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Archive for Monday, January 19, 2009

Right and wrong

January 19, 2009

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To the editor:

I do not know how Richard Smith’s argument about the existence of hell can be “factually wrong” when he in no way states that hell is real. Furthermore, for an argument to be factually incorrect, there must be evidence against it, and there is no such evidence that hell does not, in fact, exist.

Aside from the existence argument, Mr. Springsteen’s statement that “complete suffering and eternal isolation for mere, fallible humans is the most gross perversion of proportional justice and sincere love imaginable” is itself a gross perversion of what we as Christians believe about the nature of both human beings and God.

We believe that all human beings are endowed with a free will that allows us to make any decision, even a decision that would seem illogical to someone else. This free will is what allows the ideas of both justice and sincere love to make complete sense when referring to hell: If someone accepts God’s will, then they are eternally saved from hell.

Finally, to those who refuse to believe in hell I ask: Do you believe in a difference between right and wrong? If you do, it’s because of your conscience, and where do you suppose your conscience came from? Certainly not evolution.

Thomas Prinsen,
Lawrence

Comments

WHY 5 years, 9 months ago

I do not believe in right and wrong; good and evil; or sin. Evolution did in fact establish most of our behaviors out of a desire for survival. Other than those motivations moral definitions are a social construct used to control the weak minded. Mr. Prinsen please keep doing what you are told.

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Ragingbear 5 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"I do not know how Richard Smith’s argument about the existence of hell can be “factually wrong” when he in no way states that hell is real. Furthermore, for an argument to be factually incorrect, there must be evidence against it, and there is no such evidence that hell does not, in fact, exist."He didn't say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is real, either, and there is no evidence that the FSM does not, in fact, exist.I guess that must be proof of something or other, right?

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XEPCT 5 years, 9 months ago

Well stated WHY. It's refreshing to see the assemblage of those capable of looking Beyond Good and Evil growing by the day, hour, minute.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

Change Good and Evil to beneficial and hurtful, and you have a perfectly acceptable basis for a moral code that does not require the viewpoint of a divine figure to legitimize it. Admittedly, it makes things more flexible and less certain or standardized in their application, but I have yet to be convinced that is a bad thing.. . . and I'll leave it at that. This is, what, the fifth thread on this subject so far, and despite my certainty in prediction from the last thread (cough), it does not seem we're any closer to reaching a consensus.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 9 months ago

"Change Good and Evil to beneficial and hurtful, and you have a perfectly acceptable basis for a moral code...."Except, of course, for the schadenfreuden.( Did I conjugate that noun properly? )

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"Except, of course, for the schadenfreuden.( Did I conjugate that noun properly? )"Don't know about "conjugation" of a noun, but that would be somewhat of a plural form. But more is always better and too much never enough, nicht Wahr?

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 9 months ago

TP: "Anyone who accepts that idea of cosmic justice is, in some fundamental way, morally broken."Although I would agree with much that you've asserted in your prior, tandem posts ( and I've intimated as much, somewhere back up the page, there ) , it is my sense of a fundamental cosmic justice which renders me unbreakable.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"When I engage in a serious discussion, I expect the participants to check their ADD at the door, or sit quietly, or leave."Goodness, it's terrible, then, that I'm not bound to follow your expectations, isn't it? It seems like you should have had an extra cup of coffee this morning, rather than posting with such a crabby disposition. Especially due to the fact that I was, in effect, simply leaving in the first place. You are of course free to engage in whatever behavior or discussion you wish to engage in. I hope the rest of your morning improves.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 9 months ago

bozo: "... nicht Wahr?",;-DWould that properly be an attestation to the absoluteness of Truth?

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

Your view of cynicism and dismissiveness is perhaps questionable? I did contribute something before I took my leave, and frankly if you hadn't freaked out about the rest no one else would probably have taken any notice.. . . a ps and now a pps, that's probably all I can, in politeness, allow myself.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 9 months ago

Tom,It's that absolutely indefensible delusion at the heart of a karmic world view which conceives the universe to be as just as it balanced and infinite ( in its myriad dimensionality, perceived and undreamed ) .

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mom_of_three 5 years, 9 months ago

All of this letters and discussion remind me of my grandfather, a church going man who said "if you don't believe it my way, then you aren't going to heaven." I worked at a Southern Baptist church nursery for a while as a young adult, and he told me what he thought about that religion. But what I didn't understand as a kid, and still don't, is that are many religions out there. Many of them follow what God says, what the Bible says, etc. but the churches don't do everything the same. Some dance, and some don't because it's sinful, and you know where sin can send you. So who is right? How do you know you are following the right religion to get to heaven? That still confuses me as an adult. So pardon me, mr lte writer, if I don't immediately fall into step with your beliefs, but have a conscience about right and wrong. I have seen too many religious hypocrites in my life to just blindly follow a single person's advice.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

WHY (Anonymous) says… "I do not believe in right and wrong; good and evil; or sin. Evolution did in fact establish most of our behaviors out of a desire for survival. Other than those motivations moral definitions are a social construct used to control the weak minded."Congratulations on being no higher on the evolutionary scale than a wild animal.I agree that our tendencies are hard wired by evolution. What separates humans from the so-called 'lower' animals is our ability to not act out of instinct. Humans do not (or at least should not) steal another's food because they are smaller, weaker, older, or sicker. They don't kill or drive off another because they want to take over the other's territory. They don't impose their impulse to procreate on another who does not share that impulse at the moment. Whether you are a theist or an atheist, whether there is a hell or not, whether there is such a thing as sin or good/evil, there are definitely things that are right and wrong.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

TRA--"Would that properly be an attestation to the absoluteness of Truth?"Absolutely. And to doubt it is to condemn oneself to certain hell. Or not.

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 9 months ago

You know something? I don't give a damn anymore who believes in hell and who doesn't. I am just trying to find a way to keep Deion (the orange tabby) off my mouse cord so I can move the mouse. He has learned to lay on it so I have to pay attention to him.Of course I do.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

mom_of_three (Anonymous) says… So who is right? How do you know you are following the right religion to get to heaven? That still confuses me as an adult. So pardon me, mr lte writer, if I don't immediately fall into step with your beliefs, but have a conscience about right and wrong. I have seen too many religious hypocrites in my life to just blindly follow a single person's advice.RichardS: The fact (yes, fact) that there are hypocrites is no argument against the truth but, in an admittedly strange way, can be an argument for the truth. People will pretend to believe and practice the truth for self-centered reasons. However, to put it simplistically, to ask who is right is not necessarily the right question. I prefer simply to say that God is right. Those that have been humbled from their pride and self-sufficiency (many religious folks are full of themselves and serve God for what they can get too) are given grace and light to see God. Some will say this too is arrogant, but so be it. What God says is true because He is the truth.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine: Oh, I would add that anyone who promotes that cosmic scheme is fundamentally dangerous since they, as I pointed out in my original letter, have the loophole to excuse pretty much any form of brutality in the name of saving souls. RichardS: That is pure and unadulterated nonsense. The fact that some use it wrongly is no evidence that the belief itself entails that for all. TomPaine: There is ample evidence for that being the case. RichardS: There is zero evidence for that being the case. You have taken some that have used it and formed it into a universal. TomPaine: Once you concede someone's right to believe in hell unchallenged, you concede them the power to trump every moral debate with the ultimate threat. RichardS: Interesting belief you have there. On the one hand you dismiss hell and on the other you say there are morals. Perhaps you don't see the glaring inconsistency there, but it is there. On the one hand you want to deny God the right to practice perfect justice, yet on the other you want to assert that you can find morality. Think about it. TomPaine: Notice all the believers who snidely finish their attacks on ubelievers with some veiled or overt threat of hellfire. “Good luck with that.” “I wouldn't want to be you after you die.” and so forth.RichardS: Perhaps that is almost as bad as accusing those who believe in hell as having a belief that will excuse all forms of brutality in an effort to show that your position is moral. Both sides have their problems in terms of civil debate with an abundance of red herrings.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine:or voting for policies that will hasten Christ's “final solution” to the “sin” problem. Of course there is this nagging connection between what people believe and what they do…RichardS: But again that is a problem with both sides. The rejection of Jesus Christ is not just the rejection of a Savior with the eternal consequences of hell, it is also a rejection of Him as Lord of all. When people reject Christ as Lord and ruler who is perfect Wisdom Himself, they are rejecting perfect wisdom and following their own dark paths. In following their own minds and reason, it shows how great is the darkness within them when their light is darkness. Indeed a connection between what people believe and what people do is a problem on both sides. Some have a belief as a floating belief in the brain that is not their core belief. Down deep all know that there is a God and that perfect justice will be handed out. That is hard from them to live with so they try to suppress the truth. They are the ones living in opposition to their belief and to what is true.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine: RichardS is helping us to understand what God says and wants. God apparently is having trouble doing that without Richard's intervention. Richard apparently thinks he can accomplish what God's previous attempts at communication have not. Where would God be without him?RichardS: Your sarcasm has dripped on and erased any hope of your making sense here. God does speak in nature and through His people. It is not that He cannot speak for Himself, but in fact He speaks for Himself through His people. God is dependant on no one but chooses to speak through weak vessels of clay. TomPaine: The same place any ventriloquist's puppet would be without someone to manipulate it. And Richard thinks we can't all see his lips moving and eyes shifting as he makes his God “talk.” If God is sufficient unto God, then RichardS's sermons should be superfluous, by his own worldview. Thou hypocrite.RichardS: But if one takes your worldview to its consistent end, then there is no true absolute morality and no one is truly a hypocrite except those who call others hypocrites. Indeed I could only wish God would speak through me more. It is the greatest delight to know Him and then to speak His Words. It is not, however, as a puppet, but as one that God is His grace has put His live in. Your venom that is beginning to be exposed is not really at me, but at the God you hate.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

WHY (Anonymous) says… I do not believe in right and wrong; good and evil; or sin. Evolution did in fact establish most of our behaviors out of a desire for survival. Other than those motivations moral definitions are a social construct used to control the weak minded. Mr. Prinsen please keep doing what you are told.RichardS: Your belief that there is no right and wrong and so on is a wrong belief and you don't really believe it. If a person steals from you or does harm to you, I believe you would say it was wrong. You have utterly no evidence for the proof of evolution (materialistic) because a belief in that is utter rational and moral suicide. The fact that you are trying to use reason shows that there is a God. WHY, you are the one that is a slave. You are a slave to your own lusts and desires and are simply following the ways of the world. Indeed that is sin whether you try to continue to convince yourself it is true or not.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

ariadne: thinking clearly the real Hell is the pain that is experienced in war.RichardS: Why do you think hell is the pain experienced in war? There are many people that love war and are excited to go into battle. ariadne: we all need to work on the elimination of war and work more for world peace. War is the true hell.RichardS: The problem, however, is that there is a true spiritual war going on and until that war is over there will be no true peace. The fact that one would dismiss eternal hell by saying that war is the true hell shows that the true spiritual battle is going on. Peace is not just the absence of hosility, but it is the presence of love. Until a person has peace with God, that person will not have true peace with other human beings. The real hell is a place where those who are there are at war with God and hate Him without any restraint. If you truly desire peace, then it will only be found through the Prince of Peace who is Jesus Christ.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine (Anonymous) says… mom_of_three You seem like a sensible person with no pretensions to intellectual superiority - just a good, ingrained feel for what is fair and what isn't. That's so refreshing. RichardS: But coming from your worldview, Tom, what is so wrong about pretension and what is wrong about intellectual superiority? What can be good and what can be fair? Where did that ingrained feel for fair come from? It seems to me that from your very language itself the very idea of God is ingrained in you. TomPaine: I want to urgently recommend a book to you: “50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God” by Guy P. Harrison. He summarizes all the standard arguments people give for god-belief, each in its own chapter, then gives his very entertaining and persuasive answers to them all, in language that you don't have to be a professional philosopher of theologian to fully grasp. And trust me on this, there is nothing the professionals have to offer you above what that book achieves that really adds anything substantial to the debate.RichardS: Simply read the Bible and books like that will be seen for what they are. They are people who hate God and try to convince themselves that He does not exist. They use the very things that demonstrate His existence beyond any real question (intelligence, logic, langauge, morality) to try and argue that He does not exist. TomPaine: You seem like the sort of person who would find Harrison's book a real breath of fresh air. RichardS: Or perhaps it is the hot breath of hell that is the display of hellish hatred of God. TomPaine; Actually, I'd recommend it to anyone as a first read in these theistic problems, whether they choose to read more after or not. It really is skepticism for the million, without talking down or leaving out important ideas.RichardS: Indeed it is attempted skepticism of one thing that tries to set out the absolute of its own position. Follow your worlview consistently and you will see that you have no logical place left for knowledge and therefore you will be left with absolute nihilism. The fact that you care so strongly and urgently point people to books shows that you are not consistent with your worldview but care deeply about some things. You would call me a hypocrite, but I will just call you inconsistent.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine (Anonymous) says… Quoting RichardS: That is pure and unadulterated nonsense. The fact that some use it wrongly is no evidence that the belief itself entails that for all.TP answers: Then, Richard, what evidence would stand as proof that a belief is fundamentally dangerous, if not the actions of those who follow a belief to its logical ends? By their fruits ye shall know them. RichardS: But again, I am not arguing that some have used the teaching wrongly. I am simply saying that just because some have used it wrongly does not mean that the belief is flawed. Some people drive badly but that does not mean that all drivers drive badly. TomPaine: There is no room provided in the Bible for showing mercy against those who risk sending you or yours to perdition. Even your own eye or hand are to be removed if they “offend.” The gospel is an extremist screed and an ultimate threat against those who think for themselves, however sincerely. Read it.RichardS: There is much mercy and grace in the Bible. Jesus Christ came to die in the place of sinners and to give eternal life (John 17:3) says that is to know God. The Gospel is extreme in many ways, but in a perfectly good way. Once again, the fact that you think it is wrong and bad seems to be inconsistent with your worldview. The Bible does not teach the actual cutting off of the hand, but it is an "if...then" statement. Sin is so bad in the eyes of God that if you hand causes you to sin you should cut it off. But the hand does not cause you to sin, the heart does. One must flee, then, from the causes of sin since sin is so bad.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

Former Post: TomPaine: Once you concede someone's right to believe in hell unchallenged, you concede them the power to trump every moral debate with the ultimate threat.Former Post: RichardS: Interesting belief you have there. On the one hand you dismiss hell and on the other you say there are morals. Perhaps you don't see the glaring inconsistency there, but it is there. On the one hand you want to deny God the right to practice perfect justice, yet on the other you want to assert that you can find morality. Think about it.TP answers: Oh, please. Remove the beam from your own eye and think. Better yet, read. There is no end of well-argued, compelling explanation out there, going back at least a few thousand years, describing excellent grounds for morality without absolutism, peremptory commands and eternal punishments. I have not only thought about these questions, I have, more importantly, read what others think - not just the apologetics of some belief I prefer. I suggest you do the same before casting stones.RichardS: You have again simply stated some information without giving reasons. Of course people have argued for a long time about morality, but that is because God has put that in them rather than that being consistent with your worldview. I have read extensively in the realm of ethics and have found no system of thought that could provide and rational basis for morality itself, for why something would be truly right of wrong in and of itself, and provide a mechanism for "oughtness." Morality is completely devoid of meaning and oughtness apart from the true God. former post: TomPaine: Notice all the believers who snidely finish their attacks on unbelievers with some veiled or overt threat of hellfire. “Good luck with that.” “I wouldn't want to be you after you die.” and so forth.Former Post: RichardS: Perhaps that is almost as bad as accusing those who believe in hell as having a belief that will excuse all forms of brutality in an effort to show that your position is moral. Both sides have their problems in terms of civil debate with an abundance of red herrings.TP answers: The incivility begins with a Christian dogma that says we are all depraved and in need of salvation. RichardS: It is not incivility if it is true. You hate it because you are at enmity with God and your enmity toward Him is aroused when you hear that. The fact that you hate these truths is no evidence that they are false, but are actually in accordance with the fact that they are true.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine: Once that cynical, vicious load of garbage has been dumped on the table as an opening gambit, it is the height of hypocrisy to scold anyone else for being mean or high-handed.RichardS: That is patently false. But again, notice your enmity and inconsistency. Your worldview does not allow you to be consistent and then make claims of truth, hypocrisy, and of being mean. You don't like it and so assume it is mean and false and so on. You are demonstrating the truth of it by your response. TomPaine: Pharisees always want to distract attention from their own wickedness and and play hurt when they get what it earns them. They love to dish it out but cry”foul” when they have to take it.RichardS: Indeed that is what Pharisees do. Now what is it that you have done? You have demonstrated that there are things that are wicked and that there are things that are foul. Your worldview, when used consistently, will not allow for that. You continue to show that you have been made in the image of God and that the truth of His character comes out in you whenever you speak.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine (Anonymous) says… BTW RichardS - you could terminate all opposition to your theology and save yourself considerable wind by producing just one, incontrovertible, unambiguous miracle.RichardS: I do not mean to sound mean, if you know what I mean, but all opposition would not be terminated by proving a miracle. The heart of human beings is opposed to God and no miracle would change that. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11, if you read on in John you will see that people believed that this had happened but they still hated Him. TomPaine; Matthew 17:20 - “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”Why go the long way around the mulberry bush? Just make it burn without being consumed or something.RichardS: The only thing that will change the human heart is the work of God's grace in the heart to change the heart. A burning bush will not change the heart. The rich man who lifted up his eyes in hell wanted Abraham to send someone from the dead to his brothers. He was told that if the brothers did not believe the Word of God they would not believe one that had risen from the dead. Neither will you nor anyone else. God must change your heart and no miracle will do that. Throughout the Gospels people saw miracles and believed in one sense, but later fell away. Their hearts were not changed. You must be born again to enter the kingdom.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine (Anonymous) says… Former Post: RichardS: Indeed it is attempted skepticism of one thing that tries to set out the absolute of its own position. Follow your worlview consistently and you will see that you have no logical place left for knowledge and therefore you will be left with absolute nihilism. The fact that you care so strongly and urgently point people to books shows that you are not consistent with your worldview but care deeply about some things. You would call me a hypocrite, but I will just call you inconsistent.TP answers: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” - EmersonRichardS: That is what people say, regardless of who they are, when their position is shown to be highly inconsistent. In fact, if you will look at this statement itself it depends on consistency to be true. Was he speaking to himself? For a statement to be true, it must be consistent with something to be true.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine: But that is a bit beside the point, as RichardS discovers inconsistency where there is none. Where is the inconsistency in saying that, as a naturally evolved species with social habits, we have evolved habits of interaction that we call “morality” and that we continue to evolve the details as circumstances and increasing experience direct?RichardS: It is inconsistent to have morality and rationality apart from a true source and standard for them. The inconsistency of your worldview is glaring. TomPaine: No, the blatant inconsistencies of moral teaching are in the Bible, and the fractured theology of apologists like RichardS. They veer madly between compassion and venom, clarity and obscurity, fact and fiction.RichardS: The Bible is not inconsistent and all theology that truly comes from the Bible is in perfect consistency with absolute truth. Your worldview, by nature of the case, is fixated on human beings as being the center of all things and as such has no access to a standard for true compassion, clarity, and fact. Your worldview locks you into judging reality by tiny lttle beings on a tiny little planet when reality is infinite as God. TomPaine: They disparage the power of mere human reason, then offer apologetics meant to appeal to that very capacity. RichardS: No, it is your worldview that disparages human reason. It allows for no basis for reason and no way to determine truth. On the others hand the Christian worldview gives us what God says about reason and that it is meant to receive the truth about God.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine: They disparage our moral intuitions when they contradict standard theology, then tell us that those intuitions of right and wrong are the gift of God.RichardS: But again you miss the point. The fact that we have a desire for morality shows that we are created by God. Human beings are, though you hate it, are fallen creatures. Their intuitions are based on their fallen nature and not the revealed character of God. TomPaine: They tell us that we are rejecting a God we know perfectly well exists, but all the evidence they offer is their own testimony, the words of mere men. RichardS: I have given you the words of God as well. It is true that down deep all men know that God exists and know many things about Him. They do not want to keep Him in their knowledge and so cast Him out and are given over to all manners of foolishness and wickedness. While I did not give a citation here, it is the Word of God. TomPaine: They accuse us of having closed minds, but themselves appeal to no source of wisdom but one, and dismiss all others as counterfeits. .RichardS: Indeed I would say your mind is closed in the sense that you close it to the truth of God. There is no Wisdom but Jesus Christ who is the very outshining of the glory of God. He declared Himself to be the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Since He is wisdom itself, all that opposes Him is indeed counterfeit. TomPaine: Which is why my letters aren't really addressed to such hermetically sealed hypocrites, but to those who know better and won't say so, and who won't take a side because of a true nihilistic skepticism or infantile indifference.RichardS: In other words, you prefer to write to those who will not show you that you are at enmity with God and His truth and have no basis for doing so.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine: BTW, RichardS - I am suspicious that any audience for this exchange has moved on, and that you and I are tussling alone. As I have no expectation that you can or will consider your faith in any light but your own, I see no reason to continue. RichardS: I would simply say that I view things in the light of God while you are viewing things in the darkness of your own light. The reason you should continue is so that the light of God would shine through your darkness, but I suspect the real problem is not your intellect but your heart. Down deep you know the truth of God but simply hate what you know. TomPaine: Those of us who believe that this life is all we get are especially sensitive to the risk of wasting time with those who have no real intention to engage openly and with basic comprehension of arguments, if not agreement, and I'm afraid you show every evidence of being such a person.RichardS: I doubt that in your quiet moments you really believe that this life is all that there is. I am engaging you quite openly and am not just giving arguments, but am getting to the very roots of arguments. It does not good to talk about what is rational or moral unless we can get to the root of rationality or morality. That, sir, is quite rational. TomPaine: Therefore, unless someone else enters into this discussion at this time with helpful insights, I have much more fruitful things to do. Carry on as you must do, but do so without my help.RichardS: I am not sure why it would matter if you have fruitful things to do or what a fruitful thing could possible be in light of your worldview. If you are right, we are adult germs headed toward eternal extinction. I am not sure anything we could do would be fruitful or meaningful.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine (Anonymous) says… demonfury writes “You got that right. What an incredible waste of time. Neither of you can prove that heaven or hell exists. So why are you still bickering this point?”On the hopeful hypothesis that someone reading might be capable of discovering more in the conversation than you have. Is this really your best summary, that no one can “prove” anything so why debate? How lazyRichardS: Wow! TomPaine and I agree on something, though admittedly from different angles.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine (Anonymous) says…"For myself, I'm committed to publicly contradicting anyone who wishes to spread this tiresome old monotheistic poison in the minds of children, and any decent person not nursing the poison themselves ought to feel the same, and ought to say so."How wonderful for you, that you know everything, have all the answers to life's mysteries, and have set yourself up as the self-appointed arbiter of what should enter the minds of children everywhere. Strange that you'd deny the existence of an omniscient being by attempting to act as one yourself.Please spare yourself the effort when it comes to my own family. My own children will be taught to listen to, investigate, and consider all viewpoints on an issue, to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions. They don't need you, or anyone else, telling them what's fit to enter their minds, thank you. If anything is poisonous to the minds of children, it's people who tell them to keep their minds closed.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… “Humans do not (or at least should not) steal another's food because they are smaller, weaker, older, or sicker. They don't kill or drive off another because they want to take over the other's territory. They don't impose their impulse to procreate on another who does not share that impulse at the moment.”And how many examples of these wrongs, perpetrated or encouraged by the Christian church, would you like to be provided with?RichardS: Provide as many as you like, but the fact that you call them wrong shows that underneath it all there is a the inescapable belief in absolute truth. What some have done that call themselves Christians is not the issue.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine (Anonymous) says… Former Post: RichardS: I am not sure why it would matter if you have fruitful things to do or what a fruitful thing could possible be in light of your worldview. If you are right, we are adult germs headed toward eternal extinction. I am not sure anything we could do would be fruitful or meaningful.TP responds: And with this, we learn who the real nihilist is, for without the Christian scheme, Richard is incapable of comprehending any alternative reason for reason, goodness, or hope, and really isn't looking for one. He certainly isn't prepared to concede the flaws in his own reasoning, or answer for them.RichardS: I admit that it is impossible for Richard to comprehend any alternative reason for reason, goodness, or hope. But the reason for that is that God is the only real basis for those things. TomPaine: Notice, for instance how he conveniently blew right by the response that directly answers his own morality problem, where I said:“Where is the inconsistency in saying that, as a naturally evolved species with social habits, we have evolved habits of interaction that we call “morality” and that we continue to evolve the details as circumstances and increasing experience direct?”RichardS: There is no inconsistency is saying the words, but a naturally evolved species evolving rationality and morality is a massive inconsistency. How does mother evolution give you rationality and any oughtness for morality? Mother evolution cannot give rationality and it cannot show what is moral and it cannot obligate a person to be moral. TomPaine: For myself, I'm committed to publicly contradicting anyone who wishes to spread this tiresome old monotheistic poison in the minds of children, and any decent person not nursing the poison themselves ought to feel the same, and ought to say so.RichardS: Once again you are making a moral statement without any basis for morality. From your tired old atheistic view, how can it be poision just to make people feel good even if you don't think it is true? What is a decent person according to your worldview? Oh, that would just be someone like you. That is simply you rejecting the fact that you are made in the image of God and trying to make morality be in your own image.

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 9 months ago

I hope that if either of you has a boss, that they let you turn in unprovable philosphical questions and asanine moral judgements instead of work, because that seems to be all either of you are getting done today.

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yourworstnightmare 5 years, 9 months ago

Our conception of good and evil are a product of evolution and natural selection just as is our drive to believe in things for which there is no evidence (e.g. the supernatural; religion).Religion is an adaptation to living in complex groups. Religious thought proliferated through natural selection. Belief in a "higher power" kept order and prevented humans from killing one another and allowed them to form complex societies. It also allowed societal stratification, wherein distribution of resources and power is unequal among society members.Without religious thought, the "have-nots" would immediately make war on the "haves". In doing so, they remove themselves from the gene pool (e.g. are selected against).

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emeryemery 5 years, 9 months ago

Thomas Prinsen and Richard Smith both have it very wrong.When Smith compares the fear of hell with a fear of traffic or climate change, he has veered wildly from the rails of logic.To be aware of the FACT that a speeding car or the POTENTIAL that a changing climate may bring us harm is noting like the THREAT of a hell that can only be believed in if one employs faith in a book that was written over hundreds of year, thousands of years ago.Knowledge and evidence breed awareness and instill in us all, enough information to avoid harm. Fear is not a healthy approach to avoiding harm.Convincing anyone, be it children or adults, of stories about eternal damnation that have no evidence in support, is simply put, morally wrong.It has been stated by millions of misguided and misinformed people for thousands of years that God and the bible are the only source of morality but that is pure poppycock. It's just one final stabilizing lie on a whole series of lies.Richard Smith and Thomas Prinsen may feel that they need to scare people and children to keep them safe, but there a lot of people who KNOW that all you need do is inform them.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… "And how many examples of these wrongs, perpetrated or encouraged by the Christian church, would you like to be provided with?"Still struggling with that little reading comprehension problem, dup? Had you tried a little harder, you might have noticed my post was narrowly targetted at Why's statement "I do not believe in right and wrong"; I specifically mentioned that I was not talking about good/evil, heaven/hell, etc.But since you brought it up, I suppose I could argue that the Muslim religion encourages mass murder, or any other equally ridiculous contention about any other religion to match yours. But I'll just stick to a simple question: I realize common sense isn't any more familiar to you than reading skills, but who do you think is more likely to commit such transgressions - someone who (for reasons religious or not) believes in the concepts of right and wrong, or a true sociopath who denies the very existence of those concepts?

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RedwoodCoast 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh, come on. We all know that humans emerged from the water where the Wakarusa and the Kansas rivers converge. And we all know that it happened after catfish and owl spent the night together. When we die, our spirits return to the river. Duh.

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RedwoodCoast 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and I'm glad I'm not so helpless and deluded that I need a book to distinguish right from wrong. Unless you're a sociopath, I really don't see why one must accept some deity or messiah to possess this faculty.And, by the way, Christians have been effing the Jews over for quite some time now. After all, they killed Jesus, right?

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… "I'm not talking about individual Christians, I'm talking about actions by the Church itself."Try again.Organizations, religious and secular, are comprised of and governed by persons. People take actions, not churches. Do you support the war in Iraq, dup? Why, of course you do - you're part of the United States, aren't you? And isn't it the United States committing these actions in Iraq? The point is that our elected leaders made decisions and 'encouraged' these actions, not the country or its citizenry. According to the polls (while they told a quite different story at the inception), the country is against these actions. And we're a representative democracy - in a monarchy or theocracy (let alone a religious organization), the 'country' (or church) has no say. The leaders make decisions, and some people comply, some resist, some gleefully take advantage to perform acts under the auspices of that organization. But it is still people, whether presidents or popes or their respective followers, not churches or countries, who take action.

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cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 9 months ago

"Of course by declaring these questions not worth argument"--------Something I didn't "declare" at any time. You seem to hate it when people put words in your mouth, please practice what you preach (pun intended).----------"But if you find these questions unprovable and asanine, perhaps you could suggest a question that is subject to proof."----------This has nothing to do with how I "find" the questions: They are unprovable, at least now, which is why the ensuing slugfests.....sorry I meant "discussions"...... are always entertaining. No one is out to "discuss" as you so eloquently claim: they are out to convince and deride those who feel differently. Those who expand maximum effort to do so (say, by trolling the same article thread for 7 hours) are the most entertaining of all.-----------"But by all means go back to selling widgets or insurance or poetry or whatever your boss pays you to care about."-----------This is the best idea posted on the forum today! Care to buy a widget?Enjoy your day off.

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yourworstnightmare 5 years, 9 months ago

The idea that one must accept religion to know "right from wrong" is ludicrous.It makes me suspicious of these folks, people who seem to need someone to constantly tell them the difference. Scary folks.Anyway, trust in evolution. Our social behavior has been sculpted by evolution over the last 100,000 years and probably more like the last 2 or 3 million years in our distant ancestors.By natural selection we are sociable, altruistic, and kind to one another. Religion is no longer required.

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notajayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine (Anonymous) says… "Now who's having reading comprehension problems?I haven't said any such thing - in fact I'd say just the opposite, so stop putting words in my mouth. I have provisional, imperfect knowledge, and so does everyone else."Uh huh. NOW your knowledge is "imperfect" but you've been spouting volumes in this thread alone with absolute certainty about the "tiresome old monotheistic poison in the minds of children, and any decent person not nursing the poison themselves ought to feel the same, and ought to say so." Yep, sure sounds like you're uncertain there, like there "are no answers." (But that won't keep you from pushing yours as the only correct one.)"I have not advocated limiting what people should be able to hear and consider, only that it be age appropriate and that they get a fair opportunity to hear and consider other ideas."Uh huh. I got that from the "I'm committed to publicly contradicting anyone who wishes to spread this tiresome old monotheistic poison in the minds of children." Yep, sure doesn't sound like you're trying to limit the viewpoints children are exposed to from that. Why, you're the poster child of open-mindedness."Incidentally notajayhawk, have you seen either “Hell House” or “Jesus Camp?” Were you unmoved by the faces of the children in those films? How bad does it have to get before you stand for something?"Well, that certainly explains a lot. We should abandon a moral code based on teachings going back thousands of years and do as you do: Get it from the movies. Brilliant.*****duplenty (Anonymous) says… "Your argument (if one could call it that) is laughably simplistic and naive." I'm sure you do find it laughable, dup - simple minds are so easily amused."The choice is between someone who “knows right from wrong” and a sociopath?"Well, um - yes. Try to keep up here:Sociopath: A term once used for someone with what is now called antisocial personality disorder.Antisocial personality disorder: A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others and inability or unwillingness to conform to what are considered to be the norms of society.Ya' see, dup, pretty much by definition a sociopath is someone who does not understand the difference between right and wrong. But I'm sure you've been told that before."That's not even worth responding to."Ah, sceneb... uh, I mean duplenty - I see you haven't lost your penchant for claiming something is unworthy of a response when you have no response. (A claim that might have been a tad more convincing if you hadn't in fact posted a response to say it wasn't worth a response.)Please, dup, enthrall us with how an organization, any organization, religious, government, corporate, whatever, takes actions, that it's not the people that either comprise or lead those organizations. I'll wait.[chirp... chirp...]

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

yourworstnightmare:The idea that one must accept religion to know “right from wrong” is ludicrous.RichardS: Okay, then provide a system of morality that provides a true and rational basis for morality and also give the "oughtness" to do it. yourworstnightmare: It makes me suspicious of these folks, people who seem to need someone to constantly tell them the difference. Scary folks.RichardS: All is needed is a true and rational basis for morality along with the oughtness of the morality. That is not scary at all, though it is very scary when people change what is right to being wrong and what is wrong to being right because they judge what is right and wrong according to themselves. yourworstnightmare: Anyway, trust in evolution. Our social behavior has been sculpted by evolution over the last 100,000 years and probably more like the last 2 or 3 million years in our distant ancestors.RichardS: What a scary view of things! An irrational and immoral force has shaped our behavior. Your view destroys any basis for rationality and morality. yourworstnightmare: By natural selection we are sociable, altruistic, and kind to one another. Religion is no longer required.RichardS: Natural selection makes us altruistic? This is something like an oxymoron. Religion may not be required for rationality and morality, but God is.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine: To emotionally assault children with the express intent of terrifying them into religious ferver is child abuse.RichardS: I would agree with what you say in terms of the words. However, teaching the children about the truth of hell is not an assault and is not with the intent of terrifying them into religious fervor. It is to tell them the result of sin and to show them the truth of the cross of Jesus Christ. TomPaine: If you care about child abuse, you should care about that. If you don't care, then I don't care about your opinion. Got it?RichardS: Child abuse is very serious. If a person fails to warn a child of serious dangers and does not teach the child true about the basis for true morality and rationality that is true abuse of the child. If you truly care about children, then teach them the basis for rationality and morality.

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Left_handed 5 years, 9 months ago

RichardS,Excellent points all. The idea that everything happened by accident strains credulity, at least if you have two contiguous brain cells.

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rachaelisacancer 5 years, 9 months ago

Love me or suffer eternal pain and damnation: what a choice to make! So free will isn't about the ability to choose, it's about the ability to choose wisely between godly oppression and never-ending suffering? I scoff at you, Mr. Prinsen. I scoff indeed.

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TheOriginalCA 5 years, 9 months ago

yeh, good one Mr Prinsen, time for all haters of anything christian or conservatives to get their pom poms and penants out and act superior. Oh wait, you all do that all the time anyway

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verity 5 years, 9 months ago

RedwoodCoast (Anonymous) says… ". . . We all know that humans emerged from the water where the Wakarusa and the Kansas rivers converge. And we all know that it happened after catfish and owl spent the night together. When we die, our spirits return to the river."That and the story about the Big Bang all in one day and both in the LJW. I love stories and now I know everything I need to know.And mom of 3 or whoever it was having the trouble with the mouse cord laying cat (I'm not going back to look for it)---get a cordless mouse. Solves a lot of problems.

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budwhysir 5 years, 9 months ago

Is this the sunday edition of my local paper?? Have I just sat down in my local church?? Was there no crimes committed last night?? Did we just get a ndw president?? Is GW to blame for all the worlds problems??I believe from reading yesterdays LJW, we are looking at it all wrong. We should be trying to figure out how the exiting president can be blamed for a place that is described such as this. After all didnt he invent the wheel so we could all have flat tires??As you can see, evolution has evolved into yet another reason for everyone to disagree. Aint it great we have freedom of speech? Too bad it is all wasted on arguing about how free our freedom is

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purplesage 5 years, 9 months ago

Verbs conjugate; nouns decline. It is interesting that the very first comment brings up evolution hence pulling back the curtain on what that fanaticism is about. (Remember the response to the KS science standards? What a fiasco.The existence of God implies accountability. Humans don't like that because they want to be told what to do. Also, it is interesting that people want to throw out hell and keep heaven. What do you suppose that's all about?

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

Liberty_One says… Left_handed, the idea that everything happens on purpose not only strains credulity, it completely breaks with morality. What purpose is there to all the suffereing of humanity?RichardS: The fact that you have not found an answer that satisfies you about a purpose for suffering does not mean that there is not one. Your argument against a purpose for everything is really contingent on the ignorance of a purpose for suffering or perhaps just a denial of a true purpose. The purpose for all things is the manifestation of the glory and character of God. Those who hate God and try to deny His existence and sovereign rights over them will of course deny that. Suffering, then, has its purposes to the glory of God. I can only tell you that some have seen this and have died praising God for the trials they endured. Jesus Christ suffered more than any human being while on the cross and yet it was ordained by God for good. The sufferings of Christ were indeed of the highest morality.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… Quoting RichardS: ” However, teaching the children about the truth of hell is not an assault and is not with the intent of terrifying them into religious fervor.”duplenty: The “truth of hell”? Um…prove it.RichardS: One cannot prove the teaching of hell to those who hate God and run from all that is true about Him. There is plenty of evidence to those willing to learn, but the reality of hell will be demonstrated by all at some point. Duplenty: Otherwise, we're talking about your “belief” in hell. And if you want to teach your children that, great. Go for it. But I would say that teaching your children that if they don't live the way you see fit, they'll be boiled alive in eternal damnation (the proof of which is non-existent) is a lot closer to child abuse than not teaching them that.RichardS: Of course I am talking about my belief in hell, but I am also talking about the reality of hell. As it happens I believe in it because it is real. I am afraid your understanding of true Christianity is quite deficient. It is not that living a certain way or not determines your eternal destiny, but the way you live demonstrates the nature of the heart. In other words, the fact that people live in sin (in opposition and enmity to God) demonstrate that they need a new heart. The only way of salvation is by grace. Salvation must be given by God based on Himself in Christ rather than on how man lives. The life of the true believer is not just trying to make an effor to obtain something, but is in fact the life of Christ Himself in the heart of the believer.

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jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

Richard,Your certainty that your beliefs are the "truth" is frightening.There are many other cultures and many other "holy books" and there have been many forms of religious belief over the years.The New Testament is a collection of stories about Jesus, many of which were written long after his death. They have also been modified/changed over the years for various political/evangelical reasons.Claiming that your particular belief in Jesus and your version of God are the "truth" and that all others are false is the height of arrogance.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… Quoting RichardS: “It is to tell them the result of sin and to show them the truth of the cross of Jesus Christ.”duplenty: Without being redundant…prove it. You seem to have a hard time with the definition of “truth”. Maybe the “truth as you see it”, or the “truth of your personal conviction”, but the true “truth”? You haven't a clue, and to base your whole outlook on a book, which has proven and documented changes, revisions, etc. is illogical.RichardS: My defintion of truth in one sense is simply God and His view of things. If that statement is false, then we can know absolutely nothing and for sure we cannot know that we know. To know anything requires for it to be true and in some way for us to have an appropriate justification for our belief. Apart from a God that knows all things and has created human beings with the ability to know, we can know nothing. Apart from the truth of God who objectively knows all things, we have no way of knowing if the information we are gaining is true or not. Apart from knowing that our belief-producing capabilities are in fact functioning according to a proper design we can never know if we really know. If you wish to look at what illogical is, first you have to form a way of knowing what logic is and then how it can operate in a system where knowledge can be obtained. Apart from a God that creates all things, that cannot be done. As a point of interest, sir, Jesus Christ is the Truth and has revealed the Truth of God. Once one sees this all the empirical data is seen as falling far short of the light of the glory that shines out from God. How do we prove there is a sun? How hard is it to prove that? Well, the light of the Son of God shines out too. Those who hate God find a way to reject it and those who receive it love Him.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

Duplent: Quoting RichardS: "If you truly care about children, then teach them the basis for rationality and morality.”Duplenty: And that is….the Bible?RichardS: It is the true character of God who reveals Himself in nature to some degree and then in Jesus Christ. Quoting Left-Handed: “The idea that everything happened by accident strains credulity, at least if you have two contiguous brain cells.”duplenty: OK left-handed, riddle me this - dead kids. Your view seems to be that God loves to kill kids, 'cause it happens every single day. Something like 10,000 children will die today from hunger. So…without resorting to the oh-so-tired “mysterious ways” gambit (which is nothing short of making excuses), tell me why this would happen “on purpose”.RichardS: Your worldview, however, cannot consistently even come up with a good reason for why this is wrong or even why this is a problem. If we have all evolved from a non-rational and materialistic system, then the death of human beings is no more wrong than taking anti-biotics to kill germs. If you want a true answer, you will not like it. However, there is a severe result of sin. There is death in the world because there is sin. I am sure your view of sin has been cast out with the knowledge of God that you are casting out in order to maintain whatever it is you want, but with every death there is a shout to you and all who will or will not listen that God hates sin and people hate God. Every hearse you meet or obituary you read is a declaration that God hates sin. As far as what true love is, you have to wrestle with the fact that your system will not allow for you to come up with true love. It would simply be a physical reaction with a name attached. True love has to do with the inner nature of God. I am afraid there is not the space to explain here. But for the moment just know that your system does not allow for true love. With your worldview you are just here responding to stimuli and nothing else.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

rachaelisacancer says… Love me or suffer eternal pain and damnation: what a choice to make! So free will isn't about the ability to choose, it's about the ability to choose wisely between godly oppression and never-ending suffering?I scoff at you, Mr. Prinsen. I scoff indeed.RichardS: But remember that there are a lot of things between the two statements. It is indeed true that the Greatest Commandment is to love God with the whole being at all points and times. It is also true that not loving God is a horrid sin worthy of the eternal absence of His love of a human being and the presence of His wrath. The fact, however, is that with each choice a human being makes that human being is choosing for or against God. Each choice is a choice to reject and cast out the knowledge of God and then to choose evil. A choice for evil is a choice that demonstrates a heart that hates God and loves evil rather than God. That is to hate the perfect Law of love and to hate the perfect Lawgiver. Hell is a place where justice according to the standards of perfect justice are handed out. To fallen human beings that judge all things according to present pain or self-centered likes and dislikes, they will never see the perfect justice of eternal hell until they arrive there. Then they will see the perfect justice of it though they will hate it. The failure to love God simply shows that the human heart is opposed to Him and wants to live for itself rather than for Him who created it for His purposes. Living for self is idolatry and an act of hatred against God.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

jafs (Anonymous) says… Richard,Your certainty that your beliefs are the “truth” is frightening.RichardS: Why is your certainty any less frightening? Your certainty in your uncertainty is no less frightening to me. jafs: There are many other cultures and many other “holy books” and there have been many forms of religious belief over the years.Richard: Yes, that is true. However, that does not mean that they are all true. The fact, however, is that Jesus Christ claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life. He also claimed to be the very shining forth of the glory of God's grace and truth. If that is true, then all the other systems of belief cannot be true. However, the fact that they are there demonstrates that the heart of human beings are inexcapably drawn to a higher being and power. jafs: The New Testament is a collection of stories about Jesus, many of which were written long after his death. They have also been modified/changed over the years for various political/evangelical reasons.RichardS: What you are saying comes from a worldview which will not allow for you to know truth at all. You are making many claims to truth when you no access to it according to your worldview. I will stick to the one that shines forth in nature, the Bible, all human beings to some degree, and like it or not it is shining in you as well. You reject it, but the truth of it is still there. Any claim to truth you make supports my worldview and demonstrates that you are not consistent with yours. Jafs: Claiming that your particular belief in Jesus and your version of God are the “truth” and that all others are false is the height of arrogance.RichardS: What is arrogance? In fact, from your worldview that has no basis for knowledge making a claim of truth that others are false or arrogant is arrogance. I make the claim that Jesus is the Truth and the Truth of God is simply saying that I believe Jesus and no one else. It would be quite arrogant for me to deny that Jesus is the truth when He who is Truth has made that statement about Himself. Down deep all people have some of the basics about the truth of God down in them. They can only live as they live by trying to cast out that knowledge of Him. When another, like myself, comes along and points that out, they respond with some anger and try to take refuge in differing arguments. There is no refuge from Him who is Truth and has imprinted Himself in the minds and consciences of all. It is not arrogant to state the truth about the Truth Himself.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

75x55 (Anonymous) says… Question for RichardS - Am I to take it that it is purely the choice of the human that determines their salvation or damnation?RichardS: I am not saying that at all. I was simply speaking of choices as such. God is the one that has to choose to save since grace is something He must choose to show. No human being has it in his or her power to get grace and apply it to themselves. 75x55: Does the sinful human heart have the ability to make such a choice?RichardS: The human heart cannot change itself. It cannot just simply choose to be saved in the sense of applying salvation to itself or to carry out the choice of salvation. All human beings are dead in their sins and trespasses and must have God to change their hearts. The sin that human beings have has actually enslaved them and deceived them. Sin separates from God and so no one but God can take that sin away and reconcile human beings to Himself. 75x55: Is that not the crux of dup's and others' unbelief - that recognition that they are incapable of making such a choice by their own will?RichardS: They have certain powers to choose and so on, but the mind set on the flesh (sinful nature versus the spiritual nature) cannot make the choice to love God. That requires a new heart that is only given by the grace of God at His good pleasure and to the glory of HIs grace. The human heart hates the idea that it is not free to choose God, so it finds ways to water that down or simply deny God. Thank you for bringing this up.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says… Richard, if there were no humans, then gods would not exist. All “evidence” offered of gods boils down to: some guy told other people he “saw” a god or a miracle, or “heard” a god speaking to him, or that he “feels” that there is a god. If there were no humans, there would be no gods. Gods are human inventions to explain the seeming randomness of the world. and are an attempt to control that randomness. Your strained and silly explanation about suffering = glory is just that.RichardS: Liberty, you simply must change your name to enslaved. You are not thinking like one that is free, but as one that is enslaved to him or herself and his or her own desires. The evidence that I have been presenting is simply that God is evident from all things that are and the impossibility of there not being a God. I have also presented the fact that Jesus Christ is the Truth and explained the true God as He is both in His live and by His words. God exist quite beyond human beings and we are utterly dependant on Him for all things. Our every breath is by His mercy and is in His hands. It is in Him that we live, breathe, and have our being. Your efforts at escaping the truth of God actually declare the truth of God. The use of human langauge shouts with the glory of God even when it is used in a futile attempt to deny Him. Every attempt to use reason to deny Him simply declares that God is. It is like driving a car into a dealership to deny the existence of cars. If there is no God, then no one would even attempt to come up with a god. Who would care? But then again, there would be no one and there would be no rationality, morality, or anything else.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… Quoting RichardS: “The purpose for all things is the manifestation of the glory and character of God.”duplenty: Sez who? You?RichardS: The Word of God and evident reason says that. duplenty: Again…the dead kids thing. That's your answer?“Suffering, then, has its purposes to the glory of God.”RichardS: You have no answer to the "problem" other than to say that God cannot handle the problem. It is not surprising that you don't accept that answer either. duplenty: Let's parse that statement - it's nonsense. You're not saying anything.RichardS: Without God there is no saying anything about anything. You don't understand it, but that does not mean that it is nonsense. It just means that is appears to have no sense to you. Quoting RichardS: “The fact that you have not found an answer that satisfies you about a purpose for suffering does not mean that there is not one”Duplenty: The fact that you believe in an omnipotent God that allows innocent children to die horribly for purposes unknown based on a so-called “purpose for suffering” (which goes unnamed) does not make it so, beyond the boundaries of your world-view.RichardS: There is an omnipotent God but there is no such thing as innocent children. Human beings are not innocent little creatures. Let us take the most poisonous snake in the world. Would you allow children to play with one just because it was young? No, it is still a poionous beast and is very dangerous. I did not say the purposes are unknown, but I do say that some of the reasons in each case is unknown. I would also say that God does not just stand by and watch as things take care of themselves. These are not beyond the boundaries of my worldview. Quoting RichardS: “I can only tell you that some have seen this and have died praising God for the trials they endured.”Duplenty: You can tell us this how? Based on a story that you read? Personal involvement? Third-hand witnessing? How is it that you can “tell us” this?RichardS: I have read personal testimonies and have seen videos of others. Quoting RichardS: “Those who hate God and try to deny His existence and sovereign rights over them will of course deny that. ”Duplenty: Who “hates” God? RichardS: It certainly appears that you do by arguing against Him by using suffering as an argument. Duplenty: Who has denied his existence? I certainly don't. RichardS: You are denying the existence of the biblical God which is the denial of the true God. All others are simply idols that we come up with.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty: What I'm saying is that you have no evidence nor reason to believe what you state you believe outside of your personal faith. There's a big difference between “faith” and “truth”.RichardS: There is no difference between faith and truth if one's faith is in the truth and is an outworking of the truth Himself. You are using the word "faith" in a very modern and non-rational way. True faith comes from a heart that has been changed by God and comes from the life of Christ in the soul. True faith must have a true object in order to be true faith. Many today think of faith as a mindless sort of making oneself believe something apart from a true object of faith or belief. That would be nothing more than faith in faith. True faith, however, comes from Christ and is Christ. duplenty: I support your right to think whatever you like. But I'm under no obligation to agree or remain silent on the matter.RichardS: You are morally obligated to love God whether you like it or not or whether you deny it or not. Down deep you know that, but you are resisting it. I am simply testifying to the truth.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… Quoting RichardS: “The evidence that I have been presenting is simply that God is evident from all things that are and the impossibility of there not being a God.”duplenty: What evidence? Where?You've offered nothing but platitudes.RichardS: If you are looking for someone to give you a scientific proof or for a history book to give you this, then you counting evidences in the wrong places. I am saying that God is a necessary Being and without Him nothing else could exist. He is the very basis for reason and morality. That is the basis for the argument. So all that you do in terms of thinking or writing are evidences of God. He gives you evidence in your conscience and in nature. He is everywhere and yet people do not want to keep Him in their knowledge so they can live as they please. duplenty: And you have the gall to call others “enslaved”?RichardS: Call it what you please, but in fact every human being on this planet is enslaved to something. Freedom is only an illusion or within certain parameters. All people are either the children of the devil or the children of God. All are the love slaves of sin and self or they are the love slaves of God through Jesus Christ. All are enslaved to their own joys and sinful pleasures or to the joys and pleasures of Christ. All are in bondage to error of in the love bonds of Truth. Yes, I suppose one could say that I have the gall to say that, but it is not gall as such but a simple statement of the truth. If one is not set free by Jesus Christ then one is in the bonds of darkness and sin.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty: All you need to know about Richard:Quoting RichardS: “There is an omnipotent God but there is no such thing as innocent children. ”duplenty: I reject everything you stand for.RichardS: But notice that you do not present any reasons for it. I would imagine it is something that you hate and so you reject it. Internally you had a strong distaste for that and so you reject it by your taste rather than trying to discern the truth of it. Notice how the character of God is quite evident in what we both say. I say that God is omnipotent and there are no innocent children. Evidently you assert that there are innocent children. You make the judgment that God cannot be omnipotent (all-powerful) if children suffer and die. I start with what God has revealed about Himself and say of course He is omnipotent. It is true that children and all people will suffer and eventually die, but that does not prove that God is not omnipotent. It just shows that sin is a hideous reality in the human race. You have given no reason why the suffering and death of children demands that God not be omnipotent, but it appears that you want God to be like you. I am saying that sin is so bad that it is just for children to die. After all, many of them do die. I say that children suffer and die. Therefore, God is just in the matter. You can't see that and so deny God. That is loving yourself and your own positions more than the truth about God.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… Richard, I cannot and will not go through each and every point that you have attempted to make. It's my belief that your posts serve us well as cautions against believing in myths and fairy tales. You've presented no evidence, no fact, nothing outside of your personal belief. This quote is a good example:“The fact, however, is that Jesus Christ claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life. He also claimed to be the very shining forth of the glory of God's grace and truth. If that is true, then all the other systems of belief cannot be true. ”RichardS: You are right that what I write is a caution against believing in myths and so on. Therefore, you should repent of believing them. duplenty: “Cannot be true”?? That might be your opinion, but you have absolutely nothing to back that up.Similarly, your contention about “sin” is, and I apologize in advance, laughably naive. What sin can a newborn child, born into poverty, be guilty of? Oh, right - that. The garden, the talking snake, and the apple.RichardS: There is no need to apologize, just laugh away. Indeed original sin is the answer. However, babies people still suffer and die. When those infants grow up they are thinking and doing evil as soon as they can. Surely, then, something about their nature has to explain that. duplenty: Do you really believe that explanation for the advent of a system that seems (hmmm, coincidence?) to built for the express purpose of keeping people in line?RichardS: It is not meant to keep people in line. That is simply a worldview gone astray in its explanations. duplenty: I don't find a god that would allow a child, guilty of nothing but circumstance, to die a hideous death because of some fantasy of “original sin”, to be worth much praise.RichardS: Of course you don't and that is why you need to repent. You want God to be like you before you will praise Him which would then be nothing more than a worship of self. What needs to happen is for you to be made like Him and then you will understand why He is worthy of praise. duplenty: In short, I don't believe in your version. So have fun with hell, and sin, and damnation, because I won't be wasting my life with such nonsense.RichardS: I can see you don't believe in the Truth. If you don't repent of what you disbelieve, you will be wasting your life in total nonsense. Your worldview allows for no knowledge and not morality. You are nothing more than an adult germ headed for utter nothingness. Your entire life is but a waste with that worldview no matter what you do or don't do. Without the believe in hell, you don't believe in sin and therefore of salvation. That means you are in slavery to yourself and all that does not conform to your self-centered view will not nonsense which is to say you don't like it. You live in utter rejection and hatred of God. That is reality whether you like it or not.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… Quoting RichardS: “All people are either the children of the devil or the children of God. All are the love slaves of sin and self or they are the love slaves of God through Jesus Christ.”You should write poetry, Richard.RichardS: Thank you. Poetry can put truth into a beautiful form. duplenty: Because from an argument/reasoning standpoint, you've got nothing.RichardS: Sorry, but in terms of argument/reasoning I have everything (access to it). Your worldview allows you to have no argument or reason. You have nothing in that sense. Quoting RichardS: “I am saying that sin is so bad that it is just for children to die.”duplenty: The sin of being born?RichardS: Not the sin of being born, but of being born in sin. By making moral judgments on this you are again using morality which is not consistent with your worldview. You react with "moral" indignation and yet try to operate within a worldview that does not allow for that. That moral indignation is screaming to you that the true God has created you. duplenty: The things you're posting are no less ignorant and backward than the “philosophy” of Fred Phelps.RichardS: According to your worldview you are in no position to intellectually or morally judge Fred Phelps or anyone else. Once you deny the truth of who God is, you must learn to live consistently within your worldview. Until you provide a true basis for reason and morality, you should not make such resounding judgments on people.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

Liberty_One (Anonymous) says… Richard, you are not thinking like one that is free, but as one that is enslaved to 2000 year old dogma. RichardS: That is absurd. I am the love-slave of One that is far older than that. Libertyone: The evidence that i have been presenting is simply that gods are not evident from anything and the impossibility of there being any gods. RichardS: The fact that you are using language and presenting "evidence" demonstrates the God you hate by denying. Your worldview of no God cannot consistently allow you any access to truth and you are violating that worldview. You demonstrate that God is truly there. Libertyone: I have also presented the fact that Jesus is a lie and explained the false god as it is both in its live and by its words. RichardS: You have presented no objective facts according to reason. The Truth is alive and so Jesus Christ lives. Libertyone: Gods exist only in human imaginations and gods are utterly dependent on humans. Our every breath is not by some fictional character's “mercy” or in its fake hands. It is not in any magic sky fairy that we live etc. Your efforts at escaping the world into fantasyland actually declare the falseness of fantasyland. The use of human language shouts with the wasted ability to reason that you shun. Every attempt to not use reason but make conclusory statements like “Jesus is the Truth” simply declares the weakness of your position. It is like driving a car and using circular reasoning to prove that Mickey Mouse made the car. RichardS: You use of language demands that God exists. Your attempted use of reason demonstrates that reason exists and that down deep you don't really believe in God. There is a distinction between using fallen human reason which denies the supernatural and true reason which receives truth from God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning [A, B, C's) of knowledge." False gods only exist in human imaginations and are an attempt to escape from the true God and to make excuses for living in rebellion against the true God and deny the eternal punishment that comes from that.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

Libertyone: If there is no god, then people would make one up because:1. it justifies the power of the king2. it justifies the power of the priestly class3. it justifies the plunder of the people's goods4. it justifies genocide5. it justifies bigotry and hatred6. it makes people more willing to fight in wars for the king because they think they'll get 72 virgins in heaven7. it explains the unknown8. it gives people a feeling of control over the unknown9. it allows people to escape the world by dreaming that they “belong” in some magic worldetc.RichardS: Interesting, but rather shallow. If there is no God, then people would not be here much less care about those things. It is the denial of the true God by either resorting to an intellectual atheism that tries to keep its belief by angrily stamping out any idea of God or by denying certain things about God that leads to all of the things you have listed above. Surely you noticed all of the things in your list that have to do with morality. There you go again using moral judgments that require the being of God to try and deny God. Show my how and why, from your worldview, it is wrong to: 1. Plunder the good's of other people 2. Genocide 3. Bigotry and hatred4. Murder Remember, you must be consistent within your own worldview. I am arguing that the only way it can be shown that these things are wrong is if God exists and human beings are made in His image. The very fact that you bring them up is evidence that God exists. Libetyone: You are a prostitute working for a pimp.RichardS: A rather crude comment. However, Jesus said that he who sins is a slave to sin. What you don't see, I suppose, is that you are selling your soul to the devil by doing his work in denying the truth of God. Jesus was very kind to the prostitutes and some of them were converted. I am far worse than anything you can say about me, so I am not insulted. If once you would understand the hideous nature of sin, you would realize what I am saying.

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Richard Smith 5 years, 9 months ago

duplenty (Anonymous) says… Richard the Love-Slave -I feel very sorry for you. Have a great life.RichardS: There is no need to feel sorry for one that has access to the love and joy of God. But I must admit that I feel sorry for you that you do not have access to that but instead are most likely engaged in a continuous and possibly circuitous pursuit of pleasures and good feelings. That is being enslaved to pleasures and lusts which is to follow after the pattern of the world that the evil one has set out to trap people and send them off into eternity with him. He hates all people and desires them to join him in his utter misery.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

Liberty_One: As a group of people we determine what is socially advantageous for the group as a whole.---So how can you say that anything is intrinsically wrong? What if society decides in 50 years that all homosexual people should be put to death? Is homosexuality then wrong because society as a whole denounces it? To be consistent with your own view, there is no true right and wrong but just the changing selfish opinions of society. In that case, how can you judge others for what they think is wrong? What if in 50 years their idea becomes the popular/culturally accepted one and so they were just "right" ahead of their time? I think Richard is just trying to point out the absurdity of that position.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"So how can you say that anything is intrinsically wrong?"You have stumbled on the reason for war, murder and theft. Because, in the end, you can't say that anything is intrinsically wrong. People who have had problems with that have, in the past, invented moral codes, legal codes, and deities in order to bring consistency, but in the end it is, and will always be, simply a crapshoot, at least in terms of universal application. There are, however, many things that generally tend to happen in the same way, observably and repeatably, in reaction to certain things, like murder, and those generally are universally condemned. (of course, not even the taking of life is universally condemned)So, there you go. It's all made up, but in the end thinking people can make decisions amongst themselves.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

L1, I don't think I am changing what you said but just pointing out the logical implications. OK, if "society adapts to changing conditions" then the so-called morality also adapts. But you cannot know where that so-called morality will go in the future so you cannot consistently say that anything is right or wrong. The best you can say is: "based on what >50% of our culture currently thinks, "X" is currently immoral". What if someone currently has the view that all people over the age of 40 should be put to death. Can you say anything more than that view is not currently shared by a majority so is not currently accepted as moral but perhaps in the future it will be??The beauty of God as a determiner of morality is that His standard never changes because it is according to His own unchanging nature. Many people may mis-understand His standard, but that is not to argue against the existence of God but simply to argue that people can be wrong. Under the system you are describing, you really have no basis for saying anyone is wrong, though I suppose you could say that their position is not currently in line with the majority of a particular culture. True consistence with that view would be absolute apathy.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 9 months ago

TomPaine: "How does one make this leap of delusion, if I may assume that to be the key to becoming unbreakable?"Aware or unaware, we all make the leap daily, in the moments which make up our days and in the moments between... moments building momentum toward something akin to faith, for even the "faithless"... existence itself, the instillation of faith... discovering our unbreakability even among the pieces of our broken lives.( Sorry, I'm sure I must have been channeling Ronda... er, "Jack"... there.I could elope with that interloper. )http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0EArPvTAsg,;-)

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

L1: Ah, but from your perspective, how can you be sure that these "religious people" aren't the ones who are doing what is best from society? You really have no way to assert anything with surety. By implication you then have no way of telling others they are wrong. Following the train of thought long enough brings one to see the insanity of denying God's existence. It only shows that God is not really denied out of a pursuit of truth but out of a deep hatred for Him that may not even be fully realized by those who deny Him.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 9 months ago

"It only shows that God is not... fully realized by those who deny Him."http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA3ZE3mb7DU

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"You really have no way to assert anything with surety."Unfortunately, neither do you. What you are doing is the exact same thing I would be doing if I picked my friend Doug, asked what he thought was right and wrong, and then made that my inalienable moral code. It gives you an illusion of certainty, but no substance at all past what you make of it. Interestingly, you make that lack of substance into a substantial moral code, apparently. Which begs the question of why you think that other people, making up their own, or relying on codes that other people have made up farther back in the past, are unable to do the same thing.

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car_ramrod 5 years, 9 months ago

Jesus sweater-wearing Christ you people are amazing! It is truly unbelievable the lengths you all will go to prove each others' fallacy in belief. Accept that not everyone is going share your beliefs and get on with your life. A person's devotion to a particular ideology or religion can't be taken very seriously when becoming so enraged and (in RichardS's case) sanctimonious in the presence of an opposing viewpoint. Just accept that other people aren't going to share your belief system and move on. I promise you'll be a happier person and more people will like being around you.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

jonas_opines,The difference I see is as follows: If I were to grant (assume) the premise that there is no God, then what are the implications of that? We are led to what liberty_one is describing as a view of morality, which leads to what I stated in my last comment -- no real surety of anything and so no reason to say another is wrong. Interestingly, car_ramrod might be the most consistent with this position in his/her latest comment. Starting with the assumption of no God, there is really no consistent way to say something is morally wrong. That's what I was arguing above.Now, on the other hand, what happens if you grant (assume) that God DOES exist and also that He is infinitely perfect, eternal, un-changing, the standard of perfection and morality, etc. Then there actually becomes a basis for right & wrong and it is completely consistent to assert that there is knowable right and wrong because it is all known by God. So whenever you say something is morally wrong.. even stating that it is wrong to commit murder, you are actually stepping into a worldview that is inconsistent with atheism. In reality, this all seems to just show me that the view that God does not exist simply cannot be true. It makes no rational sense. But many of our so-called "intellectuals" take this position. Perhaps the Bible is true in stating that "their foolish hearts are darkened". Many things can be dreamed of in the mind but only God can give true understanding in both the mind and heart.

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 9 months ago

"... this all seems to just show me that the view that God does not exist simply cannot be true."Even if God "exists" (whatever that can possibly mean), the question remains as to whether God can be knowable to His creatures. Humans have certainly gotten it wrong before. God(s) borne of men's minds are only as knowable as men know themselves, and humans have certainly gotten that wrong, too.A God of which all creation is born must simply be beyond human knowing and, as likely as not, obscured by the musings of mere mortals.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

Your synopsis can be considered, I suppose, somewhat correct, if you are applying this notion of simple right and wrong and morality. As you note, without the example of a deity, who is noncomfirmable and thus conquestionable (the crucial point), then there is no static and simple way to say that something is morally wrong or sinful in this way. Unless, of course, you decide to take Doug's word for it. However, this only works this way if what you are going for is unchangeable morals and right and wrong, or this notion of sin. It does not actually, in reality, provide you with anything but an excuse to freeze the social conversation at one particular point. This is why it can only happen with a god, who is nonconfirmable and thus unquestionable. Anything that, well, actually existed could be questioned and dispproved. However, it is still ridiculous and hopelessly self-centered to say that there is no way to make a behavioral code without a God. Certainly, it will not be as universally consistent, unless we find some way to make a majority believe in its truth the way they believe in a god. However, as liberty-one noted, it is easily possible to make an ethical code of conduct based on actions that are difinitively shown to hurt other people in the society or community. You don't after all, need this notion of a deity in order to experience pain or pleasure.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"So whenever you say something is morally wrong.. even stating that it is wrong to commit murder, you are actually stepping into a worldview that is inconsistent with atheism."I'm going to go through this one again, because it;s very common, very arrogant, and totally false. You can say that murder is wrong with or without a deity, because it creates a social victim, and unrestrained the behavior does very real harm to the society and the people within it, damaging stability and removing or hurting members. As I said, you don't need a deity to feel pain. But again, under and not under a deity, not even murder is universally wrong. Even in a majority Christian society such as ours, we have always condoned the taking of life, for reasons that frequently were extremely questionable.

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XEPCT 5 years, 9 months ago

Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.The belief in eternity is common in all religious thought; everyone is afraid of being forgotten.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

"However, it is still ridiculous and hopelessly self-centered to say that there is no way to make a behavioral code without a God."I never said there was no way to make a behavioral code. I am saying there is no "teeth" to the code.. no surety that it is correct. Obviously every society has codes/rules they follow. The Nazi society had a behavioral code. But without God, there is no standard for that code and so no means of saying that one is better than the other."it is easily possible to make an ethical code of conduct based on actions that are difinitively shown to hurt other people in the society or community."But why are actions "definitively" show to hurt others wrong? Why is it wrong to hurt others? Evolution would actually teach the opposite -- survival of the fittest. We ought to hurt the weak in order that only the strongest would survive and thus the human race be better. This is the belief that drives groups like white supremecists and the old Nazi Germans and is completely consistent with the idea of evolution (note that I'm not arguing here that evolution caused Nazism). Yes, you are right that it is "possible" to make such an ethical code of conduct but without God there is no reason to. And someone else could just as well make an ethical code of conduct that says we should rid society of all the weak and feeble minded. Without God, they wouldn't be any more wrong than your idea of an ethical code of conduct. Why is it that your code is the one everyone should accept? Also just note that there is a difference between murder and killing. Murder is unjust killing. God is never unjust in what He does and has never committed murder (even if he does put people to death). All are sinners and deserve the wrath of God so God is never unjust in how he deals with sinners. Without Jesus satisfying God's wrath and so making Him able to forgive justly, all would be eternally condemned.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"All are sinners and deserve the wrath of God so God is never unjust in how he deals with sinners."I think that is horrible. Just so you know."Without Jesus satisfying God's wrath and so making Him able to forgive justly, all would be eternally condemned."You would willingly follow this God?

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

For the rest, you are continuously dancing around my central point. That you are only offering illusionary certainty. You can claim that your God offers you a static moral or ethical code, unquestionable, but again all it does is offer you the convenient excuse to stop your philosophizing at a particular point, and it contains neither unquestionable certainty or truth. As I noted in my first post on this matter, there is NO way to make a certain and universal moral code. You have not offerred a way either, and for proof I'm merely point out that 66% of the people on the planet do not believe in your god, and so are not beholden to your "universal" morality.Understand, I am not trying to dissuade you from your beliefs. Your moral code is personally built off of the Bible, mine is built from other sources. None of those sources are definite, certain, or necessarily authoratative, of course, but neither is the Bible, or the god it represents. My point, as always, is that your claim of universality and absolutism is only that: a claim. A claim with neither certaintly or truth.

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car_ramrod 5 years, 9 months ago

Of course, L1. Whenever there isn't a reasonable argument one can make, it helps to bandy about terms like "hypocrisy" in order to compartmentalize your thought processes. The point is that an atheist and a Christian are not going to agree on the concept of a triune god so what purpose does this tired pattern of intellectual one-upmanship and bullying serve other than the obvious raising of dander? Let's convince a dog to be a horse if this is the line of logic we're going to actively pursue.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

"I think that is horrible. Just so you know."Is it horrible only if a certain society comes to that consensus? Or is it intrinsically horrible? Is there such a thing as intrinsically horrible within evolutionary dogma? Is it horrible because you think much more highly of yourself than that? Anyway, I think we are arguing two completely different things. You are questioning the existence of God (the premise). I am starting by assuming the premise from two different view points (God does exist and God does not exist) and then looking for logical consistence within that premise. The questions I asked above (which you seem to be avoiding) are starting from the assumption that God does not exist. Morality and even truth are not consistent with no God. As an example, can you explain why what the Nazi's did was wrong even though they thought they were bettering the human race (according to evolutionary dogma)? On the other hand, morality and absolute truth are consistent with God existing. Now you may not accept God's existence, but that's another issue.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

I think, frankly, that you have a rather skewed perspective of "evolutionary dogma." Certainly it's ludicrous to assume that we as humans are incapable of moving past wholly naturalistic causes. That's all that I have time for right now, I have to teach a couple of classes about Chinese moral philosophy.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"Is it horrible only if a certain society comes to that consensus? Or is it intrinsically horrible? Is there such a thing as intrinsically horrible within evolutionary dogma? Is it horrible because you think much more highly of yourself than that?"You'll perhaps need to note that I said "I think." I have no idea what to make of that last sentence, however. The one before it, well evolutionary dogma is just a straw man. It's not necessarily one or the other, which is the basic fallacy in most of the arguments concerning the topic."Anyway, I think we are arguing two completely different things. You are questioning the existence of God (the premise)."Perhaps we are arguing two different things, but my argument is simply that you have no claim to absolutism or universality due to what you believe. What we believe is irrellevant to that consideration, since neither of us have hard proof. "I am starting by assuming the premise from two different view points (God does exist and God does not exist) and then looking for logical consistence within that premise."You haven't found consistencies in a worldview where God exists. What you have instead found is known as circular reasoning. If God exists then God's word is truth. If God's word is truth then God exists. There's nothing there, and no proof, therefore there is no way to prove or falsify your position. "Morality and even truth are not consistent with no God."Patently false on the second. It is true that the sun comes every 24 hours, more or less, on a predictable cycle. It is true that we exist, and that we have certain physiological needs. It is true that we are biologically capable of feeling pain and pleasure. There is a great amount of truth that is simply observational. Morality is a human construction, however, so you are correct that there is no intrinsic truth to it.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"As an example, can you explain why what the Nazi's did was wrong even though they thought they were bettering the human race (according to evolutionary dogma)?"I don't think you actually have anything to base this notion of evolutionary dogma on. I have yet to meet anybody who believes that survival of the fittest is the end all for humanity, largely because we have (truthfully) sentience and the ability to think abstractly. If you can't be bothered to understand someone's position, and instead just make things up about what they supposedly believe, then what's the point?"On the other hand, morality and absolute truth are consistent with God existing."How? Even suggesting that a god exists does not necessarily mean that morality and truth are divined from that god. Why a god, anyway? Why not Doug? "Now you may not accept God's existence, but that's another issue."No, it's the main issue. If your morality and truth are conditional on their being a God, then without a God you have nothing, which is of course your problem. Since there is no reason to assume that there is, beyond faith and, apparently, desperation.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

GA, do you actually think that you're going to either get me angry or get a rise out of me with such infantile ammunition?

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

"Certainly it's ludicrous to assume that we as humans are incapable of moving past wholly naturalistic causes."If there is no God, how can you assert there is anything more than naturalistic causes? Are you admiting there are "super"-natural causes? You seem to be contradicting yourself here."What you have instead found is known as circular reasoning. If God exists then God's word is truth. If God's word is truth then God exists. There's nothing there, and no proof, therefore there is no way to prove or falsify your position."Can you point to where I have made this argument in my comments above? I'm arguing that if God does not exist, then there is no basis for morality and truth. If X=God does not Exist and Y=There is a basis for morality & truth, then I am arguing that X -> ~Y and haven't yet read much response to questions on this point.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

"It is true that we exist, and that we have certain physiological needs. It is true that we are biologically capable of feeling pain and pleasure. There is a great amount of truth that is simply observational."How can you prove that these statements are true within the assumption that there is no God? How do you know that what you see is really phsyically there? Aren't these assumptions that are impossible to prove within your worldview? My point is that in order to deny God who knows all things and so is the source of all truth, you must be resigned to a complete lack of certainty. You have no way to assert within this worldview, for example, that we are certainly not just a program running on a computer somewhere. You can say that you don't believe that, but what does that mean? Real truth is utterly unattainable. Even saying, well we are 99% certain doesn't really mean anything because you have no way of knowing how you could be that certain. Consistency with that position would then be to allow for any view of truth, realizing that you have no idea if your foundation for what you think is true is true or not. What's the point, then, in arguing for your view of truth?

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

"I have yet to meet anybody who believes that survival of the fittest is the end all for humanity, largely because we have (truthfully) sentience and the ability to think abstractly."Can you prove that we "truthfully" have sentience other than asserting "it's obvious"? Now I'm a bit confused -- if you don't believe that evolution via natural selection is the ultimate / driving factor of our existence, what do you believe is? Where did the ability to think abstractly come from? Something outside of evolution? "If your morality and truth are conditional on their being a God, then without a God you have nothing, which is of course your problem."Actually, that's exactly what I'm saying is your problem. Without a God you have nothing. I AM arguing that morality and knowable truth are conditional on there being a God thus if you reject God, you are in essence rejecting morality and truth. I've heard nothing so far that even attempts to establish a consistent basis for morality and truth apart from God.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"Can you prove that we “truthfully” have sentience other than asserting “it's obvious”?"No. Not to the level of doubt that you are willing to stoop to. Doesn't make a bit of difference, though."Now I'm a bit confused — if you don't believe that evolution via natural selection is the ultimate / driving factor of our existence, what do you believe is?"At this point, our own choices, as far as I can tell.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"Actually, that's exactly what I'm saying is your problem. Without a God you have nothing."No, you misunderstand. Without a God YOU have nothing, not me. Your entire premise of existence is based on this, and as you show above the existence of a god is the ONLY thing that you are willing to take simply on unquestionable faith, despite the fact that it is much less certain than many of the knowable things you critique above. I, not being burdened by this, have no particular problems."I AM arguing that morality and knowable truth are conditional on there being a God thus if you reject God, you are in essence rejecting morality and truth."Yes, I've caught onto this. The problem is, as I note above, that your argument only has consistency inside of its own framework, and is based on your unquestionable, yet unknowable, assumption that there is a God. "I've heard nothing so far that even attempts to establish a consistent basis for morality and truth apart from God."I've yet to hear anything that establishes a consistent basis for either of those things WITH a god. You keep missing my main point, that there is NO consistent basis for morality, and it's only your own arrogance in your beliefs that makes you declare that there is. It's that manner of thinking that has created many, many wars, conflicts, genocides and other problems. We've covered truth already. If you are willing to doubt your sensory perception and your own sentience, but not willing to doubt or even question something that you have no positive evidence for outside of a single book, then I wonder how you think you could ever see anything other than what you want to see.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

It seems, though, that we are at the obvious and inevitable impasse. I'm very busy today, so unless you bring something new to the table, I'm afraid that I have to bow out. I don't have the time to devote to responding to the same unproven and unprovable issues over and over again.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

"It seems, though, that we are at the obvious and inevitable impasse. I'm very busy today, so unless you bring something new to the table, I'm afraid that I have to bow out. I don't have the time to devote to responding to the same unproven and unprovable issues over and over again."Perhaps you are right about the impasse. But from what I have read so far, you haven't responded to the issues of providing a consistent basis for morality apart from God. The consistent bases for morality with God is simply this: God, who is all-knowing and eternal IS the source and standard for all truth because He is the only being who can know truth absolutely. Thus He is able to reveal truth with certainty. I realize you deny God's existence, but regardless of that, morality and truth is very consistent with His ability to know and define it. You reject God so obviously you reject morality and truth coming from Him. But you are then left with needing to explain an objective basis for morality and truth. From what you have said, I am concluding that you must believe the following: There is no real basis for morality other than what we currently think is moral as a society (not to mention that this differs across societies). Thus there is no way of really knowing right from wrong other than what we currently think is right and wrong. So basically you could be wrong about everything, but you really have no way of knowing. You really have no basis to assert anything about truth and should believe the same about me (since you reject God's existence). And yet you continue to try to assert things about truth. For what purpose? You don't know if what you assert is really true (though you've probably convinced yourself otherwise). You can call me arrogant or whatever other names you can think of, but what does that mean if there is no basis for truth? Why is arrogance even wrong? God hates a proud heart because he is the source of all truth and those who think they know something apart from him are like those who take credit for and boast about something they had nothing to do with. In that case it is actually those who deny Him who are the arrogant ones.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"But you are then left with needing to explain an objective basis for morality and truth."Let's be honest, please. I have not been left needing to explain this. YOU have been left needing ME to explain it to you. I will say this once again, the very last time, because if it hasn't computed by now then it won't. There is no objective basis for morality. There is only a subjective basis for it.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

"There is no objective basis for morality. There is only a subjective basis for it."Then why do you act as if there is an objective basis? If all morality is subjective, then is there anything wrong with a society that determines it morally right to exterminate a certain ethnicity of people? Subjectively, their culture has determined it to be right. Why should another society impose their subjective views on them?

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"Then why do you act as if there is an objective basis?"I don't."If all morality is subjective, then is there anything wrong with a society that determines it morally right to exterminate a certain ethnicity of people?"In the 1800s you could have asked an Indian and a White Settler this question and recieved two different answers. "Subjectively, their culture has determined it to be right. Why should another society impose their subjective views on them?"Force and self-preservation, the two constants of human history.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

"In the 1800s you could have asked an Indian and a White Settler this question and recieved two different answers."Just trying to understand your position. So both responses would be equally right/wrong?Is homosexuality wrong?"Force and self-preservation, the two constants of human history."So the reason we did not interfere in the Rwanda geonocide was because it did not affect our self-preservation? Hmm.. so in that case allowing the slaughter of civilians was morally right from our perspective, no?

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"Just trying to understand your position. So both responses would be equally right/wrong?"Well, I would have an opinion on the matter, one that is likely shared by a number of people. But of course the people of the day, from their perspective, had a different opinion. One that was based, I believe, on the notion of white Christians' divine right to the land, over the Barbarian Indian tribes who did not subscribe to the morality of the Christian God and it's favored civilization. And no, I don't view homosexuality, as it exists, as wrong. I would include, however, the obvious notion that civilization would cease to exist were everybody to become homosexual, but I don't believe that would happen. "So the reason we did not interfere in the Rwanda geonocide was because it did not affect our self-preservation? Hmm.. so in that case allowing the slaughter of civilians was morally right from our perspective, no?"Well, that second sentence has nothing to do with the first, but yes. The reason we did not interfere in the Rwanda genocide is because it did not effect us. At least, not until we were publicly sending forces into other regions, such as Iraq, ostensibly to "liberate the oppressed people." But that might simply be a fear of appearing hypocritical. We as Americans have quite a history, if you look, of not particularly wanting to engage in the problems faced by other nations that we have little to do with, until it starts to effect us. See World War I, World War II, The Shah's persecution of his people in Iran, Chiang Kai-Shek's oppression of his people in Taiwan, Saddam Hussein's persecution of his people in Iraq prior to the first gulf war, the global terrorist problem prior to 9/11, etc.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

So would you say that what is right & wrong is in essence determined by the majority view?

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

I think that, in the same way as individuals at some point had to make the conscious choice to sacrifice some of their individual liberty, for the protection of a community or society, eventually the people of that community or society decides amongst themselves what code they are going to follow for the protection and continuation of that community or society. I think at this point that all the basics of that notion have already happened far in the past, and we have the luxury of building on things that we have seen other societies try, with either failure or success. I also think, more importantly, that all of this is far too complicated of an issue to simply sum it up in a short phrase such as "majority rule" or "will of god."

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

I also think I'm going to truly bow out now, as well. I think at this point we both know that neither are going to convince the other, which is fine. As I said earlier, I had no intention of dissuading you from your beliefs regarding either your morals or your view of a creator. I'm afraid, though, that I am not finding this particularly stimulating at this point, and I have a bunch of things that I have to do. I hope you have a good rest of the week.

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manhattanite 5 years, 9 months ago

OK, well thanks for your responses. I'm still searching for an answer to the "oughtness" or basis for morality in a universe without God. I don't see how anyone holding to this view can claim something to be right or wrong with any degree of consistency because they are, in essence, their own moral standard. It's one thing to explain how our society may have developed views of right and wrong but quite another to develop a consistent rational basis for morality apart from God. I hope you may one day see the folly of such a system and seek the One who can give true wisdom and understanding.

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