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Old 04-16-2008, 08:00 PM   #51
Achilles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Just it may or may not be true. It's not a dogmatic thing to me on either side whether someone who hasn't at this point entered into a relationship with God is or is not loved by God.
I understand the argument that the nature of god is unknowable. What I don't understand are the subsequent arguments that presume to know god's nature (i.e. that he is in omnibenevolent in one camp and not in another, etc). Again, it seems like people wanting to have it both ways and doing so at the expense of intellectual honesty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Some theologians. And others not.
No doubt. Like any subject, there isn't likely to be consensus amongst the experts. I guess my question is: why is a petty god that plays favorites worthy of our worship? I can only assume that theologians and apologists have run into the same problem, hence why so many of them tend toward the omnibenevolence track that you have rightly cast aside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
And hopefully they'll be better off for facing their doubts. That's really the only way a person can make their faith their own. And it's really not until you've come out the other end of doubt that you can be said to have faith at all. (I differentiate faith from belief in this. Faith is trust. Belief is intellectual assent. Intellectually believing that a chair will hold your mass is a different thing than trusting your weight to it).
I still don't understand the thinking that congratulates accepting conclusions without evidence or in the face of contradictory evidence. *shrugs*

If I were to say that my life has been enriched by my faith in invisible pink unicorns, I doubt anyone would take me seriously. However if change the subject of that sentence to god, then suddenly you can get a doctorate degree in the subject from some accredited colleges and universities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
That's why it's best to be extremely lenient what you advocate for other people's actions to be or how you judge them, and go with the stricter standard in regards to oneself. At least that's the way I try to see things.
I am afraid that doesn't answer my question. The statement was "I live my life as though [the bible] was the word of god". You seem to concede that the original content of the bible is unknown and raised the point yourself that the document we have today has been subject to numerous translations, scribal errors, politically-motivated revisions, etc. I'm not sure what happens inside the black box that allows one to put questionable material in one end and get "the word of god" out of the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Often. Though there are certain near universals that most major groups agree on.
So what criteria are those major groups using to deterimine those universals? Both the bible and the quran tell us to kill people that from opposing faiths. Both the bible and the quran tell us to be accepting of people different than us. Somehow most of us manage to determine that one of these messages is "better" than the other, even though the source for both message is the same. Clearly then we aren't using that source as a criteria for making that decision. Do you see my point?

So why bother? If we are capable of making moral judgements independent of our holy texts, then why not just make moral judgements without our holy texts? You can't argue that you might miss something important because you've clearly already accepted that ignoring certain parts is okay. You're already taking the risk. Once again it comes back to intellectual honesty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Because my faith in God has and does bring increased meaning to my life.
You have already indicated that you conclusions about god are pretty much independently derived. You don't have the catholic version of god per se, nor do you have the baptist version or the mormon version, etc.

So what you have is some custom idea of god that you've developed yourself. So let's be honest here and acknowledge that the ideals you have set forth for yourself bring increased meaning to your life, not "god". In this respect my friend, you are absolutely no different than any athiest I have ever met, save the fact you still feel the need to believe in some external referee. The only difference between you, me, and a devout catholic is that the catholic has accepted a pre-packaged set of beliefs produced by someone else, you've created your own and decided to call it "god" and I've created my own without any such labels.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well the one thing I keep coming back to is grace. <snip>
While I do appreciate you sharing that with me, I have to point out that it's unrelated to the point that I was making.

Valid points about humility aside, I still argue that religion is a fundamentally "all or nothing" proposition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Perhaps in terms of doctrine. Not to me in terms of actions matching their beliefs.
I disagree. You might not agree with literalists, but you can't say that they aren't literal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I haven't tried to be dishonest.
Apologies if I inadvertently offered an offense. I did not mean "dishonest" in the "liar liar pants on fire"/"deceitful slouch" sense. Rather, I sought to point out that one has to be honest with one's self to understand my points. Unfortunately, so long as one maintains "faith" such honesty isn't possible, as "faith" is the willfull act of lying to one's self.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I largely entered this discussion because I didn't like the either or presented in the video and thought best to include enough of my own approach within Christianity to show that there is a vast segment to whom the guy in the video's thought process is largely irrelevant, though not wholely off the mark.
I still think you've missed the point of his video. And dispite your protests, I still argue that his points apply to you as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I disagree with the word "just." There is no mandate for a culture war.
I could spend the rest of the day quoting chapter and verse, however I'll just provide the one example for now:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuteronomy 17:3-5
And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.
Deuteronomy and Leviticus are a great resource for those wanting to learn more about god's ground rules for dealing with people with different beliefs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Specific examples you're refering to?
Same as above; there are too many to list here, but here's my favorite:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew 10:34-37
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Personally what do I think? <snip>
I'm afraid this doesn't answer the question. If the NT is the "ground rules" then what is the OT? I tried to anticipate your response by tacking on that 2nd question about the parts of NT that support the OT, however you seemed to ignore that part and argue that the NT was a break with the past anyway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I haven't denied that anybody does a certain amount of that either consciously or unconsciously. But I do it to apply to my own life, or answer what I think when asked. Not all of them are willing to return the courtesy of leaving it at personal application. They betray a major principle to push a more minor one.
Unfortunately the only response I can think to craft is one that you quoted here. I think my previous argument still applies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Orders from God to kill us? That doesnt' appear in the new testament any where, and I certainly don't recall seeing it as a general kill everyone thing in the old testament.
I quoted the applicable passage earlier. Yes, it is from the OT. No, that does not make a difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Actually, I look at if people use their faith primarily as personal application, or as a weapon or tool to control others as my main criteria. My main complaint against most fundamentalists and fundamentalist groups isnt' that they're fundamentalists. It's that they've thrown out the spirit of their interpretation of God's word for it's letter.
The point I raised, but unfortunately isn't acknowledged here, is that their choice to do so stems from their interpretation.

You interpret. They interpret. If you don't like their interpretation, that's fine, but you don't get to cry foul because they are guilty of interpretting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
There's a twin danger. You point out that I get "murky" and cherry pick in that I don't look at as a letter of the law thing. There may be some justification to that. I'm more concerned with the opposite danger, and from my understanding a greater sin and does harm to more people.
And this, in turn, goes back to my point about criteria for selection. Clearly you're using some criteria other than the bible itself to determine which parts are good, which are bad, which should be accepted and which should be abandoned. If you know the source is unreliable, why do you continue to use it? The advances in moral philosophy that have taken place in the 2000 years since the NT was drafted don't meet some set of standards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
People get more legalistic when they look for loopholes to excuse their own behavior and justify not giving others a benefit of the doubt. It does happen that people get legalistic for good reasons, but that's not the norm. As a society, we've lost our ability to differentiate between what is good, and what is our role? Should an organization do something that is good, if in the process it compromises it's role or capability of fulfilling its purpose which is a greater good?
All great points. The argument that some people use the bible to behave like jerks probably has some merit, but so does the argument that some people act like jerks because they are trying to do what the bible tells them to do. My point was that it is easier for me to understand the thought process of these individuals than it is to make heads or tails of the thought process that goes into "moderate" or "liberal" theism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I have nothing wrong with people who live by a literal interpretation of the bible as far as personal application goes. I do, however, think that the whole cultural movement often do more harm than good by focusing on the political at the expense of the spiritual. <snip>
I agree with what you are saying, however I would like to suggest that there is an angle that you might be missing your analysis. Fundamentalists take a look at passages that discuss the penalties for wickedness and see cause for "legitimate" concern (I use quotations because it is genuinely legitimate to them, however others might not agree). So it may be that it's a play for power for power's sake, or it may also be that their motivations are more altruistic (from certain perspectives).

For example, I often think of these "clashes of ideology" like two groups of people trapped in a boat on the ocean. Unfortunately, one of these groups believe it is their moral duty to drill a hole through the bottom of the boat. Quite understandably, this is rather distressing to the other group.

To me, theists represent the group that likes to put holes in things however I can very easily understand that the opposite is true for theists (they see people like me as the ones doing the drilling). The difference is perspective. Of course, I will argue that reality is on my side, however that matters little so long as the "other group" believes that reality is on their side (nevermind that their reality has no evidence and is therefore a product of their imaginations).

The rest of your comments here don't address the point I raised for reasons I have explained elsewhere, so I snipped them for length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I resist emotional manipulation from within Christian groups too. Don't get offended that I don't think highly of it.
*shrugs* I'm not sure how you're taking "emotional manipulation" out of what has been a series of arguments built almost entirely on reason. I'm really struggling with how to reconcile that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Whether a Christian is protestant or catholic, they believe they are called to faith, if they are serious about their religious beliefs at all.<snip>
I promise that I'm not intentionally being obtuse, but I really don't understand how this is related. Would you mind coming at it from another angle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
What is gained in undercutting the faith in the relationships that matter to you?
If you're in a boat and your neighbors are trying to drill a hole in the bottom, then I imagine there is quite a bit to be gained (or perhaps it would be more approriate to say "lost"). The point of the analogy is to point out that "personal" beliefs can (and do) have very real consequences for the population.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I just didn't find them compelling and I found them to be manipulative.
Yes, using the literal definition of the word, the video was manipulative. The author is intentionally attempting to manipulate people in to thinking critically about their beliefs. I don't think that's the message you were trying to convey though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I think you advocate that religion and faith are dangerous, just like the video said the creator of the video believed as well. Was I wrong in this assumption or do you invest so much effort in disproving all faiths because it's a matter you're indifferent about?
Nope, you hit the nail on the head, but what this doesn't tell me what you assume that means in a broader sense. Your exact comment was: "I look at my life and beliefs, and conclude that life such as you advocate would be largely meaningless."

Without knowing what you assume I advocate as it relates specifically to "life" it's tough for me to know where to start. If it saves us time, I'll simply offer up that what I do advocate probably aligns the closest with Humanism. So if you think that living morally because it is right to do so and not because an invisible man is keeping score so that I can get a reward later (or avoid punishment) would make life "meaningless", I guess I'll need your help understanding why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Then my beliefs would be wrong. I've already said that I am not that worried.<snip>
I don't get that though. One of the many possible consequenses is ETERNITY ROASTING IN A LAKE OF FIRE!! With this in mind, please do not begrudge me if I find your cavalier attitute more than a little alarming. Have you really thought this through? Like, all the way? It doesn't seem as though you have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
There have been a lot of people that have gone that direction with it. That is true. I try to never take a defeatist direction in that in that our effort has to have been planned for as well. And both crappy and good things happen all the time.
Sir, this response entirely dodges my point. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't have predestination AND free will. You can't have a god that loves and protects *some* people and one that allows good and bad things to happen to bad and good people randomly. At some point, you have to come down on one side of the fence or the other. Or not, but we don't get to call the third option the product of critical thinking.

I'm going to end here with an apology for the length and my sincere thanks for the conversation. Take care.
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