Wed 28 Nov, 2012 10:35 pm
First off, I have to say that I'm an 18-year-old college sophomore with no formal education in religion or philosophy, so I am just trying to grasp this subject (and its complexity) piece by piece.
I understand that the Christian God, who will be referred to as 'God' from now on, has these three qualities: Omniscience (all knowing), Omnipotence (all powerful), and Omnipresence (everywhere present). His all powerfulness intrigues me the most as I recently started discussing God's will with a Christian friend of mine and he was unable to answer my questions.
The fact that God has a will is also understandable. He believes that certain things are good (charity, kindness, love, etc.) and certain things are bad (killing, stealing, cheating, etc.), but if God has a will, could he not do whatever is necessary (given his all powerfulness) to realize his will? For example, Christians believe that abortions are sins because they go against God's will. But, I believe that making abortions illegal is not the correct course of action. If God believes that having an abortion is a sin, then wouldn't he punish those who sin in which ever manner he sees fit? Wouldn't imposing these restrictions on people be doing God's work? If you are religious, you should tell people that you believe abortion is a sin and lay out what the bible says happens to sinners, but you should never make decisions for others. God gave all of us free will, didn't he?
Let me know if I am missing something. And just to clarify, it is not my intent to be anti-God or say any opinion is 'worse' than mine is. I'm just trying to understand how and why people have certain beliefs, as it is my nature to be very critical of all viewpoints.
What you are asking is why the rules of the mind game
called "God" are subject to negotiation. And you ask that, I presume, because you think the rules of another
mind game called "Allah" do not seem to you to be open to such negotiation. If my presumption is correct the answer lies in an examination of the social and psychological functions which such games are constructed to satisfy and these will be culture specific. "Logic" and "truth" have nothing to do with such satisfaction as they are merely sub-aspects for the game players who cannot view such functionality objectively. Simplistically, the "God game" appears to bemore adaptable to a changing world compared to the "Allah game".
Christians believe that abortions are sins because they go against God's will. But, I believe that making abortions illegal is not the correct course of action.
Yeah, one thing is moral beliefs another thing is the manifestation of those beliefs through laws. That's how laws started, though, through an appeal to a higher power. Look at some of the oldest codes of law, e.g. Ancient Egypt's and Babylon's, both of them based on the authority of dieties who personified law and justice, Ma'at in regard to the former, and Shamash in regard to the latter.
In latter day cases like in the example of Christians, abortion and the laws against it, religious moral arguments are used to extrapolate the practice's illegality, even though it is not explicitly condemned in the Bible, and even certain dispensations are given for infanticide.
I was raised without any religion and continue to live that way because I personally see no benefit in being religious. I live my life in a manner which I believe is good (according to my own definition of 'good') because it benefits myself and those around me.
My question is: If Christians believe God has a will, and endless means to make this will turn into action, then why do they try to force their beliefs upon others? God's choice to give us free will (to believe or not, to be sinful or not) was on purpose because he does not want blind acceptance. He wants his followers to choose to follow him and be rewarded accordingly.
I agree. Religions have (and will always) turn their beliefs into laws, but that is the exact problem I have with large, organized religions. I truly believe that no one opinion is better or more correct than another. By making everyone in the world like you, you are essentially saying, "You're wrong. My way is right. Do it my way."
But there is no right or wrong, or else the study of ethics would stop. We would have definitive answers to abortion, capital punishment, murder, stealing out of desperation, etc. Since that is not the case, and we do have ongoing ethical debates, I find it arrogant that people push their beliefs onto others.
Another problem is that religion is stagnant and cannot fully relate to our current world... But that's a debate for another time.
Some Christians proselytize because their version of the game suggests it is their duty to do s0 (to save souls from the Devil...to gather the stray sheep unto the Lord... to rescue the deluded etc). From the psychological point of view it is merely a form of self rationalization (strength in unity) together with the idea of gathering entry tokens to heaven. Note that the "free will" business is interpreted by them in terms of a divine test of"freedom to chose the right or wrong path" and they know
what is "right" !
On the basis that one of religion's social functions is to regulate social behavior, the concept of "free will" is inextricable from concepts of culpability and responsibility. The "God game" would need to incorporate that. Remember that "omnipotence"is tempered by the clause of " God's generosity" in that God made man (alone) in his own image (i.e. having power
to chose and create). Therein lies the "logical rejoinder" offered by the theists, who of course reject that the argument can be reversed to show that the"God concept" is an anthropomorphism.
You gave a very clear explanation, but I'm still stuck on why it would be the duty of a Christian to convert others to Christianity. They should merely spell out that abortion is a sin and that God punishes sinners by doing X, Y, and Z. Once people are informed about Christianity, and they chose to not join, then they exercise the same free will that followers use. Of course, that would be a very logical and restrained version of Christianity, and if you devoted our entire life to something, you would feel much more empowered to "help" these other people. And the second problem I have (although I agree with what you said), is how religious followers know
that they are right.
It's difficult for me to talk about religion to any of my friends or family members because they immediately assume I'm attacking them or their beliefs. The fact that they hold things so close to their hearts, and cannot even accept the idea that it might
be false, is more than enough proof for me to stay away from religion. Since that is the case, I've yet to have a serious conversation with a theist who brought up strong points that made me stop and think.
You made me thumb you up twice today, this is getting annoying...
If you scan the religious discussion pages on this forum you will find that the ultimate catch all claause for "believers" is that God is transcendent and ineffable. That transcendence means that you can forget "logic". Consider too the argument that people don't have
their beliefs (self
concepts are socially conditioned)....so to attack the one is to attack the other.
Must be my Portuguese immersion !
Very interesting point... And I've been up voting pretty much everything you've said
IMO all religions are also attempts at insurance against the "horror" of Shakespeare's observation....
Macbeth Scene V
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
According to scripture, did not Gods angels report back to him? What did they report back to him that he did not already know?
Bible 1 - 0 Omniscience theorum
Or better yet, how did God not know
that Adam and Eve were going to eat the damn fruit if he put it there (and told them not to eat it), brilliant!
And if he did know
, wtf psycho!?!?
A discussion between Abraham and God was had in Genesis 18, and at the end of the discussion it reads that God went his way from Abraham. How can God go his way from everywhere?
You feel your way around the crap you never notice, as a dog chasing a biscuit by default as it is dragged around by the collar.
Same as every farker else.
Gotcha buy the panty straps.
umm was the abortion thing ur only question? if so then ill say this. Its also Gods will that we dont rape or kill should we remove those laws as well?
Greetings: Like you, I have no formal training in religion / philosophy other than a couple of course at university. However, I have studied the Bible quite a bit on my own and have read some Biblical commentaries written by scholars.
My basic position re your question: The God described in the Bible is not really omnipotent after all
. I politely suggest that this idea of omnipotence comes to the Christian community from the broader culture and its "caricature" image of God.
I believe that certain texts in the Bible that, if taken literally, suggest complete omnipotence are likely intended to be understood as literary devices, pointing to God's substantial power, but not intending to imply complete omnipotence.
To me, your 2nd post poses a slightly different questions from your first one. If you read my fist post, you will know that I do not believe God (the Biblical God that is) is omnipotent. In effect, He has "delegated" some of his power to human beings - this is what happens in the story of the Garden of Eden where God effectively places man in control over the created world.
I see no inconistency in Christians trying to get others to adopt the Christian worldview. We (Christians) believe we have a "story" to tell about the world and where its going that is more faithful to the objective truth than are competing models. And we believe that becoming a member of God's family confers great benefit.
So, of course we want to tell others our story and invite them to join the party.
Of course, there are many out there who will claim to represent the Christian faith and engage in all sorts of behaviours that would do nothing to commend the Christian faith to others.