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Author Topic: Fact/Value Dichotomy  (Read 796 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« on: August 19, 2009, 04:12:17 AM »

I have noticed a philosophical fallacy that continues to crop up on many polemical threads on this discussion board. I will refer to this fallacy as the "Fact/Value Dichotomy." In other words, some posters operate from an "a priori" assumption that science deals with facts while religion deals with values; thus they repeatedly argue that as Orthodox Christians we should not seek to "impose our morality" on secular society. They argue that we should not vote according to our religious beliefs, that we should not allow our religious convictions to inform our medical decisions, and that all matters of morality should simply be left to individuals and their Priests (which of course means that the irreligious are doomed to a perpetual fate of immorality and suffering the consequences of their immorality.)

Society tells us that the "EXPERTS" are the secular scientists and the secular scholars. Religious leaders are considered to be naive troglodytes that are tolerated as long as they don't try to influence society with their religious views.   

So I am always intrigued when I read posts from professing Orthodox Christians that promote a Fact/Value Dichotomy. If you believe that religion is to be relegated to the realm of subjective values while science is deified as objective truth, then doesn't that mean that your religion is nothing more than mere superstition?

Orthodoxy is Orthopraxis. If our Faith has no bearing on society, then what's the point? Shouldn't we, of all people - as Orthodox Christians - strive with all of our being to influence society to conform to the peace, love, and morality of Our Lord Jesus Christ?

So my basic questions to my Orthodox brethren are:

1. a)Do you adhere to this Fact/Value Dichotomy?
    b)And if so, how is your Faith not reduced to mere superstition?

2. If Our Lord calls us to be the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World,  then why shouldn't we try to influence society with our moral convictions?

I hope we can all have productive discussion on this topic without sarcasm or ridicule (I'm speaking to myself first and foremost Wink). I look forward to your responses.

Peace to all.

Selam



   
 

« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 04:17:21 AM by Gebre Menfes Kidus » Logged

"If you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks at you along the way, you will never reach your goal." [Turkish Proverb]
ozgeorge
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2009, 05:57:09 AM »

Firstly, I don't think there is a "dichotomy" in the sense that there is a mutually exclusive choice between facts and values.
And secondly, values are subjective even among Christians. How do you know that your values are Christian values? Which of the many denominations of Christianity's values should be imposed on society? For instance, you (Gebre Menfes Kidus) believe that the story of "Snow White" is "racist" and a "satanic assault to corrupt children with the notion of good witches". So, in a society where your "Christian values" were to be imposed, the story of Snow White would be banned. Do all Christians hold this value with you?

Is Snow White to be consigned to the flames because it has a witch in it?
Is The Wizard of Oz to be consigned to the flames because it has a witches and a wizard in it?


YES.

Snow White, the epitome of virtue and purity... You don't see the racist implications behind that?

And as a kid, the Wizard of Oz scared me to death! (Uh oh, there goes that pesky exclamation mark again. I take it back.)

Again, this is a satanic assault to corrupt the children with the notion of "good witches." The Bible never mentions "good" witches.

These things seem innocent, but we have to be discerning. Really.

Selam
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
"SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
Merarches
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Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Tewahedo / Non-Chalcedonian
Posts: 8,195


"Lord Have Mercy on Me a Sinner!"


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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2009, 07:02:32 PM »

Firstly, I don't think there is a "dichotomy" in the sense that there is a mutually exclusive choice between facts and values.
And secondly, values are subjective even among Christians. How do you know that your values are Christian values? Which of the many denominations of Christianity's values should be imposed on society? For instance, you (Gebre Menfes Kidus) believe that the story of "Snow White" is "racist" and a "satanic assault to corrupt children with the notion of good witches". So, in a society where your "Christian values" were to be imposed, the story of Snow White would be banned. Do all Christians hold this value with you?

Is Snow White to be consigned to the flames because it has a witch in it?
Is The Wizard of Oz to be consigned to the flames because it has a witches and a wizard in it?


YES.

Snow White, the epitome of virtue and purity... You don't see the racist implications behind that?

And as a kid, the Wizard of Oz scared me to death! (Uh oh, there goes that pesky exclamation mark again. I take it back.)

Again, this is a satanic assault to corrupt the children with the notion of "good witches." The Bible never mentions "good" witches.

These things seem innocent, but we have to be discerning. Really.

Selam

Ozgeorge, if you studied the Scriptures as much as you study all my posts you'd be a Saint! Wink

Selam
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"If you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks at you along the way, you will never reach your goal." [Turkish Proverb]
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