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Why would a Christian want to change the world?
Posted: 31 August 2012 07:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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Tim, no that’s not my aim here. I’m not interested in making Christianity better or more coherent. I just wish they’d stop saying that things like natural disasters, children dying of cancer, and massacres must somehow be for the best overall. These things were bad when they happened in the past, and they are bad when we see them now, and we should try our best to stop them or reduce them. If we lose the idea that these kinds of things are bad, then we lose morality/ethics completely. So in my view, it must be all about making the world a better place, so let’s just get on with arguing about exactly what this means. Indeed, this is difficult enough in itself. We don’t need to make things hundreds of times more difficult fior ourselves by trying to calculate how to maximize the number of souls saved and trying to figure out what might be for the best from the point of view of a timeless, all-powerful being.

By the way, one of my biggest influences on these issues has been the philosopher Scott Sehon, and especially his paper ‘The Problem of Evil: Skeptical Theism leads to Moral Paralysis’. You can read it here if you’re interested: 

http://www.bowdoin.edu/faculty/s/ssehon/pdf/sehon-skeptical-theism.pdf

[ Edited: 31 August 2012 08:13 AM by Dom1978 ]
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Posted: 31 August 2012 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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Dom1978 - 31 August 2012 07:57 AM

Tim, no that’s not my aim here. I’m not interested in making Christianity better or more coherent. I just wish they’d stop saying that things like natural disasters, children dying of cancer, and massacres must somehow be for the best overall. These things were bad when they happened in the past, and they are bad when we see them now, and we should try our best to stop them or reduce them. If we lose the idea that these kinds of things are bad, then we lose morality/ethics completely. So in my view, it must be all about making the world a better place, so let’s just get on with arguing about exactly what this means. Indeed, this is difficult enough in itself. We don’t need to make things hundreds of times more difficult fior ourselves by trying to calculate how to maximize the number of souls saved and trying to figure out what might be for the best from the point of view of a timeless, all-powerful being.

By the way, one of my biggest influences on these issues has been the philosopher Scott Sehon, and especially his paper ‘The Problem of Evil: Skeptical Theism leads to Moral Paralysis’. You can read it here if you’re interested: 

http://www.bowdoin.edu/faculty/s/ssehon/pdf/sehon-skeptical-theism.pdf

Ok, I scanned it.  Also, I’m on board with your view that “it must be all about making the world a better place, so let’s just get on with arguing about exactly what this means”.  It seems to me that just about any humanist would be in agreement with this.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 05 September 2012 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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So I’ve been heavily influenced by Steven Maitzen and Scott Sehon on these issues. I believe that these guys are attacking Christianity in the right way, whereas the likes of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris have been getting it all wrong. The thing that’s wrong with Christianity is that its basic world view is immoral and/or incoherent, and this is where the focus should be.

I want to go a bit further than Maitzen and Sehon, though, because it seems to me that the Christian is just in an impossible situation. Whatever they do, and whatever reasons they try to give for why God allows terrible things to happen, they will end up losing their grip on morality. If you say God works in mysterious ways and His ways are not our ways, then you end up in a position where you don’t know any more whether the next massacre or natural disaster or child dying of some terrible disease is really bad or not. And the same goes for the Chrisitian who says that that event may have seemed terrible but really must have been to test us, toughen us up, make possible virtues like bravery and so on, or else must have been allowed in order to save more souls in the long run. The free will defence, too, leaves the Christian paralyzed, or should if they take their world view seriously. If God couldn’t interfere with the free will of the guy who tortures a child to death because free will is of such overwhelming importance, then what makes us think we should interfere with the free will of people we consider to be doing evil things.     

And when it comes to our deepest moral intutions, or what we might just call common sense morality, humanism gives the right answers, and Christianity gives the wrong ones, and we see this time and time again. We feel this when we’re told that it’s a good thing when some child dies of a terrible disease because they’re now with Jesus forever, or that it’s wrong to kill a human being not because you’re harming that human being or their family or their community but simply because it offends God or breaks His commandments, or that people deserve eternal punishment in hell. There will always be very smart people like Plantinga and Swinburne who do everything in their power to try to make these things sound plausible, but deep down we know that the whole thing is rotten to the core.       

Thankfully, though, many Christians just ignore all of that and concentrate on the parable of the good Samaritan and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you and making the world a better place.

Anyway, you can listen to Maitzen’s lecture God vs Morality here: 

http://philosophy.acadiau.ca/maitzen_cv.html 

and there are also lots of excellent papers from him on these issues as well.

[ Edited: 05 September 2012 07:38 AM by Dom1978 ]
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Posted: 11 September 2012 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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The Catholic does not view from a world perspective. He is soul(spirit) first, endowed with a body to be used in this world for a purpose. What goes on in the natural world present opportunities for him to improve it. Disasters,etc are this world’s experience. He’s in this outpost of his universe and he will report back to the headquarters one day and to his real home. (I just had a flash of that little tracked trash collector character Wall-E by Pixar going about his work. The mountains of tasks around him don’t phase him and he merrily is satisfied what he accomplishes in his day to day toils.) A poor analogy, but the spirit is there I think.

A parable in scripture tells us that we each will be given a “coin”(goods) while the boss is away. Some will put it aside for safekeeping(ie: just keeping out of trouble and minding our own business, a selfish life without worship and betterment. The status quo until time is up.). Others wills squander it,(ie: use it for self gain, an introverted “me” bent on sensual and worldly stimulus.) Others will invest good to create more good for society. He remembers he is not here for himself but to care for others. He trusts in the boss’s job order and knows he will be pleased. The boss rewards the one who as invested his good to create more good.

The book of Sirach outlines the futility of striving for worldly comfort, those who have let the reason for their primary purpose slip by in memory overshadowed by the glitz of this world. He describes how fleeting things are, the one who’s poor wishing to gain riches, and the one who finally gains it, disappointed it doesn’t buy the happiness he wanted. all the primary indicators his soul was not created for this world. The Word, which in part is attained through scripture, the remainder offered by the Church as the Deposit of the Faith, hones the conscience for the clear reception of true goods that needs to be done, either in common such as the collective, or personal. For example a prepared conscience would discern the wisdom of rejecting capital punishment except for extreme rare cases. One that is not would be tuned to the wants of the secular world and would accept it.   

Some mysteries are to be revealed to those who inherit them, neither is it our place to know. We have been given what is needed to know in the Hands of the True Church who is the Authority the boss assigned to keep us informed through it’s mandate to teach. All will become understood then when “wall-E” returns home. Meanwhile we roll up our sleeves and get to work. (BTW: Some of these things if explained would be beyond human comprehension and intellect, since we would need to be in a state of beatification, itself only to be attained after we warrant it).

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Posted: 13 September 2012 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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We should just respect each others belief in religion. Each of us these religions have sets of norm and we are here just to respect them.

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Posted: 13 September 2012 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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Jennifer Stallone - 13 September 2012 10:03 AM

We should just respect each others belief in religion. Each of us these religions have sets of norm and we are here just to respect them.

“Each of us these religions have sets of norm and we are here just to respect them”?  So what?  God (the gods?) created all of us and assigned us a bunch of different religious to teach us a lesson in respecting each other’s feelings?  Alright.

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Posted: 13 September 2012 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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Jennifer Stallone - 13 September 2012 10:03 AM

We should just respect each others belief in religion.

If religion would respect others beliefs, it might not be so difficult.

Oh and why should I respect anyone who seriously believes they know the mind of God or God’s Word?

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Posted: 14 September 2012 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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I respect your view, this well just be an arguement for the rest of our lives if i will continue to argue with you. Your own choice. And for the record im not a Muslim.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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Jennifer Stallone - 13 September 2012 10:03 AM

We should just respect each others belief in religion. Each of us these religions have sets of norm and we are here just to respect them.

So if a certain religion taught that women were 3rd class people, behind men and male slaves, and should not be allowed to post their opinions on the internet, would you respect that?  What about if it believed every third child should be killed upon birth if it was female? Would you respect that?  What if the woman giving birth to that third child was your sister who happened to marry a man with those beliefs?

My point is, it’s easy to be all kumbaya and “respectful” when there are no real consequences. But that’s rarely (never?) the case.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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Jennifer Stallone - 13 September 2012 10:03 AM

We should just respect each others belief in religion. Each of us these religions have sets of norm and we are here just to respect them.

I strongly disagree. Any religious belief that ignores basic human rights (e.g. death to all sinners of adultery, homosexuality, blasphemy, etc.) deserves absolutely NO respect.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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jls7227 - 14 September 2012 01:31 PM
Jennifer Stallone - 13 September 2012 10:03 AM

We should just respect each others belief in religion. Each of us these religions have sets of norm and we are here just to respect them.

I strongly disagree. Any religious belief that ignores basic human rights (e.g. death to all sinners of adultery, homosexuality, blasphemy, etc.) deserves absolutely NO respect.

I’m disgusted with religions targeting the weak minded and misleading people into any belief system that not only lacks any evidence of it’s validity, but promotes that there is piety in ignorance by calling it faith.

[ Edited: 14 September 2012 02:45 PM by ExMachina ]
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Posted: 14 September 2012 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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ExMachina - 14 September 2012 02:20 PM
jls7227 - 14 September 2012 01:31 PM
Jennifer Stallone - 13 September 2012 10:03 AM

We should just respect each others belief in religion. Each of us these religions have sets of norm and we are here just to respect them.

I strongly disagree. Any religious belief that ignores basic human rights (e.g. death to all sinners of adultery, homosexuality, blasphemy, etc.) deserves absolutely NO respect.

I’m disgusted with religions targeting the weak minded and misleading people into any belief system that not only lacks any evidence of it’s validity, but promotes that there is piety in ignorance by calling it faith.

Yeah, but whatcha gonna do? Religions! Ya can’t live wit ‘em,... but there they are anyway…

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 14 September 2012 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]

I guess you could say that this is my creed Spence. No boss dictates my beliefs, there is no mystery that I will ever be satisfied to accept, no dogma that chains my mind, and no religious institution to which I will ever show fealty.

 

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 14 September 2012 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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The problem of the original religious writings is made even worse by psychos who insert there own vicious, warped beliefs.  As I was driving to lunch today a woman who’s in a major position in a U.S. Islamic group was interviewed.  She made the point that nowhere does Mohammad recommend violence or even response in-like to an insult.  He apparently suggests the equivalent of turn the other cheek.  She gave the example of a woman who kept leaving garbage on his front step every day.  He did nothing about it until, one day, she didn’t leave any garbage so he called on her to see if she was alright.

Occam

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Posted: 14 September 2012 05:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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Occam. - 14 September 2012 05:29 PM

The problem of the original religious writings is made even worse by psychos who insert there own vicious, warped beliefs.  As I was driving to lunch today a woman who’s in a major position in a U.S. Islamic group was interviewed.  She made the point that nowhere does Mohammad recommend violence or even response in-like to an insult.  He apparently suggests the equivalent of turn the other cheek.  She gave the example of a woman who kept leaving garbage on his front step every day.  He did nothing about it until, one day, she didn’t leave any garbage so he called on her to see if she was alright.

Occam

That Mohammad sounds like a cool guy.  We should hear more stories like that about him.  Ya wanna make a movie?...Hmm, maybe not.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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