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# Holiness Unit of Measurement

To know a little better where we stand.
 (+6, -4) [vote for, against]

[satire warning]
While reading stu's question on 'How many wafers make up a whole Jesus,' it ocurred to me that perhaps one of the reasons we can't rightly quantify righteousness/godliness/holiness/sanctification/etc. is that we simply haven't created a unit of measure for it, and that hurts our ability to know how far short of the mark we are or are not. I propose the Jesus (Ye) for the US System, and for the SI unit system, the deity, (de) for those offended by the former. One Ye would equal 1/3 de. Standard prefixes would apply, thus we have the nanodeity, microdeity, millideity, kilodeity, and megadeity. Such a measurement would need to be on an asymptotic scale, like warp drive, in order to prescribe a finite number to an infinite positive. I propose then that 777 megadeity = infinitely good = God. Billy Graham sits at about 10 megadeity. Your average pastor- around 6 Mde. The average schmo? 2-3 Mde, or about 1 MYe.

Of course, the trick to this will be separating the very good from the very twistedly evil who only appear good. This is where the reciprocal rule comes in handy.

 — RayfordSteele, Apr 05 2002

Quantification of Saints Hagiometry_2c_20or_...ation_20of_20saints
A related idea [csea, Aug 18 2006]

 Is evil measured by negative Ye/de?

Would Satan be -666Mde?
 — phoenix, Apr 05 2002

I'm using evilness as simply a lack of goodness; one of the drawbacks to my scaling system is that negative numbers aren't allowed. I'm tempted to fit the scale such that Satan would be 1/666 Mde, but that presents a problem. Since 777 Mde = infinitely good, 1/777 Mde would therefore equal zero, and 1/666 Mde is still more than that. Perhaps the antichrist could be 1/666. Glad you straightened me out on the proper mega abbreviation, BTW.
 — RayfordSteele, Apr 05 2002

I guess this brings up a question to ponder: is evilness 'a thing' or is it simply the lack of something positive? Always wondered about that.
 — RayfordSteele, Apr 05 2002

Is Billy Graham's rating before or after his meeting with Nixon? Or should I say, before or after we heard about it?
 — beauxeault, Apr 05 2002

"I'm using evilness as simply a lack of goodness;..."
Then we need a standardized cut-off value. If the average person is 1Ye, then anything below that would indicate evil tendencies. 0Ye/0de = pure evil.
 — phoenix, Apr 05 2002

 If 777Mde = infinity = God, What is alephnull mapped back into your Holiness measurement system. Alephnull is the first transfinite number.

 I'm assuming there's a test to see where you place on the scale. Kind of like a personality test? Questions like,

"You see an ant on the sidewalk, do you squish it?" or " Would you rather be partying like a pagan or home watching Billy Graham?"etc..
 — dag, Apr 05 2002

 Personally, I only use the term 'evil' in the context of human values. In that context, I'd say that passive evil is a lack of goodness and active evil is something else--a force in its own ugly right.

I would be really interested if one could build a device to objectively measure holiness.
 — Dog Ed, Apr 06 2002

 UnaBubba: Exactly! So you've got to have something to objectively measure holiness, perhaps by means of small probes which can be inserted in the nose. Then the question arises, Where is God's nose? I would suspect it is in the Horsehead Nebula. I could be mistaken. Well we may have to measure Earthly human holiness, and extrapolate to find values for God, Satan, and other deities.

Note: I really don't mean to offend those of you who are religious. Please take this as lighthearted silliness from someone who does not claim to know any Truth.
 — Dog Ed, Apr 06 2002

Even with broadened range and narrowed definition, I don't see how this would be useful. I see no purpose in quantifying religion.
 — waugsqueke, Apr 06 2002

Okay, I see no purpose in quantifying holiness then.
 — waugsqueke, Apr 06 2002

 Someone did a study awhile back that demonstrated that we're all egotists to some degree. Everyone thinks they're just a little better than everyone else. The opinions of others might be used to approximate one's holiness quotient, using the standard statistical sampling rules. It would still be subjective to some degree, but should begin to average out nicely. I suppose people would intentionally tip the measurement in the favor of their own religion. Perhaps there should be a blind or double-blind test, where descriptions of the subject's actions in situations would be used instead of names. A model might be developed where the opinions of other faiths with similar morals might be weighed more heavily than the opinions of one's own faith in the enumeration of that faith's particular deity or saint. Agnostics would be polled for whom they respect the most, based upon the nameless descriptions.

 I suppose in the Christian model, alephnull might correspond with Christ's human nature.

1/alephnull = Phil, the prince of insufficient light.
 — RayfordSteele, Apr 06 2002

No they do not. Man, talk about a gate to the flame wars.
 — beauxeault, Apr 07 2002

UnaB, I like your witty writing most of the time, but sometimes you really tick me off with statements like that.
 — RayfordSteele, Apr 07 2002

Given the analogy [SteveDeGroof], can the quality of leadership be quantified as well?
 — bristolz, Apr 07 2002

 UnaBubba, it would take someone much better informed than I am to know for sure what the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is about. Mostly it just breaks my heart.

 But what I see bears none of the hallmarks of true religious belief. Nor do any of the supposedly religiously-motivated conflicts. Sure, religion is a powerful weapon that is too easily abused by those who are committed to fighting, but I don't *know* of a single major religion that encourages such stupid, vengeful cruelty. I do know that neither Protestant nor Catholic Christianity encourages it, and I'm pretty sure I know enough about Judaism to say that it doesn't either. It would stand my moderate knowledge of Buddhism on its head to learn that Buddhism teaches it. I know very little about Hinduism, and there's evidently some debate about whether Islam promotes violence as a religious practice, but I distrust the argument that it does.

 On the other hand, religious thought *is* responsible for some of the most *constructive* things mankind has done, which must at least mitigate against the damage done in the name of religion. But merely evening the score with religion's good works is a distorted view, because the violence is not legitimately seen as a product of religious thought, and the benevolence is.

 What's most troubling, though, is that I know the above is not new to you, and it shocks me to find someone as well-informed and rational as you so eager to blame religious thought for those evil passions that seem to lurk in the hearts of us all.

None of which is to dismiss or trivialize the seriousness of the wounds that can be caused when religious practitioners stray from their religion, wounds made all the more grievous by the fact that they alienate the wounded from their best hope for healing.
 — beauxeault, Apr 07 2002

I would express my point now, but [UnaBubba] made it very clear already. Well stated indeed. But they are still going to have to be killed.
 — dag, Apr 07 2002

 // Is Billy Graham's rating before or after his meeting with Nixon? //

 I dunno. Are we rating Christ before or after he met with Satan in the desert?

My answer to UB's lack of resolution is pretty simple. They're screwed up humans like the rest of us, only now they've got some umption behind it. They intermingle perfectly okay religious ideas with complicated, messed-up motives and mental self-mismanagement. And when a 'prophet' like Muhammad comes along and justifies violence in writing, it's not too hard of a stretch to see. Religion itself is not a bad thing if its tenets are ethical. Like an automobile isn't a bad thing by itself. It's when it's improperly used when it becomes dangerous.
 — RayfordSteele, Apr 08 2002

I will take beaux's statement a step further. It shocks me to find someone as well-informed and rational as UnaBubba honestly believes that disputes such as those in the Middle East and even Northern Ireland are really about religion.
 — waugsqueke, Apr 08 2002

 The disputes in the middle east and Northern Ireland are largely about tribalism. Religion is an important part of tribal identity, and the history of religious conflict is an important part of forming the identity of many national or ethnic groups. In Israel, religion, race, tribal identity and nationalism are particularly deeply intertwined. A somewhat similar situation exists in northern ireland, where religious discrimination and social discrimination against a particular clearly-defined group provoked the last 30 years of troubles.

 As long as people use religion as a bond of identification it will be a cause of conflict wherever there are struggles or discrimination. The fact that religion helps construct in-groups based around a common belief system means it commonly falls in with nationalism, racialism, and other us-versus-them manifestations of what Adorno and others called the Authoritarian Personality. Religion, insofar as it preaches obedience to arbitrary laws and principles of sacrifice, has qualities that make it attractive to dictators and to those who want to be led by authoritarian leaders.

Not all religious believers are the same, and it is a mistake to say that because religion is so often involved with conflict, it is the cause of conflict. Rather, in its institutionalised form it is in the same class as patriotism or nationalism, which can be forces for good (civil improvement, social bonds, helping weaker members of society), but as often can be turned to evil. It is however for these reasons more dangerous than a secular philosophy based around the equal worth of all people. Clearly, religion is socially useful in some ways, but also destructive; I believe (paradoxically?) it is overall morally neutral.
 — pottedstu, Apr 08 2002

 UnaBubba, I think it's a matter of distinguishing cause and effect. No sane Christian can first surrender his life to God, read the Bible, and then sincerely conclude, "God wants me to detonate a car bomb in London." But it's quite natural for someone who has been wronged or threatened to seek protection or justification in religion. That's not to say, though, that they will submit fully to what the religion teaches. Regardless of the subjective gymnastics the "holy" warrior uses to justify himself, I think we can objectively judge cause and effect accurately. Even the Bible suggests as much in Matthew 7:15-23.

 Or, here's a *subjective* test that may nevertheless be helpful: In addition to the people you've asked about the causes of violence in the name of religion, ask yourself. Do you believe that if you were to sincerely follow Christ (just hypothetically, of course, although the Church could use more people like you), that your faith would make you more violent? If not, there's an indication as to whether it's God or someone else that's behind the violence.

 If you do fear that a sincere faith would make you more violent, you should ask some sincere Christians about how their faith has transformed them. In my case, I was never a brawler, but I did harbor far more prejudicial hatred for other people (not racism - I was an equal opportunity hater) before I became a sincere Christian. And to the extent I am a "good and peaceful man" now, it is only because of what God has done in my life.

If, on the other hand, we can agree that it's not "religious belief," but misbehavior by those who purport to have religious motives, I will agree with you that right now I can't think of a more destructive force.
 — beauxeault, Apr 08 2002

 bristolz, to put it another way: have you noticed that the ones who solicit and train suicide bombers don't actually perform the deeds themselves? if they truly believed, they would be doing it too. also note that observant (read:orthodox) jews are exempt from serving in the israeli military, on religious grounds (thou shalt not kill). this causes a lot of resentment against them by secular israelis, who believe they are potentially giving up their lives to protect something they don't believe in (i.e. the settlements, a vision of a "greater israel").

every monotheistic religion is about tolerance and forgiveness, and is basically against violence (thou shalt not kill), but each has been exploited in some fashion or another to help advance political goals. a true democracy learns to separate church (or mosque, or temple) and state, especially when more than one religion is represented in that democracy.
 — mihali, Apr 08 2002

I've never quite seen the point of religion. To me it just seems to be a philosophy of living your life according to someone else's prescription (that's prescription not proscription). Whether that person be an 'earthly representative' or God/Allah/Vishnu themself. To me, it's up to each person to make up their own mind how to live their life and let their conscience be their guide. That's not to say that there aren't positives that can be taken from the various religious philosophies, it's just that you don't have to have a god in order to put them to good use. Religion, and more particularly organised religion, is inherently devisive. It's just another branch of politics and a way of avoiding responsibility. In the end, the clinching argument in religion is 'because God said so', rather than 'because that's what I believe' . That's what I believe. ;o)

My socks have a holiness factor of 3, by the way.
 — DrBob, Apr 08 2002

 An interesting thing about religion, I think, is that those persons without faith are not in a position to see the point of faith. So you have no choice but to make that observation, good doctor.

And vegetarianism is for ninnies, n-yah n-yah. :P
 — waugsqueke, Apr 08 2002

<bursts into tears and runs home to mamma>
 — DrBob, Apr 08 2002

There's another thing we can agree on.
 — beauxeault, Apr 08 2002

 Heya new guy here so if I say something gauche, gomen nasai, sorry, perdone, et c.

 In response to DrBob, specifically the comment :

 "To me it just seems to be a philosophy of living your life according to someone else's prescription (that's prescription not proscription). Whether that person be an 'earthly representative' or God/Allah/Vishnu themself. To me, it's up to each person to make up their own mind how to live their life and let their conscience be their guide."

 I seem to recall that this argument being the REASON for so much religious tolerance and hate. In essence, the position can be noted as a personal summation of the Humanist Movement (that's right, I whipped out the CAPITALS) which goes along the lines of your statement. However, one can (most do) paraprase that statement as being along the lines of:

 "OK, so like, I believe in something, er like some junk, and this belief happens to mirror that churchy type guy over there, so I will accept some of the postulates inheirant to the necessary structure of the whole argument. That being, like said, er whatever, I do not have to TOTALLY prescibe to the tenets. Therefore, if the holy writ says that shall like, not 'get it on' I can ignore that! Oh yeah, I can kill brown people too!"

 So then, let us look at a basic axiom of logic:

 I'm a gonna mess up and misquote/paraphrase Kant and Socrates (sorta, it's really my PHIL101 prof from WAAAAY back in college, the only person I have ever learned anything from eg: how to open a beer w/ a lighter)

 "If ANY portion of an ontological statement can be proven false or contrary to the statement then, by definition the ENTIRE statement is void."

 Now, here's what it all comes down to. Namely, if any one person can invalidate any scripture (they ALL say that they are the truth, and the complete truth) by picking and choosing does it not then, by definition invalidate the religion as a whole?

Jesus in a G-string, I'm glad I'm an atheist!
 — gekken, Apr 08 2002

You can paraphrase it any way you like, gekken, but that's not what I said.
 — DrBob, Apr 09 2002

|
 — thumbwax, Apr 09 2002

 Ummm...

Lemon curry?
 — Dog Ed, Apr 09 2002

 Getting back to the original idea, I can think of an area where a holiness unit of measurement would come in useful - holy water.

 There seems to be several degrees of holiness when it comes to holy water if the bizarre notions of the older women in my family are to be believed.

 Holy water which has been blessed by the pope has a high level of holiness, whereas the water in the entrance fonts of the local church which is merely blessed by the parish priest will be relatively unholy.

 Added complications come into play when, as I have witnessed, someone returns from a pilgramage to Lourdes with a small bottle of holy water from the sacred well (high level of holiness) which then gets diluted to varying degrees and shared out with other parishioners. Apparently it only takes a drop of holy water in a large font of ordinary water to make it all holy, but I don't know how well it has to be mixed.

Irish Catholicism never ceases to amaze me.
 — stupop, Apr 09 2002

It's a bit like homeopathy, isn't it?
 — angel, Apr 09 2002

stupop: I think some version of an LD-50 test involving vampires would probably suffice.
 — pottedstu, Apr 09 2002

[stuppop] So holy water would have proofs, like alcoholic beverages? "I'll take some of that 50-proof..." hee hee!
 — RayfordSteele, Apr 10 2002

This is satire, right?
 — jackryan, May 19 2002

 I don't know if anyone is reading this anymore... but I'd like to add my two cents.

 In response to gekken's reply to DrBob:

 gekken, I think you're misreading DrBob's intent. DrBob did not say that he follows religion partially, but that he belives that religions are a system by which people allow someone else to define their morals. His position was that he does not necessarily follow *any* such system, but creates his own, and believes that others should do the same.

 In any case.

 I must disagree with beauxeault's statement that most major religions do not encourage actions such as the many atrocious things done in the name of religion throughout the course of history. Yes, those religions today will tell you they do not condone such actions... but only because the times have changed and people today will not accept those kinds of teachings. Read the Bible, beauxault. In the Old Testament, God commands Joshua to slaughter indicriminately all men, women, and children in Jericho simply because they followed a false and supposedly evil religion. That's only one example of many. Check your religious texts and you'll be horrified at the way they continuously egg their followers on the commit atrocity after atrocity... and then try to preach a message of peace, love, and charity.

 Lastly, I think the whole idea of basing this sytem of measurement on 'holiness' is flawed. Holiness is dependant far too much on a person's individual belief. 'Piety' would perhaps be a better measure, but then again, piety has many of the same flaws that holiness does. A man may consider himself to be extremely pious, but his neighbor to be completely unpious, simply because their beliefs do not correspond; and his neighbor may believe the opposite, for the same reasons.

 Holiness even more so; the Christian man who considers himself holy will think his Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu neighbor to be downright evil, because that neighbor follows a 'false god'.

 And who is to say that he would be wrong, unless he would also be willing to be labeled wrong based on his own beliefs?

 I think the ideal measure would be 'goodness', goodness being a measure of how well you get along with your fellow man.

Piety could then be measured relative to a person's belief peers, and holiness based on a persons religious peers. These two quantities could in turn be measured relative to the goodness measure, since a belief system or religion could have its own goodness rating, based on how well the followers of the religion/belief system get along with followers of other religions/belief systems.
 — jodakim, Oct 17 2002

Well I'm still reading, jodakim, and yeah, that's what I meant.

Your 'goodness' measure doesn't work either though. To illustrate, if I am one of only two people in the world who follow belief A and everyone else follows belief B, and one of the tenets of each belief is that the believers in the other belief are evil and should be destroyed (a lot of believing there, I know), then I can achieve a neutral rating by either destroying the other believer in belief A or all of the believers in belief B (assuming that the 'piety' and 'goodness' ratings are weighted to take account of the number of believers in each belief).
 — DrBob, Oct 17 2002

 Part of the problem I see with major religions is that they ask you to be in the habit of believing in things without evidence. Most religious people don't take this aspect too seriously, or think of it as a model for the rest of their lives. A few do, and they think that *they* have dispensation from god to do something...a little different from what their co-religionists tend to go along with. Is it crazy? Of course. But then the ultimate justification for most odd unique religious doctrines (don't eat pork, believe that Abraham was right to consider sacrificing his son, women can't be priests, etc.) is "god just wants it that way, he told so-and-so, I can't explain it." Frankly, once we accept this kind of justification as valid, we have little to say to the people who think god told them to blow up other people except "I doubt that god told you to do that," but without any systematic explanation of why the first is plausible but the second isn't. This is separate of course from religious doctrines that make sense, like ordinary ethical norms (treat people nice, etc.) which have independent sources of justification. Systematically believing in things without such justification is a bad habit to get into, and even if your system of it is not going to hurt anyone, it sets a bad example.

But returning to the main topic: measuring the immeasurable. Do you all know the basic unit of beauty? The miliHelen, which of course is the amount of beauty it takes to launch one ship.
 — scottinmn, Oct 18 2002

 Returning to the original proposal to quantify godliness as Ye or de, (a very good proposal, I think) several questions occur to me:

 1. Is there a smallest or indivisible quantum of de; is there a Planck de?

 2. Is there an exchange rate -- can de be bought and sold?

 3. Is there a conservation law for de?

 4. Is de equivalent to indulgences (see question 2)?

I realize that a lot of important work has already been done here at the halfbakery on this proposal, and it is possible that I’ve put forth a question that has already been sufficiently answered or debated; however, I was simply too lazy to read it all.
 — ldischler, Oct 19 2002

†³
 — thumbwax, Oct 21 2002

Idea: Perpetual motion machine. Post something on religion/philosopy on 1/2B, run machine indefinitely on resulting hot air ......
 — 8th of 7, Oct 21 2002

...using the strong argumentative field between two large military historians, one US and one UK, their flat faces < 2mm apart...
 — General Washington, Oct 21 2002

"It's a million-to-one chance, but it might just work......"
 — 8th of 7, Oct 21 2002

 Um, late in to the conversation and all that, sorry, pardon me, oh, were they your toes, sorry.

 I thought holiness is absolute - God is holy, we are not. Something is either holy (ie. set apart) or not. Shirley you can't have something that is mainly holy, or 0.335 holy.

Thank you. I'll just take my soap box over there, sorry, oops, sorry...
 — PeterSilly, Oct 21 2002

 Peter, well-noted....

 re: exchange rate... hmm... a holiness-based financial system would be nearly impossible. Attempts at buying or selling de would no doubt invoke the reciprocal rule and crash the entire holiness economy.

 Not only would separate religions insist on their own individual currencies, (which would not be inter-exchangable), but I'll bet that the holiness financial futures market would be disastrous to manage, like my "Karmron" idea.

 Law of Conservation of de? I suppose according to Jewish and Buddhist beliefs...

 I volunteer to run the perpetual energy machine. I've enough religious debate material on my hard drive to prevent a universal heat death. See? It did save us, after all!

 One other thing to address: // In the Old Testament, God commands Joshua to slaughter indicriminately all men, women, and children in Jericho simply because they followed a false and supposedly evil religion. //

And had you studied any of the details of that religion, ie. child sacrifice, etc., you would agree that it was quite false and evil.
 — RayfordSteele, Oct 22 2002

 1) Perhaps "goodness" might be a more secular name for the scale than "holiness" (and would lead to less confusion in certain circles - "Your Holiness?" "A hundred and six at the last count, my child.") Also, "my goodness" would remain an appropriate invocation for all faiths.

 Rayford's asymptotic scale (or R.A.S. as theological texts of the future will undoubtedly call it) could be used to generate a dimensionless number, G, the Goodness Quotient. G would be a function of D, the Deed Sum, where each good deed adds to D and each evil deed subtracts from it.

 G = (Tan-1)D / (2*pi)

 (I'm sure a halfbaker of greater mathematical ability than myself could find a more suitable formula - it was the first one I found with infinite domain and range of -1 to 1 which was a single line passing through the origin)

 G thus ranges from -1 (ultimate Evil, Great Adversary, the Destroyer of Worlds etc) to 1 (Perfect Goodness). Newborn babies would start with D=0, and work from there. Those who haven't been keeping note of their every action since birth can find a rough value for D using a version of Dag's Morality Questionnaire, albeit one with a less hypothetical slant ("Q1: Have you ever killed anyone?" "Q2: How often do you help an old person get their shopping to the car?" etc).

 I see a couple of problems with Soulonomy, as one might call the calculation of a soul's state of goodness:

 1- Logistics

 A person commits many hundreds of actions every day, be they sinful or redemptive. The tracking of all of these, for even one person, would be an incredibly labour-intensive task. This could be automated using the plethora of existing CCTV cameras, spyware bots, paper trails etc through whose domain each of us passes constantly, to collate evidence of our deeds. the morality (or lack of) of each deed could then be added to each person's Deed Sum.

 There would be an inevitable lag as, say, the transfer of funds out of the Orphan Relief Fund into a numbered account at the First Bank of Drugs, Guns and Hookers would only be processed at close of business in whatever city the Orphan Relief Fund is based.

 2- Points System

 Some kind of points system is necessary, to place a value on each form of deed, for the computers to use. Here's where we really run into trouble:-

 a) Cross-denominational conflict. What one religion finds acceptable, another may not - dietary restrictions spring to mind as an example. From Muslims and pork, to Hindus and beef, to Jews and Kosher dishes, the possibilities are endless. Then there's dress codes, and let's not forget that we'll have to settle on a single Sabbath for everyone.

 b) Sin standardisation. Example: a man is hurrying home, and knocks a child to the ground in his rush. This, clearly, is a Bad Thing. But how bad? six points of sin? Three hundred? He's running home with life-saving medicine for his neighbour. Does this lessen the severity of his child-shoving sin? And if so, by how much?

And we haven't even mentioned Original Sin yet...
 — friendlyfire, Oct 22 2002

“Some kind of points system is necessary” says [friendlyfire]. One advantage of quantifying goodness in de is that you can denominate it as a medium of exchange. Postulate the deon, quantum carrier of de. Deons are possibly interchanged between people and between people and other sources of deons. Perhaps the sun radiates deons (Aten); and perhaps deons are stored up in the pineal gland. It deons exits, as I believe they surely must, it may be possible to take them in tablet form (holy wafers)…
 — ldischler, Oct 22 2002

If the average schmo is 1 MYe then does this mean he is 1000000 times more holy than jesus?
 — Alphaman, Oct 22 2002

alphaman, no, because in my scale, jesus pegs the needle at 777 MYe.
 — RayfordSteele, Oct 25 2002

There seems to be an oversite on the authority and definition of Holiness, and to whom is given the final verdict on true Holiness. If I may suggest the Bible, and to further inject the passage in th book of Mark ch. 4 vs.1thru 20. Here we find the author of Holiness describing the work of His word growing as seed in our lives (the ground) and bringing forth it's fruit (change), from barren and desolate to hopefully fruitfull and in His Image. Try this
 — try-this, Oct 17 2003

Eight little days. You couldn't wait just eight little days.
 — DrBob, Oct 17 2003

 Why limit this to one dimension of good - evil? What is orthogonal to the G-E axis, Truth/Falsehood, Beauty/Ugliness? We could have a whole moral space in 3 (or more) dimensions. What does distance from the origin (defined as morality radius) mean? Is a beautiful evil lie comparable to an ugly truth, since both could have a similar morality radius?

"Sorry the dog ate my morality vector homework."
 — ATP, Oct 17 2003

 I have always considered that the epicurean dimension (pleasure and pain - see felicitic or hedonic calculus) was orthogonal to the Good and Evil dimension. This might help clear up the difference between "human" holimetrics and "divine" holimetrics.

According to divine holimetrics, *try-this* has a practical approach (even though this halfbake is disclaimed satire), and I think he'd almost agree that Jesus is (1) holy, the devil is (-1) holy, and we are all, including mother teresa, infinitesimally on the negative side of (0) holy. In order to claim holier-than-thou-ness, you have to multiply by infinity to get a significant difference. And only a newborn baby might be as high as 0 holy, having not yet done anything good or bad. Where do we stand? Even if we spent all day trying to do good things we'd still screw up more than half of them. Christians believe that Jesus accepted our punishment and forgives us. Forgiving erases debts (the negative holy units, as you say). Hell is rejection of forgiveness. (Hate and Die -or- Live and Love) The most good we can do is trust God, and help strangers (mother teresa's example), and also so says the bible. Religion in the form of ritual is nearly nonsense. IMHO
 — mr2560, Oct 17 2003

777 makes sense to me as Im a Unix administrator. If you know a bit of unix, the 7's each apply to world, group and self. If you were to apply to a 'holiness scale' Id be about a 007 (hey maybe Ian Fleming knew some unix as well!!).
 — rumbletumbler, Oct 18 2003

Ye could be proportional to Sin^-1?
 — Ling, Aug 18 2006

 [mr2560] touches upon a good point, holiness, like time is relative.

 We can always tell whether someone is holier, or less holy than any given 'thou'.

 What we then need to do is desribe this variance using discrete units of holiness.

 I would have thought that angels (cherubim if you will) might be a suitably granular (Plank-like) measurement, and if we extend their definition to include shades, spirits and other ethemera, this allows us to extend a hand to non Abrahamic religions.

 We might be able to describe holiness in a discrete manner in terms of the exact number of Cherubim (ch) more or less than 'thou' something is. And, perhaps (to make the numbers easier) we might find it convenient to express this value in terms of pinfulls - (p)

 Where 1p = mean average density of angels (ch)dancing on the head of a pin at any given moment.

 Actually building a measurement device might be a difficult task - but not impossible; different cities using a local 'thou' as a standard against which initial callibrations can be made, followed by a secondary round of callibration using the same 'thou', only this time, holding a pin.

Measuring the holiness of specific entities would then require aiming the callibrated device at said person, deity or spirit and measuring their holiness in 'p', described in terms of its variance from the 'thou' position.
 — zen_tom, Aug 18 2006

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