Harbal wrote: ↑
Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:26 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: ↑
Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:48 pm
Harbal wrote: ↑
Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:46 pm
The belief in God and that he wills you to act in a certain way is a subjective judgement, otherwise we would all believe it.
There's no reason to expect that. There are plenty of facts that are facts, but many or even most people do not believe. A thing can be objectively true regardless of the number of people who know it is.
No, I didn't put that very well, did I? I'll try again: If I believe in the conscience, and that it has moral authority, and you believe in God, also having moral authority, what is the difference between our beliefs as far as objectivity/subjectivity is concerned?
Oh, that's a different question. Sorry I misunderstood.
But there's still an important difference. For the conscience may well be like a defective fire alarm -- going off when there's really no "fire," or not going off when there is one. "Right and wrong" would still objectively exist; it would only be our ability to detect them that would be flawed. And I think it's pretty clear that we humans, being fallible, cannot always trust our consciences, in this respect. Much of the time they may be right; but not all the time. In such cases, we don't know whether to respond to the conscience or not. It can mislead us.
But if there is a God, then the "fire" is objectively present; and to that fact, it matters not whether or not the "alarm" is sounding. Our conscience may have fallen asleep, but if there's objective wrong present, or objective right, then they are still what they are. The fault then would simply be with our consciences.
But did you ever ask yourself what a "conscience" actually is,
No, not with any expectation of coming up with a conclusive answer. Did you ever ask yourself what God actually is?[/quote]
Constantly. It's the question of the most intense interest to me. I do know some things about Him, but there is SO much more to know. And, well, how could it be otherwise, with an infinite Being?
"Religion" is merely a set of traditions of human invention, man's attempt to know the gods, but on man's terms.
But surely, believing in God tells you nothing beyond "the fact" of his existence. [/quote]
Right you are. That would be merely to state a formal proposition, like "China exists," even if I know nothing more about China. That's the difference between knowing about God's existence,
on the one hand, and knowing God
on the other: the latter is more than factual head-knowledge, it's personal relationship, dynamics, or as we might say, living
Unless you construct a story around that "fact" and call it a religion how do you know what its implications are, or that it actually has any?
Why must we construct such a story? If a Supreme Being exists (let's just hypothesize here), how would we imagine it would be hard for such a One to issue his own directives as to what we ought to believe and do? It seems to me that if we are already prepared to attribute to such a Being the ability to create a universe, including human beings who speak and communicate every day, it couldn't possibly be problematic for the Creator of all that to do the same, could it?
I believe the Sun exists and that it is essential to our existence but I don't feel I am under any obligation to do anything about it.
True. And with the Sun, that's enough...even though we couldn't live a second without it being there. But as I suggest above, that's not what "knowing" God means.
I know of no one, however, who has genuinely entered into a relationship with God and then has "lost their faith." If you know of one, I'd be interested in hearing about that.
I'm sorry, IC, but I think you're trying to slip another version of the "no true Scotsman" malarkey past me, stop cheating.
Not at all. I'm just asking you how you would say so confidently that you know of the opposite case...people who have had their faith and lost it. And I point out the difficulty of really detecting what another person believes. So the "Scotsman" is in your earlier claim, really, if he's anywhere. I just ask how you managed to recognize him as a "Scot" in the first place.
We do, however, have a remarkable ability to "get over" the annoyances of conscience when we find incentives strong enough. If it were not so, all people would be conscientious and moral. However, the responsibility we have to God is not something that can be "gotten over."
Come on now, IC, people are just as inventive at rationalising their way round the will of God as they are their own conscience.
Again, which "people"? Human beings in general? Yes, I agree. But to be a Christian is to know God, not merely to follow conscience (though that should be part of it, of course). Really, it's about a relationship one enters into with the Creator.
Christ Himself spoke of it. He calls it, in John 3, being "born from above." (sometimes translated, "born again": the implication is pretty much the same either way). The idea if of the reconstitution of the person as related to God, not merely the "being good" of the person by the conscience. And in that new relationship, everything depends really on what God does from His side, not the reinvigorated efforts of the human person to "come up to" a religious standard of goodness whereby he attempts to ingratiate himself to God and earn
his position. (The latter attempt is really what is meant by "religion.")
An over-rated quality, I do believe. (self esteem)
I'm not sure I'd call it a quality but the lack of it can cause problems. I think the dangers of underestimating its value are greater than those of over-rating it.
Debatable. As I say, lots of evil people have great self-esteem. I think Stalin was not short on it. Or Kim Jong Un. Likewise, the Hillary and Donald Trump haters, for all their complaints, never seem to say that those two candidates' real problem has been "a lack of self-esteem."
I was talking about the type of self esteem that emanates from doing the right thing, which, admittedly, is not latent in everyone.
That's the problem, though. "Self-esteem" isn't a good indicator of good judgment or good behaviour. All it may
mean (and certainly does, in some cases) is that the person in question, in addition to his misdeeds, has added "pride" to the list of his sins.
The sermons of Jesus Christ, for example, while morally profound and capable of provoking two thousand years of debate by some of the greatest scholars on the planet (Bacon, Newton, Locke, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, etc....to say nothing of the theologians), are on the surface so straightforward that a rural first-century audience could understand them. So I would say the difficulty isn't as great as all that.
Well I am aware of the paraphrased version of some of the teachings of Jesus and I don't need to believe he was the son of God to be able to see the value in them but I don't have the patience to go to the raw Bible version.
I think you'd be astonished about how easy they are, if you did. How easy, and yet how profound. But whether or not you'll choose to do that is always up to you, of course. I just think it would make a big difference to how you see Jesus Christ. He's not difficult for anyone to understand, just difficult to deal with when you do.
It's really quite a marvel of accessible writing, when you look at it.
I can only ask you to trust me when I say that I don't find it so.
It's hard to judge what one doesn't want to read, though, isn't it?