: Frenchy: I believe there is a God, first of all. I have a feeling that you grant His existence only for the sake of argument. I may be wrong about that. I don't know.
: DDN: Granted for the sake of argument. For the sake of argument, I’ll even grant that He is the old, white bearded, localized, cloud dweller that Stuart & Co. envisions.
: :Frenchy: If you do believe in God, isn't it sort of foolish to judge his actions by our standards?
: 1) Why? Because God is perfect and I’m not? Ok, let’s go there. God is perfect. Since God is perfect then HIS actions are perfect, no? And if his actions are perfect then aren’t they also “good”? Isn’t perfection a good thing?
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Sure, as long as we understand that what seems "good" to us may not be what is "good" to God. Ditto "perfect".
: 2) If you’re a Christian, like Stuart, you are obliged to judge God’s actions in order to avoid burning in hell for all eternity. Let me explain: According to the Bible, God sent His only Son down here to die for our sins. One must accept this “gift” from God to achieve “salvation” and avoid hellfire eternal. How does one accept this gift from God if one does not judge this gift, and the giving of this gift, to be a GOOD thing? You wouldn’t accept this gift if you thought it was a BAD thing, would you? And if one DOES judge the giving of this gift as a good thing then isn’t one “judging the actions of God”?
$$$$$$$$$$$$$Uh, you can put it that way if you like. I simply accept it.
: :Frenchy: I'm reminded of the story of Sodom and Gommorah. Yes, God did destroy the cities, but only after multiple warnings of what He expected of the citizens of those cities.
: It wasn't an unprovoked leveling of two towns without a reason.
: DDN: Of course not. What would have been “good” about THAT? Doesn’t that just reinforce my point: that God’s mass killings were righteous? Then again, as you’ve pointed out, who are we to judge? How do we know that God was justified? Maybe he doesn’t NEED justification. Who are YOU to suggest that he does? If its erroneous of ME to judge God’s actions then its erroneous of you also. Otherwise, our only other choice is to say that He was WRONG for dropping nukes on Sodom and Gommorah. So, my original point still stands with a slight modification. Either:
: 1) God’s bombing of Sodom and Gommorah was a GOOD thing and hence, sometimes calamity and war are GOOD.
: 2) God’s bombing of Sodom and Gommorah was a BAD thing and hence, God makes mistakes.
: 3) We’re not capable of accurately assessing whether God’s actions were good or bad hence, whether or not God preempted his strikes on those cities with warnings ultimately has no baring on any human assessment of his actions.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Mais non, mon amis! Our assesment of what happened at Sodom and Gommorah should be "It's not wise to disobey God, otherwise I'll be made an example of what that can result in too."
: Also: Remember, God didn’t always deliver the blows in person. He often sent humans to do His dirty work. Didn’t God expect those humans to consider such actions to be GOOD? Would it have been good for them to have disobeyed God because of some candy-ass moral dilemma they had with chopping people up with swords and destroying/looting their cities? What generally happened to people who disobeyed God in the Holy Bible, hmmm?
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Your getting off topic here. Humans can use religions and ideologies and cults and whatever to further their own aims. Those aims may or may not be the will of God.
: :Frenchy: When Jesus cleared out the temple of the money changers, He wasn't doing it just to raise hell, so to speak, but because he expected certain forms of behavior. What many would call right behavior.
: DDN: Isn’t a GOOD thing to encourage people to engage in “right behavior”? Was there a better way Jesus could have gotten his point across? If there was, then are we not saying that Jesus was at fault to some degree? John 1:1 says Jesus and God are one in the same, so if Jesus screwed up, that means God screwed up. Either that or Jesus/God’s actions were PERFECT in the temple that day. And again, isn’t it fair to say that something that’s perfect is also “good”? Either this temper tantrum was GOOD or God f_cked up AGAIN.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Perfect hubris. Second guessing Jesus? I suppose you could also say that Jesus screwed up because he was incarnated as a male instead of a female. Or that He screwed up because he was born in a land destined to be torn by war. But the fact is that this was the way he chose to instruct us. Your choice is simple; take it or leave it.
: :Frenchy: Can you name any such occurances in the Bible where violence on the part of God is gratuitous?
: DDN: Well, actually I……
: :Frenchy: I expect you may cite some examples. Great. But again, if you grant the existance of God, how do we know with certainty that those examples are in fact gratuitous? How, if this is your decision, did you get to know God's mind?
: DDN: Well, if His mind is perfect, then I have NOT gotten to know it and I refer you to my argument above that perfect actions are “good”, but if His mind is flawed, then I have gotten to know it quite well having been endowed with a flawed mine of my own that was “created in His likeness”.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Nice play on words; no cigar. "In his likeness" is different than "the same as Him", no? Besides, this sounds like the sort of self-worship that humanism is. The sort that says "God is within me, I am God." Really, there are people who believe this sort of thing. Wacky, huh?
: :Frenchy: By denying God you also create another problem. You are in effect making man God. It must be man, using his powers, to determine what is right and what is wrong, and why that is. I'm forced to again point to the failed socialist systems, especially the failed atheist socialist systems. If Man is God, if man creates the rules, isn't it only reasonable to expect him to behave like a Roman Emperor, or an Asian potentate?
: DDN: If humans are the ultimate beings of the universe, then can’t they muster up the intelligence and willpower to come up with a socio/economic system where people’s needs are fulfilled without the ugliness of dog-eat-dog, Darwinian capitalism and the immense suffering it brings to humanity?
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Man is the ultimate being in the physical universe. But to answer your question about wheather or not humans can create a perfect socio/economic system, where people's needs are met etc; Look at those states that were specifically declared officially atheist for the express purpose of fulfilling the goals you seek. Now, look at those states that have traditionally been considered Christian. You can easily answer your own question. I'm not saying that Capitalism is user friendly, sometimes it's not. But given the alternatives, you've got to admit that having a belief in a Higher Being, living by an accepted set of mores, and a couple of other things, this system beats the daylights out of atheist systems.
: I think there is an intelligence in the universe that is, for all intents and purposes, infinite. If we are not synonymous with that ultimate intelligence or we cannot tap into that intelligence then there is simply no point in getting out of bed in the morning.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$I sort of agree. Except that to think we are synonomous with that intelligence is demonstrably false. Try raising some one from death.
: :Frenchy: I have no desire to convert you, but only to try to answer your question. Maybe Stu can do a better job than me. To me the important point is that there is an ultimate authority. That authority is what provides our moral compass.
: DDN: Exactly. The ultimate authority in Stu’s world is the God of the Holy Bible who routinely sees fit to rain hell on everything that’s not up to snuff leaving thousands and thousands homeless, maimed, and dead in his wake. And we he’s not doing it himself, he commands humans to do it for him. What moral lesson are we to glean from such actions? That it is sometimes correct to invoke war and calamity would seem to be one of them.
: :Frenchy: PS, War, under the correct conditions is sanctioned by such people as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, but those sanctions don't include an appetite for a steak dinner.
: DDN: Noted. Allow me to summize with the following:
: The desire for War and calamity is GOOD to the extent that it is influenced by the infinite organizing power of the ultimate universal intelligence and not from the mad, random, lunatic ravings of phycopaths.
: We all probably fall somewhere inside of this scale and we probably don't remain stagnant upon this scale i.e Sometimes we can see more clearly than other times. Where on this scale is Stoller coming from when he implies that he is thirsty for violent revolt? Who knows for sure, but somewhere beneath him are hordes of putrid, wishy-washy sheep that are too lazy, frightened, and willfully missinformed to have revolutionary desires of ANY kind.
These are all very good points, but nevertheless, they are made by a human. Pickayune compared to God, no?
The things that seem logical and wise to humans, such as the revolutionary desires of people like Mao etc, may in fact be the road to hell. Unless of course, you don't believe in hell, then your in the workers paradise.
Hey, by the way, have you read Mark Twains "Letters from the Earth"? I did when I was in High School. That was part of the reason I lapsed into Humanism. He (Twain that is) is good, really really good.