Faith (Religion)

by dhw, Monday, September 24, 2018, 09:01 (78 days ago)

Transferred from those poor cooperating bees, who will be horrified at all this loud human buzzing.

TONY: All four options require faith. The only question is, what do you have faith in, and what gives you those "assured expectations of things not beheld"?

Dhw: There are certainly masses and masses of things not beheld, but why do you need to have faith in any of the options or to have assured expectations of anything?

TONY: Well, if they are 'certainly' there but are 'thing not beheld', then you are making a statement of faith.

Faith in what? The fact that I am ignorant? Nobody knows the origin of the universe, life or consciousness.

TONY: Also, I never said you NEED faith. It is perfectly acceptable not to have faith.

Thank you. That is a relief in view of the astonishing diatribe that follows.

TONY: However, the more you learn, eventually you reach a point where faith is a pre-requisite to learning anything more.

You reach a point where faith is a prerequisite for believing more than you can learn.

TONY: If you knew everything material reality could teach you without assuming the unknown, you would run into the wall of the unknowable, beyond which we can not see. That wall presents you with two choices: design or chance. Either choice is made on faith. Not blind faith; reasoned faith. This reasoned faith is, in a way, binding. It binds you to certain thought patterns, your priorities, your view of your own life and that of others, it grounds your particular morality and ethos.

Yes, if you make a choice between God or no God, it may well influence all of these factors, particularly if you bind yourself to one particular religion with all its dogmas.

TONY: If you choose faith in blind chance, then we are all meat sacks of chemical soup on a dirt ball of chemical soup interacting with other meat sacks of chemical soup. 'You' are not really 'you', but instead are an agent-less bundle of chemically induced illusions.Even the concept of 'you' is an illusion. You have no objective value, your choices have no meaning (because they are not really choices but simple chemical reactions to stimuli), others have 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...

I don’t know what terrible experiences you have had at the hands of atheists and agnostics to create this utterly jaundiced view of them. 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” (which happens to coincide with some of your religion‘s values). You go on to speak of death (no room to quote it all), as if a permanent ending rendered life itself meaningless. 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? Do you give food to the poor because that is what you think your God wants you to do, or do you give it because you have feelings for your fellow humans? Present life is anything but pointless.

TONY: If you choose faith in a designer, regardless of your views of the designer, then there is at a minimum, purpose.

I have several purposes that are immensely important to me, even without a designer.

TONY: It also acknowledges something greater exists, to which, will we nil we, we are subject to as the rightful authority.

There may well be something greater. If your God exists, then of course he is the rightful authority. Are you hoping to frighten me? Perhaps he will hate me for my doubts and my sins. Or perhaps he will love me in spite of them. But if he doesn’t exist, there is all the more reason why I should make the most of my life here. That does not mean lack of purpose or freedom to behave any way I like. Every heard of society? Do you really think love, empathy. human kindness, conscience are the exclusive province of your religion?

TONY: If nothing else is known except that there is a designer, then at least part of your purpose is to care for their property, as if it were a precious gift.

I don’t know if there is a designer who owns me and the universe, but 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.

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

Thank you, David, for restoring the balance.

Faith

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Monday, September 24, 2018, 13:02 (78 days ago) @ dhw

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

The funny thing is, everyone has faith in something. On the simplest level, it may be that the sun will rise tomorrow, or that their car will start when they climb into it, that their spouse won't cheat on them, or that their kids love them. That may be all the faith they can muster. For others, it's big faith in an Earth Mother Goddess, the God of Abraham, or blind Chance.

TONY: However, the more you learn, eventually you reach a point where faith is a pre-requisite to learning anything more.

DHW: You reach a point where faith is a prerequisite for believing more than you can learn.

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


TONY: If you choose faith in blind chance, then we are all meat sacks of chemical soup o...'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? Do you give food to the poor because that is what you think your God wants you to do, or do you give it because you have feelings for your fellow humans?

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: I have several purposes that are immensely important to me, even without a designer.

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.


TONY: It also acknowledges something greater exists, to which, will we nil we, we are subject to as the rightful authority.

DHW: ..Are you hoping to frighten me?

I wasn't even talking directly to you. So, no, I was not trying to frighten you.

DHW:Perhaps he will hate me for my doubts and my sins. Or perhaps he will love me in spite of them.

Or perhaps he doesn't need to punish you, because actions have consequences, whether he loves you or not.

DHW:But if he doesn’t exist, there is all the more reason why I should make the most of my life here.

Oh really? Why? If you have no free will and your emotions are just chemical reactions, others people's emotions are just chemical reactions, and there is no larger reality than that, what reason do you have? Note, I said reason, not belief, my faithless friend. If you hate someone, kill someone, die, or fail yourself or another in some way, what does it matter. We are just chemical soup in a meat bag. Nothing matters beyond how it excites our personal chemical soup!


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.

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).

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.

I never said people do not have value, I said they don't have objective or intrinsic value IF they are just meat suits and chemical soup. At that point, they are numbers; biochemical machines that can be produced and replaced in womb factories.

But if there is no free will, if there is no "I" beyond chemical impulses, if there is no grander purpose beyond experiencing the impulses of your chemical soup until they return to the earth, at which point everything that mattered to them ceases to have meaning, than what does it matter? Answer that for me, if you will, in an objective manner that doesn't rely on the emotional product of your 'chemical soup'.

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

Faith

by dhw, Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 12:51 (76 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

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.

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: However, the more you learn, eventually you reach a point where faith is a pre-requisite to learning anything more.

DHW: You reach a point where faith is a prerequisite for believing more than you can learn.

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

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.

“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.

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).

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.

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.

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

Faith

by David Turell @, Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 19:21 (76 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.

Faith

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 22:21 (76 days ago) @ David Turell

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.


David: 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.

The OT God does not come across as unloving to me. However, his ways are not our ways, and if you are trying to judge his actions from a limited human perspective, I could see how he could be mischaracterized that way. Also, I am not a fundamentalist. I am not take a literal 6-day creation story, sinners burn in hell, good folks go to heaven, etc., etc., etc. christian.

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

Faith

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 27, 2018, 02:40 (76 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

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.


David: 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.


Tony: The OT God does not come across as unloving to me. However, his ways are not our ways, and if you are trying to judge his actions from a limited human perspective, I could see how he could be mischaracterized that way. Also, I am not a fundamentalist. I am not take a literal 6-day creation story, sinners burn in hell, good folks go to heaven, etc., etc., etc. christian.

I didn't say the OT God was unloving, but I think as a sterner form of God He does come across not as loving as in the NT which is what I wrote. I know He loves us. I apologize: perhaps my use of 'fundamentalist' was too forceful a characterization of you, but you follow the NT interpretation of the theology very strictly. With my background I find God taking care of us in an afterlife with no heaven or hell as a possibility. As for the six days, I know you know also the Greeks misinterpreted 'yom' which means 'any length of time' to start that mistake going forward.

Faith

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, September 27, 2018, 05:34 (75 days ago) @ David Turell

David: 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.


Tony: The OT God does not come across as unloving to me. However, his ways are not our ways, and if you are trying to judge his actions from a limited human perspective, I could see how he could be mischaracterized that way. Also, I am not a fundamentalist. I am not take a literal 6-day creation story, sinners burn in hell, good folks go to heaven, etc., etc., etc. christian.


David: I didn't say the OT God was unloving, but I think as a sterner form of God He does come across not as loving as in the NT which is what I wrote. I know He loves us. I apologize: perhaps my use of 'fundamentalist' was too forceful a characterization of you, but you follow the NT interpretation of the theology very strictly. With my background I find God taking care of us in an afterlife with no heaven or hell as a possibility. As for the six days, I know you know also the Greeks misinterpreted 'yom' which means 'any length of time' to start that mistake going forward.

When the actions of Jehovah(YHWH) are examined in the context of the OT, and overall, really, there are a few things that must be taken into consideration.

  • Identification of the parties and/or groups involved, their roles, and their provisional purpose.
  • The question of God's 'right to rule'.
  • The question of what 'rights' God should have, and why. (While 'all of them' may be correct, it is non-explanatory)
  • The question of whether God is 'ruling right'.
  • The provision of a way past the conflict (see first two points).
  • The role of humanity in the conflict, and the provisions made for them.
  • The protection of that provision.
  • The provision of the law, and the underlying philosophy.
  • The purpose behind the Mosaic Law Covenant.
  • The purpose behind the Davidic Law Covenant.
  • The actions of both the Israelite nation, and the surrounding nations, particularly when contrasted with the law.
  • The question of what sureties have been provided as evidence.
  • The question of what evidence is available to examine, and what we are invited to examine.

As to my beliefs, literal fundamentalism has little place in them, not based on any perceived inaccuracy of the provided information, but based in fact on the accuracy of that information once the revisionism that took place, particularly between the 1st & 3rd centuries, is removed. 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 also do not claim apologetics, not because of how it started, but because of how it ended up. A reasoned approach to talking to others about why I have faith is precisely how I believe I should act. Yet, most apologetics, and in fact most of Christianity, teach that Jesus was not only the messiah, but God in earthly form, preaching some version of the trinity. I disagree with that based on the scriptural evidence. 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.

I also do not arbitrarily exclude other theological text. Rather, I hold them all to the same degree of scrutiny, and in most of them, I find verifiable evidence of objective, rational truth. In many, I see correlating messages and historical accuracy. However, one, and only one, continuously proves itself accurate time, and time, and time again, no matter how loud its detractors scream, and that is the bible. It has proven itself historically accurate as proven by archaeology, medically and scientifically accurate to the degree that it discusses medicine and science, often centuries in advance of the discoveries it speaks of, and prophetically accurate in verifiable ways. I've said before that all parts of it that can be tested can be verified, and most of them have been already.

Those that have not yet been proven, either have not been tested yet, or have not been tested using the assumption that the information presented was correct. For example, models of the possibility of a global flood ignore concepts such as the lack of rain prior to the flood. They start from the assumption that the bible is wrong, and then attempt to use their own theories to prove that it is wrong without testing the assertions as they are in order to determine their validity.

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

Faith

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 20:36 (76 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.

Faith

by dhw, Thursday, September 27, 2018, 11:34 (75 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.

Faith

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, September 27, 2018, 12:59 (75 days ago) @ dhw
edited by Balance_Maintained, Thursday, September 27, 2018, 13:11

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

DHW: 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.

You can look outside the book, at the world that was created for us, taste its fruits, swim in its waters, bask in the warmth of its sun, and revel in the fact that you can enjoy anything at all, and know much of the character of God.

DHW: 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!

I am not surprised you are puzzled by things discussed in books you have not read. The bible says the dead are conscious of nothing at all, that some of the 144,000 have always been on earth since Christ(as opposed to the witnesses who formed in the late 1800's), and that the earthly resurrection will be of the righteous AND the unrighteous, though not the wicked (those who knowingly and intentionally broke the law as opposed to those that make honest mistakes).

DHW: 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.

This really seems to be what all of your argument, in this thread and others, is really about. No, we have not reached an agreement. You take a claim that I have never denied (that you do not need religion to live a moral life), and try to say that my lack of denial makes the rest of our gulf of disagreement moot. It does not.

But, one last thought, when you wrote your books, if I were to pick up a copy at the store, whose names would be on the cover? Whose would be bigger? Whose smaller? Whose would not appear at all? If your name is on the cover, does that mean you hand wrote and illustrated every copy that ever existed? What about the printers, delivery people, sales people, etc? Did they not help in the production of YOUR book? Do they get ANY credit anywhere in your books, or is it only the primary people (You, maybe your editor, the publishing company)

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

Faith

by dhw, Friday, September 28, 2018, 10:08 (74 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

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

DHW: 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: You can look outside the book, at the world that was created for us, taste its fruits, swim in its waters, bask in the warmth of its sun, and revel in the fact that you can enjoy anything at all, and know much of the character of God.

That still doesn’t entitle you to say that “unloving” is a mischaracterization. You can look both inside and outside the book and select whatever you like from what you see.

DHW: 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 [etc.] 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: I am not surprised you are puzzled by things discussed in books you have not read. The bible says the dead are conscious of nothing at all, that some of the 144,000 have always been on earth since Christ [etc.]

And I have asked you why this vision should take precedence over the vision offered in the Koran, but you have not answered.

DHW: 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.
TONY: This really seems to be what all of your argument, in this thread and others, is really about. No, we have not reached an agreement. You take a claim that I have never denied (that you do not need religion to live a moral life), and try to say that my lack of denial makes the rest of our gulf of disagreement moot. It does not.

You have once more ignored the context. You claimed that what is important to us is meaningless and irrelevant without “faith in something bigger than yourself”, and it did not have to be God. My comment above simply confirms what you wrote, but also repeats that subjective values give our lives meaning and relevance.

TONY: But, one last thought, when you wrote your books, if I were to pick up a copy at the store, whose names would be on the cover? Whose would be bigger? Whose smaller? [etc.]

I don’t know what you’re trying to say with all this. Is it some roundabout way of justifying your belief that your God did not create the heavens and the earth, as it says in Genesis, but only “spawned” Jesus who then “spawned” lots of helpers?

Faith

by David Turell @, Monday, September 24, 2018, 15:39 (78 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: However, the more you learn, eventually you reach a point where faith is a pre-requisite to learning anything more.

dhw: You reach a point where faith is a prerequisite for believing more than you can learn.

That is a definition of faith. For me faith is required when one reaches the end of logical study and only one answer remains of two choices, chance or design,


TONY: If you knew everything material reality could teach you without assuming the unknown, you would run into the wall of the unknowable, beyond which we can not see. That wall presents you with two choices: design or chance. Either choice is made on faith. Not blind faith; reasoned faith. This reasoned faith is, in a way, binding. It binds you to certain thought patterns, your priorities, your view of your own life and that of others, it grounds your particular morality and ethos.

dhw: Yes, if you make a choice between God or no God, it may well influence all of these factors, particularly if you bind yourself to one particular religion with all its dogmas.

TONY: If you choose faith in blind chance, then we are all meat sacks of chemical soup on a dirt ball of chemical soup interacting with other meat sacks of chemical soup. 'You' are not really 'you', but instead are an agent-less bundle of chemically induced illusions.Even the concept of 'you' is an illusion. You have no objective value, your choices have no meaning (because they are not really choices but simple chemical reactions to stimuli), others have 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: I don’t know what terrible experiences you have had at the hands of atheists and agnostics to create this utterly jaundiced view of them. 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” (which happens to coincide with some of your religion‘s values). You go on to speak of death (no room to quote it all), as if a permanent ending rendered life itself meaningless. 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? Do you give food to the poor because that is what you think your God wants you to do, or do you give it because you have feelings for your fellow humans? Present life is anything but pointless.

TONY: If you choose faith in a designer, regardless of your views of the designer, then there is at a minimum, purpose.

dhw: I have several purposes that are immensely important to me, even without a designer.

TONY: It also acknowledges something greater exists, to which, will we nil we, we are subject to as the rightful authority.

dhw: There may well be something greater. If your God exists, then of course he is the rightful authority. Are you hoping to frighten me? Perhaps he will hate me for my doubts and my sins. Or perhaps he will love me in spite of them. But if he doesn’t exist, there is all the more reason why I should make the most of my life here. That does not mean lack of purpose or freedom to behave any way I like. Every heard of society? Do you really think love, empathy. human kindness, conscience are the exclusive province of your religion?

TONY: If nothing else is known except that 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 don’t know if there is a designer who owns me and the universe, but 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.

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

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

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.

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