Issuepedia:Ethics channel/religion

From Issuepedia

Unanswered Questions

questions Vee wants Woozle to answer

questions Woozle wants Vee to answer

  • Q: Is the entity you speak with and call "God" the same entity who wrote the Bible and who is described therein?
    • Vee's answer so far: long exposition about the three parts of the Old Testament...
  • Q: How do we know that God wrote the Bible/scriptures?
    • A: "You already asked me that" (haven't been able to find where the answer was)
    • A: "Because I read them. Because it sounds like God. Because the being I converse with speaks tthis way and when I read the scriptures.... they .... (Vee scrambles for properly descriptive terms)" ... "they open up to me.... they make more sense then the words on the page. They speak to my soul and they sound familiar. They make sense. And the speak peace and love to my heart. yes most of these things are subjective, unquantifiable feelings. But they are real to me. And they align well with what actually is observable and reasonable, and logical in my life."
      • Q: Can't something speak to your soul and make sense without being entirely factually correct?
  • Q: What objective facts do we have about the nature of God?
    • (possibly relevant bit having to do with the origin of the Nicene Creed) "Those little bits of necessary data cannot be "observed" on earth by the usual five senses. The data necessary were only available from the very source."
    • (another possibly relevant answer) "The concepts are hard to understand. They leak into you over time. And they only do so when you practice them. If you don't try the experiment you can not make the observations. The necessary data is lacking."
    • A: "My life is my evidence."
  • What does the First Commandment mean? "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me." Does it mean that there are in fact other gods? How can we tell if we're "putting the right one first" if we don't even know what the difference is between them, much less what this one is like? If another god were to speak and call itself God, how would we know that it wasn't the one who wrote the Ten Commandments? If God is omnipotent, why did he create other gods in the first place, or allow us to create them? How is this not all a thinly-disguised attempt to get people in line by claiming divine authority?
  • Q: Where does it say, clearly and unambiguously, what will happen if we don't follow the Ten Commandments?
  • Q: How can one obey them when they don't make any sense or seem infantile?
    • A: We cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received.
      • Q: How is this not equivalent to "shut up and stop asking questions"?
        • A: When you were little you learned to walk (probably) by first rolling over then scooting and crawling and cruising et al.... when you learn the way of happiness first you learn things like don't stab innocent people, don't beat up the guy next to you ... you move on to extending help and so forth ... the commandments are all like that. ... you know at this part of your development what is right and wrong. If you practice doing what you understand to be right (and it is actually right and you are not fooled) you will learn what the next step is. It becomes apparent. It is very logical. If you practice at doing what you know to be wrong.... you must either choose to be bad or delude yourself that what you are doing is not bad. .... and you know less and less of what is actually good.
          • Q: How is this not insulting my intelligence (or "moral development", if you prefer)? (The 10 commandments don't even start into all the grey areas an adult needs to understand; they are given at a kindergarten-level of morality. How can they be rules which adults are supposed to follow?)
  • Q: How can the creator of the universe possibly be the author of such poorly-written laws?

Vee's definition of God

  • Q: Does God speak through us?
    A: Possibly, but not all we say is from God.
  • Q: Does God only speak through scripture? (If so, which scripture?)
    A: No (Which: that would be the general disagreement between the various religions and the corresponding question as to who is God.)
  • Q: Are there any works claimed to be scripture which are, in fact, not the word of God?
    A: Of course.... see the above reference and consider that because they make mutually exclusive claims they can not all be true.
  • God has built us capable of finding our own answers. He arranged that we would be free to do with our lives as we pleased and build ourselves through our own choices into what we wished.
  • God is all-knowing (omniscient)
  • God is all powerful (omnipotent)
  • God is a wise and loving being
  • God created this world, including everything we normally experience in general, through his Son.
    • Q: What does it mean for a supernatural being to have a Son? Is He biological in nature?
      • A: As He created us in His image it is reasonable but not stated that when He says Father, means Father. As I have no idea whatever how exactly His body is and isn't exactly like ours I can't finish answering that question.
        • Q: What is the basis of your belief of those facts about God's body?
  • God has a body of flesh and bone much like ours but which has elements not like ours that makes it not subject to decay and death.
  • God is the Father of our spirits and created our bodies.
  • God schooled us in a pre-earth life in many things but to complete out schooling and experience He created this world with specific attributes and traits.
  • God is male.
  • God lives in a specific location, but He has also demonstrated that He can and has traveled here with some ease. The method I assume is beyond our technology.
    • Q: Is the method by which he talks with us also beyond our technology, as far as you know?
  • God is always watching over us, but allows us to make our own mistakes.

Some established points

  • Just because a body of work (e.g. the Bible) contains some truth or good advice does not mean that the entire body is true (e.g. therefore God exists). Just because you are happier for following the advice in that body of work does not prove that the work is correct about anything else, much less everything else, that it says.
  • A Woozle point which may have gotten lost in the shuffle: It's not that I would rather that we as a species had to invent or discover things for ourselves; what I would rather is to discover that we had, in fact, already done so – which is what the evidence supports (e.g. that we invented language, evolved from slime-molds, etc. all without any apparent external help). This, to me, presents a much more optimistic picture of the universe, where good things happen by default rather than the interventionist universe in which God has to make good things happen (and in many versions of this we have actually declined from our level of "grace" when the species was first created).
  • Meta-point: We have to be careful to distiguish between whether we are arguing about (on the one hand) the pleasantness or desirability of various scenarios or (on the other) the factuality of those scenarios. Something can be desirable yet untrue, or vice-versa.

additional notes from Woozle

  • Further clarification about the "point which may have gotten lost in the shuffle":
    • If the truth is that I accomplished/achieved something -- or, to put it another way, if a particular achievement or accomplishment turns out to have been done by me rather than by someone else (if e.g. in the thick of action, I rescued someone from a burning car even though I don't remember doing it) -- I would rather give myself credit for it than believe another entity was actually responsible. When this happens, it is encouraging, because it increases my self-worth -- and justifiably so, I should think.
    • If the truth is that a particular achievement was made by someone else rather than by me (maybe I remember being near the burning car, and comforting the victim afterward, and thought that maybe I had been the rescuer -- but it turns out it was someone else who actually did the rescuing), then I do need to accept that. If, however, I remember actually pulling the victim out of the car (i.e. if I have strong evidence), then I'm going to want more than just vague assurances that someone else did it; I want to talk to someone else whose evidence is at least as compelling as my own ("yes, I saw you, you did help pull the victim out after Joe here opened the door, got her seatbelt off, and got her most of the way out, but it was Joe who did the dangerous part"), and if there are points of conflict between my evidence and theirs ("Joe? But he was way over on the other side!"), I'll want to try and resolve them before deciding which version (my memory, the other party's story, or some combination) to accept as the likely truth.
    • The same rules apply to my species' (i.e. human) accomplishments. If you're telling me that humans didn't create language (perhaps "invent" implies too active a role; the point is that you're claiming someone else did it for us), you're going to need to produce evidence at least as compelling as all the linguistic and archaeological evidence turned up by science. A handful of holy books which generally agree that God created language, but don't give any details, hardly qualifies as strong evidence -- and flies directly in the face of things we thought we understood about humans, language, and history. You can't just say "oh, that one bit is wrong" and not give details.
  • Also... if God wants us to be like him, why didn't he make us intelligent enough to understand "His plan"? Especially if we can't evolve into something more intelligent...