Gary Childress wrote: ↑Sun Oct 17, 2021 12:58 am
I believe in God. And I believe God is good. I'm just not 100% sure of too much else.
Well, that's an awfully good start, Gary. Deciding that we matter to God, and that there CAN be some meaning, purpose or answer behind reality is really the start of wisdom...certainly Biblically speaking, that's so.
Have you read them, Gary?
I read the Gita, which is probably Hinduism's most sacred book. And to tell you the truth, I found the poetry in it quite elegant. It's ethics, however, were rather the opposite of anything one reads in the Bible. And that means that one has to make a choice, really: for when two views are in direct contradiction to one another, no more than one can actually be right.
I figure the 10 Commandments are probably a good starting point for following the word of God. And I think through Jesus Christ we learn the word and will of God as well.
A realization of the authority of the Law of God, and of the specialness of Christ...those are great steps in the right direction too, Gary.
But when the word of God/Christ goes through interpreters and second-hand witnesses, then I believe some care may be needed.
Yes. Care is always a good thing.
Not that the interpreters and witnesses lie or intentionally mislead but I think God speaks differently or perhaps sounds different to different folks based on who we are, what we do, and stuff like that.
And interesting idea...but it seems to me not quite fully formed yet. I'm not quite sure what it means to say "differently." I think it's certainly true that the Creator, if as I believe He desires relationship with his creatures, wants our relationship to be as individuals
. Were it not so, why would He have made us so unique, so different from one another? Why wouldn't He instead have made a kind of creature that was more the same, like a zebra in a herd of zebras looks the same as all the others. So it seems obvious that God desires to relate to Gary as Gary
, not as merely a specimen of the human variety.
And that's pretty encouraging: because it means that God intended that there should be a Gary. He wants there to be a Gary.
And, again, it's not to give free license to any and all behavior. I believe there is such a thing as right and wrong but not all people are exactly in the same place in life.
Well, some things are surely "right" and "wrong" all the time, right? Like, it's always right to be merciful or charitable, and always wrong to, say, harm children or conspire against one's neighbours. But I think it's certainly true that not all people face the same challenges, and we all do have to work out the implications of moral rights and wrongs in the circumstances of our individual challenges.
So there's an inescapable individuality to that side of moral reflection. We may know the larger principles, such as "Do not steal," say; but what it means to "steal" in the practical situation of one's own life is something one has to consider carefully. Moral universals and moral particulars aren't necessarily at odds; but coordinating them certainly takes some individual discernment.
I actually think you're thinking about these things in a very reasonable way, Gary. You might not feel you have all your conclusions fully formed yet, and I can see a measure of second-guessing of yourself in the way you word things; but I think the above are pretty good leads in the right direction, and perhaps you can trust that a little more than perhaps you've tended to think.