Ukraine flag Armor Games stands with Ukraine Ukraine flag
If you’d like to help, please consider giving to Ukraine Crisis Fund

ForumsWEPRThe Religion Debate Thread

704 200276
nichodemus
offline
nichodemus
14,920 posts
Grand Duke

So yeah, our threads on religion have long since died out, so I figured it would be time to start afresh here!

Do you believe God exists (I know almost all of you don't)? Do you feel religion is important today? Is it a force for good? Discuss everything related to that here!

I'm going to start the ball rolling:

We all know about the rise of ISIS and the terrible acts it perpetuates. Does that show that Islam and religion in general is an awful concept? Is it the people who twist it? Or is it fundamentally an evil force?

Roping in the WERP frequenters
@MageGrayWolf @Kasic @Hahiha @FishPreferred @Doombreed @09philj

  • 704 Replies
FishPreferred
offline
FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

Sure, we can wonder what in the world God is doing, but why does God have to give us the answers?
A master will give orders to the slave or servant and the servant will not question it.
There's a difference between not having to provide answers and being above questioning. A black hole isn't required to give up its secrets either, but that doesn't obligate us to never think about it critically.

[...] there could be a different reason that God's design is so complex. It could be optimized because it accomplishes everything that needs to be accomplished. We just don't know exactly what those things are.
Okay, but this invalidates any defense based on necessity.
Why is there malice: God wants it.
Why is there misery: God wants it.
Why is there sin: God wants it.
Why is there injustice: God wants it.
Why is there noise pollution: God wants it.

If there isn't then, again, you just have to trust the process because the master wills it.
No, I'm not required, obligated, or inclined to do that either.

3. God wants everything to glorify Him.
4. If God is not glorified, then God's wrath will be unleashed.
... Why, though?

Now, how I understand our relationship with God is that we are naturally enemies of God. Because of our sinful nature (which will probably be another topic of discussion), we disobey God and don't want anything to do with Him [...]
By His design, as per rules 1 and 2.

On the contrary, as a believer of God, you would want to glorify God.
... Why? What has that got to do with belief?
lozerfac3
offline
lozerfac3
978 posts
Farmer

@HahiHa

I think that worshiping Him in earnest would require giving up who I am now, giving up my values and my sense of justice as a human and member of this society. My reasons not to worship Him are based on His supposed actions as described in the Bible, and revealing His existence to me would only confirm those objections I have. Does that mean that I am unable to appreciate His glory because I remain myself?
Exactly! You must be "born again". Your worldly values mean nothing (to God) if you aren't glorifying God.

and revealing His existence to me would only confirm those objections I have.
Just because you know about God doesn't mean you are saved by God. Even demons believe in God. This also answers @FishPreferred's last question:

... Why? What has that got to do with belief?
It has nothing to do with belief. I misspoke. I should have said as a believer of God who has a regenerative spirit, you would want to glorify God. Thank you for catching that.

@HahiHa

Unless He is schizophrenic, that doesn't tell us much. Of course only He has the power to save us from His wrath, because only He has control over His own wrath! It's all His own decision, and we are left entirely powerless yet still held accountable for reasons unknown.
At least rule 4 is still in place. His wrath was poured out on Jesus instead of us.

@FishPreferred

There's a difference between not having to provide answers and being above questioning. A black hole isn't required to give up its secrets either, but that doesn't obligate us to never think about it critically.
I'm not sure if this is an argument against God. I think God encourages us to think about Him critically. Because if not, I would not have changed my mind all these times throughout these debates. I'm learning more and more about God by questioning his authority. A year ago, I believed that I had some control over my salvation and now I believe that God has done all the work for me. The rules are perfect because they complete and concise, but we will never understand the rules completely because we are not perfect. Like if you don't agree with an authority, you are not going to want to understand all of their rules. That's essentially how people who aren't saved behave with God. We naturally want to abide by our own rules, morals, and values. It isn't until we submit to God that we would want to understand his rules so that we can obey them. That's why not even all self-proclaiming Christians or even major Christian sects are saved.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" -Matthew 7:21-23

FishPreferred
offline
FishPreferred
3,173 posts
Duke

At least rule 4 is still in place. His wrath was poured out on Jesus instead of us.
I'm sure if He wanted to, He could have found less violent outlets for His wrath. Or, you know, being the epitome of divine perfection, He could simply choose not to be a slave to His emotions and just get over it.

I'm not sure if this is an argument against God.
It isn't. It's an argument against the dismissal of all questions about Him simply out of servility to His presumed authority, as you mentioned some people in your church were in the habit of doing.

I think God encourages us to think about Him critically. Because if not, I would not have changed my mind all these times throughout these debates. I'm learning more and more about God by questioning his authority.
Well, I'm glad that you're putting in all this effort, as a lot of people don't seem to bother making sense of their own beliefs at all.

The rules are perfect because they complete and concise, but we will never understand the rules completely because we are not perfect.
So, the idea here is that the rules are simple and straightforward, but don't make logical sense to imperfect beings? If that's what you're suggesting, there's a problem, because when something doesn't conform to foundational logic, it's basically impossible to know anything about it. Any statement about such a thing could be true and false simultaneously, so a set of rules wouldn't be 'rules' so much as contradictory aphorisms that could mean anything.

Like if you don't agree with an authority, you are not going to want to understand all of their rules.
But it's generally only when I can't understand the rules that I disagree with the authority, so any cosmic power operating on laws beyond mortal ken would have little to offer as explanation for why I should be worshipping him/her/it/them.
Moegreche
offline
Moegreche
3,822 posts
Duke

Not to detract too much from the conversation at hand, but I was wondering @lozerfac3 how you would respond to the classic Euthyphro dilemma. If you're already familiar with it, I'm sorry for the extended explanation. Though I will try to frame it in more modern (and relevant) terminology. So, even if you are familiar with the argument, it might be worth reading.

This is a dilemma specifically for Divine Command Theory (DCT) and is framed (as most dilemmas are) as two options, each of which is problematic.

The claim: An action is morally correct if it is commanded by God. It is incorrect if it is forbidden by God.
Shorter version: What is right is what it commanded by God.

Let's focus on the shorter version because (1) it's easier to engage with, and (2) the problems for it equally apply to the longer version. So, let's go!

The question here is why something is right. What makes an action morally correct? The answer, it seems, is that God commands it--that's what makes it right. But this doesn't seem to be very satisfying. What we're really asking is *why* it's correct. Sure, you can say that it's right because God commands it, but this misses the point. We're wondering why God commands it. Put another way, the claim of DCT tells us an equivalence relationship between morally correct acts and God's commandments. But what we're really asking is about the explanatory relationship between the two.

This leaves us with 2 options to respond and, as we'll see, both options are problematic (thus, the dilemma).

Option 1: An action is right because God commands it.

On this view, what explains morally correct actions is God Himself. God is the source of morality and so whatever He commands is morally correct.
But notice this doesn't exactly answer the question. Why did God choose to command X instead of Y? And, had He chosen to command Y, then that would have morally correct. So, for example, if God had commanded us to steal whatever we needed, then that action would have been morally correct.
This option makes morality completely contingent and, in fact, completely arbitrary on God's whims. It doesn't explain *why* God chose X over Y--it simply can't explain that! There is no more to the story of morality beyond what God just so happened to decide. And, it's important to keep in mind here, that God could not have had any moral reason whatsoever for choosing X over Y. That's because, prior to His choosing, morality didn't even exist. So, when we call morality arbitrary, it really very much is. God had no reason for choosing what to command or why. This is an odd result.

Option 2: God commands an action because it is right.

This option 'feels' a lot better to most people. If forced to choose, most people choose this option. But it's also very problematic and doesn't answer the question.
Notice that, on this view, morality is independent of God. Sure, He's very good at identifying morally correct actions for us and then commanding those things. But it doesn't actually explain why they're good--it just explains why God picked those actions.
At the end of the day, this doesn't offer any more explanation than Option 1. All it says is that God is really good at tracking morally correct actions and then commanding those things. It doesn't say why those actions are right.

The upshot is that, on either view, we don't really have an explanation of why an action is right. But this is precisely what DCT set out to answer--why is a right action right! According to DCT, either morality is completely arbitrary (so is simply is no explanation) or morality is independent of God (which moves the question back, but doesn't actually answer it). Thus, DCT doesn't actually give us a satisfying answer to the question we were after. And this is extremely problematic for the view.

HahiHa
offline
HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

Exactly! You must be "born again". Your worldly values mean nothing (to God) if you aren't glorifying God.

So you can't appreciate His "glory" unless you convert to His values and glorify Him. But I fail to see why you would convert to His values and glorify Him if you can't appreciate His "glory". Tying into this:

That's essentially how people who aren't saved behave with God. We naturally want to abide by our own rules, morals, and values. It isn't until we submit to God that we would want to understand his rules so that we can obey them.

FishPreferred already addressed this, but you don't have to submit to something in order to (try to) understand it. Submission is already a very drastic step, and completely unreasonable (and not credible) if you haven't tried to understand exactly what you're submitting to.

I'd be interested in seeing you addressing the argument Moe has brought up about morality in the light of DCT. Because while I conceded that God, should He exist, would have ultimate authority (read: possess the power to rule absolutely), I don't think that alone makes His morals automatically good.
lozerfac3
offline
lozerfac3
978 posts
Farmer

Sorry guys. Give me a little more time to formulate an answer. These are really good questions. Thank you.

partydevil
offline
partydevil
5,134 posts
Jester

while you take your time formulating an answer, let me ask a little question to everybody. especially moe and hahiha. i returned here after 4 year in search for magegreywolf. is he still around here?

HahiHa
offline
HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

@partydevil I haven't seen him around in years, I'm afraid he doesn't visit the forums here anymore.

lozerfac3
offline
lozerfac3
978 posts
Farmer

It has been a while since I thought about these questions in detail, but let me try to answer as many points as I can.

@FishPreferred

I'm sure if He wanted to, He could have found less violent outlets for His wrath. Or, you know, being the epitome of divine perfection, He could simply choose not to be a slave to His emotions and just get over it.
If God all of the sudden decided to save everyone in the world regardless of their willingness to serve Him, then He would not be the same God that I worship. Those "emotions" are the characteristics of God that make Him God. And what would you suggest to be an appropriate outlet for God's wrath?

It isn't. It's an argument against the dismissal of all questions about Him simply out of servility to His presumed authority, as you mentioned some people in your church were in the habit of doing.
Then I agree. There's actually a lesson about this that I've been learning about in my youth group. When Jesus preached, he called for disciples rather than mere believers. One significant difference (and there are many) is that a disciple of Christ does not blindly follow him. Jesus wants people to carefully consider the consequences of putting their faith in Him before they decide to worship Him and do works for Him. He wants lifetime followers and not people who hesitate when they face oppression or when they have to give something up that they love. Jesus said that it is a narrow road to salvation and not many will reach it. But I digress. The point I'm trying to make is that many self-proclaimed Christians are deceived about what it takes to actually be saved, so don't take it for granted that the beliefs of some of the members of my church are correct. I believe that goes for all churches as well.

So, the idea here is that the rules are simple and straightforward, but don't make logical sense to imperfect beings? If that's what you're suggesting, there's a problem, because when something doesn't conform to foundational logic, it's basically impossible to know anything about it. Any statement about such a thing could be true and false simultaneously, so a set of rules wouldn't be 'rules' so much as contradictory aphorisms that could mean anything.
Wait, I never said that the rules are fundamentally illogical. I just said that they we will never understand them completely because we ourselves are not complete. That doesn't mean that we cannot know enough of the rules in order to abide by them and be righteous in the eyes of God. Heck, I don't even know all of the laws in the US, but I'm doing just fine according to its system.

But it's generally only when I can't understand the rules that I disagree with the authority, so any cosmic power operating on laws beyond mortal ken would have little to offer as explanation for why I should be worshipping him/her/it/them.
That's okay. The rules are not so hard to understand. However, I don't believe that the gospel/rules are extended to everyone who has ever lived, which may be a problem for you. God is not obligated to share the gospel with people who only care about worldly values. That's the way I see it at least.

@HahiHa

So you can't appreciate His "glory" unless you convert to His values and glorify Him. But I fail to see why you would convert to His values and glorify Him if you can't appreciate His "glory".
That's where you have to build knowledge on God by reading the Bible and listening to others preach about it. "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." -Romans 10:17. If something about Jesus resonates with you, it might be worth it to learn more about Him. To answer your post directly, it's not necessarily that you have to convert to His values to appreciate His glory. It's more like you learn to value God and rely on God when you learn more about Him. So basically, the first step is to learn about God and the gospel. Then you decide whether or not God is worthy of your time. I mean, it's pretty simple. I don't know if I made it more complicated earlier, but that's it.

It isn't until we submit to God that we would want to understand his rules so that we can obey them.
Oh here it is. I think I was wrong when I said this. This is what a hasty believer would say, a believer that Jesus warns against because like I said earlier, God wants disciples who are truly up to the challenge. If we submit to his will and then find out what He wants for us, then we might back out. However if we do submit to God knowing full well the consequences and put faith in God that He wants the best for us despite those consequences, then God will surely to work in and through us. Sorry for backtracking, but I want to make sure I get this right. Lol I might backtrack again but I think I'm onto something here.

@Moegreche Here's the hard part.

The upshot is that, on either view, we don't really have an explanation of why an action is right. But this is precisely what DCT set out to answer--why is a right action right! According to DCT, either morality is completely arbitrary (so is simply is no explanation) or morality is independent of God (which moves the question back, but doesn't actually answer it). Thus, DCT doesn't actually give us a satisfying answer to the question we were after. And this is extremely problematic for the view.
I feel like from our perspective, DCT doesn't give us a satisfying answer to why a right action is right because that's not the answer we are looking for. An action is right simply because God said it was right. However, you say that it isn't satisfying because we do not have an explanation. Sure, it's not satisfying, but the dilemma falls apart. Option 1 answers exactly what we need to know in order to function, whereas option 2 is the one that continues to beg the question.

And, it's important to keep in mind here, that God could not have had any moral reason whatsoever for choosing X over Y. That's because, prior to His choosing, morality didn't even exist. So, when we call morality arbitrary, it really very much is. God had no reason for choosing what to command or why. This is an odd result.
It's funny how you say &quotrior to His choosing" as if there was a time before morality. I think that's why it's hard to accept this answer. You can't ask where did God's morals come from in the same way that you can't ask where did God come from. I still think the result is still the same though. We still don't know why God chose what is right and what is wrong. However, I feel like this is just another question to ask in order to get to know more about why God behaves the way He does. And like this question, it's only up to God to reveal that wisdom. Main point is that even though it is not satisfying, it's enough to do its job.
HahiHa
offline
HahiHa
8,212 posts
Regent

@lozerfac3

If something about Jesus resonates with you, it might be worth it to learn more about Him. To answer your post directly, it's not necessarily that you have to convert to His values to appreciate His glory. It's more like you learn to value God and rely on God when you learn more about Him.

Something about Jesus might well resonate with me because he's portrayed in the Bible as the ultimate good and chill dude, but what does that tell me about the veracity of his existence or of the "fundamental truth" of God's word? I might as well look for divine inspiration in The Lord of the Rings or any other fiction
The Bible obviously contains good moral advice such as "don't kill people", but that is to be expected since it's basic good practice among social individuals. It also contains lots of nasty stuff, often done by God Himself, so the picture I get is very ambivalent. Plus, the Bible is a patchwork of different authors who aren't always on the same wavelength. Speaking of which:
and listening to others preach about it.

What would that really teach me, other than that every single individual has its own personal understanding on God?

I'd say the baseline of my argument here is: I can't (be expected to) build faith on unreliable, ambivalent and personal stories of some mystical divine being, even less so considering all the other accounts of different mystical divine beings that might or might not also be true, for all I know. Only if I knew God -that one very specific god- existed could I go back to the Bible and the people preaching, and begin forming my own understanding of His teachings. I might still "back out" even then if I don't like what I see, you weren't wrong on that one.
lozerfac3
offline
lozerfac3
978 posts
Farmer

@HahiHa
You're right, but I didn't mean to say that learning more about God directly relates to you appreciating Him more. I just meant that you can't truly follow and worship God unless you know Him. And then each new thing you learn about Him adds to the fuel. Each reminder of those things might add to the fuel too.

What would that really teach me, other than that every single individual has its own personal understanding on God?
For one thing, it will teach you what God has personally revealed to that individual if that person is truly saved. And yeah, there will always be differences in opinion. But it's on you to search for the truth. If you really, really want answers, I believe that God will not withold them from you.

Only if I knew God -that one very specific god- existed
But how would you know, if someone didn't teach you? Your knowledge of God should be acquired just like anything else.
Showing 691-701 of 704

We may use cookies to help customize your experience, including performing analytics and serving ads.
Learn More