The Bible on The History Channel (Read 414 times)

    I've stayed out of this so far because I've seen many religious discussions step over the lines of respect.  However, this seems to be the most civil and understanding one I've seen, so I thought I'd join.

     

    To those of you questioning how a good God could kill unborn/innocent babies in a flood:
    God will not send a person to Hell who never reached a certain level of maturity.  If a person cannot yet understand what sin and grace are, he/she will be welcomed into God's Kingdom.

    This is true also for babies who are aborted.  They will go to Heaven.  However, who are we to decide who should get a chance to live this life and who shouldn't?

    'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'

     

    "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher

     

    "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis

    zonykel


      Humans are the ones who seem to define god. In this case, I think you run into logic problems. If an unborn child goes straight to heaven, then we're doing the child a favor by expediting the process, and therefore we're doing something good.

       

      someone (a Christian)  made the claim that the children who got killed recently in Connecticut got the best Christmas gift ever because they got to heaven. It's twisted logic, as I'm sure the parents of those children would rather have them alive.

       

      I've stayed out of this so far because I've seen many religious discussions step over the lines of respect.  However, this seems to be the most civil and understanding one I've seen, so I thought I'd join.

       

      To those of you questioning how a good God could kill unborn/innocent babies in a flood:
      God will not send a person to Hell who never reached a certain level of maturity.  If a person cannot yet understand what sin and grace are, he/she will be welcomed into God's Kingdom.

      This is true also for babies who are aborted.  They will go to Heaven.  However, who are we to decide who should get a chance to live this life and who shouldn't?

        I realize that this is going to sound completely idiotic to a non-Christian, but in the end of days we will be given crowns earned during this lifetime and will be given the honour of laying them at Christ's feet.  Why rob someone of that chance for 'convenience'?  I'll admit some days it doesn't seem worth it, but in my deepest being I know that it will be.

         

         

        Humans are the ones who seem to define god. In this case, I think you run into logic problems. If an unborn child goes straight to heaven, then we're doing the child a favor by expediting the process, and therefore we're doing something good.

         

        someone (a Christian)  made the claim that the children who got killed recently in Connecticut got the best Christmas gift ever because they got to heaven. It's twisted logic, as I'm sure the parents of those children would rather have them alive.

         

        'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'

         

        "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher

         

        "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis


        Interval Junkie --Nobby

          I used to read a Facebook page for atheists only. Unfortunately, some of them were quite rude and condescending towards theists. They relished the confrontation more than anything else. 

           

          There are a couple of clear reasons this happens: atheism is by definition a negative belief; it defines itself against theism.  That doesn't necessarily lock them in as combatants, but without a positive thesis the primary thing that atheists share is their relationship to religion.  So, when they get together, the only real thing they have in common is their non-religiousness.  Since religion has long held a privileged, and sometimes oppressive, position in the public and private spheres, their act of bonding manifests through vocalized frustration with their Other.

           

          Their frustrations and fraternity often take the form of calling out the religious rituals, beliefs, notions, inconsistencies and dogma to strip them of their sacred meaning leaving a bare secular appearance which indeed looks dumb.  Plastic voodoo necklaces, speaking in gibberish, zombie messiahs, magic underpants, etc.  If they were not part of your cultural inheritance, you'd think them odd too.

           

          Two other things come into play: New Atheism's alignment with "science" prompts the semi-intellectual to stroke their own egos in goading good intention-ed, but otherwise poorly armed believers into trying to make rational argument to justify faith.  The Christian Bible and Jewish Torah provide for easy pickings.  Just as Creationists fall into the trap of trying to reconcile a literal interpretation of the Bible with science, the New Atheists attack Faith with Reason.  They also make the idiotic claim that science has anything to say about morality.

           

          Finally, it is the internet that finally gives this group of anonymous strangers the community they never had.  Long keeping their unpopular beliefs to the confines of their own personal head, these folks have finally found others to share and vent their frustrations.  Unfortunately, their call for community takes the form of truculently ridiculing their Other.

           

          But I wouldn't worry: you still can't find a public official in the USA who proudly declares himself an atheist.  (and if you can the exception proves the rule).

           

          Their lack of common moral doctrine not withstanding, you won't find much difference between the deeds of atheists and believers by any moral measure they agree on.  Atheists are some of the finest people I know.

           

          Hope this promotes cross-theistic understanding.

          2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

          Current Status 08/28: Slowly working back up from a pelvic stress fracture.  4mil distance PR w00t!


          Feeling the growl again

             

            Two other things come into play: New Atheism's alignment with "science" prompts the semi-intellectual to stroke their own egos in goading good intention-ed, but otherwise poorly armed believers into trying to make rational argument to justify faith.  The Christian Bible and Jewish Torah provide for easy pickings.  Just as Creationists fall into the trap of trying to reconcile a literal interpretation of the Bible with science, the New Atheists attack Faith with Reason.  They also make the idiotic claim that science has anything to say about morality.

             

             

            Well some may try to play that stereotype, but as a trained scientist knowing a lot of trained scientists....it just ain't so.

             

            Science and faith are not things to compare.  Worth a read -- written by a former atheist, now a Christian, and the leader of the Human Genome Project and discoverer of the gene for muscular dystrophy (a bit of an educated dude).

            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

             

               

               

               

              But I wouldn't worry: you still can't find a public official in the USA who proudly declares himself an atheist.  (and if you can the exception proves the rule).

               

              Their lack of common moral doctrine not withstanding, you won't find much difference between the deeds of atheists and believers by any moral measure they agree on.  Atheists are some of the finest people I know.

               

               

              ---  On the public official being religious thing, I think that has to do with "electability".  If a politician were Atheist, He would have trouble getting elected!  There are still more believers than non-believers out there, and thus, politicians are believers.  They might only go to church on easter Sunday and midnight mass, but nontheless, "christains". :-)  But we really should keep politics out of this conversation best as possible, lol.  But the thought has crossed my mind that if the time ever comes when 51% of a population were 'nonbelievers', you can bet your britches that politicians would come along saying "I am a nonbeliever!  With a big old sly grin. :-)

               

              --  On Atheists being some of the finest people I know, I can only simplify by saying across any spectrum, any way in which humans divide themselves, whether it be race, sex, religion, creed, whatever, there are always good and bad representatives on ANY side.  I have known many wonderful Atheists, Agnostics, people of all religions.  And as a sidebit, I deployed to and fought in Afghanistan as recently as 2010.  People stateside would tell me "get the Muslims!"  And that is a gereralizing statement that offends me.   Most people of any religion are peaceful.  Most people I met when deployed overseas who were Muslim were a very humble and peaceful people!  Most of them have faced mush more adversity than most Americans have, but they want to make a living and support their family just as Americans do.  --- It is only a small minority of the people over there that are bat(crap) crazy and are extremists.  But it was the military's job to 'handle' the extremists.  The news will show you only the 5% or less that are extremists, but MOST people just want to make a living for their family like anyone else.  So long story short, 95% or more of the people in ANY religious group are good people just trying to make a living like anyone else.  Look past the religion they are, and get to the root of who they are.  I have no qualms whatsoever with any religious group personally, only people that are extremists who want to do harm, no matter what group they are of.

               

               

              --  I keep thinking in my head time to let this discussion go, but I keep coming back.  Tonight I will blame it on the 3 beers I had.  -- A runner, drinking beer, and not post-race beer. Shameful! Big grin  - I am talking alot, but reading alot as well and taking it all in.  Thanks again to the most civil posts I have ever seen amongst a group of folks across such a wide spectrum.  Great stuff.

              The Plan (big parts)→  /// April:  Hampton, VA 24 Hour Run for Cancer (PR 80 Miles) ///  Nov:  New York Marathon  ///  Dec:  Seashore State Park 50K  ///  ∞


              Not dead. Yet.

                 in the end of days we will be given crowns earned during this lifetime and will be given the honour of laying them at Christ's feet. 

                 

                My biggest issue with religion is the idea of worship.  Who does it do any good for?  Why does a god feel like he needs to be worshiped by humans?  Does it make him feel better about himself?  Inflate his ego?  It seems to me that any being at a much higher level of enlightening than we are would not be so interested in such things.  And in regards to grace vs works, it seems that the works should be much more important.  That is what actually helps many people, whereas the grace only helps the one being worshiped.

                How can we know our limits if we don't test them?

                Who Dey


                  Humans are the ones who seem to define god.

                  True ... something shared by believers and non-believers alike.  I usually find that the image of "god" rejected by atheists is one I reject as well!  It's important to be open to new ways of seeing ... whether you believe or not.  Often, however, it's easier to cling to neatly packaged preconceived ideas of what God is and isn't.

                  zonykel


                    I wouldn't say it's idiotic to make the claim that morals fall under the realm of science.

                     

                    from an evolutionary aspect, these morals (let's say, altruism) helped us survive. I see no issue with science trying to determine a what genes impact certain "moral" behavior.

                     

                    similarly, from neuroscience and/or psychology, we can study right and wrong. We know, for example, that brain damage can impact how we behave and cause us to "lose" some of these morals.

                     

                    if your assertion is that morals fall under the realm of religion exclusively, then we have a fundamental disagreement. I realize I may be putting words in your mouth, and that's why I added the "if".

                     

                     

                      They also make the idiotic claim that science has anything to say about morality.

                     

                       

                      My biggest issue with religion is the idea of worship.  Who does it do any good for?  Why does a god feel like he needs to be worshiped by humans?  Does it make him feel better about himself?  Inflate his ego?  It seems to me that any being at a much higher level of enlightening than we are would not be so interested in such things.  And in regards to grace vs works, it seems that the works should be much more important.  That is what actually helps many people, whereas the grace only helps the one being worshiped.

                       

                      This is a very understandable point of view.  Indeed, who wants to worship a god who is so insecure that he needs to sit up there and have us tell him how great he is?  I definitely understand why people are put off by the idea of worship.  However, I think this comes from a misunderstanding of the nature of worship.  If God is, then He is the greatest Gift that He can give to us.  His desire for us to worship Him flows out of His love for us.  Imagine us all lost in the desert, and some of us find a well.  If those of us who find the well bring attention (glory) to that well and tell others how awesome the water is, then our "worship" of that well is an act of love toward the others lost in the desert in need of water.  A well might not be the best example since it is inanimate and non-relational, but hopefully it makes the point.  Furthermore, If I am stranded along the highway and my car is broken down, and someone comes along and not only stops to help me, but gives me his car, we would say that an appropriate response to this person would be the deepest gratitude.  In fact, I would be considered the world's biggest jerk if I didn't fall all over myself thanking this person.  And I would tell others what a wonderful person it was who helped me.  I would give "glory" (recognition) to that person who helped me on the highway.

                       

                      So, for the Christian who believes not only that God has given him life and breath and everything and even His own Son for his benefit, it seems only right and fitting to respond with thanks and praise (worship).  Since worship is only fitting because of everything the Creator has done for the created, then the Creator's expectation of worship is love -- He wants to be in relationship with us, and worship is an unavoidably fitting part of that.  God is not needy.  No, he doesn't need our worship.   God is also not insecure and full of false humility.  He's not going to say, "Aw, shucks, you know that thing I did when I sent Jesus to die for you, that's not really that big of a deal.  You don't need to thank me."  He'll not say that because it's not true.  It is a huge deal, and a grateful response is appropriate.

                       

                      I think CS Lewis said, "I don't pray because it changes God.  I pray because it changes me."  (Somebody will fact check me, probably, and I might be wrong about the quote.  But I think the idea is nevertheless true).

                      - Joe

                      all running goals are under review by the executive committee.


                      Interval Junkie --Nobby

                        if your assertion is that morals fall under the realm of religion exclusively, then we have a fundamental disagreement. I realize I may be putting words in your mouth, and that's why I added the "if". 

                         

                        Hardly.  There are many moral systems not based on religion (utilitarianism, stoicism, virtue ethics, Kantian ethics, Confucianism, etc).  I'm simply stating that the scientific method has little, if anything, to say about what is "Right".  Science might be able to describe why we act, or tend to act, in certain ways ("The Moral Animal" and "Origins of Virtue").  Or even how it is beneficial to our species, genetic survival or environment.  But it is still mute on whether that is "Right" or not.  Reason certainly has its voice in the dialog, just not Science.

                         

                        This is actually a mistake made on both sides of the isle.  Many religious people incorrectly believe that scientists are making moral claims when they are discussing science: the most common is Darwin's theory of evolution.  Any good scientist isn't making a moral claim when he describes survival of the fittest.  But that's not what many religious people (including academics who should know better) hear.  And there are some epistemologically dishonest scientists who flex their science muscles and try bend their excellent understanding of the natural world into metaphysical claims: (e.g. Dawkins and his non-scientific work post "The Selfish Gene").  Very smart man; not a very wise man.

                        2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                        Current Status 08/28: Slowly working back up from a pelvic stress fracture.  4mil distance PR w00t!

                           

                          Hardly.  There are many moral systems not based on religion (utilitarianism, stoicism, virtue ethics, Kantian ethics, Confucianism, etc).  I'm simply stating that the scientific method has little, if anything, to say about what is "Right".  Science might be able to describe why we act, or tend to act, in certain ways ("The Moral Animal" and "Origins of Virtue").  Or even how it is beneficial to our species, genetic survival or environment.  But it is still mute on whether that is "Right" or not.  Reason certainly has its voice in the dialog, just not Science.

                           

                          This is actually a mistake made on both sides of the isle.  Many religious people incorrectly believe that scientists are making moral claims when they are discussing science: the most common is Darwin's theory of evolution.  Any good scientist isn't making a moral claim when he describes survival of the fittest.  But that's not what many religious people (including academics who should know better) hear.  And there are some epistemologically dishonest scientists who flex their science muscles and try bend their excellent understanding of the natural world into metaphysical claims: (e.g. Dawkins and his non-scientific work post "The Selfish Gene").  Very smart man; not a very wise man.

                           

                          Hmmm. The pragmatism of John Dewey and William James is an attempt to apply scientific method to morality, and you could say that the philosophy of Nietzsche and Marx would be another attempt to apply historical methods of inquiry to morality. Freud applies psychological methods of inquiry to morality. I would agree that morality traditionally understood as "metaphysical" is unrelated to scientific inquiry, but if we construe morality as naturalistic, then it would be subject to traditional naturalistic methods of inquiry, which are naturally as diverse as the phenomena they study.

                           

                          I do agree with you that Dawkins, et. al. are epistemology dishonest, but I think that's because they make the same mistake you are making here: they leave morality and religion at the level of the metaphysical and then apply naturalistic methods, which ends up producing a great deal of light but not much heat.

                           

                          MTA: one way of saying this simply is that Dawkins, et. al., don't understand a basic tenet of scientific method, which is that the method of inquiry must change according to the object studied. The apply a scientific method that is ripped out of the context of natural science to morality, which is as odd as, say, putting kindergartners in a chemistry lab to study the effectiveness of education.


                          Interval Junkie --Nobby

                             I would agree that morality traditionally understood as "metaphysical" is unrelated to scientific inquiry, but if we construe morality as naturalistic, then it would be subject to traditional naturalistic methods of inquiry, which are naturally as diverse as the phenomena they study.

                             

                            Dewey, yes!  This is the closest we've come to applying anything like the scientific method to ethics. Though I've read him a few times, I can't say it sticks.  Or rather, I can't remember how he establishes the criteria to evaluate which goals are worth obtaining through is adaptive methodology.  My point is that the scientific method can inform us on how best to achieve a moral goal.  That is, they can tell us how to create a society that reduces the murder rate, but can't tell us murder is "bad" from a moral claim.   That is, unless you nullify the "naturalistic fallacy" and move morality into the naturalistic domain.  But as reading the "Origin of Virtue" made me realize, then ethics seems to turn into species optimization. And I think subtly the subject has changed even though we think we are talking about the same thing. (Phillipa Foot not withstanding.  And obviously I'm disagreeing with Richard Boyd too).

                             

                            And of course by metaphysical, I do not mean other-worldly.  Greek naturalism makes a good study of worldly ethics, but is wholly different than what we would construe as naturalism.

                             

                            But I think our basic disagreement is whether Foot is right or not.  We can call it an open question.  I completely agree with your MTA, though.

                            2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                            Current Status 08/28: Slowly working back up from a pelvic stress fracture.  4mil distance PR w00t!

                              I don't know much about Phillipa Foot.

                               

                              I'd just say, most simply, that the pragmatic way of analyzing a moral belief is to look at the consequences of holding such a belief.

                               

                              We don't need any rock-bottom account of morality -- we are always doing this analysis of consequences of belief in relation to all of our other beliefs -- these can be scientific, religious, etc.

                               

                              Of course this is very sticky analysis as there is no such thing as a laboratory of life, and so we shouldn't expect the most rigorous of results. This is why the element of faith is so important in moral life: it describes the distance between this uncertainty and the necessity of acting. Smile


                              Interval Junkie --Nobby

                                I'd just say, most simply, that the pragmatic way of analyzing a moral belief is to look at the consequences of holding such a belief.

                                 

                                Spoken like a Dewey devote. Wink  And I would agree.

                                 

                                My point of contention is more on pragmatism's goal setting ability.  I agree it can help us achieve goals through analysis of consequences of actions.  But I don't remember how he talks about establishing the goal.  That is, if happiness is a goal, pragmatism is (IMO) a good way to align our society/actions with that goal. "Let's see, proscribing happy-pills for everyone left us empty inside -- we should probably discourage happy-pills."  But why is happiness good?  (maybe I need to revisit James again -- that book is so short, but I just can't keep it in my head)

                                 

                                This is where religion has an easy time of it, and where secular modes struggle.  For religion it's easy: the book says so.

                                 

                                I find the contractualism of Steven Darwall pretty enlightening  (while I don't care for contractualism): oughts are reciprocity defined as what you can insist someone else do.  If you could make a claim like that, then they ought do it.  E.g. if I can insist someone not step on my foot, then they ought not to step on my foot in the first place.  (obviously, I'm my distilling a 300pg book into one sentence will lose some fidelity).  Ought being the fundamental construct of a moral ontology.

                                 

                                [looks around to see the rest of the class snoring away]

                                2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                                Current Status 08/28: Slowly working back up from a pelvic stress fracture.  4mil distance PR w00t!