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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

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Modern society tends to be deeply incoherent. On the one hand our culture demands justice for the oppressed and impartial benevolence toward all. On the other hand it teaches that no one has the right to declare right and wrong to anyone else, as secularism asserts that every person must determine his or her own moral values. This is cognitive dissonance. It demands moral behavior of others and yet insists morality is relative. The idea undermines itself. The promotion of universal justice, human rights, self-sacrifice, a commitment to human dignity and considering the poor can only coherently make sense in a world where morality is objective and whose source is God.

But the inconsistency does not end there.  Their view of the world also forces them to pretend in many other areas as well. 

----The Secularist Dilemma ---
There is no meaning, but let's pretend there is.
There is not objective morality, but let's pretend there is. 
There are no voluntary choices, but lets pretend there are. (since choices are hardwired)

The Christian view makes more sense of the real world we live in because we do not have to pretend thee is meaning, morality and real choices.   The reason there appears to be objective morality, meaning, logic, responsibility, and coherence is because there actually are such objective things in reality.  

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Posted (edited)

As one of the very few secularists around here, I’ll respond to this as best I can. The article makes one or two good points about society, but I think it’s incorrect in its critique of secularism...

 

21 hours ago, Monergism said:

Modern society tends to be deeply incoherent. On the one hand our culture demands justice for the oppressed and impartial benevolence toward all. On the other hand it teaches that no one has the right to declare right and wrong to anyone else, as secularism asserts that every person must determine his or her own moral values.

If somebody "teaches that no one has the right to declare right and wrong to anyone else", they ignore the fact that communities do this all the time. We pass laws.  We prohibit things.  As a secularist I DO assert “that every person must determine his or her own moral values”, but I don’t think that “no one has the right to declare right and wrong to anyone else”. When I say something is "wrong" it means I disapprove of it, not that a god does.  It’s appropriate for groups of people, whether families, towns, states or countries, to agree on what is "wrong" and what is not and to legislate appropriately. When we do that we are declaring that something is "wrong", that we disapprove enough to prohibit it.  As a libertarian-leaning secularist I do believe that powers should be devolved to the local level as much as possible. So Illinois could have its “legal until birth” abortion law if that’s what its citizens decide, and Georgia can have its “fetal heartbeat” law.  I might disapprove of either or both of these laws, but since I don't live in Illinois or Georgia, I don't get a say.

 

 

21 hours ago, Monergism said:

But the inconsistency does not end there.  Their view of the world also forces them to pretend in many other areas as well. 

----The Secularist Dilemma ---
There is no meaning, but let's pretend there is.

I hold that there is no god-ordained meaning to life. I can derive my own meaning according to what motivates me and brings me fulfillment. No pretending needed.

 

 

21 hours ago, Monergism said:
There is not objective morality, but let's pretend there is.

I think I already addressed this. I hold that there is indeed no objective morality; it’s in the eye of the beholder. In any case, if a majority of my fellow-citizens - or their elected representatives - agree to make something illegal, they can do it. We don’t have to pretend it’s "objective"; it’s just what we as a community want.

 

 

21 hours ago, Monergism said:
There are no voluntary choices, but lets pretend there are. (since choices are hardwired)

Even secularists disagree among themselves about whether we truly have free will. I don’t claim to understand the arguments or concepts, but I think I have free will for all practical purposes.  I believe people with normal brain functioning can make choices for which they should be help responsible.

 

 

Edited by TABA

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23 minutes ago, TABA said:

It’s appropriate for groups of people, whether families, towns, states or countries, to agree on what is "wrong" and what is not and to legislate appropriately. When we do that we are declaring that something is "wrong", that we disapprove enough to prohibit it. 

 

 Was is appropriate for Hitler to murder the Jews since in that country (Germany) at that time the law had no punishment for doing so?

 

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Faber said:

 

 Was is appropriate for Hitler to murder the Jews since at that time the law had no punishment for doing so?

 

No.  The vast majority of people alive today would agree with me on that, whether they are theists or not.  It presumably wasn’t wrong in Hitler’s mind and in the minds of those who aided and abetted him in his genocide. I don’t care what the laws of the Third Reich were.  

Edited by TABA

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Faber said:

 So even though the majority approved of something doesn't mean it is right.

 

 

I would rephrase that: even though the majority approved of something doesn’t mean I THINK it’s right.  

Edited by TABA

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45 minutes ago, TABA said:

I hold that there is indeed no objective morality; it’s in the eye of the beholder.

 

 So the statements "Hitler was right to murder the Jews" and "Hitler was wrong to murder the Jews" comes down to being right or wrong based on an opinion or opinions. So if the majority of the people (more than 50%) believe it was right then they too can justifiably enact laws to continue what Hitler did.

 

 Agree? 

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1 minute ago, Faber said:

 

 So the statements "Hitler was right to murder the Jews" and "Hitler was wrong to murder the Jews" comes down to being right or wrong based on an opinion or opinions. So if the majority of the people (more than 50%) believe it was right then they too can justifiably enact laws to continue what Hitler did.

 

 Agree? 

They could enact laws, sure.  Justifiably?  Not in my view. I would take up arms to stop them. 

 

I reject “right” or “wrong” as being objective facts.  The rightness or wrongness of something cannot be conclusively shown.  The closest we can get is where a very broad consensus exists against somethingrounding up civilians and gassing them; torturing puppies.  But on a multitude of issues, there is broad disagreement:  contraception, abortion at various stages, just warfare, the death penalty. 

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5 minutes ago, TABA said:

I reject “right” or “wrong” as being objective facts.  The rightness or wrongness of something cannot be conclusively shown.  

 

 Have you just asserted a conclusive affirmation?

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3 minutes ago, Faber said:

 

 Have you just asserted a conclusive affirmation?

 

No, I asserted an opinion. 

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 Thus it has no truth value. It's like agreeing or disagreeing as to what the best flavor of ice-cream is.

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Just now, Faber said:

 Thus it has no truth value. It's like agreeing or disagreeing as to what the best flavor of ice-cream is.

Indeed.  I’m an atheist, you are presumably a Christian.  We disagree.  In other news...

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 This is one reason why Secularism is to be rejected. Moral claims are simply opinions. Murdering people is good or murdering people is bad. No biggy, these are just opinions anyway. Life is devalued.

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3 minutes ago, Faber said:

 This is one reason why Secularism is to be rejected. Moral claims are simply opinions. Murdering people is good or murdering people is bad. No biggy, these are just opinions anyway. Life is devalued.

I do recall saying I would have taken up arms against the Nazis.  Many non-theists did, back then.  “No biggy” is a misrepresentation of my position. 

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It is not a misrepresentation when murdering people simply comes down to an opinion of being right or wrong. Indeed, if there are no moral absolutes then it would not be morally wrong for a person to murder people who disagrees with them about what the best flavor of ice-cream is. These are all just opinions with no truth value. 

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Faber said:

 Indeed, if there are no moral absolutes then it would not be morally wrong for a person to murder people who disagrees with them about what the best flavor of ice-cream is. These are all just opinions with no truth value. 

I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of both atheists and theists, though they would disagree about whether morality is god-given or not, would agree on the seriousness of such a murder and the necessity for its punishment.  The authority we invoke is different, but the outcome is often the same.  But not always: most atheists are cool with fornication and plenty of theists (fundamentalist Muslims for example) support killing those who leave the faith, because Allah demands it.   It’s almost as if morality is derived from culture as much as anything. 

Edited by TABA

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12 minutes ago, TABA said:

I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of both atheists and theists, though they would disagree about whether morality is god-given or not, would agree on the seriousness of such a murder and the necessity for its punishment.  The authority we invoke is different, but the outcome is often the same.  But not always: most atheists are cool with fornication and plenty of theists (fundamentalist Muslims for example) support killing those who leave the faith, because Allah demands it.   It’s almost as if morality is derived from culture as much as anything. 

 I agree that many/most would find such murder wrong, but the foundation for it being wrong leads to the justification for murder to take place - all are simply opinions. No opinion is better than the other.

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Well Faber, I think it’s safe to say that I’m no closer to becoming a Christian and you’re no closer to becoming an atheist after that exchange.  But I’m glad we had it.  Have a good evening man...

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If you think it's worth resuming, let me know.  I just had to set it aside yesterday.

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On 6/5/2019 at 5:42 PM, TABA said:

I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of both atheists and theists, though they would disagree about whether morality is god-given or not, would agree on the seriousness of such a murder and the necessity for its punishment.  The authority we invoke is different, but the outcome is often the same.  But not always: most atheists are cool with fornication and plenty of theists (fundamentalist Muslims for example) support killing those who leave the faith, because Allah demands it.   It’s almost as if morality is derived from culture as much as anything. 

 

This is what we are finding out about government by the people: In the long run we must decide if morals are relative or absolute. Christians believe morals are absolute and God determined, or at least they should.

 

Long term can we exclude religion from government? I don't think it possible in the long run. Some people are bound to sneak religion in anyway (think Muslims). Opinions about whether Gay and Trans genes are hardwired in our brains, again bring religion into government. Some will always consider abortion murder and some never will. 

 

Before the Magna Carta human rights were of little concern to government. Some do not realize just how much religion influenced the Magna Carta. It is very much based off Christian principles.

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15 hours ago, deade said:

 

This is what we are finding out about government by the people: In the long run we must decide if morals are relative or absolute. Christians believe morals are absolute and God determined, or at least they should.

 

Long term can we exclude religion from government? I don't think it possible in the long run. Some people are bound to sneak religion in anyway (think Muslims). Opinions about whether Gay and Trans genes are hardwired in our brains, again bring religion into government. Some will always consider abortion murder and some never will. 

 

Before the Magna Carta human rights were of little concern to government. Some do not realize just how much religion influenced the Magna Carta. It is very much based off Christian principles.

 

Those who hold that morals are absolute must determine who or what is the source of those morals.  This would seem to demand a theocratic government.  That would have worked in ages past in the West and still works in much of the Muslim world today.  But eventually, in an age of global communications and culture, populations as a whole will eventually reject such government: Iran’s Islamic Republic will eventually fall as the revolutionaries die off and Saudi Arabia, which supposedly has the actual Quran as its constitution, is bound to change too.  And then there’s the question of deciding which moral codes are actually from the deity:  does a Jewish government use just the Torah or also the Talmud?  Does an Islamic government follow the Quran alone or also the Had’ith?  And just the earlier “nice” half of the Quran (“there is no compulsion in religion”) or the later nasty half (“kill the infidels wherever you find them”)?  Should an American government based on a god-given morality follow the New Testament alone or also the Old Testament?  Would this permit slavery?  If so, can slaves be beaten as long as it’s not to the point of death?  Should homosexual acts be punished by stoning?  It gets very complicated. 

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1 hour ago, TABA said:

 

Those who hold that morals are absolute must determine who or what is the source of those morals.  This would seem to demand a theocratic government.  That would have worked in ages past in the West and still works in much of the Muslim world today.  But eventually, in an age of global communications and culture, populations as a whole will eventually reject such government: Iran’s Islamic Republic will eventually fall as the revolutionaries die off and Saudi Arabia, which supposedly has the actual Quran as its constitution, is bound to change too.  And then there’s the question of deciding which moral codes are actually from the deity:  does a Jewish government use just the Torah or also the Talmud?  Does an Islamic government follow the Quran alone or also the Had’ith?  And just the earlier “nice” half of the Quran (“there is no compulsion in religion”) or the later nasty half (“kill the infidels wherever you find them”)?  Should an American government based on a god-given morality follow the New Testament alone or also the Old Testament?  Would this permit slavery?  If so, can slaves be beaten as long as it’s not to the point of death?  Should homosexual acts be punished by stoning?  It gets very complicated. 

 

It is not complicated for Christians. Like in my first book, I stated morals are absolute and determined by God (Christ). I pointed out that separation of church and state are probably not workable in the long term. With Jesus Christ as our king, life will be uncomplicated.

 

in-deep-thought-smiley-emoticon.gif.d7a508a1012f2792e6117a0f5325b21b.gif

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On 6/8/2019 at 1:54 PM, deade said:

 

It is not complicated for Christians. Like in my first book, I stated morals are absolute and determined by God (Christ). I pointed out that separation of church and state are probably not workable in the long term. With Jesus Christ as our king, life will be uncomplicated.

 

in-deep-thought-smiley-emoticon.gif.d7a508a1012f2792e6117a0f5325b21b.gif

Not familiar with your books, but feel free to provide links!  In what ways would US laws differ if you had you way?  What things would be against the law that are not at present?

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In

1. The teaching of Creationism in the public schools.

 

Out

1. Abortion

2. Any kind of marriage that is not one man with one woman.

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