Faith (Religion)

by dhw, Thursday, September 27, 2018, 11:34 (81 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Please forgive me, Tony, if I cherrypick and edit those sections of your posts that bother me. And please note that challenging your beliefs does not mean that I believe the opposite!

TONY: The OT God does not come across as unloving to me. However […] I could see how he could be mischaracterized that way.

You can only claim that someone has been mischaracterized if you know their character. The OT gives me ample demonstration of an unloving character. I’m NOT saying God is unloving but, if he exists, nobody – including the many different authors of the bible – can claim to be an authority on his nature.

TONY: As to my beliefs, literal fundamentalism has little place in them. […] No Dante's inferno, no incorporation of pantheistic/nature based religions as a means for social inclusion(Christmas/Easter/Etc), no exceptions to biblical cannon (such as the infallibility of the pope), once saved always saved, the immortal soul, etc.

I’m puzzled. Firstly, all the Jehovah’s Witnesses I know believe in the resurrection of 144,000 bodies who will join God in heaven to rule over a kingdom of more resurrected bodies (presumably including lots of JWs) on an earthly paradise after Armageddon, which began in 1914. Why should such visions take precedence over, say, those of the Koran, in which immortal souls will survive till the Day of Judgement and the goodies will go to paradise and the baddies to hell? You claim that the bible is historically accurate, but nobody knows what happens after death!

TONY: Christ never claimed to be God, never claimed to be equal with God, nor did he claim any authority except that which he was granted by God.

Fine, but I’m also puzzled by your insistence on quoting authors who never even knew Jesus in order to prove that God did not make the heavens and Earth on his own, but first “spawned” Jesus who then “spawned” an army of spirit labourers to do the work. Genesis says God did it all. So is the Genesis version a lie? An inaccuracy? How do you know?

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.

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

It’s difficult to forget your claims that if we are bags of meat nothing matters, and that someone who doesn’t have faith can do whatever they like to whomever they like. But see below for a remarkable development.

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

TONY: That there is a designer. […]

This is not an expectation. It’s a belief!

TONY: […] 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: My faith says we are worth something to the deity responsible for our existence […] Also, to each other, […] they are worth something to me, as well. But if I am just a meat bag, what does it matter what I value?

I know you have faith that you matter to a deity. I’m glad you acknowledge that you matter to others and they matter to you. But then back you go to the same old mantra: “what does it matter what I value?” MATTER TO WHOM? It matters to you and to others, regardless of whether you are a meat bag or not, and regardless of faith in God and in there being objective values.

DHW: Who says something must be objectively important and permanent if it is to be important to you, me, and everybody else?

TONY: I simply said that without larger context, what is important to us is irrelevant.

IRRELEVANT TO WHOM? Not to me or to anyone else I know.

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

TONY: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.

We are not talking about someone asking about our feelings! We are talking about your belief that without faith, nothing matters and everything is irrelevant.

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”….

TONY: It was a quote. Faith that there is meaning to our existence, something larger than ourselves […] I'm not even talking faith in God, just faith. Faith in something bigger than yourself.

Wonderful! Then we can forget about your God altogether. It’s enough to have faith that other people exist, society is bigger than the individual and functions better when people are nice to one another, we all matter to ourselves and to those around us, subjective values are real, and you don’t need objective values to lead a happy and moral life. We have reached agreement.

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