Author Topic: Morality - for JDawg  (Read 285 times)

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Offline DrTerrapin

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Morality - for JDawg
« on: June 14, 2017, 05:52:59 PM »
Hi,

This thread is mostly for JDawg, but others can chip in as well.

In it, JDawg brought up an old thread about whether accepting the sacrifice of Christ, the Christian's basis for salvation, is a moral act.  You can read more here:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,28322.msg656262.html#msg656262

He also mentioned that he was a little let down I removed myself from the premises afterwards.  So, because jdawg seems like a nice guy and I wouldn't want to let him down, this thread is here to discuss said topic.

Here is the quote reproduced
The answer is kinda contained within the hypothetical, isn't it?  Let me edit your post and selectively bold the relevant parts:

Behold, humanity, you are rife with sin.  I am disappointed; so many have rejected my gift of salvation.  But I will try again - the wages of sin is death, but I wish to offer you salvation from this.  I present to you my One and Only Daughter, Julie Christ, and through her you may yet be saved.  In order to cleanse humanity of this sin, Julie Christ has offered to be tortured and to suffer death.

Salvation from sin can only be brought about through death of an innocent.  For any of my beloved children who wish to be saved - for those who truly desire to be in commune with me for all time - all you need to do is approach me and tell me with an earnest heart: "God, I truly wish for your grace and salvation.  Yes - Julie Christ should be tortured and die for my sins."

The question is: what is the moral evaluation of the person who approaches god and says "God, while I do truly and earnestly wish for your grace and salvation, I cannot do so.  I cannot allow an innocent person to take my place to pay for the wages of sin.  An innocent person should not suffer to pay for my debts.  My sin is my own, and I will pay the price."

So, in your words, the "moral evaluation" of the person who approaches god and says ... anything, really is the same as the moral evaluation of any other person - they are "rife with sin", they deserve death for their actions, and the only possible way out is for a willing innocent to take on their sins and die in their place.  This includes those who cannot allow an innocent person to take their place, and includes those who willingly allow someone to take their place.

I don't want to ascribe motive, but I can't help but feel there's a question behind this question... are you saying it's immoral to accept Jesus Christ's sacrifice?  Or are you saying it's more moral to reject that gift (assuming such a thing did take place, which you would probably reject as well) and pay the consequences? 

(I ask because I'm genuinely curious.)

Well that is what I'm saying, yeah.  It would be more moral to take ownership of one's transgressions than to willingly allow an innocent entity to take ownership of your transgressions for you.  I take it you disagree?  Perhaps you could directly address the hypothetical and the associated question.  If anything, that could help expose any holes or missing nuance in the hypothetical.

I hate for the answer to be 'I dunno,' but the answer kinda is 'I dunno.'  I mean, on one hand Christianity teaches that God himself so loved you that He sent His only son to die on your behalf to rescue you from the ravages of sin, so to reject that gift seems a mite prideful.  But on the other hand it could be a valid point, a refusal to accept an innocent sacrifice and to face the consequences yourself is at least understandable.  I guess I'd have to know the inner motivations of the person refusing the sacrifice to make a judgement call.  Sometimes Christians like to say things like 'I'm glad I'm not God, this would be a tough one to judge.'  That applies here.

I think, though, the point you're anticipating making is that such a person who did refuse the sacrifice for the moral reason and not the prideful reason didn't really deserve Hell in the first place, right?  I mean, how is it fair that a Christian who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus (or Julie I guess, in your framing) gets a ticket to funtimes in Heaven, while the poor ol' nonChristian has to spend eternity in Hell for taking the more moral choice?

Is that a fair framing of the question?  I'd kinda like to make sure it is before I continue.

Offline jetson

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2017, 06:56:20 PM »
Makes perfect sense to me. If I were a truly horrible person, how pathetic I would be to allow someone else to be sacrificed in my place. Among humans, if we cannot abide by laws, morals and ethics of the society we live in, in some cases we pay the price for our crimes through prison, and even the death sentence (which is itself immoral in my opinion). But allowing a "god" to cover for me? No thanks.

Of course, as an atheist the entire premise is dead on arrival because gods are not real in the first place.  ;D

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2017, 07:12:28 PM »
Makes perfect sense to me. If I were a truly horrible person, how pathetic I would be to allow someone else to be sacrificed in my place. Among humans, if we cannot abide by laws, morals and ethics of the society we live in, in some cases we pay the price for our crimes through prison, and even the death sentence (which is itself immoral in my opinion). But allowing a "god" to cover for me? No thanks.

Of course, as an atheist the entire premise is dead on arrival because gods are not real in the first place.  ;D

Agreed on all counts except the death penalty, but I can understand why people would be opposed to it.  I think the risk of allowing someone to be sacrificed in your place relieves people of responsibility and can lead to big problems.  That's why we might see so many poorly behaving Christians, because they believe in the saved by grace concept.  You also have the problem of people acting really arrogant, hurting people's feelings, etc. and not even being aware of it.  The Bible really isn't entirely clear on how you're saved either - is it by faith?  Faith and works?  That would need to be cleared up. 

I'm like you of course - I think the whole concept is made up, but if something like this did exist, you'd sure want to know exactly how you'd avoid hell.  There are so many differing opinions on how to get to heaven, what is heaven like, who goes, etc. that it raises too many red flags.  Wouldn't those things be communicated a bit more clearly?  You would think so.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 07:14:34 PM by YouCantHandleTheTruth »

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2017, 07:26:49 PM »
Well that is what I'm saying, yeah.  It would be more moral to take ownership of one's transgressions than to willingly allow an innocent entity to take ownership of your transgressions for you.  I take it you disagree?  Perhaps you could directly address the hypothetical and the associated question.  If anything, that could help expose any holes or missing nuance in the hypothetical.

I hate for the answer to be 'I dunno,' but the answer kinda is 'I dunno.'  I mean, on one hand Christianity teaches that God himself so loved you that He sent His only son to die on your behalf to rescue you from the ravages of sin, so to reject that gift seems a mite prideful.
In what way would that be prideful?  I don't understand what's prideful about that.  Perhaps we can try to look at a similar situation:
Bob Smith has just murdered his cousin Vinny.  Alice, Bob's former roommate and friend, has witnessed this.  In her efforts to help her friend, she offers to tell the police that she murdered Vinny, so that she will suffer the consequences of imprisonment, while Bob will not.  Bob need only tell Alice that he truly, genuinely, wants to accept Alice's offer to suffer the consequences of murdering Vinny.

a) Bob Smith, in absolute and complete and genuine honesty, tells Alice that yes, he truly, genuinely desires that Alice suffer the consequences of murdering Vinny.
b) Bob Smith, in absolute and complete and genuine honesty, tells Alice that no, he truly, genuinely does not desire that Alice suffer the consequences of murdering Vinny, but he is willing to allow that because he does not personally want to accept the consequences associated with murdering Vinny.
c) Bob Smith, in absolute and complete and genuine honesty, tells Alice that no, he truly, genuinely does not desire that Alice suffer the consequences of murdering Vinny, and he turns himself in to the police.

Do you think you'd be able to compare the relative morality/immorality of Bob Smith's possible decisions above?  Would you consider Bob Smith to be full of pride for rejecting Alice's offer?

Quote
But on the other hand it could be a valid point, a refusal to accept an innocent sacrifice and to face the consequences yourself is at least understandable.  I guess I'd have to know the inner motivations of the person refusing the sacrifice to make a judgement call.  Sometimes Christians like to say things like 'I'm glad I'm not God, this would be a tough one to judge.'  That applies here.
Let us just assume that the actual motivation is the person genuinely, with all their heart, honestly and truly does not want an innocent person to be held responsible and face the consequences of his/her own personal actions.

Quote
I think, though, the point you're anticipating making is that such a person who did refuse the sacrifice for the moral reason and not the prideful reason didn't really deserve Hell in the first place, right?
I suppose that would be related, depending on whether or not one believes the whole 'hell' thing exists and on exactly what the nature of this 'hell' thingie really is.

But honestly, DrTerrapin, I am asking for pretty much what I had originally typed.  Let's separate the whole reward/punishment thing and just talk about the moral evaluation of the person we're talking about - unless "moral evaluation" is synonymous with "reward and/or punishment"?  Is that the case?

Quote
I mean, how is it fair that a Christian who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus (or Julie I guess, in your framing) gets a ticket to funtimes in Heaven, while the poor ol' nonChristian has to spend eternity in Hell for taking the more moral choice?
What if we replaced 'poor ol' nonChristian' with 'Julie Christ' in the above?  From the scenario I was describing, there was no other poor ol'nonChristian involved in the discussion.  It was just the person and Julie Christ.  That's it.

Quote
Is that a fair framing of the question?  I'd kinda like to make sure it is before I continue.
That's a way to frame the question, but really I'm not all that interested in how people respond to promises of reward or threats of punishment.  I have a rough idea of how that works already, more or less.  We're talking about morality here, not any manner of financial transaction.  Those are different, right?
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 06:17:13 PM »
I hate for the answer to be 'I dunno,' but the answer kinda is 'I dunno.'  I mean, on one hand Christianity teaches that God himself so loved you that He sent His only son to die on your behalf to rescue you from the ravages of sin, so to reject that gift seems a mite prideful.

Hmmm, like rejecting the gift from Allah might be a "bit prideful"?   Of course, there's no more reason to believe a Muslim than you, so your claim here is based on as much evidence as a Muslim has: none. 

How "innocent" is a sacrifice required by the god who made the rules?   This god could have said "hey, believe in me and we're good, no bloody murder needed to sate my bloodlust."


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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2017, 03:49:45 AM »
Well that is what I'm saying, yeah.  It would be more moral to take ownership of one's transgressions than to willingly allow an innocent entity to take ownership of your transgressions for you.  I take it you disagree?  Perhaps you could directly address the hypothetical and the associated question.  If anything, that could help expose any holes or missing nuance in the hypothetical.

I hate for the answer to be 'I dunno,' but the answer kinda is 'I dunno.'  I mean, on one hand Christianity teaches that God himself so loved you that He sent His only son to die on your behalf to rescue you from the ravages of sin, so to reject that gift seems a mite prideful.  But on the other hand it could be a valid point, a refusal to accept an innocent sacrifice and to face the consequences yourself is at least understandable.  I guess I'd have to know the inner motivations of the person refusing the sacrifice to make a judgement call.  Sometimes Christians like to say things like 'I'm glad I'm not God, this would be a tough one to judge.'  That applies here.

As jdawg has said, the point is whether it is morally sound to let an innocent party take the consequences for your own actions, regardless of how much they may be prepared to do so.

To me, accepting that offer is not humility, but rather cowardice.  If we assume that the penalty will be equivalent no matter who suffers the consequences, then absolutely no - how on earth COULD I justify someone else suffering on my behalf for something I have done? 

To refuse that seems the absolute opposite of pride - to not say, pridefully "well, I guess I AM worth enough to be able to have no comeback for my actions", but to say, humbly, "yes, I deserve what I get - I will accept the consequences".  The prideful response, if anything, is to accept the offer, as that implies that you are somehow worth more than the person making it.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline penfold

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2017, 03:58:07 AM »
I think, though, the point you're anticipating making is that such a person who did refuse the sacrifice for the moral reason and not the prideful reason didn't really deserve Hell in the first place, right?  I mean, how is it fair that a Christian who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus (or Julie I guess, in your framing) gets a ticket to funtimes in Heaven, while the poor ol' nonChristian has to spend eternity in Hell for taking the more moral choice?

Is that a fair framing of the question?  I'd kinda like to make sure it is before I continue.

I think there is a domain confusion here. If the orthodox view in Christianity were that salvation was simply a matter of moral behaviour then (a) refusing to accept the life of an innocent in exchange for your own would be antithetical to salvation and (b) accepting Jesus' sacrifice would not be necessary for salvation (as someone could enter the kingdom of heaven on the merits of thier own behaviour).

However the orthodox view (ever since Augustine and the Pelegian controversy[1]) is that salvation is to do with faith. Faith is a separate domain from morality. The accepting of Jesus' sacrifice is about faith not morality.

Though, to be honest I still find the theory of the atonement next to impossible to take seriously (especially when looking at the history of the early church[2] - they were just making it up as they went along!)

 1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b010dstl
 2. Good account in: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002TJLEUK/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
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Offline jetson

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2017, 06:58:37 AM »
It's the never-ending saga of the early Hebrews and their relationship with YHWH - where in the Old Testament, salvation is not a thing that I am aware of. The Hebrews of the OT were going through King after King in their attempts to live in the chosen land, all the while making YHWH angry, then happy, then angry, then happy, ad nauseum...

I'm no expert by any stretch, but I am currently finishing a college course called "Intro to the Old Testament". It has been fascinating and eye-opening for me. But one thing it has not been is a narrative about any connection to "Jesus", implied or otherwise. Throw in the "Jesus is also God" idea and you're even more lost. A mess, to be blunt. And a mess that no early Jew/Hebrew would have been even remotely thinking about.

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2017, 10:15:08 AM »
You also have to take into account that Jesus did not die for you personally. He died to make God's plan work, and you only have responsibility for 1/billionth of Jesus' death, and being a helpless pawn of God's plan. Remember that if you don't take the offer, you burn for eternity.
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Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2017, 11:25:00 AM »
Quote
I hate for the answer to be 'I dunno,' but the answer kinda is 'I dunno.'  I mean, on one hand Christianity teaches that God himself so loved you that He sent His only son to die on your behalf to rescue you from the ravages of sin, so to reject that gift seems a mite prideful.  But on the other hand it could be a valid point, a refusal to accept an innocent sacrifice and to face the consequences yourself is at least understandable.  I guess I'd have to know the inner motivations of the person refusing the sacrifice to make a judgement call.  Sometimes Christians like to say things like 'I'm glad I'm not God, this would be a tough one to judge.'  That applies here.

Think about this paragraph for a minute though.   God is all powerful, right?   But throughout the Bible, God can't forgive people for even things like "impure thoughts" without burnt offerings and animal sacrifice.  Then, God sent his "son" but really "himself" to die as a perfect sacrifice... to himself I guess?   So that God could forgive us.   Isn't God all powerful?

But there are conditions.   You must love Jesus.  (how do you love someone you've never met or spoken with?  do you love George Washington?)   You must believe that Jesus had supernatural powers to rise from the dead, even though nobody since has demonstrated anything like that.  You must accept an invisible, odorless, undetectable spirit into the muscle in your body that pumps blood.

Even if I was walking out into the street, about to be hit by a bus... and a gentleman ran over and shoved me out of the way and was killed.   I'd feel amazed that he sacrificed his life for me, I'd feel thankful.  And even if I got to know what this guy was like through is friends or family or a diary...  would I "love him"?   The way I love someone that I actually know, and can actually have a back and forth relationship with?

Christians talk about having a relationship with Jesus, but, it's a 1 way communication.   There is no back and forth... it's you, praying... and getting no response, and trying to shoehorn coincidences into the response field... like, you pray, and, the wind blows on a windy day, so, you feel like that's Jesus.  (or something... stars, a sunrise, a feeling, whatever)

But in the case where I can be saved from an oncoming bus.
1 - I can see the bus.
2 - I can see the danger and likely outcome.
3 - I can see the person saving me.
4 - I can see their dead body after the bus hits them.

In the case of Jesus being an innocent sacrifice for us... who did he save us from?   God created people according to your view right?   And God knew everything that would ever happen right?   And God is all powerful right?    So God is responsible for the human condition... and responsible for any consequences. 

In your scenario, God is the BUS.   He could hit the breaks, he could turn the wheel, he could leap the bus magically into the air... but, instead, he chooses to impregnate himself into a teenage girl, who gives birth to a boy who grows up and shoves me out of the way of the bus.    Also, the bus is invisible, you never see or feel it, and, you never see the guy save you from the bus.

It's just not reasonable at all to hinge eternal life on this... and, if I know that, why wouldn't a being much smarter than me know it?

Quote
I think, though, the point you're anticipating making is that such a person who did refuse the sacrifice for the moral reason and not the prideful reason didn't really deserve Hell in the first place, right?  I mean, how is it fair that a Christian who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus (or Julie I guess, in your framing) gets a ticket to funtimes in Heaven, while the poor ol' nonChristian has to spend eternity in Hell for taking the more moral choice?

Is that a fair framing of the question?  I'd kinda like to make sure it is before I continue.

You'd have to even get to that question too.   God would have to be provably real.  The consequences would have to be provably defined.  Jesus would have to be provably real and provably done miracles.   You'd have to be able to have some kind of actual relationship with Jesus (and not just claim that you do, but get no meaningful responses).

But beyond that, yes, it seems like God himself is the threat that Jesus supposedly saved sinners from... and Jesus is God...

Why wouldn't God just... I dunno, be empathetic?   Maybe physically show himself and make his will clear, and why?

And if you try to say "the Bible is clear"... please consider the arguments between all the different denominations and people killed over those confusions for the last 2,000 years.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Morality - for JDawg
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2017, 09:00:39 AM »
The whole xian deal is a fudged up mess.  The "sacrificing himself to himself to forgive his own rules" part was covered.  But there is still the idea of getting into heaven, the place reserved only for good people, without having to be a good person.  It still boggles my mind.  In xianity, the only grace is cheap grace.  It's designed to be easy and appeal to the lazy and selfish.

I've written about bodhisatvas here before and explained why they are better people than any xian you will ever find.  They are buddhists to promise to not enter nirvana - Buddhist heaven - until everyone can enter.  They commit to the cycle of rebirth to help everyone attain enlightenment.  With xians, it's every man for himself and "I got mine, Jack, so y'all can go to hell."  It's a shit philosophy.
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