies going uber-atheist on me to having to duck bible quotes from the faithfully faithful. So I figured I'd clarify one simple point.

Too often, when we talk on faith, we see it through the prism of the specific dogma we have held through the years. When I speak of God, my reference is through a (more or less, mostly less) Christian/Catholic prism. And while I don't question a person's individual faith (as it is entirely personal), in looking at the concepts, we should all be able to step to the side of the prism and take a look at the ideas from outside. You might surprise yourself and may learn more about God when you return.

Miscellaneous Thing to End the Post - I started assembling my Christmas music playlist while at work. I promise two things: 1. No muzak, and 2. if you turn up your speakers all the way before you visit this blog, there's a chance the sheer spectacularlinessness (and volume) of the music will knock you on your yuletide ass.

Can you tell I'm getting tired as I type? Oh well, I'll fix whatever I messed up in the comment section.


TAO said...

By the time your kids are 15/16 they will have already have established their moral compasses and they will see in the movies what they want to see regardless of what good ol' Dad says...

Your point on dogmatic prism is straight on....

Music...well, I disable my laptop speakers so I have no interference with my own music....but for you I will make an exception...remember, no christmas music until friday....its a law.

Patrick M said...

Yeah, the 15-6 age range was where I had enough of a (broken) moral compass. If I can get them there and not screw them up, I'll be cool with that. And NO High School Musical. EVER!!!

And don't worry, I wasn't going to embed the player's code until then. I may occasionally break out the music for myself earlier, but I don't go full Christmas until after T-Day.

Gayle said...

We don't do anything Christmas until after Thanksgiving, Patrick M. I detest the fact that the advertising of products for Christmas begins right after Halloween. It's far too early!

Do your kids go to public school? If they do, they will probably hear things that will burn dear old dad's ears before they are anywhere near 15 or 16. Just about anything goes in most public schools these days, but I'm really glad you are paying attention to your children's moral compasses and wish you all the luck in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Toad734 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toad734 said...

So if violence it being done to evil people, its ok for your kids to see it because that's what you do to evil people.. IS that what you are saying? Like burning witches and torturing "terrorists"?

The problem is, who is evil. The 9/11 hijackers thought they were punishing evil people and therefore the violence was justified in their eyes. You don't see the evil America inflicts on the rest of the world so you see America as nothing but good. Other people however, only see the bad/evil and not the good. Just as the American media is reluctant to report on stuff from any other point of view than American.

Pulp Fiction is actually a very good example of this. If you do listen to commentary you will find out that Jules passages are indeed correct. The kids in the apartment were the evil ones who stole Wallace’s soul and it was Jules who was the righteous one who was charged in avenging this theft and betrayal. So what appears to be antisocial behavior and is betrayed as raw violence isn't really what it seems.

So, how can you pass judgment on what is evil vs. good? From Vader’s point of view he was doing good by suppressing rebels who were determined to break up the Republic and avoid civil war. Isn't avoiding or ending a civil war a good thing? Anakin would say it is. Of course we know he was tricked by Palpatine but in his eyes he was doing the right thing not only by trying to avoid a civil war but by saving his wife. Of course he ended up using Stalinistic / Bush type tactics in doing so but was he completely evil? It's hard to argue that the Jedis are bad but just saying Vader was complete evil for evils sake is a bit of a stretch.

I am in no way saying that young children are going to get that Pulp Fiction characters are anything but anti-social mass murderers but again, it's just how you allow yourself to perceive and interpret their actions. Clearly we have the capability to do that and 5 year olds don't.

Same arguments can be made for the Israel / Palestine struggle. People like you think the Palestinians are all crazy terrorist and the Jews are always right and acting in self defense and that is of course what you see in the conservative media but that isn't always the way it is. If Israel invaded your town and then when you fought back, they bulldozed your grandparents and parents houses and then bombed your entire neighborhood and cut off electricity and water don't you think you might be driven to drastic reactions? Of course, on the news all we hear is that a guy with a bomb blew himself up along with a bus of Jews but that isn't the entire story.

Everything is relative. Aside from the Hitlers and Stalins of the world of course. At that point you are dealing with paranoid delusions and mental problems and what not.

Lista said...

Hi Patrick,
I agree with you that movies are bad when they "blur the line between right and wrong". I judge movies in much the same way.

For example, my pet peeve is not how much or how little nudity there is in a movie, but the whole idea that even in the absence of nudity, sex as portrayed as something fully acceptable in a casual dating situation, outside of marriage, even on a first date!?! and there are never any consequences!?! Come on!!! As far as I'm concerned, most of what we watch should be X rated for this reason alone.

I didn't mean to make you "Duck Bible Quotes", Patrick. I do have more to say about "Dogmatic Prism", but for now, I think I'd just like to repeat some of what we were talking about on your "Talking to God" post. You never know. Maybe someone else will have input on the subject.

In the comment section of that post, we were talking about "bringing a Bazooka to a Knife fight." When I pointed out that the Bible is actually called "the Sword of the Spirit", you conceded that perhaps I brought "a Sword to a Rubber Chicken Fight" which I thought was really cute.

Here's the part that I want to repeat here on a Newer Post...

"The actual verse I quoted above; '6) He has made us competent as ministers of a New Covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.' (1 Corinthians 3:6, NIV) actually relates to the subject of the 'Bazooka' verses the Surgeons Knife."

"We are not to hit people over the head with the Bible, because 'the letter kills'. Instead we are supposed to show the love of God's Spirit, because 'the Spirit gives life'. This verse explains exactly why, we should leave our 'Bazookas' at home and use the 'Sword' gently."

Bullfrog said...

It seems to me that the word "dogma" is akin to racism to some in the way it gets used to repel retractors. Just scream, "Dogma!" and people, not wanting to be seen as rigid, are intimidated into relenting.

I think it is important to separate faith from feelings, and the only way to do that is to know what, and more importantly why, you believe what you do.

My faith, relationship with God, and morality are defined by what is written in the Bible. If that is dogmatic, so be it.

I choose dogma over a relativistic world view any day of the week.

Bullfrog said...

Lista: The law, or Old covenant, was designed to kill not bring life. This is way off topic, but the "law" is supposed to be a "task master", leading us to Christ:

Galatians 3:24-
So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

Lista said...

Perhaps I should read the comments now.

I agree with the no Christmas music until Friday idea. When it starts too soon, I often get a little tired of Christmas by the time it gets here.

Why "NO High School Musical"?

Those were really fun times for me that I'd never trade for anything.

I wouldn't consider everything America does as good, yet put next to the acts of terrorists, there's no comparison.

If the method towards peace and not war is to control and oppress a certain group of people, than this is not good.

Anakin was angry and bitter. Towards the end, even his own wife was very hurt by the way he was acting.

Bullfrog said...

Patrick: The problem with a secular humanistic worldview, is that it pretends to have no need of a moral code in order to act morally. Moral ambiguity is immoral.

In a recent post, I talk about how, even if you do not acknowledge a specific written code of morality, you live according to your conscience, which is God's moral law written on your heart. You also face natural consequences for violating it.

Toad734 said...


Apparently you have never seen knocked up or Juno or about every other movie that has come out in the last year or so.

And if you don't like movies with nudity then don't watch National Geographic, or movies that are rated R.

And by the way, sex is completely acceptable in a dating situation, I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't date someone if there was going to be no sex involved. In fact, in my dating life, about 20 years now, I have never had any bad consequences because of sex, just the opposite, only good things have come from it. What, is everyone who has sex who isn't married supposed to get AIDS or something? What are all these drastic consequences you are talking about?? I think it would be safer to say that Religion has far many more drastic consequences than sex. Sex never caused 9/11, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, Suicide bombers, Jonestown, mass suicides, war, ethnic cleansing, etc.

Toad734 said...

Maybe we should censor religion from TV, movies and music. Religion causes much more harm than sex ever did.

What would you rather see, a movie with a beautiful naked woman or Jim Caviezel getting whipped and tortured for 90 minutes?

Lista said...

Well said and yes, the subject of the law, as well as grace, is a whole other topic.

You missed my point. I was not complaining about nudity. I was complaining about the way casual sex is portrayed in movies and on TV.

Sex is especially dangerous for teens because they lack the same immunities that we eventually develop as we get older. It is much easier to remain a Virgin as long as possible, than to return to Abstinence later. I posted some STD Statistics on my blog. You will find them by clicking on the Abstinence and STDs label. Aids is only one of many diseases and Teen Pregnancy is also a real problem.

Also the more casual the attitude towards sex, the larger number of partners a person will have and the greater chance of disease. Condoms are not effective against all of them and in fact, have limited effect against AIDS. I'm mainly concerned about the kids and have good reason.

Religion and especially Christianity is not supposed to be about violence, but about Relationship. I'm sorry that you have such a bone to pick with Religious people. Not all "Religious" people understand fully what Religion is supposed to be about.

TAO said...

Bullfrog, define this: "The secular humanistic worldview"

Then, lets say I am Buddhist or could my conscience be etched with the word of God? realize if you go on a date Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of this week you cannot have sex. Its the Law. No Christmas music till Friday and no sex till midnight Friday....its a holiday....

Bullfrog....I am sure you are absolutely annoyed at me by now...but you do realize that I have issues with people who profess religion because I have found over many years of experience that the ones that profess the most are usually the ones that can be counted on to do the right thing when called upon.

As I say, it is easy to profess and is harder to live. NOW, I AM NOT ATTACKING YOU, but I never question ones faith and or lack fact I know very few secular fact I don't know any. Its kind of like John McCain; I never heard him refer to God or his religion once...but I have no doubt that he is a man of will and character.

I also have no doubt about the moral compass of Barack Obama....but Sarah Palin scares me to death!

TAO said...

Bullfrog, define this: "The secular humanistic worldview"

Then, lets say I am Buddhist or could my conscience be etched with the word of God? realize if you go on a date Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday of this week you cannot have sex. Its the Law. No Christmas music till Friday and no sex till midnight Friday....its a holiday....

Bullfrog....I am sure you are absolutely annoyed at me by now...but you do realize that I have issues with people who profess religion because I have found over many years of experience that the ones that profess the most are usually the ones that can be counted on to do the right thing when called upon.

As I say, it is easy to profess and is harder to live. NOW, I AM NOT ATTACKING YOU, but I never question ones faith and or lack fact I know very few secular fact I don't know any. Its kind of like John McCain; I never heard him refer to God or his religion once...but I have no doubt that he is a man of will and character.

I also have no doubt about the moral compass of Barack Obama....but Sarah Palin scares me to death!

Bullfrog said...

Tao: from WIKIpedia: Secular Humanism is a humanist philosophy that upholds reason, ethics and justice, and specifically rejects the supernatural and the spiritual as the basis of moral reflection and decision-making.

I am sure you know alot of folks who hold this worldview, but they may not acknowledge consciously that they are secular-humanist.

Whether you are Buddhist, Taoist, atheist, etc, my point is that the conscience proves that a moral code has been written on our hearts by God.

I understand that your anti-religious bias comes from seeing hypocrites in action. To be fair, you have only read what I have written and never seen me in action, so you have no way of knowing whether I will do the right thing when called upon, or if I am full of beans. So, let's just leave leave any preconceptions out of it, shall we?

When a politician talks religion, I am instantly critical, because EVERY person who hopes to run for President in the U.S. is obligated to profess a "Christian" faith. To do otherwise would be political suicide.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"...conscience proves that a moral code has been written on our hearts by God.--Bullfrog

Um. No it doesn't. Groups of homo sapiens come together and decide on which rules can best make a society grow and prosper.

There are variations on what you would accept as a western "moral code."

For example, in some human societies, it is perfectly moral and "moral" by their Holy Book, to kill a young woman if she is raped, because that act brings shame upon an entire family. That is their "moral" code, and you will never convince them that their God did NOT hand that down to them.

You could, of course, tell them that their "god" is wrong, but then they'll point out that YOUR god is wrong.

How can we have so many competing "moral codes?"

HINT: Man makes them up, then assigns the codes to his particular god.

What about the "moral" code that once said that a man could have more than one wife? That was perfectly acceptable in this country by a group of very "moral" people. And polygamy is still practiced as a "moral" behavior in many parts of the world.

Who wrote that moral code?

Just asking and wondering.

Bullfrog said...

Shaw: How does that group of homo-sapiens decide what is right and wrong? Is it conscience? Where does conscience come from?

Your examples of cultures justifying murder and polygamy are the exception and not the rule.

I am not talking about the written law, I am talking about social taboos and the conscience that causes them.

People do evil things all the time and use religion to justify it, such as your polygamy example; that doesn't remove the social taboo that may exist, although over time normalizing any behavior through practice can erode that too.

Patrick M said...

Gayle: My kids will go to government schools. Especially since I would never send them to the Catholic school around here (long, angry story). As i said, it's a matter of giving them a moral compass and shielding them from the worst of it as long as possible.

but it's not likely I'll hear anything that will make my ears burn. You have no idea how much I censor myself sometimes.

Toad: The point is that any violence they see (and gratuitous and graphic should be avoided in any case) should be within a clearly good vs evil context. If you can find ambiguity in Star Wars, you're looking too hard. Episode III, the final banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin, before their fight, shows how perverted Anakin's view has become.

So, how can you pass judgment on what is evil vs. good?

It can be subjective in some cases. However, as it relates to children, evil acts are generally considered as a mark of evil, and has obvious consequences.

Pulp is not obvious. What the younglings see must be.

Oh, and as for naked women vs torture and whipping, can't we get both?

Lista: I love movies where the lines are blurry. But I just don't want the kids to try and process that for a while.

And we all know HSM is EEEVIL. As in the fruits of the Devil. That one girl in it couldn't even leak any good nudie pics when she did. :)

As for the bible quotes, I'm assuming that's to address something about the dogmatic prism. Check my answer to Bullfrog (below), as he is more specific.

Bullfrog: Let me clarify. I use dogma only as a specific, leaned set of rules and perceptions. The dogmatic prism is simply viewing the world through those and drawing conclusions that can be skewed by assumptions.

While I don't encourage people to reject their faiths and beliefs, it can be valuable to step out from behind them and try to see the world under different rules. You may not succeed, and you may find you come to the same conclusion regardless, but you may also find that you have accepted something as truth that is wholly insane.

However, as a rule, the dogmatic approach makes your path clearer. And there are certain things that are unquestioningly good and unquestioningly evil. It's all the in betweens where you have to challenge yourself.

Patrick M said...

I've got to learn to keep up....

Bullfrog said...

Patrick: Just wanted to assure you that at least 1 person got your "So I Married An Axe Murderer" reference...

Lista said...

Everyone's conscience is etched with the word of God. It is part of Common Grace. Some things are given to all of mankind, whether they believe in God or not.

Secular Humanism is what lead to Humanist Psychology and is based on the belief that man can do just fine without God and has no need for Him. It is also the belief that man is basically good, which is a real joke. All you have to do is watch children play and it is obvious that they are born way more selfish than not. The world is full of people with this view point.

It's odd that you don't trust Sarah Palin. She is the one person who actually did something that was morally impressive. She sold the Governor's Private Jet. Who ever does anything like that? That was truly selfless and commendable.

As to stepping to the side of our dogmatic prisms, I can do that when it comes to "Religious Traditions", yet I view the Bible as the Inspired Word of God.

More often than not, when I discover something within Christianity that isn't working for me, it is because of a "Christian Tradition" or what I've heard called "Extra Biblical Laws". These are Traditions within the Church that are not necessarily clearly supported by Scripture. These can be discarded, but never anything that the Bible clearly states.

Patrick M said...

Bullfrog: Thanks. I forgot some time ago where I got that reference, as it's been awhile since I saw that flick.

Actually, I had to look back and figure out that I made it.

Lista: The greatest insight I ever got into the Bible was actually a college class that looked at the Bible as a work of literature. Being able to step out and see the things that influenced the writers (besides God) and their goals in the writing clarified and strengthened a faith that was sorely lacking (especially after the Catholic school mistake).

In my world, even the Bible deserves a little reverent scrutiny. I seem to learn more about God when I skirt the edge of blasphemy.

I'm really funny that way.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I've made damned sure that both my kids knew about moals from a very early age. I pointed out the hypocrisy, intolerance, ignorance and superstitious stupidity of people to them every chance I got.

Children do not get Morals from God, it comes from their parents teaching them at a early age

TAO said...


Glad you agree that man is not born GOOD. Because that same argument is what Liberals use to justify government intervention and it is actually the argument used by socialist to attack unfettered capitalism.

It is actually the whole reason most people do not accept modern conservative thought as nothing but crap of a self centered nature.

If you believe that watching kids on a playground shows you the true nature of humans then obviously that nature is why we need religion and why we need government intervention and regulation in the economics system, in regards to the environment, and so on and so forth.

I do not believe that man is evil. I believe he is self centered. I also believe that religion is a weak check on man's basic nature. If one does not believe in his heart the rationality of religion then all the bible reading and church attendence is not going to make a difference.

If all hearts are etched with the word of God then why does not everyone have the same degree of conscience? If the word of God is etched on the conscience of every living being then obviously, if some are able to disregard the etchings and act in total disregard of the etchings then human rational thought must be more of a factor in determining ones moral compass than God's word.

Juanita's Journal said...

My theory: If the line between good and evil is clear, then there is a context for violence in movies and TV. And that's how things can pass my parental muster.

There is no clear line between good and evil in most aspects of life. In fact, there are very few situations in life in which there is a clear line.

As for moral compass . . . everyone has his or her own moral compass. Even your children might end up establishing their own moral compass.

Lista said...

The Catholic Church has lots of Extra Biblical Traditions. If we get too caught up in these, we can become Legalistic.

Stepping outside of our original understandings of things does not necessarily mean stepping out of every part of the core of what we believe in that gives us strength. What you described in your last comment is not at all unlike viewing the Bible "in the context of Biblical Culture" and this practice brings lots of things to light that would otherwise be missed.

I've always been a little rebellious as well. For me, the main reason is because the Church, as a whole, does not seem to understand and handle Clinical Depression that well and because of it, it is often necessary for people with certain unique struggles to go somewhere other than the Church for help. This is quite unfortunate, because God really does offer answers. It's just that His people don't always quite get it.

But where did the parents get those Morals and if the answer is from their parents than where did they get them? They had to originate from somewhere.

"That nature is why we need religion and why we need government intervention and regulation in the economics system"

Amen! Yet it is also why we need to keep our eyes open and keep questioning all things, including the specific forms of regulation that are suggested, Unions and not just Unfair Employers, Environmentalists and not just those who hurt the Environment, and yes, even the things that are both done and suggested in the name of Religion.

Self centered/Evil; Same difference. The actual definition of "Sin" in the Bible is simply to miss the mark.

The Bible is not what changes people's hearts. God does. Any religion that is practiced without a connection to our Creator is a meaningless set of rules and can actually be destructive whether than helpful.

The conscience can be sheered if it is turned away from continually. Anger and bitterness can also sheer the conscience. This happens when Children are severely mistreated in some way. I'm not sure if I fully understand the Psychopath. Sometimes that actually appears to be a genetic defect of some kind.

God has given man a free will, so that he can choose not to follow what he knows to be right.

Also, the internal "Moral Compass" can get damaged as well. We can be taught Moral ideas by our parents, or whomever, that are different than the original God given imprint and then later have a need for reprogramming, just as the verse in Romans says "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2, KJV)

I disagree with you, yet since you haven't given examples of why you think there are no clear lines between good and evil, it's hard to form a counter argument except to say that what is destructive is Evil and what builds up, edifies and is beneficial is good.

There are lots of things in life that are clearly destructive and clearly beneficial. I don't know why you feel otherwise because that is not what I see when I look at my world.

Lista said...

Another way to study "the Bible as a Work of Literature" and to understand better the true intent of the writers is to study the original Language. There are lots of good Bible Dictionaries out there and they probably even have them at the Public Library. I'm not sure.

Not every Pastor, Minister or Priest dives into the Bible in this way and it's too bad because I just don't see how anyone can accurately interpret and understand Scripture without really studying it. And if they don't really study it, than how can they teach it?

If all I'm going to get at church is someone's opinion about what it says, than I can do that much myself. A Pastor, Minister or Priest has to have something to offer beyond opinion or what's the point of going to church.

The Bible program that I have called Quick Verse, from Parson's Technology also contains the Greek and Hebrew words within each verse and what they mean.

Toad734 said...


Are you sure about that immunity thing? What immunities are you talking about? I didn't know adults became immune to AIDS, HPV, Herpes, etc.

It would be great if kids didn't all get knocked up with AIDS when they are 16 but I don't think you are going to stop kids from having sex if it isn't on TV. It's natural at that age to get those types of feelings...Always has been; it's why women used to get married when they were teenagers. Now, it’s no longer acceptable for them to get married but they still have the same desires. Sure society’s standards, in some parts of the world, have loosened up on that but if you look at European cultures with nudity and sex in every movie or show; they have lower teen pregnancy rates and lower teen infection rates than we do in the US which is the prude of western society.

I agree, less sex means less disease but it also means more war and unhappiness. Do you really think all those guys in Afghanistan would be living in caves with a bunch of hairy dudes plotting wars if they could be at a strip club and get laid and see some titties on TV every now and then? All you have to do is look at the Muslim world with all their sexual repression and yes, no one has AIDS and when a young woman gets pregnant, it's usually because she is already married (to a guy 40 years older). But what is the end result of all that? Where has that sexual repression gotten them? A lot of angry, tense, excitable young men with guns, that's what.


Ok, maybe this was due to bad writing but Anakin’s transformation took place over a period of about 4 minutes. It's not like he was all of the sudden evil. Clearly Return of the Jedi says the same thing.

Again, not expecting your kids to know the difference. I understand why you would let them watch a show there they kill Hitler or something but not Pulp Fiction. As long as you want to keep them from watching it that is fine with me assuming you don't call for the government to keep me from watching it because of your kids. That's the deal; I won't bitch about paying taxes for their schools if you don't try to keep me from listening to Slayer or watching half porn on Cinemax.

Anonymous said...

Lista said..."David#999,
But where did the parents get those Morals and if the answer is from their parents than where did they get them? They had to originate from somewhere."

From their parents teaching them right from wrong.

Anonymous said...

With each passing generation, America's people became less, and less, and less God fearing. And modern liberalism leads us to the acceptance of rudeness the lack of manners, morals, and misbehavior in our school system.

Lista said...

I'll deal with Toad later because I have to get off the computer soon.

You have missed my point. If Kids get their values from parents and and their parents from their parents and their parents from their parents and their parents from their parents and their parents from their parents, it doesn't matter how far back we go. Eventually, the values had to come from somewhere.

I think it all started when prayer was banned from schools.

Patrick M said...

JJ: Welcome. There's lots of gray area in real life, but there are plenty more clearly good/evil divides in the movies. And while the ambiguity is fun, it's not great for the young ones.

It's also part of getting that moral compass pointing the right direction.

Lista: Okay, so we are somewhat on the same page. Sort of. Maybe. I think.

Toad: Ok, maybe this was due to bad writing....

From George Lucas? Bite your tongue. Unless you're talking about dialogue, in which case it gets bad enough you need crackers to go with the cheese and whine (Episode II love scenes).

As for Anakin's turn, it's alluded to in Ep I (fear of loss, attachment), he really gets all kill-happy in Ep II after his mom dies, and he's being pulled to the dark side throughout Ep III. And as for him turning back, there's a momnet in Ep VI where, when Luke shows up to be captured by Vader, there's a crack in his evil facade. One line. Indicates there's still a speck of good in him, the same one alluded to back in Ep III. And it wins out in the end.

Arthurstone said...

Conservative typed:

'With each passing generation, America's people became less, and less, and less God fearing...'

Ah yes. The good old days from which we have been in free fall ever since they passed.

But which good old days? Eighteenth - mid 19th century when slavery was accepted as the status quo? Jim Crow era? The Indian Wars?

Nineteenth - early 20th when children were worked in factories and denied educational opportunities?

Early 20th century before women's suffrage?

By almost any standard contemporary America is a more enlightened, fair and civilized society then it ever was in the past.

But we still could use some work.

Toad734 said...


Ya but he goes from a Jedi to a Sith in about 6 minutes. And yes the dialogue in the Star Wars films is atrocious. And episode 1 is just plain annoying, should have been a cartoon. Episode III was ok but was a complete desensitization of special effects. They went overboard with that. Sure there were signs all along that he was vulnerable but aren't we all vulnerable to darkness. It's not that just Germans were all evil and decided to kill Jews and Gypsies. They were led by an evil man but that could have happened anywhere. We all have that in us to a degree.


Prayer in School? Is that supposed to be a joke?

Look, when you let me teach evolution in your church, Ill let you pray in the schools I pay for. How about that?

And by the way there are plenty of prayers in schools. Every Catholic school, every madrassa, every religious school has prayer in school. Most secular public schools allow a student to pray on his own time just not force his religion down every one else’s throats.

Now, we could go back to a time when it was common to pray in school, back when we had slaves who built our churches for us but apparently that didn't help our society any or help us see what was right did it?

You are going to have to cite a cause and effect of how our society has eroded since the day prayer in school was ruled unconstitutional.


Yes, we have become less burdened by religion with every generation and thus became better educated and more liberal. Thank God we aren't still burning witches. Since that time we have ended Slavery, Stop burning women, stopped stealing land from natives, ended segregation, allowed interracial couples and now in some cases gays to marry, it's now illegal to lynch black people, a night of gay bashing is no longer endorsed by the community, women don't have to die from an abortion and aren't forced to marry whomever knocked them up, it's no longer acceptable to abuse and beat your kids.

Talk about rudeness and lack of morals...ill take godlessness any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

If you want to go back to Old Testament days I would suggest moving to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. They pretty much live like they were in the Old Testament. Good luck with that lifestyle.

Lista said...

Just as is usually the case, we are probably on the same page on some issues and on other issues not so much so.

Yes, there is good and bad in every era of history.

I need to look up that Immunity thing in order to give you the exact reference, but for now, I'm just going to tell you what I remember off the top of my head.

One thing I remember had something to do with the lining of the vagina of young girls not being fully developed and thus leaving them more susceptible to disease. Even if the reference I remember relates primarily to girls, this still effects the boys because sex is supposed to be about love and any man or boy who does not care about the possible consequences to his partner is not expressing love.

Adults are not immune to STDs, the statistics are just a little better for them than for the kids. Perhaps part of the reason is the more responsible use of Condoms, yet the Lack of Immunity could play a part as well.

The truth remains that when Abstinence was pushed more in our past, the rate of teen age pregnancy, STDs and even of promiscuous behavior was less. If it wasn't for the fact that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I would take the time to give you the exact links to the relative pages on my blog.

Your connection between abstinence and war in interesting. Boy! That will have to be a subject for another day.

I'm listening to you, Toad, and plan to treat you with respect. I hope you will be good enough to always return the favor.

I'm quite certain that Patrick is not trying to keep you from watching what ever movies that you choose to.

Believe it or not, I would let you teach Evolution in my church as long as you were willing to do it honestly, pointing out both the strengths and the weaknesses of the Theory.

You can't be serious about wanting me to point to how our society has eroded. School violence has gone way up. Isn't that enough of an erosion?

But wow!! Are you ever angry!! I can really sense it in your words. Hopefully you'll calm down enough one day so that we can really talk.

Patrick M said...

Toad: Anakin started down the path to the Dark Side in Ep II! That's 5 years in his time, and the first hour of the movie.

On a side note, you're right about Episode I. In fact, the animated feature the shot out this year is better than Episode I (no Jar-Jar).

BTW, since I failed to address it earlier and Lista sort of addressed it for me:

I am more anti-censorship than you are. Websites, radio stations, television stations, movies, newspapers, and any form of media you can think of should be allowed to broadcast ANYTHING they choose, as long as it is not illegal (kiddie porn, for example). If I had the power to wipe out one government office from existence, I would target the FCC. Tits and ass on basic cable! YEAH!!!

Lista: I totally agree! Except when I don't. :)