Faith (Religion)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 19:21 (84 days ago) @ dhw


TONY: No, I meant what I said, not what you believe. The thing about 'assured expectation' is that it is assured.

dhw: Then perhaps you should tell us what you expect so assuredly that it becomes a matter of learning and not of believing.

TONY: If you choose faith in blind chance, then we are all meat sacks of chemical soup ...'You' are not really 'you', ...Even the concept of 'you' is an illusion. You have no objective value, ... no intrinsic value beyond how they excite your chemical soup. All life, including your own, is a random, purposeless event. Behave however you like, do whatever you want, how you want, to whom you want, because 'you' don't 'want' anything...

DHW: ... Even if I am a bunch of chemicals, I consider myself and other people to be real, not illusory. We know of no “objective” values, but I do not need to believe in any God in order to do what I believe is “good” ... You go on to speak of death ... For me it is the very transience of life that makes every moment precious and full of meaning. Is the love of your family and friends not worth anything to you unless there is something bigger than you? [..]

TONY: There is a disconnect between humans and humanity and life when we are 'just brains'. No, my love, and that of my family, is worth something because I am, and they are, more than meat bags with chemical soup. I have faith in that.

dhw:“Worth something” to whom? My love and that of my family are worth something to me, regardless of whether I am a meat bag or not. And I suspect many agnostics and atheists and materialists feel the same.

TONY: But if you are "just" chemical soup, your internal purposes are not objectively important. They die with you, every bit as ephemeral as your life.

dhw: Who says something must be objectively important and permanent if it is to be important to you, me, and everybody else? Objective importance can only exist if there really is a God who makes all the values, but if I am in pain or in love, my pain and my love are real and important to me whether there is a God or not. And I suspect starving children would rather have food now than any “assured expectation” of anything. Their and our existence and deeds may not matter in the great scheme of things. So what? I’d rather be happy now than unhappy. Wouldn’t you?

TONY: If...there is a designer, then at least part of your purpose is to care for their property, as if it were a precious gift.

DHW:... I object vehemently to the insinuation that I need faith in your particular God in order to regard life and the world we live in as something precious.

TONY: I know you do. I am asking you WHY you object, WHY is life and this world precious? Just because it is unique, or at least we believe it is? Because it is ephemeral? Because it is short? Because you enjoy it? Because it has some objective meaning? (remember, the meaning provided by chemical soup is meaningless. It's just a bio-electrical charge).

dhw: Because I enjoy all the things I love, even though I don’t enjoy the things I don’t love, and I’d like others to enjoy them as well, irrespective of whether there is an objective meaning. And what is wrong with that? I also object to your insinuations that only faith in an objective scale of values can enable me to do good.

TONY: Now, to some mis-characterizations of my argument:
I never said that you had to have faith to lead a good life.
I never said you have to believe in God to lead a good life. I actually said the opposite in response to David.

dhw: I didn’t understand your response to David, which was all about faith being a shield to “fend off the flaming arrows of the evil one”, as if the faithless had no protection against evil and could behave however they liked because nothing mattered.

DAVID: I agree faith is not needed to live a proper good life.

dhw: Thank you, David, for restoring the balance.

DAVID: There is no question atheists and agnostics can be as properly moral without religion. I became a believer from reason and research alone. I've always lead a moral and ethical life from a sense of obligation to my fellows, not from an religious reward or punishment dictate, which is a childish philosophy.

dhw: Thank you again for adding some humanistic common sense to the debate.

I deeply respect Tony's fundamentalist view of the New Testament. I understand how he feels and how important it is to him. God has also become very important to me. However with my background I do not accept the Trinitarian theology. I also recognize the God of the OT does not come across as loving as the God of the NT. Karen Armstrong, a former nun, recognized that the most mature approach to God in her book, The History of God , 1993, is in the Quran which looks at the works of God to understand Him. Leaving the Catholic Church, she is reputed to attend Jewish or Muslim services. By 'History' she discusses how human beings have come to view Him over the centuries. The Catholic theology frankly came to frighten her. I can understand that. So I sit here as between Tony and dhw.


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