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We can identify the symptoms that are caused by the disease.  The disease is "sin" and the symptoms are "sins". But this view is based on objective, moral truth.  If you don't believe that there is objective moral truth but instead believe that truth is relative, then it probably won't be productive to continue the discussion.

This portion of the discussion based on my curiosity about how you rationalize a vague, subjective idea and apply it as a factual concept. I'm curious how you do this, as opposed to how I did this, and the many Christians who have explained to me how they do it. Obviously I don't agree with you that there exists an objective moral "truth" based on your belief it exists. It's a fairly well-established fact that moral ideas evolve according to various conditions (such as the history and knowledge a society has, exposure to other ideas, etc).

You're not going to accept my argument because it goes against your core belief. When one's belief is more important for personal reasons, new information will be naturally discarded. It's part of cognitive dissonance, another well-supported understanding. As Sam Harris says, “If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide that proves they should value evidence. If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument would you invoke to prove they should value logic?” There is none that I know of, so I don't believe this to be a discussion of mutual exchange of ideas, simply because you have to guard your belief against conflicting ideas.

So no, this isn't a logical discussion or a mutual exchange of information and ideas, but I appreciate your personal explanations, and I suspect this is interesting for others reading as well.

But it is not defined by "making someone feel bad."  If you have a huge zit on your face, and you ask me if you look ok before you go out into public, and I am truthful with you and say "albeto, you have a big zit on your face," I would actually be doing something good for you but it could hurt your feelings.  Critical thinking would lead you to see that sin cannot be defined by making someone feel bad.

That sounds reasonable enough. So how do you defined "sin"?

Ok, you are mistaken, the Christian concept of "sin" is not "really a matter of articulating when one person feels violated in some way, be it emotionally, physically, etc."  There is the disease of sin, which infects every human and causes them to be tainted with being less than they could be.  The doctrine of Total Depravity doesn't mean that someone is as evil and mean as they could be but rather that their reason and intellect is not perfect.  The nature of man rebels against God (which is evident in this forum).  Ultimately, whatever one does to harm someone else is not only a sin against that person but also a sin against God, the one who created that person and to whom that person belongs. 

I think you're using the word "disease" incorrectly. We understand diseases to be an explanation for why a body organ, part, structure, or system is not correctly functioning. We know Parkinson's is a disease because we know what the healthy neurological process looks like. There is no such standard for human behavior, and even you Christians cannot agree with what "sin" is.

The homeless are evidences of man's sin, not evidence of a lack of God's existence nor of a capricious, malevolent, heartless God. I've volunteered at several homeless shelters for the past couple of years.  Most of the people in the ones I help with made bad choices - usually drugs.  A few are there because someone in their life made bad choices - abuse, drugs, alcohol, etc.  Humans are not entitled to any blessings, so I'm not sure why people seem to think that just because God allows some to suffer more than others that He is unjust. When we look upon others who suffer and it causes something in us to say "This is not right!", then that is evidence that instilled in mankind is the absolute moral truth of what is wrong and what is right, which leads one to the concept of sin and righteousness.

That's a very religiously inspired distraction from the point I made. You gave as evidence of God, "nature." I maintain that nature is morally neutral, and there is no evidence to suggest it is manipulated by some super-natural mechanism. You talk about people making choices within the paradigm of nature, but people making choices doesn't address the concept of nature being evidence of God.

So let's pretend I have no idea what God is. If you are a lawyer and I am on the jury, could you argue that nature provides evidence of this God? Would should your argument be better than another Christians'?

The moral and ethical and just plane intellectual offenses of blaming the victim, and ignoring the many circumstances that better explain one's existence in a shelter or mansion, I'll ignore. Just for the sake of assuming you wish to maintain a compassionate character to others, I'll let you know that this comment is arrogant, and patronizing, and as capricious and offensive as the very "sin" you wish to believe God has fixed in you.

You would just have to know the people that I am talking about. 

That's the nice thing about research. It takes into consideration your personal experiences, and does this hundreds and thousands of times, across various scenarios with unrelated people. So you can believe that God changes people, but your personal experiences don't conform with what we know to be true.

Giving your love is always on faith.  You give with the faith that it will be received and reciprocated.

Not at all. People learn how to judge others according to certain characteristics. Those who possess characteristics we find admirable are people we choose to spend our time with. Those who possess characteristics we don't admire, or those we find distasteful, we tend to avoid. We don't just choose one person to love, have faith that they won't betray or hurt us, hold our breaths and hope for the best. We "fall in love" with people we admire for a variety of reasons, and when those affections are returned, we confirm a pattern of habit. This "faith" as you call it, is really a matter of predicting a likely outcome to a novel scenario, but this prediction is based on evidence. In other words, it's an educated guess, not blind trust.

Often people find out more about the ones they love after they have already fallen in love.  Most Christians know very little theology when they come to Christ.  They know they are sinners who need forgiving and that Jesus died for them so that they could be forgiven.  Beyond that, they usually can't tell you very much, but they have all the information they need to make a good choice.

Yes, you Christians certainly do a good job of convincing people they have a disease so you can share with them a cure (one that tends to cost money and encourages subservience and obedience, how convenient, right?). Interestingly, outside your religion, this "knowledge" would never be discovered. If all the information about your religion were to be wiped clean from the planet, a new religion would likely surface, but it wouldn't be yours. It wouldn't be anything like yours. It wouldn't contain any of the "truths" you believe are universal.  If, on the other hand, all scientific knowledge were to be wiped from the planet, humans would eventually make the same discoveries. This explains why humans had discovered and applied things like agriculture and husbandry all across the globe before knowledge of each other's existence, but your Christ was completely unknown to the Americas before 1492.

Peace and grace.

While I appreciate the gesture, your God is offensive to me. If he does exist, and you communicate with him in some way, I would request that you ask him instead to extend this grace and peace to someone who could use it more. There are millions of them, many under the age of 5 alone.

Changed Change Reason Date
12 Monkeys I admire your determination December 29, 2013, 11:53:19 PM
xyzzy well said December 29, 2013, 11:13:44 PM