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A few questions from an open-minded agnostic.

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I completely agree. Things are falling apart because the foundation has been rotting. I do think there's other, more rational, nonreligious world views which would allow a functional society of "decent" people to exist in the west though. Something better than what's around now.

Assuming the world isn't going to end too soon from now, most people aren't going to return to being religious, and more and more people are going to leave religion(all of which seem like reasonable assumptions), wouldn't you agree?
I agree that the west has turned its back on Christianity and will reap the results of that rejection.

Other nations are also turning to Christianity and already missionaries from some of these nations are appearing in the west.
 

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I'm sorry but I strongly have to disagree with you on that one. The golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated is universal although not always followed. Then again, neither is the Ten Commandments.
Please quote chapter and verse where this rule is stated.
In atheism...
In Islam.
In Hinduism.
In Buddhism.
And in any 'ism' you want to quote.
 

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We are built to follow cultural and emotional tracks, learnt over time, like a background of behaviour which in a social context gives us a real sense of what has an impact and what does not.
None of what you wrote comments or relates to what is right morally.

Yes societies seek to establish there moral code.
Where does the ideas for that code come from?
Why are so many atheist so very moral?
There is nothing in there philosophical world view that says they should be ' nice ' people, in fact evolution teaches that they should take advantage of the weak etc.
 
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in fact evolution teaches that they should take advantage of the weak etc.
I don't know why you keep saying this when it's evidently untrue. I wrote about how empathy is beneficial evolutionary for social creatures.

As for Buddhism
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
— Udanavarga 5:18

and Confucianism
Zi gong (a disciple of Confucius) asked: "Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?"
The Master replied: "How about 'shu' [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?"

--Confucius, Analects XV.24

I just got this from the wikipedia page

You could say it comes from the subconcious morality which God put into everybody. I think that's what you're insinuating. With other religions, I don't know why you think they only care about being rewarded. How did you learn that?
 

Who Me

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don't know why you keep saying this when it's evidently untrue. I wrote about how empathy is beneficial evolutionary for social creatures.
Evolution progresses on the bases of survival of the fittest, not survival of the nicest.

Yes one will find teaching about being kind to others in other religions.
Is that what you see being practiced?

Of all beliefs only Christianity has tried to improve the lot of ordinary people around the world.

It doesn't matter what country you go to you will find Christian there and they will be trying to help those in need.
Yes you can point to charities run by other religions, and trace there recent formation.

Christians stopped the practise of abandoning unwanted babies, gladiatorial games etc.
It is still Christian morality that drives reforms today.
 
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Evolution progresses on the bases of survival of the fittest, not survival of the nicest.

Yes one will find teaching about being kind to others in other religions.
Is that what you see being practiced?
Empathy makes social creatures more fit. Fitness in an evolutionary context only means reproducing the most (which you have to be alive to do) and nothing else.

I don't know about how other religion's beliefs translate into chartiable acts. I also don't know how accurate it is to equate what secular organization's like the Red Cross does with Christian morality. Christians have also been in a position to help others for the longest, so that may explain why their charity organizations are the oldest.
 

Serving Zion

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Empathy makes social creatures more fit. Fitness in an evolutionary context only means reproducing the most (which you have to be alive to do) and nothing else.
Survivial of the fittest is a bit more broad than that though, because the key to survival is to defend any attacks, and that is where morality is an instrument of defense in a civilised society - because morality is the fundamental law of justice, and justice determines how power should be wrought in a dispute. Therefore, if someone is morally justifiable, they have the right to be supported in justice and hence, they are more fit to survive than the one who is coming under attack for their immorality.

Football. It's socially acceptable to be fanatical about it, but when you look closely at it, there's quite a few things about it that are detrimental to society.
So, my question then is whether it is possible to play the sport in a good Christian spirit that is not detrimental. I do think it is possible, but that the model of the sports culture in the present age is of a sinful spirit. Most sports are the modern equivalent of the spectator sports, whereby the fans are pitted against each other as in a spirit of war.

On the other hand, I am sure it is possible to enjoy the sport as being a fun way to spend time together, exercising and honing skills and learning together similarly to how two people might enjoy playing chess or talking philosophy - it celebrates the experience of life.

You can't be as openly passionate about interests which are less common even if those interests are objectively less harmful. I can't imagine something so commercial being in heaven.
That is to shift the goalposts though .. while you are saying that the way activities are expressed in a sinful world mean that the same activities expressed in a holy world would look the same. Once you understand what sinlessness is then you will be more able to imagine life in heaven where justice has been truly administered to form a society that is good.

People who care about honesty and are unconcerned about their own suffering. Warmth might be misleading. Plenty of people who seem warm and nice act selfishly, they're probably blind to their own behavior. I don't know if the bible has anything to say about this.
It does have a lot to say about understanding why people are like that, though it is an indirect knowledge that grows when the understanding is developed. I think every well-meaning discipline addresses that insincerity in some way, but the language of the bible draws a clear distinction between the feelings of the flesh (that includes the emotions, the sense of self, the ego), compared to the spirit of love. It teaches that a human who has transcended ("been freed from" - John 8:32) the flesh, is behaving in love - that is where they do not think deceitfully or selfishly or devisively etc, but they are genuinely good because they are only doing whatever love would do through them. The problems that come through the way the world teaches us to be sinful, are expressed in the likes of being selfish or deceitful, unkind, prideful etc - all those ways that are essentially gaining some sort of satisfaction for ourselves while it tends to have a harmful effect on others. When you become familiar with the spirit of love and the flesh nature, then you begin to read what is in the person's heart through the things they say and do, because it is from the heart that those things come forth (Proverbs 4:23). Some people truly are heartless and they have no concern for the harms they do - even when they become aware of it, because that insecurity, resentment, self-pity, despair goes so deep that they actually cannot accept the responsibility for their heartlessness that is necessary for their repentance and healing.

I'd say morals are very emotional. I think people are born with a little slot seeking to be filled with human values, and once that slot is filled they'll follow whatever was put there. Rationality has nothing to do with it. Very secular, modern, technologically advanced societies still have social order. Societies which were never predominantly Christian and don't share a Protestant mentality.
Morals are only fragments of an ultimate moral law that is intrinsic in nature because of justice. Justice only exists because there is a present reality of people sometimes doing things that are not merely mistakes, but are wrongs against the rights of others. Justice is the mechanism of considering the opposing views and deciding whether the aggrieved has a right to be aggrieved, and whether anything can be done to alleviate the suffering caused by the wrong. In order for justice to function, it must be guided by fundamental principles of rights - so morality as it is expressed through the Golden Rule is the most elemental principle whereby justice can rule: if the one who did the grievance would be grieved by it being done to them, then it is wrong for them to do it. Now, where the human nature takes advantage of deceit in order to evade the perfect application fo the golden rule, they must explain how it is that their behaviours are not breaching the golden rule when in fact they are. The two main forms it takes, is either denying the gravity of the offence (as for example "no, I wouldn't really care if someone took my things, because I shouldn't have left them there") and inferiority (eg: "lobsters don't feel pain"). As I've said before, it is not that we are born with any predefined tendency to be immoral - but it takes hold of us over time, especially through later childhood age (for most people) where we begin a real struggle against our own integrity, feeling like we are the only person who ever does the right thing so why should we bother because nobody else bothers so we may as well just give up (Proverbs 24:1-2).

I completely agree. Things are falling apart because the foundation has been rotting. I do think there's other, more rational, nonreligious world views which would allow a functional society of "decent" people to exist in the west though. Something better than what's around now.

Assuming the world isn't going to end too soon from now, most people aren't going to return to being religious, and more and more people are going to leave religion(all of which seem like reasonable assumptions), wouldn't you agree?
It's coming, that's for sure. This world is on an unsustainable course, and when you get into the prophecies and understand what they are describing, you see how it's all going to be in the end. The end is said to come like a flood and all the wicked are wiped away. They were warned but they kept on pressing further and further into disbelief and into the delusion of clutching at wickedness thinking that God doesn't see them, and their love of wickedness is ultimately the reason for their condemnation. What good is a religion if it will not save you? Of course if a religion does not produce saving faith then it is only an idol. Most people are, as you have said, looking for the acceptance of their peers and they lack the vital strength of integrity that is true justification in God's sight on account of a good conscience (1 Peter 3:21).
 

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Please quote chapter and verse where this rule is stated.
In atheism...
In Islam.
In Hinduism.
In Buddhism.
And in any 'ism' you want to quote.
She could be thinking of Matthew 7:12 (NKJV)
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

or Luke 6:31 (NKJV)
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
 
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morality is the fundamental law of justice, and justice determines how power should be wrought in a dispute.

So, my question then is whether it is possible to play the sport in a good Christian spirit that is not detrimental.
The problem I have with football is that it causes brain damage through micro concussions and the influence it has on education, both in grade school and higher education, is malignant health and financial wise. There's no good reason for student's to be waking up at 6 am. There's no reason colleges with poor performing teams should spend millions on it instead of something else. All to churn out "stars" and line pockets.

When two groups have a dispute, I see it as one group's interests versus another's. There's no room for reconciliation a lot of time. Both sides may try to obfuscate the conflict of interest by framing it as a clash of morals, but I personally think this is disingenuous. I think the world I actually see around me doesn't reflect any of those high-minded ideals, not now or historically. The only hard evidence accessible to me is little "good" moments here and there that don't add up to anything conclusive. German priests helped Nazis, Japanese imperialists helped Jewish people. What does it mean? Things look really simple though if you think there actually is such a thing as objective justice which has nothing to do with feelings or inclinations of caprices or group interests. Maybe that's how things are. I haven't seen any proof of it.

I just act on my interests without worrying. That's not to say I do a lot of things that would seem bad, and in some ways my behavior is probably better than average from that perspective. I hope that before the wicked is washed away, they come to their senses enough to stop imposing their foundationless convictions on others.
 

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Please quote chapter and verse where this rule is stated.
In atheism...
In Islam.
In Hinduism.
In Buddhism.
And in any 'ism' you want to quote.
Is Christianity a Christianism?
 

PeterJens

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None of what you wrote comments or relates to what is right morally.

Yes societies seek to establish there moral code.
Where does the ideas for that code come from?
Why are so many atheist so very moral?
There is nothing in there philosophical world view that says they should be ' nice ' people, in fact evolution teaches that they should take advantage of the weak etc.
I have to point out a simple truth, that many do not understand by survival pressure on any living creature. Whatever feature of that organism increases its chances of survival will be selected for because more offspring will be born with that trait. It is a pure energy put in compared to number of offspring produced.

So therefore looking after your young, love, protection for some creatures though costly, increases the number of off spring that survive and succeed. So morality that works will prosper, because more societies survive with certain moral outlooks than others.
A social animal, like ourselves, gains its power from co-operation into armies of soldiers, workers, mothers etc. With culture, writing and speech we can store information, so that one group can pass on this information to another group.

This is what selection pressure is all about, and you have to have rules to work any social group, and these rules are its morality.
The mistake christians make is morality is not exclusive to the bible, it is exclusive to all people. Good morality is exclusive to God, and that is the point. But the driver of morality is our emotional balance, our conscience, our fear and our desire to stay safe. And this pressure is no minor thing, get some things just a little wrong and you are dead, literally.
 

PeterJens

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I don't know why you keep saying this when it's evidently untrue. I wrote about how empathy is beneficial evolutionary for social creatures.

As for Buddhism
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
— Udanavarga 5:18

and Confucianism
Zi gong (a disciple of Confucius) asked: "Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?"
The Master replied: "How about 'shu' [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?"

--Confucius, Analects XV.24

I just got this from the wikipedia page

You could say it comes from the subconcious morality which God put into everybody. I think that's what you're insinuating. With other religions, I don't know why you think they only care about being rewarded. How did you learn that?
For me the reality Jesus is bringing is we are naturally moral loving creatures but sin and hurt distorts and destroys this love. So no matter how great our civilisations, they are built on things that die and destroy the very foundations of life.

One problem in total depravity arguments, it suggests there is nothing worthy or good in people, that without God they are depraved creatures driven by self destructive forces. So when a society leaves the church, it is meant to implode and become nothing. Look at the world, this does not happen.

There is though a killing of the soul, a hardening of the heart, as sense of hurting others has no consequences, or can be ignored if it benefits the individual. What they fail to understand is biology of social creatures teaches us all inter-dependency is what we rely on each day, and none of us is unconnected, though we may feel it, our daily survival depends on us not being so. And this tension, this sense of dependency but with betrayal and failure, leads to loneliness, depression, self harm, a desire to be something different than one is, because there social acceptance would happen. God bless you
 

Serving Zion

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The problem I have with football is that it causes brain damage through micro concussions
Do you think that if Jesus can give sight to the blind and Peter can tell the lame to walk, that in a heavenly world there would be anyone who has not been healed? .. plus, I think common sense would prevail anyway as soon as someone asks whether it's not a better idea to stop bashing our heads against such a hard, heavy ball. There is no need in my view, for any sort of harm where people have got together to kick a ball around on a nice day. You can see children kicking a ball with their friends on their front yard after school. There's none of that harmfulness you described.

and the influence it has on education, both in grade school and higher education, is malignant health and financial wise. There's no good reason for student's to be waking up at 6 am. There's no reason colleges with poor performing teams should spend millions on it instead of something else. All to churn out "stars" and line pockets.
Yes I see now what you are describing in this. It's not really that you think they can't be playing football in heaven, but that in heaven they won't be treating the sport as they do in this world.

When two groups have a dispute, I see it as one group's interests versus another's. There's no room for reconciliation a lot of time.
That's why there exists a role for adjudication (judges). If everybody was honest and reasonable, there would be no need for adjudication because they would confess when the other person is right. But the problem is that people do not know how to be merciful when they are right, so the other person is afraid to confess that they have been wrong, for fear that the consequence will be grievous.

Both sides may try to obfuscate the conflict of interest by framing it as a clash of morals, but I personally think this is disingenuous.
It is a misuse of the definition of morality, but it does happen. It only happens because the judges permit it.

I think the world I actually see around me doesn't reflect any of those high-minded ideals, not now or historically. The only hard evidence accessible to me is little "good" moments here and there that don't add up to anything conclusive. German priests helped Nazis, Japanese imperialists helped Jewish people. What does it mean?
It means that there is wickedness in high places. The rulership of the world is inherently sinful, therefore it does not know how to rule in righteousness - and it has the power to rule, therefore the righteous suffer under it (Proverbs 28:28). King David was the first righteous king in Israel (for a while - because he also fell into sin when he was tempted to betray an innocent man). King Solomon also was righteous for a while, and there have been times where the kings listened to the advice of the righteous prophets that God had appointed for them, and then it went well for them. So there are examples to be found, but we are still waiting for an everlasting triumph of the righteous as the prophecies have predicted (eg: Daniel 7:22).

Things look really simple though if you think there actually is such a thing as objective justice which has nothing to do with feelings or inclinations of caprices or group interests. Maybe that's how things are. I haven't seen any proof of it.
You have to find individuals who are demonstrating that. If you are believing it to happen through the arm of God, how are you going to see it if you can't see the workings of God? You are right, the world is full of injustice because the people do whatever they want with no fear of accountability according to the truth - and God does permit it to happen, and so does every human being who sees it and chooses to do nothing about it.

I just act on my interests without worrying. That's not to say I do a lot of things that would seem bad, and in some ways my behavior is probably better than average from that perspective.
Yes, this is what I have been saying - we all are born without any guiltiness. But then also, we are pressed into a mold that is inherently sinful, and as time goes on, when we are independent and capable of awareness of our sinfulness, the awareness comes gradually that there are things we can do differently that would make the world a better place. The challenge is, as we become aware of our sinfulness, can we make those changes to remain guiltless? I only say this for your benefit now, in case you might fall headlong into the trappings of guilt and at the time be scooped up by some snake-oil merchandisers of faith, selling a cheap assurance that amounts to a pact with the devil. Salvation really depends on remaining of good conscience - there is no way a person can keep doing sin and expect to be found blameless in the ultimate judgment. That's what the false gospel tries to sell: a delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11).

I hope that before the wicked is washed away, they come to their senses enough to stop imposing their foundationless convictions on others.
"Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent?" (Ecclesiastes 7:13 NASB)
 
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There is no need in my view, for any sort of harm where people have got together to kick a ball around on a nice day. You can see children kicking a ball with their friends on their front yard after school. There's none of that harmfulness you described.

If everybody was honest and reasonable, there would be no need for adjudication because they would confess when the other person is right.

It means that there is wickedness in high places. The rulership of the world is inherently sinful, therefore it does not know how to rule in righteousness
By football, I meant the American kind. Sorry if that caused any confusion. Even with soccer, I remember getting injured when playing it in people's backyard as a kid. These games aren't just about kicking a ball around. What is a sport when you take out the aggression, physical risks and competitive drive? Would people feel any need to compete in heaven, in any context? Would people get a rush from winning over another person? If you're in perpetual bliss, why would you do anything at all? You can't even help people because nobody would need help. Nobody would want to play a game with you or read what you write because they'd always be perfectly content, and you wouldn't feel like playing games or writing. Creativity without any discontent what so ever seems impossible to me.

Here's an example, a company has a mascot and somebody draws that mascot doing something the company really dislikes. The artists then sells copies of that picture. The company wants the artist to stop and artist wants to keep going. Who is in the right? If you were to ask people, they'd probably want more details. Who the mascot was and what's in the picture and how it was being sold. If you give more detail, the answers you'd get would vary quite a bit and some people would have no opinion. My stance on it would probably bother a lot of people, including non believers. These kinds of low-stakes situations are where I think concrete morals fall apart because they look so arbitrary to me.

If wickedness is in high places, is there ever more righteousness in low places? Why would that ever be the case?
 

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If wickedness is in high places, is there ever more righteousness is low places. Why would that ever be the case?
Could you clarify this question? It seems that you've maybe reworded it a bit while constructing it, but the grammar doesn't make enough sense for me to know what sort of answer I should give. Thanks.
 

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By football, I meant the American kind. Sorry if that caused any confusion. Even with soccer, I remember getting injured when playing it in people's backyard as a kid. These games aren't just about kicking a ball around. What is a sport when you take out the aggression, physical risks and competitive drive?
Oh, that makes a difference! .. it's like asking whether people will be boxing in heaven. Well, if you consider the reality of the message of the bible (which a lot of people literally cannot see), it says we each are made in the image of God. Jesus says "whatever you were doing to even the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you were doing it to me". So if you were in heaven, how could you bring yourself to start beating on others in whom the Lord Jesus Christ is? .. or charging at them and trying to rip the ball from their hands? .. no, of course that is behaviour not coming naturally of a spirit of love. It's good example of how far the world has gone away from what is good and right, in what it teaches us to assume is normal.

So does that help you at all? .. I suppose you've met footballers and boxers who have said they are Christian and they've tried to expect you to think that heaven is going to be like that. So they'd certainly feel undignified for behaving that way around me, and that's to speak only of the presence of one person.

Would people feel any need to compete in heaven, in any context? Would people get a rush from winning over another person?
They would be utterly ashamed. The collective would sympathise with the distress of the one being harmed. Try doing that to a child and you will see, they ball their eyes out and howl over even the smallest meanness! .. people only behave that way in this world because they world is full of unholy people. The wickedness is in the places of rulership. I know it from experience. As soon as we sympathise with the child who is crying, the parents get all defensive "what's it got to do with you", (they think it has nothing to do with me!), and they sob to the officers, who take sides with a sobbing parent even though the parent is the one who is making their little child sob. All I can say is exactly what the scriptures say, that the world is lying in the power of the wicked one, because everybody loves wickedness. Heaven will not have any place for their sort though.

If you're in perpetual bliss, why would you do anything at all?
Have you never watched a little child playing? They literally create fun from anything!

You can't even help people because nobody would need help. Nobody would want to play a game with you or read what you write because they'd always be perfectly content, and you wouldn't feel like playing games or writing. Creativity without any discontent what so ever seems impossible to me.
I don't see it that way.

Here's an example, a company has a mascot and somebody draws that mascot doing something the company really dislikes. The artists then sells copies of that picture. The company wants the artist to stop and artist wants to keep going. Who is in the right?
The question is really about the validity of the company's displeasure with the art. Do they permit artists to depict the mascot in other ways? If so, then why does the company object to the particular depiction of the mascot, and why is that objection not in agreement with the customers who admire the art? .. the answer always comes down to the fact that somebody is doing an immoral thing. It is possible that the ones who admire the art are admiring immorality, but it also is possible that the company who objects to the mascot's depiction is wanting to control the mascot's image in a way that is unreasonable.

Plus, it assumes that a mascot is intellectual property, which is an unnatural concept for starters. Any person having done a thing is the one who has earned that thing, so in the case of the artist, it is their effort to generate the art that ascribes ownership rights to the art, not some imaginary right that a person has over the ink on paper whenever it appears to take a particular form. Intellectual Property is an inherently immoral concept because it prevents a person from doing that which they are naturally entitled to do. The purpose of intellectual property is to protect the financial success of a creator by preventing imitators from commercialising the creator's invention. That in itself is to solve a problem by manipulating the natural course of justice.

If you were to ask people, they'd probably want more details. Who the mascot was and what's in the picture and how it was being sold. If you give more detail, the answers you'd get would vary quite a bit and some people would have no opinion. My stance on it would probably bother a lot of people, including non believers.
I'm interested to know the way that you think about that.

These kinds of low-stakes situations are where I think concrete morals fall apart because they look so arbitrary to me.
It's not though, it just requires careful and thorough analysis - and a good understanding of the principles of morality and justice, which has been warped and lost to the world's way of thinking since all the problems began.
 
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I suppose you've met footballers and boxers who have said they are Christian and they've tried to expect you to think that heaven is going to be like that.
First of all, thank you for your very thorough responses.

The thing is, they haven't tried to do that. They don't even seem to think about it. They don't realize the contradiction between their beliefs and actions. From something like boxing, you could expand it to more things, other harmful or hedonistic or just meaningless exercises people say they enjoy despite those things seeming like they wont be around in the afterlife. Sure a nice church points to heaven and shows admiration for God, but one day it'll cease to exists and more good could have been done with those resources. Why waste any resources on transient things when they could be used in other ways? It remind me of the parable about anointing Jesus. Why did he say they will not always have him? He'll be around forever in heaven.
Matthew 26:6–13

Have you never watched a little child playing? They literally create fun from anything
I thought it was because they're bored and need stimulation.

I'm interested to know the way that you think about that.
Well, I think people should be able to draw whatever they want. I'd to have that right myself. I've decided that's my interest. People who seek to undermine that right are going against my interests. Whatever arguments or reasoning they have(and there's many types with many reasons) doesn't compel me because I already decided what I want. Most people don't seem to think in this way though. They try to frame everything as being about something "more important" than personal interest. That includes people who aren't religious .

Could you clarify this question?
Ignoring everything else these people have done or think, why is it that in a certain context, when it comes to a specific thing, priests would do something quite bad, while a group of people who either worship an emperor or aren't religious, would do a good thing?
 
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