Statesboro, GA, USA
So as long as weíre good our religious beliefs donít matter, a good Muslim is equal to a good Christian whoís exactly on par with a good Atheist.
Superb, we really do agree.
That's not what I said. I was merely agreeing that actions are the real acid test, as to whether faith is real. (The Bible also tells us that 'faith without works is dead'). Remember, you were, at the point that I said what I did, discussing Muslims and Christians, whom both profess faith in God.
Yep, guilty as charged but weíve already been through this, atheists admit that atheists do bad things, now how many true Christians\Muslims have blood on their hands?
I'm not sure. But the Christians who do have blood on their hands, have acted hypocritically. The Muslims, I feel, may have been acting more in accordance with their professed beliefs, as expressed in the Koran. (I'm still not wholly sure on that question though ... I've got some more reading to do).
Still, my point is, while I think moral consistency matters (especially to those who are not), it is not a valid way to judge whether or not religious propositions are true, especially when those who are culpable are denying those very propositions by their actions. (Christians).
I for one, have not lacked the privilege of having good Christian examples in my life, to counter the bad examples. So I don't know how I would have reacted if I only had poor examples to observe. Often personal offense will lead to irrational conclusions. I do sympathize with those who reject Christ, out of offenses caused by religious people.
Yes, the clue is in the term Ďin light of recent eventsí if you use Ďin light of previous eventsí the potential for barbarity on both sides looks roughly equal. You say Crusade they say Jihad (which is better on a good\bad scale btw)
I certainly can't defend the crusades, nor will I try. Though it is debatable as to which religious history, in totality, is more bellicose, Christians do (by the very teachings of Christ) have a higher standard, and therefore a higher accountability to God and men.
So Christians are better than Muslims? Or is it that bad Christians are better than bad Muslims? What happened to all good people being equally good?
My statement was that Christianity (individuals must be considered individually), when believed and practiced, is better than Isalm, when believed and practiced.
I wouldn't necessarily term being 'Christian' without unnecessary beliefs a goal. ... in the 'Virus of the Mind' thread, I discussed religion as an operating system and that's more or less the same point I'm trying to make here about Agnostic Christian (or Agnostic Jew).
But you are reconfiguring Christian belief into your own schematic. Operating systems are not true or false, in any real way. They are tools to achieve a desired end. The Christian core-beliefs have this funny insistence that they are true, not merely means to an end. So those beliefs, to you, must be "unnecessary", if their veracity is not essential to your view on the proper function of religion. Yes, I know you'll reply by saying that you still find some "truth" in the Christian tradition. But not in the same sense as orthodox Christians do. Scripture minus miracles equals an ethical philosophy, not a religion.
Again, that's not how Einstein appeared to use the term "Agnostic Jew". He is Jewish ethnically speaking, not religiously speaking. Unless you can show otherwise. His Moses was Spinoza. His ethnicity and geneology qualify him as Jewish. Your ethics do not qualify you as a Christian, on Christianity's terms. Though I do concede that your ethic about loving your enemies is "Christian" in a descriptive, adjective sense of the word.
And I don't think nature is silent about morals. When I was talking about being a cooperative species and the means to determine who is or isn't cooperating and the the need for 'justice' -- that's the natural trait that leads to what our ideas of morality are. Certainly there may be arbitrary cultural traditions that become adopted as morals ... but they all come back to some basic notions of good an evil.
Good -- preservation of life (human). Evil -- destruction of life (human).
While it doesn't really matter to the trees whether we kill each other or are eaten in the ocean by a killer whale -- it matters to us. It is OUR nature.
But aren't you begging the question? From a Christian standpoint, moral sense is given by God. At least you recognize the homogeneous nature of morals in societies ... I don't have to argue that point with you like others who insist that we're all so different in that regard. Man is created in the imago dei, the image of God, therefore a moral awareness is part of who we are, as his unique creation.
When you say that "nature" is not silent about morality, you are referring to humans alone. But that's what is in question. In an atheistic paradigm are human morals simply arbitrary, or do they represent a real distinction between right and wrong, good and evil? Yes we make the distinction, but you can't get "ought" from "is".
Your consensus view of morality is also flawed, in that the mob may be immoral too, if society grows increasingly immoral, what happens? Do morals merely shift? You say, that it has never happened in a totalistic way. And you may be right about that (by God's grace). But there's no logical reason why it couldn't. If it did, would you have any recourse? Would you simply acquiesce to the will of society? If morals are merely a head count, then that is counter-intuitive to our common understanding of what morality is.
If you say no. I want to know why. Would it be in the hope of regaining the majority? If that's the case, you're holding a moral standard despite consensus, or projecting your moral choice into a more prospective future of communal support. If you do the former, you are recognizing a law higher than society, or admitting complete arbitrariness. If you do that latter, then we're back to "might makes right".