The Morality of the Christian God

Exploring morality in scripture and Christian history

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#261  Postby archibald » Aug 30, 2013 10:53 am



One's jaw just has to drop at the inanity of this video.

The guy at one point even deigns to suggest that when the gospel writers used terrible descriptions, 'they didn't actually mean it'.

So, he knows better than, and can read and correct the minds of, the actual (as far as we can tell) earliest Christians themselves.

More to the point, he doesn't actually say what it suggests in the title, what is hell like?
Last edited by archibald on Aug 30, 2013 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#262  Postby Fallible » Aug 30, 2013 10:54 am

Michael66 wrote:O.K. Thanks Archibald. If you see no difference between historic theism and belief in elves then I think we are going to have to agree to disagree.

Just on monotheism and polytheism, I see them both as explorations of the divine.

And I did grant that popularity does not equal truth. What I said was that very wide popularity should grant a seriousness to a truth claim. But I'm repeating myself now, so I'll stop there.

Michael


Oh look! We're back to ''agree to disagree'' after failure to answer questions and ignoring points. How many times is that now?
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#263  Postby trubble76 » Aug 30, 2013 10:55 am

He could have used his holiday to help Syrian refugees, for example, but that would involve some sort of sacrifice, wouldn't it? Now I know he believes there is a god, and he believes that this god wishes him to make sacrifices to help others but come on, what is abiding by the wishes of your god when a holiday to Italy hangs in the balance?

The example of Jesus has taught you to fuck the refugees, you want to top up your tan over a bottle of good chianti.
Oh wait, I'm confused, does the teaching of your god say to help others or help yourself, I forget?

All this talk of genocidal murder being the act of a loving, forgiving god has confused my comprehension of morality, it's hard to tell now. The actions of the faithful contradicting their assertions just gets my head spinning sometimes.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#264  Postby archibald » Aug 30, 2013 10:56 am

To be fair, if someone hasn't arrived at a viewpoint through rational reasoning, it's very difficult for them to reason a way to a different viewpoint. The two processes are not compatible.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#265  Postby archibald » Aug 30, 2013 11:01 am



Don't you have to love the bit at the end, where he says he'd love to be a universalist and believe that everyone eventually gets into heaven. Lol. It's like, he just 'knows' that the earliest Christians got 'that bit' a tad wrong, but 'this bit' a tad right. He just 'knows'.

I imagine him with his little, wayward son. 'Jimmy, I'd just love to be able to forgive you for that'. What a kind man.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#266  Postby THWOTH » Aug 30, 2013 11:27 am

archibald wrote:He's just going to say love is real too, though, isn't he?

But does it matter though? One can still found one's morals on Christian principles, to endorse a specifically Christian morality, without believing or accepting the claims for God or Jesus' existence. As far as I can tell Michael has not claimed primacy for the Christian point of view. Challenging him about the exitence of his nominated deity does not really get down to the knitty-gritty of how a reading of Christianity can or does inform his moral outlook. Moral judgements may be sound despite being founded on a dodgy premise.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#267  Postby archibald » Aug 30, 2013 11:42 am

THWOTH wrote:
archibald wrote:He's just going to say love is real too, though, isn't he?

But does it matter though? One can still found one's morals on Christian principles, to endorse a specifically Christian morality, without believing or accepting the claims for God or Jesus' existence. As far as I can tell Michael has not claimed primacy for the Christian point of view. Challenging him about the exitence of his nominated deity does not really get down to the knitty-gritty of how a reading of Christianity can or does inform his moral outlook. Moral judgements may be sound despite being founded on a dodgy premise.


I'd say he's pretty much endorsing the Christian pov.

But yes, I agree, if you mean that a moral judgement can be consistent with a premise.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#268  Postby THWOTH » Aug 30, 2013 11:52 am

Aye. "God wants me to do good stuff," may be a dodgy premise as far as the "God" bit goes, but "good stuff" is still good and can be assessed on its own terms.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#269  Postby The_Metatron » Aug 30, 2013 12:13 pm

trubble76 wrote:It seems to me that to be a christian of Michael66's ilk, you must worship both jehovah and context.
The advantage of worshipping these two creatures is that they can both say whatever you wish them to say.

Well, how useful is that?

No need to bother with pesky inconsistencies or outright impossibilities.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#270  Postby Mus Ponticus » Aug 30, 2013 12:59 pm

Michael66 wrote:Ah, Jesus talking of 'hell'. A word loaded with understanding. Or perhaps misunderstanding? Let's clarify one thing - there is no 'hell' as many understand it in scripture. We have Hades or Sheol, the abode of the dead, the 'sleeping' if you will, and we have Gehenna, the image of the place where other gods sacrificed their children to fire, where it seems wicked people go.

Overlaid on top of that is a medieval theology of hell, that is strangely absent in the Orthodox Church, that those who go to Gehenna or ‘hell’ have no way out. But if that is true how can Paul talk about God showing mercy to all (Romans 11:32)? How can Jesus talk about drawing all men to himself (John 12:32)? How can Jesus reconcile all creation to himself (Colossians 1:20)?
If you look at intra-testamental Jewish writings and early Christian writings you see that Hell (Gehenna) is the place where the wicked are punished. The classical hell isn't a product of "medieval theology". Here's a great example, from the Book of Judith:
Woe to the nations who rise against my race! The Lord Almighty will punish them on judgement day. He will send fire and worms in their flesh and they will weep with pain for evermore. (Judith 16:17)

So when Jesus talks about people being thrown into an eternal fire, where the worms don't die, and where people weep, it's pretty clear that he's talking about stuff like this and not some medieval hell-denying thelogy. Thinking that hell is a medieval invention is wishful thinking.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#271  Postby archibald » Aug 30, 2013 1:07 pm

Mus Ponticus wrote:
Michael66 wrote:Ah, Jesus talking of 'hell'. A word loaded with understanding. Or perhaps misunderstanding? Let's clarify one thing - there is no 'hell' as many understand it in scripture. We have Hades or Sheol, the abode of the dead, the 'sleeping' if you will, and we have Gehenna, the image of the place where other gods sacrificed their children to fire, where it seems wicked people go.

Overlaid on top of that is a medieval theology of hell, that is strangely absent in the Orthodox Church, that those who go to Gehenna or ‘hell’ have no way out. But if that is true how can Paul talk about God showing mercy to all (Romans 11:32)? How can Jesus talk about drawing all men to himself (John 12:32)? How can Jesus reconcile all creation to himself (Colossians 1:20)?
If you look at intra-testamental Jewish writings and early Christian writings you see that Hell (Gehenna) is the place where the wicked are punished. The classical hell isn't a product of "medieval theology". Here's a great example, from the Book of Judith:
Woe to the nations who rise against my race! The Lord Almighty will punish them on judgement day. He will send fire and worms in their flesh and they will weep with pain for evermore. (Judith 16:17)

So when Jesus talks about people being thrown into an eternal fire, where the worms don't die, and where people weep, it's pretty clear that he's talking about stuff like this and not some medieval hell-denying thelogy. Thinking that hell is a medieval invention is wishful thinking.


Indeed. Not to mention the 'actual NT itself'. Not hard to find examples of same there.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#272  Postby lobawad » Aug 30, 2013 1:11 pm

Mus Ponticus wrote:
Michael66 wrote:Ah, Jesus talking of 'hell'. A word loaded with understanding. Or perhaps misunderstanding? Let's clarify one thing - there is no 'hell' as many understand it in scripture. We have Hades or Sheol, the abode of the dead, the 'sleeping' if you will, and we have Gehenna, the image of the place where other gods sacrificed their children to fire, where it seems wicked people go.

Overlaid on top of that is a medieval theology of hell, that is strangely absent in the Orthodox Church, that those who go to Gehenna or ‘hell’ have no way out. But if that is true how can Paul talk about God showing mercy to all (Romans 11:32)? How can Jesus talk about drawing all men to himself (John 12:32)? How can Jesus reconcile all creation to himself (Colossians 1:20)?
If you look at intra-testamental Jewish writings and early Christian writings you see that Hell (Gehenna) is the place where the wicked are punished. The classical hell isn't a product of "medieval theology". Here's a great example, from the Book of Judith:
Woe to the nations who rise against my race! The Lord Almighty will punish them on judgement day. He will send fire and worms in their flesh and they will weep with pain for evermore. (Judith 16:17)

So when Jesus talks about people being thrown into an eternal fire, where the worms don't die, and where people weep, it's pretty clear that he's talking about stuff like this and not some medieval hell-denying thelogy. Thinking that hell is a medieval invention is wishful thinking.


It's pretty easy to weasel your way out of giving the book of Judith any literal import, given its history. Well, it wouldn't be so easy for Micheal66 to do so now, as he's quoted Augustine as an authority. (Augustine was one who considered the book canonical and not apocryphal).
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#273  Postby archibald » Aug 30, 2013 1:14 pm

Jude 1:7:

'Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire'

Eternal. Hm. Fire. Hm. N. T. Wright. Hm.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#274  Postby archibald » Aug 30, 2013 1:18 pm

Matthew 18 8-9

'Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.'

N. T. Wright.

Should've gone to Specsavers.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#275  Postby archibald » Aug 30, 2013 1:19 pm

Mark 9:43 chimes in with Matthew....or the other way around....

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.

Fire. Never be quenched.

N.T Wright chapter 1 verse 1:

'Johnny, I'd really love (sic) to forgive you for that, but I can't, son. Really I can't. Y'see I worship the loving God Jehovah. I'm sorry if that doesn't make sense, it does to me, now be a dear and step into this lake of fire here, before mum gets home, eh?'
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#276  Postby Mus Ponticus » Aug 30, 2013 2:07 pm

Let's throw in an early (i.e. pre-medieval) church father, Tertullian:

Accordingly, we get ourselves laughed at for proclaiming that God will one day judge the world. For, like us, the poets and philosophers set up a judgment-seat in the realms below. And if we threaten Gehenna, which is a reservoir of secret fire under the earth for purposes of punishment, we have in the same way derision heaped on us. For so, too, they have their Pyriphlegethon, a river of flame in the regions of the dead.
Tertullian thought that Hell was a subterranean, fiery place of punishment.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#277  Postby archibald » Aug 30, 2013 3:41 pm

These guys appeared to be ancient sandwich-board wearers. 'The end is nigh!' and all that, as far as we can tell. And the end would be a judgement, between the deserving and the non-deserving. And the non-deserving were going to suffer, and not just for an afternoon. That wouldn't be scary enough vis-a-vis the recruiting drive.

Of course, when the end proved not to be nigh, they gradually started changing the message.

But, how in crap's name did we get to N. T. Wright? If he, by some as yet undiscovered means, was able to go back and tell those guys what he thinks Christianity or hell is, I think they'd have a jolly good laugh and I don't think he'd be let in.

But, more incredibly, how in doublecrap's name does he and Michael and millions like them....NOT REALISE THIS? :scratch:

By all means, imo, call it something else, other than Christianity. (eg 'The-bits-of-Christianity-that-we-like-ianity'). At least that would make a tad more sense. N T Wright is about as Christian, at core, as I am a banana.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#278  Postby THWOTH » Aug 30, 2013 4:14 pm

When it comes to Heaven and Hell, and the morality of the Christian God, the threat of an eternity of conscious torture for disobedience really removes all choice: obey or be damned. Individual moral reasoning and responsibility is abrogated from the outset. Of course, it's worth noting that what one must obey is not the will of God as such, but the commands of his self-appointed representatives on Earth.
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#279  Postby monkeyboy » Aug 30, 2013 4:36 pm

lobawad wrote:
Michael66 wrote:Hi archibald

That analogy doesn't work for me. The fact is that the exploration of the divine, of the numen, is common across all cultures and times. It's not, IMO, like elves, or hobbits, or flying spaghetti monsters. Of course atheists needn't be interested in the history and current practice of religion, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it myself simply because it has shaped, and continues to shape, our world so much (quite unlike the FSM, yet). I believe anthropology will always demand an interest in religion, though I suspect, I am afraid, that the FSM won't get too many pages. Having said that, I appreciate anthropology is of little interest to some.


How about numinous experiences of Love, which make any hint of rationalizing genocide utterly revolting? Would you count those with elves, hobbits, and flying spaghetti monsters?


I can personally attest to having had numinous experiences with many a pasta dish :hungry: :cheers:
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Re: The Morality of the Christian God

#280  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Aug 30, 2013 4:41 pm

Michael66 wrote:On #3 I agree it doesn't contain anything that is not in the Gospels. It is the interpretation that I don't share with you. Is it enough to agree some of the content of the Gospels without agreeing on the interpretation?


Yes. The question rests on the fact that there are different interpretations of the gospels. In the course of this thread, Michael, I've learned much about your own interpretation of the bible. But without wanting to be rude, I was wondering if you could answer the question without appealing to your own interpretation of the scriptures. Because the question requires you to simply address the morality of God.

The question is this: was it moral of God to give humankind his revelation in a slipshod fashion? That is the question. Thanks.

As we've already discussed, St. Bernard of Clairvaux had a very different interpretation of scripture than you do. He saw the genocides recounted in the Old Testament as inspiration for holy wars, and he exhorted Christians to "let a holy rage animate you in the fight," quoting Jeremiah's line: "cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood!" And nobody seriously objected. Even St. Francis of Assisi, as we've noticed, sailed with a Crusader army; he was doubtless a man who liked peace and goodness, but he never spoke out against the Crusades as being incompatible with scripture. And that's because scripture welcomes multiple interpretations. So if God didn't intend for Christians to wage holy wars (as you claim), then why didn't he tighten up his revelation on that point? Why leave it ambiguous and open to misunderstanding? Was it moral of him to leave it prone to the wrong interpretation for so long? If, indeed, God did not dictate the bible word-for-word as he is alleged to have done with the Qur'an, then the question is: why didn't he? He could've been clearer, sharper, and more succinct.

It may be tempting for you to answer with, "I think at the heart of your question is whether it is moral for God to allow man free will knowing the consequences." However, that is not the question. The question already assumes that God exists and that he gives humankind free will, and it also assumes that God does not leave humans adrift in the world without a revelation to guide them. The problem therefore is this: if liberal Christianity is the true version of Christianity, then why was the revelation so successfully mined for the wrong version for nearly 2000 years? Is God not morally responsible for this deficiency? And if his goal is to "slowly lead us," then isn't he responsible for not quickly leading us, given the amount of suffering involved in the slower version?

I suppose the answer will have to wait for when you return from Italy. Have a good trip. Say hello to Bernardo Bertolucci, Umberto Eco (peace be upon him), and Anna Falchi for me. Oh, and that wily old rascal Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as well.

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