Statesboro, GA, USA
But I didn't do that Stephanos. I said that religious belief is an expression of life (which may or may not include God), just as the picture of the beautiful woman is a picture of the woman (not the woman herself). Therefore I am not trying to say religion is confined to being less important than life for being more about God than many other expressions. I am only saying it is less important because it is not God and it is not life itself.
No, religious ideas are not God himself, only about him. That's the nature of all of our ideas and words, even yours. What you are denying is the possibility of correspondence when it comes to religious ideas, which is saying that you don't believe them. I already knew that.
I am only saying it is less important because it is not God and it is not life itself. It is a "picture" of life and God and therefore it is inferior to God and life. Just as the picture of the woman is inferior to the woman.
But pictures may be accurate or not. Jesus said the following: "whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven" (Matthew 10:33, NIV). He is someone who claimed a very unique relationship with the Divine, even implying that he was God, with accompanying words and actions ... someone larger than (more important than) life.
The point of emphasizing that is to show you how little giving up a religion is compared to this present life and saving life.
Unless there may be correspondence. Unless "giving up a religion" would involve denying God, who is the author and source of all life. You say it doesn't matter. Jesus says it does.
Your belief is not God, and it is not your life. And you nor others are dependant on it in order to live.
Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." On a subject upon which you've confessed no knowledge (or much harder to defend, the self-refuting Theology of universal agnosticism which says no one CAN have knowledge of God), why wouldn't it be reasonable to believe Jesus' words about this?
Countless have expressed a futility of life, without the divine. Countless have expressed a fulfillment, with God, not possible otherwise. Countless others have expressed the reality of eternal bliss, and perdition. Death bed experiences abound where there is either a palpable peace or infernal torment and perception of a spiritual world. There's evidence enough. It's our own choice to interpret this how we will.
It is a belief, just as a cellphone is a cellphone, not the person being talked to through it, nor their life nor your life, even though it helps communication in life. If you give it up, you still have a world full of room for living and believing.
The closer analogy would not be to give up the cell phone, but to insult or continually hang up on the person at the other end.
So, you never answered my question of whether you would spit on your mother and barrage her with unheard of expletives, in order to secure an insecure escape, from someone making the demand?
I don't think I am treating religion differently, Stephanos. I am just pointing out that the belief being about God doesn't make the belief more important than life itself.
But the belief says that God is more important than life itself ... so, if you are allowing that religious beliefs may also correspond to truth, how could the belief be less important than human temporal life? For the Christian, such actions are not based upon the belief as theory, but that to which the belief corresponds to.
When I say "present life" or "humans" people have evidence beyond art and books that they may find.
And when I say "eternal life" or "God" people have evidence beyond art and books that they may find.
People send us to this or that book to find out what is "true" about God because there is no certain objective evidence they may give.
You're not so naive to imagine that your own views of human dignity and value (the moral crux of your argument in the first place) have any objective evidence, are you? You are confusing existence with an ethical value that you accept, just as much by faith as a believer accepts God. That's not to say it's wrong; It isn't. But I am pointing out to you that the morals and values upon which your argument hinges, are impossible to support via "proofs" ... and particularly if you consider the problem of morality and epistemology in a closed, wholly-material universe, that excludes a transcendent personal God whose character is the source of moral law.
So, what is the "proof" and "objective" evidence that we should honor someone else's life ... or even that life is important?
Generally we may find many that live up to "alive" and "human", but not many that live up to the description of "male omniscient omnipotent God"!
Though you grossly oversimply by saying male, doubtlessly for the purpose of discrediting (for in scripture God created humanity, male and female, in his image), you're still right, not many, just one.
Me:But in this instance, I asked whether you would feel the same way if you knew it were true.
Ess: Yes I believe I would, but it is impossible to know that.
Impossible is a strong word. What objective proof and evidence do you have that it "impossible" to know something of God? It seems that you, at least, know something of his unyielding transcendence. Didn't know you were such a Theologian.
No process of life as it is now gives me any reason to believe I, you, or anyone else will eventually have "eternal life" . People hope for a life free from death because they want it, not because nature suggests they can have it.
I can see that the pervasive expression of this (however crude or variable) in human history, is a clue (among other evidences) to what I have already taken on authority from Christ who was raised from the dead.
But given your world-view, you would have a hard time suggesting that human dignity and value (upon which your argument turns) is anything more than imagination, simply by pointing out that people want it. So, What is your objective factual argument for human honor and dignity, that doesn't depend upon the fact that the majority of people have desired it?
But the great difference here is that the present life is already "here" and had. It not an imaginary "eternal" life that someone doesn't have and (if Nature has anything to say about it) probably won't ever have.
But in your view-of-things, you can't prove with objectivity that human worth and dignity is already "here and had", can you? And if sheer darwinian nature has anything to say about, probably won't ever have.
Tell me, if nature has nothing to say about eternal life, why did Jesus use it so often to illustrate Eternal Life, appealing to what people knew of nature?
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." John 12:24
Why, as C.S. Lewis observed about paganism, did the theme of dying and rising gods occur over and over, in their nature religions which revolved around observing agricultural realities year after year after year? Because God's Heavenly truth casts many shadows into the world.
You may not see things the same way, but to say that "nothing in nature" suggests eternal life, is a very turgid argument, if we consider nature as a whole, rather than only its destructive elements.
What you bring forth though are still things that are warped by art and myth. The evidence needs to be beyond literary texts and beliefs. It needs to be in lifeforms themselves. Every living thing we see eventually dies. That is confirmed over and over again by nature. If the only exception are religious texts and beliefs people have/had, then doesn't that confirm just that: That it is the art of those books and beliefs, contrary to the nature of life itself?
Anything and everything you believe about the past, is "warped by art and myth". What you are really referring to is human subjectivity. And yet, as I've already pointed out, your own views of human dignity and honor are "warped" by subjectivity. It is an "ought", and we cannot prove it by sheer human existence.
I do understand that when it comes to something incredible, it is harder to take human testimony. However, something extraordinary doesn't automatically rule out genuine reportage. If you believe we evolved from hydrogen gas, without intelligent help, and without even a claim of eyewitnesses, you believe in wonders quite beyond what I am capable of believing.
There is nothing inherently wrong that. For imagination and art it is rather "natural" to contradict nature in many ways we represent things. But don't you think treating it as fact and giving up one's life would be taking it to an unreasonable extreme?
Only if I accepted that nature says nothing, metaphorically or otherwise, about eternal life. Nature is not conclusive, of course, on these things. But neither is it conclusive of your own ideas, including those about human dignity and honor ... which we both accept as true. In a religion which states that love, commitment, and devotion (which always involve human ambiguity and uncertainty) are more important sometimes than unassailable objectivity which would amount to "force", the inconclusivity of nature on these questions are understandable. They were meant only to be suggestive, for those open to the suggestions. But sheer objectivity is reserved for no one this side of eternity. Of that I'm convinced.