14 COMMENTS

  1.  As a source of “best influence” as Richard points out, I would agree that DJ makes a good argument for proximal meaning.  From a biblical perspective, for those whose destination is not heavenly, this world truly “as good as it gets” and there is great impetus to make the most of it.

    I do absolutely disagree with the conclusion that Christianity leads to nihilism, as supported by this reasoning:

    Christians who acknowledge the immensity of their debt to God are thusly compelled to lead a life of ever growing conformity to a holy (absolutely moral) nature, and if I might add, will quite necessarily do so quite joyfully.  Further, this new purpose establishes the ultimate foundation by which to contribute to society and perform “good works”, not to the end of effecting salvation, but instead as a necessary response prompted out of gratitude.

    An atheist should at least recognize that Christians (those who are more than name only) are actually serving the common good in a manner quite deserving of even secular merit

  2. So, your moral absolutism has you overwhelmed with gratitude in a world filled with this much suffering whilst blinding you to simple human empathy. It’s actually quite surprising you manage to do any good at all in this condition.

  3. Consider Mauna Kea in Hawaii, with a peak elevation of 13,796 ft.  Now relative to Oahu’s Mount Ka’ala at 4,003 ft, one would say that Mauna Kea is a grand mountain.

    Now, if your measure of height was from the sea floor, you would only be accounting for ~42% of the total height of Mauna Kea.  Likewise, Mauna Kea and Mount Ka’ala would now appear to be much more similar in stature.

    Thus it is with morality.  On the full scale of God’s measure, ALL men fall short… so much so that none are saveable (on their own merit *edit).  This is the teaching in the bible so that “no man may boast”, as we really have no ground to stand on even in light of our best works.  Therefore the gratitude a Christian has in response to God’s grace makes him especially empathetic as he will not, properly, make meaningful measure of himself against others and instead is commanded to “love thy neighbor as thyself”

    The Christian is commanded to go so far as to even love his enemies.  Out of what measure of empathy is one able to do such a thing?  It is either insanity, or an abundance.

  4. Kaubell
    An atheist should at least recognize that Christians (those who are more than name only) are ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
    actually serving the common good in a manner quite deserving of even secular merit

    The problem with this argument, is that it is the “No True Scotsman Fallacy in which desirable features are cherry-picked and and disreputable traits are disowned in a circular argument.

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/N… -  No True Scotsman is a logical fallacy by which an individual attempts to avoid being associated with an unpleasant act by asserting that no true
    member of the group they belong to would do such a thing. 

    Instead of acknowledging that some members of a group have undesirable characteristics, the fallacy tries to redefine the group to exclude them. 

    Sentences such as “all members of X have desirable trait Y” then become tautologies, because Y becomes a requirement of membership in X.

    Practical observation of life indicates that no such consistent goody-goody characteristics are to be found across the range of Christian believers.  

    If we look at criminal convictions there is a clear picture!

    The Federal Bureau of Prisons does have statistics on religious affiliations of inmates. The following are total number of inmates per religion category: – http://answers.yahoo.com/quest

    Catholic 29267 — 39.164%
    Protestant 26162 — 35.008%
    Muslim 5435 — 7.273%
    American Indian 2408- 3.222%
    Nation 1734 — 2.320%
    Rasta 1485 — 1.987%
    Jewish 1325 — 1.773%
    Church of Christ 1303 – 1.744%
    Pentecostal 1093 — 1.463%
    Moorish 1066 — 1.426%
    Buddhist 882 — 1.180%
    Jehovah Witness 665 – 0.890%
    Adventist 621 — 0.831%
    Orthodox 375 — 0.502%
    Mormon 298 — 0.399%
    Scientology 190 — 0.254%
    Atheist 156 — 0.209%
    Hindu 119 — 0.159%
    Santeria 117 — 0.157%
    Sikh 14 — 0.019%
    Bahai 9 — 0.012%
    Krishna 7 — 0.009%

  5. Fair point Alan,

    If I understand your argument:
    - I assert effectively “True Christians” are worthy of secular merit for their good works
    - You cite the “no true scotsman” fallacy
    - You show that Catholics and protestants account for the majority of criminal convictions
    - Your unstated but implied/assumed conclusion: there are really no true Christians

    Which I would agree with, under one exception… Christ himself.  That is actually the entire point of the Bible, that apart from God’s grace we’re pretty much F’d.  So with the acknowledgement that True Christians are population 1, those who remain are Christians in name only.

    The distinction I failed to make in the first post was that there are many who “check the Christian box” because “they consider themselves to be a good person” and haven’t even opened a bible beyond writing down what date they were “saved”. 

    Apologies for the confusion, however it does not negate the logic that those who serve for good, are worthy of acknowledgement, which in retrospect wasn’t even a major point of the original reply

  6.  
    Kaubell 
    - Your unstated but implied/assumed conclusion: there are really no true Christians

    There clearly are Xtians who are considerate and have empathy for others in the communities, but there is no evidence that this is exclusive or a specific attribute of Xtians.  It is well known among atheist communities, social groups,  and other religions past and present.

    Which I would agree with, under one exception… Christ himself. 
    That is actually the entire point of the Bible, that apart from God’s
    grace we’re pretty much F’d. 

    There are problems with this claim.
    First, the OT is anything but a list of moral examples, with a god and followers who are vengeful genocidal monsters.

    Second, Xtians don’t usually actually read or study the history of the bible, but merely project their own views into it, cherry-picking the bits they like and claiming the rest to be metaphors, or simply disowning them.

    Thirdly the NT bible is not a history book.  Nothing was was written down within decades of claimed events.   There are no eyewitness accounts, and most of it was put together at the First Council of Nicaea AD325 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F
    CHOOSING which myths suited Constantine’s Roman bishops. 
    It has also been translated and mistranslated numerous times. – http://old.richarddawkins.net/

    So with the acknowledgement that True
    Christians are population 1, those who remain are Christians in name
    only.

    There is no evidence of gods or that resurrections are possible, so that comes out at nil by your definition. 

    While the name Yesua was common, and the place was over-run with itinerant preachers at the time, there is no independent confirmation from archaeology or Roman records that such an individual existed. 

    All there is, is a collection of conflicting folk myths in a collection of gospels, some of which were approved by the Roman Church centuries later.

  7. Thanks for that Alan. To have the patience and eloquence to dissemble and refute the arguments of a calm, simple and well-meaning Xtian is to be admired. It’s a shame, but unsurprising that Kaubell has not replied…

    Al

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