7/23/2009

Sometimes I Hate Christianity

“The fact that conversion and salvation are of God, is an humbling truth. It is because of its humbling character that men do not like it. To be told that God must save me if I am saved, and that I am in his hand, as clay is in the hands of the potter, "I do not like it" saith one. Well, I thought you would not; whoever dreamed you would?” - C.H. Spurgeon, qu. in Iain Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon, Banner of Truth, 2nd edn, 1973, p 60.


There are times when I have a deep revulsion for Christianity. It requires of me something that I find hard to give.

I must despair of my own ability to earn my way, my own self-sufficiency. That is burdensome for an American. It goes against everything my culture values.

I must abandon my view of myself as virtuous. I must be honest about not just my sins and failures, but also about the deep soul-sickness that afflicts me.

The Recovery Movement calls my particular maladies “character defects.” This is a good description. Things like selfishness, hatred, and greed plague me. In the Bible, these faults are described as “the sin within me” (see Romans 7:13-25).

Despite my best efforts, both before I knew Christ and as a Christian, I cannot rise completely above my own evil desires. That is humbling in the truest sense.

My animosity for Christianity is not due to a deficiency in the religion itself. It is due to a flaw in my own character.

I expect that hatred for the Christian faith is shared by many.

Our only hope is grace. Grace can be spoken of as the process by which a person is brought to the end of himself in humility and then brought to see that the goods news of Christianity’s gospel is for them.

Grace in this sense includes all of the means by which a person is persuaded to change. It is God’s supply of the desires and attitudes that lead a person to Christ in humble trust and reliance on what He has done in His life and death.

This grace God readily supplies.



(Please see search label “Extra Nos” for the rest of the story.)

33 comments:

theoldadam said...

Hang in there J.K..

It is a battle. Living by faith is tough. Very tough.

Especially in a world where the evidences of a good and gracious God are few and far between.

Steve Newell said...

Sounds like you have become a "Theologian of the Cross" and not the "Theologian of Glory" that most "evanglical" Christians are.

Anonymous said...

The despair you feel is a natural and rational conclusion from following a religoin that teaches the concept that you are worthless. You are born to be undeservingly tortured for all eternity. Nothing you have done or can do will ever do will exonerate you from the crime of living. Each day writhing in fear of a supposedly benelovent torturer. The best you can hope for is to die and somehow be forgiven for the sin of being alive and allowed to rest in peace.

Yes, I feel sorry for you and for the ones who taught you to feel this way.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Laying aside your obvious (and possibly intentional) miss-characterizations of my religion, let me ask you a question.

Have you ever done something that made you feel guilty? Have you ever done something wrong?

JK

Anonymous said...

Without any prior learning or being taught by someone else by word or example about what behaviours are acceptable and unaceptible?

J. K. Jones said...

You did not answer the question.

I will say it differently: have you ever done something that you believe was wrong?

Steve said...

"Claiming to be wise, they have become fools.."

We have all sinned. We are all deserving of punishment.

So what?

We have One who has died on our account and because of that death and resurrection, we ARE forgiven.

One can either take that (by faith)...or leave it.

For those who do not believe in a loving God...there is no loving God, nor shall there be...for them.

A man will get what he's after. You want 'no God'...you'll get 'no God'.

Anonymous said...

"You did not answer the question."

That's because I was asking for clarification. Since you have refused to provide it...

"I will say it differently: have you ever done something that you believe was wrong?"

No. The feeling that you've done something wrong is a learned behavior. Without prior instruction from others (society, parents, ect..), I have never felt that I've done anything wrong. Neither have you.

Anonymous said...

So, you are saying that morality is just learned behavior?

If I had grown up in another culture, would my view of morality be different?

JK

Steve Newell said...

Anonymous,

Is killing another person a morally natural act in that it is acceptable in one culture and unacceptable in another? How about stealing?

I would hate to grow up in a world where there is not absolute standard of what is moral. If we did, we could not say that Hilter was evil or the Holocost is wrong.

I am also welling to put out my name and not hide behind "anonymous".

Anonymous said...

please watch it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyd6om8IC4M

"Is killing another person a morally natural act in that it is acceptable in one culture and unacceptable in another? How about stealing?"

You could ask a cannibal or feral child that question and let them answer it for you. I think the answer is obvious.

"I would hate to grow up in a world where there is not absolute standard of what is moral."

Sorry to shatter your illusions, you are already in that world.

"If we did, we could not say that Hitler was evil or the Holocaust is wrong."

If Hitler had won and conquered the world, in a few hundred years you wouldn't be thinking he was evil. (Gott Mit Us)

Assuming you were a devout follower of the correct church, Eight hundred years before you would be thinking the Crusades and (500 years) Inquisition were "good" and "just".

"I am also welling to put out my name and not hide behind "anonymous"."

Be careful, don't break your arm patting yourself on the back.

Anonymous said...

"So, you are saying that morality is just learned behavior? If I had grown up in another culture, would my view of morality be different?"

Yep, just like Working on the Sabbath, wearing clothes made from 2 types of cloth, eating shrimp used to be immoral actions.

Owning/beating Slaves, selling your children, and burning people to death used to be moral activities.

Anonymous said...

"I would hate to grow up in a world where there is not absolute standard of what is moral."

History is full of examples of people using absolute moral standards committing the most heinous atrocities. After all, if you are absolutely in the right and your enemies are immoral and doomed to eternal torture anyway why not kill them and take their children?

J. K. Jones said...

It seems to me that you have a clear idea that some things are morally evil by your coments. You indirectly and directly state that some things are wrong because you condemn others for those things.

Where do you get this idea of what is right and wrong?

More on Christianity and it's relationship to moral condemnation later, but I will point out that it is hard for a person who sees himself as a sinner condemned to eternal punishment without hope outside of God's mercy to feel morally supperior to anyone else.

By your own statements above, that's what Christianity teaches.

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me that you have a clear idea that some things are morally evil by your coments."

Of course, I'm a moral person. I learned them (morals) from my parents, the culture in which I was raised, my peer group, and the society in which I live right now.

"You indirectly and directly state that some things are wrong because you condemn others for those things.

Where do you get this idea of what is right and wrong?"

You seem to have jumped to some sort of conclusion. Just because I recognize the source of morals doesn't mean I don't have them or are not bound / wish to live by them.

"More on Christianity and it's relationship to moral condemnation later, but I will point out that it is hard for a person who sees himself as a sinner condemned to eternal punishment without hope outside of God's mercy to feel morally superior to anyone else."

You think EVERYONE in the world is bound for eternal torture EXCEPT those that share your beliefs. You don't think you are feeling superior? Really?

J. K. Jones said...

I never said you were an immoral person. In fact, I assumed you were a moral person.

I quite expect that you have lived a more morally upright life than me in at least some, if not all areas.

I just asked questions to find out if you were appealing to some common set of moral values. I am interested to see what the basis for morally is in your view. I am still not absolutely clear. It could be that you see morality as formed by culture. It could be something else. I am still curious.

You think that all other views of the world besides yours are wrong about at least some things, or that is how I take your comments. I do not think everyone else is wrong about everything, but I do thinks that other major views of the world have at least one thing wrong. We are not so different.

Every major religion, or lack thereof, has been misused as an ideology to condemn, persecute, and even kill those with other views. Christianity in crusades and witch huts. Athiesm in the Russian Gulag, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and the Kymer Rouge Killings Fields.

What we should ask is which view is the least likely to result in the wholesale condemnation and persecution of others.

I put forth Christianity as that view. It is hard to look down your nose at someone who is the same height as you. All of us stand condemned because we have broken God's law as far as I can see.

I have found a way out because of what Christ has done for me. If you repent and believe, you have a way out as well.

Anonymous said...

"I just asked questions to find out if you were appealing to some common set of moral values. I am interested to see what the basis for morally is in your view. I am still not absolutely clear. It could be that you see morality as formed by culture. It could be something else. I am still curious."

You should probably watch that video. Mankind has evolved as a social creature. regardless of our individual inclinations we are always looking out for ourselves and the group. Where our personal desires conflict with the needs of others and where we draw the edges of our group is where the interesting things happen. The simplistic basis for my own morality is: Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy.

"Every major religion....
What we should ask is which view is the least likely to result in the wholesale condemnation and persecution of others."

No religion at all would work just as well. We could start on a baseline that thinks everyone is of value themselves instead worthlessness and deserving of eternal torture.

"I put forth Christianity as that view. It is hard to look down your nose at someone who is the same height as you.

But you are going to look down your nose at them anyway in just a few more words.

"All of us stand condemned because we have broken God's law as far as I can see."

There you go.
Automamagicaly Condemning Every Single Person Alive and most of the Dead Ones also, to unending pain.

"I have found a way out because of what Christ has done for me. If you repent and believe, you have a way out as well."

Instead of accepting people as they are, you wish to drag them down you a level where they are worthless and only allowed one step up if they are a follower of your religious beliefs.

I can only imagine what it must be like for you to live in a world where you know everyone you will ever meet is not a worthy individual. That you yourself think you have some deep sickness inside of you and the best you can hope for is that your pain and suffering will end upon your death.

As someone looking out for the members of my group (people communicating on the internet) I can only hope my words have offered you some insight.

J. K. Jones said...

As for the video, I’ll leave Ravi to defend himself. He’s quite good at it.

If it is true that morals are a mere social convention, and if it is true that there is no God, how do you justify that any person has any objective value at all whatsoever? There is no objective morality, true for all cultures and all peoples.

The notion that you should “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” is now worthless as a moral imperative, even within your own culture.

There is no universal moral imperative to which a person within a given society can appeal to reform his own society’s morality. To give one example, Martin Luther King, Jr. appealed to the Bible and its laws in his fight against prejudice.

To what would he appeal if the only morality that exists is the morality taught to him by his own culture?

Evolution? Based on survival of the fitest?

There would be no possibility for moral reform of a culture from within because the culturally determined morality would be the only standard to appeal to. If the culture’s morality is the only morality, how would morality improve?

Atheism has been used to justify euthanasia, abortion, and eugenics precisely because it does not provide intrinsic value to a person.

(I did not say that all atheists do those things, or even that atheists in general are proponents of such things. What I did say was that some have used that worldview as an excuse. Read Niche in your spare time. If Christianity is blamed for its misuse, then atheism should be as well.)



Within Christianity, all people are valued because they are made in God’s image. Whether they repent or not, they are still valued as human beings.

That is another reason that Christianity leads to a humility that would keep its adherents from condemning and persecuting those who do not agree with them.

I am also under God’s wrath, under peril of eternal torment, along with everyone else. The only hope I have is Jesus Christ. How is it that I am now arrogant? I am one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.




I can only hope that you will one day stop posting anonymously and let those of us on the internet know a little about you. I bet we would find that we have things in common. I bet we would also find that your objections to Christianity are more personal than intellectual.

As it is, those of us who communicate on the internet will never know.

Anonymous said...

"There is no objective morality, true for all cultures and all peoples."

Because you say so? You might want to back up that assertion. While you are at it you may want to justify a need for an objective morality.

"The notion that you should “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” is now worthless as a moral imperative, even within your own culture."

Again, because you say so. You need to back up those assertions.

A culture that doesn't have 'help the other guy' as one of its component doesn't form into a group in the first place. The ones that do have it and looses it, self destructs quickly.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciprocity_(social_and_political_philosophy)

"There is no universal moral imperative to which a person within a given society can appeal to reform his own society’s morality. To give one example, Martin Luther King, Jr. appealed to the Bible and its laws in his fight against prejudice."

Good thing he didn't use the parts about the treatment and keeping of slaves and wholesale slaughter of other peoples and walking into the desert.

Unfortunately for you, history is replete with examples of non christian societies that had people who thought slavery was wrong.

Anonymous said...

"There would be no possibility for moral reform of a culture from within because the culturally determined morality would be the only standard to appeal to. If the culture’s morality is the only morality, how would morality improve?"

By the same way it does right now. Discussing it. Or don't you understand cultures change over time as new people and ideas are added to it?

"Atheism has been used to justify euthanasia, abortion, and eugenics precisely because it does not provide intrinsic value to a person."

Paint with a broad brush much? Atheist: Godless. You'll have to show me where a non belief in god = euthanasia, abortion and eugenics.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athiest#Atheism.2C_religion.2C_and_morality

I've already told you people are valuable in their own right. You are the one working under the assumption that all people are both worthless and only valuable because your holy book tells you so.

"(I did not say that all atheists do those things, or even that atheists in general are proponents of such things."

Why even bring it up then?

"What I did say was that some have used that worldview as an excuse."

Yah, and I also see religious people throwing that up there with no other info. As some sort of vague scary soundbite. They, and you, neglect the logical step of showing how atheism = all that.

"Read Niche in your spare time. If Christianity is blamed for its misuse, then atheism should be as well.)"

You seem to be confused thinking that Niche wrote the "holy book" on atheism.

"Within Christianity, all people are valued because they are made in
God’s image. Whether they repent or not, they are still valued as human
beings."

Without god people can still be valued as human beings.
Lets try turning it around. You tell me why people are valueless if you didn't have your Magic Book tell you they are valued.

"That is another reason that Christianity leads to a humility that would keep its adherents from condemning and persecuting those who do not agree with them."

All of recorded christian history overwhelmingly shows that to be untrue.

"How is it that I am now arrogant? I am one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread."

Your arrogance is assuming that everyone is a beggar, deserving of torture, and in desperate need of your instruction about bread. You only see people as equals by dragging them down.

"I bet we would find that we have things in common."

I hope not. Born to be tortured is not a healthy outlook.

"I bet we would also find that your objections to Christianity are more personal than intellectual."

LOL. I was raised/entertained by stories of the Greek/Roman Gods and Hercules, American Indian Legends, and Old West Tall Tales. While it wasn't a non religious household it might as well have been.

J. K. Jones said...

Anonymous,

Please take the time to carefully and thoughtfully red this comment before you respond.

Your moral imperative, “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy,” is first of all to vague and second of all gets all of its force from the culture in which it is developed.

Within that culture it cannot be referred to as a reason why someone should improve their moral position. If it derives its force from the culture it is trying to improve, how can someone say that the same culture must change its way of doing things based upon it?

Say my culture says that “Help the other guy” means that, since he is the Pharaoh, I should bury his slaves and food/provisions with him in his tomb so he can be cared for in the afterlife. That culture defines Pharaoh as more valuable than his slaves. That ‘s how the culture defines “Help the other guy,” and to them that trumps “Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” in this case. How do I change the definitions?

From culture to culture, “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” has no logical force. How does someone from a Judeo-Christian outlook convince the culture mentioned above that the slaves are valuable in and of themselves and should be spared the experience of being buried alive? There is no logical reason for the Egyptian culture to change its own internal definition just because another culture wills it.


(Comment split here because of word limit on blogger.)

Anonymous said...

"There is no universal moral imperative to which a person within a given society can appeal to reform his own society’s morality. To give one example, Martin Luther King, Jr. appealed to the Bible and its laws in his fight against prejudice."

Funny how that source of universal moral imperative only says good things when you want it, while ignoring all the evil it commands you to do.

J. K. Jones said...

You mentioned using the imperative “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” in practice as a way to discuss the improvement of morals both within and across cultural lines. You can do that because it is in fact a universally recognized moral imperative. If it were not, it would have no appeal. It would not influence the emotions or the intellect.

Christianity teaches that those from all cultures recognize universal moral imperatives because God directly reveals them in a supernatural way either in the Bible or outside it. Therefore the Christian is logically justified in appealing to those universally recognized moral imperatives.

I don’t have to show that all other moral systems are completely wrong in everything they teach. Christians are imperfect in their interpretation of the laws they have been provided, and the Christian church has learned more about the interpretation of those laws each time it has grown to include members from a new culture.

The influence of the emerging Christian church in China and in Africa is an example of this. As the church becomes less influenced by Western-European cultural values, its moral outlook becomes more defined. It looses some of its culturally induced blind spots.


(Comment split here because of word limit on blogger.)

J. K. Jones said...

I do not have to show that only expressly “Christian” morals are the only moral imperatives that can be used to improve a culture. I only have to show that all of us recognize certain moral imperatives as universally applicable to show consistency with the Christian faith.

Your ignorance of the history of the Christian Church amazes me. You have selectively edited much of the good that has been done out of your account. Your own stated imperative to “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” is a very Christian outlook to have. There are many cultures on this planet that would not recognize your need to do anything but “Look out for yourself.”

I have given logical arguments that show Christian theology is true. We can discuss those proofs in comments on the other posts where they are given if you wish. Since the Christian Bible is true, there is no reason to show independent justification for each and every thing it teaches. Once I have Jesus as the incarnation of God Himself, I can validly assume His morals to be true. All that is left to argue about is the proper interpretation of Christ’s moral teaching.

Christian theology teaches that people have intrinsic value because they are made in God’s image.





I can easily show that Christian theology has been misused / misinterpreted by those who have used it as an excuse to condemn and persecute others.

I do not see a way that atheist values can be consistently used to demonstrate that the actions carried out in its name were the result of their misuse for the reasons I have outlined.

Atheists can use universal moral imperatives to improve a culture. They can live good lives by those universal moral imperatives. But they cannot provide intellectual support for them. Modern atheism steals the moral imperatives present in western culture largely due to the Christian church and uses them uncritically. This has been shown in part by my critique of your cultural basis for morality at the beginning of this comment.

The existentialist school of philosophy, and the nihilist movement that it spawned, make powerful intellectual arguments that undermine absolute moral values, or any morality whatsoever. These philosophical schools rest on atheism as their foundation. It is therefore perfectly valid to refer you to Nitchie, a member of those schools, despite the fact that he did not write the “holy book” on atheism. He caries out the implications of God’s absence in a way that most atheists do not.

Most atheists do not want to admit the consequences of their outlook. I don’t blame them. The implications are terrible. They just wish to inconsistently act as if they have justification for morals. They just want to “be good for goodness sake” because, at some level, universal moral absolutes have been written on their hearts by the pen of God.

Anonymous said...

Again a group that doesn’t look out for the other guy, doesn’t form into groups in the first place.

“Within that culture it cannot be referred to as a reason why someone should improve their moral position. If it derives its force from the culture it is trying to improve, how can someone say that the same culture must change its way of doing things based upon it? “

You seem to be working under the confused idea that cultures are static. Your own experiences show you this is false. You followed one interpretation and label of your holy book and a few months ago you decided to change to a different interpretation and label. Both times in the past you felt that you were following the correct moral instructor, yet recently you felt the one you abandoned was wrong in some way. All it takes is one person feeling outraged or wronged by an event and discussing it with others to start the way a culture changes.

“Say my culture says that “Help the other guy” means that, since he is the Pharaoh, I should bury his slaves and food/provisions with him in his tomb so he can be cared for in the afterlife. That culture defines Pharaoh as more valuable than his slaves. That ‘s how the culture defines “Help the other guy,” and to them that trumps “Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” in this case. How do I change the definitions?”

Except that you are wrong. Slaves were not “other guys” they were property. Pharos were not the “other guy” either, they were GODS. Thank you for another example of people committing atrocities because their moral, perfect, god commanded it.

“From culture to culture, “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” has no logical force.”

Because you say so? Where is the shred of evidence you can show to back that up?

“How does someone from a Judeo-Christian outlook convince the culture mentioned above that the slaves are valuable in and of themselves and should be spared the experience of being buried alive? There is no logical reason for the Egyptian culture to change its own internal definition just because another culture wills it.”

Again I must thank you for making my point for me.
http://www.evilbible.com/Slavery.htm
“ You would think that Jesus and the New Testament would have a different view of slavery, but slavery is still approved of in the New Testament, as the following passages show.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)
Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)
In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn't know they were doing anything wrong.
The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given." (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)”

Anonymous said...

You have yet to provide a line of reasoning that a person in Egyptian culture could provide that would effectively argue for culture change. Your attempts to doge the issue notwithstanding.

I changed my mind about the meaning of moral absolutes taught in the Bible because I came to a better understanding of those concepts. It took an appeal to absolutes external to the culture I found myself in (Baptist) to cause me to change cultures ( Presby.). Without absolutes external to my culture no argument could be made for change.

The slavery thing could be answered on multiple levels. We could talk about your taking Christ's words out of context (it was a parable that used a contemporary example to make a point without approving of the practices it used for illustration). It could also be noted that your interpretations are out of cultural context (indentured servitude is much different than chattle slavery). But I think I'll just refer you to William Wilberforce's arguments. Goggle his name along with " end of slavery in England."

The most interesting observation, however, is that you indirectly appeal to a universal moral absolute in order to make your criticism of Christianity from outside Christianity. You lost your own argument.

JK

Anonymous said...

“Your ignorance of the history of the Christian Church amazes me. …..There are many cultures on this planet that would not recognize your need to do anything but “Look out for yourself.”

Your ignorance of History and other Cultures amazes me! Christianity claiming to have invented reciprocity is like me claiming to have invented fire.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethic_of_reciprocity

“I have given [ attempt to shoehorn validity of a mythology which was cobbled together from other older mythologies Off Topic - Deleted ]

“Christian theology teaches that people have intrinsic value because they are made in God’s image.”

You still have yet to show why people would be valueless if your god didn’t say they were not.
I’m waiting.
Just like I’ve waited for you to provide any evidence to back up every single silly assertion you’ve made.

“I can easily show that Christian theology has been misused / misinterpreted by those who have used it as an excuse to condemn and persecute others.”

Yet you still claim it’s a source of absolute moral values. Doesn't seem to be a good way to teach morals. If its so easily misinterpreted. It would seem an awesomely intelligent source of all morals would speak in a more clearly intelligible fashion. But no, it communicates the same way a superstitious committee of with various agendas and questionable morals would communicate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea

“I do not see a way that atheist values can be consistently used to demonstrate that the actions carried out in its name were the result of their misuse for the reasons I have outlined.”

You still keep thinking Atheism is a set of values and trying to pick a fight with a straw man. Go knock that straw man down! show everyone what a powerful christian man you are, grrrr boy Grrrrrr! Again you have yet to show why absolute moral values are logical or necessary.

“Atheists can use …..
The existentialist …
Most atheists …”

I’ve shot down every single one of your examples and this is the best you can do?
A three paragraph straw-man made up of nothing but assertions? Go ahead and pat yourself on the back, I hope it feels good in-between attacks of the crushing weight of guilt you feel for being “self-sufficient”.

Anonymous said...

“You have yet to provide a line of reasoning that a person in Egyptian culture could provide that would effectively argue for culture change. Your attempts to doge the issue notwithstanding.”

First you might want to show an example of how christianity helps throw off slavery. Then I might take you seriously.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_slavery

“I changed my mind …... It took an appeal to absolutes external to the culture I found myself in (Baptist) to cause me to change cultures ( Presby.).”

You changed your affiliation within a subculture of a larger culture (christianity) and claim that nobody else can do it? I guess in your blinkered worldview nobody else starts their own movements and subcultures within larger organizations.

“Without absolutes external to my culture no argument could be made for change”

But a few years ago the culture you existed in had absolutes you believed in. Now you don’t, and now you are claiming that others can’t change their minds. WOW you must really be the special exception.

“The slavery thing could be answered on multiple levels. “

You could, but you won’t, you’ll just jump to William Wilberforce as if the previous 1700 years of history and biblical passages supporting slavery never happened.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_slavery

“It could also be noted that your interpretations are out of cultural context”

LOL, so much for Absolute Morals! It’s amusing to see you throw that concept under the bus when it suits your purposes.

“The most interesting observation, however, is that you indirectly appeal to a universal moral absolute in order to make your criticism of Christianity from outside Christianity. You lost your own argument.”

What’s really interesting is that you keep claiming to have discovered fire, present no credible arguments, and yet claim christianity is somehow the holder of some absolute moral truth when a most cursory glance at history shows that to be false.

I feel sorry for your Guilt and for the ones who taught you to feel that way. At least, at times, you seem to like to wallow in your worthlessness.

Good luck making yourself feel better by trying to drag others down to your level.

J. K. Jones said...

Anonymous,

“Christianity claiming to have invented reciprocity…”

Christianity didn’t create the moral law. God wrote it on the hearts of men from the creation of man to the present.


“You still have yet to show why people would be valueless if your god didn’t say they were not.”

(According to any debate form or guided discussion form I have ever heard of, the one making the positive statement must defend it.)

If all we are is just grown up germs, then why should we care if the white germs discriminate against the black germs? Why should we care if one form of animal kills another?

We do not experience moral outrage when animals act according to their nature. Human beings, in immoral acts, would be guilty of nothing but behaving according to their natures.

Your very standard of “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” you claim to be arrived at because that is how communities choose to form, or that is the only way they could form.

Communities can then interpret “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” any way they choose. No one can challenge the status quo within a given culture based on the current interpretation without treating “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” like a transcendent moral norm.

It is also questionable whether having a norm for behavior would be a true evolutionary advantage. Does it really enhance survival value to form a community?

What happens when an individual evolves an advantage? An obligation to the community would often preclude the use of that advantage. “Look out for yourself” is the primary force behind evolution. The other guy be damned.

Communities that form according to “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” would not be under any obligation to look out for those in other communities. Why not conquer other communities when you are able to? After all, you are just ensuring the survival of your own. There is no moral standard to even appeal in order to stop war and cross-cultural violence.

In an evolutionary system, a community would eradicate others via a process of elimination or assimilation. Curiously, that is the very thing Christians are often criticized for: eliminating other cultures in their missionary endeavors.

I am evolutionary system, enslaving those of another culture would be of survival value. How could you then condemn slavery at all?

The good of the one (“Look out for yourself”) is often held as more valuable that the good of the others in community (“Do not hurt others, Help the other guy”). Why would “Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” not be thrown out the window? Why is the survival of others more important than my own survival? How does “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy” avoid internal conflict that tears apart the very standard itself?

History is also replete with examples of those who have been persecuted or killed because they tried to institute moral reform. Moral evolution was no advantage to them as individuals. Their culture eliminated them.

J. K. Jones said...

“Just like I’ve waited for you to provide any evidence to back up every single silly assertion you’ve made.”

Evidentially, you either can’t, or won’t, read.



“It would seem an awesomely intelligent source of all morals would speak in a more clearly intelligible fashion. But no, it communicates the same way a superstitious committee of with various agendas and questionable morals would communicate.”

We are all sinners by nature and by choice. Sinners like me can and do often misinterpret and misuse moral law. Christianity explains this. People understand the moral law well enough. They just rebel against it when it suits them or those they care about.

J. K. Jones said...

“You still keep thinking Atheism is a set of values…”

You keep implying that it is wrong for one set of people to enslave another. You say that slavery ought not to be practiced. Like it or not, that is a moral value by any definition I have ever heard.

Or how about “Look out for yourself, Do not hurt others, Help the other guy?” That sounds suspiciously like a set of values to me.


“Just like I’ve waited for you to provide any evidence to back up every single silly assertion you’ve made.”

Evidentially, you either can’t, or won’t, read.



“It would seem an awesomely intelligent source of all morals would speak in a more clearly intelligible fashion. But no, it communicates the same way a superstitious committee of with various agendas and questionable morals would communicate.”

We are all sinners by nature and by choice. Sinners like me can and do often misinterpret and misuse moral law. Christianity explains this. People understand the moral law well enough. They just rebel against it when it suits them or those they care about.



“…you might want to show an example of how Christianity helps throw off slavery.”

Places to look:

http://free-at-last.org/1kit/wilberforce/tabid/3642/Service/william%20wilberforce%20slavery/language/en-GB/Default.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wilberforce

http://www.wilberforcecentral.org/wfc/Wilberforce/index.htm

http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qnoslave.html

http://www.carm.org/questions/skeptics-ask/why-slavery-permitted-bible

http://www.carm.org/bible-difficulties/genesis-deuteronomy/slave-property

Also, the book of Philemon might be a good one to read. It places as much obligation on the owner as on the slave. That is absolutely revolutionary in the face of Roman culture.



“You changed your affiliation within a subculture of a larger culture (christianity) and claim that nobody else can do it? I guess in your blinkered worldview nobody else starts their own movements and subcultures within larger organizations.”

I have an explanation for my change. You do not.

I changed my affiliation because of an appeal made to a transcendent moral code: the Bible.

That’s the only reason anyone ever does change: appeal to a transcendent code. That code is present in your thinking whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Unless you are a sociopath or psychotic.

J. K. Jones said...

“LOL, so much for Absolute Morals! It’s amusing to see you throw that concept under the bus when it suits your purposes.”

One culture can understand morality better than another culture in some areas. One person can understand morality better than another. There is no logical problem with this.

The only reason any person or group of people ever understands morality is that it is transcendent. The only reason anyone can appeal to a higher moral standard to improve her culture or the culture of others is that there is a higher moral standard. No one every changes their personal beliefs without some reason. No culture ever improves without such an appeal.

I’d LOL, but the implications of your approach are very scary.

How long before my sub-culture is eliminated for the ‘advantage’ of the culture / community as a whole?

Worse yet, how long before America once again decides to act in its own best interest by oppressing or conquering another culture or people? What could I appeal to in an effort to stop my country from evil?

Of course, the law of God written large on the hearts of men will always ensure that I do have a standard to appeal to, even when others try to deny it.



“I feel sorry for your Guilt and for the ones who taught you to feel that way. At least, at times, you seem to like to wallow in your worthlessness.

Good luck making yourself feel better by trying to drag others down to your level.”

Good luck trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Good luck trying to escape the guilt you feel by rationalizing away the morality you know you don’t live up to. You are dragging others down by trying to eliminate transcendent morality. All can now pick and choose a simple moral standard that they can interpret in such a way that they have a chance to meet it.

Of course, if you think about it, you have not even lived up to your own standard. You have not always looked out for yourself, have you? You have not always taken every reasonable precaution to not hurt others, have you? Can you say for certain that you have always and in every way helped the other guy? After all, nobody’s perfect.

The ‘kicker’ is that your standard is impossible for you to live up to perfectly as it is written. You seem to reply that it is not a standard as such. That it evolved as a way for animals to live together in some form of unity. This ignores century’s worth of wars, slavery, oppression and discriminations.

What do you do with your guilt besides bury it under a mountain of irrational justifications such as you have provided here?

Take responsibility for your sin, repent of your sin and believe the gospel.

Anonymous said...

Strong work staying with the argument J.K. Spiritual battles affect the whole family.

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