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 A Priest on his deathbed

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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:27 pm

We are all priests. We preach what we believe through our words and actions. From the cowardly appeasers to the risk-everything for power tyrants and all philosophies and lifestyles in between.

But of course, I'm not here to discuss simple analogies. My question is what a priest should always be prepared to do when what he's dedicated his ego, legacy and professional/personal reputation to is shown to be false?

If he's on his deathbed (which we all are) should he:
1. Stand by his beliefs/faith against all comers?
2. Say this is too much for me to worry about now?
3. Proclaim he was right given the information that he had?
4. Exclaim that everyone is correct concerning their own beliefs?
5. Admit that he was wrong and warn succeeding generations to learn from his mistakes
6. (Submit your own choice)

I venture that we've all faced this choice many times with issues of varying degree of importance, but how many times with something this psychically important? I have, at least once, when I withdrew from Christianity. It seems easy now, but it wasn't then--for then, being at the latest point in my life, it was for all intents and purposes, my "deathbed". How much harder must it be to do the right thing when we know that our last deathbed, our last such opportunity, is now, particularly if all that you feel that you'll accomplish is to tarnish your memory?
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:04 pm

From my experience 1 is the correct thing to do on your death bed. It seems to be the thing that gives the greatest comfort to the dying. Also, it is a little late to adjust philosophy and adjust your morals and re-evaluate your life. I think the right thing to do on your death bed is tell people you love them, try to smile, and remember the good things that happened.
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:56 pm

I think if someone's beliefs are proven to be wrong then the person should admit that he was wrong. I'd only warn others to learn from my mistakes if they were either really close to me (like my children) asked my opinion, or if I felt that the beliefs held would put someone in danger in someway (like a suicide cult).

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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:50 pm

Beowulf wrote:
Quote :
From my experience 1 is the correct thing to do on your death bed. It seems to be the thing that gives the greatest comfort to the dying.

Do you not believe in an afterlife where you look back on your life and what you did? Or, forgetting vanity, don't you see a possibility that standing up for the facts could give your descendants specifically or mankind in general an advantage in the battle of good against evil? Wouldn't that alone be a worthwhile legacy, recognizing also that some may already know you to be wrong now or they will in the future.

Aaron wrote:
Quote :
I'd only warn others to learn from my mistakes... or if I felt that the beliefs held would put someone in danger in someway (like a suicide cult).

Building on what I wrote above, couldn't passing it on possibly increase their security or benefit their lifestyle. Knowledge is strength, and they're going to know eventually anyway. You could, like Moses, pass on pain and suffering while having people revere you as a near god, but eventually they'll discover the Truth and realize what you really were--a demagogue.
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:12 pm

I guess it would depend upon the beliefs. There are some false beliefs, like my son's belief in Santa that I think are healthy. Other beliefs, like those espoused by neo-nazis aren't so healthy.

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Beowulf

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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:49 pm

I would like to think a criminal walking up to the gallows will recant his sins and impress others not to follow in his path. I wonder what Jerry Falwell did as he sat there expiring.

But this question was about the person’s death bed, in most cases the polite thing to do is make the soon to be departed comfortable.

No Stew, I don't think any part of my consciousness survives my death.
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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:05 pm

Quote :
But this question was about the person’s death bed, in most cases the polite thing to do is make the soon to be departed comfortable.


Yeah, I'd do the same thing if I were the comforting relative, but even if there is no afterlife, and we must act as if there isn't since there's no evidence of one, I'd still want to try to give my family and (with all due humility) all humankind, my one example and whatever benefits such information that may impart.

No I'm not talking about Santa Clause or other minor white lies--although I've often wondered if there aren't so many big painful truths because we condition ourselves to them with of the vast number of small ones.
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:33 pm

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think this a cool topic, and I'd like to add my thoughts on the matter, So I'll take option 6

I would admit I was wrong, I would say why I felt I was now wrong - what information or revelation has proved me so - share that new perspective with just as much faith, conviction, and ego as I shared my old convictions, and if questioned about the flip-flop tell people to decide for themselves, I am only speaking the truth as I see it, just as I always have.
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:37 pm

Reading Uriah's post I'm reminded of the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again".

Quote :
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:56 pm

Uriah quoted:
Quote :
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A foolish consistency.

Is consistency itself not necessary for reason? Emerson was merely laying down a subjective smokescreen.
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:11 am

My input on your original question, is that hopefully the truth will prevail no matter what point of the life cycle we're on, whether startin' out, in mid-life (crises) or on our death bed. Perhaps the death bed, if our minds are still with us, will put things into perspective like nothing else can. I don't know. But truth should always be foremost. Not a literal truth. But a gut-deep truth. Luke Skywalker's father proved you can change, even in the final breaths
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:28 am

You could say it is a subjective smoke screen, and taken alone the quote most always is, but I used it in reference to changing one’s mind. AS well I think that quote has a lot of pertinent meaning about reason. What Emerson is basically saying in the whole essay Self Reliance is that reason is the ultimate human faculty. The very lens through which we should view the world, and not to trust rote explanations and standard ideas. “Whoso would be a man,” he says, “must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”

Emerson in his own way is much like Socrates who said to Euthyphro, “The lover of inquiry must follow his beloved wherever it may lead him”. RWE draws a direct parallel between reason and inquiry – and the biggest threat against it: Society, status quo, and culture. Emerson tells us, “The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.”

To wit he answers:
“With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.--"Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood."--Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

So in a way you’re right, he’s not speaking directly about reason, not about epistemology or ontology, he is talking about the discovery process, and is letting the reader know that reason itself, like perspective and ideology, is – in many ways – subjective. If reason were pat there would be no debate, no argument or misunderstanding. No authority or manipulation. We must base our world on reason, but not be tied blindly to our reasoning. In simpler terms, don’t be afraid to change your mind.

Which, I think, is perhaps the most necessary part of reason. A genius who decides their reasoning is infallible is less wise than an uneducated man who can recognize when they are wrong and adapt to a new paradigm. Again Socrates: “I am wise because I know what I do not know.” Like the priest on the deathbed, who shows true wisdom by accepting he was wrong, and moving on to something new.

Anyway, sorry for the essay. I’m in writing mode tonight.
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The Paineful Truth

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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:53 am

Uriah wrote:
Quote :
You could say it is a subjective smoke screen, and taken alone the quote most always is, but I used it in reference to changing one’s mind...... “Whoso would be a man,” he says, “must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”

(And the measure of integrity is Truth.) This and the rest of your post was excellent and right on. I kept looking for a "but", but didn't find one.

Quote :
In simpler terms, don’t be afraid to change your mind.

Which is of course, the point of the thread. The problem is, how do we recognize when the time has come when we must cast off from the dock that is our ego to which we can become so tightly moored?
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:48 am

Quote :
The flower that once has bloomed forever dies.
(From the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam)

From this perspective 5 would be the correct answer.
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Uriah

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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:23 pm

The Paineful Truth wrote:
Uriah wrote:
Quote :
You could say it is a subjective smoke screen, and taken alone the quote most always is, but I used it in reference to changing one’s mind...... “Whoso would be a man,” he says, “must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”

(And the measure of integrity is Truth.) This and the rest of your post was excellent and right on. I kept looking for a "but", but didn't find one.

Quote :
In simpler terms, don’t be afraid to change your mind.

Which is of course, the point of the thread. The problem is, how do we recognize when the time has come when we must cast off from the dock that is our ego to which we can become so tightly moored?

Thanks, and yeah when do we know it's time to change. It's not always, or even often, that we are disproved in such a way as to prevent argument. There is a drought of simplicity in human experience, everything is colored by our persepctive, desires, wants, needs, by culture, and by the ideas of others.

On the other hand, I think we all know when we are wrong. Even though we may still stubbornly insist our position is correct, I think we know when our mind changes. I've never had any problem recognizing it. Maybe as we get older, or are faced with the uncertainty of death, we begin to get stuck in our ways, or ideas become stagnant - so I guess the best thing to do is to keep the old brain muscle excercised well throughout our lives. Never stop thinking, exlporing the world, changing our views and growing.
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:03 pm

Quote :
It's not always, or even often, that we are disproved in such a way as to prevent argument.

Often enough, especially with the small stuff that we get practiced at it if we aren't on constant watch. So on our deathbed, overcoming all those years of conditioning can take more energy than we have at our disposal.
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PostSubject: Re: A Priest on his deathbed   Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:06 pm

^Well said.
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