An honest person can’t deny this truth: people live up or down according to the expectations of others.
Have you ever considered how much power you have over others? Well, it’s not much…if two or more people are tugging them in the opposite directions. But if you and your philosophical allies are more numerous…what then?
The writer describes the rioters as “essentially” wild beasts because he knows they are, in fact, human beings. The article is both a piece of excellent reporting…and a shriek of horror.
Monsters and beasts only have their nature, and are incapable of acting otherwise.
Humans, mortals, may not be as powerful, but can choose to be what they are and do.
(Yes, I’m paraphrasing from Dresden.)
I had a friend once ask me what the difference was between a human being and an intelligent animal, like a dolphin. My response: a human being is moral or immoral; a beast is amoral.
It’s a subtle distinction, but very important: humanity has a code of right and wrong that people either accept or reject. Beasts do not.
Angels also have a choice. Unlike humanity, though, there is no redemption or forgiveness for them if they fall.
I agree completely. The only thing I’d add is that, to account for the possibility of non-human self-aware entites, the generic for a moral being should be “person”. A human is a person, a Wookie is (probably?) a person.
Not saying any such other critter exists. Just that, if it does, I’ll treat it as a person and not a true critter.
A wookie, were one to exist, would be a person. So would hutts and even, alas, gungans.
“But Westley! What about the R.O.U.S.’s?”
“Rodents of Unusual Size?” (pause while looking over Buttercup’s shoulder at one) “I don’t think they exist.”
Very nice, Princess Bride references always welcome. Have you read the book? There’s some lots of great stuff there that’s not in the movie.
Angels and demons are self-aware, but they’re intrinsically different from humanity–or ‘people’.
Is self-awareness enough? Is a soul required?
What about the theodicy of possible aliens: are they sinless? If not, is it due to their own sin, or is the curse that mankind triggered on creation affecting them?
My personal opinion is that there are no sentient beings other than humanity, but of course, not all agree. Billy Graham, for instance, thinks that there is sentient life on other planets that was not affected by the Fall here.
OTOH, I don’t think the issue impacts any of the central doctrines of Christianity, nor the five solas that were principles of the Reformation. (We’re saved 1) by grace alone, 2) through faith alone, 3) in Christ alone. 4) Scripture alone is authority. 5) To God alone be the glory.)
I’m agnostic about alien life, but lean strongly toward “nope”. Angels have free will (since they can “fall”), so I’m not sure how they are, intrinsically, different from us. Obviously we’re different enough to contribute to the rift in Heaven’s ranks, and Lucifer sure likes to mess with our dust made flesh.
Pretty much every Christian movement and denomination puts out tenets and lists and principles. And it seems to me that they often revolve around matters of the soul, not spirit. And such things are always debatable, usually starting with the definition of terms.
But anyone wanting to dissect the Great Commandment looks pretty foolish, and knows it. Jesus made it primary, when specifically asked what comes first; it boggles me how almost everyone doesn’t seem to notice. Any formal Christian doctrine that doesn’t list that first is one in error.
Of course it’s obvious why “the love command” keeps getting ignored. Loving strangers and jerks is hard. It turns one selfless. Can’t have that, can we?