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    Scott

    9 1 1

    2 3 6 8 + 6 6 6 = 3 0 3 4

    3 .(1 4 . . . . . . . . . . { 9 9 4 digits } . . . .2 1 6 4)(2 0 1 9 8 9 . . . . . . .{ 1 5 9 0 + 4 5 0 digits

    Scott Yesterday, 11:43 PM Go to last post
    Scott

    9 1 1

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    Scott 12-07-2019, 12:53 PM Go to last post
    Scott

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    Scott 12-06-2019, 12:41 PM Go to last post
    Scott

    9 1 1

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    = [ 1 5 9 0 + 5 8 ]

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    Scott 12-05-2019, 10:35 AM Go to last post
    Silence

    Electric Universe Revisited - Birkeland Gets The Last Laugh

    This video documents more of the problems that are causing what even mainstream scientists are calling "a crisis in cosmology". The first part

    Silence 12-05-2019, 07:28 AM Go to last post
    Scott

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    Scott 12-03-2019, 07:03 PM Go to last post
    Scott

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    Scott 12-02-2019, 10:47 AM Go to last post
  • Clarifying the Logic of Love

    A thoughtful reader posed a series of questions and challenges to my article The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality. I'm sure many folks will have similar questions so I am posting my answers here in their own thread (since they are quickly buried in the comment stream). I'm hoping more folks will challenge my theory so it's validity can be "tested in the fire" so please don't be shy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    Hi Richard.

    I think theorising morality and setting out its principles is a great idea. Finding ways to discuss morals in way that abstracts them from a particular viewpoint and set of rules helps us in many ways from finding the truth about our own perspectives to living in an increasingly global society where we need to properly understand the true common moral ground and build on it in order to get along.

    There’s some interesting points raised in the above comments that I would really like to discuss, but I’m going stick to the original topic, for now anyway. So here are some thoughts.
    Hi Eleanor,

    Welcome to our forum!

    Thanks for taking time to share your views. I really appreciate your probing questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough
    Both principles are founded in the most basic and universal moral intuitions shared by all humanity.
    I agree that the Golden Rule is generally common across humanity. However there are people who lack this moral intuition. For example, it is estimated that1% of the population are psychopathic. By psychopath I don’t mean people who are anti-social violent criminals (although a psychopath maybe) but the clinical definition - those who show a defined set of traits which include callousness, lack of empathy, lack of remorse, sexual promiscuity, conning and manipulative behaviour, persistent focus on gratifying their own needs at the expense of others. A psychopath’s brain means they are unable to feel in the same way another human being does. There appears to be a genetic basis for it. While a large proportion of violent crimes are committed by psychopaths, offenders are a small fraction of the psychopathic population, who otherwise seem to do alright for themselves. For example, studies suggest that about 4% of business leaders are psychopaths.

    My understanding is that, from an evolutionary point of view, the capacity for love developed as it gave a survival advantage under the conditions that prevailed. So, while we (as loving caring humans beings) may class psychopaths as immoral (or amoral) from a strictly evolutionary point of view how can it be said that the way they behave is wrong as under current conditions they seem to be generally successful both in society and in getting their genes spread around?
    The fact that some people lack moral intuitions says nothing about the reality of objective morality or the validity of my moral theory as far as I can tell. Does the fact that some people are color blind imply that there are no colors? Does the fact that some people can't do math imply that 1 + 2 does not equal 3? The purpose of my moral theory is to expose and explain the root of our moral intuitions.

    The fact that there is an evolutionary basis for our moral intuitions does not imply that morality is to be identified with that which helps folks "get their genes around." That seems like a reductionist fallacy to me. For example, our ability to do advanced mathematics has an evolutionary basis, but the validity of abstract number theory (such as Wile's proof of Fermat's Last Theorem) does not have anything to do with helping folks "get their genes spread around" and that evolutionary concept tells us nothing about the validity of mathematics in general. I think the same goes for moral theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough
    All rational beings desire the best for themselves.
    I struggle here with the word ‘best’ and what it really means. I assume ‘ultimate wellbeing’ is meant, as to desire anything else would be irrational, and that ‘wellbeing’ includes physical, emotional, intellectual and moral wellbeing. By this definition, what we desire is often not what is actually best for ourselves, whether knowingly (such as choosing to smoke) or unknowingly (for example, by not understanding ourselves, not thinking things through properly or having an imperfect sense of right and wrong). As an observation rather than a criticism, it seems like a moral minefield trying to treat somebody with respect to their ultimate wellbeing while taking into account what they think they want and respecting their right to make their own choices.
    I agree that spelling out the details of what we mean by "best" could lead to many a philosophical sticky-wicket. We are complex beings with a variety of competing needs and desires. When we speak of our well-being, we are not talking only about our physical well-being. If that were the case, we would design our lives to minimize risk. There would be no sky-diving or even skateboarding. Few would think such a life is "best." These are pragmatic rather than theoretical concerns.

    We must take care not to confuse ourselves with words which is so common in philosophy. We must establish our understanding on what is intuitively obvious; that which motivates this whole discussion in the first place. We have no other basis for philosophy. It all begins with something that we understand intuitively - primitive concepts that cannot be defined in terms of other concepts since that would lead to an infinite regress or a self-referential loop. I think the true foundation of morality is perfectly clear: it all comes down to love. If we have no love for others, we would have no moral intuitions that something is right or wrong. If we have no love of self, we cannot love others. When these intuitive facts are processed by our big brain, we see that any moral statement, to be objective, must be symmetric and invariant under an interchange of moral agents and we arrive at the Golden Rule. That is my moral theory in a nutshell.

    Is it necessary that we be able to spell out all the details of what we mean by "best" in all practical situations before we can understand this theory or consider it valid? Of course not. We need only ask if there is something "best" (or even less restrictively, "better") in principle for the theory to work. The rest is moral pragmatics - the application of the theory - that always involves a lot that is beyond our ability to discern. For example, Quantum Physics is the best theory we have for understanding atoms but we cannot apply it directly to anything but a few of the simplest atoms. Everything else must be done with approximations and assumptions because the equations are too complex even for our best computers. Does this impugn the theory? Of course not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    If a person acts with altruism and this has a detrimental effect on them, would they be considered an irrational person?
    Altruism has nothing to do with morality. If it did it would be logically incoherent because both persons would be morally compelled to sacrifice self for other. Then both die and neither would be altruistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough
    “Universal Love for all sentient beings. This is an objective standard because any rational observer could, in principle, discern between what is or is not more loving. To refute this argument, it would have to be shown that people cannot objectively determine what is more loving.”
    What does ‘more loving’ mean? If we have love for another human being we desire their wellbeing and act accordingly. The most loving act possible in a particular circumstance will result in the greatest improvement to wellbeing. Therefore the lovingness of an act isn’t the act itself but the motive and the ultimate outcome. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

    How is it possible to objectively judge the motive of an act? To an outside observer an act may seem loving. From the perspective of outcome, it may have been the most loving act possible. But what was the real motive? If you know somebody well, you might have a very good guess at their motives. But it’s still only a guess.
    The purpose of my moral theory is to expose and explain the root of our moral intuitions. Do you think it succeeds? Do you have any moral intuition that contradicts love or is not founded in love? Do you have any moral intuition that is not explained by my theory? I would be very interested if you do since that would show a weakness in my theory that I must address.

    You ask "How is it possible to objectively judge the motive of an act?". We can't, and I don't see how that question is relevant since no such judgement required by my theory and there is no moral theory that could enable us to make such judgments. The purpose of my moral theory is to explain the root of our moral intuitions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    I also struggle to see how a person can objectively judge the outcome of an act. The immediate effect of an act may be negative. For example disciplining a child may make them cry, but when the right disciplinary action is taken it is ultimately for their own good. So a longer view needs to be taken. Even, assuming in principle an observer could witness the experiences and behaviour of a child as they grew up, I don’t see how they would be able to disentangle the effect of a particular act of discipline by a parent, or even in every case be able to definitively say whether a person's behaviour is a result of their upbringing or their own free will.
    Again, those are pragmatic questions that we would have to solve regardless of which moral theory we adhere to. They do not help us discern between competing theories of morality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
    It seems possible for somebody with a heart full of love but lacking in wisdom to perform actions that cause harm (whether actual or relative). We learn wisdom as we mature but even with age make mistakes when we encounter new circumstances. An objective observer would need a vast store of wisdom to allow them objectively judge not just one human being’s lifetime of actions, but the myriad of actions across an infinite variety of personalities and circumstances.

    Human society has often been faced with complex moral dilemmas where the wellbeing of large number of people is at stake, trade-offs between different groups of people are necessary or where the wellbeing of future, unborn generations of humanity may be affected. Accurately determining the consequences of a set of possible actions in order judge the lovingness of each one and select the best is mind boggling!

    Personally, at this point I’m feeling like I need God to guide me in making decisions where my human capacity reaches it limits and to help make sure some good or that at least no harm comes to anyone due to my inadvertent mistakes. Thank the Lord I’m not a world leader!

    The Golden Rule, good as it is, is only as good as human limits allow it to be. For those who believe in an all powerful, loving, wise, just God it would be unloving not to love him and do his will. Not simply because he says so, but because to not allow him to take care of the things we’re unable to and guide us to the right decisions in difficult circumstances is unloving towards ourselves and our fellow human beings. Without God I don’t see where the objective observer can come from, no human being has the capacities required.
    I agree that making valid moral judgments can be quite challenging, but I have no idea why you would think God is any kind of guide. Is there any way for you to know God's specific will in any given situation? Will you not be subject to exactly the same human limitations that you listed?

    Again, I want to thank you for your challenging and probing questions.

    All the best,

    Richard
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. Eleanor's Avatar
      Eleanor -
      Hi Richard, thanks for the welcome. Glad you liked the questions

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      The fact that some people lack moral intuitions says nothing about the reality of objective morality or the validity of my moral theory as far as I can tell. Does the fact that some people are color blind imply that there are no colors? Does the fact that some people can't do math imply that 1 + 2 does not equal 3? The purpose of my moral theory is to expose and explain the root of our moral intuitions.
      I see what you’re saying. However, colours and mathematical principles exist independently from any human being or any living organism for that matter. Would morality exist if no human being ever had moral intuition or if human beings never existed at all?

      Clearly for morality to exist, moral agents are required. However, if human beings only exist because a mechanical, undirected process of evolution happened by chance to produce them, then morality is solely based on what our gene-based neurology allows us to intuit. Any moral theory is therefore only valid for those with the neurological capacity to intuit according to the principles of that theory. Some people (such as psychopaths) are unable to intuit according to the Golden Rule due to their neurology. The Golden Rule has to be proved truly objective in order to allow us to make any valid moral judgment on their behaviour.

      If as human beings we are unable to perceive that a particular action is unloving or less loving with respect to the Golden Rule, then the action is morally acceptable. There is symmetry and also invariance under exchange of moral agents as far as we can tell. However I would not consider it truly objectively moral for the following reasons:

      Firstly, it is based on intuition. Going back to Robert Nozick: “If p is an objective truth, then it holds independently of people's beliefs, desires, hopes, and observations or measurements that p.”. We’re born with an intuition for love. However, this love is immature. A newborn baby has need love. As children grow, their intuition of what is loving develops based on their experiences. As adults our love may continue to grow if we broaden our experience and understanding of self and others. Our moral intuitions have a basis in experience and are therefore not independent of our observations.

      Further, consider an action that causes harm to a person in a way we do not perceive. Objectively it is unloving and therefore immoral. Therefore there is morality outside of a moral agents ability to detect. As morality requires a moral agent capable of making a judgment with respect to that morality then either the action cannot be considered immoral and objective morality is not possible, or there is a non-human moral agent capable of making that judgment.

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      I think the true foundation of morality is perfectly clear: it all comes down to love. If we have no love for others, we would have no moral intuitions that something is right or wrong. If we have no love of self, we cannot love others. When these intuitive facts are processed by our big brain, we see that any moral statement, to be objective, must be symmetric and invariant under an interchange of moral agents and we arrive at the Golden Rule.
      ….
      Altruism has nothing to do with morality. If it did it would be logically incoherent because both persons would be morally compelled to sacrifice self for other. Then both die and neither would be altruistic.
      Are you saying morality implies a mutual obligation of equal action? That’s not what I understood from the Golden Rule or your theory. The axis of symmetry is one of love. If I lack self-love there is nothing to make a mirror image of. If I love self but not others then there is no mirror image. If I have self-love and love for others then I am on one side of the axis of symmetry and on the other is a mirror image in the form of my intuitive representation of a fellow human. (I think there is a weakness in the expression of this somehow - to be truly loving we have to see people as both the same and different – of equal worth but as individuals too.)

      As we are all different people with different circumstances, needs and abilities any loving action I perform cannot and should not always be mirrored back to me. The person I acted toward may not have the ability to carry out an equal action. Or it maybe I have no need for the same kind of action towards me and for someone to respond in the same way would be inappropriate or even unloving. Under the Golden Rule there is an obligation to respond in a loving way but as far as I can see that does not necessarily obligate a return of the same action to the giver. It does obligate the receiver, if at another time they find themselves in similar circumstances but with roles reverse, to then lovingly act as a giver in a similar way as I did to them. Perhaps an action is transformed by translation rather than symmetry?

      With respect to altruism in more a general sense, not just self-sacrifice to death. The person on the receiving end of the self-sacrifice has a need, the self-sacrificer sees the need and believes they have the ability to provide for that need and out of love for a fellow human being gives freely without expectation of return. By the selfless nature of altruism, the giver has waived any moral obligation the receiver may have had to make any return. As I see it, providing the self-sacrifice does not interfere with moral obligations to others such as to family and the sacrifice to self is recognised and acceptable to self, it is a loving act and therefore a moral act.

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      The purpose of my moral theory is to expose and explain the root of our moral intuitions. Do you think it succeeds? Do you have any moral intuition that contradicts love or is not founded in love? Do you have any moral intuition that is not explained by my theory? I would be very interested if you do since that would show a weakness in my theory that I must address.
      I think one of the problems I have is that I see limits to the Golden Rule and your theory. As I reasoned above, they are not truly objective. Perhaps I missed something? Personally I would completely agree that love is the guiding moral principle and that all human beings are under the Golden Rule. But that’s because I believe in a creator God as an objective moral agent. If were an atheist, I would logically have to allow other for other moralities as being valid, even if emotionally this did not sit well.

      Perhaps the subjectivity does not matter. If the Golden Rule and your theory is taken as a subset of objective morality any argument based on it would still be theoretically valid providing a) we do not make arguments about morality that touch religious matters b) we reckon all human beings as being guided by the same principles of morality if not actually so.

      I believe I do have moral intuitions that are not founded in love. My behaviour exemplifies my moral intuitions. I want to do the right thing. However, I find I don’t always know the right thing to do. Sometimes I realise after the fact I’ve done something wrong. Sometimes I know I’m doing the wrong thing but it’s difficult to do the right thing. So clearly I don’t love perfectly. I would say that my moral intuition is based on a mixture of love, fear and selfishness. The moral intuitions rooted in love being good and those rooted in fear and selfishness being bad.

      While I see love as the guiding principle, our moral intuition depends upon a number of factors including our gene-based neurology, our experiences, knowledge and our ability to reason and think for ourselves so we can understand where our morals are not inline with love even if our social group says otherwise. I’m not sure if you agree with that, but if something like that was incorporated into your theory I think we could then draw some interesting conclusions about personal, societal and religious moral obligations.

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      You ask "How is it possible to objectively judge the motive of an act?". We can't, and I don't see how that question is relevant since no such judgement required by my theory and there is no moral theory that could enable us to make such judgments. The purpose of my moral theory is to explain the root of our moral intuitions.
      I see it as relevant with respect to this which you wrote: “Universal Love for all sentient beings. This is an objective standard because any rational observer could, in principle, discern between what is or is not more loving. To refute this argument, it would have to be shown that people cannot objectively determine what is more loving.”

      A morality based on love for others requires the motive to be loving not selfish. If people cannot absolutely determine the motive then, regardless of the outcome, people cannot make an objective determination as to whether an act is loving or not and therefore by this definition there is no objective standard. Although in general I’d agree that in a moral theory it’s a pragmatic question.

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      I agree that making valid moral judgments can be quite challenging, but I have no idea why you would think God is any kind of guide. Is there any way for you to know God's specific will in any given situation? Will you not be subject to exactly the same human limitations that you listed?
      The theistic world view allows for an all powerful, loving, wise, just God who knows the end from the beginning and has humanity’s welfare at heart. (I know not everybody sees it this way and some are completely unable to reconcile the world we live in with the idea of this kind of god existing but I think that’s a topic for elsewhere). If a person’s heart is toward God and they see that he has humanity’s welfare at heart then it becomes more important to that person to be more loving towards humanity. Their focus of attention becomes more directed towards growing in love rather than say gaining material wealth. Of course it doesn’t take a belief in God to focus on growing in love. We can all use reason and intuition and various external helps to guide us into becoming more loving. The difference I think God makes is that he knows better than we do what love is, what we need, what others need, what’s around the corner. If I have my heart towards God and ask for help, I allow him to overrule in my life. God can shape the circumstances of my life to direct me down the right path and put obstacles in the way so I turn back from the wrong one. He can put ideas in my mind so that things are brought to my attention and I’m directed towards the right helps, or toward the right action to others. It doesn’t mean I always know God’s will, I still have to use reason with love as the guiding principle. But by having a godward heart I will end up following a path that leads to me understanding God’s will more and more and to me being more loving than if I had not followed God.

      Thankyou for the thought provoking responses. It took some time to think my reply through properly! I’m enjoying the discussion.

      Eleanor
    1. David M's Avatar
      David M -
      Hello Richard and Eleanor

      Having read your comments, I have thoughts that give rise to many questions. Given that a baby/person has to learn everything and we have very little instinct that might be inbuilt from birth, I have the following questions regarding love and intuitiveness.


      • What do we know about intuition - is this not a part of the development of the brain that has to be fed with information from the senses?
      • Is not love learned by the interactions of baby and its mother and if love is learned does this not lead to intuitive love of others?
      • What would be the outcome for a baby that was isolated and did not receive any love whatsoever and was just fed and kept alive?
      • If a baby learns love from its mother (parents). Is it not the same that we come to learn about the love of God?
      • Can the love of God be intuitive unless God first showed love toward us - how else would we intuitively know about the one true God?


      We are very complex beings and our behavior is developed once our sensors and brain have developed and information begins to be stored. This begins in the womb even before the baby is born. The baby can sense things happening outside the womb that could show up later in a persons life and give rise to what can be called aberrations. The human mind (heart) is so complex we ask the question; "Who can know it?". The only one who I know has the ability is God. God knows each and everyone's code stored in their DNA. That is why before Jacob and Esau were born, for example, God knew that they would be two entirely different looking babies. Even to the extent of knowing that the elder would serve the younger is probably because God would ensure events happened where that was brought about. The two characters were so different that Paul reminds us of what is written (Romans 9:13); As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. This opens up another set of questions concerning God's foreknowledge and knowing that Esau would be hated by God. Foreknowledge is the reason for explaining predestination Just as I believe the same as Peter that Jesus did not pre-exist but was as he wrote (1 Peter 1:20); Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

      The other ingredient to explain is; willpower. How is willpower developed? Why is it some have greater willpower than others? Jesus had the willpower not to do his own will, but the will of his Heavenly Father and whilst Jesus did that, it does not negate the struggle that went on inside the mind of Jesus at the times he was tempted by the lust of his own flesh. Willpower to do something and even the willpower to change our ways/character is something we can possess, but not always do very well.

      If we have not developed at an early age the love that is intuitive, then it might be more of a struggle later on as it will require willpower to change our tendency to hate when we ought to be loving.

      I have come to the conclusion, that if we read the Bible and concentrate on the positive aspects, then the Bible does the same job as those who teach NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). The mind is trainable and the negative side to our characters can be transformed. This is easier for some than others, but it is part of the transforming from the "old man" to the putting on of the "new man" spoken by the Apostle Paul. It is also the; "having the mind of Christ" spoken about by Paul. The "mind of Christ" comes from letting God's word influence our mind. Doing the will of God is (Micah 6:8); "to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Letting the teaching of God and the teaching of Jesus come into our hearts and influence us is the way I understand the saying of Jesus (John 14:23); If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

      Christ and God is not living in us physically. They live in us spiritually in our minds. Their words stored in our mind can affect our daily lives. I do not necessarily have to have the Holy Spirit and instead, I have the words of Jesus and God in my mind that influence my actions and thus are themselves a spirit force that has effect on the people we communicate with. This is why in times of temptations and at other times, Jesus would recall what the scriptures say. The Holy Spirit by which Jesus did miracles is an entirely different matter.

      This whole subject is largely do with our mind which is developed from birth beginning inside the womb. The mind is the most complex organ in the body along with the eye. With the eye we see outside of the mind, but with the brain/mind we perceive, we understand and we "see" with the mind's eye the reality of things.

      Thanks for stimulating my thoughts on the subject. I hope some of my thoughts stimulate your own thoughts.

      All the best

      David
    1. jce's Avatar
      jce -
      Loving self.

      What does that mean?

      If I focus my energy, effort and resources toward fulfillment of my personal goals and desires, does that indicate that I love myself? For example, If I desire leisure, pleasure, entertainment, good health, wealth, a harem of women and security, all for me, is this an indication that I'm in love with me?

      Before answering, here's a qualifier... I obtain all of these self enrichments within the framework of "loving myself" by "doing" for myself. I violate no codified rules in my pursuit and acquisition of these desires, and, as an added bonus I create jobs wherein others do the necessary work to sustain my leisure time, ensure that I continue to have pleasant experiences, produce quality entertainment for my viewing and listening pleasure, maintain my physical well being, oversee my investments, stimulate and fulfill my masculine lusts, and employ an armed guard of personnel to protect my accumulations. Such security has an incidental benefit of providing peace of mind.

      There is one caveat, due to my ever expanding appetite for more and better, and because I only want the very best for myself, I have determined that it is in the interest of self to stockpile limited resources in my barns and banks to wisely ensure that my lifestyle remains uninterrupted, all of which results in the unintended consequence of deprivation to "others".

      Sound familiar?

      In a world system where men only live once, the above lifestyle apparently not only seems reasonable, but is practiced with increasing frequency. Philosophically, it demonstrates self love in action. In fact, to take it a step further, it seems completely compatible with evolutionary theory which is based upon survival of the fittest and domination of the weak and intellectually inferior. Let me take it one step further and offer a personal assessment of the current state of affairs in our own society. America (not without some resistance) has been transitioning from what was once a society broadly based on Biblical Influence, to a culture increasingly focused on Scientific theories and Natural law, carelessly ignorant of where it might lead. The fruit of this movement appears in the daily headlines and six o'clock news. Selfish love manifests itself throughout American society, ranging from rich to poor and educated to unlearned. Such behavior seems, not in decline, but rather escalating, and why should we expect anything less? Your life is here now, there is no tomorrow, you are nothing more than stardust, a product of genetic evolution. You must compete for resources to survive. If you don't take care of your own personal needs, who will?

      Now, before all the evolutionists come running to their own defense, proclaiming the many good deeds performed by evolutionists, let me make one more point, I believe there is evidence that humanity was endowed with a conscience enabling us to help one another. With that said, most of those who actually do good for others do so out of the abundance which they already possess. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, to name two, have gifted literally billions in aid to needy worldwide causes, but take note, they did not give it all away. And why should they, after all, they still have self to care for, and isn't that the fundamental point. Self first. After all, the logic that results from the philosophy "only one life to live, nevermore to live again" can only reason that if the needs of self are not met, how can one help another?

      There is another way, and history testifies that a few good men chose that "other" narrow path, but it required faith in a Just God and an unshakable assurance in the reward of a future life. One that is, shall we say... Eternal.

      Just thinking out loud.

      John
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Loving self.

      What does that mean?

      If I focus my energy, effort and resources toward fulfillment of my personal goals and desires, does that indicate that I love myself? For example, If I desire leisure, pleasure, entertainment, good health, wealth, a harem of women and security, all for me, is this an indication that I'm in love with me?

      Before answering, here's a qualifier... I obtain all of these self enrichments within the framework of "loving myself" by "doing" for myself. I violate no codified rules in my pursuit and acquisition of these desires, and, as an added bonus I create jobs wherein others do the necessary work to sustain my leisure time, ensure that I continue to have pleasant experiences, produce quality entertainment for my viewing and listening pleasure, maintain my physical well being, oversee my investments, stimulate and fulfill my masculine lusts, and employ an armed guard of personnel to protect my accumulations. Such security has an incidental benefit of providing peace of mind.

      There is one caveat, due to my ever expanding appetite for more and better, and because I only want the very best for myself, I have determined that it is in the interest of self to stockpile limited resources in my barns and banks to wisely ensure that my lifestyle remains uninterrupted, all of which results in the unintended consequence of deprivation to "others".

      Sound familiar?
      Good morning John,

      I appreciate your comments and agree that your caricature of "self-love" would not yield an adequate theory of morality. I call it a "caricature" because authentic self-love necessarily implies love for others. I addressed this issue in my original article The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality by quoting the insights of psychologist Erich Fromm. Here they are again:
      These questions arise: Does psychological observation support the thesis that there is a basic contradiction and a state of alternation between love for oneself and love for others? Is love for oneself the same phenomenon as selfishness, or are they opposites? Furthermore, is the selfishness of modern man really a concern for himself as an individual. with all his intellectual, emotional, and sensual potentialities? Has “he” not become an appendage of his socioeconomic role? Is his selfishness identical with self-love or is it not caused by the very lack of it?
      Before we start the discussion of the psychological aspect of selfishness and self-love, the logical fallacy in the notion that love for others and love for oneself are mutually exclusive should be stressed. If it is a virtue to love my neighbor as a human being, it must be a virtue---and not a vice---to love myself since I am a human being too. There is no concept of man in which I myself am not included. A doctrine which proclaims such an exclusion proves itself to be intrinsically contradictory. The idea expressed in the Biblical “Love thy neighbor as thyself!” implies that respect for one’s own integrity and uniqueness, love for and understanding of one’s own self, can not be separated from respect for and love and understanding of another individual. The love for my own self is inseparably connected with the love for any other self.

      We have come now to the basic psychological premises on which the conclusions of our argument are built. Generally, these premises are as follows: not only others, but we ourselves are the “object” of our feelings and attitudes; the attitudes toward others and toward ourselves, far from being contradictory, are basically conjunctive. With regard to the problem under discussion this means: Love of others and love of ourselves are not alternatives. On the contrary, an attitude of love toward themselves will be found in all those who are capable of loving others. Love, in principle, is indivisible as far as the connection between “objects” and one’s own self is concerned. Genuine love is an expression of productiveness and implies care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge. It is not an “affect” in the sense of being affected by somebody, but an active striving for the growth and happiness of the loved person, rooted in one’s own capacity to love.

      From this it follows that my own self, in principle, must be as much an object of my love as another person. The affirmation of one’s own life, happiness, growth, freedom, is rooted in one’s capacity to love, i.e., in care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge. If an individual is able to love productively, he loves himself too; if he can love only others, he can not love at all.
      I'm surprised that you didn't understand these facts since they cohere with the teachings of the Bible. Specifically, the formulation of the Golden Rule attributed to Christ - Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself - is based on the concept of self-love without which there would be no Golden Rule at all. His command would be impossible to obey without self-love. Likewise, Paul used the fact that love for self is fundamental to love for others when he taught "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church" (Ephesians 5:29). How then is it possible that Christians could oppose the Golden Rule and the Logic of Love? The answer seems pretty plain. The concept of love is deeply connected with the idea of unity, and unity of mind and morals is called "integrity." Teaching people to hate themselves, as is common in much Christian teaching, corrupts the integrity of both their minds and their morals.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      In a world system where men only live once, the above lifestyle apparently not only seems reasonable, but is practiced with increasing frequency. Philosophically, it demonstrates self love in action. In fact, to take it a step further, it seems completely compatible with evolutionary theory which is based upon survival of the fittest and domination of the weak and intellectually inferior. Let me take it one step further and offer a personal assessment of the current state of affairs in our own society. America (not without some resistance) has been transitioning from what was once a society broadly based on Biblical Influence, to a culture increasingly focused on Scientific theories and Natural law, carelessly ignorant of where it might lead. The fruit of this movement appears in the daily headlines and six o'clock news. Selfish love manifests itself throughout American society, ranging from rich to poor and educated to unlearned. Such behavior seems, not in decline, but rather escalating, and why should we expect anything less? Your life is here now, there is no tomorrow, you are nothing more than stardust, a product of genetic evolution. You must compete for resources to survive. If you don't take care of your own personal needs, who will?

      Now, before all the evolutionists come running to their own defense, proclaiming the many good deeds performed by evolutionists, let me make one more point, I believe there is evidence that humanity was endowed with a conscience enabling us to help one another. With that said, most of those who actually do good for others do so out of the abundance which they already possess. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, to name two, have gifted literally billions in aid to needy worldwide causes, but take note, they did not give it all away. And why should they, after all, they still have self to care for, and isn't that the fundamental point. Self first. After all, the logic that results from the philosophy "only one life to live, nevermore to live again" can only reason that if the needs of self are not met, how can one help another?

      There is another way, and history testifies that a few good men chose that "other" narrow path, but it required faith in a Just God and an unshakable assurance in the reward of a future life. One that is, shall we say... Eternal.

      Just thinking out loud.

      John
      Yes, my theory of morality is fully consistent with evolution, as it must be if it is to be true. And this gives us great insight since the foundation of our moral intuitions must be based in our own nature which is common to all organisms that have evolved (self-preservation). I consider this a very strong point of the theory.

      The idea that morality is based on the commands of a god actually destroys, rather than establishes, morality because either the commands are arbitrary (and hence not intrinsically moral) or they are based on independent moral principles and so are redundant and unnecessary.

      And there is a problem (which I believe is insurmountable) with your appeal to a "Just God" since the God of the Bible seems to be anything but that. The Bible attributes gross immorality and injustice to God (e.g. genocide, sexism, etc.). And worse, the Gospel itself is fundamentally unjust because it punishes the innocent and lets the guilty go free. The Gospel is, by definition, unjust. There is a great irony here because Hank Hanegraaff justifies hell by saying that "Justice would be impugned if, after slaughtering six million Jews, Hitler merely died in the arms of his mistress with no eternal consequences." How he could fail to see that his argument implies the Gospel itself "impugns justice" is beyond me. He has never addressed this problem as far as I know. Such errors in logic are exceedingly common amongst the most prominent Christian apologists. William Lane Craig justifies the slaughter of the Canaanite children by saying that they all got free tickets to heaven. And this, of course, means that abortionists have done more good for humanity than anyone because they got people into heaven whom God himself would have sent to hell if they had been allowed to grow to be unrepentant sinners. I see no basis for appealing to the Bible or the Biblical God as source of morality. It simply is not true in my estimation.

      Thanks for taking time to work with me on this important question.

      Richard
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
      Hi Richard, thanks for the welcome. Glad you liked the questions

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
      I agree that the Golden Rule is generally common across humanity. However there are people who lack this moral intuition. For example, it is estimated that1% of the population are psychopathic. By psychopath I don’t mean people who are anti-social violent criminals (although a psychopath maybe) but the clinical definition - those who show a defined set of traits which include callousness, lack of empathy, lack of remorse, sexual promiscuity, conning and manipulative behaviour, persistent focus on gratifying their own needs at the expense of others. A psychopath’s brain means they are unable to feel in the same way another human being does. There appears to be a genetic basis for it. While a large proportion of violent crimes are committed by psychopaths, offenders are a small fraction of the psychopathic population, who otherwise seem to do alright for themselves. For example, studies suggest that about 4% of business leaders are psychopaths.
      The fact that some people lack moral intuitions says nothing about the reality of objective morality or the validity of my moral theory as far as I can tell. Does the fact that some people are color blind imply that there are no colors? Does the fact that some people can't do math imply that 1 + 2 does not equal 3? The purpose of my moral theory is to expose and explain the root of our moral intuitions.
      I see what you’re saying. However, colours and mathematical principles exist independently from any human being or any living organism for that matter. Would morality exist if no human being ever had moral intuition or if human beings never existed at all?

      Clearly for morality to exist, moral agents are required. However, if human beings only exist because a mechanical, undirected process of evolution happened by chance to produce them, then morality is solely based on what our gene-based neurology allows us to intuit. Any moral theory is therefore only valid for those with the neurological capacity to intuit according to the principles of that theory. Some people (such as psychopaths) are unable to intuit according to the Golden Rule due to their neurology. The Golden Rule has to be proved truly objective in order to allow us to make any valid moral judgment on their behaviour.

      If as human beings we are unable to perceive that a particular action is unloving or less loving with respect to the Golden Rule, then the action is morally acceptable. There is symmetry and also invariance under exchange of moral agents as far as we can tell. However I would not consider it truly objectively moral for the following reasons:

      Firstly, it is based on intuition. Going back to Robert Nozick: “If p is an objective truth, then it holds independently of people's beliefs, desires, hopes, and observations or measurements that p.”. We’re born with an intuition for love. However, this love is immature. A newborn baby has need love. As children grow, their intuition of what is loving develops based on their experiences. As adults our love may continue to grow if we broaden our experience and understanding of self and others. Our moral intuitions have a basis in experience and are therefore not independent of our observations.

      Further, consider an action that causes harm to a person in a way we do not perceive. Objectively it is unloving and therefore immoral. Therefore there is morality outside of a moral agents ability to detect. As morality requires a moral agent capable of making a judgment with respect to that morality then either the action cannot be considered immoral and objective morality is not possible, or there is a non-human moral agent capable of making that judgment.
      Good morning Eleanor,

      I'm glad you are pursuing this conversation. You have introduced a rather complex mix of concepts, so it will take a bit of work to sort them out.

      1) "However, colours and mathematical principles exist independently from any human being or any living organism for that matter. Would morality exist if no human being ever had moral intuition or if human beings never existed at all?"

      I agree there would be no morality without moral agents, but neither would there be moral agents without morality. The two concepts are mutually dependent. Your question touches upon the unsolved philosophical problem of what it means to say that an abstract concept "exists." You say that "mathematical principles exist independently from any human being." How do you know that? What does it even mean? In what way do they exist? In practice, all it really means is that people would come to the same conclusions independent of any particulars about themselves. This is, of course, the definition Nozick gave of objectivity: “If p is an objective truth, then it holds independently of people's beliefs, desires, hopes, and observations or measurements that p.” Note that it does NOT say that something is objective if it "exists independently of humans" in an absolute sense. For example, the English language does not exist independently of humans yet it is an objective reality. We do not need to solve this philosophical question before we can have a successful theories of mathematics, linguistics, or morality.

      2) if human beings only exist because a mechanical, undirected process of evolution happened by chance to produce them, then morality is solely based on what our gene-based neurology allows us to intuit

      Your comment is based on three common philosophical errors. First, there is no reason to believe that non-theism implies that reality is nothing but a "mechanical" process. The concept of a "mechanical" universe is an archaic 19th century view of reality that is not consistent with Quantum Physics in which objects are understood to be parts of an integrated non-separable whole. The separation into parts is an approximation. Second, non-theism does not imply that reality is material. It could just as well be a manifestation of a "cosmic mind." Third, your description of humans as nothing but the product of "mechanical undirected process of evolution that happened by chance" is a reductionist fallacy. It's like thinking we could explain the plot of a TV show by studying the circuitry of the TV.

      3) Any moral theory is therefore only valid for those with the neurological capacity to intuit according to the principles of that theory.

      If your assertion were correct it would invalidate all theories because all theories would be "only valid for those with the neurological capacity to intuit according to the principles of that theory."

      4) The Golden Rule has to be proved truly objective in order to allow us to make any valid moral judgment on their behaviour.

      The Golden Rule satisfies the definition of objectivity. The fact that some disabled people fail to see it says nothing about its objectivity.

      5) If as human beings we are unable to perceive that a particular action is unloving or less loving with respect to the Golden Rule, then the action is morally acceptable.

      That is not true. It's like saying if someone incorrectly adds 1 + 2 to get 17 then their math is "mathematically correct."

      6) There is symmetry and also invariance under exchange of moral agents as far as we can tell.

      There is neither symmetry nor invariance. Your example assumed that the person was "unable to perceive that a particular action is unloving." That condition does not apply to every moral agent so it is not "invariant under exchange of moral agents."

      7) Our moral intuitions have a basis in experience and are therefore not independent of our observations.

      Your comment misconstrues the definition of objectivity. It does not state that something must be "independent of our observations" to be objective. And everything we know has "a basis in experience" so I don't see how your comments imply any problem with my theory.

      8) Objectively it is unloving and therefore immoral.

      "Objectivity" is not a moral agent, so it makes no sense to call it "immoral."

      9) Therefore there is morality outside of a moral agents ability to detect.

      It is true that the ability of moral agents is limited, but how is that different than saying there are mathematical truths beyond the ability of mathematicians to perceive? How would that invalidate the objectivity of mathematics?

      10) As morality requires a moral agent capable of making a judgment with respect to that morality then either the action cannot be considered immoral and objective morality is not possible, or there is a non-human moral agent capable of making that judgment.

      I find that to be a rather obvious and entirely unjustifiable attempt to import your concept of God. No such concept plays any role in our moral intuitions. It is something that people are taught from others. Everyone with any authentic moral intuitions knows that they are based on the nature of the act and how it affects others. I don't see how it could have anything to do with any other "moral agent" that might be able to make judgments beyond our limited capabilities.

      Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      I think the true foundation of morality is perfectly clear: it all comes down to love. If we have no love for others, we would have no moral intuitions that something is right or wrong. If we have no love of self, we cannot love others. When these intuitive facts are processed by our big brain, we see that any moral statement, to be objective, must be symmetric and invariant under an interchange of moral agents and we arrive at the Golden Rule.
      ….
      Altruism has nothing to do with morality. If it did it would be logically incoherent because both persons would be morally compelled to sacrifice self for other. Then both die and neither would be altruistic.
      Are you saying morality implies a mutual obligation of equal action? That’s not what I understood from the Golden Rule or your theory. The axis of symmetry is one of love. If I lack self-love there is nothing to make a mirror image of. If I love self but not others then there is no mirror image. If I have self-love and love for others then I am on one side of the axis of symmetry and on the other is a mirror image in the form of my intuitive representation of a fellow human. (I think there is a weakness in the expression of this somehow - to be truly loving we have to see people as both the same and different – of equal worth but as individuals too.)

      As we are all different people with different circumstances, needs and abilities any loving action I perform cannot and should not always be mirrored back to me. The person I acted toward may not have the ability to carry out an equal action. Or it maybe I have no need for the same kind of action towards me and for someone to respond in the same way would be inappropriate or even unloving. Under the Golden Rule there is an obligation to respond in a loving way but as far as I can see that does not necessarily obligate a return of the same action to the giver. It does obligate the receiver, if at another time they find themselves in similar circumstances but with roles reverse, to then lovingly act as a giver in a similar way as I did to them. Perhaps an action is transformed by translation rather than symmetry?

      With respect to altruism in more a general sense, not just self-sacrifice to death. The person on the receiving end of the self-sacrifice has a need, the self-sacrificer sees the need and believes they have the ability to provide for that need and out of love for a fellow human being gives freely without expectation of return. By the selfless nature of altruism, the giver has waived any moral obligation the receiver may have had to make any return. As I see it, providing the self-sacrifice does not interfere with moral obligations to others such as to family and the sacrifice to self is recognised and acceptable to self, it is a loving act and therefore a moral act.
      12) Are you saying morality implies a mutual obligation of equal action?

      No. It's not a matter of "mutual obligation." I was talking about a moral obligation. If altruism is a moral obligation then it would apply to both parties and so it would be logically incoherent.

      13) The axis of symmetry is one of love. If I lack self-love there is nothing to make a mirror image of.

      Well stated!

      14) As we are all different people with different circumstances, needs and abilities any loving action I perform cannot and should not always be mirrored back to me.

      That's exactly correct. The thing that is "mirrored" is love, which must be modulated to fit the needs of the target.

      15) The person on the receiving end of the self-sacrifice has a need, the self-sacrificer sees the need and believes they have the ability to provide for that need and out of love for a fellow human being gives freely without expectation of return.

      That is not altruism. That's just the Golden Rule. The "self-sacrificers" are just treating others as they would want to be treated. That they are not expecting anything in return does not change this fact. They are following the Golden Rule. Truly altruistic people would NOT want others to treat them as they treat others. They would prefer to be the victims. Altruism is not symmetrical and it is not a moral principle.

      16) As I see it, providing the self-sacrifice does not interfere with moral obligations to others such as to family and the sacrifice to self is recognised and acceptable to self, it is a loving act and therefore a moral act.

      The question of altruism is complex and deserves more discussion. But I don't think we can say that it "does not interfere with moral obligations to others." Suppose you and I were on a boat with only enough food for one. It would violate my moral sense for you to jump overboard for my sake. I presume you would feel the same way if I did it for you. This is because there is no symmetry in the situation. It would cannot be moral for one of us to sacrifice self for the other, all else being equal.

      Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      The purpose of my moral theory is to expose and explain the root of our moral intuitions. Do you think it succeeds? Do you have any moral intuition that contradicts love or is not founded in love? Do you have any moral intuition that is not explained by my theory? I would be very interested if you do since that would show a weakness in my theory that I must address.
      I think one of the problems I have is that I see limits to the Golden Rule and your theory. As I reasoned above, they are not truly objective. Perhaps I missed something? Personally I would completely agree that love is the guiding moral principle and that all human beings are under the Golden Rule. But that’s because I believe in a creator God as an objective moral agent. If were an atheist, I would logically have to allow other for other moralities as being valid, even if emotionally this did not sit well.

      Perhaps the subjectivity does not matter. If the Golden Rule and your theory is taken as a subset of objective morality any argument based on it would still be theoretically valid providing a) we do not make arguments about morality that touch religious matters b) we reckon all human beings as being guided by the same principles of morality if not actually so.
      17) I think one of the problems I have is that I see limits to the Golden Rule and your theory. As I reasoned above, they are not truly objective. Perhaps I missed something?

      I find it very curious that Christians are so resistant to the Golden Rule, given that Christ reportedly said that it is the basis of the entire "law and prophets" - that is, all "moral rules" in the Bible are ultimately reducible to it. As far as I can tell, you have not shown that my moral theory lacks any objectivity. Perhaps I'm the one who missed something?

      18) I believe in a creator God as an objective moral agent. If were an atheist, I would logically have to allow other for other moralities as being valid, even if emotionally this did not sit well.

      I don't understand what you mean by "objective moral agent." All moral agents exist "objectively." I'm guessing you mean that God is a moral agent who has the ability to know all contingencies and so is not limited in his moral judgments, and that makes his judgments "objective." I see no value in such a concept because it is limited by the same limitations that apply to all our concepts. You don't have any objectively verifiable knowledge about such an being so it cannot be thought of as "objective" as far as I can tell. And even if such a being existed, you would have no access to knowledge about his judgments.

      As for atheists - why would they have to "allow" for non-objective moral systems? I don't follow your logic on this point.

      Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
      I believe I do have moral intuitions that are not founded in love. My behaviour exemplifies my moral intuitions. I want to do the right thing. However, I find I don’t always know the right thing to do. Sometimes I realise after the fact I’ve done something wrong. Sometimes I know I’m doing the wrong thing but it’s difficult to do the right thing. So clearly I don’t love perfectly. I would say that my moral intuition is based on a mixture of love, fear and selfishness. The moral intuitions rooted in love being good and those rooted in fear and selfishness being bad.
      I don't see anything in your comment that suggests a "moral intuition" not based on love. When you talk of "doing the right thing" is that thing not based on love? If not, then what is it based on? The fact that you don't love perfectly implies nothing about the validity of my moral theory any more than the fact that you don't add perfectly impugns the validity of arithmetic.

      Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
      While I see love as the guiding principle, our moral intuition depends upon a number of factors including our gene-based neurology, our experiences, knowledge and our ability to reason and think for ourselves so we can understand where our morals are not inline with love even if our social group says otherwise. I’m not sure if you agree with that, but if something like that was incorporated into your theory I think we could then draw some interesting conclusions about personal, societal and religious moral obligations.
      I think we differ on the existence of "religious moral obligations." I don't believe such exists.

      Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      You ask "How is it possible to objectively judge the motive of an act?". We can't, and I don't see how that question is relevant since no such judgement required by my theory and there is no moral theory that could enable us to make such judgments. The purpose of my moral theory is to explain the root of our moral intuitions.
      I see it as relevant with respect to this which you wrote: “Universal Love for all sentient beings. This is an objective standard because any rational observer could, in principle, discern between what is or is not more loving. To refute this argument, it would have to be shown that people cannot objectively determine what is more loving.”

      A morality based on love for others requires the motive to be loving not selfish. If people cannot absolutely determine the motive then, regardless of the outcome, people cannot make an objective determination as to whether an act is loving or not and therefore by this definition there is no objective standard. Although in general I’d agree that in a moral theory it’s a pragmatic question.
      The fact that we are not omniscient does not make things non-objective. Humans always err in judgment. It would be impossible to even make that statement if we did not believe that we erred with respect to an objective fact.

      Your argument is based on a false disjunction between self-love and love for others. Those ideas can be in competition and conflict but they cannot be separated. The moral solution must be based on their ultimate unity.

      Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      I agree that making valid moral judgments can be quite challenging, but I have no idea why you would think God is any kind of guide. Is there any way for you to know God's specific will in any given situation? Will you not be subject to exactly the same human limitations that you listed?
      The theistic world view allows for an all powerful, loving, wise, just God who knows the end from the beginning and has humanity’s welfare at heart. (I know not everybody sees it this way and some are completely unable to reconcile the world we live in with the idea of this kind of god existing but I think that’s a topic for elsewhere). If a person’s heart is toward God and they see that he has humanity’s welfare at heart then it becomes more important to that person to be more loving towards humanity. Their focus of attention becomes more directed towards growing in love rather than say gaining material wealth. Of course it doesn’t take a belief in God to focus on growing in love. We can all use reason and intuition and various external helps to guide us into becoming more loving. The difference I think God makes is that he knows better than we do what love is, what we need, what others need, what’s around the corner. If I have my heart towards God and ask for help, I allow him to overrule in my life. God can shape the circumstances of my life to direct me down the right path and put obstacles in the way so I turn back from the wrong one. He can put ideas in my mind so that things are brought to my attention and I’m directed towards the right helps, or toward the right action to others. It doesn’t mean I always know God’s will, I still have to use reason with love as the guiding principle. But by having a godward heart I will end up following a path that leads to me understanding God’s will more and more and to me being more loving than if I had not followed God.
      Have you really done better because of your belief in God? It seems more likely that you simply followed the same moral intuitions you would have followed if you had never heard of the Bible. This is pretty easy to prove because you use your innate, preexisting moral intuitions to judge which parts of the Bible to follow and which to reject. This would be impossible if you got your morals from the Bible.

      I am one of those who is "completely unable to reconcile the world we live in with the idea of this kind of god existing." I think the evidence is total and complete that no such God exists. There still could be a spiritual foundation of reality for all I know, but I cannot see how it could be a theistic style god, especially the one portrayed in the Bible since that would imply a god that is grossly immoral in my estimation. I think it would be great if you wanted to discuss this in another thread.

      The idea that God "knows better than we do what love is" makes perfect sense, except when the word "God" refers to the God of the Bible. When I read the Bible, there are countless situations where God violates both logic and morals. He looks like what we would expect from primitive, brutal, sexist men. They made God in their own image. Most Christians won't let themselves see this fact that is so obvious to the rest of us.

      Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor View Post
      Thankyou for the thought provoking responses. It took some time to think my reply through properly! I’m enjoying the discussion.

      Eleanor
      And thank you for taking time to work with me on these questions. Your comments are very valuable.

      All the very best to you, my new friend!

      Richard
    1. jce's Avatar
      jce -
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      Good morning John,

      I appreciate your comments and agree that your caricature of "self-love" would not yield an adequate theory of morality. I call it a "caricature" because authentic self-love necessarily implies love for others. I addressed this issue in my original article The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality by quoting the insights of psychologist Erich Fromm.

      I'm surprised that you didn't understand these facts since they cohere with the teachings of the Bible. Specifically, the formulation of the Golden Rule attributed to Christ - Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself - is based on the concept of self-love without which there would be no Golden Rule at all.
      In theory? I was referring to reality. What you reduce to a caricature is what we are witnessing in society. America is repeating history on a similar path of Rome, in it's glory. In theory, many things work, even evolution and the Big Bang have an outside shot, theoretically. But in practice, well, something's missing. The world is full of theories and love songs, what it's missing is practitioners. Life is a series of challenges and rewards. If one desires wealth, he faces a significant challenge from enormous competition for a limited resource. But if one perseveres, uses knowledge and wisdom, the reward could be great. This law applies in almost every venue. If you want the reward, pay the price.

      What about love? What do I need to do to be loved? If I want to be loved, then must I love also? Does this always work? If so, there would be no such thing as unrequited love. No, love is something we do with no guarantee of reciprocation. Then why love at all? What is the reward for this endeavor? Our natural reaction to unrequited love often manifests itself in hostility toward the one we loved. Jesus loved. He loved to the very end. He loved His enemies and forgave them as He was erected on the cross. Why did He love the unloveable and how did He respond to unrequited love? Scripture provides the logical answer, "He endured it all for the joy to come", that future time when those who despised and rejected Him would come to "see" who He really was. A future reunion of former adversaries, now friends. An evolutionary theory of love makes no sense. How can there be room for love in evolution. It is of all methods to bring about life, most cruel. Man is unique in his desire to love and be loved. Such quality surely cannot be the product of evolution.

      Yes, my theory of morality is fully consistent with evolution, as it must be if it is to be true. And this gives us great insight since the foundation of our moral intuitions must be based in our own nature which is common to all organisms that have evolved (self-preservation). I consider this a very strong point of the theory.
      Francis Collins disagrees. There is no evolutionary mechanism for morality. Morality is an effect, therefore it requires a cause and no effect can be greater than its cause. Also, every cause must have an effect. For example, if the universe is the effect, it must by necessity have a cause. Here is a common list of cause and effect:

      The first cause of limitless space... must be infinite
      The first cause of endless time....must be eternal
      The first cause of boundless energy....must be omnipotent
      The first cause of universal interrelationships....must be omnipresent
      The first cause of supreme complexity....must be omniscient
      The first cause of spiritual values....must be spiritual
      The first cause of human responsibility....must be volitional
      The first cause of human integrity....must be truthful
      The first cause of human love....must be loving
      The first cause of life....must be living
      The first cause of moral values....must be moral

      This is a simple application of logic. Of course, there is probably a theory to undermine this logic as well.

      The idea that morality is based on the commands of a god actually destroys, rather than establishes, morality because either the commands are arbitrary (and hence not intrinsically moral) or they are based on independent moral principles and so are redundant and unnecessary.
      If morality is a set of rules to live by, then there must be a rule giver. Do you really think the world would be here today if God had not issued commands? The elementary particles of physics are responding in obedience to His commands. You are here as a result of His will.

      And there is a problem (which I believe is insurmountable) with your appeal to a "Just God" since the God of the Bible seems to be anything but that. The Bible attributes gross immorality and injustice to God (e.g. genocide, sexism, etc.). And worse, the Gospel itself is fundamentally unjust because it punishes the innocent and lets the guilty go free. The Gospel is, by definition, unjust. There is a great irony here because Hank Hanegraaff justifies hell by saying that "Justice would be impugned if, after slaughtering six million Jews, Hitler merely died in the arms of his mistress with no eternal consequences." How he could fail to see that his argument implies the Gospel itself "impugns justice" is beyond me. He has never addressed this problem as far as I know. Such errors in logic are exceedingly common amongst the most prominent Christian apologists. William Lane Craig justifies the slaughter of the Canaanite children by saying that they all got free tickets to heaven. And this, of course, means that abortionists have done more good for humanity than anyone because they got people into heaven whom God himself would have sent to hell if they had been allowed to grow to be unrepentant sinners. I see no basis for appealing to the Bible or the Biblical God as source of morality. It simply is not true in my estimation.
      Your endless appeal that God is unjust, is in itself "unjustified". You are holding God to the same standard He has bound us to. We have discussed this before Richard. You first attempt to define God's creation by restricting His Creative Power to man's limited natural laws. In the same way, you limit His right to take life because you are limited from taking it. Mankind is condemned to die by reason of the curse. Everyone dies as a result. What difference does it make if an infant dies in the cradle or a 110 year old woman dies from heart failure. Death is the sentence and God is completely just in applying it in any method He may choose. God is not randomly and ruthlessly striking down humanity without reason and purpose. TO imply this is the case is a great mis-judgement. He extinguished the life of Uzzah in the OT along with the Cainanites, Hittites and Ammonites. He opened up the earth to swallow up Dathan and his cohorts. In these events there were women and children. In the NT the Spirit of God strikes down Ananias and Sapphira on the spot. Why did the God of love do these things? There are theories but I doubt we will be able to answer correctly from our perspective, but we know He was just in so doing and that His reason is for a great purpose. To discount the Bible based on this premise is unwise. THe NT confirms many of these actions so it is not an accident that they are written for our consideration. What we see from this side is an incomplete picture of the finished work. The point is, God has every right and justification to take life. He will take mine and He will take yours, its only a matter of where, when and how. I certainly mean no offense to you Richard when I write these things, but they are Biblical. Though this compilation of books was scribed by fallible men, and assembled by the same, Scripture is clear in its affirmation that the finished product is the result of His guidance and oversight.

      Thanks for taking time to work with me on this important question.

      Richard
      I am truly glad we can debate as friends.

      John
    1. David M's Avatar
      David M -
      God is not randomly and ruthlessly striking down humanity without reason and purpose. TO imply this is the case is a great mis-judgement.
      Just adding a couple of quotes from the Bible to illustrate John's point.
      Dueteronomy 32
      43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

      The two sides of God's judgement is plain for all to see. Those who are "his people" have nothing to fear and will receive God's mercy. God's adversaries have everything to fear. God's adversaries are the ones who will cry; "it is unfair; it is unjust; God kills the innocent blah, blah, blah...". God will save those who He judges to be righteous. We have the example of Abraham whose faith made him acceptably righteous. In these days, acceptance of Jesus and association with him through baptism is; "fulfilling all righteousness" and Jesus is the perfect covering to spiritually clothe us whereby one is presented acceptable before God. God's promise is to save those who are acceptable and that future judgement/descision has been delegated to Jesus. God's promise will be proven in the time to come, and until it happens, we have to live by faith which is; "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen".

      The Apostle Paul also understood the justice of God and knew the answer this very question; "Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?"

      Romans 3
      5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)
      6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
      7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
      8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
      9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
      10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:



      Unless, any of us can claim to be completely righteous (that includes being sinless), we have no grounds to judge God for unrighteousness. I have yet to be shown one example where God's vengeance was poured out on people of whom it was not justified.


      David
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      In theory? I was referring to reality. What you reduce to a caricature is what we are witnessing in society. America is repeating history on a similar path of Rome, in it's glory. In theory, many things work, even evolution and the Big Bang have an outside shot, theoretically. But in practice, well, something's missing. The world is full of theories and love songs, what it's missing is practitioners. Life is a series of challenges and rewards. If one desires wealth, he faces a significant challenge from enormous competition for a limited resource. But if one perseveres, uses knowledge and wisdom, the reward could be great. This law applies in almost every venue. If you want the reward, pay the price.
      Theories are all about reality. They are how we humans attempt to understand the world around us. You have a variety of theories about God, the Bible, science, and as we now see, moral philosophy and sociology. You and I differ not so much on facts as on presuppositions. But then, presuppositions can lead to selection bias and this can change our idea of what constitutes the facts. Our ground is beginning to spin. But the spinning quickly stops when we look around and see the multiplied mutually supporting witnesses that support some presuppositions over others. The rocks cry out. False rationalizations stand out like plastic pink flamigos in an oriental garden. This is the Mind of Buddha that sees reality as it is. Digressions into word play are instantly recognized. Truth is the goal in deed, not just in word.

      Delusions come by allowing false presuppositions to override perception, intuition, and logic. Therefore, examination of our foundational presuppositions, which are based on our intuitions, is the prime concern.

      It is a waste of time to argue facts when we hold to different presuppositions. Our prime concern must be to evaluate the validity of our presuppositions. Until we do that, how could we know if we are deluded or not?

      Now as for America repeating history: I agree that there are repetitive patterns in history, but then again we are only doomed to repeat history if we ignore it. Was the fall of Rome due to a rejection of the Biblical God? Nope. On the contrary, many folks have blamed the fall on their conversion to Christianity! Google it. We are nothing like ancient Rome. Look around. Did they have cell phones, emancipation of their slaves, and equal rights for women? Don't worry my friend, if history repeats itself we have nothing to worry about, because nothing like modern civilization has ever existed on this planet. We have entered the exponential age (I just coined that, so I checked Google and found this blog using that name with the same meaning I am using). In any case, our modern times are nothing like the primitive times of the Romans.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      What about love? What do I need to do to be loved? If I want to be loved, then must I love also? Does this always work? If so, there would be no such thing as unrequited love. No, love is something we do with no guarantee of reciprocation. Then why love at all? What is the reward for this endeavor? Our natural reaction to unrequited love often manifests itself in hostility toward the one we loved. Jesus loved. He loved to the very end. He loved His enemies and forgave them as He was erected on the cross. Why did He love the unloveable and how did He respond to unrequited love? Scripture provides the logical answer, "He endured it all for the joy to come", that future time when those who despised and rejected Him would come to "see" who He really was. A future reunion of former adversaries, now friends. An evolutionary theory of love makes no sense. How can there be room for love in evolution. It is of all methods to bring about life, most cruel. Man is unique in his desire to love and be loved. Such quality surely cannot be the product of evolution.
      Why do you say that Jesus loved anyone? If that were true, then how is he related to Yahweh who ordered the murder of every man, woman, and child - except 32,000 sexy virgins? Sorry to keep bringing this up, but I can't get it out of my head. It is what the Bible says. How can I ignore it if your words are to have any meaning? What should I do? How should I resolve it? Do you have any suggestions? If not, why do you keep saying things that imply Jesus loves genocide and violence?

      As for evolution: I don't think you understand it. Would I be wrong to say that your only interest in it is because it conflicts with the Bible? Have you ever read a book explaining evolution? Your mistake is that you are making a caricature of atheists. Atheism does not imply materialism. An atheist simply rejects theism. I am an atheist because I don't believe in any theistic style gods, but I still lean towards something like the Perennial Philosophy that understands mind as the ground of being.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Francis Collins disagrees. There is no evolutionary mechanism for morality. Morality is an effect, therefore it requires a cause and no effect can be greater than its cause. Also, every cause must have an effect. For example, if the universe is the effect, it must by necessity have a cause. Here is a common list of cause and effect:

      The first cause of limitless space... must be infinite
      The first cause of endless time....must be eternal
      The first cause of boundless energy....must be omnipotent
      The first cause of universal interrelationships....must be omnipresent
      The first cause of supreme complexity....must be omniscient
      The first cause of spiritual values....must be spiritual
      The first cause of human responsibility....must be volitional
      The first cause of human integrity....must be truthful
      The first cause of human love....must be loving
      The first cause of life....must be living
      The first cause of moral values....must be moral

      This is a simple application of logic. Of course, there is probably a theory to undermine this logic as well.
      That kind of logic is totally meaningless to me. Can you use it to explain anything that can be tested to be true or false, or is it just a bunch of words?

      Francis Collins is not the authority. If you want to demonstrate my theory fails, you will have to demonstrate my theory fails. Merely say some guy disagrees proves nothing.

      You say there "is no evolutionary mechanism for morality." That's not true. It contradicts many studies that show the rudiments of morality in non-human mammals.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      If morality is a set of rules to live by, then there must be a rule giver. Do you really think the world would be here today if God had not issued commands? The elementary particles of physics are responding in obedience to His commands. You are here as a result of His will.
      That's your error. Morality is NOT a "set of rules." That is impossible because no finite set of rules could encompass all moral situations. And besides, we know it is not true because morality is the Logic of Love. Give me any rule, and I will give you a situation where it is moral to break it.

      All the best,

      Richard
    1. jce's Avatar
      jce -
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      Theories are all about reality. They are how we humans attempt to understand the world around us. You have a variety of theories about God, the Bible, science, and as we now see, moral philosophy and sociology. You and I differ not so much on facts as on presuppositions. But then, presuppositions can lead to selection bias and this can change our idea of what constitutes the facts.
      In theory, evolution attempts to explain how life transitioned over time from dead matter at the bottom to the brilliance of man at the top, but that supposition is not a fact. In theory the Big Bang attempts to explain how space, time, energy and matter in the form of stars, planets , moons, solar systems and galaxies formed over time from nothing, by chance, but that supposition is not a fact. Theories are nothing more than the efforts of man to explain things he does not fully understand due to his limited knowledge. Yes they are shaped under the influence of presuppositions.

      Two presuppositions of creation:

      Evolutionary theory: Based on the assumption that the various life forms on this planet were not "created after their kind", but rather, all biological life forms such as carrots, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, grapefruits, bananas, pineapples, chestnuts, peanuts, spruce trees, bamboo, sequoias, grass, flowers, crickets, spiders, ants, butterflies, great whales, seahorses, crabs, eagles, alligators, snails, lions, horses, elephants, chimps, t-rex, man and woman, to name only a few, all evolved from a lifeless particle and not only that, but somehow divided into male and female for reproduction "after their kind".

      Revelation: Based on the Biblical account that a Supernatural Being, infinitely more powerful than man, is responsible for the heavens and the earth, for the special creation of vegetation, insects, aquatic life forms, flying birds and fowl, land animals, and finally man and a woman, with man granted dominion over the earth. God created all of these life forms, male and female to reproduce after their kind and set man over all with a special brain producing emotion and intellect enabling him to speak, write, dream and love.

      With all of our advancements in every discipline of science (including molecular biology), the intellectual genius of man, antiseptic laboratories and state of the art technological equipment, man is unable to generate life nor is he able to successfully cross "kinds" with one another, but yet, in the septic conditions of pre-life earth, without knowledge, without information; RNA, DNA, left handed amino acids and living proteins were spontaneously produced, and not only so, but morphed into every conceivable life and also divided them into male and female to enable reproduction, again, after their own kind.

      Logically speaking, which account of creation sounds like a theory? Which account most accurately predicts what we see and observe? Which account sounds more like a fact? Which account sounds like an invention to avoid reality?

      Our ground is beginning to spin. But the spinning quickly stops when we look around and see the multiplied mutually supporting witnesses that support some presuppositions over others. The rocks cry out. False rationalizations stand out like plastic pink flamigos in an oriental garden. Delusions come by allowing false presuppositions to override perception, intuition, and logic. Therefore, examination of our foundational presuppositions, which are based on our intuitions, is the prime concern.
      I agree. Look once more above at the two distinctions between our presuppositions. The rocks do cry out. Rationalizations do stand out like plastic pink flamigos in an oriental garden. Delusions do come by allowing false presuppositions to override perception, intuition, and logic.

      It is a waste of time to argue facts when we hold to different presuppositions. Our prime concern must be to evaluate the validity of our presuppositions. Until we do that, how could we know if we are deluded or not?
      To me, it is obvious, I accept a truth that there is One who is much greater than man. He is infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, spiritual, volitional, truthful, loving, living and moral. You accept a theoretical invention.

      Now as for America repeating history: I agree that there are repetitive patterns in history, but then again we are only doomed to repeat history if we ignore it. Was the fall of Rome due to a rejection of the Biblical God? Nope. On the contrary, many folks have blamed the fall on their conversion to Christianity! Google it. We are nothing like ancient Rome. Look around. Did they have cell phones, emancipation of their slaves, and equal rights for women? Don't worry my friend, if history repeats itself we have nothing to worry about, because nothing like modern civilization has ever existed on this planet. We have entered the exponential age (I just coined that, so I checked Google and found this blog using that name with the same meaning I am using). In any case, our modern times are nothing like the primitive times of the Romans.
      Rome was finally judge for its tortuous treatment and persecution of God's people. This same judgement is waiting in the wings for America. That path could be avoided, but the trend suggests otherwise.

      Why do you say that Jesus loved anyone? If that were true, then how is he related to Yahweh who ordered the murder of every man, woman, and child - except 32,000 sexy virgins? Sorry to keep bringing this up, but I can't get it out of my head. It is what the Bible says. How can I ignore it if your words are to have any meaning? What should I do? How should I resolve it? Do you have any suggestions? If not, why do you keep saying things that imply Jesus loves genocide and violence?
      All I am saying is that whatever God has done, as revealed in Scripture, He has done justly and with a much greater purpose and plan then we fully understand at this time. We do not have all of the facts to close such a case against God. What we do know is that God's predetermined plan and purpose was to guide a group of people, Israel, over many hundreds of years and generations to preserve them for the arrival of Christ, in accordance with His eternal plan. For all we know, the earth is like a large garden that produces both good fruit and weeds. In any garden, to preserve the good fruit, one must remove the weeds, otherwise the garden will be overrun with weeds and the good fruit lost. The Bible takes this analogy a step further when it refers to a harvest at the end of the world. What does that mean? It leaves one with the impression that there will be a reaping of good fruit with weeds left behind for burning.

      As for evolution: I don't think you understand it. Would I be wrong to say that your only interest in it is because it conflicts with the Bible? Have you ever read a book explaining evolution? Your mistake is that you are making a caricature of atheists.
      What is there to understand. Does God require believers to be astronomers, geneticists, biologists, physicists and mathematicians to understand where creation came from and the distinctions within species? This is why revelation is essential. When man is left to his own inventions, he ultimately proposes such absurdities as something from nothing. Now that is what I don't understand.

      Atheism does not imply materialism. An atheist simply rejects theism. I am an atheist because I don't believe in any theistic style gods, but I still lean towards something like the Perennial Philosophy that understands mind as the ground of being.
      And do you think the thief on the cross understood that concept? No offense, but such mental creativity establishes a barrier to Eternal Life instead of a doorway.

      That kind of logic is totally meaningless to me. Can you use it to explain anything that can be tested to be true or false, or is it just a bunch of words?
      Is it your position that cause and effect is meaningless? I don't follow your reasoning here.

      Francis Collins is not the authority. If you want to demonstrate my theory fails, you will have to demonstrate my theory fails. Merely say some guy disagrees proves nothing.
      You know who he is, the lead geneticist of the Human Genome Project in charge of decoding DNA. You have used his name on occasion when it suited your argument for evolution, but now, because his position on morality undermines your theory, he is no longer an authority?

      That's your error. Morality is NOT a "set of rules." That is impossible because no finite set of rules could encompass all moral situations.
      Okay, lets substitute another term... "guidelines", as in the Ten Commandments, or are they also faulty?

      All the best,

      Richard
      And to you my good friend.

      John
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      In theory, evolution attempts to explain how life transitioned over time from dead matter at the bottom to the brilliance of man at the top, but that supposition is not a fact. In theory the Big Bang attempts to explain how space, time, energy and matter in the form of stars, planets , moons, solar systems and galaxies formed over time from nothing, by chance, but that supposition is not a fact. Theories are nothing more than the efforts of man to explain things he does not fully understand due to his limited knowledge. Yes they are shaped under the influence of presuppositions.

      Two presuppositions of creation:

      Evolutionary theory: Based on the assumption that the various life forms on this planet were not "created after their kind", but rather, all biological life forms such as carrots, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, grapefruits, bananas, pineapples, chestnuts, peanuts, spruce trees, bamboo, sequoias, grass, flowers, crickets, spiders, ants, butterflies, great whales, seahorses, crabs, eagles, alligators, snails, lions, horses, elephants, chimps, t-rex, man and woman, to name only a few, all evolved from a lifeless particle and not only that, but somehow divided into male and female for reproduction "after their kind".

      Revelation: Based on the Biblical account that a Supernatural Being, infinitely more powerful than man, is responsible for the heavens and the earth, for the special creation of vegetation, insects, aquatic life forms, flying birds and fowl, land animals, and finally man and a woman, with man granted dominion over the earth. God created all of these life forms, male and female to reproduce after their kind and set man over all with a special brain producing emotion and intellect enabling him to speak, write, dream and love.

      With all of our advancements in every discipline of science (including molecular biology), the intellectual genius of man, antiseptic laboratories and state of the art technological equipment, man is unable to generate life nor is he able to successfully cross "kinds" with one another, but yet, in the septic conditions of pre-life earth, without knowledge, without information; RNA, DNA, left handed amino acids and living proteins were spontaneously produced, and not only so, but morphed into every conceivable life and also divided them into male and female to enable reproduction, again, after their own kind.

      Logically speaking, which account of creation sounds like a theory? Which account most accurately predicts what we see and observe? Which account sounds more like a fact? Which account sounds like an invention to avoid reality?
      I begin with your final question: "Which account most accurately predicts what we see and observe?" The answer is science. The score is a million to zero in favor of science over the Bible. Only science can predict and explain natural phenomena. The Bible presents a primitive false view of reality where a god magically zapped all the animals and man into existence on one day in the relatively recent past. That simply is not true.

      There are two great ironies here. First, you don't seem to understand that your theories about the Bible and revelation are no less "theories" than the scientific theories you reject, except that your theories have no foundation in any logic or facts. So you are being entirely inconsistent when you reject theories merely because they are "theories." I've explained this a million times but you refuse to address it. Second, ever since the scientific revolution, Christians have been trying to force the Bible to fit whatever science was current at the time. As science advanced, Christians followed. If your assertion were true, why does the Bible never lead? Why does the Bible always follow behind science? If the Bible could predict anything it wouldn't always be following on the coattails of science.

      You focus on "origins" which cannot yet be explained by science because the Bible fails in all areas that can be tested. Think about this. Is there any point of conflict between science and the Bible where the Bible can be shown to be true and science false? I know of none. The only thing you get from "revelation" are unsupported assertions that Christians can't even agree upon. Biblical "revelation" is not knowledge.

      For example, you speak of "kinds" of animals but that is totally meaningless because the Bible doesn't define that word and it can't mean "species" or you belief in the flood would be proven false. There are millions of different species on the planet. Where did they come from? You can't say they were all taken on Noah's ark because there is no way he could have fit millions of species on it. So where did they come from? This is but one of dozens of problems that proves the "revelation" in the Bible is false.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      Our ground is beginning to spin. But the spinning quickly stops when we look around and see the multiplied mutually supporting witnesses that support some presuppositions over others. The rocks cry out. False rationalizations stand out like plastic pink flamigos in an oriental garden. Delusions come by allowing false presuppositions to override perception, intuition, and logic. Therefore, examination of our foundational presuppositions, which are based on our intuitions, is the prime concern.
      I agree. Look once more above at the two distinctions between our presuppositions. The rocks do cry out. Rationalizations do stand out like plastic pink flamigos in an oriental garden. Delusions do come by allowing false presuppositions to override perception, intuition, and logic.
      Your parroting of my words does not add weight to your argument. Your fundamental presupposition that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God has ZERO support in logic or facts. How is it different than all the other religions that make similar claims about their holy books? You don't even know which books belong in the Bible, let alone if it is the "Word of God." You are imposing your own private beliefs upon a book without any warrant of any kind.

      There are millions of confirmed observations that contradict your assertions about the Bible.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      It is a waste of time to argue facts when we hold to different presuppositions. Our prime concern must be to evaluate the validity of our presuppositions. Until we do that, how could we know if we are deluded or not?
      To me, it is obvious, I accept a truth that there is One who is much greater than man. He is infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, spiritual, volitional, truthful, loving, living and moral. You accept a theoretical invention.
      We're not talking about accepting the possibility that there is a God like you describe. Even if that were true, it wouldn't justify your belief in the Bible or your rejection of science. The problem is that you have retreated to mere assertion. You need to deal with the consequences of your beliefs, such as the absurdity of the idea that there was a global flood that killed all the land animals. We know this is not true for many reasons. Where did the millions of species come from? You really need to answer this question.

      Why are you so adamantly avoiding the real issue? How do you know you are not deluded? You are displaying the character of the blind believer who shows no skepticism of any kind towards the their holy book (Bible/Koran/Book of Mormon, writings of L. Ron Hubbard, etc.) even as you show radical skepticism towards any scientific theory or fact that contradicts your presuppositions. Why don't you understand that this is the recipe for delusion? You know everyone else in the other religions who do what you do are deluded! You know they are believing falsehood. How do they differ from you? They make exactly the same kind of presuppositions as you and that's why they fall into error. How do you protect yourself from delusion if you won't question your presuppositions?

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Rome was finally judge for its tortuous treatment and persecution of God's people. This same judgement is waiting in the wings for America. That path could be avoided, but the trend suggests otherwise.
      Rome was a Christian nation at the time it was "judged"!

      Your view of America is entirely skewed and based on a false history. Remember what Christian America did to the Native Americans? Remember what Christian America did to the African Americans? If anything, America has left her wicked past and has become morally superior by advancing secular values. Christians focus on things like gay marriage and abortion as if those "sins" demand God's judgment whereas the whole slaughter and slavery of natives and blacks meant nothing. This is how Christianity skews morality.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      Why do you say that Jesus loved anyone? If that were true, then how is he related to Yahweh who ordered the murder of every man, woman, and child - except 32,000 sexy virgins? Sorry to keep bringing this up, but I can't get it out of my head. It is what the Bible says. How can I ignore it if your words are to have any meaning? What should I do? How should I resolve it? Do you have any suggestions? If not, why do you keep saying things that imply Jesus loves genocide and violence?
      All I am saying is that whatever God has done, as revealed in Scripture, He has done justly and with a much greater purpose and plan then we fully understand at this time. We do not have all of the facts to close such a case against God. What we do know is that God's predetermined plan and purpose was to guide a group of people, Israel, over many hundreds of years and generations to preserve them for the arrival of Christ, in accordance with His eternal plan. For all we know, the earth is like a large garden that produces both good fruit and weeds. In any garden, to preserve the good fruit, one must remove the weeds, otherwise the garden will be overrun with weeds and the good fruit lost. The Bible takes this analogy a step further when it refers to a harvest at the end of the world. What does that mean? It leaves one with the impression that there will be a reaping of good fruit with weeds left behind for burning.
      That's pretty much how I understood things when I was a Christian. But note, you are very confused about the meaning of words. You say we "know" things that are nothing more than your interpretation of ambiguous words written in an ancient book. This means you have a many reasons to doubt your conclusions. First, the source is questionable. It is like many other mythological religious texts that you reject entirely. Second, you don't have any way to know which books it should contain. Third, your interpretations differ than those of other Christians and there is no way to objectively test who is right and who is wrong. And there are many other problems. How then can you feel confident to bank your eternity on the off-chance that you private interpretation of an undefined collection of ambiguous ancient manuscripts is correct? Does that sound rational to you?

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      As for evolution: I don't think you understand it. Would I be wrong to say that your only interest in it is because it conflicts with the Bible? Have you ever read a book explaining evolution? Your mistake is that you are making a caricature of atheists.
      What is there to understand. Does God require believers to be astronomers, geneticists, biologists, physicists and mathematicians to understand where creation came from and the distinctions within species? This is why revelation is essential. When man is left to his own inventions, he ultimately proposes such absurdities as something from nothing. Now that is what I don't understand.
      What is there to understand????

      You could spend ten lifetimes just trying to catch up with the current body of scientific knowledge relating to evolution. It's going on all around us. It is no less a fact than gravity. You simply know nothing about it, yet you reject it.

      You don't have to have knowledge of science to be a Christian, but it is utterly absurd for you to reject science that you don't even understand. If all you want to be is a "believer" like your average brainwashed Mormon or Muslim, then no, you need no knowledge of anything at all.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      Atheism does not imply materialism. An atheist simply rejects theism. I am an atheist because I don't believe in any theistic style gods, but I still lean towards something like the Perennial Philosophy that understands mind as the ground of being.
      And do you think the thief on the cross understood that concept? No offense, but such mental creativity establishes a barrier to Eternal Life instead of a doorway.
      Your prejudices are showing. First, you (like all Christians who defend the Bible) are the most "creative" in your inventions of speculative things to avoid the plain truth. Second, your comment is a caricature of the Perennial Philosophy which indicates that you don't understand anything about it. Here is a description from the wiki:
      The Perennial Philosophy (Latin: philosophia perennis), also referred to as Perennialism, is a perspective within the philosophy of religion which views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, universal truth on which foundation all religious knowledge and doctrine has grown.

      The idea of a perennial philosophy has great antiquity. It can be found in many of the world's religions and philosophies. The term philosophia perennis was first used by Agostino Steuco (1497–1548),[1] drawing on an already existing philosophical tradition, the most direct predecessors of which were Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–94).
      It's rather tedious to be constantly correcting you on elementary facts. Let's elevate the conversation, shall we? You need to hold up your end, OK? It seems to me that all you are doing is trying to dodge the facts.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      That kind of logic is totally meaningless to me. Can you use it to explain anything that can be tested to be true or false, or is it just a bunch of words?
      Is it your position that cause and effect is meaningless? I don't follow your reasoning here.
      Answer my question and you will have yours.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      Francis Collins is not the authority. If you want to demonstrate my theory fails, you will have to demonstrate my theory fails. Merely say some guy disagrees proves nothing.
      You know who he is, the lead geneticist of the Human Genome Project in charge of decoding DNA. You have used his name on occasion when it suited your argument for evolution, but now, because his position on morality undermines your theory, he is no longer an authority?
      You did not present anything but an unsupported assertion about his opinion of morality. That's an empty assertion of your opinion about his opinion!

      Merely asserting that "there is no evolutionary mechanism for morality" is meaningless. You don't know that. You don't understand anything about evolution. You've never even read a single book explaining the theory! Likewise, your assertion that "Morality is an effect, therefore it requires a cause and no effect can be greater than its cause" means nothing. How do you measure the "size" of a "cause" and an "effect"? What metric do you use? Can you give me an example where this kind of logic ever solved any problem or led to any knowledge? If not, then my criticism stands: your argument based on cause and effect is meaningless.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      If morality is a set of rules to live by, then there must be a rule giver. Do you really think the world would be here today if God had not issued commands? The elementary particles of physics are responding in obedience to His commands. You are here as a result of His will.
      Okay, lets substitute another term... "guidelines", as in the Ten Commandments, or are they also faulty?
      Dude - changing words doesn't answer my point. My point is that rules, ordinances, commandments, and statutes have absolutely nothing to do with the roots of our moral intuitions.

      Case in point: Do you have a moral intuition that you should rest on the seventh day of the week? Of course not. And as for the rest of the commandments, they were given uniquely to Israel, not you or me or any Gentiles (who do not have the law, Rom 2). They are theocratic rules to govern Israel. They contain some moral principles, like "do not murder" but they are nothing like a complete moral code that covers all situations.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      And to you my good friend.

      John
      I think it would be great if we could advance our friendship to the point where you actually begin to deal with the intent behind my comments. I get the impression you are doing everything in your power to protect your beliefs by evading the two ton elephant in the room.

      But in any case, I remain your friend,

      Richard
    1. jce's Avatar
      jce -
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      I begin with your final question: "Which account most accurately predicts what we see and observe?" The answer is science. The score is a million to zero in favor of science over the Bible. Only science can predict and explain natural phenomena. The Bible presents a primitive false view of reality where a god magically zapped all the animals and man into existence on one day in the relatively recent past. That simply is not true.

      There are two great ironies here. First, you don't seem to understand that your theories about the Bible and revelation are no less "theories" than the scientific theories you reject, except that your theories have no foundation in any logic or facts. So you are being entirely inconsistent when you reject theories merely because they are "theories." I've explained this a million times but you refuse to address it. Second, ever since the scientific revolution, Christians have been trying to force the Bible to fit whatever science was current at the time. As science advanced, Christians followed. If your assertion were true, why does the Bible never lead? Why does the Bible always follow behind science? If the Bible could predict anything it wouldn't always be following on the coattails of science.
      Irony of ironies. You are the one clinging to fallible inventions. My views are not my own, they are God's revelation. I'll take that over the illogical concepts of evolution because... it is logical that there is intelligent design behind this creation which does not require speculative thinking by fallible thinkers trying to explain the origin of man and sexes as a natural phenomenon. It is logical that the origin of the universe required a cause and not a chance from nothingness. Furthermore, it is logical to reject silly ideas from educated scientists who propose theories about something from nothing to avoid the 10 ton elephant in the room.

      You focus on "origins" which cannot yet be explained by science because the Bible fails in all areas that can be tested. Think about this. Is there any point of conflict between science and the Bible where the Bible can be shown to be true and science false? I know of none.
      It is the evolution community that avoids the focus on origins because the conclusion is inescapable. They already appear foolish in the "something from nothing" paradigm, where can they possibly go from there? They are only limited by their vain imaginations. But then Scripture accurately predicts that because they worshipped the creatures and creation more than the Creator, they became recipients of delusion so that they would be convinced that lies were truth. a 2000 year old prediction hits the nail on the head. Of course, you know that the Bible cannot be trusted to do such things.

      The only thing you get from "revelation" are unsupported assertions that Christians can't even agree upon. Biblical "revelation" is not knowledge.
      What I get from Biblical revelation is the truth about creation. It was conceived and delivered by God along with well defined species and well designed male and female creatures to reproduce. The Bible revealed that man is a special creation made in the image of God, not in the image of a reptile, and that contained in this image are the emotions and morality.

      For example, you speak of "kinds" of animals but that is totally meaningless because the Bible doesn't define that word and it can't mean "species" or you belief in the flood would be proven false. There are millions of different species on the planet. Where did they come from? You can't say they were all taken on Noah's ark because there is no way he could have fit millions of species on it. So where did they come from? This is but one of dozens of problems that proves the "revelation" in the Bible is false.
      You limit God's ability because you equate him with a man. He who created heaven and earth and populated the earth with all forms of life, is it to hard for Him to re-establish and re-populate the earth? What is too difficult for Him? Jesus said, "I tell you that if you have the faith of a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain 'be removed' and it shall be done". Ah, but this is not scientific you say to which I reply, true, but then God is not limited to the science of man. He who stretched out the heavens and raised up dry land from the waters in the beginning has no need of man's puny limited concepts of why He can't do it. He may have done just to demonstrate that He can do it, after all, He parted the Red Sea to deliver His people from the pursuing Egyptians. Give me a scientific equation for that miracle.


      Your parroting of my words does not add weight to your argument.
      I repeated your words to demonstrate they were a double edged sword which were logically turned on you.

      Your fundamental presupposition that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God has ZERO support in logic or facts. How is it different than all the other religions that make similar claims about their holy books? You don't even know which books belong in the Bible, let alone if it is the "Word of God." You are imposing your own private beliefs upon a book without any warrant of any kind.
      Whenever it suits your argument, you quickly switch positions. You know there is no other book in history, religious or otherwise that approach the Bible, all others pale in comparison, and in reality, stand in stark contrast to the Bible.

      There are millions of confirmed observations that contradict your assertions about the Bible.
      And there is Biblical record of living witnesses who observed events which defy scientific explanation.

      We're not talking about accepting the possibility that there is a God like you describe. Even if that were true, it wouldn't justify your belief in the Bible or your rejection of science. The problem is that you have retreated to mere assertion. You need to deal with the consequences of your beliefs, such as the absurdity of the idea that there was a global flood that killed all the land animals. We know this is not true for many reasons. Where did the millions of species come from? You really need to answer this question.
      Now you are repeating objections because you believe this is a Biblical weakness. I believe it is a Biblical strength in testimony of God's ability to restore. He makes a new heaven and a new earth, how hard is it for Him to flood the earth and then restore and repopulate it? By faith, Noah built the ark. If he had not, you might not be here to doubt Him.

      Why are you so adamantly avoiding the real issue? How do you know you are not deluded? You are displaying the character of the blind believer who shows no skepticism of any kind towards the their holy book (Bible/Koran/Book of Mormon, writings of L. Ron Hubbard, etc.) even as you show radical skepticism towards any scientific theory or fact that contradicts your presuppositions. Why don't you understand that this is the recipe for delusion? You know everyone else in the other religions who do what you do are deluded! You know they are believing falsehood. How do they differ from you? They make exactly the same kind of presuppositions as you and that's why they fall into error. How do you protect yourself from delusion if you won't question your presuppositions?
      I wont repeat your words, but here agin, the two edged sword would injure you. Who is really deluded? You are manifesting a 2000 year old prophecy by believing a lie as a result of worshipping creatures (which is what you are) and creation (which is where you live), more than He who brought it all into existence.

      Rome was a Christian nation at the time it was "judged"!
      So, it was the christians who were tossing themselves into the arena and burning themselves on stakes to light the emperors garden. I guess the texbooks got it wrong again. And all this time I thought it was the anti-christian committing these atrocities.

      Your view of America is entirely skewed and based on a false history. Remember what Christian America did to the Native Americans? Remember what Christian America did to the African Americans? If anything, America has left her wicked past and has become morally superior by advancing secular values. Christians focus on things like gay marriage and abortion as if those "sins" demand God's judgment whereas the whole slaughter and slavery of natives and blacks meant nothing. This is how Christianity skews morality.
      You will confuse true Christianity with false practices to support your argument. Too bad you are unable to distinguish the teachings of Christ from such aggressive and ungodly behavior.

      You could spend ten lifetimes just trying to catch up with the current body of scientific knowledge relating to evolution. It's going on all around us. It is no less a fact than gravity. You simply know nothing about it, yet you reject it.
      I'm convinced evolution misrepresents God' creation and it leads many away from God, but God will eventually use it to accomplish His purpose.

      Your prejudices are showing. First, you (like all Christians who defend the Bible) are the most "creative" in your inventions of speculative things to avoid the plain truth. Second, your comment is a caricature of the Perennial Philosophy which indicates that you don't understand anything about it. Here is a description from the wiki:
      The Perennial Philosophy (Latin: philosophia perennis), also referred to as Perennialism, is a perspective within the philosophy of religion which views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, universal truth on which foundation all religious knowledge and doctrine has grown.


      Of course I'm convinced that the Bible is Truth, otherwise I would be arguing your case.

      The idea of a perennial philosophy has great antiquity. It can be found in many of the world's religions and philosophies. The term philosophia perennis was first used by Agostino Steuco (1497–1548),[1] drawing on an already existing philosophical tradition, the most direct predecessors of which were Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–94).
      Men have been trying to bury the Bible for centuries. Here's something you may be familiar with...

      Voltaire, the famous French philosopher, was a brilliant atheist. He wrote a number of tracts deriding the Bible. He once made a very bold statement: “One hundred years from today the Bible will be a forgotten book.”

      Today, everyone has forgotten that quote — not the Bible! After Voltaire died, for nearly 100 years, his homestead was used as the book depository for the French Bible Society. They sold Bibles out of his house! It’s now a museum. People have forgotten Voltaire. Nobody forgets the Bible.

      It's rather tedious to be constantly correcting you on elementary facts. Let's elevate the conversation, shall we? You need to hold up your end, OK? It seems to me that all you are doing is trying to dodge the facts.
      Facts? What facts? Here's a fact finding challenge for your assertions that science has the answers...

      Please explain the scientific laws which make the Nebular Hypothesis impossible. That should be much easier than producing the laws which make it believable.

      You did not present anything but an unsupported assertion about his opinion of morality. That's an empty assertion of your opinion about his opinion!
      Well, he's the one with the degree and prestige and he is the one undermining your theory. Don't blame me.

      Merely asserting that "there is no evolutionary mechanism for morality" is meaningless. You don't know that. You don't understand anything about evolution. You've never even read a single book explaining the theory! Likewise, your assertion that "Morality is an effect, therefore it requires a cause and no effect can be greater than its cause" means nothing. How do you measure the "size" of a "cause" and an "effect"? What metric do you use? Can you give me an example where this kind of logic ever solved any problem or led to any knowledge?
      Well now, isn't that interesting. Cause and Effect are so well established in the scientific community that they have been elevated to the status of a law, but since to you, they are just meaningless words, what does that say about all other scientific theories which are neither factual nor lawful?

      Dude - changing words doesn't answer my point. My point is that rules, ordinances, commandments, and statutes have absolutely nothing to do with the roots of our moral intuitions.
      Okay dude... draw!!!! So were down to gunslingers now are we. lol


      I think it would be great if we could advance our friendship to the point where you actually begin to deal with the intent behind my comments. I get the impression you are doing everything in your power to protect your beliefs by evading the two ton elephant in the room.
      I am your uncompromising friend who simply holds to his values and faith in the One True God and His Word.

      But in any case, I remain your friend,

      Richard
      No one would ever be convinced of that if they examined our exchanges except you and I.

      I value your friendship and will to the end.

      John

      Editor note: Edited to correct an "end quote" bracket.
    1. David M's Avatar
      David M -
      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      Atheism does not imply materialism. An atheist simply rejects theism. I am an atheist because I don't believe in any theistic style gods, but I still lean towards something like the Perennial Philosophy that understands mind as the ground of being.
      And do you think the thief on the cross understood that concept? No offense, but such mental creativity establishes a barrier to Eternal Life instead of a doorway.
      Your prejudices are showing. First, you (like all Christians who defend the Bible) are the most "creative" in your inventions of speculative things to avoid the plain truth. Second, your comment is a caricature of the Perennial Philosophy which indicates that you don't understand anything about it. Here is a description from the wiki:
      The Perennial Philosophy (Latin: philosophia perennis), also referred to as Perennialism, is a perspective within the philosophy of religion which views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, universal truth on which foundation all religious knowledge and doctrine has grown.

      The idea of a perennial philosophy has great antiquity. It can be found in many of the world's religions and philosophies. The term philosophia perennis was first used by Agostino Steuco (1497–1548),[1] drawing on an already existing philosophical tradition, the most direct predecessors of which were Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–94).
      Hello Richard

      I know you are well read into the history of the church and religions and I am not and you think that I ought to be. I think perennial philosophy falls into the same category as those who think all the major religions should be united in the same god. I compare what all other religions teach compared to what the word of God has declared and revealed. It is soon found out that each religion has beliefs about God that are not compatible. I cannot prostitute what I consider to be closer to the truth than what the major religions teach. God has revealed himself as the Creator and is ONE God and there is none else. There are other doctrines to be adhered to which are incompatible with other religions.

      Unless all other religions are compatible with the word of God as it was inspired when first written down, the believer has to remain separate. This is the same principle that should have applied to God's chosen race to whom He said and which Paul quotes (2 Corinthians 6:15); as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, Unfortunately. Israel was fickle like did not keep themselves totally separate. Nevertheless, the Jews have by their tradition and marrying within their race have kept themselves separate. This is the reason I think explains why the Jews have retained their physical identity.

      It is simply a non-starter for believes such as me to agree to unite with other faiths. In the verses preceding the quote above Paul asks rhetorical questions by which to illustrate this point.
      2 Corinthians 6
      14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
      15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
      16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
      17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
      18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.



      With such a call to be separate and not associate with "unclean" practices, this is the reason I associate with people of like faith and belief in God and His Son.

      All the best

      David
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
      Hello Richard

      I know you are well read into the history of the church and religions and I am not and you think that I ought to be. I think perennial philosophy falls into the same category as those who think all the major religions should be united in the same god. I compare what all other religions teach compared to what the word of God has declared and revealed. It is soon found out that each religion has beliefs about God that are not compatible. I cannot prostitute what I consider to be closer to the truth than what the major religions teach. God has revealed himself as the Creator and is ONE God and there is none else. There are other doctrines to be adhered to which are incompatible with other religions.
      Hey there David,

      The Bible itself says many things about its "one God" that are incompatible with each other. The only solution, which you practice with great vigor, is to harmonize those passages through an elaborate process of interpretation. If you can harmonize the incompatible verses of the Bible, why can't you harmonize the incompatible teachings of the different religions? Many folks, such as the Bahai, think they have successfully done that. It depends only upon which presuppositions you choose to assume. If you begin with the presupposition of an underlying unity revealed in all religions, then you will use that as your standard of interpretation just as now you assume an underlying unity of the Bible (which certainly is not self-evident).

      All the best,

      Richard
    1. duxrow's Avatar
      duxrow -
      Jesus is The/A/Truth/Love God ?

      Rom7:2 "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man".
      No such provision for a husband whose wife dies; so I figure this to be speaking of Israel's Husband who died on the cross, and they're now free to covenant with/be espoused to The NEW COVENANT Bridegroom! And you say?
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by duxrow View Post
      Jesus is The/A/Truth/Love God ?

      Rom7:2 "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man".
      No such provision for a husband whose wife dies; so I figure this to be speaking of Israel's Husband who died on the cross, and they're now free to covenant with/be espoused to The NEW COVENANT Bridegroom! And you say?
      Your interpretation does not depend upon the fact that the law had different standards for men as opposed to women. The implication that it speaks of Christ is made explicit by Paul in the context:
      Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead (i.e. Christ), that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
      Unfortunately, the fact that the law gave men the right to divorce women but not vice-versa is just another example of the sexism that I explained in my article The Inextricable Sexism of the Bible.
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      I begin with your final question: "Which account most accurately predicts what we see and observe?" The answer is science. The score is a million to zero in favor of science over the Bible. Only science can predict and explain natural phenomena. The Bible presents a primitive false view of reality where a god magically zapped all the animals and man into existence on one day in the relatively recent past. That simply is not true.

      There are two great ironies here. First, you don't seem to understand that your theories about the Bible and revelation are no less "theories" than the scientific theories you reject, except that your theories have no foundation in any logic or facts. So you are being entirely inconsistent when you reject theories merely because they are "theories." I've explained this a million times but you refuse to address it. Second, ever since the scientific revolution, Christians have been trying to force the Bible to fit whatever science was current at the time. As science advanced, Christians followed. If your assertion were true, why does the Bible never lead? Why does the Bible always follow behind science? If the Bible could predict anything it wouldn't always be following on the coattails of science.
      Irony of ironies. You are the one clinging to fallible inventions. My views are not my own, they are God's revelation. I'll take that over the illogical concepts of evolution because... it is logical that there is intelligent design behind this creation which does not require speculative thinking by fallible thinkers trying to explain the origin of man and sexes as a natural phenomenon. It is logical that the origin of the universe required a cause and not a chance from nothingness. Furthermore, it is logical to reject silly ideas from educated scientists who propose theories about something from nothing to avoid the 10 ton elephant in the room.
      Hey there John,

      Sorry for the slow response. I've been at a loss as to how to respond because you comments seem delusional and I don't want to offend you. I have no idea how you could write such things. Your assertion that I am "clinging to fallible inventions" is radically absurd and sadly ironic since you describe yourself, not me. I cling to nothing that cannot be objectively established with logic and facts. Everything else is an open question. You cling to your own fallible interpretations that are based on presuppositions that have no demonstrable foundation in reality, many of which are demonstrably false. I freely admit that the issues you have raised concerning origins are currently beyond human knowledge. You claim to know things that you simply don't know because they are nothing but your own interpretation of an ancient and ambiguous book that other sincere believers can't even agree upon.

      And worse, not only did you fail to respond to the points I made, but your answer exemplifies the very error I explained to you! Did you really intend to imply that your own fallible interpretations are identical with "God's revelation" as if they were infallible? Every Christian who has tried to interpret Genesis in light of modern science has encountered insuperable difficulties. There is no consensus even amongst convinced Christians who agree that the Bible is God's infallible revelation. Case in point: You and David M are equally adamant about basing your interpretations on the Bible as God's infallible revelation, yet you come to diametrically opposed conclusions! You directly contradict each other, and neither can give sufficient reason to convince the other. How then can you think that you are right and he is wrong?

      jce
      David M
      God is a Trinity The Trinity is false and entirely unbiblical
      Christ is God Christ is just a man
      Angels have sinned Angels have never sinned and cannot sin
      Believers go to heaven to be with Christ when they die. Unbelievers go to Hades to await judgment. The dead are dead with no conscious existence until (and if) God resurrects them.
      God will resurrect both the righteous and the wicked and judge them in the Day of Judgment. God will resurrect only believers.

      Here we see TWO fundamental Bible believers with FOUR contrary opinions about the basic facts of "God's revelation." I could give a thousand other examples where folks like you who claim that the Bible is "God's revelation" are in radical disagreement about what it actually teaches. This forum proves that in spades. How about Millennialism vs. Almillennialism? Once Saved Always Saved? Calvinism vs. Arminianism? Etc., etc., etc. ...

      What will it take to get you to deal with these facts?

      Why are there so many different opinions about the Bible? Because it is nothing but a pile of ambiguous words that FORCE believers to interpret them or they won't make any sense at all! There is no way for anyone to actually test which interpretation is true and which is false. And so we have 2000 years of Christians calling other Christians "antichrist" and "heretic" because their fallible interpretations conflict. All I see are potsherds clashing with potsherds.

      Your assertion that evolution is "illogical" reveals your profound and inexcusable ignorance, so common amongst biblical fundamentalists. It is like an illiterate hillbilly who can't add 1 + 2 saying that Calculus is false because it contradicts some cherished belief. Do you really think that the entire body of modern scientists are so deluded as to believe something that is fundamentally and demonstrably illogical? It is an ADVANCED MODERN SCIENCE that is proven every day by thousands of observations. I've asked more than once if you have ever read a single book explaining the basics of evolution, and to my knowledge you have never answered. I take that as a "no." How then can you have an opinion about something you know nothing of?

      You said "it is logical that there is intelligent design behind this creation which does not require speculative thinking by fallible thinkers trying to explain the origin of man and sexes as a natural phenomenon." Your comment is absurd because all you interpretations of the Bible "require speculative thinking by fallible thinkers." Why can't you see this?

      And you said "It is logical that the origin of the universe required a cause and not a chance from nothingness." So what? You don't know what that "something" was, and the mere fact that our local universe had a beginning tells us nothing about what it emerged from. You can't make an argument for the Biblical God from such logic. There are ten thousand possibilities, and from my perspective the Bible god is the least likely of them all because the bible does not display the kind of wisdom and knowledge that would be implied by a creator.

      Finally, you said "Furthermore, it is logical to reject silly ideas from educated scientists who propose theories about something from nothing to avoid the 10 ton elephant in the room." And you came to that conclusion how? By studying the science? No? Then your comment is nothing but arrogant ignorance so typical of creationists and fundamentalists. Sorry to be speaking so plainly, but this is the truth. It is grossly arrogant for you to set yourself up as judge over all science when in fact you are radically ignorant of it. Indeed, it would be grossly arrogant for anyone, even Einstein, to make the kinds of judgments against scientists like you do. It makes me think you have been drinking from the corrupted creationist fountain filled with gross deception.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      You focus on "origins" which cannot yet be explained by science because the Bible fails in all areas that can be tested. Think about this. Is there any point of conflict between science and the Bible where the Bible can be shown to be true and science false? I know of none.
      It is the evolution community that avoids the focus on origins because the conclusion is inescapable. They already appear foolish in the "something from nothing" paradigm, where can they possibly go from there? They are only limited by their vain imaginations. But then Scripture accurately predicts that because they worshipped the creatures and creation more than the Creator, they became recipients of delusion so that they would be convinced that lies were truth. a 2000 year old prediction hits the nail on the head. Of course, you know that the Bible cannot be trusted to do such things.
      The evolution community avoids nothing. There has been intense research and heated discussions about the origin of life for decades. The fact that the answers are not forthcoming certainly does not justify belief in a book as ridden with errors as the Bible! Get serious, dude! It's only been sixty years since we discovered DNA, and that was no thanks to the Bible, if you know what I mean.

      Your aspersions against good scientists, as if they were motivated by a hatred of God and the Bible, does not help you case.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      The only thing you get from "revelation" are unsupported assertions that Christians can't even agree upon. Biblical "revelation" is not knowledge.


      What I get from Biblical revelation is the truth about creation. It was conceived and delivered by God along with well defined species and well designed male and female creatures to reproduce. The Bible revealed that man is a special creation made in the image of God, not in the image of a reptile, and that contained in this image are the emotions and morality.
      You get no such thing. Sincere Bible believing Christians come to radically different conclusions.

      If the "kinds" that were on Noah's ark are "species" in the scientific sense, then there is no way in the world they could have fit on that boat, let alone survived for a year on it and then successfully repopulated the planet. Your Bible myth is just that. Pure mythology.

      As for your assertion about the "image of God" vs. the "image of a reptile" - that reveals a double ignorance. First, the image of God does not refer to the physical image of the human body. Second, humans do bear the image of the lower life forms from which we evolved. You would know this if you had ever made the slightest effort to educate yourself on these matters.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      For example, you speak of "kinds" of animals but that is totally meaningless because the Bible doesn't define that word and it can't mean "species" or you belief in the flood would be proven false. There are millions of different species on the planet. Where did they come from? You can't say they were all taken on Noah's ark because there is no way he could have fit millions of species on it. So where did they come from? This is but one of dozens of problems that proves the "revelation" in the Bible is false.
      You limit God's ability because you equate him with a man. He who created heaven and earth and populated the earth with all forms of life, is it to hard for Him to re-establish and re-populate the earth? What is too difficult for Him? Jesus said, "I tell you that if you have the faith of a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain 'be removed' and it shall be done". Ah, but this is not scientific you say to which I reply, true, but then God is not limited to the science of man. He who stretched out the heavens and raised up dry land from the waters in the beginning has no need of man's puny limited concepts of why He can't do it. He may have done just to demonstrate that He can do it, after all, He parted the Red Sea to deliver His people from the pursuing Egyptians. Give me a scientific equation for that miracle.
      I do not "limit God's ability" and I have not "equated him with a man." Why do you make such absurd assertions?

      Assuming God exists, it would be trivial for him to repopulate the planet. But why then bother with the ark? He wouldn't need them to do that!

      I reject your suggestion not because it would be impossible, but because there is not any reason of any kind to believe it. You just made it up. There isn't even anything in the Bible, let alone science, that would suggest such a thing. And it is illogical because it makes the saving of the animals on the ark irrelevant. And besides all that, the idea of a global flood contradicts all the evidence, such as the continuous ice cores of Antarctica, the fossil record, and ten thousand other facts. The whole idea is manifestly absurd on all levels.

      As for the Exodus - that's another bible myth that directly contradicts all evidence, besides being manifestly absurd. The story of the Exodus includes the killing of hundreds of thousands of Midianites that supposedly lived in the desert with no water or food??? Give me, and yourself, a break. The Bible myths are not historically true - that's a fact you can take to the bank.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      Your fundamental presupposition that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God has ZERO support in logic or facts. How is it different than all the other religions that make similar claims about their holy books? You don't even know which books belong in the Bible, let alone if it is the "Word of God." You are imposing your own private beliefs upon a book without any warrant of any kind.
      Whenever it suits your argument, you quickly switch positions. You know there is no other book in history, religious or otherwise that approach the Bible, all others pale in comparison, and in reality, stand in stark contrast to the Bible.
      I have not "switched" any position. Unlike you, I am able to freely admit evidence whether or not it appears to support my opponent's position. This is because I am an authentic truth seeker and have no fragile dogmas to defend. So I freely admit that the Bible is unique amongst the three religions of Western Civilization (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). But that's one out of three - big deal. And the other two are closely related to it anyway. So you can't prove anything that way. And besides, you totally missed my point. I was not talking about the literary quality of the Bible. I was talking about your absolutely unfounded and absurd presupposition that the Bible is the "inerrant and infallible Word of God." It would help if you read what I actually wrote and responded accordingly instead of with red herrings.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      There are millions of confirmed observations that contradict your assertions about the Bible.
      And there is Biblical record of living witnesses who observed events which defy scientific explanation.
      Don't be ridiculous. You have no evidence that there were ay "living witnesses" who actually "observed events which defy scientific explanation." Muslims believe that Muhammad rode a horse to heaven. Are you including that in your list?

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      We're not talking about accepting the possibility that there is a God like you describe. Even if that were true, it wouldn't justify your belief in the Bible or your rejection of science. The problem is that you have retreated to mere assertion. You need to deal with the consequences of your beliefs, such as the absurdity of the idea that there was a global flood that killed all the land animals. We know this is not true for many reasons. Where did the millions of species come from? You really need to answer this question.
      Now you are repeating objections because you believe this is a Biblical weakness. I believe it is a Biblical strength in testimony of God's ability to restore. He makes a new heaven and a new earth, how hard is it for Him to flood the earth and then restore and repopulate it? By faith, Noah built the ark. If he had not, you might not be here to doubt Him.
      If God magically restored all the creatures after destroying them in a flood that left no physical record, exactly how does that serve as a "testimony" to anything but the gullibility of believers? You have ZERO evidence supporting your assertions and so you claim that ZERO evidence is a "testimony" to God's abilities? It is ironic that your answer only confirms my statement that "you have retreated to mere assertion."

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      Why are you so adamantly avoiding the real issue? How do you know you are not deluded? You are displaying the character of the blind believer who shows no skepticism of any kind towards the their holy book (Bible/Koran/Book of Mormon, writings of L. Ron Hubbard, etc.) even as you show radical skepticism towards any scientific theory or fact that contradicts your presuppositions. Why don't you understand that this is the recipe for delusion? You know everyone else in the other religions who do what you do are deluded! You know they are believing falsehood. How do they differ from you? They make exactly the same kind of presuppositions as you and that's why they fall into error. How do you protect yourself from delusion if you won't question your presuppositions?
      I wont repeat your words, but here agin, the two edged sword would injure you. Who is really deluded? You are manifesting a 2000 year old prophecy by believing a lie as a result of worshipping creatures (which is what you are) and creation (which is where you live), more than He who brought it all into existence.
      I do not "worship" any creatures!

      And again, you did not deal with my point. You show NO SKEPTICISM OF ANY KIND towards your presuppositions. How do your beliefs differ from the delusions of everyone else who holds to unsupportable presuppositions derived from religious texts. I've brought this to your attention many times. The fact that you consistently refuse to answer indicates that you recognize that it is a real problem. That's progress, I guess. But it would be nice if you would actually try and answer it.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Rome was a Christian nation at the time it was "judged"!
      So, it was the christians who were tossing themselves into the arena and burning themselves on stakes to light the emperors garden. I guess the texbooks got it wrong again. And all this time I thought it was the anti-christian committing these atrocities.
      Don't you understand that Rome converted to Christianity? It was "judged" AFTER it converted, when the Pope was there in all his pomp. Maybe you should take the good old Protestant line and say God was judging the Roman Catholic Church because the Pope was the Antichrist!

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      You could spend ten lifetimes just trying to catch up with the current body of scientific knowledge relating to evolution. It's going on all around us. It is no less a fact than gravity. You simply know nothing about it, yet you reject it.
      I'm convinced evolution misrepresents God' creation and it leads many away from God, but God will eventually use it to accomplish His purpose.
      You are fundamentally ignorant of evolution so you assertion that it "misrepresents God's creation" is meaningless.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Men have been trying to bury the Bible for centuries. Here's something you may be familiar with...

      Voltaire, the famous French philosopher, was a brilliant atheist. He wrote a number of tracts deriding the Bible. He once made a very bold statement: “One hundred years from today the Bible will be a forgotten book.”

      Today, everyone has forgotten that quote — not the Bible! After Voltaire died, for nearly 100 years, his homestead was used as the book depository for the French Bible Society. They sold Bibles out of his house! It’s now a museum. People have forgotten Voltaire. Nobody forgets the Bible.
      So Voltaire misjudged the depth of the obstinate ignorance of Bible believers. Maybe he forgot to account for the long term effect of brainwashing children. Even in science new theories often must wait till the old scientists die before they are fully accepted. Humans are very stubborn, especially when it comes to religious dogmas. And besides, Christians reject evidence, so it is very difficult to prove to them that their beliefs are false (since proof is based on evidence!).

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Facts? What facts? Here's a fact finding challenge for your assertions that science has the answers...

      Please explain the scientific laws which make the Nebular Hypothesis impossible. That should be much easier than producing the laws which make it believable.
      What's your fascination with the Nebular Hypothesis? I've never studied it, and have never used it in any argument, and you most certainly are not qualified to discuss it given your willful ignorance of science, so what's the point?

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Well now, isn't that interesting. Cause and Effect are so well established in the scientific community that they have been elevated to the status of a law, but since to you, they are just meaningless words, what does that say about all other scientific theories which are neither factual nor lawful?
      Cause and effect are OBVIOUSLY not used in the scientific community the way you used them, else they would agree with you. You use "cause and effect" in the same way as medieval scholastic theologians who debated about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. No scientist that I've ever read would be impressed by your list of "cause and effect."

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      I am your uncompromising friend who simply holds to his values and faith in the One True God and His Word.
      I wish that were true. The reality is quite different. You are holding to your private interpretations of an ambiguous ancient book written in a language and by a culture you don't understand. Even if it were God's inerrant and infallible Word, there would be absolutely no reason for anyone to think that you have accurately interpreted it.

      Think about that. I've explained this a million times. It doesn't matter if the Bible is God's Word. You still have to use your fallible, limited, and largely ignorant human brain to interpret it. How is it possible that you could fail to understand something as simple as this?

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      No one would ever be convinced of that if they examined our exchanges except you and I.
      Very true. And I'm starting to wonder myself given your latest responses. You said I was "worshiping creatures" and "fulfilling prophecies" about wicked unbelievers. I understand, of course, that you are totally freaked out by your inability to give any rational answer to my questions. So don't worry, I don't take any offense when you spew such absurdities at me. I'm just glad I'm not trapped in a false dogmatic religion like you.

      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      I value your friendship and will to the end.

      John
      Me too! I just wish you would try to educate yourself, and give rational answers that do not sound identical to the answers fundamentalist Muslims give.


      Quote Originally Posted by jce View Post
      Editor note: Edited to correct an "end quote" bracket.
      Good work!

      It's very helpful to have everything formatted correctly.
    1. CWH's Avatar
      CWH -
      RAM seems to be confused with Self Love and Loving thy neighbor as thyself. I do understand what he meant that you have to love yourself first in order to love others; that's sounds like selfish love. What I know from that verse "Love thy neighbor as thyself" simply means to love unconditionally to those who needs your help. It also means to help thy neighbor ( those who needs your help) first before yourself by putting yourself in their shoes. Jesus said, "There is no greater Love than for one to die for his friends".

      John 15:13
      Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

      Love thy neighbor as thyself is like Do unto others what you want others to do unto you but what RAM is proposing in his Self love theory is Do unto self what you do not want others to do unto you. That's a great difference e.g. Help others if you want others to help you compare with (Self Love) Help Yourself if you want others to help you. Unselfish love emphasis is in helping others whereas Self Love emphasis is helping yourself.

      God Bless.
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by CWH View Post
      RAM seems to be confused with Self Love and Loving thy neighbor as thyself. I do understand what he meant that you have to love yourself first in order to love others; that's sounds like selfish love. What I know from that verse "Love thy neighbor as thyself" simply means to love unconditionally to those who needs your help. It also means to help thy neighbor ( those who needs your help) first before yourself by putting yourself in their shoes. Jesus said, "There is no greater Love than for one to die for his friends".

      John 15:13
      Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

      Love thy neighbor as thyself is like Do unto others what you want others to do unto you but what RAM is proposing in his Self love theory is Do unto self what you do not want others to do unto you. That's a great difference e.g. Help others if you want others to help you compare with (Self Love) Help Yourself if you want others to help you. Unselfish love emphasis is in helping others whereas Self Love emphasis is helping yourself.

      God Bless.
      Good morning CWH,

      Your comment that "it sounds like selfish love" makes no sense because all love has a "selfish" aspect. Without a "self" you would not be a person. And if you loathed yourself you would have no love for others. If you think you should love all people, whey would you excluded yourself? Your comment indicates that you did not read my article The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality with any understanding. The concept of "self love" is fundamental to our ability to love others. I explained this in great detail in that article, and summed it up by quoting this from Erich Fromm's book The Art of Loving:
      These ideas of self-love cannot be summarized better than by quoting Meister Eckhart on this topic “If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than you love yourself, you will not really succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person and that person is both God and man. Thus he is a great and righteous person who, loving himself, loves all others equally”
      Your rejection of "self love" is very common amongst those who have been indoctrinated by the irrational doctrines of Christianity that teach a false morality. It looks like you have not really thought about this issue at all, but are merely parroting things you have been told without really thinking about them. If you want to challenge the validity of my theory, you need to address what I actually wrote and the reasons I gave supporting my conclusions.

      Your assertion that my theory says "Do unto self what you do not want others to do unto you" is simply insane. I neither said nor implied any such thing. I very much appreciate your attempt to respond, but it would have been better if you had addressed something I actually wrote.

      All the best,

      Richard
    1. David M's Avatar
      David M -
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      Good morning CWH,

      Your comment that "it sounds like selfish love" makes no sense because all love has a "selfish" aspect. Without a "self" you would not be a person. And if you loathed yourself you would have no love for others. If you think you should love all people, whey would you excluded yourself? Your comment indicates that you did not read my article The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality with any understanding. The concept of "self love" is fundamental to our ability to love others. I explained this in great detail in that article, and summed it up by quoting this from Erich Fromm's book The Art of Loving:
      These ideas of self-love cannot be summarized better than by quoting Meister Eckhart on this topic “If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than you love yourself, you will not really succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person and that person is both God and man. Thus he is a great and righteous person who, loving himself, loves all others equally”
      Your rejection of "self love" is very common amongst those who have been indoctrinated by the irrational doctrines of Christianity that teach a false morality. It looks like you have not really thought about this issue at all, but are merely parroting things you have been told without really thinking about them. If you want to challenge the validity of my theory, you need to addrthereess what I actually wrote and the reasons I gave supporting my conclusions.

      Your assertion that my theory says "Do unto self what you do not want others to do unto you" is simply insane. I neither said nor implied any such thing. I very much appreciate your attempt to respond, but it would have been better if you had addressed something I actually wrote.

      All the best,

      Richard
      Hello Richard

      As I read the quote above, I picked up on this sentence; "that person is both God and man". First of all, man cannot be God. God says that he is ONE and there is none else. The nearest man will come to resemble God is by his actions and to love as God loves. Putting aside the abominations attributed to God, can you deny the ultimate gift of God to give you eternal life on earth that will be paradise, is the greatest gift and greatest act of love demonstrable? If not, what would you say is the greatest love you can show for another person? As followers of Jesus, the greatest love we can show to our neighbor is to meet their needs (not wants) and show them the way that leads to eternal life.

      There is only one person who was a man who fits the description also in the quote above; "Thus he is a great and righteous person". Jesus is the only righteous person to have lived. Jesus proved that human flesh was capable of doing this. However, in practice no-one else besides Jesus has done this or is ever likely to do this. Why it was possible for Jesus to do it an no-one else can, is a subject for another thread, though I shall partly explain later. The fact is; Jesus is the only one to have lead a perfectly righteous life.

      The Apostle Paul writes (Romans 3:10); As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Is Paul referring to Psalm 14? (Psalm 14:1) The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Or is Paul referring to Ecclesiastes 7:20? (Ecclesiastes 7:20) For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

      From all the records, Jesus is the only person to have lived a sinless life. Therefore, while you have a theory that we might accept as correct, the practice is that man, left to himself, is incapable of demonstrating the theory perfectly and very few come close to fulfilling it throughout their life. I expect many who might be thought as good, if push comes to shove, will be shown to be evil and self-serving. I would argue there are not many people who are genuinely good people who come close to matching Jesus. There are few self-sacrificing people who will put others before themselves. If you are genuinely one of those rare people, then God might save you. I will also argue, that is the type of people God will select to be in His kingdom.

      You may be correct in saying that it is not necessary to be obedient to all God's laws, and I would also say that a non-self-serving person is the likely person to comply with God's requirements and naturally has God's laws written in their hearts. Alas, that is not the case for the majority in this world. A few will learn that they must submit to the instruction of God and recognize that they are a sinful person who needs to repent from sinful acts and needs to learn from someone who has shown us the way to do it.

      Only Jesus has been acceptable to God because he remained sinless and so if God only wants sinless people to be in His kingdom then there is a problem unless God has another means whereby people can become acceptable. Our sin makes us unacceptable to God. The only remedy is for God to forgive people their sins and see them as sinless as a result. Having been seen to be sinless, God will provide the means by which they will remain sinless in the kingdom of God. So who will God select to forgive them their sins? I suggest God is selecting the next best set of people and that is determined by how much they resemble his Son by the way they live their lives. Those who live according to the principles Jesus lived by are the ones who will be saved. This is encapsulated in John 3:16 and the greatest of all God's promises Therefore, to be saved and given a place in God's kingdom requires commitment to follow Jesus. Not everyone who sets out to follow Jesus continues and they fall by the wayside. This is why Jesus said; he who looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God. A person has to continue the struggle to follow Jesus right to the end of their natural life. For Paul, he likened life in Christ to a race in which at the end of his life was laid up for him a crown of righteousness; (2 Timothy 4:8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

      Hence salvation is not universal. Salvation can only be for those who are given the crown of righteousness which will be manifested in the incorruptible bodies given to those who will be in the kingdom. Those who love is appearing can be understood as those who accepted the first coming of Jesus and those who will be watching and waiting for his return. In the meantime for those who watch and wait they continue to live a life according to the pattern set by Jesus. There are many parables giving us the spiritual message concerning the Kingdom of God, a message that those without the spiritual filters in their mind will not tune in to understand the message. To a believer in Jesus, the return of Jesus could be for them at anytime and would be like falling asleep and then the next moment they will be in the presence of Jesus. At such a time as that appearance of Jesus comes, the believer would want to be found serving and doing as Jesus and God requires of men and women to do; (Matt 24:46) Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Included in that doing will be demonstrating the non-self-serving love that is expected.

      Maybe Darwin's theory has been surpassed and evolution is not a case of the survival of the fittest any more, otherwise the survival of the fittest does not demonstrate non-self-serving love. If evolution does not produce non-self-serving love, we have to ask; where does this come from quality come from? The answer is we have to learn it and it does not come automatically. There are three sources/ways that I see we can learn this:- 1. By our own trial and error. 2. From man's previous knowledge (based on past trial and error). 3 From God who has given us an instruction manual.

      It is evident that humans did not have any form of instruction manual in the times before the flood or until God's people were given the instruction manual which Moses wrote down. It was by this same instruction manual Jesus learned and put the instruction into practice and so he fulfilled all that was written in the law and fulfilled what the prophets had spoken/written about him. Jesus has not done away with the instruction manual, we still have it today, but if we do not consult it and we think we know best and want to do things our own way, then that is up to us. Not consulting the manual, and following its instructions will severely shorten our potential lifetime. Maximum potential is only got by follow the manufacturer's instructions. God (The Creator) is the manufacturer and we are foolish if we do not follow His instructions.

      All the best

      David
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
      Hello Richard

      As I read the quote above, I picked up on this sentence; "that person is both God and man". First of all, man cannot be God. God says that he is ONE and there is none else. The nearest man will come to resemble God is by his actions and to love as God loves.
      Good morning David,

      Let's look at that quote again:
      These ideas of self-love cannot be summarized better than by quoting Meister Eckhart on this topic “If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than you love yourself, you will not really succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person and that person is both God and man. Thus he is a great and righteous person who, loving himself, loves all others equally”
      The point of that quote is to explain how love of everyone necessarily entails love of self. Your focus on the part that says "that person is both God and man" is irrelevant to the point I was making. And it does not imply that "man is God" as you suggest. Meister Eckhart was a Christian mystic who believed that people could be "one with" God as promised in the Bible, such as when Peter says that believers are "partakers of the divine nature" and when Christ said that believers could be "one" with God just as he was. Here is how Eckhart stated it:
      When I preach, I usually speak of detachment and say that a man should be empty of self and all things; and secondly, that he should be reconstructed in the simple good that God is; and thirdly, that he should consider the great aristocracy which God has set up in the soul, such that by means of it man may wonderfully attain to God; and fourthly, of the purity of the divine nature.
      Your assertion that "the nearest man will come to resemble God is by his actions and to love as God loves" is just your opinion. The Bible clearly teaches otherwise. Indeed, union with God has been held as the greatest blessing throughout the history of Christianity.

      Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
      Putting aside the abominations attributed to God, can you deny the ultimate gift of God to give you eternal life on earth that will be paradise, is the greatest gift and greatest act of love demonstrable? If not, what would you say is the greatest love you can show for another person? As followers of Jesus, the greatest love we can show to our neighbor is to meet their needs (not wants) and show them the way that leads to eternal life.
      Your doctrine about "eternal life on earth" is not clearly taught in Scripture and is a minority view. Most Christians believe that believers will spend eternity with God in heaven, not on earth.

      But in answer to your question, I would say that the greatest love you can show another is to love them as your own self. If you see them hungry, you feed them just as you would your own self. If you see them naked, you clothe them. This also is the teaching of Christ and we agree upon it. It is good to find agreement once in a while. But this has absolutely nothing to do with teaching religious doctrines about how a person gets eternal life. That would not be loving at all if you could not demonstrate the truth of your words, which you know you cannot. And besides, the doctrine that God lets some people live forever because they hold to certain religious dogmas and denies it to others because they don't seems like anything but love to me.

      Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
      There is only one person who was a man who fits the description also in the quote above; "Thus he is a great and righteous person". Jesus is the only righteous person to have lived. Jesus proved that human flesh was capable of doing this. However, in practice no-one else besides Jesus has done this or is ever likely to do this. Why it was possible for Jesus to do it an no-one else can, is a subject for another thread, though I shall partly explain later. The fact is; Jesus is the only one to have lead a perfectly righteous life.

      The Apostle Paul writes (Romans 3:10); As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Is Paul referring to Psalm 14? (Psalm 14:1) The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Or is Paul referring to Ecclesiastes 7:20? (Ecclesiastes 7:20) For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

      From all the records, Jesus is the only person to have lived a sinless life. Therefore, while you have a theory that we might accept as correct, the practice is that man, left to himself, is incapable of demonstrating the theory perfectly and very few come close to fulfilling it throughout their life. I expect many who might be thought as good, if push comes to shove, will be shown to be evil and self-serving. I would argue there are not many people who are genuinely good people who come close to matching Jesus. There are few self-sacrificing people who will put others before themselves. If you are genuinely one of those rare people, then God might save you. I will also argue, that is the type of people God will select to be in His kingdom.
      If Christ serves as the archetype of universal love that fulfills the quote from Meister Eckhart, then great! More power to you. It helps the mind to have a clear image of the goal.

      Your statement about "demonstrating the theory" (underlined) shows that you don't understand the purpose of the theory. I designed the theory to explain the root of our moral intuitions and to justify our belief that some things really are right or wrong (a natural theory of objective morality). It has absolutely nothing to do with how well people obey their moral intuitions. That's an entirely different issue. Whether people act consistently on their moral intuitions or not would say nothing to confirm or disconfirm my theory.

      Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
      You may be correct in saying that it is not necessary to be obedient to all God's laws, and I would also say that a non-self-serving person is the likely person to comply with God's requirements and naturally has God's laws written in their hearts. Alas, that is not the case for the majority in this world. A few will learn that they must submit to the instruction of God and recognize that they are a sinful person who needs to repent from sinful acts and needs to learn from someone who has shown us the way to do it.
      When did I say it was not "necessary to be obedient to all God's laws"? I think you misunderstood me. What I said was that morality has nothing to do with obeying rules and regulations at all. This is the fundamental error of Christianity that teaches morality is OBEDIENCE. Morality is based on the nature of the act and how it affects others. It cannot be defined by a set of rules and regulations because there are an infinite set of possible situations.

      As for repentance - that is common as dirt. Almost everyone says they are "sorry" when they find they have done something wrong to hurt another. People who are not Christian repent of sins every day.

      Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
      Only Jesus has been acceptable to God because he remained sinless and so if God only wants sinless people to be in His kingdom then there is a problem unless God has another means whereby people can become acceptable. Our sin makes us unacceptable to God. The only remedy is for God to forgive people their sins and see them as sinless as a result. Having been seen to be sinless, God will provide the means by which they will remain sinless in the kingdom of God. So who will God select to forgive them their sins? I suggest God is selecting the next best set of people and that is determined by how much they resemble his Son by the way they live their lives. Those who live according to the principles Jesus lived by are the ones who will be saved. This is encapsulated in John 3:16 and the greatest of all God's promises Therefore, to be saved and given a place in God's kingdom requires commitment to follow Jesus. Not everyone who sets out to follow Jesus continues and they fall by the wayside. This is why Jesus said; he who looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God. A person has to continue the struggle to follow Jesus right to the end of their natural life. For Paul, he likened life in Christ to a race in which at the end of his life was laid up for him a crown of righteousness; (2 Timothy 4:8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
      Fascinating. Your doctrine is a doctrine of salvation by works that has been utterly rejected as heretical by orthodox Christians (Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox) throughout history.

      Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
      Maybe Darwin's theory has been surpassed and evolution is not a case of the survival of the fittest any more, otherwise the survival of the fittest does not demonstrate non-self-serving love. If evolution does not produce non-self-serving love, we have to ask; where does this come from quality come from? The answer is we have to learn it and it does not come automatically. There are three sources/ways that I see we can learn this:- 1. By our own trial and error. 2. From man's previous knowledge (based on past trial and error). 3 From God who has given us an instruction manual.

      It is evident that humans did not have any form of instruction manual in the times before the flood or until God's people were given the instruction manual which Moses wrote down. It was by this same instruction manual Jesus learned and put the instruction into practice and so he fulfilled all that was written in the law and fulfilled what the prophets had spoken/written about him. Jesus has not done away with the instruction manual, we still have it today, but if we do not consult it and we think we know best and want to do things our own way, then that is up to us. Not consulting the manual, and following its instructions will severely shorten our potential lifetime. Maximum potential is only got by follow the manufacturer's instructions. God (The Creator) is the manufacturer and we are foolish if we do not follow His instructions.
      First, I am glad you brought up the fact of evolution because and no theory that contradicts it could be valid and my theory is fully coheres with it. There is a primal instinctual root of "self love" - the instinct to survive. Likewise, love for others has a profound biological basis in mirror neurons and hormones like oxytocin. We see these active in the morality of primate two which we are related. Thus, my theory is ontologically secure - it is based on what we really are.

      You question about where "non-self-serving love" could come from shows that you need to educate yourself about evolution. Love for others (non-self-serving love as you put it) is built into many organisms. Just look at how a cat nurtures her young, and will protect them to the death. This is the problem with religious dogma - it blinds people to the world of reality that is all around them. There is nothing more obvious than the evolutionary advantage of "non-self-serving love" especially in advanced social organisms like the primates we are.

      There is one little problem with your reference to "God's Instruction Manual" - no one has a clue about what the instructions actually say! No one! This should be totally obvious to you because you reject many of the most fundamental "instructions" that have guided Christians throughout history. I explained this to jce (John) a few posts back when he was making a similar claim. I had to remind him that you and he are equally adamant about basing your interpretations on the Bible as God's infallible revelation, yet you come to diametrically opposed conclusions! You directly contradict each other, and neither can give sufficient reason to convince the other. How then can you claim that the Bible could serve as an "instruction manual"?

      jce
      David M
      God is a Trinity The Trinity is false and entirely unbiblical
      Christ is God Christ is just a man
      Angels have sinned Angels have never sinned and cannot sin
      Believers go to heaven to be with Christ when they die. Unbelievers go to Hades to await judgment. The dead are dead with no conscious existence until (and if) God resurrects them.
      God will resurrect both the righteous and the wicked and judge them in the Day of Judgment. God will resurrect only believers.

      Here we see TWO fundamental Bible believers with FOUR contrary opinions about the basic facts of "God's revelation." I could give a thousand other examples where folks like you who claim that the Bible is "God's revelation" are in radical disagreement about what it actually teaches. This forum proves that in spades. How about Millennialism vs. Almillennialism? Once Saved Always Saved? Calvinism vs. Arminianism? Etc., etc., etc. ...

      Why are there so many different opinions about the Bible? Because it is nothing but a pile of ambiguous words that FORCE believers to interpret them or they won't make any sense at all! There is no way for anyone to actually test which interpretation is true and which is false. And so we have 2000 years of Christians calling other Christians "antichrist" and "heretic" because their fallible interpretations conflict. All I see are potsherds clashing with potsherds.

      Great chatting,

      Richard
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