1 vs. 1 debate thread

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Travelsong, Jan 27, 2003.

  1. Travelsong

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    I am initiating a closed dialogue between me and Aaron for the purpose of exploring truth regarding the nature of music.

    To get things moving I will put forth the following proposition:

    Music is a morally neutral medium by which to communicate feeling, thought, or information.

    To clear any misunderstandings from the outset I have chosen the following working definitions for those words which might need, well...clarification ;)

    Music n./ vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony

    neutral adj./ not engaged on any side

    medium n./ a channel of communication; a mode of artistic expression or communication

    communicate vb/ to transmit information, thought, or feeling

    I await a rebuttal of some kind.
     
  2. Pastor_Bob

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    If this is a "closed dialogue," it has no place in a public forum. I suggest you continue this via Private Messaging, unless your objective is to publicly humiliate someone.
     
  3. Aaron

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    There used to be a one-on-one debate forum but no one, until Travelsong, agreed to go there with me. Now that I have someone willing to go the distance there is no longer a one-on-one debate forum.

    What do you say, Dr. Bob? You're the moderator here. Travelsong and I have conversed via PM and we'd like to argue the point for the benefit of the public.

    I remember a "private thread" you started in an open forum to allow a member to state his views on a particular Bible book before allowing posts by others. There seems to be a precedent.

    Of course, no one can really prevent others from posting. We're going on the honor system here. ;)
     
  4. Aaron

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    Travelsong,

    Please be patient. I'm a little strapped for time. [​IMG]
     
  5. Sherrie

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    Go for it Aaron and Travelsong, I would love to read it if Dr. Bob will allow it.

    Sherrie
     
  6. Travelsong

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    No worries Aaron, I'm more inclined to going at it casually anyway. Take your time.
     
  7. Aaron

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    First, for the purposes of argument, I accept all the definitions.

    Second, a question: Are you conceding that music is not neutral in its effects on the listener, and simply stating that music does have effects, but that these effects are neither right nor wrong?
     
  8. Travelsong

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    I am not conceding anything. I am making the point that although there may be certain specific universal effects that music has on the listener, none of them are morally wrong.
     
  9. fromtheright

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    Ooh, this is good. Though Aaron gets on my nerves sometimes, he is a heck of a debater. I'm not familiar with Travelsong but he or she has started out well too.
     
  10. Aaron

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    I'm blushing! ;)
     
  11. Aaron

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    Nothing is amoral. Nothing.

    Everything is either good or bad. Even dirt. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Gen. 1:31. But since the Fall, everything has become polluted, and by reason of that pollution will be burned up in the last day.

    But music is not an object, it is a work. There is intelligence behind it. It is ordered and is intended to communicate a certain idea, as Paul stated, "And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?" 1 Cor. 14:7.

    And the Scriptures clearly state that all our works will be judged whether they are good, or whether they are evil. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecc. 12:14.

    Clearly, there is nothing that is in the sight of God morally neutral.

    So, the music you listen to, with or without words, is either good music, or evil music. There is nothing in between.
     
  12. Travelsong

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    To say that God's creation is morally good or morally bad doesn't make a lick of sense. Morality is an assessment of behaviour, not the state of the inanimate.

    God's creation was good because it was fitting and appropriate to carry out His will, not because it had an inherent state of righteousness of it's own. By extension, because of the fall, the heavens and the earth will be destroyed and replaced because in their current state they are unfitting to carry out His will, not because they are immoral.

    Music cannot communicate any idea without spoken language or an agreed upon definition (for example I can whistle in such a manner that everyone knows I am acknowledging the presence of something or someone highly attractive).

    I agree but first you'll have to establish that music can of itself be evil in order to convince me that God might someday judge the way I strummed my guitar or hit a snare.


    How about establishing some evidence before chucking a premise and a conclusion at me. I really want this to be an interesting debate, so please dispense with the rhetoric.
     
  13. Aaron

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    God's creation was good because it was fitting and appropriate to carry out His will, not because it had an inherent state of righteousness of it's own. By extension, because of the fall, the heavens and the earth will be destroyed and replaced because in their current state they are unfitting to carry out His will, not because they are immoral.

    Arbitrary assumption.

    To say that God's creation is morally good or morally bad doesn't make a lick of sense. Morality is an assessment of behaviour, not the state of the inanimate.

    The Scriptures reveal that creation is certainly engaged in God's purposes. God called upon the earth and the waters to "bring forth," (Gen. 1). The land of Sodom and Gomorrah cried out against the iniquity committed therein (Gen 18:20). The winds and the waves "obey" Him, and the "whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now," (Rom. 8:22).

    We clearly see throught the illumination of God's Word, that creation is actively "engaged" on the side of God. Whether or not it makes a "lick of sense" is not the issue. This is the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

    Now by this infallible witness and even your own definition, what other conclusion can follow than that there is nothing in all of creation that is "morally" neutral. All things are either good (not to be confused with useful) or evil.

    I said all this merely to debunk the ridiculous premise of neutrality. Neutraliy is an invention of the mind of man and is foreign to the Scriptures, but isn't this beside the point anyway? Whether or not "the inanimate" is actively engaged in God's economy is not useful to our argument, because you have already stated that you agree all our works will be judged as good or evil.

    As I said, (and you did not disagree) music is not an object. One cannot find music washed up on a beach or pluck it from a tree. It is a work. Do you agree with this?

    Music cannot communicate any idea without spoken language or an agreed upon definition (for example I can whistle in such a manner that everyone knows I am acknowledging the presence of something or someone highly attractive).

    Here you're contradicting yourself. In a previous post you said "...there may be certain specific universal effects that music has on the listener...," and yet here you say there are none. Tell me where you stand on this. Before I say anymore on this point I need to know.

    I said: And the Scriptures clearly state that all our works will be judged whether they are good, or whether they are evil. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecc. 12:14..

    To which you replied: I agree but first you'll have to establish that music can of itself be evil in order to convince me that God might someday judge the way I strummed my guitar or hit a snare.

    Here you go again. You say you agree that all our works will be judged as good or evil, then in the very same sentence you contradict that by describing two works you believe will not be judged.

    How about establishing some evidence before chucking a premise and a conclusion at me. I really want this to be an interesting debate, so please dispense with the rhetoric.

    Now this statement is simply out of the Blue. The Scripture is not evidence? Tell me what you will accept as evidence. I have yet to see any offered by you, so I guess I can make the same request. Let's see what kind of homework you have done.

    And no, the "burden of proof" is not on me. In a debate like this (though largely casual) both sides have the burden of proof. It does not fall merely upon me to present evidence that music itself can either be good or evil, but it falls equally upon you to present evidence that music is "morally neutral."

    [ February 01, 2003, 10:11 PM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  14. Travelsong

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    Me:God's creation was good because it was fitting and appropriate to carry out His will, not because it had an inherent state of righteousness of it's own. By extension, because of the fall, the heavens and the earth will be destroyed and replaced because in their current state they are unfitting to carry out His will, not because they are immoral.

    You:Arbitrary assumption.

    Me:Incorrect. You have arbitrarily designated an entirely new definition to "morality" by assuming that things without a will can be moral/immoral. Look in a dictionary or on the web or any Bible study dealing with the issue of morality and you will find that the discussion always revolves around human behaviour. Morality requires a will. Only people have wills, and their actions reveal the nature of their will (either immoral or moral).


    Me:To say that God's creation is morally good or morally bad doesn't make a lick of sense. Morality is an assessment of behaviour, not the state of the inanimate.

    You:The Scriptures reveal that creation is certainly engaged in God's purposes.

    Me:That is because they have been created to fulfill His purpose.It's God's will that is morally good (morally perfect to be exact), not His creation.

    You: God called upon the earth and the waters to "bring forth," (Gen. 1).

    Me:Do you think the earth and the waters consciously and willfully obeyed Him? Were they filled with the Holy Spirit and moved to act in Righteousness? Could they have been immoral and disobeyed God? Or did they simply just come into existence and do exactly what their creator designed them for?

    You:The land of Sodom and Gomorrah cried out against the iniquity committed therein (Gen 18:20). The winds and the waves "obey" Him, and the "whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now," (Rom. 8:22).

    Me:We see this personification of God's creation because it illustrates how it has been subjected to futility as a result of man's fall.There is absolutely nothing in those verses that reveals a moral or immoral nature in creation. The concept is ludicrous.

    Wherever the consequences of sin and death as a result of the fall are spoken of in the Scripture they are always in relation to man, not nature.Nature is unable to act in opposition to God's will. It has simply been subject to futility.


    You:We clearly see throught the illumination of God's Word, that creation is actively "engaged" on the side of God. Whether or not it makes a "lick of sense" is not the issue. This is the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

    Me:Don't misrepresent my words. This is your first and only warning. I want to keep this a respectful debate. I have very little patience for intellectual dishonesty. I said the concept of the inanimate being moral or immoral didn't make a lick of sense. Not what the Scriptures teach (which is something entirely different.

    You: Now by this infallible witness and even your own definition, what other conclusion can follow than that there is nothing in all of creation that is "morally" neutral. All things are either good (not to be confused with useful) or evil.

    Me:Please give me one example of God's creation acting immorally. That's all I ask. That's what I mean when I say you must establish evidence.

    You:Whether or not "the inanimate" is actively engaged in God's economy is not useful to our argument, because you have already stated that you agree all our works will be judged as good or evil.

    Me:Will the Auschwitz ovens be judged for mass genocide or will those who made and utilized them be judged?

    You: As I said, (and you did not disagree) music is not an object. One cannot find music washed up on a beach or pluck it from a tree. It is a work. Do you agree with this?

    Me:Music is not an object but it certainly is as much a part of God's creation as are buildings and cars and everything else that man makes.

    MeMusic cannot communicate any idea without spoken language or an agreed upon definition (for example I can whistle in such a manner that everyone knows I am acknowledging the presence of something or someone highly attractive).

    You: Here you're contradicting yourself. In a previous post you said "...there may be certain specific universal effects that music has on the listener...," and yet here you say there are none. Tell me where you stand on this. Before I say anymore on this point I need to know.

    me: If there are universal effects that music has upon the listener they would be purely physiological-much in the same way that light universally causes healthy retinas to retract.Even your outlandish claims cannot attempt to prove that music can universally cause people to lust after women or desire to kill someone or whatever sin you'd like to fill in the blank with.

    ...more tomorrow.
     
  15. Aaron

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    Whether you want to some things "morally" good or not is up to you. You cannot call them neutral. They is nothing neutral, they are actively engaged on the side of God. They are the works of His hands. But you cannot escape the moral implications of that fact, try as you might.

    Let's move on, if you'd like to debate the nature of God's "whole creation" in another thread, then I'm game. Like I said, I only brought it up to kill the ridiculous premise that anything can be called neutral, morally or otherwise.

    Now here is where we're at. You agree that music is not an object, but you didn't tell me if you thought it was a work or not.

    I can understand your reluctance to do so. If it is a work, then it can certainly be classified as good or evil and that shoots down the "morally neutral" illusion, at least as it applies to music.

    Looks like this will be a short debate.
     
  16. Travelsong

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    Not only do you dodge the point you also fail to provide evidence to show just how something without a will can be moral/immoral.

    1)The nature of God's whole creation is relavent to this discussion. Music is sound, sound is what our brains translate soundwaves within the audible spectrum into. Soundwaves are a part of God's creation. God's creation is morally neutral.

    2)The "ridiculous premise" is reality and you haven't provided a single coherent statement to the contrary.


    Yes music is a work in that it is a man made "thing", but music in and of itself is no more good or bad than buildings, cars, toilet seats, or u. v. lights. Regardless of whether or not man made it, God created it which makes it a part of His creation. Our works are judged by what we do with what God has given us, not the thing itself. Marylin Manson's music is not evil because he plays power chords, it is evil because it has an anti-Christ message.


    Only if you live up to your reputation of dodging questions when cornered and misrepresenting the things I say.

    Apart from that, I can handle any nonsense you throw my way. Can you answer my challenges though? That remains to be seen.
     
  17. Aaron

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    I'm not dodging any point. I said I'd be happy to debate that issue in another thread if you'd like.

    It isn't relevant to the discussion of music unless you believe music to be an object like a rock. You said
    Now having rhythm, melody and harmony requires something more than the mere chaotic vibrations of molecules, it requires intelligence and design. That makes music a work that can be judged as good or evil.

    But there is something else vital to music that is often overlooked--the listener. The ultimate meaning of music is the effect it has on the listener. There is no musician that has composed any work that was not intended to elicit a specific emotional response from the listener. And the reason anyone goes to hear music is to enjoy the sensations it gives him.

    Those are moral actions, friend, and they are either right or wrong, good or evil.

    More to come. I'm at work right now.
     
  18. Travelsong

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    Music is just as much a part of creation as a rock. Just because it isn't tangible doesn't make it any less so. Rocks can be used to make buildings or bridges, likewise sound can be used for all sorts of things like sonar or music.


    Now having rhythm, melody and harmony requires something more than the mere chaotic vibrations of molecules, it requires intelligence and design. That makes music a work that can be judged as good or evil.</font>[/QUOTE]Here's your logic:

    Buildings require more than the sudden chaotic reassembly of rocks into structures suitable for habitation or other uses, they require intelligence and design.That makes them a work.
    Here is is where you make you sudden leap from reason.Buildings (or any other thing that man makes) are not good or evil in themselves.All that has been given to man can be used for good or evil.

    How on earth does music express meaning to the listener?


    I agree with this. That is why we call the blues "the blues". I would say that most if not all of music has a particular sound that can seem happy or sad or playful or even angry. Whatever the case may be there is nothing wrong or evil or even good for that matter about emotion in and of itself. Is the music sad? What is it sad about? Is the music happy? What is it happy about? Is the music angry? What is it angry about? Music may be designed (quite effectively alot of the time) to elicit a particular emotional response, but it cannot communicate explicit meaning about anything (whether good or bad).


    Not always. Sometimes I listen to free form jazz because I am trying to figure out what the heck people see in that stuff [​IMG]


    If someone wants to communicate to me through music alone that he has a strong emotional desire to (just a random example) beat the snot out of his boss, how am I supposed recieve that information just through the music?


    I'm going to write a tune about how envious I am of the fact that you get to play on the computer at work!
     
  19. Aaron

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    Our souls are created, yet they are nothing like a rock. So the mere quality of being a creature does not mean that all things are just alike in their natures.

    A building is more than the sum of its parts. On September 11 the wood, stone, steel and and mortar that were the World Trade Center ceased being the WTC, though all the elements were still there.

    In that manner music can be compared to a building. The moment the elements are taken out of order the phenomenon ceases to be music. Music is more than the sum of its parts.

    But music is not like a building, it is more like speech, and better to be compared to such. It is no accident that the only place in the New Testament where the use of musical instruments is invoked, it is as an example of the gift of tongues.

    No one has to demonstrate that vocal cords, lips, tongues, teeth, air and the vibration of it, are in some way evil in and of itself to judge the final result as good or evil. 1 Peter 2:1, Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

    Also, no one has to demonstrate that pigments, oils, and canvas are somehow evil in and of themselves to judge a lewd painting as an evil work.

    In the same way, if the final outcome of music is sensuality, then it renders the composition—the work—evil.

    Meaning incorporates more than verbal communication. (By verbal I mean with words spoken or written.) Music communicates mood. If it didn't, it wouldn't be used so liberally in movies. That is how it communicates.

    I think Gina described a perfect example of how certain kinds of music inspire sensual and lewd body movements in her "experiment" thread.

    And consider this from Michael Ventura's renowned history of Rock music, Hear That Long Snake Moan:
    But I need not to quote authorities on the subject. Just open your eyes and look at the stark contrast between the decorum of an audience at a Rolling Stones concert, and one at the London Philharmonic, and you will see that "the magic's in the music."
     
  20. Travelsong

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    Our souls are part our our being. Our souls have been corrupted. Our souls have will and sentience. Rocks and sound and buildings and music have no will and no sentience whatsoever.The discussion of morality only applies to that which is sentient. I will not be letting you dodge this point so you can forget about trying to obfuscate the issue.

    Instead, Try obliging me by providing an example of something in God's creation which has no will and acts as a moral agent. Remember you are the one who said that everything is either moral or immoral, and I intend to hold your feet to the flame until this point is resolved.

    In what way is a building more than the sum of it's parts?I contend that a building is equally amoral as that of which it is made.

    In what way is music more than the sum of it's parts? I contend that music is equally amoral as that of which it is made.

    Interestingly enough there is no claim contained anywhere in the Scriptures (Old or New Testament) about the inherent moral nature of music. Have you ever stopped to wonder why?

    Thankyou. I had intended to make this exact point. It is communication and action which are a direct extension of our wills, not the means by which we communicate and act.It would be sheer idiocy to claim that "evil speakings" are evil in some way due to the fact that our vocal cords are evil don't you think? I don't understand how this truth is supposed to support your argument.

    Exactly the same as above. The means of communication are not evil in themselves, only the communication itself. You're really starting to work against yourself here.

    Ok, now ya lost me. What in tarnation are you talking about?

    You are making an unwarranted leap from music communicating mood and emotion (which are both amoral in and of themselves) to music communicating meaning (which is not necessarily amoral). Again, do not think that obfuscation will confuse me. I may be a couple cogs short of a gear, but I can tell when someone is trying to pull a fast one.

    I will now ask you my question again. How can music communicate explicit meaning?


    I am not interested in anecdotes. I'm sure Gina is an honest and well intentioned woman but it is up to you to provide evidence that music A) Can communicate evil and B) BE evil in and of itself.

    </font>[/QUOTE]Okay, so this "renowned" Michael Ventura starts off by describing subjective amoral feelings associated with the music of Mozart and Brahms .*As a side note I would say this doesn't come close to describing how I feel when I listen to either*.Then he goes on to describe the type of dancing that evolved from their music. In no way does he begin to attempt to suggest that the music communicated anything of a moral or immoral nature. How exactly is this supposed to support your argument?

    Yes please, stick to your own arguments, it's hard enough trying to follow just your logic.

    No, I will see that there is an immoral message and philosophy "preached" by the music and shared by the audience at a Rolling Stones concert, and a genuine amoral love of music at a concert performed by the London Harmonic.

    I wouldn't say "the magic's in the music" but the music is definately in me ;)

    [ February 03, 2003, 11:16 PM: Message edited by: Travelsong ]
     

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