Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Under a Chimpocracy
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Comparative religions student geek in front row waving hand wildly:
"Ooh, ooh! This is what I think (today). Was reading a book by a Jewish scholar, about Christianity and how Paul invented it. Was he really a Pharisee (no, probably a Saducee, conflicted ex-pagan, hired by the Jewish Head [himself in the Roman's pocket] Priest to take out members of the Messiah cult for political reasons)? Etc.
But, on the way, this Jewish scholar explained the Jewish take on a persons' degree of good and evil, comparing it to the gnostic view of Paul. In one way, the xian version of good/evil is: god is good, man is evil, and we need god's intervention to stay on the good side. The Jewish view (not sure if this is official, but the guy seemed to know what he is talking about) is: we are both, but the bad isn't really bad. Such emotions/drives as aggression, selfishness, appetite, defensiveness, are neccessary to get along in life. But if they are all you have, obviously you will live a harsh, probably criminal and hurtful life. But these same drives can be harnessed by the good side of you, to drive along your higher drives. So, if love is a higher emotion, your aggression and defensiveness can be used to make the upper one, love , effective.
Say, you love your child. There is a threat to your child, a predator. So, your lower emotion of aggressiveness can be combined with the love, to save your child. If you just loved him, but just sat there, the love would be meaningless.
Then that reminds me of the Hindu idea of chakras. The lower chakras are the basic drives (I call them the drives of the "lizard brain" responsible for simple survival) and they have to be in tune with the higher ones, love of fellow man, ability to speak your mind, connection with God, etc. The chi has to flow between all of them for health/enlightenment.
So, I guess my answer is both, with qualifications. No simple answers."
Sits back down dodging spitballs from USamma and Beloved Bird. Takes comfort in bag of Pirate Booty.