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« on: March 19, 2008, 05:04:30 PM »

Obama got me thinking... What is Justice?
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2008, 06:58:34 PM »

Is Obama the new Socrates? Cheesy
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2008, 07:13:43 PM »

Justice is giving that which is due. Then real question becomes what are we due?
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2008, 09:23:39 PM »

Obama got me thinking... What is Justice?


What's the deference between Justice and revenge?






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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2008, 09:38:37 PM »


What's the difference between Justice and revenge?

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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2008, 10:41:56 AM »

Justice is when created beings are harmoniously acting according to their essential principles.  It is equity.  In human relations, it is the manifestation of virtue.  Humans acting according to virtue are the scent and flavor of the unseen God in our world.  So human justice, carried forward through human freedom reflects the will of the Ruler of creation, who eternally draws created beings to Him.

Revenge is the act of willfully inflicting suffering in return for suffering received.  While it is often associated with justice, in fact it does not bring justice, rather it only perpetuates itself without elevating the mind to the higher cause of our existence.
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2008, 11:00:26 AM »

Well, my soon-to-be son-in-law, a recent Harvard Law School graduate and a convinced atheist, says that justice is something totally subjective, arbitrarily "agreed on" in the course of the chaotic, erratic human experience.Smiley For example, we consider it justice to punish those who drive with the speed of 100 mph instead of <70 mph. But we might have as well considered it justice to punish those who drive with the speed of 30 mph instead of <10 mph. In fact, if there were the consensus that 10 mph is the speed limit, there would be a whole lot less traffic-related deaths and injuries. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2008, 06:42:46 PM »

Well, my soon-to-be son-in-law, a recent Harvard Law School graduate and a convinced atheist, says that justice is something totally subjective, arbitrarily "agreed on" in the course of the chaotic, erratic human experience.Smiley For example, we consider it justice to punish those who drive with the speed of 100 mph instead of <70 mph. But we might have as well considered it justice to punish those who drive with the speed of 30 mph instead of <10 mph. In fact, if there were the consensus that 10 mph is the speed limit, there would be a whole lot less traffic-related deaths and injuries. Smiley

What he's arguing there raises the distinction in our law between those things that are malum prohibitum, wrong because we have decided that they are wrong, and those things that are malum in se, wrong in and of themselves.  Some things are wrong because of our mutual agreement to put that behavior out of reach, such as speeding, while other things will always be wrong, even in the presence of laws authorizing them.
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 08:43:33 AM »

What he's arguing there raises the distinction in our law between those things that are malum prohibitum, wrong because we have decided that they are wrong, and those things that are malum in se, wrong in and of themselves.  Some things are wrong because of our mutual agreement to put that behavior out of reach, such as speeding, while other things will always be wrong, even in the presence of laws authorizing them.

But what ARE these things that are "malum per se?" Murder? Well, in ancient Sparta, a youth was REQUIRED to kill a "helot," as a rite of passage. Infanticide? In many cultures, weak infants have been and still are killed by thousands, and it is considered good. Adultery? In is rooted in the idea of monogamy, and that, again, is something not characteristic for many cultures...
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2008, 11:03:44 AM »

Well, my soon-to-be son-in-law, a recent Harvard Law School graduate and a convinced atheist, says that justice is something totally subjective, arbitrarily "agreed on" in the course of the chaotic, erratic human experience.Smiley For example, we consider it justice to punish those who drive with the speed of 100 mph instead of <70 mph. But we might have as well considered it justice to punish those who drive with the speed of 30 mph instead of <10 mph. In fact, if there were the consensus that 10 mph is the speed limit, there would be a whole lot less traffic-related deaths and injuries. Smiley
I would say you are confusing "law" and "justice".  Nevertheless, both speed limit scenarios have the same underlying objective.  Laws are written with the intent to bring a state of justice.  Seeing that you self-identify as "Orthodox", what is your response to your son-in-law, and what is your definition of justice?  BTW, my father was an atheist and he would agree with your future son-in-law if he were still alive. 
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2008, 11:36:44 AM »

Well, my soon-to-be son-in-law, a recent Harvard Law School graduate and a convinced atheist, says that justice is something totally subjective, arbitrarily "agreed on" in the course of the chaotic, erratic human experience.Smiley For example, we consider it justice to punish those who drive with the speed of 100 mph instead of <70 mph. But we might have as well considered it justice to punish those who drive with the speed of 30 mph instead of <10 mph. In fact, if there were the consensus that 10 mph is the speed limit, there would be a whole lot less traffic-related deaths and injuries. Smiley
I think You're son-in-law is correct. Orthodoxy is very similar. Sin is what condemns us. At the same time sin can have a corrective action in that it destroys pride. Pride is the ultimate sin. Salvation is at the speed limit.
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2008, 02:04:29 PM »

I would say you are confusing "law" and "justice".  Nevertheless, both speed limit scenarios have the same underlying objective.  Laws are written with the intent to bring a state of justice.  Seeing that you self-identify as "Orthodox", what is your response to your son-in-law, and what is your definition of justice?  BTW, my father was an atheist and he would agree with your future son-in-law if he were still alive. 

I honestly do not know how to reply, and I do not have any sound definition of justice. Unlike Ryan (my soon-to-be s.i.l.), I am not a relativist - I believe that there is God, Who is Absolute... but other than that, I am at the listening end right now, not feeling like I am able to contribute into this discussion in any positive way.
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2008, 02:10:48 PM »

I think I asked this question before but few seemed interested. Is there Justice? If so what is it? How does Holy Orthodoxy address the universal cry for Justice? How does God address the universal cry for Justice?
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2008, 03:29:09 PM »

I think I asked this question before but few seemed interested. Is there Justice? If so what is it? How does Holy Orthodoxy address the universal cry for Justice? How does God address the universal cry for Justice?


What do you mean by "Justice"?


I'm sorry, but I can't help you with this. I'm still having a hard time understanding the difference between Justice and Revenge.  Maybe someone else can help.





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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2008, 03:52:50 PM »


What do you mean by "Justice"?

The two perspectives I'd like to pursue are; what is justice as a concept, and what does/could manifested justice look like?

Justice as a concept

All concepts come from one of two places; they are descriptions of natural, physical phenomena (light for example) or they are abstractions, invented by humans out of logic, emotion or other non-physical sources. Justice as a concept is social and relativistic in nature - a monism is neither just nor unjust as there are no relative circumstances.

There are social Darwinists out there, though few of them realize they are. To these people, justice is what one finds in nature already. When the Cheetah eats the Gazelle, it is just because it is. When the poor person dies of hunger or disease, or when the robber baron hoards billions of dollars it is just because it is. So to a social Darwinist, justice is a description of nature.

I find this argument to be intellectually vacuous, as if what exists in physical nature were just, why would we have invented the concept of justice as opposed to the concept of reality. They'd be perfectly synonymous and therefore redundant. Of course, this cuts another way as well, which is that if the world were just, we would have no need for the word or concept. The need to describe justice shows that the world isn't just.

Most people don't answer in this way when you ask them. They generally describe justice as one of two abstract concepts; preservation of rights by members of a society, or correct application of social rules. These are seemingly very different ideas, depending on the rules of the society. I'll refer to the former as existential justice and the latter as legislative justice.

Legislative justice could be impalement for the crime of adultery as was the case in Apache society. Similarly, it could mean paying the bullet bill for the execution of your child in Soviet Russia. I think these are sufficient examples as to the inadequacy of the legislative justice argument. Social rules and laws can manifest justice, but their existence doesn't create justice.

We are left with existential justice. This is really problematic because the foundation for existential justice is inevitably a philosophy, and therefore not something that is universally shared. Put another way, existential justice is generally just another form of legislative justice, but for a set of rules that aren't the current law.

There is another octave of existential justice, and Jesus described it perfectly: Love your neighbor as yourself. Note that he didn't say "treat your neighbor as yourself". In other words don't judge others, love them. He said something like that too... So if justice is a social concept, and if any form of judgement or law is inadequate to some part of society, the only perfect justice is perfect love.

Therefore, this is my definition of what justice is: a perfect society.

The concept is only useful to point out injustice as nothing we currently experience is wholly just. Put another way, injustice is the delta between our conscience's projection of a perfect society and reality as it is. True justice is almost juxtaposed to the social darwinist or legislative forms, though these are obviously necessary precursors. Without "natural" justice, intelligence wouldn't have evolved. Without law, society wouldn't have formed. That's no reason to idolize them though. We must progress!


Justice Manifested

A perfect society would have no need, no harmful desire, no punishment, no contention, no shortcoming at all. Many have pointed out that this can be easily achieved by eliminating society and its constituents, but this is an adolescent and ego centric view not worth debating. Many others have pointed to models of imperfection, that contain much hate, pain, need, etc. and called them just. I find this to be a craven retreat from envisioning a truly just world. Jesus put the terms for perfect society in complete, if succinct terms. Buddha did the same. There is no retreat necessary to the brave, despite our distance from justice. Admitting defeat in forming a truly just society is to say that humanity is doomed.

The Buddhists rightly point out that one cannot force progress on others. To do so requires action, and this will create reaction. As modern science has shown, a butterfly's action in China can create a hurricane in Louisiana, so we should be cautious in acting with force as the unintended consequences can be vast. This leaves us with only one sure method to make progress towards a just society: spiritual development and setting a good example. This doesn't mean that we should not prevent people from asserting their will on others - we should enforce restraint to prevent injustice. Finding the right balance is very difficult.

Fast forwarding to a truly just society, we would need to have perfect and equal love. This can only be accomplished through spiritual work, and spiritual work can only be accomplished through physical efforts of thought and deed, and these are dependent on the less-just laws of nature, etc. So to me justice is an evolutionary path, not a juxtaposition of the just vs. the unjust or the good vs. the evil. If there is a good vs. evil or just vs. unjust in the final analysis, there must be a higher existence that is undifferentiated and therefore we are talking about demiurges of one form or another.

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I'm sorry, but I can't help you with this. I'm still having a hard time understanding the difference between Justice and Revenge.  Maybe someone else can help.

Not being able to discern a distinction between Justice and Revenge is truly grave. How about to give one their due? Equality.
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« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2008, 04:09:15 PM »

I think "justice" is an extremely vague and subjective human concept. There will be no "justice" as we know it in the Kingdom of God - there will be only love. And revenge is something opposite to love, it's essentially self-gratification.
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« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2008, 04:24:51 PM »

I think "justice" is an extremely vague and subjective human concept. There will be no "justice" as we know it in the Kingdom of God - there will be only love. And revenge is something opposite to love, it's essentially self-gratification.

If we define Justice as giving one their due then perhaps Perfect Justice is Perfect Love? Do you believe God incapable of being Just?
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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2008, 04:32:43 PM »

If we define Justice as giving one their due then perhaps Perfect Justice is Perfect Love? Do you believe God incapable of being Just?

Giving one their due implies treating these different ones differently, based on their merit, achievements, compliance to certain rules, etc. Love has nothing to do with any of that. God is perfectly loving.
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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2008, 05:11:35 PM »

Giving one their due implies treating these different ones differently, based on their merit, achievements, compliance to certain rules, etc. Love has nothing to do with any of that. God is perfectly loving.

Charity (i.e. Love) leads us to help our neighbor in his need out of our own stores, but justice teaches us to give to another what belongs to him.

Wisdom 8:7 reads, "She [Wisdom] teacheth temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life."... Does not Sophia not guide us to know Justice and Injustice? Clearly you seem to be familiar with Justice since you know what it is not... could it be that you are conflating what you have experienced (injustice) with what should be (Justice)?

Giving one their due is based on an assumed equality in dignity. At least that is what Plato appears to be suggesting by it anyway. How do you understand the Judgment?
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2008, 05:29:17 PM »

How do you understand the Judgment?

Pretty much like Kalomiros in his "River of Fire" (even though I hate his silly anti-Catholic and anti-Protestant pot shots). God loves each and every person and at some point all of us will stand in front of Him and face Him with His love. Perhaps for some of us this love will be too much to bear, because some of us will not have the purified, illumined, renewed heart capable of loving God back. These ones will feel like they are in "hell."
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« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2008, 05:40:54 PM »

Pretty much like Kalomiros in his "River of Fire" (even though I hate his silly anti-Catholic and anti-Protestant pot shots). God loves each and every person and at some point all of us will stand in front of Him and face Him with His love. Perhaps for some of us this love will be too much to bear, because some of us will not have the purified, illumined, renewed heart capable of loving God back. These ones will feel like they are in "hell."

This seems more like a ethical rationalization of the "Punishment" and not the "Judgment" at all... What I was interested in was how do you understand the necessity of a Judgment? Why does Love seek Judgment against us?
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« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2008, 05:43:44 PM »

This seems more like a ethical rationalization of the "Punishment" and not the "Judgment" at all... What I was interested in was how do you understand the necessity of a Judgment? Why does Love seek Judgment against us?

It does?
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« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2008, 05:57:59 PM »

It does?

Yes it does. I ask again 'why' does Perfect Love seek Judgment? Kalomiros merely flips it around and suggests that the state we find ourselves is in fact one of our own doing thus escaping the fact that we are judged by God. That is not an answer to the 'why' does Perfect Love seek Judgment? I think we don't find the answer in Love but in Holiness or Justice or perhaps another attribute of the Divine...
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« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2008, 06:01:14 PM »

Yes it does. I ask again 'why' does Perfect Love seek Judgment? Kalomiros merely flips it around and suggests that the state we find ourselves is in fact one of our own doing thus escaping the fact that we are judged by God. That is not an answer to the 'why' does Perfect Love seek Judgment? I think we don't find the answer in Love but in Holiness or Justice or perhaps another attribute of the Divine...

Maybe. But I simply don't know that. All I know is that God loves, He is Love.
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« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2008, 11:08:36 AM »

Maybe. But I simply don't know that. All I know is that God loves, He is Love.

I deeply respect your honesty. I agree that God loves... that He is Love. It simply confuses me that take this as a means to contradict the Sacred Scriptures. When I attend Divine Liturgy and listen to the prayers I often hear something very different from the musings of modern theologians. It makes me believe that someone is in denial or gravely misunderstands the normative interpretation of our tradition for the sake of modern sensibilities.

It's very disconcerting.
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« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2008, 12:26:53 PM »

Yes it does. I ask again 'why' does Perfect Love seek Judgment? Kalomiros merely flips it around and suggests that the state we find ourselves is in fact one of our own doing thus escaping the fact that we are judged by God. That is not an answer to the 'why' does Perfect Love seek Judgment? I think we don't find the answer in Love but in Holiness or Justice or perhaps another attribute of the Divine...


The answer is found in love, and this is why I'm having a hard time knowing the difference between "Justice & Revenge".

For me, both Judgement and Holiness don't really have a meaning......if they can't be derived from Love.


Did your parents ever beat you when you were a kid? Mine have. I got whooped plenty of  times.....yet they did it in love.

There is love in being "chasticed". There is love in being "disciplined".

One might call it tough love, but love is the answer.


Love seeking Judgement = Love seeking Justice



I think the two can mean the samething









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« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2008, 12:34:18 PM »

I think "justice" is an extremely vague and subjective human concept. There will be no "justice" as we know it in the Kingdom of God - there will be only love. And revenge is something opposite to love, it's essentially self-gratification.


Interesting.....I'm not able to see it at this time, but interesting. I'm gonna give this some more thought.

But in the meantime, what will you do with the verse that says "vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord"?


Is vengeance different from revenge?



Should we see God's vengeance in light of His universal  Love for creation?








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