Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Mr.Conley, May 1, 2007.
Is that which is good commanded by God because it is good, or is it good because God commands it?
In the sense that "commanded" means "ordered," then I do not think the question makes sense because free will exists. What sense does it make to be commanded when we are free to choose? It is up to us. While mistakes are often made, in general humans perceive the difference between good and evil. Upon these perceptions operates free will.
I don't see this as a free will question. I think its more a dilemma of whether morals exist absoulutely and independently of God or whether they are the relative and subjective will of the Creator (assuming, of course, that God or gods exist).
Every WILL of god, was created by man. Nobody will ever know the true WILL of god, just the beliefs of other men who have claimed to know.
The world needs to realize that, Good is obviously better than BAD. Therefore the only definition of GOD we can assume would be GOD is LOVE.
Humans are far from perfect, which is why I dont believe alot that was written about so called "GOD" experiences. The moral of the bible is, Good will Triumph over evil. Thats it. All the extra stories are out of context and can not be scientifically proven.
Example, noah's arc. Does everyone really believe that noah literally gathered up every single species on earth and packed them into a wooden boat? We are more likely to build a time machine than do that.
Another Example, earth is 14 thousand years old. Yea the bible hit it right on the money, despite sophisticated technology that can date rocks and fossils back millions of years, and our sun back 5 billion years. And based on the speed of light, the universe can be dated back to 13 billion years!
And the list goes on and on.
It might help if you consder the god aspect. When Plato was putting words into Socrates' mouth I'm sure he wasn't thinking of a Christian God.
Didn't Kant have something to say about a foundation of ethics which does not rely upon religion ?
It all depends on the motives of the men who cooked up “God” in the first place, doesn’t it?
In transparently anthropomorphic Bible-God’s case - as with most other religions - it was to convince a bunch of dim-witted desert-dwelling drifters that, although they were the master race, God only spoke to them through special people - like hereditary priests and Kings.
Hence all “God’s” (i.e. the ruling classes) commands reflect mankinds (especially its ruling classes) fundamental fear (see Shatturd’s avatar) of chaos/anarchy. From Genesis to Revelation, God's commands are all about instituting and maintaining order among the untutored unruly but, thankfully, intrinsically superstitious peasantry.
The peasant’s pitiful prize in this man-made scam is his morbid fear of the unknown is somewhat mollified knowing he can now talk intimately, albeit through semi-divine Wizard of Oz-like intermediaries, to “God.”
Is it any wonder then, that the Proddie movement to cut out the middle man never got off the ground?
The obvious alternative to Bible God is to get some guts and trust that, if there is a God, it is at least half as compassionate as its human creation.
If you were a God, who would you prefer; a pathetic bunch of sycophants who feign love for you out of fear, or those aren't sure of your existence but who refuse to believe you are the utter arsehole that the Bible's authors make you out to be?
You're ignorance of the Bible completely screams out at me here.
The Israelites never claimed that God only spoke to them. Heck one of their greatest Prophet was Elijah who clearly was a foreigner among them. Not to mention the prophet who was rebuked by his ass who wanted to curse the Israelites and was constrained otherwise. Melchesidek the great high priest was around long before Israel was thought of. The Great Prophet Enoch was not among the house of Israel either.
God is the author of Order. So its not a concidence that his commandments would be concerned with putting people in order. Hence why he created ordinances and orders of the priesthood to govern the people. He tries to educate man on the principles of righteousness and happiness and warn them of the natural consequences of their actions, but man has to learn the hard way far to often. It's rather sad. I am sure the Lord is weeping for us right now. I have a hard time not doing so myself.
Check my post again. I didn’t say, at least not in this instance, that God only spoke to “us” through an unduly self-important bunch of shit-kicking Semite sheilas, who were forced to live where the Arabs emptied all their old hourglasses, by the more macho tribes.
I said a shiftier-than-shithouse-rats family called Cohen conned the Kikes into believing that God spoke through them. And to prove it, they had Jewhovah safely locked away in a packing crate in the stinking abattoir they called “the Temple.”
At least that's what I think was thinking when I typed that post.
However I’ll concede, as you claim, that you - someone obviously on first name “drop-in-any-time” terms with the imaginary Jesus Christ-Cohen - know God’s mind, which is obviously far inferior to yours, inside-out.
But didn’t God crack the shits bonzer when Eve, and later the blokes building the Tower of Babel, tried to get to know him?
I can fully understand God’s trepidation about people trying to get close enough to psychoanalyse him; because once you know God’s mind you really have no further need of him, do you?
How about we go back to seeing how God, in the flesh, revealed Himself to mankind, i.e. Jesus Christ, and study His (Jesus's) nature as it was recorded 2,000 years ago.
Also taking into account that God is one, meaning Spirit, Son, and Father, and one means in mind, nature, and direction of decision in total.
Jesus said that He and the Father are One.
He also said He came as a servant, this first time, yet taught and proclaimed much of God and God's kingdom. His sermon on the mount is a classic........"Blessed are the meek.... Blessed are the..... etc.
Jesus seemed to shatter so much preconceived concepts of man's idea of God or the Creator. Jesus had pity and mercy upon the physically sick, the outcasts, and the forgotten of society.
In fact it seemed like the only people that Jesus clashed with were the religiously prideful and the intellectually prideful.
Interesting isn't it, as in our present age, intellect/gained knowledge, and pride in one's self and accomplishments seem to reign supreme. Along with that trend in humanity is an abhorrance to authority of any kind, unless it meets our criteria or idea of how we want to be treated, or looked-upon.
It all boils down to good old "self-centeredness". Man kind has been in the throws of a "love fest" with himself for eons. He can do no wrong if he just "perfects" himself through knowledge and self-discipline.
Funny thing, is that man is still killing himself, and others, and sueing each other, and hating each other, and abusing himself and others, and basically not being any different in character or actions than back in Jesus's time or earlier.
Is God good? Man in general can't come to that decision as long as he/man abhors any authority in his life. Secondly, man can't except authority that says that his/man's current way or actions of life are "sinful".
Being called a "sinner" is taken as an "affront" by mankind in general. It attacks the very authority-despising nature of man.
In our great ivory tower institutions, man/woman is being taught that authority should be questioned at all times. This isn't really a bad idea, but the authority-questioning is carried to such extremes as "Cop Hating", "Flag burning", physical destructive acts against governmental properties, public utilities, private businesses,and even against religious symbols and places of worship or meeting.
Free will: Obviously the above paragraph illustrates that if there is a Creator, He obviously does allow free-will. He allows us the free-will to murder, abuse, slander, manipulate, rob, and even self-destruct our own lives.
So we have this major camp that says, we hate authority, we hate this Christian God that seemed so cruel in the Old Testament, by enacting some exacting black and white punishments to man for infractions of His authority.
Yet this same camp, screams out and questions, if there is a Creator or God, why doesn't He intercede in the world and stop the murder, abuse, slander, famine, and injustices of man against man.
We want God to be our personal, "Play Doe", who sits back, slaps down injustices as we see them, stops murder ( as we interpret it), and basically makes this world a utopian paradise of "niceness".
That my friends is a "pipe dream". Utopias have been attempted on large and small scales by mankind through the eons, and they just plain fail, because to have a utopia, you have to have a way of reigning in man's sinful nature or disposition to harm others.
We build prisons and they are over-flowing. So we try being condescending and P.C. and we release felons early. Then we experience ravaging crimes against fellow citizens by P.C. influenced, early released cons.
We cry out for more police, more services, yet we also cry foul when we are taxed by the authorities to cover those additional services. We are never satisfied, because we want things, we want universal freedom, yet we abhor the very authorities that can give and protect our civil freedoms, and safety of life. We are the greatest of hypocrites. We abhor this biblical God that punishes a city and makes it into ashes for gross, blatant inhumanity, and animalistic behavior, yet we cry that injustice of man against man must be enforced to stop this verging anarchy of society.
What will it be folks?
God has revealed Himself in the bible in different ways, but He hasn't violated a consistency of character at all. God does change His mind or direction of action. That has been clearly revealed in scripture. Yet those changes did not violate His consistent nature or character.
God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh, and tell them that in a few days your great city of close to 1 million people would become non-existent, as He God had enough of their gross Sodom/Gomorrah type behavior. Jonah finally reached Nineveh and preached oncoming doom to it's inhabitants, and what happened? These folks were brought to their very knees in repentance over what Jonah proclaimed. Now Jonah was more than happy to see Nineveh wiped off the face of the earth, as the Ninevites had been an absolute "thorn" in Israel's side for years. The Ninevites were cruel, pagan people, in Israel's estimation.
Here's the "corker" folks. The Ninevites fell on their collective faces and admitted their sins before Jonah's God, and cried out for mercy to Jonah's God. Well, God relented and accepted their changed, contrite hearts, and told Jonah that He/God was not going to destroy these people, as they had realized their wrong before their Creator, and trully were repentant as a people. Even the king of Nineveh threw himself to the ground and repented before God's edict from Jonah.
God is good in my estimation, but my estimation comes from the direction that scripture has revealed a very "just" and, consistent character of God, both in the O.T. and the N.T..
Jesus Himself claimed to be God, when He boldly claimed, His pre-existence before a very hostile crowd. He said, "Even before Abraham, I AM". The Jews knew full-well what Jesus said, as Abraham was the father of fathers of their nation and faith. He was even greater in stature than Moses or any of the great prophets. Yet, Jesus said, I pre-existed even before Abraham.......and when He said pre-existed He didn't mean was born a little earlier than Abraham, He meant, I have always existed....as in "forever".
So back to Jesus. I use Him as the index point of determining if God is good, average, finicky, or just plain nasty and mean, without cause or reason.
I've yet to read anything about His/Jesus's life that reveals anything of an evil nature, an abusive nature, an unfair nature, an unforgiving nature, and lastly an unloving nature for mankind.
Yet I also observe that this peaceful man/God had a side that could exhibit great anger and angst too, as He ran all the money changers out of the Jerusalem temple with a whip cord of his making. He told them all that He would not tolerate His Father's house being made a den of thieves, as it was well documented to be. The religious folks of that time had been profiteering in the temple by selling animals of all kinds to sojourner-Jews who came from faraway places to participate in the Pass-over. The Pharisees made gobs of money off of the poor, and wealthy alike. It was total hypocricy, and religious blasphemy, and basically slammed the character of the God in whom they (the religious folks) served.
This is not unlike the Medicine Water preachers of nowadays that falsely claim physical healing gifts, and also those that bilk millions of honest, seeking folks out of hard earned dollars for phony bottles of Holy water from the Jordan River, or CD's and tapes on how to become wealthy by following biblical principles.
Sadly people who already have a "bent" or "pre-disposed" anger towards biblical anything, key-in on these terrible, false folks who claim to know and preach the accurate Gospel of God, yet actually hurt and degrade the very nature of God everytime they open their mouths or promise something in God's name. They falsely use induction instead of deduction of scripture, as they make the bible say what they want it to say to enhance their nest-egg of ill-gotten wealth or prestige.
The God of the bible is good. His goodness is revealed in His giving His creation free-will to choose or refuse Him. Yet, this free-will does come with a price to His creation as it is humanity who choose their fate, not God. God accommodates their fate, but doesn't push them into it.
Part of God's goodness is His patience. His patience is greater than any human patience, yet it does have it's limit. That, Jesus succinctly expressed when asked what the future held for mankind and this world. There would be a time of separation of peoples into two camps. Metaphoriclaly speeking it was akin to the sheeps and goats being separated or the weeds from the wheat or the chaff from the wheat kernals. There would be a time when patience with mankind would come to an end point.
Jesus didn't give a date, time or hour, but just said, in the authority of God, that all mankind needed to be ready like watchman on the roof. Don't be surprised by God's final advent to judge the lost and to retrieve the saved, but wake up and observe the times the actions of the world, around you, not unlike reading the signs of oncoming weather, and use common sense to know that as evil increases it only means that the coming draws nearer and nearer.
Our parents loved us and were patient with us, yet there was a time when the old fatty part of the body got a slap or a good slappin because of our stubborn ways. If we had parents who did it out of love, we certainly knew the difference. A contrite, saddened heart that had been disciplined was followed by a father's or mother's hug that said, "I love you, but you got what was needed, because I love you, and want you to grow up right as a person.".
Many of us didn't get that from our parents, or we never wanted to interpret our punishments because of own free will to choose not to. Never the less, discipline, brings us down off of that self-made pedestal of pride that wells up in young ones as well as adults.
Charles Colson is a prime example of one who learned from harsh discipline. He was convicted in the Water Gate conspiracy and break in and was one of Pres. Richard Nixons very close advisors. He/Colson since his release from prison has headed-up a Christian ministry in prisons all over the U.S.. The wonderful results of this ministry to those incarcerated has been immeasurable. Those who have re-entered society from the prisons and have embraced or accepted Coleson's ministry while imprisoned have a very high rate of staying out of prison and most have entered into good, productive lives as U.S. citizens. These successes far exceed the normal rate of success for those excons that haven't experienced or embraced Coleson's ministry utilizing biblical principles of human restoration.
This man no longer holds anger towards those that jailed him, or those that were responsible in convicting or accusing him. Coleson is a walking miracle of God's mercy and grace.
If there is any chance for a utopian world, it can only come through mankind not seeing God as an adversary, but as a good and wise parent, that is waiting and watching and desires to respond, but only through the God-given free will that He bestowed to mankind.
God doesn't want Stepford type robotic followers, or free-will would have been a moot point, and not even part of the human experience given by Him.
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