1/05/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Morality and ethics without absolutes

By Dave, the WM

"A man's ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

"There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair."

— Albert Einstein


When it comes to ethical decisions and moral behavior,

What is right?

What is wrong?

What is good?

What is bad?

And, do we really need a god to tell us what these words mean?

Ethics and morals aren't exactly the same thing. However, in Christian circles the terms are usually used interchangeably. So, for the sake of this discussion, morality and ethical behavior will be considered synonymous.

When I was a Christian, innumerable sermons, messages, pamphlets, and books crossed my eyes and flooded my ears with the dogma of moral absolutism. God had decreed HIS Law. He had embedded it in the hearts and minds of men. HE had written it on tablets of stone. Those laws were foundational to family life. Those tablets were the cornerstones to ordered society. HIS absolute Law is the bedrock upon which all people must build their lives and homes.

Moral relativism, on the other hand, was fiercely denounced as a doctrine birthed in the pit of hell. This idea, if it ever gained wide-spread acceptance, would usher in an era of moral collapse and chaos. The very fabric of society would be rent in twain, and Satan himself would walk our streets.

OK, no one said Satan would walk our streets, but it was generally agreed that without the absolute moral authority of the Bible, the 10 Commandments, etc., the world might stop spinning in its orbit, or something. At the very least, violence and mayhem would be commonplace. A shadowy vision of a lawless, post-apocalyptic landscape would come to mind whenever relativism was mentioned.

I completely bought into that Christian viewpoint.

"Isn't it obvious?" I'd ask. "God Himself describes what is good. God is good. And sin is the transgression of the Law of God."

I was comfortable with this position because morality this simply defined was easy to understand. I knew right from wrong because God had given me some natural knowledge, His Word to confirm that inner knowledge, and bound it all together with the witness of His Spirit in my heart.

Who needs a philosophical education on ethics when you possess a mystical triumvirate of moral certitude?

Obviously I've abandoned that position now, but I didn't do it without a measure of fear and uncertainty. Because of my long programming, I wondered if it was possible to be moral without the restraining influences of a belief in God. What was to keep me from diving head-long into hedonism? What would keep me from devolving into a drunken glutton whose mantra would be "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!"

Isn't being debauched what "True Infidelity™" is all about?

Now, several years later, without a belief in an afterlife or in a God who is waiting to punish me, I haven't appreciably changed my lifestyle. I still hold down a job, obey the speed limit, pay my taxes, love my family, deal honestly with others, am devotedly faithful to my wife, am not given to frequent outbursts of rage, regularly bathe, brush my teeth, and comb my hair.

In essence, there's been no significant change at all in my behavior. If anything, some of my behavior has improved: I'm less prone to harshly and narrowly judge my fellow human beings.

The thought of relativism scared me as a Christian. It scares many Christians because to admit that morals can change based on cultural, historical, familial, or other influences and norms, opens wide the door to possibilities such as that Hitler and Stalin couldn't be judged as any more immoral than my grandmother. In other words, if we have no Law Maker in the sky, how can anyone say that the things Hitler and Stalin did were bad?

Well?

Well, if we do have a Law Maker in the sky that says the things Hitler and Stalin did was bad, would that make they did bad?

What I mean is, is genocide and mass-murder bad because a so-called god says so, or is it bad for some other reason? If God said genocide and mass-murder were good, would it be OK to kill with impunity and without mercy?

Said another way, is what Hitler and Stalin did only bad because a god says so? Do we really need a god to tell us that these two guys were monsters?

Are things wrong because a god has decreed certain things bad, or are certain things inherently bad in and of themselves. If God commits genocide is it good? If God commands us to commit genocide, is it good? Whether or not God would ever ask such behavior of us is beside the point. To say that God's nature is good, and HE must obey His nature is also avoiding the question. If God commanded you to murder another human being, would God be commanding something good or something bad?

There are a couple of points here:
  1. Since God supposedly cannot perform evil acts or order evil acts, or call evil good or good evil, it suggests that He answers to a law of morality outside and above Himself. Clearly God cannot arbitrarily declare murder bad one day and good the next. Either murder is bad or it is not, right?
  2. Christianity is morally relativistic.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness..."

Lying is a sin. Lying is breaking the Law of God.

Yet, Corrie Ten Boom, the famous Christian author who wrote of her experiences during the Nazi occupation of Holland in WWII, hid Jewish people in her home. She repeatedly denied to the authorities that she was hiding anyone. Over and over, she lied.

Personally, I think she did the right thing. She did the morally right thing. But she still lied. She lied to protect the lives of others who would die if she told the truth. She made a morally relativistic decision.

What if you were a Christian, serving as a soldier in the United States army during WWII, and you were commanded to assassinate Hitler? Assassinating Hitler — would that be morally good or morally bad?

What if the command to kill Hitler came late in the war, after many millions of people had died?

What if the command to kill Hitler came early in the war, before hostilities broke out?

What if the command to kill Hitler came when Hitler was a child?

I betting that honest people attempting to answer those questions will admit that their answers changed depending on the way the question was phrased, depending on the circumstances described. While at one point, killing Hitler might seem like the morally right thing to do. Killing a child, even Hitler as a child, would give most people pause.

For me, when I began to realize that even in Christianity there are no moral absolutes, that moral decisions change and adjust with the circumstances, I started to break free of the fear that some sort of horrific moral chaos would overwhelm our world without bible-god.

If it were easy to determine right from wrong or good from bad, we wouldn't need so many laws, lawyers, and judges. If morality was something written in stone, slavery wouldn't have been tolerated throughout nearly 1,900 years of Christian history. We all know that slavery is wrong, don't we? Yet, not once in the entire Bible is the practice called wrong.

Here's something bold: Perhaps, in ancient times, slavery wasn't wrong! Perhaps it's only wrong now!

Christians want it both ways. They want to claim a hold on moral absolutes, but will defend things like slavery with moral relativistic rhetoric.

The reality is that there are no clear absolutes when it comes to morality. Does that mean that anything goes, so party on, dude? Does that mean Hitler and Stalin are, after all, no less moral than my grandmother?

No.

It's apparent that human beings have evolved with a need for socialization, for community, for family, for building tribes and cities and nations. We generally all want to live and be happy, and the best way to do that is to live together in peace. Were not that far from our Paleolithic roots, however, so we still have a long way to go. Shedding our primitive superstitious nonsense like so many worn out rags will be a good step in the right direction.

I no longer envision all humans with Christian pessimism. I do not think people are morally depraved demon fodder more fit for the fire than for anything else. I don't necessarily think all people are basically good, either. I think it all depends on the relative circumstances we find ourselves in.

In any event, morality is strictly a human affair.

To make comments, continue to PART II: Morality and ethics without absolutes, part II

97 comments:

eel_shepherd said...

WM said:

"Christians want it both ways. They want to claim a hold on moral absolutes, but will defend things like slavery with moral relativistic rhetoric".

I respectfully disagree. I don't think that Christians want it both ways. The wanting-it-both-ways is just an epiphenomenon. That's only the way it manifests itself. It would be closer to the mark to say that they don't want it either way; although wanting it
both ways is the clearest way of presenting it in real time.

What they want is to reside in a different place in their consciousness from where freethinkers/secularists reside. They are using a whole different mode of thought. It's said, by social scientists in white lab-coats, that the Id cannot hear the word "not"; which is why experts in the field of sports psychology, and in self-affirmation generally, always encourage the subject/patient to think up a _positive_ script for themselves: "I stroke the ball smoothly and follow through," rather than "I don't make my usual mistake of taking my eye off the ball and slicing it into the rough."

When you want to go into faith-think, it's axiomatic that you must jump in with both feet. There's no other way. Otherwise, it's not faith, it's thought, or logic, etc.

That's why my respect for the true ex-Christians (I'm a never-wuzzer) just goes on and on. By definition, their apostasy must have been close to impossible, as evinced by the fact that so few have done it during this period when leaving the religion is NOT made easy for them. And yet, they did it.

Most Christians of my personal experience are like that cartoon where the guy is talking to his dog, Skippy. The human is standing there with his fetching stick in his hand, saying stuff like, "Now listen, Skippy; it's a bad little Skippy that just watches me throw the stick and hafta go get it again myself. Please, Skippy, this time I want you to be a clever little Skippy and do what Skippy's clever sister does, and run after the...etc."

The caption on the cartoon is: "What you say --- what he hears", because in the dog's
thought-balloon, the way it shows up is: "blah, blah, blah, Skippy....blah, blah, Skippy ...blah, blah, blah, blah, Skippy...blah, blah, Skippy...blah, blah, blah Skippy..."

There's no point in telling them that it's an example of cultural relativism to point out that it was okay when The Lawd told Moses & the gang to kill every man, woman, child and unit of livestock currently occupying the promised land, but not okay for Hitler to do it. All they really hear is: "blah, blah, The Lawd...blah, blah, blah, The Lawd ...blah, blah...The Lawd...etc."

I guess I both agree and disagree with your analysis. It's true, but to a person who has either acquiesced to, or plunged into, the ambient "faith", it is addressed to a part of the brain that has been effectively pithed.

People are now free to have some fun at any references to "stroking the ball", and True Ex-Christians[TM]...heh heh...

Nathan said...

Tons of questions to ask...

Would the statement "there are no moral absolutes" be an absolute?

How can you say that what Hitler was doing was wrong when you state that the measure of right and wrong is the peace of society? I am sure Hitler would argue that he was trying to bring about peace by conquering the world and destroying the Jews. How can you say that he was wrong in his assumption? Any answer you give must lead to an absolute for it to have any authority over Hitler and the Nazi's morality.

Is God good because he does what is good or because He is the essance of what is good? He is not obedient to an outside standard, he IS the standard. So, to answer your question in the most shocking of ways, Yes, if God commanded for me to kill someone, it would be morally right for me to do so. Does that make God evil or does that make Him...well, God, the supreme Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Can God do with His creation as He pleases? Is the command to wipe out a nation moral relativism or simply reckoning justice where there is no justice, as those nations overtly and systematically broke every moral code and every moral sensibility that any human might have by sacrificing children, ravaging border villages, and even practicing canabalism?

I would absolutely agree that Christians are no wiser than unbelievers at making moral decisions sometimes. It is much easier to believe in moral absolutism than to practice it, but to say that this invalidates the argument for moral absolutism would be to make the "argument against the person" fallacy of logic. I would also absolutely agree that "Christians" have even altogether ignored the commands of God to opt for doing that which was most beneficial for them, but, here again, this does not nullify or invalidate the argument.

The bottom line is that there must be moral absolutes. One cannot simply judge right from wrong based on familial or societal desires. What is "good" for society and family today might not be "good" tomorrow, but does then make yesterday evil? I believe, in your story of Corey Tin Boom, you left out the fact that her sister trusted in God's moral absolutes and told the truth to a German patrol, and the soldiers laughed at her and left the house without checking it. Kant would argue that it would not have been her that killed the Jews in her house, but rather the soldiers, and they, therefore, would have been morally wrong.

This may be rubbing salt on an old wound, but I pray right now that God will be faithful and restore your relationship with Him. You may be a moral man, but where is your foundation? I hope that Christ will be that foundation once again, someday.

paul said...

Morality without God is Impossible!
If we need to call some thing bad we should be able to know what is good and bad. To know what is good and what is bad we need an absolute law that tells us what is good and what is bad. To have an absolute law we need an absolute law giver. That absolute law giver is God Himself who is transcendent above all of us. We cannot make human beings as the absolute law givers. If we do, who is that? Osama Bin Laden or Mahatma Gandhi? Mother Teresa or Hitler? We cannot put morality and ethics into the hands of men.
The atheists might presume that they are doing good things inspite of their absence of belief in the absolute God. Yet they do not have an objective basis for their good ness. Suppose that evolution trained us in the exactly opposite way - putting genes of hate, betrayal, dishonesty, deception each into our being without a trace of genes that make us love, help and honor people. Then our genocides will be completely rationalized because that is the way the evolution has trained us, after all. Thus, in evolutionary worldview you can do good things but there is no rationalization against doing bad things. In fact, the 'good' the atheists are boasting about is learnt from conscience and the Bible. The conscience tells us what is good and what is bad. THe conscience is not a product of evolution but a program inbuilt within us by GOd Himself.
The author also exhibited his ignorance by proclaiming that Christianity has condoned slavery. In fact, if we look back into history slavery was forbidden by Christians as early as eleventh century in Europe. But it later resurfaced as the Christian influence faded. However, at the height of slave trade, it was Christians who fought for abolition - William Wilberforce, a staunch Christian was behind bringing the Abolition laws into the British constitution, here in USA - people like Abe Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, F. Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr were staunch Christians and they repeatedly flipped through their Bibles to show the inhumanity of the slavery. Could you name at least one person who was atheist and anti-slavery at the same time? I mean among the great leaders who fought against slavery.
Why racism is wrong? Because God who created all humans equally exists. Otherwise, there is no reason for calling racism wrong.

.:webmaster:. said...

eel_shepherd,

I think you hit it right on the mark. Your "bla, bla, bla" cartoon analogy played out immediately in the very next comments.

I am sure Hitler would argue that he was trying to bring about peace by conquering the world and destroying the Jews.

Sure, Hitler may very well have thought that. However, a considerable portion of the rest of western society vehemently disagreed with his ultimate solution and his methods. That's why we don't live under Nazism right now. If the rest of society had agreed with his philosophy, we would all be fascists, and you would have been taught from early childhood that your way of life and your country was the best in the world. And you would undoubtedly believe it with all your mind, heart and soul.

Would the statement "there are no moral absolutes" be an absolute?

Yes. I didn't say there were no absolute statements. 1+1=2, absolutely. You need the qualifier in both parts of the sentence. You should have asked "Would the statement 'there are no moral absolutes' be a moral absolute?" Obviously, asked correctly the question is silly and answers itself.

Yes, if God commanded for me to kill someone, it would be morally right for me to do so.

That's scary. That is a terrifying admission. And I expect I'll see you on the front page of some newspaper in the future. There are crimes committed on a regular basis by people who believe they are obeying the voice of God. They frequently end up in mental wards. Be careful.

Nathan, I think you are probably talking about the vile so-called commands of God in the Old Testament to rape and murder and commit genocide as the righteous judgment of God. No doubt when parents were debased into eating their own children, that too was a good exercise of justice.

If that kind of justice had been practiced during WWII, all German citizens would have been systematically gassed and murdered and the entire nation of Japan nuked.

If you'd been born in the Middle Ages, you would have argued that the Crusades, ordered by God through the Church, was righteous, good and nothing less than another example of the good judgment of God.


The bottom line is that there must be moral absolutes. One cannot simply judge right from wrong based on familial or societal desires. What is "good" for society and family today might not be "good" tomorrow, but does then make yesterday evil?

But you just said, Nathan, that there are NO MORAL ABSOLUTES! Yes you did. You said that no matter what God commands, it is good. If He commands atrocities, it is good. If He commands genocide, it is good. If He commands you to murder, you will do it, and it is good!

If whatever God commands (rather, whatever you think it is that God is commanding) then there is no possible way of determining good from evil. There is no standard at all.

You've illustrated my point. Thanks.

Paul said: if we look back into history slavery was forbidden by Christians as early as eleventh century in Europe. But it later resurfaced as the Christian influence faded.

As early as that? Huh! It only took 1,100 years from Jesus' death to begin to think slavery was wrong. Amazing! Slaves throughout the Old Testament, slave in the New Testament, slaves for 1,100 more years. Then finally, a few people's ideas of right and wrong evolved to the point where slavery was beginning to emerge as immoral.

Sounds like an evolutionary, relativistic process was going on to me.

Paul, I've given you this link before on how Christians supported slavery, but you seem fairly closed off, and won't read anything. Oh well. Ignorance is bliss. The abolitionists did the right thing, but their interpretation of right and wrong was definitely not based on the Bible. They were introducing new, humanistic ideas, based on an evolutionary and relativistic principle. In other words, the world was changing the way it viewed Slavery.

Thus, in evolutionary worldview you can do good things but there is no rationalization against doing bad things.

There sure is good reasons for not doing bad things. It's called jail. It's called divorce. It's called not being liked. It's called social and peer-pressures to conform. It's called wanting to stay employed. It's called feeling good about yourself. It's called all kinds of things.

Paul, if you were to abandon your faith right now, today, do you honestly think you'd suddenly become some sort of unrestrained immoral monster? Are you really so filled with depraved cravings that only the check of a belief in a hell-fire-breathing god is what keep s you in line?

If so, that's sad.

Abe Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, F. Douglas, Martin Luther King Jr

Now you are ignorant. Lincoln was not a pious man and King Jr.'s spirituality was far from orthodox Christianity. I'm not familiar with Tubman's religion, but she was an abolitionist.

As far as racism goes, the Old Testament is full of racism, and it was approved. As long as the races being persecuted or wiped out weren't Hebrew, apparently that was good.

Harlequin said...

God did order Genocides... 'Kill all that breathes' I would move is an order to Genocide...

Also killing all the first born of the Egyptians was a literal Geno-cide (the murder of a generation)
In the case of the Dutch lady, God never said which Commandment was most important so:

Do you save someone who violates Commandment 1 (Jews don't have a Trintiarian God) against someone violating Commandment 6 (The Nazis were VERY good at that)by violating Commandment 9. If they're all equal, then it's relativism, if they're in Heirachy, then you're helping someone violate Commandment 1...
So, how does one choose?

Love

Grandpa

Dano said...

Nathan wrote:
"Is God good because he does what is good or because He is the essance of what is good? He is not obedient to an outside standard, he IS the standard. So, to answer your question in the most shocking of ways, Yes, if God commanded for me to kill someone, it would be morally right for me to do so. Does that make God evil or does that make Him...well, God, the supreme Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Can God do with His creation as He pleases? Is the command to wipe out a nation moral relativism or simply reckoning justice where there is no justice, as those nations overtly and systematically broke every moral code and every moral sensibility that any human might have by sacrificing children, ravaging border villages, and even practicing canabalism?"

Dano here:
Nathan! You are:
# 1 Talking about God, as if you know one exists.
#2 Acting as if you can define the word God.
#3 Not making the truly courageous, moral, and honest decision to admit that you do not know the answer to #1, and #2.

Nathan! No one knows what God is. No one even knows if there is a God. The God of the bible is so much like a human tyrant, it seems fairly obvious that he was invented by men. The only MORAL thing to admit is You don't know what God is. The Pope doesn't know what God is. Billy graham doesn't, I don't, no one does, therefore it is impossible to talk about what it can or cannot do, morally or otherwise.

I seem to remember that you are in the religion business, so you have much invested in pretending that you know all about God. This will go right over your halo, but at least it may help some poor soul who might be tricked into thinking that you and Pat Robertson have some knowledge of God, that the rest us of don't.
Dan (Faith in unsubstantiated bullshit is not moral, it is cowardice)

(Sorry if I said the same things as anyone else. I haven't read any comments after Nathan's yet!)

Borj said...

Paul: "Could you name at least one person who was atheist and anti-slavery at the same time? I mean among the great leaders who fought against slavery."

Abolition was a call by atheists long before the church was forced to succumb by the political rule in the U.S.

-Slavery abolished in France 1791 by atheistic founders of the revolution.

Early in the U.S. history

-Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
-George Washington (1732-1799)
-Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
-John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)

All either deist or Atheist, but definitely atheist towards the belief in a personal Christian god.

-Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) - Deist
-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), a Unitarian minister turned atheist
-William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), an atheist

Back in England... the abolition of slavery was pioneered by;

-Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
-John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

Both Atheists. The question becomes who were the atheists fighting, and the answer would be a resounding - "Christians" or "religious folk" who were still hugging their bibles and declaring that their "state rights" gave them the privilege to do whatever they wanted. Hence, the civil war was more about the war against independent states and how they believed they should be individually governed. Slavery just happened to be a dominant practice in the southern states that drove many from the north to question the validity of a nation, which had no national unity in terms of law.

nathan said...

To webmaster…

Yes. I didn't say there were no absolute statements. 1+1=2, absolutely. You need the qualifier in both parts of the sentence. You should have asked "Would the statement 'there are no moral absolutes' be a moral absolute?" Obviously, asked correctly the question is silly and answers itself.

You make a good point; I did leave out a qualifier. I guess I don’t understand how the question is silly. To say that there are no moral absolutes and one should judge right and wrong on social trends is to state a moral absolute, specifically: It is morally right to do what society deems as right. Or, what society deems right is morally right. This is either always true or not true at all. Isn’t that what we are debating here, whether it is morally right to do the will of society or to do the will of God?

Yes, if God commanded for me to kill someone, it would be morally right for me to do so.

That's scary. That is a terrifying admission. And I expect I'll see you on the front page of some newspaper in the future. There are crimes committed on a regular basis by people who believe they are obeying the voice of God. They frequently end up in mental wards. Be careful.

I don’t think you have anything to be afraid of. For one, God has a specific method by which he reveals his will, namely the Bible. And, in biblical times, he chose to reveal his truth through certain men and women, and particularly in the person of Jesus Christ. If I had a voice in my head (which I do not) telling me to kill someone, I would seriously doubt that command since God’s revealed will (the Bible) tells me that I should not. But, I had to answer a Hyperbolic question with a Hyperbolic answer. God reveals himself to me through His Word. This is the standard that God has given us.


Nathan, I think you are probably talking about the vile so-called commands of God in the Old Testament to rape and murder and commit genocide as the righteous judgment of God. No doubt when parents were debased into eating their own children, that too was a good exercise of justice.

If that kind of justice had been practiced during WWII, all German citizens would have been systematically gassed and murdered and the entire nation of Japan nuked.

First of all, you need to get your facts straight on what God commanded. God did not command rape. He also commanded that wars fought outside of the land of Canaan were to be fought on terms very similar to the all-wise Geneva Convention, i.e. only soldiers were to be killed. In fact, in these cases, Israel was only to defeat the enemy and not destroy and loot. I believe you still missed the point that God can do with his creation as he pleases. The supreme being of the universe who created all things can do with his created things and command of his created things what he wishes. I am a computer engineer who is fascinated with AI. If I were to create rational agents, I would have a right to do with them as I please. I could command that they not harm one another, but does that make it wrong for me to destroy one or even use one agent to destroy another. At the same time, it would be wrong for one agent to act on his own and harm another agent. This, obviously, is a weak analogy, but it is the closest one I got.

As for the reference to “parents eating their children”, I believe you are referring to the Roman siege of Jerusalem, in which case God neither commanded Rome to attack Jerusalem or did He command parents to eat their children.

But you just said, Nathan, that there are NO MORAL ABSOLUTES! Yes you did. You said that no matter what God commands, it is good. If He commands atrocities, it is good. If He commands genocide, it is good. If He commands you to murder, you will do it, and it is good!

If whatever God commands (rather, whatever you think it is that God is commanding) then there is no possible way of determining good from evil. There is no standard at all.

God is absolute. He does not change. For God to command that justice be done on a nation is right and good. For God to command that I not act on my own desires and commit murder is right and good. His commands do not conflict because He acts rightly in each situation. What he does in each situation is the right thing to do, and I can know from what He has said in His Word what is right and good to do.

To Dano…

Yes, I work part-time for a church as a youth minister, but my full-time job is as a computer engineer developing firmware and software for multimedia devices. I don’t need the part-time job, I just believe that God has gifted me with talents to use in my church. Problem is, this is another “argument against the person” fallacy. I would not argue that one should not listen to a Professor of Philosophy or believe what he teaches because he gets paid to propagate such beliefs and it is in his best interest to do so. I must argue that his beliefs are valid or invalid based on their merits.

I am talking about God as if I know one exists in the same way that you talk about him as if he does not exist. Neither of us KNOW for sure, although I can see evidences of his existence. I talk about God as if I know he exists in the same way I would talk about an atom existing. I have never seen an atom, but I believe it exists because I see its effects. I have never seen your brain, but I believe it exists because I see the effect of it. I don’t really even know that you exist (I could just be talking to an AliceBot) but I believe you exist because I see the effects of you.

I don’t define God or the word. God defines himself, and he has stated that he is the supreme being of the universe and the creator of the world. If the God of the Bible is a supreme being, you would have to admit that He sees way more than we do, and if so, He is the only one who can judge, ultimately, whether his actions in the Bible were just or unjust. As a teenager, I thought a lot of the things that my parents did and made me do were “not fair”, and then I got older and wised up and realized that they knew a lot more about the circumstances than I did. We don’t know what God knows. We don’t know what God knew about the Amalekites or the Moabites, and therefore we are in no place to judge his actions or commands.

tigg13 said...

paul said "To know what is good and what is bad we need an absolute law that tells us what is good and what is bad."

Upon what do you base this statement?

All you need for you to know what is good and what is bad is an imagination, empathy and the ability to weigh alternative ideas.

You are presupposing that a universal right and a universal wrong must exist but there is no need for this to be true. But even if it were, so what?

If god is the essense of what is morally good then the only way for you to know what is morally right is for you to know the mind of god - not just the all-too-easily misinterpreted words of the bible. But nobody can know the mind of god, so nobody can know what absolute good is. All we can know is our own personal perspective of what seems right to us.

You seem to suspect this, otherwise you wouldn't bring up the existance of the conscience. But if the conscience is an "inbuilt program" given to us by god, then there wouldn't be any debates over abortion or capital punishment or suicide bombings. We would all have a shared perspective on whether these things were right or wrong. But the world abounds in differing opinions.

You need for there to be an absolute good in order for your god to exist, not the other way around.

Harlequin said...

"We don’t know what God knew about the Amalekites or the Moabites, and therefore we are in no place to judge his actions or commands."

So they were 'all evil'... like the first born Egyptians were 'all evil'. The son of some peasant farmer Egyptian was just asking for God to off him?

Seems you have to spend a lot of time making up pretty stories to try and justify following a bloody handed demon you claim (based only on his own assertion) that he's Good.

Good is a fashion that one wears for a while. Once it was good to own slaves, once it was good to kill a Caananite or Midiante on site, once it was good to sell your daughter into slavery for a 'fair price', once it was good to stone adulterers and wear tassels and burn offerings... Once it was good to kill all the males and women over the age of 40 and all the women who weren't virgins and to take by force the women who were virgins.

The God who killed Onan's Brother, then Onan, the God who killed the people for making the wrong sort of fire in the Holy of Holies... the one who's middle name was Arbitrary Bag of Pus...

Quite how someone with better than middle school reading and comprehension and an IQ into double figures can actually beleive this stuff is 'good' is beyond me.

Love and hugs

Grandpa

Harlequin said...

As an addendum: Circular logic is the last refuge of someone who doesn't have a leg to stand on...

Love

GH

Leonard said...

Morality is indeed subjective.

But I think it is not that complicated. Humans are social animals - we have a natural tendency to seek the benefit of the group as well as our own.

So I propose the following:

Whatever benefits humans, both in the short and the long run, is good.
Whatever harms human beings, both in the short and the long run, is evil.

In what category falls the belief in a god?

As always, Paul and Nathan manage to demonstrate with painful clarity how religion is similar to a drug addiction: in the end, all needs and ends are submitted to the need for the drug.

Nathan said...

I hardly see where religion is distructive, as studies have shown that religious people have less stress and live longer. Overall, Christianity has wrought morality in Europe. The Reformation was the start of the Industrial revolution and modern academia due to its belief in soul competency. Sure, there have been horrible things done in Christ's name, but as Augistine said, "one cannot judge a philosophy by its abuse." One need only look to characters like Stalin and Kim Jong Il to observe the abuses of Atheism.

Christ brings peace. Christ said "I have come that they might have abundant life." He also said, "If you abide in me, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." Freedom from the bondage of sin, freedom from the bondage of my self-distructiveness. Yes, I am addicted to Christ. Isn't that what we are all seeking, something to serve, something that will give life purpose? To use CS Lewis' argument, why would we need to find purpose if there is no purpose in life? You cannot know what does not exist. You are seeking to find purpose by depending on your own intellect and the wisdom of men. Man is your god. I find purpose by understanding that an all-powerful God created me to "glorify him and love him forever." But, we both are seeking a fix, a drug, a god.

Anyway, hey, thanks for letting me put in my two cents. I've got assignments from my wife that I have to get done or she will be dealing out some justice of her own. I have enjoyed debating. I will check back in and see how well you guys have torn me apart. Later.

Nathan

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

I think you bring up some excellent points. However, I also get the feeling that even after all your years of study, you missed some crucial points of Christianity.

The law says "You must not do this or else." For instance, murder is wrong. This is absolute. But as you pointed out, if it is wrong, then how can anyone bring justice? It would be equally wrong to kill Hitler as it would anyone else. Murder is murder. Only someone above the law, greater than the law, could execute such a punishment.

Obviously, God created the law and is above it. If God should decided to judge a person for murder, and then sentence them to death, He is justified. He is above the law.

Justice says, "an eye for an eye." According to justice, the law must be upheld and obeyed. Justice is what makes the law absolute. The law says do not speed. If a person speeds, they should be punished. The punishment is a fine. Would it be fair if any person who was speeding was suddenly let off? No. Justice must be served. A punishment must be given. You cannot simply let one person off without cause. "An eye for an eye."

The bible says, "If you live by the law, you will die by the law."

In your example of religion, you speak about moral absolutism. If a person lives by moral absolutism, then they must obey it. If a person lives by the law, then they must obey the law. If the law says do not lie, then we cannot lie in any instance. The law is absolute. Likewise, the bible says that if we live by the law, we will die by the law. We will be judged by it. If we live by absolute moralism, then we will also be judged by it. Who then could possibly live? We would all die. No person is capable of living up to absolute moralism. We would be stuck the minute our parents asked us to lie. Should we honor our parents or not lie?

God created the law, and God must be the one to keep it. If God is the creator of the law, it means that God is also the one who can judge by it. The standard of the law is established by God.

For instance, you are the father of your children. You set down the laws of your household. You also uphold them. Let's say you tell your children they are not allowed to eat sugar. Period. You are against sugar. Well, as it turns out a friend comes over that is diabetic. She starts having an attack and needs sugar. However, you children who love you say, "No we can't, Dad said no sugar." Well, the reason you said no sugar was for their own health. It is bad in large doses. However, it was not meant to be absolute. However, what should they do? Should they obey you or not? If they decide to disobey you in this instance, and rely on their own understanding, then they can justify this in every instance. However, if they do obey, they will bring harm to another. What should they do?

When Jesus came to earth, the Pharisees believed in absolute moralism. They were religious. However, Jesus who was God was above the law. I am sure you know the incident. Jesus performed a miracle on the Sabbath. The law said "no work on the Sabbath." Yet, here was Jesus healing people on the Sabbath. What was His response? He said, "I am master even of the Sabbath." He is the father of the household.

In another instance Jesus highlights this fact as well: all the laws are based upon love. They were not meant to be used for selfishness. Jesus did not transgress the law, because the law was based upon love. And it was not wrong for Jesus to love on the Sabbath even though it involved work.

It is true that God must be obeyed. God had decreed his law, as you said. This law must be obeyed. God is greater than us. If we should disobey the law of God, we have sinned. If a person commits a wrong against another person, they must answer to the law of the government. They are punished according to their crime. "An eye for an eye." All things are measured in fairness. When a person commits a sin against God, however, they have wronged an eternal and infinite being. Thus, if you commit a sin against God, you should get an "an eye for an eye." This would mean your punishment will be eternal torture. Ouch. Better not commit a sin against God.

Yet, the very first commandment of the law says what? "You shall have no other Gods before me." Quite obviously, what God is saying here is that He is to be first and foremost in our lives. We cannot have any other God before Him. Also, this is a matter of the heart. We are to worship God first and foremost. As Jesus would later say, "Love God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul." The first commandment, the greatest commandment is to love God.

Obviously, love is a choice. It is something we give. We give our love to people. We love our children because we give them our love. When we are born, however, as you have pointed out in another post, we are born with no knowledge. We have to learn about God. So, how can we possibly live up to this law? How can we love God when we don't even know Him? It is impossible. We are born separated from God. How can we love Him?

So, basically, at this point, we are all doomed. There is no hope. From the time we are born, we are all doomed to hell. We are born into sin.

This is all true, and God knows it. He knew it in the garden before He created Adam and Eve. In fact, this is all part of His plan. What? How does that make any sense? Let me explain.

God is completely fair and just. In addition, He created humanity for a greater purpose. We were created to love God. But love is something we must be free to give.

When God created Adam and Eve, they were not complete or perfect beings. They were missing something. In the garden, they had everything they could want. It was paradise. However, there were also two trees. One was the tree of life, the other was a tree of knowledge. God's desire was that they would eat from the tree of life. Then, they would be transformed into spiritual beings and live forever with God. However, He knew they would not. He warned them, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."

Here is the real boggling question....of all the trees, why didn't they eat from the tree of life? Why? Why did they choose this other tree? They were warned. Why do we still do this today? Why do we choose the tree of death?

God knew this would happen. When it did, they were instantly changed. They became tied to earth. They lost all contact with God. We are born separated from God. We live in flesh. We cannot sense God or spiritual things with any of our five sense. Here we are. We are stuck on earth. Blah. We have 120 years at most to live. That's it.

Death was not a punishment. Death was a consequence. God warned of the consequences. We were grounded. God was completely fair.

However, God has given us some time on earth to live. At first, it was no more than 1000 years. But thanks to a bunch of people during Noah's day, we have been cut back to 120 years. Who has ever lived past 120? Name one person.

Death is the consequence of sin. Hell is the punishment for sin. We have yet to recieve this judgment. This comes much later. God is holding back judgment for a time. This is all part of His plan. He wants to give us an opportunity to be forgiven.

In the garden, we could choose life or death. We chose death. Why? We are stupid. We are idiots. We do this all the time. It is echoed in our lives. Why do people smoke? It causes death. Why do people kill one another? Why do we hurt one another? Why can't we all just be good people?

God's plan from the beginning was to give us eternal life. However, we messed up. God is merciful though. He knew this would happen. Long before we were created, He made plans to make a way. He made plans for our salvation. This all ties into His Son. His beautiful Son.

Quote: "Since God supposedly cannot perform evil acts or order evil acts, or call evil good or good evil, it suggests that He answers to a law of morality outside and above Himself."

This is true. And yet, God is greater than morality. How can this be?

God is above all things and greater than all things. He is above good and evil. He is outside of good and evil. Before God could create anything, first He had to establish the law. This website is written in HTML code. That code tells the browser what to do so that we can read it. This code is governed by World Wide Web Consortium in order to maintain consistency. If everyone started writing their own code, we would have no standards. With no standards, everything would be random, and thus, we could not have websites or the internet. Imagine if every website had a different code and browser. Whoa!

So, before God could create anything, He had to establish two things: 1) the laws that govern it, 2) the authority to maintain it. In essence, God had to establish 1) Himself and 2) His throne. How did God do this?

God gave birth to a Son. The Son is one with the Father. He does whatever the Father tells Him. He is the person of the Father. The Son represents all that the Father is. As it says in Hebrews, He is the "the exact representation of his being." Additionally, the Son is the King. Or as Jesus said, "God has given me all authority over heaven and earth." He is the authority.

Imagine for a second. God is greater than all things. He is infinite. He is supreme. This means that God greater than images, forms, shapes, space, and time. So, how could this supreme being ever interact with our space and time? In the very beginning, He gave birth to a Son. This Son is the image of God. This Son is the shape of God.

This mean if we want to know God, see God, or experience God, the only way we can do this is though this image, God's Son.

God only had one child, one Son, who represents Him fully. The Son is God. The Father and Son are one. The Father is outside time and space, whereas the Son is in time and space. Make sense? This means that the Father is God and the Son is God. They are one being.

The Son of God is a person. He has an identity. He is good. He is righteous. He is the creator. He is the nature of God.

Of course, this is all really hard to believe. God knows this. We are little ants down here on earth. We cannot understand God or His greatness. How should we ever believe such a thing?

Well, God would love to show us Himself, but see, there is this little problem that we spoke about above. We are all doomed. We have sinned against God. We have wronged Him. We are creatures who have not fullfilled our purpose of loving God. We need help.

In your testimony, you tell a long story of how you tried to live up to the law. You tried to be your best for God. That is great and all, but in the end you failed. The final conclusion you draw in all this is that God must not exist. But maybe that is not the right conclusion. Maybe God does exist, and you did fail. But maybe this time, you should stop trying to live up to the law.

Many people live by the law. Christinaity seems to promote this religiousity. You have sinned against God. God has forgiven you. Now be a good person and do what the bible says. Whoa? Who could possibly do all the bible says? Who could possibly live up to Jesus demands? Why should we feel guilty over a little masterbation? Who is it hurting? We are all basically good people, are we not?

It seems on the surface that if we don't believe in God, that we would become a mass murdered. However, the are hundreds of athiests out there who live what appears to be a basically good life, and so many Christians, who don't. What is going on? Why is it like this?

Any semi-intelligent person can see how their actions affect other people. We can see that stealing will only hurt us in the long run. There is no doubt about that. However, this is not the core problem we face.

The real problem we face is a spiritual one. We are going to die. And then, we will have to face God and give account for our life. The real question is not how many people we hurt on earth. "An eye for an eye." The big question is have we sinned against God? If we have, then we are in danger of hell. So, a person on earth could live an entire life as a good person. They could have done amazing and wonderful things. And yet, still be doomed to Hell. It all depends on their relationship with God.

As stated above, we are all doomed to Hell. We are born separated from God. We are born athiests in a sense. We don't know God, how can we love Him? How can we know God? How can we be reconciled of this problem?

This is where Jesus and the law comes into play. Firstly, God gave the ten commandments not to control people, but to show that this spiritual problem exists. When we try to obey the law in full, we fail. We fail and fail and fail. God knows we will fail. He knows we will sin. He allows sin and evil to exist in order to show us this. He is trying to show us that we have a problem. God isn't worried that we die. He can raise us. He is not worried that we suffer. He is hoping we will learn from it. He is worried that we will end up in Hell. He doesn't want that. He is trying to reconcile this problem.

Of course, most people say, "Why can't God just do away with Hell?" It just wouldn't be fair to anyone if He did. God is just. His justice is absolute. He stands by His Word. He does not change. If God just threw away Hell, then justice would crumble.

Not to mention, if God allows people to go about freely sinning against Him, then all of existence would cease. Everything is based upon God. It all depends on Him. Anything that sins against God is at war with Him. If God allowed people to go about sinning against Him, there would be eternal war and conflict. There would be no goodness or peace.

Instead, God has a different plan. Humanity is stuck in a terrible situation. We are at odds with our maker. We are at war with God. We don't realize this in our daily lives. Many people have kind of accepted 100 or so years on earth as enough. I'll just make the best of what I have. Then I will die. However, in those selected years, God is giving us a chance to be reconciled.

In the beginning, we had a relationship with God. Adam and Eve talked with God, and walked with God. They hung out with Him. Imagine how cool that would be. But they messed up. Because of this, we are now an enemy of God. Our once good friend has now become our greatest threat.

We need help. We do not love God or obey Him. Rather we do our own thing and cause harm with eternal implications.

The Son of God, who is God, came down from Heaven and was born as a human being. Isn't that incredible. In Heaven, He is the King. He is glorious and in control of everything. But He came to earth to live as a man. On earth, he is limited. He must eat and breath. He must feel pain just as we feel pain. He can bleed and die.

Jesus Christ came to earth for one purpose. He would reconcile this issue of sin. He would give His life willing as a ransom. Justice says, "an eye for an eye." Jesus gave His life. Justice was satisfied. Justice was done. The punishment for sin was paid.

Jesus died on the cross. He was able to go about performing miracles, healing people, and raising people from the dead. But on the cross, he did not fight. They hung Him there and He suffered. He accepted this suffering. He did this as a gift, an offering of love. He willingly died. It was finished. He gave His life.

Since Christ was without sin, death could not hold Him. Three days later, He raised Himself from the dead. He came back. However, He came back a new person. He was a new creation.

Because of this, Christ earned the right to be Lord and judge. He was the Son of God before, but now, He was proven. People continually say, "I want proof." God gave us proof. The proof is Jesus Christ. Can anyone say anything against Him? The bible is not proof. The bible is a book. Jesus Christ is the risen Savior. He is alive.

I think you know what I am going to say next. Anyone who believe in Jesus saved. However, I don't think many people know what this means.

Many people confuse belief. There is a big difference between believing God exists and believing in God. Believing God exists doesn't help anyone or change anyone. Every religion believe God exists. To BELIEVE IN God means that you give up everything to Him. It means you trust Him.

To believe in Jesus Christ means that you think He is God and Lord, and you are lesser. It means you allow Him to reign over your life. He is King. He is your Father. This means you worship Jesus, pray to Jesus, and give everything to Jesus including your best and worst.

When we live under the law, we try and try to please God. We try to be a "good" religious person. When we live under Jesus, we stop trying. We don't try to be a good person. We pray to Jesus and say, "I can't be a godly person. You do it for me. Help me."

This means that if we sin after this point, that Jesus allowed. If we give everything to Jesus, then we don't worry about anything. We just let Jesus be God over us. We become the creature and He becomes the creator. We live in harmony with God.

So many people fall down on their knees and pray to Jesus. They experience a "spiritual" high. Well, that is great and all, but have you given yourself to Jesus?

The difference is that many Christians go out and get "saved." They then start to live by the law again. They try to be "good" Christians, and become very religious. They base their faith on either the bible, or the Church. Their faith is based upon their own opinion. Usually, a person who is like this becomes closed minded and prideful. They become a Pharisee.

True christianity isn't about having "good" behavior. It isn't about being right or any such thing. It is all about Jesus. I am not a perfect person. I know this. I make tons of mistakes. I sin and commit sins. However, Jesus is with me. He has saved me. He works in my life.

I am learning on a daily basis the truth of His every word. I don't worry about what I do or where my life is going. All I do is keep focused on Him and believe that He is in control of my life. He is my Lord. And I will tell you story after story, testimony after testimony, of God working in my life.

If you really want to know God:

1) Stop trying to be a "Christian" or a "good" person or a "religious" person. Stop trying to please God. Give up. Admit you are a sinner, a creature, a human being. What this means is you need to humble yourself. Too often people come to God in pride expecting Him to do things their way. Ha! Can you imagine if your computer suddenly started telling you what to do? We need to recognize the greatness of God. This requires a leap of faith. In a world filled with sin and pain, it takes a great leap of faith to believe God is good and greater than we are.

When a person has been humbled, they let go of all their own opinions. They become open to God. God cannot come and reveal the truth to someone, unless they are willing to listen. God cannot reveal Himself to a person that refuses to believe.

2) Offer yourself to Jesus Christ in prayer. "I am yours, take me." Once you have done this in truth, then Christ will take you. And He will shape and mold you. He will keep you.

As a final note:

I can understand why people reject religion. It is quite obvious the evils that have prevailed through it. But why would anyone reject God?

Blake

Anonymous said...

"In any event, morality is strictly a human affair."

How so? Is morality the same in all people or is it different? How should societal morality be determined?

This website is possible because of the HTML code. This code is standardized. Morality needs to be standardized globally to be effective. How or who then should determine what everyone should believe is right or wrong?

Blake

.:webmaster:. said...

For instance, you are the father of your children. You set down the laws of your household. You also uphold them. Let's say you tell your children they are not allowed to eat sugar. Period. You are against sugar. Well, as it turns out a friend comes over that is diabetic. She starts having an attack and needs sugar. However, you children who love you say, "No we can't, Dad said no sugar." Well, the reason you said no sugar was for their own health.

And if my kids do eat sugar, against my will, then I guess I have the right to torture them forever in hell?

You speak of justice. What kind of justice demands everlasting horrific punishment for temporal offenses? The punishment should fit the crime, should it not? Yet, the punishment for non-belief, or believing in the wrong religion, or believing in the wrong version of the correct religion, is everlasting torment. What kind of perverse vision of justice is this?

Sorry, Blake, what you said just makes no sense.

Now, you think that without an absolute ruler, you will immediately become a debased pervert? Is that what you are saying? Do you mean to tell me that the only thing that keeps you from a living a depraved life is the threat of eternal damnation?

If so, that's very sad.

Anonymous, comparing HTML to morality is stupid.

Morality has to do with people living together. It has nothing to do with anything else. It does not have to do with the stars in their orbits, with chemical reactions, with math problems, with cell mitosis... it is strictly a human affair. Without humans, the concept of morality doesn't exist.

.:webmaster:. said...

Nathan said: First of all, you need to get your facts straight on what God commanded. God did not command rape.

Yes He did: Numbers 31:15, 17, 18. "And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? (17) Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. (18) But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

Nathan said:As for the reference to “parents eating their children”, I believe you are referring to the Roman siege of Jerusalem,

No, I’m referring to Jeremiah 19:9 where God says He will make parents eat their own children.

Nathan said: God is absolute. He does not change.

Of course we are presupposing that there even is a God, but let’s see if this god changes or not.

If we look at Genesis 6:6-7 we read: The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them.” [NIV]

So apparently God DID change His mind – and that change of mind led to the Great Flood.

If we look at the story of the Golden Calf in Exodus 32 we read that God was so unhappy with his ‘stiff necked people’ that, in verse10, the Lord said to Moses:
“Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” [NIV]

But Moses pleaded for his people and finally God said to Moses (v14):
Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.[NIV]

That’s just two. There are dozens and dozens of cases where God changes his mind.

I wonder, Nathan, is slavery right or wrong? Do you know?

Anonymous said...

SOME kinds of moral issues/decisions are subjective inasmuch as the facts and reasons related to them are subjective. OTHER kinds of moral issues/decisions are not subjective. That's why we have courts of law. And please note: the courts' standard is not that of the Bible or any other "holey book." Rather, the legal standard remains that of what a "reasonable person" would do or not do. Nor can it be reduced to something as simple as whether there are "benefits." Sometimes doing the right thing has no direct or immediate benefits to anyone other than that of upholding a standard of reason and a fidelity to the facts.

Dano said...

Dear God! Who, or what ever you are. If you are out there. Please don't let me succumb to the screwed up, jumbled, incoherent kind of thinking, exhibited by the bible thumpers on this thread.

(*God! ...When I use the term I KNOW in the following, I actually mean I HOPE!*)

If you exist, I know I am your son. I know you created me as well as everything else in the universe. I know you would not have made one of my sisters pregnant so you could have a half mortal son. I know you are too good, to arrange to have that half human creature be murdered in a pagan blood sacrifice to yourself, to appease yourself. I know that whatever we are, and whatever we do, you are responsible.

I know you would not expect us to believe everything we read, just because one of us says that it was you who wrote it. I know that if you wanted to give us an instruction manual, you would have no trouble writing a better piece of literature than the Christian bible. I know that you would not expect us to take that collection of oral and written stories put together by a Roman emperor, seventeen hundred years ago when men believed the earth was flat and the sound of thunder was in fact you speaking, and buy it lock, stock, and barrel

I know that, if you exist that you are perfect and don't need our love, or praise. I know you don't care how we have sex, or what we wear on or heads. I know that you would not make me suffer for someone else's mistakes as well as I know no one else can pay for mine. I know that if you wanted me to be different from what I am, you would simply snap your fingers and make me different!

I know that we have portrayed you with all of the same character flaws that we have, and I apologize for my fellow man. We had to make you jealous, vindictive, racist, and horribly cruel and without compassion, all we had for a model was ourselves.
Thanking you in advance,
Dan (?)

.:webmaster:. said...

Nathan, you said you don't understand why the question you asked was silly.

Here's the question you asked, phrased correctly: "Would the statement 'there are no moral absolutes' be a moral absolute?"

The answer, of course, is no. That statement is simply a sentence expressing an opinion about the existence of moral absolutes. Opinions about the existence of things are neither moral nor immoral. Morals have to do with human behavior, not statements of whether or not morals absolutely exist or not. That's why the question is silly.

When I was a Christian preachers would love to say "The statement that there are no absolute morals is an absolute statement! AHA!"

But, as you can see, that is an incomplete statement, basically comparing apples with oranges. There are plenty of absolutes in the world, but when it comes to morals, they shift with the times and the circumstances, and their parameters of acceptability are decided by society. Wearing a bikini at the beach would have landed a young lady in jail, and shammed her family, in the 1800s. Men wearing Speedos would have been considered depraved back then -- a heinous sin. It is clear from history and even in Christian practice that morals are not absolutely absolute.

Do you understand now?

Nathan said...

WM,

Yes, I understand and apologize. I suppose it was a terribly insufficient attempt to adapt a rather good argument with regards to the issue of absolute truth: "The statement that there are no absolutes is an absolute." You've had me thinking about this all day and I think the primary issue that I disagree with and I would think most Christians would disagree with is the basis for morality. Yes, I would agree that morality is situational. In other words, certain moral laws are more important or more urgent that others, and therefore, when faced with a moral delimma one should seek the most moral action. Yes, I do agree that, even with the knowledge that God has given us, it is hard to know and not always clear what is right. I think the real issue is whether morality is determined by the practice of society or by a Law Giver. My argument is, if morality is societal, then there is no standard for judgment between societies. I understand that you made the argument that Hitler was wrong because most societies agreed he was wrong. What if most societies had not voted that way, would that make it right for him to exterminate the Jews? Or, to use your own example, was slavery right for the thousands of years that it was practiced but now wrong, or was it always wrong because a law giver said "Consider yourselves lower than your neighbor" and "love your neighbor as yourself"? And, there you have my answer to your question about slavery. God established principles by which we should live: "Love your God", "love your neighbor", etc. Jesus said all of the commandments hinge on these two. In other words, you should know to do the others because of these two. If you love your neighbor you will not kill him. Also, just because the Bible records an event or an action does not mean that God thinks it is right. God said love your neighbor, I would think he would then consider slavery to be wrong.

To be honest, some of the passages you bring up stump me. I don't know why God said kill everyone in the land of Canaan. Perhaps he could see what those people would become if they hadn't, much like your question of killing baby Hitler. Sometimes, I just don't understand God, but does that mean he isn't there? Sometimes I don't understand why my wife does things that seem to be outside of her nature, but does that mean she ceases to exist? Maybe I just don't understand enough about her. The point I made about God being above us applies here. Maybe we don't understand why God does certain things because we are not God. I don't know, but that doesn't change my belief in God. In fact, it makes me want to search and understand him more.

I appreciate you being patient with me and explaining why my statement was silly. I am certainly not gifted at philisophical rethoric. The irony of all this is that I came across this site while searching for a quote by John Calvin to use in my Sunday School lesson. I suppose an atheist would say that was coencidence. I would call it providence. If nothing else, at least I have been challenged and strengthened. Thanks for your patience with me. I will check back in from time to time to see what the Athiest Bloc thinks.

Leonard said...

Blake, you are the most verbose lunatic I have ever seen.

Your argument is a magnificent exercise in creative gibberish.

viz. "The person who made the law is above it."

No.

You want to make it so that your proposed creator has ALL power, but NO responsibility.

So... you want to argue that the creator has no responsibility towards its creation?

I know, of course, why you argue this, because it is a classical argument a postiori. It is a sort of reverse sour grapes. You want to believe something that is untenable, so you have to make up a way to make it acceptable after all.

You are a diseased and despicable creature, and I feel both pity and disgust. Until you find the moral (sic) courage to admit that Biblegod is not portrayed as good, and that no amount of spin can make him good, you will not be sable to start your journey to sanity.

tigg13 said...

Nathan said, "My argument is, if morality is societal, then there is no standard for judgment between societies."

Judgment by whom? By you? By me? The only moral judgments we need to make are the ones that directly effect us and the decisions that we make. And our judgments are no more or less valid than anybody else's.

Is it god's judgment you are referring to? Well, if he existed, he certainly would be in a position to have an absolutely correct moral perspective. But he would also certainly be aware that we could not possibly know or even comprehend this perspective. And it would be ridiculous of him to expect us to recognize it for what it is.

Living together in peace and harmony does not happen by first deciding on and agreeing to a set of absolute moral laws - because eventually someone is going to disagree about something. (As the last two thousand years of western history have proven.) Peace and harmony come from tolerance, acceptance and cooperation.

.:webmaster:. said...

Nathan,

Your wife is not a good comparison to an invisible, immaterial, silent god.

I'm sure you can see, smell, hear, taste and touch your wife. The only place you can experience your god is in your imagination.

However, this imaginary god of yours condoned slavery: "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money [property]." — Hebrew Scriptures, Exodus 21:20-21.

I'm afraid God thought slavery was A-O-K! He didn't just 'allow' it, he made sure there were well defined laws on it, so it would be done correctly. So, by your way of thinking, slavery was right then and it is right now. People are now calling slavery evil, so they are calling something good, i.e., slavery, evil. It might be the general apostasy of these modern atheistic times that have thrown mud on the righteous practice of owning human beings as property.

Here's a a link to a sermon preached on slavery just prior to the American Civil War: Mutual Relation of Masters and Slaves.

When Hitler ran Germany, all those good German Lutherans went right along with gassing the Jews. In fact, during that time period, most of Europe generally agreed that there was a big "Jewish problem."

Do I think that was right? NO. However, if Hitler had won the war, and we now lived under fascist tyranny, I would have been brought up believing that those prevailing policies and beliefs are superior to every other imaginable. It is quite likely that because of that upbringing you and I would have different opinions on the relative morality of dealing with the "Jewish problem" than we do today.

Let me ask you this: Was it morally right and good to drop the H-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII, and thereby killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, or was it bad and evil?

eel_shepherd said...

WM,

Let's have no more of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting Nathan's wife, from here on. You never know where that sort of thing may lead.

On the god question, though, particularly the incarnated Jesus figure, we are faced with the tricky matter of just how big a sacrifice god put himself to. Presumably, god is infinite (and eternal too! Same price.) What sacrifice is possible to an infinite set? "...If he needs a third eye, he just grows it...", like the feller said. Near as I can reckon, neither the Jesus figure nor the god figure sacrificed anything. This is always the difficulty when talking about infinite things.

One of the things that pops into my mind from time to time these days is to wonder just how big an improvement it was to develop a Single-God idea, after eons of Many-Gods schemes of the pagans. Kurt Godel, in the 1930s, proved that (I'm paraphrasing here, probably badly) in any formal system with enough parts to it to deserve the name of system, there
will be true statements in the system that can't be proved by the system, and that there will be statements whose truth or falsity can't be determined by the same system capable of expressing them.

And it occurs to me that monotheism, being a system, falls prey to that same type of
structural impossibility. At least in Many-God systems, which are many-systems Systems, if you run into a paradox within one of the gods' province [set of axioms], it can be
comprehended/resolved by one of the other gods/set-of-axioms. Or stands a chance of it, anyway. But with the Jesus/Gawd mishmash, where you're always running up against the infinite-sets problems, one is constantly having to be borrowing from the tens column.

Which reminds me of god's comment, right after he learned about Adam & Eve picking the
wrong tree to eat from. Didn't he say something to the effect of, we hafta do something about this, now that these guys have eaten from the knowledge-of-good-and-evil tree (D'oh!), we can't risk letting them also eat from the eternal-life tree OR THEY WILL BECOME LIKE _US_. Wasn't that the operative word --- "us"? Us who? The other gods [systems]?

What has an absolute entity got to offer except absolution anyway; i.e. some way out of the tangle of context. That may feel and look like forgiveness, or a moral code; but that's all it is. In one frame of mind something will look and feel like forgiveness, and
in another frame of mind look and feel like a judgement. For morality, and therefore also for law[s], we can only look to ourselves and the times-&-circumstances.

Geez, this has all gotten way too far into the abstruse fringes of Absolute Morality for a simple eel shepherd. I'm getting a headache.

SpaceMonk said...

Nathan wrote: "To be honest, some of the passages you bring up stump me. I don't know why God said kill everyone in the land of Canaan. Perhaps he could see what those people would become if they hadn't, much like your question of killing baby Hitler. Sometimes, I just don't understand God, but does that mean he isn't there? Sometimes I don't understand why my wife does things that seem to be outside of her nature, but does that mean she ceases to exist? Maybe I just don't understand enough about her. The point I made about God being above us applies here. Maybe we don't understand why God does certain things because we are not God. I don't know, but that doesn't change my belief in God. In fact, it makes me want to search and understand him more."

If you are so convinced of the existence of a God, does it have to be the one in the bible?

If the God in the bible does not live up to even your own standards of morality, maybe he's not the real God?

There are nicer god's out there than Yahweh. :)

Nathan said...

Spacemonk

I would hope no one is searching for the god that meets his or her own criteria, but rather the God that is. Its not like going to a buffet and just picking what works for you that day. Also, I never said that he did not meet my criteria, I said I do not always understand Him, just like I don't understand all there is to know about the universe. Maybe there is somewhere in space where light does not behave the way it does here on earth, but that just means there is more to know. And yes, WM, I know you are not going to accept that analogy because the universe can be observed, but you have already adopted the presupposition that God is not there and that means any evidence of Him would be explained away by your atheistic framework.

I believe in Christ because what he said about life and meaning and truth and purpose meet with reality. He said that mankind is, because of our fallen state, evil, and I can look at the world around me and see, outside of the world influenced by the Christian system, that is true. He said placing others before myself is right and good, and, by practicing that I see that this produces joy and peace in my life. He said to deal with others as I would have them deal with me, and I can see, even from recent experience, that this is productive and true. He said that in order to deal with my sins and my fallen nature I have to trust in Him and follow after him, the one person who was not fallen and did not sin, and that makes sense. He said that by trusting in him, he will bring life like I have never seen before, and I can see that now. Not that everything is perfect, but that I am content in any situation because of Him.

Christ brings meaning. Everyone seeks meaning in life. Everyone desires wonder, truth, fulfillment, and peace. Christ brings all four. What could be more awesome and wonderful than the sovereign God? Who knows more about truth than the creator of the universe? Who can make life more fulfilling than the God that created you? and who can bring more peace in your life than God?

What I was saying in the last post is that I don't always get God just like I don't always get other tangible or intangible things. No, I want to believe in God as he is, not as I desire him to be, and I believe in Christ as God because he gives purpose and meaning and gives the most reasonable answers to all of the metaphysical questions that religious people ask.

I guess some would say it is stupid to look for meaning in a world that has no meaning (after all, if all is chaos, there is no meaning to anything). But, you would have to agree that there is this universal urge to know meaning and purpose. This is evidenced by all us religious idiots, from polytheistic tribes in South America to those crazy Christians, everyone(yes, I think you would have to admit that even atheists struggle with this, hince the title "Ex-Christian") is searching for that which will give life meaning. Now, would we search for meaning if there was no meaning? Why do we search for meaning? It can't just be the politics of organized religion or political systems in general, or why would remote tribes search it out. It is something more basic, more real than anything that is affected by our influences and surroundings. It is something that nags at us.

This is why I believe in God and this is why I trust in Christ.

.:webmaster:. said...

Nathan quipped: "You have already adopted the presupposition that God is not there and that means any evidence of Him would be explained away by your atheistic framework."

Webmaster responds: Nathan, you have already adopted the presupposition that God is there and that you don't need any evidence of Him to justify your belief. Nathan, you have also already adopted the presupposition that Allah, Zeus, Ra, Thor and thousands of other deities worshiped and revered throughout thousands of years of human history to be mere fabrications, and all the faith of all those millions of people you disavow without a thought.

Nathan, you and I are very close in thinking. I am of the opinion that all gods are bogus. You are of the opinion that all gods, except the one you were brought up to believe in by your culture, is real.

I would gladly accept that your god is real if there was one shred of evidence in His/Her/Its favor.

I was a presuppositional Reconstructionist Christian for a number of years. That apologetic position is very weak.

Nathan, you think that your religion brings meaning to your life, but I fail to see how slavishly attending to a invisible, immaterial deity who threatens to eternally roast everyone and anyone who disbelieves in Him as providing any meaning.

Think about it: What meaning can be derived from worshiping a sadistic Bronze Age deity that can't be derived from the simple act of being alive?

My life has great meaning, and for you to suggest that my life is meaningless because I reject your religion is the height of arrogance.

Nathan, your life is meaningless because you are wasting it following nothing, preaching an empty and false lie.

There, how's it feel? Wasn't that rude? That's exactly what you just said.

I am NOT searching for meaning. I've found it. I just need more time to do all the things I want to do.

And here people thought you were actually trying to listen. But you can't listen -- you are driven by your meme to preach, preach, preach, preach, preach, preach, preach, preach, preach, preach, preach, preach, preach, preach.

It's annoying to read someone write the same words over and over and over and over and over and over again, isn't it? It's like a bell that won't quit ringing... like an alarm clock that won't stop buzzing... like a facet that won't stop dripping.

Show evidence that your god exists and I will believe.

There, now it's your turn to stop ejaculating about how your religion gives you the orgasmic shakes of religious ecstasy and give us some real evidence that your god exists somewhere outside your imagination.

.:webmaster:. said...

"You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe." — Carl Sagan

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one" — George Bernard Shaw

Funny how, no matter what the topic of the original post, whenever a Christian joins the discussion, it becomes an evangelistic campaign.

To restate the premise of the original rant: Morality is strictly a human affair.

.:webmaster:. said...

Nathan,

Here's a rant I threw together for this site over three years ago on the meaning of life: The Meaning of Life.

And here's another: The Meaning of Life

You might want to read a bit more before you dive right back into preaching.

nathan said...

I did not intend to be taken as rude. I did not say that your life was meaningless, I said that everyone searches for meaning. I said that I have found meaning in Jesus Christ. I do believe many people find meaning in various things/systems, but that ultimately, those things will let them down. I guess that is harsh and rude and arrogant, but competing ideas are that way.

I also never said that I was not starting with presuppositions. Everyone does, there is no way not to. If you presuppose nothing, there is nowhere to start, but you already know that. I was simply pointing out that you will not hear my arguments or even consider them in some cases because you presuppose that the God whom I am trying to justify is not there.

I suppose I was arguing the existance of God from the same angle that you are aguing against him, that being philosophically. Evidence-wise, I would have to say creation would be a good place to start, but apparently you already know all my answers and have rejected them. You know, order has not been observed to come from chaos (nor does it fit logically to say that it does), design requires a designer, (stop me when you get puky), the mathmetical requirement for God, Intelligence is born of Intelligence.

Personally, my favorite is the fact that in 200 years of modern science and evolutionary theory and in 25 years of AI research, no one has been able to create anything that resembles life or intelligence, but yet we assume that all the world around us was formed from chaotic or otherwise "natural" events (reminds me of the scientific belief in spontanious generation, that organic beings born out of inorganic objects, and really evolution is just a variation of that).

Also, I would say, and you probably hate this answer most although you know it well, that God did reveal himself to us as Jesus Christ. People always ask for God to just reveal himself, but yet, when he does, they wished he had done it a different way. I think that goes back to desiring to make a god they like and that fits their molds.

I would have to say that I have adopted this position after much deliberation. Yes, I grew up in the faith, but I nearly walked away in college. I became a deist because of some of the moral conundrums that you mention. After reading C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer, I reformed. I am afraid I am a terrible representative for good debaters and I use their arguments horribly.

Anyway, apparently I have worn out my welcome, so God bless you.

.:webmaster:. said...

Nathan preached: "I suppose I was arguing the existance of God from the same angle that you are aguing against him, that being philosophically.

No, there is no evidence for a god. Now, if I was arguing for the existence of flying pink unicorns on the moons around Uranus, then I would be aruging the same as you. Oh, and BTW, those unicorns... they are responsible for creating the Earth!

The existence of the universe is evidence of the existence of the universe. That's all.

Order? You find order in a hurricane? You find order in an exploding super-nova? You find design in a downs syndrome child? You presuppose a creator, so you find places for him to fit.

Nathan preached: "You know, order has not been observed to come from chaos (nor does it fit logically to say that it does), design requires a designer, Intelligence is born of Intelligence."

The problem with your "logic" is that your presuppositions that order must be designed and that intelligence must birth intelligence is that you assume that there is a super-duper intelligent designer that was neither designed nor birthed. On the one hand you demand that everything MUST have a designer, yet you admit that SOMETHING REALLY BIG AND SMART simply exists without any reason at all.

Don't you see the contradiction? If a God can simply exist for no explainable reason, and that's supposed to make sense, then the universe existing for some so-far unexplainable reasons also makes sense. In fact, that makes more sense. In the second scenario we realize we don't know all the answers, but are committed to keep searching. In the religious scenario we simply say that God did it! No need to investigate further! We can't ever understand it! Go to church!

The genesis of the universe and life is shrouded in mystery. Guess what, the way electricity worked was shrouded in mystery less than 200 years ago. We've got a long way to go. And Christianity has held human kind back for too long already.

Just because we don't know how life began, doesn't mean GOD DID IT! The correct answer to the question is "I don't know."

I don't know is a perfectly valid answer.

Nathan, I too read C.S. Lewis and Schaeffer, and a whole lot more. 13 years ago I was in Japan winning people to the faith.

I now know my belief was silly.

Hopefully you'll come out of the fog one day too.

Peace.

eel_shepherd said...

There are certain key concepts that run off the typical Christian with a zero friction coefficient (or, as my uncle Harry used to say: "Like water off a duck's back --- in one ear and out the other"). Somebody ought to make a list of them. I'm not going to, because it doesn't interest me enough; but if someone starts one, I'll definitely contribute to it with a few that I've noticed.

Perhaps the most glaring one is The Null Hypothesis. Since this enjoys a central place in the experimental scientific method (satanic), you can readily see its fright value in, uh, certain circles. The Null Hypothesis, just for the sake of review here, is what the experimenter supposes as the the background against which she presents her own hypothesis
for why something does what it does, and by extension, the N.H. is also the principle which other experimenters, or peer-reviewers, will use (usually somewhat more vigourously than the first one, who may have developed a parental bond with her brainchild...) in trying the case that the first experimenter is laying out. The tester/reviewer of the experiment doesn't have to present an Alternative Hypothesis; she only has to say that the observed result and conclusion are fully accounted for by "that's just the way things are". Nothing _caused_ those fourteen consecutive 4's at a certain position in the decimal expansion of pi; it's just that every so often, you're just gonna run into a long string of 4's, just in the normal run of things. To put it another way, the tester doesn't have to say that your
result is caused by Y, and not X; but that your result wasn't caused by _anything_ --- that's just the way things shake out when you apply the conditions of your experiment. The experimenter has to show that, no, there really is something operating here according to its
own nature (like gravity, or speciation, etc.), because if it were just The Null Hypothesis, we would expect this other observed behaviour instead.

Another tough concept for Christians to absorb is the notion that, here on Earth, given a sun that puts out this spectrum of waves, through this atmospheric make-up, and at this temperature and gravity profile etc. etc. etc., Carbon is King. (And here you thought it was Cotton.) Maybe under a different ecological profile, silicon, like the Triffids, will have its day. Maybe silicon would start doing (here's the key word) _organic_ stuff, if the sky were green and the atmosphere were, say, methane, and the temperature was as hot as Santa Fe on a cool day. But not here, Buster; get your own planet, Mister Sillycon. This is why junkyards, when you blow them up with a bomb, don't form themselves into
Cadillacs; and why artificial intelligence hasn't evolved into much of anything (so far) over its nonDarwinian time scale of fifty [50] years. Fifty piddling years, man; you don't ask for much, do you? Anyhow, here on Earth, only carbon is stable enough, and UNstable enough, to be doing organic things, such as being recombinant, if you give it a few billion years and just leave it alone.

"Intelligence is born of intelligence" (which could account for a report from the plenary session of a Southern Baptist convention... but I digress). That's actually pretty close to something worth hearing; it might be closer to the mark to say that "order is born of order." And on Earth, where carbon atoms might get picked up by a drop of water and re-Ordered into the crystalline pattern of a pretty snowflake when that drop of water freezes, that carbon configuration might start doing one of those Organic Things that it does here, once it comes out of hibernation. I don't know, I wasn't there. I'm just saying
that in this particular ecological matrix, carbon's the only element with something on the ball. There was a great line from the Top 100 fundy utterances at the site "Fundies Say The Darnedest Things"; which I just happen to have handy for cutting-&-pasting:

------------------------------------

FSTDT! Post of the Year for 2005

Average rating: 4.42
Rated 676 times.

Rate this quote:
1 2 3 4 5
Meh Fundie!

"One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently
against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn't possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it. [emphasis added]"

------------------------------------

Uh, dude, look up and live.

SpaceMonk said...

Nathan wrote: "You know, order has not been observed to come from chaos (nor does it fit logically to say that it does)..."

Sorry.
Order has been observed to come from chaos:
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/060426_chaosfrm.htm

Anyway, Nathan, my point about 'other gods' was not to suggest any one in particular but to raise the idea that maybe the bible god isn't the 'real' one.

Many things about him don't make sense, but I'm not saying create one for yourself by picking and choosing what you like.
Yes, you are right that truth can't be found that way.

I'm saying, if something doesn't make sense then it should be rejected.
Don't suppress your conscience just because you are commanded to.

Of course you're still analysing the data, which is fine, I just wanted to encourage you outside the boundaries christianity might be limiting you to.

Anonymous said...

You speak of justice. What kind of justice demands everlasting horrific punishment for temporal offenses? The punishment should fit the crime, should it not? Yet, the punishment for non-belief, or believing in the wrong religion, or believing in the wrong version of the correct religion, is everlasting torment. What kind of perverse vision of justice is this?

Did you read my post? If you sin against a eternal being, then you will receive an eternal punishment. That is true justice. You receive the punishment in measure to whom you committed the offense.

Do you mean to tell me that the only thing that keeps you from a living a depraved life is the threat of eternal damnation?

No. If I were afraid of Hell, then I wouldn't have told God off before He saved me. I do not fear Hell or death. And I certainly don't believe in God because I want to buy a ticket into Heaven. That is the selfish person's version of religion. I believe in God because He has revealed Himself to me. Just like He did Paul.

Now, you think that without an absolute ruler, you will immediately become a debased pervert? Is that what you are saying?

No. What I am saying is this: I spent 26 years of my life trying to live up to God's law. I tried not to lie, to steal, to fornication, to blaspheme, to drink, to smoke, and so much more. I tried and tried. Guess what....I failed. I failed and tried and failed and tried. And guess what...I failed some more. Why can't the alcoholic just stop drinking? Why can't the sex addict stop thinking about sex? Why can't the sinner not sin? Why?

There came a night that I gave up. I cried out to God, "I can't do it. I can't live up to all your stupid laws and stupid morality. If you want me to stop doing these things, then stop me! You are God!"

And guess, what. He did just that. He came down and stopped me. Days later, I cried out to Jesus and ask Him for help. He came down and saved me. He also revealed Himself to me.

But you failed and took a different road. Instead of asking God to help you, you just turned your back on God. Instead, you deny the existence of God, and deny that any morality exists outside yourself.

Instead, you have become a prideful person thinking that you are better than God. You have dumped His morality, and now you adopt your own. Life is easy. You live life on your own terms. You don't have to obey God, you can obey yourself.

Of course, this means that you are a good person. You live life on your own terms. You create your own laws and your own morality. The only person you need to be accountable to is yourself. Which means that all your morality is based upon the self, or selfishness. You don't hurt people because you don't want to be hurt. You do good things, only because they benefit you. And you believe this establishes all morality.

Well, as a father and a husband, you should know that there exists a greater love. A love that isn't selfish. A love that gives without anything in return. And yes, you exhibit this love. But the question is: do you succeed in this or fail? Are you a good husband? Are you a good father?

Are you a good person?

I am not so prideful to sit here and say to you that I am a good person. I am not. I have failed. I have failed my wife and other people. I am a screw up. And guess what? I believe that I deserve Hell. Why should I be given anything good? I have done bad things.

But what I can't understand is where you get off thinking that you are such a good person that you can say "This is what is right and wrong."

Who made you ruler of the universe? And yet, this is what you believe. You believe morality is man-made. You believe that you are the highest moral being. You can say what is right and wrong. Well, can you? Can you be the God of the whole planet? Can you tell everyone on earth what is right and wrong?

If morality is merely a human affair, then why do we even have laws? How can we truly know who has the right version of morality and who doesn't?

Certain cultures believe murder is okay. Others think it's just fine to eat human beings. Other cultures believe that humans shouldn't have any right to own anything, and thus, we should not have property.

And yet, in our American culture which is founded on Judeo-Christian values, we uphold the ten commandments that say murder is wrong and theft is wrong.

And so, who is right? Should we allow people to run around and do whatever they feel is morally right? Or is there a greater morality above and beyond ourselves that governs all?

Basically, it boils down to a question of leadership. Do humans need government? And if so, who is capable of being the head of this government? Can humanity govern itself? Has any government or system succeeded in governing humanity?

But only a prideful person says, "There is no God." Why? Because they don't want to obey the laws of God. Instead, they want to rule themselves and adopt their own morality.

Well, that is foolishness. Why don't we just do away with the human government and do whatever feels good. If murder is your thing, then feel free to murder. Who can say the murderer is wrong? Doesn't the murderer have a right to be a murderer? Why do you strip these people of their rights?

Without a morality above and beyond all of humanity, how then should we determine what is right or wrong for everyone? And who should be the one to enforce this morality? Or should we just let everyone do whatever they want?

Blake

Anonymous said...

Leonard said...

"You want to make it so that your proposed creator has ALL power, but NO responsibility.

So... you want to argue that the creator has no responsibility towards its creation?"

God made the law and He is above it. There is no contradiction here.

You are right to say that He has a responsibility. However, He is not responsible to creation. That is foolishness. I can certainly make a sculpture, but does that mean I have a responsibility to preserve it? No! I could certainly destroy it. We destroy our creations all the time and no one says anything.

God is responsible to Himself. This is true. If indeed God is good, then He will be good and remain good.

God wrote the law. This means that He is the one and only who can understand it's purpose. For instance, God gave us the ten commandments. They said, "Don't murder, don't steal, don't commit adultery, don't covet, obey the Sabbath...etc." These laws were based upon a something greater. They were based upon God Himself. God is love.

Jesus, who is God, would come later and explain these laws in a greater depth. He established that these laws were really based upon two other laws: 1) love God totally and 2) love your neighbor as yourself.

So, when Jesus healed the person on the Sabbath, He did not break the law. The basis of the law was love.

In fact, if a person denied another person love on the Sabbath, then they were actually breaking the law. They did not love their neighbor. However, narrow sited people would say, "See that person made dinner for that other on the Sabbath. He broke the law."

The point: People must first interpret the moral law before it can be obeyed. However, it is often misinterpreted. The law says: "You must observe the Sabbath." However, the purpose of this law was not to be used for evil or selfishness. The purpose of this law was to benefit humans. It was to given them a day of rest. But people started using it for evil. They would use it for their own selfish benefit. They would deny a person food and say, "We can't cook on the Sabbath. Sorry you are hungry."

Lawyers do this all the time. They bend and twist the law to make money. Some don't care about truth, love, or honesty. They are greedy.

The problem is not with the law, but with humans. God would not need to even have a law if all humans were good. However, because we are not, He instituted a law. This law was given to show us that there is something wrong with us. Why can't we live up to God's law?

Jesus, who is God, came down to earth and lived under the law. Not once did Jesus break a single law. He obeyed it perfectly. In fact, He fulfilled the law.

As for the God of the old testament, of which you judge, He did not break the law either. The law was applied to human beings. God was a spirit and not a human being. And thus, God had no responsibility to the law. He was not under the law. It did not apply to Him.

And so, if you are going to judge God for His actions, then you must do so on the basis of Jesus Christ. Did Jesus Christ ever break the law or do anything remotely evil?

Blake

Warnepiece said...

Boy, wherever Blake lives, they must have some great ‘ludes, crack or crystal Meth available. No one gets that loopy from just breathing air!

Blake wrote he screamed at god: “If you want me to stop doing these things, then stop me! You are God!" And guess what. He did just that. He came down and stopped me!”

And then Blake followed that with “Days later, I cried out to Jesus and ask Him for help. He came down and saved me. He also revealed Himself to me.”

Blake, since god “came down” to where you were at, indicating you could see this being, what did god look like? What color were his eyes, his hair, his skin? How tall was god? Was he heavy set, medium build, thin? Did god have any odor or smell when he was near you, like body odor, cologne or mouthwash? Since he was close enough to stop you, could you tell if god had fingerprints, wrinkles, or manicured nails?

And the same goes for jesus, who also came down and revealed himself to you. How long was jesus’ hair? (That seems to be a bone of contention with some people.) Did he look like the 14-16th century paintings that are the most popular depictions of him? If not, what DID he look like? Does he take more after his “dad” or his mom? (I assume you’d know this stuff since they revealed themselves to you, so Mary must have been hovering in the background somewhere.) How tall was jesus compared to god? Had his hands and feet healed over or could you still see through the nail scars? What were god and jesus wearing? They don’t strike me as the Birkenstock type and I’ll bet they don’t shop at The Men’s Warehouse, so what was their apparel like?

You can solve so many mysteries Blake by just filling us in on the details. You were there when these two supernatural beings visited you, so your descriptions will help untold millions of painters and artists render far more accurate pictures of the father and son. And it will help us unbelievers too, since more information will fill in some of those gaps that prevent us from falling into lockstep with you.

Too bad the holy ghost didn’t reveal itself as well so we would have had a trifecta.

.:webmaster:. said...

WM: You speak of justice. What kind of justice demands everlasting horrific punishment for temporal offenses? The punishment should fit the crime, should it not? Yet, the punishment for non-belief, or believing in the wrong religion, or believing in the wrong version of the correct religion, is everlasting torment. What kind of perverse vision of justice is this?

Blake: Did you read my post? If you sin against a eternal being, then you will receive an eternal punishment. That is true justice. You receive the punishment in measure to whom you committed the offense.

WM: That’s not justice, that’s aristocratic bullshit. So if I snub the despot, I get hanged until dead. And that’s justice. That’s sick.


WM: Do you mean to tell me that the only thing that keeps you from a living a depraved life is the threat of eternal damnation?

Blake: No. If I were afraid of Hell, then I wouldn't have told God off before He saved me. I do not fear Hell or death. And I certainly don't believe in God because I want to buy a ticket into Heaven. That is the selfish person's version of religion. I believe in God because He has revealed Himself to me. Just like He did Paul.

WM: So, if there was NO promise of eternal life and NO threat of everlasting damnation, you’d still be a Christian? BULLSHIT! Christianity is a selfish religion and without a heaven to go to, Christianity offers NOTHING.

WM: Now, you think that without an absolute ruler, you will immediately become a debased pervert? Is that what you are saying?

Blake: No. What I am saying is this: I spent 26 years of my life trying to live up to God's law. I tried not to lie, to steal, to fornication, to blaspheme, to drink, to smoke, and so much more. I tried and tried. Guess what....I failed. I failed and tried and failed and tried. And guess what...I failed some more. Why can't the alcoholic just stop drinking? Why can't the sex addict stop thinking about sex? Why can't the sinner not sin? Why?

WM: What is sin, Blake? Why do you think some of those things are sin? Smoking is not sin, it’s a bad habit. Alcohol abuse is not a sin, it’s an addiction. Having promiscuous sex is not a sin, but it could lead to some difficult situations, or disease. Lying is only a sin in certain circumstances, ex.:. “How do I look honey?” “You look beautiful dear.” Stealing is not a sin. But it is generally considered a crime. Animals steal from each other all the time and think nothing of it. There is no such thing as sin, unless you already believe in Christianity.

(Pause here while Blake sprays his religious ejaculate all over the screen in a violent climax of orgasmic Jesus lust.)

But only a prideful person says, "There is no God." Why? Because they don't want to obey the laws of God. Instead, they want to rule themselves and adopt their own morality.

WM: Blake, call me whatever names you want. Label me proud, arrogant, mean, nasty, sinful… Get a thesaurus and go wild. It doesn’t make any difference to the subject. Your god only exists in your imagination. All your mystical experiences are self-induced hallucinations. You believe a bunch of stuff, and that’s all the evidence you have for it – your own belief. If you had been born in Iran, you’d be just as fanatical for Allah as you presently are for your flying, un-dead god-man on a stick.

Blake: Why don't we just do away with the human government and do whatever feels good. If murder is your thing, then feel free to murder. Who can say the murderer is wrong? Doesn't the murderer have a right to be a murderer? Why do you strip these people of their rights?

Blake, Blake, Blake… You are so upset about this. Calm down. Society decides what is right and wrong, creates laws, and then enforces those laws. If you go off half-cocked and start acting like an anarchist, I think society would have something to say about that. 100% of society, including the Hebrews, including Christians, including PAUL (who you are just like, so you said) believed slavery was a god-ordained practice. It was not a sin to own other human beings. It was sanctioned by everyone, everywhere and even in the Bible.

Today, we all agree, slavery is an atrocity.

You see, morality changes, and society decides the direction it goes. If morality didn’t change, there would still be slavery, divorce would be a crime, adulterers and homosexuals would be put to death… well, many things would be considerably different.

Have a nice day, Blake.

.:webmaster:. said...

Blake: And so, if you are going to judge God for His actions, then you must do so on the basis of Jesus Christ. Did Jesus Christ ever break the law or do anything remotely evil?

Blake, Did Aeneas ever do anything to offend Apollo? Well, did he????

Doesn't that sound like a silly question? Your Jesus is a myth. There may or may not have been a person fitting his general discription, but all the flying-un-dead-god-man talk is myth.

However, if you have some evidence that this story in your head is true, I'd love to examine that evidence.

.:webmaster:. said...

Blake, Nathan and all other fundi-nonymouses out there.

Please let me ask you this: Was it morally right and good to drop the H-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII, and thereby killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, or was it bad and evil, and why do you think so?

Anonymous said...

Now, you think that without an absolute ruler, you will immediately become a debased pervert? Is that what you are saying?

One last comment about this. The problem is that you think we are born with a clean slate. As we grow, we make mistakes. In a sense, we earn Hell. If we are good enough, and make repay our debt, we can earn Heaven. But this is not what the bible says.

The bible says we are born in sin. This means we are born a sinner. We are born doomed. We can't change this. We can't make ourselves good.

The whole point is not that we will become a sinner or become a bad person. It is that we are a bad person. We are born a bad person. We are born in a state of separation from God.

Jesus came to save that which was lost. When Adam sinned, the whole human race was lost. We were separated from God.

Does this mean that without God we will become a debased pervert. No! There are a great many people out there who don't believe in God that display God-like qualities. We were created in the image of God.

However, does that mean I am a good person? No! The word "good" means "pleasing." To be a good person means that we are pleasing to God. However, we are not pleasing to God. We have sinned.

The whole point is that when Adam sinned, we were separated from God. When this happened, we die. Death was not so much a punishment as it was a consequence. We separated ourselves from God. We chose to do things our own way. Because of this, we die. We cannot live without Him.

Jesus came to reconcile this problem. He came to be reunited with humanity. Jesus is the life. When we believe in Jesus and give ourselves to Him, He gives us life.

This is greater than mere good and evil. Yes, good and evil are involved. But truly, what we are talking about is having a relationship with our creator. It means we become what God created us to be. Can you imagine being best friends with God? Can you? Can you imagine not worrying about if you are doing the "right" thing or not, because God will help you to do the "right" thing? Can you imagine having a Father like God?

This is no delusion. It is the truth. I know it because I know God. I sat and spoke with Him in the spirit just this morning.

If you don't believe me that is fine, I know it sounds crazy. I thought it sounded crazy once too. But don't give up on Jesus just because humanity is bad. Jesus came to love people and help people. But Jesus cannot help anyone who says, "I don't need help."

Blake

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave,

Blake, Blake, Blake… You are so upset about this. Calm down.

If there is anything I am not, it is upset. That is why writing over forums is so difficult.

Hey look, if you don't want to believe in God, what is that to me? What do I benefit?

I am writing this for your benefit.

But if you want me to leave, just ask, and I will. I have nothing against you.

Blake

.:webmaster:. said...

Blake, what the problem is, is that you didn't answer the question; you chose instead to preach a sermonette. Your mind is completely closed off to discussion. All you are doing is parroting the crap you've been fed by your cult.

We've all heard that cultic nonsense a thousand times. You might as well be preaching out of the Koran. No one here believes your nursery rhymes.

What the question was is this: If you gave up your religion today, do you believe you would suddenly become an unrestrained, immoral monster?

That's the question.

What's your answer?

.:webmaster:. said...

Blake, you are not doing anything for my benefit. I was a sold-out, missionary-zeal, soul-winning, Bible-teaching, leader-of-men Christian for 30 years.

I finally woke up.

It's obvious when a Christian is only here to win souls as opposed to actually finding out what other people think. You are closed, Blake. Your mind is completely controlled by the religious cult you've joined.

Good luck with it.

Anonymous said...

"That’s not justice, that’s aristocratic ...."

So, if wealthy man stole food from a starving man, you would give him the same punishment as if a starving man stole from a wealthy man? Also, you would give the same punishment to a man who had previous stolen 10 cars to the man who had stolen his first car?

"Christianity is a selfish religion and without a heaven to go to, Christianity offers NOTHING."

See, the problem about this is what people don't realize about Heaven. The popular view of Heaven is that it is a paradise where you get whatever you want. The true Christian view of Heaven is that it is God's home. The selfish Christianity taught by many popular preachers fits your description. True Christianity rewards us with only one thing: Christ. Our reward is Christ. Heaven is where Jesus is.

"If you had been born in Iran, you’d be just as fanatical for Allah as you presently are for your flying, un-dead god-man on a stick."

Not true. I was born without any religion. I was raised a Jehovah's Witness. And about three years ago, Jesus came to me and changed everything.

"You see, morality changes, and society decides the direction it goes."

Which society? Slavery is still permitted in some countries. So, is slavery wrong or not? Are you willing to obey whatever law that this country passes and accept it as being morally acceptable? If tomorrow, the majority of the country vote that slavery is a good things, and all white males should be enslaved, would you agree?

Right now, our country is having a major moral crisis. Everyone has thier own opinion on what is right or wrong, and very few agree. So tell me, is society successful at governing itself? Is society capable of creating laws to satisfy everyone?

Blake

Anonymous said...

Was it morally right and good to drop the H-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII, and thereby killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, or was it bad and evil, and why do you think so?

Who am I to judge?

I am not God, and neither have I been placed in a position of authority to address this issue.

Here is a question for you:

Is it morally right or wrong for a person who has an excess of food to keep it from a person who is starving? And what would you say should be the appropriate punishment for a person who is acting such?

Blake

Epicurienne said...

Point-by-point breakdown of answers to Blake: (caution, long)

"Obviously, God created the law and is above it. If God should decided to judge a person for murder, and then sentence them to death, He is justified. He is above the law."

In any human nation with any claim to decency, NOBODY is above the law - including the ruler(s) or founder(s). Why can't God be at least as good as a human leader, since he's supposedly morally superior to us?

"For instance, you are the father of your children. You set down the laws of your household. You also uphold them."

What about the mother of the children? Does she get any say, or is she supposed to obey father too, as if she were a child herself?

"All things are measured in fairness. When a person commits a sin against God, however, they have wronged an eternal and infinite being. Thus, if you commit a sin against God, you should get an 'an eye for an eye.' This would mean your punishment will be eternal torture."

What kind of a god would consider eternal torture "fair"? If you dare to say, "A loving God," then I don't want to see your idea of an unloving god.

"The first commandment, the greatest commandment is to love God....Obviously, love is a choice."

Not if it's mandatory, which the word "commandment" implies.

"....there were also two trees. One was the tree of life, the other was a tree of knowledge. God's desire was that they would eat from the tree of life. Then, they would be transformed into spiritual beings and live forever with God. However, He knew they would not....Here is the real boggling question....of all the trees, why didn't they eat from the tree of life? Why? Why did they choose this other tree? They were warned."

No, HERE is the real boggling question: why did God, with his supposedly superior intelligence and omniscience, set up this scenario in the first place? He could have simply not created the tree of knowledge in the first place. He could have done one of his miracles and created humans who both had "free will" AND would always do whatever he wanted. When I hear the Garden of Eden story, why do I always feel that God likes playing "Gotcha!"?

"God is merciful though."

Not to Jesus, he wasn't. Oh yeah....Jesus didn't stay dead. Silly me!

"God gave birth to a Son."

Oh, then God must be a woman.

"Well, God would love to show us Himself, but see, there is this little problem that we spoke about above. We are all doomed. We have sinned against God. We have wronged Him. We are creatures who have not fullfilled our purpose of loving God. We need help."

But God set it up this way in the first place. I guess that, like humans, God doesn't like admitting he made a mistake. So he tries to make it sound like it's OUR fault.

"We are going to die. And then, we will have to face God and give account for our life."

Evidence, please?

"Many people have kind of accepted 100 or so years on earth as enough."

I've never seen a person over 80 who didn't have some kind of health problem. Most people's health problems get worse as they get older. If this is the case for me, too, then I'll be content with "100 years or so as enough."

"Adam and Eve talked with God, and walked with God. They hung out with Him. Imagine how cool that would be."

I don't think it would be cool. God sounds awfully touchy, and easily offended. I don't like hanging out with someone with whom I have to walk on eggshells all the time.

"He did this as a gift, an offering of love."

He should have asked us first whether we wanted that gift. I happen to know that the worst thing I've ever done is a misdemeanor in the state of Virginia, U.S. (punishable by no more than 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $2500.) I also happen to know that the statute of limitations is up on what I did. If my own state justice system wouldn't give me the death penalty (by crucifiction, no less) - why would a supposedly morally superior God do so?

"People continually say, 'I want proof.' God gave us proof. The proof is Jesus Christ. Can anyone say anything against Him? The bible is not proof. The bible is a book. Jesus Christ is the risen Savior. He is alive."

You still haven't given me anything I consider to be "proof" that anything you've said is verifiably true.

"To BELIEVE IN God means that you give up everything to Him. It means you trust Him."

PUll my finger! [LOL - couldn't resist!]

"Stop trying to please God. Give up."

That's the most sensible thing you've said yet. From what I've heard about God, he's bloody well impossible to please. He doesn't seem to like anything much.

"When a person has been humbled, they let go of all their own opinions."

That sounds more like a lobotomy to me.

"Offer yourself to Jesus Christ in prayer. 'I am yours, take me.' Once you have done this in truth, then Christ will take you. And He will shape and mold you. He will keep you."

I tried this back in 1992. It didn't work. I spent the next 4 years trying to really believe the Christian mythology (and the accompanying rules and regulations.) It didn't work. I went back to being my real self.

Blake. Dude. If God wants to talk to me, I'm sure he'll do it. I want to hear the words from God, not from someone who claims to know what God wants. Why should I believe anybody except the source?

Warnepiece said...

Blake just keeps posting his rubbish and repeating the same crap over and over again in hopes someone will finally just throw up their hands and say “Oh screw it! Alright, alright Blake, enough! I’ll go back to church and become a close-minded Christian zealot just like you! You haven’t proven a damned thing but I am just so tired of listening to your horse manure!”

Blake reminds me of an annoying kid in the back of the car who, every five seconds, says “Are we there yet?”

Jim Arvo said...

Blake asked "So, if wealthy man stole food from a starving man, you would give him the same punishment as if a starving man stole from a wealthy man?"

No, I would not. Circumstances are very relevant to making such a determination. However, I think you asked the wrong question because you just shot yourself in the foot. According to your system of justice, where the status of the victim is paramount, the latter would be punished more severely. According to common sense guided by compassion, it would be the other way around.

Anonymous said...

"Christian is only here to win souls as opposed to actually finding out what other people think."

I went through a large portion of your website. I viewed your personal site. I read through your testimony. I have listened and considered everything you have said. If I were in Ohio at this moment, I would even come visit.

I really don't want to argue with you. I don't want to win an intellectual battle. What good would that do? I don't even want you to agree with me.

My only purpose is to encourage you in faith in Jesus Christ. You spent 30 years in a false religion. It is quite obvious. If God had really been involved in it, then you would have had proof. You would not have turned away.

The problem was with the religion. I spent 20 years involved with a false religion too.

However, just because the religion is false, does that mean God is false?

You have forsaken God because of people. But what if the problem is not with God, but with people?

Because of all the bad this religion has done to you, you hate God (or at least have denied Him.) You seem to be angry at God.

This is good actually. You are being honest. I like honesty. SO does Jesus. He doesn't want a bunch of fakers. He wants people who are honest with Him.

So, please, don't agree with me. All I am asking is this: Just pray to Jesus Christ and say everything on your heart. Be honest with Him. Tell Him you want proof. And ask Him to help you sincerely.

And hey, if it doesn't work, then you can come back and tell me I am a moron again, and show me how much of a moron I am. I have put myself out there. If you ever wanted to prove God wrong, here's your chance.

Now, I know that if I were to ask such a request of anyone, it is difficult of you. After spending 30 years in a false religion, how could I ask such a thing. But I am telling you, religion is false. God is not. Jesus is alive and real. And He will come to you if you really give yourself to Him.

So go ahead. You wanted to prove God wrong. Go for it.

In the name of Christ,
Blake

Anonymous said...

"Why should I believe anybody except the source?"

Exactly. This is exactly what I have been trying to say.

Blake

.:webmaster:. said...

Blake: So, if wealthy man stole food from a starving man, you would give him the same punishment as if a starving man stole from a wealthy man? Also, you would give the same punishment to a man who had previous stolen 10 cars to the man who had stolen his first car?

Blake, no matter what example you cook up, there is no way that everlasting torture in a pit of horror will be a just punishment. Hell is retributive punishment with no chance of reform, no chance of parol, no mercy, ever.

Anyone who thinks torturing another human being forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever is remotely good, especially if the only crime is giving god the finger, that person is demented soul.

Blake, if you have no eternal life to look forward to, would you still be a Christian? If the only benefit from your religion is in this life only, would you still follow it?

Blake: Are you willing to obey whatever law that this country passes and accept it as being morally acceptable?

Blake, you and I would have no choice about that. THE BIBLE SAID SLAVERY WAS GOOD!!! BLAKE, wake up!

In some countries prostitution is legal. It doesn't mean you have to sleep with prostitutes, but if that's the law, then it's not considered a problem. Get it?

Blake: Right now, our country is having a major moral crisis. Everyone has thier own opinion on what is right or wrong, and very few agree. So tell me, is society successful at governing itself? Is society capable of creating laws to satisfy everyone?

Compared to what and when are we in crisis? Are in a moral crisis compared to the Gay 90s, the Roaring 20s, the Civil War?

We are not in a moral crisis.

Blake, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and several other non-Christian countries are doing quite well. In fact, when it comes to crime, they rate way below us.

And you still haven't bothered to answer the question.

Frankly, Blake, this is getting wearisome. You don't answer any questions. You don't consider any points. You are nothing but a tape recorder, playing your cult's lines.

.:webmaster:. said...

Blake, you BELIEVE that your god is not fake.

Your god doesn't exist.

You, Blake, are the one making fantastic claims about a magical, mysterious, sky-daddy. You are the one with the burden of proof.

Until then, your claim that your god is real is as valid as all the other believers in all the other gods in all of history. Your god only exists in your imagination.

Now, I'm done, and so are you.

Goodbye.

Jim Arvo said...

So, Blake, you are saying that the creator of the universe fixed your car, but somehow managed to drop the ball when it came to all the children who died of cancer and Ebola, or were raped, abducted, or murdered on that very day. To me that is absolutely stunning arrogance.

Warnepiece said...

Anonymous wrote ""Why should I believe anybody except the source?"

And Blake responded with "Exactly. This is exactly what I have been trying to say."

So if the source is all in your mind.....?

Dano said...

Natural selection will eventually take the Blake's out of the gene pool. Faith in magic, just has to reside in a recessive gene. Reality is what works, and will be selected big time when the bombs start to fall, and or the oceans start rising. You can pray all you want, but it won't cure you from bird flu.
Dan (pragmatism rules)

Warnepiece said...

Sorry, typing too fast. I meant:

Epicurienne wrote "Why should I believe anybody except the source?"

And Blake responded...blah-blah-blah...

nathan said...

WM,

I am going to help you out by bringing this discussion back to where you want it to be, partly because I feel bad for having knocked it off track to start with and partly because I am interested in how you will respond to my answer.

If I were to give up Christianity today, would I still be moral?

I think there are really two questions in this: would I remain moral and would I have a reason to be moral?

To the first question, I would say, Yes, at least for a time. Mainly because one does not break years of conditioning so easily. Having grown up in the church, thinking morally and behaving with decency is almost a reflex. My parents have conditioned me from an early age, and even though the concepts of God and Christianity might change, the morality that flows out of that would not change immediately. I think you could turn this on its head and see the same thing. Absolute reprobates who are converted to Christianity do not immediately reform in all their ways. Their foundation for life has changed, but the habits and behaviors that have been ingrained have not. If I could throw in some scripture here (we Christians like to do that), I think that is exactly what Romans 7 is talking about.

In response to the second question, I would say no, I would have absolutely no reason to remain "moral" (if there really is such a word). If I believe that evolution is king, that everything is determined by the "laws" of evolution, then I would reason that the only "right" things for me to do would be to survive and to minimize pain (or maximize pleasure). So, I would be moral, in so far as it benefited me to be moral, but who's to say that is moral at all. After all, morality is the determination of right and wrong, and ultimately, if everyone is responsible to himself, then no one is right and no one is wrong. I can no more say that you are wrong for killing your neighbor to take his land than I can say that I am right for doing the same thing. The only reason Atheists have ever given for obeying a moral code is for the betterment of society and the furtherment of the species, but who cares about that? I would not. I would want to get as much pleasure and endure as little pain as possible in those 80 or 90 years that I have, and I might even check out early to avoid the bad years.

I would say that the animal kingdom is a good example of these evolutionary principles. A lion cares only for his cubs in so far as they do not interfere with him. In fact, the lioness has to take the cubs away so the lion won't eat them. No one lion is concerned for the furtherment of the species. If Cimba had it his way, he would be the only lion around so that he could have all the wildabeasts. Why would I do any different? I might get along with my neighbors as long as it benefited me, but the moment it did not, watch out! John Locke ultimately concluded the same thing. But, I don't think we have to look to the animal kingdom, we can look at our own kind. There are three evidences of this:

1. The selfish behavior of Communist ideologues in the USSR. Have you ever read the non-propagandist Russian literature of the cold-war era, like Mayakovsky? Most of it points out the utter selfishness and disrespect for human dignity that the aristocratic class had in those days. And why not be that way?
2. The completely violent tendency of cultures not given to monotheistic systems. The Aztecs, Mayans, the Apaches, and so on and so forth. I could go on. You will object that Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures have been violent, but that is not what I am arguing. These cultures, although they have done terrible things, did not have principles and mores based on violence but rather on peace. However, even the great, enlightened greeks were HORRIBLY violent within their culture. Another Bible reference: you might remember that God destroyed the Earth with a flood because the cultures were so violent. No law giver leads to hedonism which produces selfishness, and the ultimate product of selfishness is murder and violence.

3. The ultimately hedonistic lifestyles of well known atheistic philosophers. Tempelton, Nietzsche, Freud, and so many more. They have concluded that ultimately, hedonism is the only logical outcome of atheism.

And, I would conclude the same. I would remind you that even the enlightened deistic Founders of our country, whom you admire (and I too), said that inalienable rights were "endowed by their creator". Such men as Thomas Jefferson and Old Ben knew that there was no such thing as rights if there is not a Creator that establishes those rights, and I would say "Amen" to that.

I hope this brings you back to your original discussion. Maybe this will at least give you a Christian response to beat up on. I eagerly await your diatribe.

.:webmaster:. said...

What I think you are asking is, "If not from God, then what is the basis for morality?

Evolution.

That's right, evolution is responsible for our feelings of love and respect, mercy, forgiveness and morality.

I hear "What about survival of the fittest?" screaming in your mind.

That phrase doesn't mean dog-eat-dog. Survival of the fittest address what determines fitness for survival, and nature selects (Natural Selection) those qualities that make us fit to survive.

Said another way, it is not necessarily strength or aggression or being selfish and mean, etc., it is the environment we live in that determines the qualities needed for survival.

Violent or aggressive characteristics will only be selected for those life forms of those characteristics help the organism survive and reproduce in their specific environment. In environments where such characteristics are not helpful, these characteristics will not be selected for and may even be selected against.

So to determine what characteristics are actually beneficial requires a look at an organism's environment.

What is the most important component of human environment that determines our reproductive success?

Other people.

We are social animals. We live with other people all around us, all the time. We depend on other people all the time. Our ability to survive depends on us getting along with other people. Our early ancestors banded together and lived in social groups going back millions of years. They counted on each other to survive. Cooperation was a necessity or they wouldn't survive. That environment set the stage so that any inheritable trait that promoted cooperation was a prime candidate for positive selection.

We are not born with a predisposition for anti-social behavior (bad), we are born with a genetic predisposition to cooperate (good)!

So, why do we ever do anti-social things?

The reason is because our behaviors are not fully controlled by genetic factors. We aren't robots. Our behaviors are also learned. Learning allows us to discover things about novel situations and adapt. We have genes that affect our ability to learn, so we learn to do anti-social as well as social things. We hear all the time, "He just wasn't brought up right." An abused child frequently ends up as part of the criminal element.

Anti-social behavior (killing, stealing, raping) doesn't dominate our society because our society is our environment.

"Is it OK to murder people, then?"

Well, if it is OK for me murder you. then it must also be OK for you murder me. I doubt either of us would trust each other. In fact, in that world, no one could trust anyone. There would be no cooperation in that kind of society, no goods, no services, no nothing. Few of us could survive all by ourselves without the help of others.

Stable societies tend to be societies in which the vast majority of people practice acceptable behaviors. In other words, good morals.

We evolved as social animals that are required to cooperate. Genes predisposing us to cooperate were selected for. So, we have a genetic predisposition for cooperative behaviors that allow a strengthening and stabilization of society. Societies and behavior reinforce each other ensuring a majority of people practice good morals.

Really, doesn't that make a whole more sense than a magical deity in the sky?

Anonymous said...

no matter what example you cook up, there is no way that everlasting torture in a pit of horror will be a just punishment.

The problem is not that you don't see God as Holy and sacred. You don't see the true value of God.

If it is indeed true that God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, the one that gives everything it's identity and existence, the one who makes everything what it is, then to give God the finger and not repent is indeed an eternal crime. For if God would allow but one person or entity to defy Him, then all of creation would suffer and die. In order for there to be harmony and peace in the universe, all things must follow His will. God must be Holy and revered by all for whatever is done unto God is done unto all. Hell is a true place of justice, not for God's sake, but for the sake of everything in existence.

Astreja said...

Anonymous: "For if God would allow but one person or entity to defy Him, then all of creation would suffer and die."

Well, as far as I can tell, we're all still here. And that's a rather impotent god you've got there if the defiance of *one* being can cause the universe to self-destruct.

So, pick one:

- Your god doesn't care whether we "defy" it or not, as it's powerful enough to shrug off the most egregious blasphemies.

- Your god doesn't exist.

Wes said...

This is Blake: "The Bible Says! The Bible Says! The Bible Says! Blah blah blaaaaahhh"!!

Hey, Blake - a word of advice. The bible means nothing here; haven't you figured that out? So why are you using it to back your arguments? If you're gonna do that, the least you can do is prove first off that the bible is TRUSTWORTHY and worth SERIOUS CONSIDERATION. But you haven't done that, so please don't expect us to take your bible-ammo seriously, OK? Just a tip. -Wes.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jim Arvo,

The conversation with webmaster Dave and I has come to a close by his request. Whether or not he will allow me to respond to your post, I do not know. This will be my last and I will be taking part as he asked.

"So, Blake, you are saying that the creator of the universe fixed your car, but somehow managed to drop the ball when it came to all the children who died of cancer and Ebola, or were raped, abducted, or murdered on that very day. To me that is absolutely stunning arrogance."

See, the core problem of the whole thing is one that you don't understand. In the beginning, God was the God of the human race. But Adam and Eve sinned. At this point, God stopped being our God. He left us alone.

Basically, from that point we were set free. It's like a child saying to a parent, "I don't want you to be my father anymore. Leave." So God gave us our inheritance and left.

Therefore, you cannot hold God accountable for the death or the problems of the world or the earth. God honored our request and left us alone. Yes, there are a bunch of people hurting and suffering. But this was our request. We asked for this.

Don't you think God cries many tears for everyone? He is in deep suffering over the evil on earth. But what do you want Him to do? Do you want Him to take away all free will and make us into robots?

God did not create us to be His God. He didn't create us to give us whatever we wanted and to make us feel good all the time. God created us for love. He wanted to be our friend, our brother, our lover. But we screwed that up. We are the ones who disobeyed God.

What would you do if your wife cheated on you, or your friend stabbed you in the back? Would you be like, "Thats okay, I'll give you whatever you want?" You probably would expect that they apologize and prove that they were really sorry.

God has given us time to repent and come back to Him. It is our choice to come to Him. He is not going to force us. If we want God to be our God, then we have to ask Him. We have to say, "Be my God. Take control of my life!"

God cannot help you or anyone else until you come to Him and make Him your God.

Jesus is God. He is the one and true God. And when you make Him your God, He will be your God. He will care of you and love you. But if He is not your God, then He does nothing. He leaves you alone. He is not going to strip a person of their right to believe in Him. He will not. If God came down and showed Himself, or helped a person without that person asking, then God would be stripping their freedom to believe. He would be forcing Himself on them. God will not do this.

I once tried to help a couple carry a washer and dryer up a flight of stairs. However, they were too prideful. They did not want my help. They wanted to do it alone. So, what could I do? I left. They got hurt. They suffered. It wasn't my fault.

A person I love dearly has been addicted to crack for 20 years. It hurts her. What can I do? It's her choice. Until she seeks help, we can do nothing.

When a person is born, they are born from the seed of Adam. We are born separated from God. A child is not innocent. God cannot be their God until they choose. What you don't understand is that we are held accountable for their life. If a child is hurt, murdered, or killed, we will have to answer for this.

You cannot blame God for children. He gave us this right and this choice to have children. You cannot give a person the right to bear children, and then strip it away. It is our responsibility to raise them. We are held accountable. The children that die and suffer will be justified on the day of judgment. And believe me, God is fair. What you should be concerned with is not that the child died, but that you didn't do anything to stop it. You will be held accountable. The child had a shortened life. You, however, have lived and have heard the gospel.

It is our choice that has lead to disease and tragedy. Not God. You cannot blame Him. He is trying to help save people. Jesus saves.

I have made Jesus Christ my God. He is my Lord. He rules over me. And so, He treats me accordingly. He loves me and cares for me.

Yes, I will suffer on this earth and die. Yes, I will be held accountable for all that I do. However, Jesus is mine. I love Him. One day, I will spend eternity with Him.

However, if you do not belong to Christ, then you are His enemy. It's that simple. You are either His friend or His enemy. He is not executing any punishment or judgment right now. He is just letting people do their own thing. So, people can freely say, "I believe there is no God." They are even free to curse Jesus. And, they can be forgiven for this.

However, there is a sin which cannot be forgiven. It is when you blatantly tell God He is wrong. Jesus Christ came into the world to reach out to people. He wanted to help them. He wanted to restore what was lost. However, if you reject Jesus, if you reject God, then what?

It is your choice to decide whether or not you want Jesus to be your God. Don't you see, He wants you to choose willingly. He is not going to force Himself on you.

So, if Jesus is not your God, then who is? Yourself? Then you are free to rule yourself. You are in charge of yourself. So go out and be your own God. But do not be angry at God for your choice. You made the choice to be independent. Don't blame God.

Blake

Anonymous said...

Hey Wes,

Just to let you know, I don't believe that the bible is the Word of God. The bible is the Testimony of Jesus. I only quote it to show you that what I am saying agrees with it. I am not using it to defend my arguments.

I have no desire to prove the bible, because that would be harder than proving God. The bible was written to testify of God, not to be God. Many Christians believe in the bible, and their faith shatters.

Don't believe in the bible or me or anything of man. All faith must be placed in Jesus, or else it is false. Jesus is the truth. Only He is God.

Blake

twincats said...

"'If you had been born in Iran, you’d be just as fanatical for Allah as you presently are for your flying, un-dead god-man on a stick.'

Not true. I was born without any religion. I was raised a Jehovah's Witness. And about three years ago, Jesus came to me and changed everything."

Two questions:

1. So, how is it, exactly, that those little children born to Muslim parents WERE born with a religion and YOU weren't?

2. Why doesn't Jesus come to them and change everything?

Preaching fundy trolls, there is a REASON people in this country are predominately Christian and the people in the Middle East are predominately Muslim and it has nothing whatsoever to do with whose god is the real one.

It's what you are taught by the social order that you're surrounded by. If it wasn't, there would be more of every religion everywhere.
There would certainly be way more Christians in Iran, that's for sure!

Wes said...

Heh heh - my ex worship team leader sent this to me. It's been a while since I attended this church, and since I have played for them...

>>
SOMEBODY'S RAISING THEIR KID RIGHT! One Nation, "Under God".

One day a 6 year old girl was sitting in a classroom. The teacher was going to explain evolution to the children. The teacher asked a little boy: Tommy do you see the tree outside?
TOMMY: Yes.
TEACHER: Tommy, do you see the grass outside?
TOMMY: Yes.
TEACHER: Go outside and look up and see if you can see the sky.
TOMMY: Okay. (He returned a few minutes later) Yes, I saw the sky.
TEACHER: Did you see God up there?
TOMMY: No.
TEACHER: That's my point. We can't see God because he isn't there. Possibly he just doesn't exist.

A little girl spoke up and wanted to ask the boy some questions.
The teacher agreed and the little girl asked the boy: Tommy, do you see the tree outside?
TOMMY: Yes.
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy do you see the grass outside?
TOMMY: Yes! sssss!
LITTLE GIRL: Did you see the sky?
TOMMY: Yessssss!
LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, do you ! see the teacher?
TOMMY: Yes
LITTLE GIRL: Do you see her brain?
TOMMY: No
LITTLE GIRL: Then according to what we were taught today in school, she possibly may not even have one!
(You Go Girl!)
FOR WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT" II CORINTHIANS 5:7
Don't forget to pass this on! I love this one. Everyone should send this to everyone they know, especially today with prayer restricted in schools.
>>

To assume this is the only was to rais ea kid 'right' is pretty arrogant; especially when it's assumed that 'right' is the baseless circus of creationism... -Wes.

Wes said...

Full of typo's I know. THis keyboard is really small... -Wes.

Wes said...

Actually, I would love people's responses to this as I am preparing a response of my own. I am going to send it to the entire selection of BCC's that were attached to this e-mail to me. -Wes.

Nathan said...

WM,

"Really, doesn't that make a whole more sense than a magical deity in the sky?"

It would make a lot more sense if it met with reality. I have a 16 month old daughter (lots of fun, as I am sure you know) that I am, at this moment, trying to teach not to take things from other children, not to hit, not to bight, not to be mean. Now, why do I have to do that if it is within her genetics to do so. By your reasoning, we would not have to teach our children to get along, they would just do it naturally. We would not have to teach morality, it would be there. But, like you said, if a child is not "raised right" then they do not act right. (I think this, and the point I am about to make, were the point of the book, Lord of the Flys)

Also, I think you ignore the fact that primitive tribes do not behave within this code. I would agree, they get along, but it is a hedonistic need to get along, which is really what you are arguing. I do something because it benefits me, not because it is inheritly right to do such a thing. And, therefore, it can be right to murder one day and wrong to murder the next. Society is just a reflection of the behavior of the individual. I don't want to hurt anyone because I don't want to be hurt. But, what if I (speaking from a primitive point) have the need to expand my fledgling goat herd, but my neighbor won't cooperate and let me use part of his land or share with his herd. Well, then I kill him to save my skin. This was the way of primitive man. I think it is obvious from history that this was the rule of society: a personal, familial, and social hedonism. But who can stand judge and say that one man was right for attacking another man, or one family another, or one city state attacking another? No one! All are acting by a hedonistic morality. That is why people say, "you have to earn my trust." Nobody naturally trusts anyone. If I met you on the street, I wouldn't hand my daughter to you and ask you to hold her for a moment (I probably would now, although I can't tell exactly what you look like from that small pic). We assume the worst of people, why? Because we know our own hearts. Because we know that people, left without a good raising, left without a moral raising, and sometime even with that, do horrible things.

Then, religion was interjected. In particularly, a monotheistic system. Paganism existed in these city-states, but only for the sake of justifying the actions of the state. Pagan gods were more like team mascots than sovereign judges. They reflected more of their human subjects than an eternal being. But, in these cultures where monotheistic systems emerged, particularly (or rather uniquely) with Abraham and Zoaster, there appeared these LAWS. And no longer was it the will of the Alpha male (the king), but rather the will of an outside source, a sovereign judge that would judge even the king for his dealings. Was it man evolving to a point of recognizing the need for laws and making up an outside source to give reason for them or was there actually an outside source that communicated his will to a fallen creation to keep them from falling further and further? If you think it is the former, then you have to ask, "Why would there be that need if everyone already had a genetic predisposition to obey laws, to get along with each other? Why would we even need to say it?" I suppose you would answer, "because some people just aren't raised right." And we are back where we started.

Astreja said...

Nathan: Pagan gods were more like team mascots than sovereign judges. They reflected more of their human subjects than an eternal being.

And this is precisely why I find polytheism more attractive than monotheism. I find the gods much more believable.

But, in these cultures where monotheistic systems emerged, particularly (or rather uniquely) with Abraham and Zoaster, there appeared these LAWS.

Okay, I'm calling BS on this one. Laws are not the exclusive territory of belief systems that descended from the Zoroastrian/Abrahamic group. My polytheistic ancestors definitely had codes of law.

In fact, the world's oldest existing parliament, the Thing of Iceland, once had the sad task (in the year 1000 C.E.) of voting on whether or not the nation should convert from paganism to Christianity. (They voted "yes," but only because King Olaf of Norway had taken some of their countrymen hostage to force the vote.)

kenny said...

To Blake,

Blake wrote: When a person is born, they are born from the seed of Adam.

Wouldn't after Adam and Eve supposedly sinned, wouldn't then have been the best time to introduce a savior, instead of 4000 years later, instead of sacrificing the first born of lambs and burnt offerings?

Can't you see that the invention of Jesus's sacrifice was to replace burnt offerings, to appease the invisible God forever, with the ultimate sacrifice, a human being?

.:webmaster:. said...

Nathan, what you just described was the evolution, or if your prefer, the gradual development of systems of government.

The American Indians tribes were quite obviously not Christians. Do you really mean to imply that none of them had any morals, no reason to live, and were strictly hedonistic peoples?

I dare you to say that to a Native American.

The Japanese are 1% Christian. All the rest are polytheistic or atheistic. I lived in Tokyo for three years. Beautiful young womem felt safe unaccompanied in poorly lighted, dark train stations late at night. Vending machines selling beer could be found on every street corner and none were ever vandalized. Their crime rate is way below that in the U.S.

Perhaps I should have phrased my thought better about raising kids. If you abuse your children, they will likely turn out badly. That's what I meant.

I have three children, all pretty much grown now. Although they were raised identically, they are as different as night and day. I did my best, but one son thought everything I had to say was bullshit. He had to try the limits on everything, all the time. He joined the Marines, and that society was able to deal with his strong will better than I. He now knows the limits, and accepts them.

My point with that story is that even if an individual pushes the limits or goes past them, society will do whatever it needs to do to help that individual adjust to the status quo, no matter what that status quo might be. That's why for 1,000 or more years, to say you were an atheist could get you killed in any Christian nation.

To me, it just seems obvious that that the understanding of morals, or rather what is considered moral vs. what is considered immoral or right vs. wrong, has been in a state of development and change since history began, much like our understanding of nature, agriculture, technology, science, human sexuality, electricity, the weather, governmental systems, and on and on and on and on. For thousands of years having a king was the only way to have a country. Now kings are out, parliaments and representative governments are in. The Communists had a go with their system, and it didn't work. However, most of Europe is still playing with a milder form of Socialism. The U.S. has also adopted some Socialist ideas.

When it comes right down to it, morals, laws, government... these are all parts of the same survival puzzle: finding the best way to live together. As long as there are humans, moral sense will change and develop right along with every other part of human knowledge and understanding. Some of the moral values that we hold as necessary may one day be abandoned by our children or grandchildren, just like we have abandoned some of the rules of our grandparents.

My grandmother was appalled to see a woman in pants. She considered it immoral. My great grandparents would have had a heart attack to see what they are wearing at the beach these days. Sinful. In their time, a shirtless man swimming at the beach was considered obscene.

.:webmaster:. said...

Wes,

If we x-ray the teacher's head, I think we'll see the brain. So far, no telescope has found Jesus sitting on a throne.

Dano said...

Nathan,
You are becoming a good Christian, and an intellectual eunuch.

I am intellectually lazy but I have just finished reading about 5 books by prominent contemporary thinkers, and teachers and am amazed at the ease which they show how people like you are trapped by religious cults, and how quickly they destroy the "IF I DON'T HAVE A RELIGION, I WONT HAVE ANY MORALS ," argument.

These brilliant thinkers all agree that the bible is not a very good book to learn your ethics from, because of the ethnocentric, immoral God who is the central character.

Many books and articles are being written now by people who have made this their area of expertise. Terico, Harris, Dawkins, Pinker, Dennett, Randall, Hauser, White, And webmaster, all explain how morals are not exclusive to Christians or anyone else. Moral behavior evolved right along with vision and reproduction.

People were moral long before Christianity, and people all over the world have moral and ethical codes of behavior. The golden rule is built into us I don't take your stuff because I don't want to be known as a stealer. I don't lie because I don't want to be known as a liar, etc.

The religious camp doesn't need another parrot, what it needs, is to give up faith in unsubstantiated bullshit and get real. It needs to admit that God is not going to do anything about Global warming or babies being born with two heads, or rape and starvation, or the fact that we are on the brink of extinction, and we will go the way of the dinosaurs unless we get past wanting to kill each other because we think "OUR GOD IS BETTER THAN YOUR GOD."
Dano (humanist)

SpaceMonk said...

Blake vomited: "...The bible says we are born in sin. This means we are born a sinner. We are born doomed. We can't change this. We can't make ourselves good.
The whole point is not that we will become a sinner or become a bad person. It is that we are a bad person. We are born a bad person. We are born in a state of separation from God.
Jesus came to save that which was lost. When Adam sinned, the whole human race was lost. We were separated from God..."


You really shit me Blake.

Do you like the bible version of reality?

Are you happy for it to be 'real'?

Why do you defend it?

Do you like it's God?
Why?

If not why worship him?


If your God, being all-knowing and all-powerful, knew that most of us humans would be doomed to an eternal hell, then the only responsible thing for him to have done would be to not create us in the first place.

Not create Adam in the first place.

Isn't your God supposedly perefect?
Isn't your God supposedly unchanging?

So why did he do it?
Wasn't he satisfied with his perfect perfection?

No, his ultimate, untouchably vast ego needed to have someone else see just how supremely, fantastically, perfect he was.
Of course this other would have to be a lesser.
Of course if they didn't want to praise him he'd have to burn them for eternity, but, oh well, they're value would be insignificant in comparison to his Super-fantastic Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnivorousness.

Blake, I am not a piece of shit!

Anyone who tells me I am is my enemy!

I will resist any being, God or otherwise, who tries to put themself over me.
I tell them to "Get the Fuck Off Me, and Leave, Me, Alone!"

Fuck you Blake, and the God you rode in on.

Get some spiritual Balls and stop kissing up to Mr Big and Tough Fantastic-heavenly-pants-guy in the sky.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kenny,

Wouldn't after Adam and Eve supposedly sinned, wouldn't then have been the best time to introduce a savior, instead of 4000 years later, instead of sacrificing the first born of lambs and burnt offerings?

No, because it would not have allowed for everyone to be born. When God created Adam and Eve, they were flesh. God wanted them to be spiritual beings, like angels. God put two trees in the garden. One was the tree of life that would make them into spiritual beings. The other was the tree of knowledge that would make them flesh alone (without God).

From the beginning, God wanted to give us a choice and He still does. Flesh reproduces to make flesh. We are born separated from God. It is our choice as to whether or not we want to take from the tree of life who is Jesus Christ. When we do we are born again.

When a person truly believes in Jesus Christ, they are born again. God sends His Spirit to them as a promise. This birth begins on earth with the promise of Holy Spirit, and then later when the flesh dies, they will be given spiritual bodies.

A person can know for sure this has happened when they receive the Holy Spirit. God gives it as proof and as a guide.

The whole earth is like a mother's womb. It is giving birth. God is waiting a long time to allow many people to be born. He wants to give a great many people the chance to be born again.

Can't you see that the invention of Jesus's sacrifice was to replace burnt offerings, to appease the invisible God forever, with the ultimate sacrifice, a human being?

The Israelites, the burnt offerings, the law....all that was to prepare the way for Jesus. The Israelites was God's way of demonstrating that humanity could not make themselves good by following an objective law. It is impossible for any human to live up to God's law.

Before God could save anyone, He had to show we needed a savior. We suffer this same problem today. No one would ever turn to Jesus unless they saw a need. If you think you are a good person, why would you ask Jesus to save you? You would not. That is why Jesus Himself said that He came to help the sick, not those who think they are good.

Jesus was not a mere human being. He was both God and man in one. He could and did fulfill the law. He obeyed it precisely. He even honored His own mother by turning water into wine.

The ultimate sacrifice is not a human being. The ultimate sacrifice is God Himself. It was God who hung on the cross.

God came to earth to help us. We killed Him. God could have stopped it, but He allowed this to happen. He traded His life for ours so that justice could be satisfied. Otherwise, there would be no hope for anyone.

This is truly a mark of God's love. He gave Himself to us. That is what love is all about. If we had loved God, we would have given ourselves to Him in return. Love would have been completed and we would have been united as one with God. But we didn't want to love God. We wanted to be God, so we killed Him. We were angry at Jesus because Jesus showed us our sin. He is so good, that being near Him makes all our faults stand out.

The cross opened a door. It made a way for us to be saved. The death of Jesus made a way for people to be forgiven. However, if we stop there that is only half the gospel. Jesus brought more than forgiveness.

Jesus gave His life to save ours. If we really believe Jesus died for us, then in response, we will give our life to Him. When we give ourselves to Jesus, He will come down in His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, so that we can be born again. When this happens, we become connected to God. We are no longer separated from Him.

The Holy Spirit is our engagement ring. It is the mark of a promise. The promise, however, is that one day we will be made into new spiritual beings that live forever with Jesus in Heaven. When Jesus returns, He will collect all His people.

If in your mind this all seems imaginary, let me ask you a question. Do you feel like you were meant to live on earth? Does death feel natural?

Human beings dream of things greater than themselves. We dream of flying, of having immense power, of living forever, of doing great things and wonderful things that we just cannot do. If we had evolved, why would we ever develop such desires? If evolution were true, then we would not have dreamed of immortality. We would have accepted death as natural. But we don't. We struggle with death.

We were never meant to live on earth or to die. This should be obvious as we are the only creatures on earth that don't seem to fit. We build houses that separate us from nature. We don't live with nature or even harmonize with it. We live apart from it. And, we try to live forever. If we had evolved without God, then why do we do that?

Blake

.:webmaster:. said...

He traded His life for ours so that justice could be satisfied

So, I guess that means that God is dead, or in hell.

Whatever.

Allah is GOD and Mohammad is his prophet! Prove me wrong!

Anonymous said...

Dear Spacemonk,

If your God, being all-knowing and all-powerful, knew that most of us humans would be doomed to an eternal hell, then the only responsible thing for him to have done would be to not create us in the first place.

I hope you don't say the same thing to your parents. Do you think all people should stop having children because the world is such a bad place?

So many people get hung up on Hell. Are you afraid of it? I think fear of Hell causes more people to fall away from God than anything else.

Look, in the beginning, Hell was created for the demons. God did not want and had no intention of sending anyone to Hell. Let me say this again: God does not want anyone to go to Hell!!

But here is the problem: God gave us the choice. Do we want to eat from the tree of life, or the tree of knowledge?

There are two options: either you choose to be under God with Him as your God, or you choose not to have Him as your God. If you choose God, then you can spend all of eternity with Him. If you don't choose God, then you follow the demons. The Devil goes to Hell, and He is the one trying to take people with Him.

It's really that simple. The choice is yours.


So why did he do it?
Wasn't he satisfied with his perfect perfection?


God created humans to share in a loving relationship. Love is a two way connection. God loves you. But He cannot force you to love Him. It's your choice. God loves you so much, He is willing to honor your choice.

To illustrate, once I fell in love with a woman to whom I later proposed. We were engaged to be married. One day, she comes home and gives me the ring back. She had met this other guy. I knew this other guy was bad for her. He would abuse her and treat her badly. He would eventually dump her and break her heart. I was so angry. But what could I do? I love her so much, I let her go. I honored her choice.

God does not force Himself on anyone. That is why faith comes before evidence.

People want God to prove Himself before they will believe in Him. If God did that, He would strip away their freedom to choose. Instead, God waits for a person to have faith first. First, you give yourself to Jesus and trust in Him. Then Jesus will prove Himself to you.

I will resist any being, God or otherwise, who tries to put themself over me.

Why? What are you afraid of?

Blake

Anonymous said...

So, I guess that means that God is dead, or in hell.

Yes. We killed God. But there's more...

Since Jesus was perfect and without sin, death could not hold Him. Death is the result of sin. However, Jesus did not sin. Three days later, He raised Himself from the dead. But that is the key to all of Christianity: Jesus is alive.

Blake

nathan said...

Dano and WM,

My final thoughts (and I know Dano, you think Christians don't actually have thoughts, so you can call them the random collisions of words in my head). They have to be final because my wife has called a foul for spending more time doing this than with my daughter. Sorry, the existential comes before the abstract.

Your reasoning for morality reduces to hedonism. You might support it with societal jargon, but your underlying premise is basically "I do nothing that brings harm to myself", or "I do anything that brings me the most happiness." This isn't even Utilitarianism, which has a hint of universality to it, but rather, this is pure, unadulterated hedonism. So, Dano, your hopes of solving world crises and overcoming the limitations of humanity will never be realized because there is nothing to unite. The only thing that you will manage to unite humanity in is the worship of humanity. "We must get better so that humanity can thrive", but then we have established a moral absolute. So, to come full circle, I don't see any way around moral absolutes. Kant didn't, Mill didn't, Jefferson didn't, and God doesn't.

WM, I was not claiming that Native Americans are not moral today, nor was I claiming that Native Americans or tribal peoples anywhere do not have mores and even laws, but ultimately those laws and mores were developed on a basis of hedonism. To be offended by this statement is to completely miss the point and to become subjective. I am not claiming that you are not immoral because you do not trust in Christ, just like you are not claiming that I am immoral because I do. We are both arguing a basis for morality. You claim that Christianity does not produce consistant morality. I claim that atheism reduces morality to hedonism and therefore does not produce consistant morality.

Japan practiced Emperor Worship before WWII, right? Would that not be a basis for absolute morality? Not saying that it is today, but did the habits and traditions of their Emperor-based morality change just because we dethrowned their god? I really don't know alot about Japanese culture, so I am going to leave those questions as they are and not assume anymore.

"Perhaps I should have phrased my thought better about raising kids. If you abuse your children, they will likely turn out badly. That's what I meant."

Yes, I would agree, so NO ONE abuse their children. I would add to this, if you don't raise your children at all, and leave them to their genetic predisposition, they will turn out badly. So, EVERYONE raise your children. Oops, I just made a moral absolute. Let me rephrase, Everyone raise your children if it is socially beneficial for you to do so. Anarchists can ignore this.

I'm sorry, that was sarcastic, but it seems to be a common tool for you guys, so I decided I would try it.

Let's go back to Hitler and this issue of furthering society. How was he wrong in his ideals? He was simply practicing the theories of Nietzche. He wanted to further society by creating a master race and exterminating all inferior genes. What a great society, where everyone believes in the good of man, the power of evolution, and the glory of humanity. Now, answer honestly, how was he wrong? Was he wrong because a bunch of other nations didn't want their societies (their religious societies) to change and banded together to defeat him, or is there a moral absolute that dictates that you should treat others as you would like to be treated and not kill them for the furtherment of your social agenda? Oh well, I guess if he had won, we would still be rounding up those rodent Jews, radical Christians, and other despot groups and gassing them still. Sounds like evolution at work to me.

Dano, I have not read all of the folks you speak of, but I have read my fair share, and I would say that for every objection they raise, Ravi Zacharias, CS Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Norman Geisler, Lane Craig, and now even Antony Flew would have a response. I would encourage you to read them, if you have not already.

Anyway, its been fun. I have enjoyed thinking with you guys, but this has to be my last for the sake of peace in my family.

Since you guys like to quote so much, here's one of my favorites (sorry, it's a long one).

This is the creed I have written on behalf of all us.
We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy is OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything is getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in
horoscopes, UFO's and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man
just like Buddha, Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher
although we think His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same--
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of
creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then it's compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
and the flowering of individual thought.


"Chance" a post-script

If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear

State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!

It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

--Steve Turner

.:webmaster:. said...

Blake,

All your ideas you've gotten from a religious holy book. You have nothing else on which to base your beliefs.

You sound like Plato, talking about the gods. It's all nonsense.

Prove me wrong.

God is dead, but god is not dead. God died for us, but He didn't stay dead for us. God had to sacrifice himself to himself so he could save us, his beloved creations, from his own eternal wrath, in a plan that he had ordained from before time began, which he knew would result in most of humanity being roasted forever in an everlasting pit of torture, that He didn't make for us, but that He knew we'd end up in, because He loves us.

That is amazing grace.

Kenny said...

To Blake,

If Jesus was God, or if God was Jesus in human form, why did Jesus say on the cross, Matthew 27:46 "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?


And why did it take three days for Jesus to resurrect, when God supposedly created the whole universe in just six days?

.:webmaster:. said...

Nathan, Steve Turner's poem is cute, but it's also full of strawman arguments that only sound convincing to minds smothered by fluffy, evangelical thinking. Nothing in his poem expresses my "creed." I'm disappointed that you couldn't come up with anything more convincing for your "final" post besides a silly emotive appeal. It appears that you and Blake make a good team, united in shallowness of thought and purpose. Then again, religion is rooted in little more than emotion and feeling, so perhaps it is best defended by the language of poetry and song and kept far from intellectual investigation.

When I use the word hedonism, I use it as a quick way to describe the lifestyle of a person who pursues personal pleasure to the exclusion of everything and everyone else. Perhaps that's not the textbook definition, perhaps that's too narrow, but that's what I envisioned when using the word. If hedonism is better defined as maximizing personal pleasure and minimizing personal pain, it's fairly clear to me that all humans are hedonists, even Christians (Christian Hedonism), unless one happens to be a masochist. Few people I know want to maximize pain and minimize pleasure. And even in the case of the masochist, it could be argued that they find pleasure in pain, so we are back to square one.

Does your religion make you feel good? Well, then you must be a wicked hedonist. If the laws of your god bring happiness and joy, isn't that promoting hedonism too? Now, if your religion gives you nothing by pain and agony, and you like it, then perhaps you're just better than me.

I suspected all along that you never were interested in a conversation, but intended to participate on this topic in attempt to convert or promote your agenda. I bet you have never read a single book on this topic that wasn't written by a Christian apologetic author. I've read all the authors you mentioned. Ingesting the Christian apologetic writers you've mentioned is like entering an expensive bakery and purchasing the best cake in the house. It looks wonderful. Its flavor is intoxicating. Children squeal with delight at the very aroma. But, it is full of empty calories. I challenge you to actually read the non-Christian authors previously mentioned in this string of comments. After reading, you may still disagree with me and maintain your position, but at least you'll be arguing from a foundation of actually knowing both sides of the discussion. As it is, your ignorance outside of apologetics is obvious.

For everyone reading this string who actually is interested in exploring both sides of the issue, I recommend the following short article: MORALITY WITHOUT GOD.

Here's an excerpt: "A man by himself -- if we can picture such a thing -- could not be kind; there would be no one to whom to be kind. He could not be truthful; there would be none to whom he could tell a lie. He could not be honest, or generous, or loyal; there would be none to whom these qualities would have any application. Every moral quality implies the existence of a group of which an individual is a member. And as the group enlarges so moral qualities take on a wider application. But this cardinal fact, that ethical qualities, whether they be good or bad, have no significance apart from group life, remains constant throughout."

Morality is strictly a human, social, affair.

Peace.

Dano said...

Nathan wrote:
"So, Dano, your hopes of solving world crises and overcoming the limitations of humanity will never be realized because there is nothing to unite. The only thing that you will manage to unite humanity in is the worship of humanity."

Dan replies; Nate! Do you want your daughter (I have two rather beautiful ones myself) to spend her whole life in a world where religious people are killing each other over petty religious doctrinal issues? Do you want people to be still telling your grandchildren that they are going to go to hell and burn forever, if they can't buy into a religious cult?

Do you want your children and grandchildren to live their whole lives believing that a creator spent 4 billion years trying one experiment after another for a couple of hundred thousand generations just to arrive at the finished product called man?

Isn't it a little silly to think that you will go to heaven just because you have a belief in a religious myth and I am going to burn in hell forever because that myth is not believable, or testable, or verifiable?

I'm not asking anyone to worship anything. I'm just trying to stop you religious nuts from destroying our planet before my grand kids can grow up. You have already set science education back in this country, to the extent that we are about 34th in the would.

If it were not true that natural selection determines everything we are, you would not have a job. If there were any proof that there is a "bumbling fool"out there who make billions of mistakes, just to select one that will further the chance that we will survive as a species, then all science would self-destruct.( Go ahead and say: "The theory of evolution has not been proven")

If you call wanting to survive and wanting my grandchildren get a chance to live and love and enjoy a big thin crust pizza, "worshiping humanity," then, I AM GUILTY!
Dano (IT is sooooo unimportant what labels we wear!)

Anonymous said...

A man by himself -- if we can picture such a thing -- could not be kind; there would be no one to whom to be kind.

A man can hurt himself, lie to himself, and kill himself.

So, this argument fails.

Anonymous said...

If Jesus was God, or if God was Jesus in human form, why did Jesus say on the cross, Matthew 27:46 "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?

Jesus was not only God and was not God in human form. Jesus was 100% man and 100% God. Jesus was the seed of David, meaning that He had the same blood as David, and the root of David, meaning He was the one who created David.

Jesus said the above while hanging on the cross because He suffered to such a degree His human soul cried out in agony.

And why did it take three days for Jesus to resurrect, when God supposedly created the whole universe in just six days?

I do not know why God chose three days. However, the universe was not created in a literal six days. This is a misinterpretation of scripture.

Blake

.:webmaster:. said...

A man can hurt himself, lie to himself, and kill himself.

So, this argument fails.


How does a man lie to himself? The commandment is, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

Let's see, I'm on Mars, the only human on Mars, and I'm trapped there. I cannot communicate with anyone. I cannot go home. When my air and food run out, I will die. No one will ever find me. No one will ever know what happened.

OK, so now I tell myself that I am a going to live forever, even though I know I am going to die. So, what moral code is broken from my "lie?"

I've been alone now for 10 years, and I'm going quietly insane. I cut myself and watch myself bleed. What moral code has been violated? Which commandment says "Thou shalt not hurt thyself?"

Finally, after 20 years, my food and air are about to run out. I will die in eight hours by asphyxiation. I choose instead to take a pill that will put me to sleep and kill me. What moral code has been violated? Is it, "Thou shalt not kill?"

Do you really think this man, trapped alone on Mars, has violated some moral code if he kills himself?

Let's come back to Earth. If I attempt to kill myself and fail, will I be tried and found guilty of attempted murder, and then confined to prison for 20 years to life?

Killing myself is not a moral violation, it may be evidence of severe depression, or delusion, or insanity, and it will undoubtedly do some harm to people who love me and know me, but if I am the only person alive, who is harmed by my suicide? How is it wrong?

I think the argument stands, and I bet that you, Fundie-anonymous poster, didn't bother to read one word from the article I linked.

Christian's minds are completely closed off. Rather than actually seek to understand other viewpoints, their only intention is to justify and protect and propagate a fantastic religion.

A wasted intellect, purposeful ignorance, and a stubbornly shut mind is pathetically immoral.

Kenny said...

To Blake,
Blake: Jesus was not only God and was not God in human form. Jesus was 100% man and 100% God. Jesus was the seed of David, meaning that He had the same blood as David, and the root of David, meaning He was the one who created David.


St. Luke 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How can this be, seeing I know not a man?

How could Davids' blood line get from Joseph's to Mary and she still be a virgin? hmmmm?

Was Joseph and Mary brother and sistor?


Kenny: And why did it take three days for Jesus to resurrect, when God supposedly created the whole universe in just six days?

Blake: I do not know why God chose three days. However, the universe was not created in a literal six days. This is a misinterpretation of scripture.

Genesis 1:31 And God had seen everything that he had made. and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Who's misinterpretation? Mine, yours, the authors, who's misinterpretation?

SpaceMonk said...

Blake wrote: " “Dear Spacemonk,

If your God, being all-knowing and all-powerful, knew that most of us humans would be doomed to an eternal hell, then the only responsible thing for him to have done would be to not create us in the first place.

I hope you don't say the same thing to your parents.
(irrelevant) Do you think all people should stop having children because the world is such a bad place? (missed the point)

So many people get hung up on Hell.
(missed the point) Are you afraid of it? I think fear of Hell causes more people to fall away from God than anything else. (irrelevant)"

How can you not understand what I said?
I don’t think you really want to. You don’t want to think in that direction.
Why not?

There’s no argument beyond the fact that the only responsible thing for your God to have done would be to not make us in the first place, and simply stay content in his ‘absolute perfection’.
He’s supposedly Unchangeable, so what was he hoping to ‘gain’ out of creating us anyway?
Some new experience?
Ah, now we’re onto something…

And, yes Blake you'll be disappointed to hear, I have asked my parents why they had me.
What were their intentions? Were they driven by some airy-fairy fantasy about how wonderful it would be to have a kid? Did they ever think they’re not just ‘having a child’, but creating an adult that will one day stand before the ‘Throne of Judgement’? Did they really want to have me or was it just because they were married and “that’s what you do”? Were they so arrogant as to think that they could raise me safely without me falling to hell? ….to take responsibility for creating something that had no choice in the matter and so then put it’s Eternal fate at risk? Did they not count on my freewill choosing something besides their fantasy?

Of course, I don’t believe in hell, or the ‘throne of judgement’ but at the time they did, and still do.

I don’t plan to get married, so now they mourn the grandchildren they’ll never have. I’ve told them I will not perpetuate the abusive mindset that has been ingrained into me, and that I know would come out in any kids I may have.
So now they are heartbroken because I’ve shattered their fantasy of ‘happy christian families’, which in turn breaks mine – but it was their fantasy not mine.

With what they believed (ie. the existence of Hell and a ‘devil’ who is out there trying his hardest to drag us into it) the most responsible thing for them to have done would be to not bring me into this world and avoid that risk – for my sake.

I don’t consider myself fit to be a father, thanks to the mindgames I’ve been forced to play all my life.
I’m taking responsibility for my ‘kids’ already - by not bringing them into this world of shit

- as your God should have done.

As crazy as it sounds (or I sound) I believe I am a better person than your God because of it.

"Look, in the beginning, Hell was created for the demons. God did not want and had no intention of sending anyone to Hell. Let me say this again: God does not want anyone to go to Hell!! "

If God didn’t want anyone to go to hell then they would not go there.
Is he not Omnipotent?

Being All-powerful means he has No excuse.

"But here is the problem: God gave us the choice. Do we want to eat from the tree of life, or the tree of knowledge? "

Having experienced Life already I can say that it sucks, so I’ll take Knowledge.

Can I quote a verse too?

“Rule in hell or serve in heaven.
Choose an altar or a throne.
All commandments and laws of man disown.
Now eat the fruit of knowledge, unto noone ye atone.
Into the fire with your soul!”
LOL!

"There are two options: either you choose to be under God with Him as your God, or you choose not to have Him as your God. If you choose God, then you can spend all of eternity with Him. If you don't choose God, then you follow the demons. The Devil goes to Hell, and He is the one trying to take people with Him.

It's really that simple. The choice is yours. "


It’s a False choice.
“When confronted by two options, always choose the third.” ;)

That choice is a lie. It's what is presented by the bully, the dictator.
There are also other ways.
I’ve said it many times, but if you haven’t heard me say it before I’ll say it again.

Your God could have set up a system of Reincarnation - where instead of ‘dying once and then the judgement’ where 90% of men go to eternal hell, we get another life, another shot to ‘accept Jesus’, or whatever. As many ‘shots’ as it takes…
That way his mercy, love and justice would all be served, as equally as his desire for ALL men to be saved.

It would also fit better with his command to evangelise the world, because then, all those natives and foreigners who died before hearing the ‘good news’ will still get to hear it later on… so that eventually, oneday, everyone will finally be saved!

Is that too mindblowingly good to be true for you to handle?

Why would you want to argue against such an idea?

An All-powerful god could make it work (being All-powerful means he has No excuse).

But no, instead he chose the sadistic pleasures of all-knowingly watching people suffer for eternity - so I say Fuck him.
If even a mere mortal like me can think up a better ‘plan of salvation’ than your God then who needs him?

"So why did he do it?
Wasn't he satisfied with his perfect perfection?


God created humans to share in a loving relationship. Love is a two way connection. God loves you. But He cannot force you to love Him. It's your choice. God loves you so much, He is willing to honor your choice. "


You've missed the point again, and now you’re just regurgitating Lee Strobel – which I already addressed in that post.
I know this part of the story. I understand your point.
You don’t understand mine.
You don’t give yourself enough time to think before responding with a pre-prepared sermon.
I’m asking you to comprehend a bit further, a bit deeper as to what this really means.
But no, you’re not allowed, not programmed to comprehend, only to reply and reply and reply – with never a moments personal thought or deeper understanding, except for which pre-programmed excuse for ‘not-having-to-understand-what-has-been-said’ to match it to.

"To illustrate, once I fell in love with a woman to whom I later proposed. We were engaged to be married. One day, she comes home and gives me the ring back. She had met this other guy. I knew this other guy was bad for her. He would abuse her and treat her badly. He would eventually dump her and break her heart. I was so angry. But what could I do? I love her so much, I let her go. I honored her choice. "

So now you both lose. Good one.
The meek shall inherit the dirt
…and other people are ending up there with you.

"God does not force Himself on anyone. That is why faith comes before evidence."

Yes, I see my beloved child stepping into the path of an oncoming vehicle, but what can I do? I love her so much, I won’t force myself on her...

Tell that to people in hell.
Ask them if they want to stay there, or if they are allowed out – or if they are even allowed to change their minds, or even use their experience of hell to learn a lesson of any benefit, for themselves or anyone else.

"People want God to prove Himself before they will believe in Him. If God did that, He would strip away their freedom to choose. Instead, God waits for a person to have faith first. First, you give yourself to Jesus and trust in Him. Then Jesus will prove Himself to you. "

This is not you talking. This is the pre-prepared excuse-not-to-think given you by Lee Strobel.
Just because your framework of belief, your system, seems to be complete to you, seems to make sense to you, doesn’t make it right for me, or right at all.

“I lay it down as a position which cannot be controverted, first, that the agreement of all the parts of a story does not prove that story to be true, because the parts may agree and the whole may be false; secondly, that the disagreement of the parts of a story proves the whole cannot be true." - Thomas Paine, re. the Gospels

"I will resist any being, God or otherwise, who tries to put themself over me.

Why? What are you afraid of? "


Afraid? You’d like for me to be afraid.
Then you’d have something to work with.

I will never consent to my soul being owned or controlled.
You don’t seem able to grasp the concept of self-worth or self-esteem, let alone the idea of personal sovereignty.
To you he is the potter and we are just pieces of shit.

I don’t answer to you or your god.
I already said Fuck you, so Fuck you Blake.
You’re a gutless spiritual coward.
You persist in cowardice, and you want us all to become like you, to justify your cowardice.
That’s not an insult, just an observation.


...and about Jesus having a ‘human soul’ that cried out in pain on the cross?
WTF?
His 'soul' WAS God, was it not? It’s only his physical form that was supposedly human.

...and the reason he was in the grave three days is because that’s how long the Winter Solstice takes for the Sun (of God) to go from lowering in the sky (dying) to rising again (resurrection), meanwhile it appears to the observers on earth to be motionless (dead) for those three days. Just like all the other dying and rising Saviour gods. They’re called Solar Heroes.

Anonymous said...

His 'soul' WAS God, was it not? It’s only his physical form that was supposedly human.

human soul = human spirit + human body

The soul of Jesus (before death) = Holy Spirit + human body

The soul of Jesus (after resurrection) = Holy Spirit + spiritual body

human soul (after being born again) = human spirit + Holy Spirit + human body

human soul (after resurrection) = human spirit + Holy Spirit + spiritual body

The human spirit is an incomplete spirit. The Holy Spirit is a complete spirit. In order for a human to be complete, they must be united as one with the Holy Spirit. The very spirit of Jesus was the Holy Spirit and was complete. He was and is perfect. We, however, are incomplete and need Him to become complete.

Blake

tigg13 said...

Blake said "People want God to prove Himself before they will believe in Him. If God did that, He would strip away their freedom to choose."

But, Blake also said "I cried out to God, "I can't do it. I can't live up to all your stupid laws and stupid morality. If you want me to stop doing these things, then stop me! You are God!"
And guess, what. He did just that. He came down and stopped me. Days later, I cried out to Jesus and ask Him for help. He came down and saved me. He also revealed Himself to me."

OK Blake, why did god strip away your right to choose by revealing himself to you thereby giving you proof? Why won't he reveal himself to any of us? And don't say it's because we didn't have any faith because at one time or another every single one of us believed in your god.

(I can't help myself)
Blake also said "human soul = human spirit + human body

The soul of Jesus (before death) = Holy Spirit + human body

The soul of Jesus (after resurrection) = Holy Spirit + spiritual body

human soul (after being born again) = human spirit + Holy Spirit + human body

human soul (after resurrection) = human spirit + Holy Spirit + spiritual body"

Hmmm
After applying a little algebra it appears that:
1. The Holy Spirit = the human soul (after baorn again) - the human soul.
2. The spiritual body = jesus' soul (after resurrection) - the holy spirit
3. the human soul (after resurrection) = jesus's soul (before death) + the human soul - the human body
4. the human soul = the human soul (after born again) - the spiritual body + the human soul (after resurrection) - 2(the holy spirit)

Blake said "Jesus was 100% man and 100% God."

Dude, you need some serious remedial math classes.

.:webmaster:. said...

Blake, you're really getting out there in na-na land now.

Where in the Bible does it say that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man? Where does it say anything about Jesus' soul and your odd little math equations?

Where did you learn this crap?

Anyway, this topic is supposed to be Morality and ethics without absolutes. Blake, if you continue to attempt to derail the conversations so you can preach your particular version of Christianity instead, every post you've made on the site will be deleted.

Dano said...

Yo Dave!
If Blake was ever inclined to take a chance and click on MORALITY WITHOUT GOD, and the American Atheist website came up, it would elicit so many visions of Satan and hell in his totally brainwashed psyche, that it would qualify as cruel and unusual punishment.

Just curious Dave. Do you think there may be people like Blake who possibly have no life whatsoever outside of their cult and their cults, beliefs and practices, and that it would be impossible for them to even take a chance on exposing it to the brilliant blinding light of reason?
Dano (Chapman Cohen will defiantly be on my reading list)

SpaceMonk said...

Blake, I know you don't hate me.

I don't hate you either.

My anger is toward the christianity that I was raised in, that taught me to think I was no better than clay.

You still believe it, you still perpetuate it, and even though you don't even understand it you refuse to challenge it.
That is what I hate.

Anyway, we're off topic and I'll stop now.

.:webmaster:. said...

Dano,

Yes. I was one of them.

Fortunately, I had a seed of skepticism that eventually grew through the surface of my psyche.

Dano said...

"definitely," (Friggen spell check!)
Another thing. I see people like Blake, who refuse to use the "OTHER" button as sort of "In your face, behavior"
Dan

eel_shepherd said...

Kenny said: "Wouldn't after Adam and Eve supposedly sinned, wouldn't then have been the best time to introduce a savior, instead of 4000 years later, instead of sacrificing the first born of lambs and burnt offerings?"

Oh Kenny. Kenny, Kenny, Kenny... don't you understand? Those animals _liked_ getting sacrificed. Animals' ways are not our ways...

Reading through the comments of Paunake (combination of Paul, Nathan, and Blake, since it's all the same meme, running over and over endlessly in 3 different physical heads), I've learned quite a bit, due to the fact that the stuff he says produces considered responses from the reply-ers, who say stuff that constitutes a line of reason. A few thoughts spring to mind.

"We are born separated from God, etc." No we're not, because there is no god. Or, if you prefer, yes we are, since, by existing, we're separated from any[not]thing that doesn't exist. Take your pick.

It's funny how all these Xtians who offer up examples of secular societies of the bloodthirsty type (Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.) fail to see that they all have one thing in common --- they were SHORTLIVED! Evolution in action. They did not serve the organism, were not coded for enduring existence, and, all according to Darwin/Wallace-style evolution, died out of the societal gene pool. Meanwhile, the western style democracies keep chugging along, evolving, century in and century out.

Every so often, something a person reads is just so off the scale that it changes their whole life. For me, it was an article in Scientific American called "The Evolution Of Cooperation." It reviewed the main findings of a competition of computer algorithms engaged in a many-rounds Prisoner's Dilemma scenario. The goal was completely amoral: to do as well for yourself as possible. The ones that did well on any given round were allowed to propagate themselves with clones of themselves, and the ones that did badly weren't. And after many, many rounds, the experimenters checked in on the state of the "ecology" that was operating in that silicon "state of nature". And they found that, of the fourteen programs/strategies that were entered in the competition, only one "nasty" program remained in the top seven finishers (most populous members of the ecology) and only one "nice" program wound up in the bottom seven finishers. To use the terminology of the reviewer, the nasty programs _undermined their own base of support_, and died off through not having anybody left to victimise. They starved to death.

The "moral" (heh, heh, heh...) is that even lines of computer code will eventually work out a climate of cooperation that leads to long term stability and harmony (the programs were coded to remember how their prior interactions went with each of the other programs; maybe I should have mentioned that earlier) without having Yawn-weh or jebus there, laying down the law like an interfering mother-in-law all the time. For the Xtians droning on and on about the source of a society's "absolute morality", I direct their attentions, if that's the word, to the book "The Evolution Of Cooperation", by Robert Axelrod.

Hasn't it struck any of them that as time goes by, the biblegod takes on the very same personal characteristics as the people who take him on board? He was one way for the bronze age guys, another way for the iron age guys, another for the industrial revolution guys, and yet another for the information age guys. Funny how that works, eh? Seems that the lawd doesn't really work in such mysterious ways after all. Indeed, he seems to work in pretty darned predictable ways...

How come "god", in Genesis, couldn't find time to utter the simple five word sentence: "The Earth is a sphere"? There, how long did that take? Instead, we are all instructed at eye-splitting length not to be eating electric eels if you've got metal fillings in your teeth or some other complicated fad diet of the day.

Think I'll stop now.