Faith (Religion)

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 20:36 (79 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: […] why do you need to have faith in any of the options or to have assured expectations of anything?

TONY: The funny thing is, everyone has faith in something.

DHW: We were talking of the four options, and also of your “assured expectations”. It is perfectly possible to lead a happy and moral life without faith in any of these.

Put your straw man away. I have answered this challenge at least three times in the last week.

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

That there is a designer. If we were talking about something non-theistic, this would be the point where we started making indirect observations and inferences. But because it's god...

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.

My faith says we are worth something to the deity responsible for our existence, even if it is only, as you keep saying, as his spectacle, though I have faith that it is more than that. Also, to each other, and to others through the real, objective impacts that we have on reality, above and beyond feelings. Of course, as you rightly point out, they are worth something to me, as well. But if I am just a meat bag, what does it matter what I value? Do you care what excites chemicals in a lab?


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?

No on. I simply said that without larger context, what is important to us is irrelevant.

DHW: So what? I’d rather be happy now than unhappy. Wouldn’t you?

So would I, but so what? See above. Who asks the cow it's feelings before butchering it, or the fly its feelings before swatting it. What makes us different.

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.

Does the cow enjoy chewing grass? Does it matter?


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.

It was a quote. Faith that there is meaning to our existence, something larger than ourselves, enables us to keep pushing beyond the point of physical, mental, or emotional exhaustion. It enables us to stand up straight without cowering when faced with almost certain death, to rush into the line of fire to save a precious life, even at great risk of our own. It enables to hold our heads up when being slandered, marginalized, or persecuted, and offers hope when there seems to be none.

I'm not even talking faith in God, just faith. Faith in something bigger than yourself.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.


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