Author Topic: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond  (Read 14067 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ivellios

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1077
  • Darwins +52/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Seek and Ye Shall Find
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2012, 02:08:10 AM »
and the consequence of *that*?
That is the consequence.  The consequence of being drawn away from God is that we're separated from God.

You know what they're asking, because this is of no consequence.

Offline bertatberts

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1444
  • Darwins +52/-8
  • Gender: Male
  • Humanists. Not perfect. Not forgiven. Responsible.
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2012, 09:35:30 AM »
Mooby could you give me an answer to post #19.

Thank you.
Bert.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline HAL

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5017
  • Darwins +98/-17
  • Gender: Male
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2012, 09:40:08 AM »
That is the consequence.  The consequence of being drawn away from God is that we're separated from God.

Dude - I'm just not feeling the separation anxiety.

Offline Boots

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1336
  • Darwins +100/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Living the Dream
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2012, 11:03:52 AM »
and the consequence of *that*?
That is the consequence.  The consequence of being drawn away from God is that we're separated from God.

You know what they're asking, because this is of no consequence.

Agreed.  This smells suspiciously like a dodge to me.

WHAT DO I CARE if I'm separated from god?  Spell it out as if I'm an idiot.  What's going to happen to my immortal soul if I'm separated from god when I die??
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
~jdawg70

Offline pianodwarf

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 4371
  • Darwins +208/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Je bois ton lait frappĂ©
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2012, 11:34:02 AM »
WHAT DO I CARE if I'm separated from god?  Spell it out as if I'm an idiot.  What's going to happen to my immortal soul if I'm separated from god when I die??

I had a roommate once who was a bible thumper, biblical inerrantist, and of the "separation from god" school.  He told me that the fires of hell described in scripture were a metaphor[1] for such separation, and that the agony of the separation would be far, far worse than being set on fire for all eternity, because that could never compare to the torment of being eternally separated from "perfect love".

At the time, I had very little familiarity with the Old Testament, and not much more with the New Testament.  If I'd been better versed in scripture, I would have known to point out to him that if a being of perfect love does exist, it certainly isn't Yahweh.  Jesus is a lot closer to the mark, but he's not perfect in that department, either.
 1. even though he was an inerrantist...?
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2012, 01:37:26 PM »
Mooby could you give me an answer to post #19.

Thank you.
Bert.
Sin draws us away from God through conscious rejection of Him.  Or, as the Catholic Catechism states, "Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it."
So out of fear of that happening, what must the Christian do.
You're using a loaded question to force my answer to meet the criticism of the OP.  I'm not interested in playing that game.

That is the consequence.  The consequence of being drawn away from God is that we're separated from God.

You know what they're asking, because this is of no consequence.
For you, maybe.  Not for me.

Doing an act that severs a relationship with a family member might not mean much to someone who never really liked that relative to begin with.  For me, being estranged from a family member would be a huge consequence.

Same goes for my relationship with God.

WHAT DO I CARE if I'm separated from god?
You probably don't care.

Quote
What's going to happen to my immortal soul if I'm separated from god when I die??
If your relationship with Him is rocky but not completely destroyed, you'll be purified to repair that relationship.  This process is called "Purgatory."

If you are completely severed from God, you will spend eternity separated from Him.  This is called "Hell."
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 01:44:34 PM by Mooby »
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Grimm

  • Professional Windmill Tilter
  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 826
  • Darwins +61/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • Apparently, the Dragon to be Slain
    • The Hexadecimal Number of the Beast
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2012, 01:43:53 PM »


WHAT DO I CARE if I'm separated from god?
You probably don't care.

Quote
What's going to happen to my immortal soul if I'm separated from god when I die??
If your relationship with Him is rocky but not completely destroyed, you'll be purified to repair that relationship.  This process is called "Purgatory."

If you are completely severed from God, you will spend eternity separated from Him.  This is called "Hell."


In all seriousness - if being separated from God is a function of unforgiven sin, as implied, I should notice, yes?

What are the symptoms of the edges of this agony I should feel?  How can I identify it in my own life?
"But to us, there is but one god, plus or minus one."  - 1 Corinthians 8:6+/-2

-- Randall, XKCD http://xkcd.com/900/

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2012, 01:47:24 PM »
In all seriousness - if being separated from God is a function of unforgiven sin, as implied, I should notice, yes?
I should think so, provided you had a strong relationship with Him at the time it occurred.

Quote
What are the symptoms of the edges of this agony I should feel?  How can I identify it in my own life?
That's different for everyone, but I'd look for some combination of despair, agony, regret, emptiness, etc.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Boots

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1336
  • Darwins +100/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Living the Dream
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2012, 01:57:29 PM »
Quote
What's going to happen to my immortal soul if I'm separated from god when I die??
If your relationship with Him is rocky but not completely destroyed, you'll be purified to repair that relationship.  This process is called "Purgatory."

If you are completely severed from God, you will spend eternity separated from Him.  This is called "Hell."

OK then, in slightly more simplistic terms, if I sin I will be punished.  Or, if "a christian" sins s/he will be punished.  If s/he does not, s/he will be rewarded.

How is this any different from my original question/observation??
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
~jdawg70

Offline bertatberts

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1444
  • Darwins +52/-8
  • Gender: Male
  • Humanists. Not perfect. Not forgiven. Responsible.
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2012, 03:28:08 PM »
Mooby could you give me an answer to post #19.

Thank you.
Bert.
Sin draws us away from God through conscious rejection of Him.  Or, as the Catholic Catechism states, "Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it."
So out of fear of that happening, what must the Christian do.
You're using a loaded question to force my answer to meet the criticism of the OP.  I'm not interested in playing that game.
Then you're just being dishonest.  There is nothing loaded about the question, you're simply seeing the consequences of what your answer entails, and refusing to accept it, because of your emotional investment in your beliefs.
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Online jaimehlers

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5039
  • Darwins +578/-18
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2012, 03:40:06 PM »
How is my example not "tangible benefits?"  If they believe they're going to heaven/avoiding hell, what's the substantive difference between that and whatever you feel might be "tangible benefits?"
Do I really have to spell this out for you?

When you can show that heaven/hell are tangible, you can argue that they're tangible benefits.  That's the whole point; people can't show that either exist, so therefore any rewards based on them effectively don't exist either.  Compare that to "be a good little boy and I'll give you a dollar", which is a tangible benefit.

Offline Boots

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1336
  • Darwins +100/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Living the Dream
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2012, 04:28:50 PM »
How is my example not "tangible benefits?"  If they believe they're going to heaven/avoiding hell, what's the substantive difference between that and whatever you feel might be "tangible benefits?"
Do I really have to spell this out for you?

When you can show that heaven/hell are tangible, you can argue that they're tangible benefits.  That's the whole point; people can't show that either exist, so therefore any rewards based on them effectively don't exist either.  Compare that to "be a good little boy and I'll give you a dollar", which is a tangible benefit.

Irreleveant.  If the "target" believes it to be true, it has the identical effect.  Just as if, in your example, I don't have a dollar to give you but promise it anway, you will be a good little boy to get it.

Edited out an unecessarily smarmy comment.   &)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 04:30:41 PM by Boots »
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
~jdawg70

Offline JeffPT

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2093
  • Darwins +236/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm a lead farmer mutha fucka
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #41 on: July 16, 2012, 06:53:01 PM »
Quote
What are the symptoms of the edges of this agony I should feel?  How can I identify it in my own life?
That's different for everyone, but I'd look for some combination of despair, agony, regret, emptiness, etc.

Are you saying that everyone who has a relationship with God is immune to such feelings?
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline Ambassador Pony

  • You keep what you kill.
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 6858
  • Darwins +71/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • illuminatus
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #42 on: July 16, 2012, 06:55:33 PM »
That's different for everyone, but I'd look for some combination of despair, agony, regret, emptiness, etc.

nope.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline Samothec

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 585
  • Darwins +49/-2
  • Gender: Male
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2012, 08:01:28 PM »
Boots,
Mooby's been dodging in this thread from his first post. You posted a clear non-denominational question intended for any and all willing to respond. Sadly the only responses you've gotten have been dodges and (successful) attempts to derail the thread.

Everyone should take a moment to reread what he wrote. It is a combination dodge, derailment and lie. (If not a lie then he has so little real-world experience as to make any comments about it useless.) It was a well-written and concise. But while that "morality" might not be offical in most xian sects, it is still there so it is a lie. Obvisously it dodges the question because he never even comes close to addressing it. The derailment is in changing the focus of the thread to something very off-topic: "which branches of xianity have that morality?"

Yet your OP very clearly says that such things don't matter with regards to your question. Mooby's reply was excellently written but very slimy.

I am not your target group but my answer would be yes, the person who does not believe someone is watching over him is the moral person while the believer is only following orders.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 08:08:01 PM by Samothec »
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2012, 09:37:00 PM »
OK then, in slightly more simplistic terms, if I sin I will be punished.  Or, if "a christian" sins s/he will be punished.  If s/he does not, s/he will be rewarded.
No, it is not a punishment as established in the OP.  Rather, sin in Christianity is important in how it affects one's relationship with God.  That's a far cry from God rewarding/punishing per sin.

Quote
How is this any different from my original question/observation??
Well, let's take a look at the hypothetical given:

You have two children, identical in every way except one (wait for it).  Both behave in a manner that any reasonable person would call "good."  They tell the truth, show respect to their elders, share, all that good stuff.  Here is the difference.  Jamie behaves this way because he knows if he does, he'll be rewarded and if he does not, he'll be punnished.  Johnny behaves this way because it's the right way to behave.

What do telling the truth, showing respect to elders, and sharing have in common?  They all are actions that affect the children's relationships with others.

If Jamie lies to Becky, it hurts his relationship with Becky.  If Jamie disrespects his elders, it hurts his relationship with his elders.  If Jamie doesn't share with his friends, it hurts his relationship with his friends.  These are all negative consequences of these actions.

Johnny also believes these things hurt his relationship with God.  This is another negative consequences of Johnny's actions.

If you call Johnny harming his relationship with God a "punishment," then Jamie is also "punished" when he hurts his relationship with Becky, his elders, or his friends.  It's therefore illogical to say that Johnny is motivated by punishment but not Jamie; both are harming their relationship with God and others.  Jamie and Johnny's disagreement on whether the former exists does not magically make it a punishment.

Then you're just being dishonest.  There is nothing loaded about the question, you're simply seeing the consequences of what your answer entails, and refusing to accept it, because of your emotional investment in your beliefs.
False.

You added the assumption of "fear" to a post where it was not assumed, and then asked me a question based on that assumption.  "Fear" is no more a consequence of what I posted than "exuberance" or "sorrow" or "orgasmic ecstasy.  The fact that you're trying to defend your straw man of my position while calling me a liar so you don't have to recant your loaded question is just... sad, really.

Let me make it absolutely clear to you, for the third time: my post did not assume "fear."  Therefore, I will not make your assumptions about what I wrote.

Are you saying that everyone who has a relationship with God is immune to such feelings?
No, not at all.  We have other relationships in our lives besides our relationship with God, and we have our own goals, hopes, and dreams.  These things can be upset just as easily in someone with a strong relationship with God as they can in someone who has no relationship with God.

But while that "morality" might not be offical in most xian sects, it is still there so it is a lie. Obvisously it dodges the question because he never even comes close to addressing it. The derailment is in changing the focus of the thread to something very off-topic: "which branches of xianity have that morality?"
Nice try, but no.

Boots: X is in a religion.
Mooby: Which religion?  You don't mean Christianity?
Boots: X is in Christianity, specifically Catholicism.
Mooby: There's no evidence that X is in Catholicism.
Adzgari: X is in my father's church.
Mooby: *Assumes Adzgari is talking about the father's Catholic Church in response to his challenge*

But hey, let's play your game.

A: Animals like to snort paprika.
B: Huh?  Which animals?
A: I was thinking about mammals.  I know some dogs who snort paprika.
B: Actually, here's a book that establishes fairly well that dogs don't snort paprika.
C: B, my father's pet used to snort paprika.
B: Your father's dog used to snort paprika?
C: Erm, I never said "dog."
B: My bad.  I got distracted because A was talking about dogs.
...
D: Read B's posts carefully.  While snorting paprika might not be official in some animal species, it is still there so it is a lie.  Obvisously it dodges the question because B never even comes close to addressing it. The derailment is in changing the focus of the thread to something very off-topic: "which species of animal snort paprika?"

The OP is a bare assertion.  We have not established that "it is still there."  So far we have established a single anecdotal secondary negatively biased source relating the experience of an ex-member of a single, unnamed, (I assume) Christian church, of which the assertion "was not their emphasis."  So how on Earth can you boldly claim, "It is still there so it is a lie?"

Cue me getting reported for "lawyering."
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Ambassador Pony

  • You keep what you kill.
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 6858
  • Darwins +71/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • illuminatus
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #45 on: July 16, 2012, 09:50:31 PM »
Reported for lawyering? That would be a first.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline JeffPT

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 2093
  • Darwins +236/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm a lead farmer mutha fucka
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2012, 09:52:59 PM »
Are you saying that everyone who has a relationship with God is immune to such feelings?
No, not at all.  We have other relationships in our lives besides our relationship with God, and we have our own goals, hopes, and dreams.  These things can be upset just as easily in someone with a strong relationship with God as they can in someone who has no relationship with God.

But you said 'some combination of despair, agony, regret, emptiness, etc' is what we should expect to feel if we have no relationship with God.  If you can get those feelings when you have a relationship with God, then why would you claim that those things are what we should expect out of the agony of life without God in it?  Clearly a relationship with God has no bearing on those things if life with and without God are equally filled with despair, agony and regret. 

Do you believe that Christians have less despair, agony, regret and emptiness in their lives as a whole?  If your answer is yes, then do you believe that whether or not the deity that your 'average Christian'  believes in exists is relevant to the conversation?  What I mean is... could someone feel less despair, agony, regret and emptiness in their lives through the belief in god, even if that god does not exist in the first place? 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2012, 11:02:40 PM »
But you said 'some combination of despair, agony, regret, emptiness, etc' is what we should expect to feel if we have no relationship with God.
No, I said it's what we should feel if we're being separated from God.  These are symptoms of loss, not absence.

Quote
If you can get those feelings when you have a relationship with God, then why would you claim that those things are what we should expect out of the agony of life without God in it?  Clearly a relationship with God has no bearing on those things if life with and without God are equally filled with despair, agony and regret.
Well, let's look at a more earthly relationship.

Can single people experience all those emotions?  Yes.
Can dating people experience all those emotions?  Yes.
Are we then to conclude that relationships have no bearing on those things if they're equal?  Ask a couple that's just broken up.

Those feelings come from separating.

Quote
What I mean is... could someone feel less despair, agony, regret and emptiness in their lives through the belief in god, even if that god does not exist in the first place?
Possibly, yes.  Though I don't know how we'd ever establish this one way or another considering that there's so many other factors in life that pretty much the amount of despair and agony felt are unique to each person...
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Aspie

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 337
  • Darwins +34/-0
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2012, 03:41:29 AM »
I can't agree with the accusations of dishonestly being raised at Mooby. It seems to me that a hasty generalization is being employed to hold him to a position it's felt he should adhere to, despite his protest.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 03:45:33 AM by Aspie »

Offline bertatberts

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1444
  • Darwins +52/-8
  • Gender: Male
  • Humanists. Not perfect. Not forgiven. Responsible.
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2012, 05:19:37 AM »
Quote from: Mooby
Quote from: bertatberts
Then you're just being dishonest.  There is nothing loaded about the question, you're simply seeing the consequences of what your answer entails, and refusing to accept it, because of your emotional investment in your beliefs.
False.

You added the assumption of "fear" to a post where it was not assumed, and then asked me a question based on that assumption.  "Fear" is no more a consequence of what I posted than "exuberance" or "sorrow" or "orgasmic ecstasy.  The fact that you're trying to defend your straw man of my position while calling me a liar so you don't have to recant your loaded question is just... sad, really.

Let me make it absolutely clear to you, for the third time: my post did not assume "fear."  Therefore, I will not make your assumptions about what I wrote.
Oh do come on, that's just pure semantics!
Should I have used horror, trepidation, uneasiness, worry, despair, concern, distress, panic. Here is my question again "So out of fear of that happening, what must the Christian do." any one of the above words would have done.

 
We theists have no evidence for our beliefs. So no amount of rational evidence will dissuade us from those beliefs. - JCisall

It would be pretty piss poor brainwashing, if the victims knew they were brainwashed, wouldn't it? - Screwtape. 04/12/12

Offline HAL

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5017
  • Darwins +98/-17
  • Gender: Male
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2012, 06:38:07 AM »
Reported for lawyering? That would be a first.

Good old Mooby.

Good luck getting anything out of that one.

Offline pianodwarf

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 4371
  • Darwins +208/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Je bois ton lait frappĂ©
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2012, 07:11:47 AM »
But you said 'some combination of despair, agony, regret, emptiness, etc' is what we should expect to feel if we have no relationship with God.
No, I said it's what we should feel if we're being separated from God.  These are symptoms of loss, not absence.

Quote
If you can get those feelings when you have a relationship with God, then why would you claim that those things are what we should expect out of the agony of life without God in it?  Clearly a relationship with God has no bearing on those things if life with and without God are equally filled with despair, agony and regret.
Well, let's look at a more earthly relationship.

Can single people experience all those emotions?  Yes.
Can dating people experience all those emotions?  Yes.
Are we then to conclude that relationships have no bearing on those things if they're equal?  Ask a couple that's just broken up.

Those feelings come from separating.

That's a valid response -- I thought of it, too, before I read your response -- but here's something else you need to consider: it is entirely possible to feel more lonely (or more despairing, or more regretful, etc etc etc) when you're in a relationship than when you're single.  If you truly don't realize this, count your blessings, no pun intended, because life has been very kind to you.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Boots

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1336
  • Darwins +100/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Living the Dream
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2012, 07:38:37 AM »
What do telling the truth, showing respect to elders, and sharing have in common?  They all are actions that affect the children's relationships with others.

If Jamie lies to Becky, it hurts his relationship with Becky.  If Jamie disrespects his elders, it hurts his relationship with his elders.  If Jamie doesn't share with his friends, it hurts his relationship with his friends.  These are all negative consequences of these actions.

Johnny also believes these things hurt his relationship with God.  This is another negative consequences of Johnny's actions.

If you call Johnny harming his relationship with God a "punishment," then Jamie is also "punished" when he hurts his relationship with Becky, his elders, or his friends.  It's therefore illogical to say that Johnny is motivated by punishment but not Jamie; both are harming their relationship with God and others.  Jamie and Johnny's disagreement on whether the former exists does not magically make it a punishment.

I can respect this answer, but I'd like to answer it in turn.

1) In your faith, in the grand scheme of things, to what extent are your personal relationships (that is, with flesh-and-blood, on-this-earth people) second-bananna to your relationship with god?  Isn't it more important to keep your relationship with god solid than with others, because of the hope for eternal bliss?  Is it not more desireable to foresake a human relationship in order to maintain/improve closeness with god?  Assuming that is true, I hold that "the god reason" is #1 in the aforementioned morality.  And god judges you when you die, to determine whether you're blessed or damned.  And yes, I do equate this roughly to the "santa clause" idiom you mentioned earlier.

2) Let's take an example that has as little affect on the perpetrator's relationship with others as possible.  Let's take stealing from a stranger you'll never see again, and you're as close to certain as you can be that you won't ever be caught.  Person A foregoes stealing because stealing is wrong, he knows this and believes it--and that's all there is to it.  Person B foregoes stealing because he knows it's a sin and it will damage his relationship with god, thus jeopardizing his place in heaven.  Is either of them "more good," "more moral," "more morally mature," however you choose to describe it?

3) Let's make this absolutely crazy, and answer jaimehlers' point (again, but in a different way).  Let's take someone who behaves exactly as the other two kids--but THIS one's motivation is deception.  He has read about a famous criminal (oh, Jack the Ripper?) and strives to emulate him someday.  He behaves as a perfect little angel all his life, planning to instill absolute trust in everyone he knows so that he'll be the last suspect in the world.  He scopes out his first target, and before he actually breaks any laws or commits any sin against anyone, he gets hit by a car and dies.  He has *behaved* morally by any reasonable person's definition, but for nefarious ends (which never came to fruition).  What's his story?  (I recognize this is a ridiculous corner case, but I feel it's an important one)
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
~jdawg70

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2012, 02:06:20 PM »
That's a valid response -- I thought of it, too, before I read your response -- but here's something else you need to consider: it is entirely possible to feel more lonely (or more despairing, or more regretful, etc etc etc) when you're in a relationship than when you're single.  If you truly don't realize this, count your blessings, no pun intended, because life has been very kind to you.
Your relationship with God (or lack thereof) is between you and God.  I've made no claims that having one will remove those feelings or lessen them.  That's up to individuals to address.

As a Christian, I believe God wants a relationship with everyone.  That's as far as my belief goes.  I'm not going to claim everyone wants one back, or will be happy in one, or anything else.  If you have a relationship with God, and it's making you feel negatively, then you might have issues to address or may need to dissolve the relationship.  It's not my say.  8)


1) In your faith, in the grand scheme of things, to what extent are your personal relationships (that is, with flesh-and-blood, on-this-earth people) second-bananna to your relationship with god?  Isn't it more important to keep your relationship with god solid than with others, because of the hope for eternal bliss?  Is it not more desireable to foresake a human relationship in order to maintain/improve closeness with god?
Perhaps it's that cut-and-dry for some, but not for me.  I actually had a major conflict along this line in the past year or two, and after weighing my options I decided to side with the personal relationship.  I'd rather not go into personal details, but suffice it to say I felt it was the right move.

It's not just God and us, there are other people in this world too, all with various beliefs and varying relationships (or lack thereof) with God.  Thus, in making decisions I must think of not only my own values and relationship with God, but also the values of others, where they are in their spiritual journey, my relationships with them, and how I can share my faith with others.  Sometimes this leads to choosing between doing the right thing for the wrong reasons vs. doing the wrong thing for the right reason.  And when that happens, I think morality begins to become more an art than a science.

It's also not just eternal life.  We are here on this Earth, and whether we agree on the reason (or whether there is one), as a Christian I must consider that Earthly life is not just Heaven's waiting room.  It's its own phenomenon, a one-time gift from God that can be developed to its fullest or wasted away.

So, to answer your questions:
- Both are important to me.  There's not a hard division of importance.
- Both eternal bliss and this world's relationships are important to me.  I must consider both.
- It's never desirable for me to forsake any relationship, human or God.

The caveat to that is if a human relationship is drawing me away from God, I should be asking whether that relationship is a good one for me to be pursuing.  Because if it's damaging my relationship with God, it's probably damaging my relationship with others as well.

Quote
2) Let's take an example that has as little affect on the perpetrator's relationship with others as possible.  Let's take stealing from a stranger you'll never see again, and you're as close to certain as you can be that you won't ever be caught.  Person A foregoes stealing because stealing is wrong, he knows this and believes it--and that's all there is to it.  Person B foregoes stealing because he knows it's a sin and it will damage his relationship with god, thus jeopardizing his place in heaven.  Is either of them "more good," "more moral," "more morally mature," however you choose to describe it?
Now we're getting into more abstract relationships, which requires a bit higher order thinking.  Neither of the two is particularly functioning on a high level here--A is operating blindly on an abstract belief ("Stealing is wrong so I won't steal") while B is thinking in terms of personal relationships and possibly consequences.  So it sounds like, from what you've written, that neither really understands why they shouldn't be stealing, only that they shouldn't.  If anything, I'd say that B sounds like he's putting a bit more reasoning into it.

Quote
He has *behaved* morally by any reasonable person's definition, but for nefarious ends (which never came to fruition).  What's his story?  (I recognize this is a ridiculous corner case, but I feel it's an important one)
I think he's immoral.  He was only behaving in a certain way so he could harm others in the worst way he was able.  That's pretty despicable, IMO.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Online jaimehlers

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5039
  • Darwins +578/-18
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2012, 02:48:15 PM »
When you can show that heaven/hell are tangible, you can argue that they're tangible benefits.  That's the whole point; people can't show that either exist, so therefore any rewards based on them effectively don't exist either.  Compare that to "be a good little boy and I'll give you a dollar", which is a tangible benefit.

Irreleveant.  If the "target" believes it to be true, it has the identical effect.  Just as if, in your example, I don't have a dollar to give you but promise it anway, you will be a good little boy to get it.
You're still not understanding my point, it seems, and it is completely relevant.  What do you think happens if I don't give a dollar to this hypothetical child after promising them it if they act good?  I think they would be much less likely to continue to act good, because they were only doing so for the reward, which proved to be false.  For that matter, if I do give them the dollar, they're more likely to continue to act good in the hopes of getting further rewards (at least when I can see them, anyway).

By comparison, if someone believes that heaven waits for them if they're a good Christian, they have no way to verify it, since by the time they could find out for sure, it's too late to do anything about it.  It doesn't matter that they believe it's true, because it isn't something tangible that they can verify is true.  The point being that it isn't the same thing at all.  I can prove that I have a dollar to give to the boy, say by showing it to him (or alternately, prove that I'm dishonest by breaking my word after the fact and not rewarding him); the Christian can't prove that heaven even exists.

To put it another way, there's very little practical difference between "acting good because it's the right thing to do" and "acting good because it's what God wants", because neither is tangible, but there's a very significant difference between both of them and "acting good because one will be rewarded for doing so".  Because the reward, whether it's money or a game or whatever, is tangible and can be confirmed.

Offline Boots

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1336
  • Darwins +100/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Living the Dream
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2012, 05:04:35 PM »
You're still not understanding my point, it seems, and it is completely relevant. 

I understand your point, I just disagree with it.  If you don't know I don't have a dollar to give, but you believe I do, you'll act as if I do--at least until you discover I lied.  Until that point, the reward is real.  Same thing for eternal bliss after you die, it's just not confirmable until it's too late.

And I *do* draw a distinction between "acting good" because it's good, and "acting good" to be close to god, because the only reason to be close to god is for eternal bliss--for reward that I believe to be the truest truth of all.

If you don't draw a distinction between this, then may I presume you disagree with Mooby, and you don't have a problem with acting good in order to eventually perform evil, like in my corner case?
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
~jdawg70

Offline HAL

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5017
  • Darwins +98/-17
  • Gender: Male
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2012, 05:19:56 PM »
As a Christian, I believe God wants a relationship with everyone. 

Really? He does? Well I'm now proclaiming I want a relationship with this god too.

How long before it contacts me Mooby?

P.S. - I now await the equivocation, further conditions, complications, additional requirements, etc.

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2012, 08:49:55 PM »
Really? He does? Well I'm now proclaiming I want a relationship with this god too.
Cool!  I hope it works out for you.

Quote
How long before it contacts me Mooby?
I don't know.  I suppose that's up to him.  Maybe you should give him a call so you can coordinate a time?
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.