Is faith rational?

[this is a sample of text from the book “Living on the edge” by Jonathan Burke]

Is faith rational?

Faith is confidence for a reason. Everyone understands faith in this sense, as applied to ordinary matters. It is the same in divine matters. There is no truth in the popular view that places faith outside the confines of reason.’[1]

A typical dictionary definition rightly informs us that faith is belief which is not based on proof.[2] However, this is not the same as saying faith is blind, or that faith is belief for no reason, or that faith is not based on evidence.

Blind Faith (film)

Blind Faith (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Proof is a body of evidence which demonstrates a belief or statement to be conclusively true (typically through testing); evidence is a body of facts which provide rational reason for belief, without being conclusive. Faith is belief on the basis of evidence, where actual proof is absent.

There are many aspects of our faith which we cannot prove: we cannot prove the existence of many of the characters of the Bible, and many of the events recorded there; we cannot prove the resurrection took place; we cannot even prove the existence of God.

In each of these cases we have no opportunity to test the claim and prove it conclusively. However, in each of these cases there is sufficient evidence to warrant belief. We do not hold these beliefs without any evidence whatsoever. Throughout the Bible repeated appeals are made repeatedly to evidence, in support of truth claims; eyewitness accounts,[3] [4] verifiable historical monuments,[5] and direct personal experiences.[6] Blind faith is never encouraged.[7] [8] [9]

Early Christians appealed to evidence in order to argue that their faith was rational. Accordingly, the earliest defenders of Christianity (known as the Apologists), presented it as rational and worthy of belief,[10] and in harmony with science,[11] which appealed to thoughtful non-Christians.

The 4th century Latin commentary known by the name ‘Ambrosiaster’, identifies prophecy as ‘the first proof that our faith is rational’.[12] The famous 13th century theologian Thomas Aquinas likewise argued that faith is rational and that reason could be used to demonstrate theological truths.[13] Christian belief, if it is to be both rational and defensible, must be based on a faith which is not blind. [14]

‘The certainty of and trust in the Christian faith cannot be made hard in a scientific, deductive or inductive way. But neither is it based on arbitrary opinion.’[15]

 

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[1] Roberts, ‘The Visible Hand of God Or Miracles, Signs, And Wonders’, The Christadelphian (18.199.16), 1881.

[2] ‘1 complete trust or confidence. 2 strong belief in a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.’, Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th ed. 2004).

[3] John 3:11 I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.

[4] Acts 5:30 The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

[5] Deuteronomy 3:11 Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaites. (It is noteworthy that his sarcophagus was made of iron. Does it not, indeed, still remain in Rabbath of the Ammonites? It is thirteen and a half feet long and six feet wide according to standard measure.)

[6] Acts 10:39 We are witnesses of all the things he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

[7] ‘It required a robust faith to undertake a journey of four months, cumbered with women and children, and the valuable vessels of the temple, lying through a country infested with robbers and enemies of the Jews, without making every possible arrangement for protection. But theirs was not a blind faith. God would not be pleased with such.’, Roberts, ‘Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Ecclesia’, The Christadelphian (54.633.109), 1917; Roberts is referring to the Jewish exiles who returned to Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

[8] ‘In other words we rightly endeavour, as the early brethren did, to find the real meaning behind the English words we read and so come to the true message of God for man. This approach marks us as distinct from Fundamentalists; it has, I believe, always commended itself to  people of reason who are not prepared to follow a blind faith.’, Draper, ‘Fundamentalism’ (letter to the editor), The Christadelphian (121.1437.109), 1984.

[9] ‘But Bible faith is not blind faith. We are given more than sufficient evidence to prove that Christ was raised from the tomb.’, Cresswell, ‘Proving the Resurrection of Christ’ The Christadelphian (137.1634.296), 2000.

[10] ‘In addition to the refutations of calumnies and the presentation of Christianity as a rational faith the Apologists were also concerned withthe questionings of thoughtful men.’, Barnard, ‘Justin Martyr: His life and thought’, p. 3 (1967).

[11] ‘According to the early Fathers, science and Christian doctrine were to be developed side by side, each on independent grounds, and each in harmony with the other.’, Mahan, ‘A Critical History of Philosophy’, volume 1, p. 483 (2003).

[12] ‘Paul begins with prophecy, which is the first proof that our faith is rational, for believers prophesied when they received the spirit.’, Ambrosiaster, in Bray (ed.), ‘Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians’, p. 96  (2009).

[13] ‘For Aquinas faith is rational; it involves, like all knowing, the assent of the intellect. And reason can demonstrate the truth of some theological propositions.’, Hicks, ‘The Journey So Far: Philosophy Throuth the Ages’, p. 201 (2003).

[14] ‘We believe this, and that the Bible teaches thus and so. Both these propositions are topics of investigation, and the man accepting them as true, and acting them out in his life, is not justly chargeable with fanaticism. It is not “the blind faith of a fanatic” that impels him, but the resolution of a sane man who acts from the perception of the facts.’, Roberts, ‘Rejoinder to MacMillan’s Notice of “An Obscure Sect”’, The Christadelphian (27.316.369), 1890.

[15] Stoker, ‘Is Faith Rational?: A Hermeneutical-phenomenological Accounting for Faith’, p. 199 (2006).

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Preceding articles:

Where is the edge

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

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A Church without Faith!

Too many atheists forget that they themselves do belief. They might belief many things, like that there is no God. some belief there was a Big Bang, others have other beliefs about the beginning of this universe. They also forget that they too have services and forms of ‘worship’ though they are not called as such and do not take place in buildings to be recognised as such, though in some places we can clearly recognise straight ahead their meeting places, which are often also signalled by plates or names on the building.

In certain countries, like Belgium and Germany, they also receive working funds from the government like the other groups of beliefs, be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Laic or humanistic covenant, which they do not refuse, and as such should have to be honest for themselves to recognise to be willing to be part of a faith group.

Like many others they assemble or gather at regular intervals. They too are divided in different main groups with subdivisions of different laic thinking. You could compare it with denominations in the different churches, and by ‘churches‘ we do not mean only churches of Christian religion but also of the many other religions we have in our surroundings.

Though what we can notice is that it is only the atheist group which like some conservative evangelicals and Pentecostals, try to force their belief onto others as the only right belief. Being in the majority, those who want others to take it that there does not exist a God, often forget that the so called “freedom” they claim in their banner becomes very restricted in their way of thought, because it are just they and a few fundamentalists, who try to impose their thinking onto others as the only way of thinking to be allowed.

They should come to realize that human beings have an inner feeling of togetherness and somehow are attracted to the feeling of being part of something and needing to gather with others to keep that feeling strong. That is also the reason why we can find certain philosophers and laic thinkers finding it necessary to have regular gatherings or to have people like the atheist Sunday Assembly co-founder Pippa Evans who had to admit that when he left Christendom he realized

“it wasn’t God that I missed or Jesus, it was church. I really missed church.”

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Additional reading:

  1. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  2. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  3. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  4. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  5. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  6. Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life
  7. We all have to have dreams
  8. What moves mountains? Trust!
  9. Blinkered minds
  10. Faith antithesis of rationality
  11. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  12. God’s forgotten Word 3 Lost Lawbook 2 Modern scepticism
  13. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  14. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  15. Faith is a pipeline
  16. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  17. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  18. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope

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  • What do we do at the end of Christendom? (unsettledchristianity.com)
    Perhaps, as the end of Christendom comes, we should look East to see what role the Church played, what role theology played, and how theologianswere shaped.The dominant narrative of the West is no longer Christian and that is a good thing.
  • What if all Muslims convert into Christianity? (ireport.cnn.com)
    Will there be peace on Earth?Which one of the following Christian Denomination should they choose and why?
  • My Faith Evolution: The Search for Silence (thetrainofhisrobe.com)
    The last few years have been a roller coaster of faith, as I explored expressions of faith like pentecostalism, calvinism, liturgy, the emergent church, postmodern Christianity, and more.  Today I’m sharing how I found my place, for the time being, in the Episcopal church.
  • Inside the Universal Life Church World Organization (epages.wordpress.com)
    When it comes to the various denominations that have established themselves over the years, the Universalists are arguably one that is the most misunderstood. While there are some factions of the church thathave been ridiculed for their quick buck mentality when it comes to being an ‘ordained minister’, there are actually many positive attributes to the church that gets overlooked. This is especially true of the Universal Life Church World Headquarters which does not follow the path of some of the other churches in the same denomination.However, all churches have their flaws in certain regards, so it may not be surprising that some elements of a particular type of church may really stand out in the eyes of the public when the truth is that there are thousands, perhaps millions who worship in a church that offers real, direct services to its members.
  • Iraqi Christians try to celebrate Christmas (politics.ie)
    The Christian population of Iraq has fallen from about 1.5 million in 2003 to an estimated 400,000 in 2014. The outrages perpetrated by ISIS have caused mass flight among Iraqi Christians. And many Christians have been captured or killed
  • Three-Quarters of Americans Identify as Christian (grumpyelder.com)
    • About half of Americans are Protestant; a quarter are Catholic
    • 19% of Americans do not have a formal religious identity
    • Mormons attend religious services most frequently Princeton, N.J. — About three in four Americans interviewed in 2014 name a Christian faith when asked for their religious preference, including 50% who are Protestants or another non-Catholic Christian religion, 24% who are Catholic and 2% who are Mormon.
  • Salvation – It’s Not What You’ve Been Taught VIDEO (theupsidedownworld.com)
    Is salvation really about avoiding hell when you die? Yes, that’s the popular teaching we’ve all heard, but in this video I explain why this is a misunderstanding and what the truth of salvation actually is. (Hint – it’s better than you’ve been told!) Enjoy!
  • Open Door Class Study of the Book of Acts: “The Acts of the New Church” (arborlawnumc.typepad.com)
    The Book of Acts was written to provide a history of the early church. The emphasis of the book is the importance of the day of Pentecost and being empowered to be effective witnesses for Jesus Christ.

Purplerays

Atheist_symbol
Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atheist_symbol.jpg

I get it when someone says he(no gender preference meant) is an atheist! I agree with him when he says “I don’t believe in God or, gods for that matter”, he is unassailably right in stating his belief! It is only when the atheist asserts that “There is no God” that, in my mind, he has allowed his belief to get the better of him…he needs a reality check on this one!
What I find difficult to get a handle on is why atheists congregate under the banner ‘church’! Why church? At a time I thought the whole point of being an atheist was an attempt to free oneself from the rigidity of religion and sectarianism!
Now, pardon my old-fashioness: the human component of a church extends wider than a Christian congregation to include ‘any assembly dedicated to religious activities’ and religion is universally defined as ‘the…

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Science, belief, denial and visibility 1

In the previous article we talked about doubt which can be around the believer and non-believer. We have seen in the previous articles that many people have questions about life and surrounding. They wonder if knowledge of science would stand in the way of their belief. Sometimes people may find themselves dangling at the edge of belief not able to take the plunge.

In case you are feeling like that know that “you are not alone”. If  you are ashamed to ask questions or have reservations that seem insurmountable, “you are not alone”.

Some may consider religion “like a merchant selling its own knockoff of the real thing”.  They prefer to look at it as a “similar imitation, but not the authentic product”.

As recognises in 3 Ways Religion Has Failed Us is that it are human beings who made a concoction of religion. He writes:

the problem with religion: it is manmade and lacks the integrity of the real thing. Religion offers the “good enough” instead of the “best.”

But the right religion shall always present the best of what is available at that moment and shall never be satisfied with just offering something which might be “good enough”. In case that is so you are probably looking at the wrong religion.

Churches nearby or far away from home

Percentage of state populations that identify ...

Percentage of state populations that identify with a religion rather than “no religion”, 2001. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those Americans who live in the Bible Belt where most people go to a church in their neighbourhoods may be called lucky that they are able to find a church very near by. In certain countries people have to go far for their service in a church. For example our ecclesia its services make that people have to travel between 40 and 360 km to come to the Breaking of the Bread, having our services taking place in Nivelles/Nijvel, HeverleeLeuven, Mons and Paris. This also makes that we do not have many people wanting to join, or to come regularly, because everybody just wants to have their church at the doorstep.

In Belgium the Catholic church shall have to face the distance problem also from now, because most Catholic churches shall become closed from 2014 because there are not enough priests and not enough churchgoers. Five to ten parishes shall be concentrated to one place from now on. We wonder if those Catholics shall travel such one way of 20 km to go to mass. In protestant circles this has not been strange over the years, so they are used to cover some distance to go to church.

The 26 years old, student, writer, sceptic and worshipper (of … ?) says:

Many people are walking away from God.

Faith and religions are some of those things people get confused with. Also the matter if it has something to do with a god or the True God. Strangely enough several people are searching the internet to get something to know about what “religion is.” The young writer finds that our look at religion and its painful presentation of God may be outdated. He writes:

The truth is, religion missed the bus into the 21st Century and now we are faced with an unpopular decision: starting over or being left behind.

and he has good reason to think so. Many churches did not see how time passed but also how times changed. God, Who is One, does not change, but they wanted to create their own pictures of their god how they wanted to see him fitting their age and time and making up their church according to their denominational construction. Most churches do not want to follow the way church has to be formed according to God, but do want to fit it in according their idea of how church should look like. And that is where church went on the wrong track or got on the line of deviations and delays.

English: A map showing the Norwegian Bible Bel...

A map showing the Norwegian Bible Belt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several churches, certainly in the United States wanted to make science the enemy of religion. In Holland several churches got blinded by the American Mega churches and having more than three hundred television channels to choose from, most home-stayers got pulled away by reality shows, series and some by those television preachers which promise all the gold you can think of. In Belgium, just a few, but also too many, found their way to those television churches, which make it easy to sit at home and say you watched a service, so you have done your Sunday duty.

The fight between science and religion.

We have all the seen the ugly fight between science and religion. Whether it has been in a classroom, a courtroom, or a Sunday morning sermon, we all have heard why one is right and the other is wrong.

continues the writer of 3 Ways Religion Has Failed Us, where he suggests this is just not the case and says he does not believe science is the enemy. He has good reason to believe that science and faith can co-exist and even work together.

In America it is possible, like in Holland to go to schools where they do not want to accept the world evolved. the author of the above mentioned article also was taught in high school that evolution was silly because of all the “missing links.” but did they get deeper into the subject of how the world could have been going on for millions of years? He does not tell. But we can see here at the European continent that more fundamentalist Christian churches and Christian schools want to give their youngsters an idea of the evolution of the world which is not according the real Bible teaching nor according to findings many scientists and archaeologists made.

Also at the television churches they mock with all scientific findings and ridicule archaeologists and other scientists.

Luckily the young writer who graduated in 2006 has seen new discoveries.

He came to understand that science can teach us where we came from and how the world as well as humans are evolving.

But I also believe that there is a certain point where science (logic and reason) are limited and this is the place faith takes over. Science cannot and will not explain everything, but neither can religion.

It has never been the aim of Christian religion to do this. It is wrong to think that the Bible would or should have to be a scientific explanation book and scientific instruction book. God provided a Guide for everybody whatever schooling they might have had or even also for those who did not get the chance to get an education.

God His Word had to be available and understandable for everybody. You do not have to be a theological scholar to understand God’s Word; That is one of the biggest misunderstandings and the biggest cause of having ‘religious institutions’ having deformed God His Words and having them made dogma‘s many people just took over, because they believed they had to believe what those theologians said, because they could not understands such ‘godly and divine matters’. Lots of people also wanted to have religion co-inside with their traditions and as such found it acceptable to have a three headed god for example. The Trinity made it also possible to have something mystic or something special ‘attractive’ because incomprehensible. It also made that they continue to worship pictures and have many saints or people where they could pray to. Otherwise they only had to count on One Something, Who was not a man but a Spirit, and could not be seen or pictured, because the God of Abraham can not be seen and may not be pictured.

So What Now?

One of the greatest tragedies in life is when people hold on to something when they know it has failed. The denial of carrying a corpse around can be a tremendous burden.

The problem with getting people to come and see about the different ways of religion and how the God of the Bible wants to have people around Him, is that people do not want to break with the past, with the attitudes of their ancestors and with the traditions of the region where they are living. It often takes a move to an other country before people would take over … some other traditions …

Or are people willing to come to the facts? Or do they only want to have faith in something they can grasp?

Spirit or person, reality or tradition

To get people to decide for their own, taking the words for what they are and how they are written down in the Bible is very difficult. When we do our preaching and read parts from the Bible, lots of people continue to bring into it always their background of their trinitarian teaching. when there is written “this person” does this or that, they consider that there is also said that “that person” does this or that, instead of willing to take the “this” person where is written “this” and the “that” person where is written “that”. And as such they keep mixing figures but keep also not seeing clear.
That way we also do find Christian denominations which say God is a woman because God is Wisdom and the Bible talks about “her” and “she”. Also others say God is a woman because God is Love and love is feminine and the Scriptures talk about “She” when it describes that love. Others say God is a man because He is a warrior, or something else which is masculine. But God is none of them because He is a Spirit.

” (24)  “Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him need to worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 The Scriptures 1998+)

People should try to accept that there can be a Supreme Being that is not like them or does not fit their images. God can not be pictured, except that we know He has some elements of us because we are created in His image. Because nobody has ever been able to see God, we also can have no real picture of Him in our mind and we may not make a picture of Him in our life.

” (1)  And Elohim spoke all these Words, saying,  (2)  “I am יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery.  (3)  “You have no other mighty ones against My face.  (4)  “You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth,  (5)  you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  (6)  but showing kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.” (Exodus 20:1-6 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (19)  And He said, “I shall cause all My goodness to pass before you, and I shall proclaim the Name of יהוה {Jehovah} before you. And I shall favour him whom I favour, and shall have compassion on him whom I have compassion.”  (20)  But He said, “You are unable to see My face, for no man does see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:19-20 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (17)  Now to the Sovereign of the ages, incorruptible, invisible, to Elohim who alone is wise, be respect and esteem forever and ever. Amĕn.” (1Ti 1:17 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (16)  who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or is able to see, to whom be respect and everlasting might. Amĕn.” (1Ti 6:16 The Scriptures 1998+)

Visible or invisible

How many people are wiling to accept that God the Immortal King of the King of kings is and was invisible? In case Jesus was God than nobody could have seen him and stayed alive. Many people saw Jesus of whom the Father in heaven declared that it was His son. In case God twisted His words and the above verses would not be true, nor that what God said from heaven was totally true than people could and should consider God a liar. But God does not tell lies. Though many churches of the Christian Faith made Him one who was not telling the truth or not keeping His words. Those who think Jesus is God should question if Jesus told the truth when he was asked if they could sit next to him or when he would return or when the end times would come. Every time Jesus told them it was not given to him to decide who was to be seated where or when he would come back. He told them he did not know such things. But God does know everything, so those who do not accept Jesus as the son of God but make him the god son are making God into a liar. He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony or witness in himself; he who does not believe God, has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony or record that Jehovah the God of heaven and earth has given concerning His son.

” (10)  The one who believes in the Son of Elohim has the witness in himself, the one who does not believe Elohim has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the witness that Elohim has given concerning His Son.” (1 John 5:10 The Scriptures 1998+)

Denial

Religion Stencil

Religion Stencil (Photo credit: murdelta)

Atheism brings the denial of the existence of God or gods, but those who have faith in the Creator should know that the God of gods exists and that man still make many gods today.

It is narrow-minded to reduce a naturalist’s worldview down to its negative component of atheism, just as it is narrow minded for a Muslim to consider a Christian anti-Muhhamad.

Theo • philogue writes in Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction:

Such reductionist labeling can feed into prejudices and hinder mutual respect and productive dialogue.  On the other hand, … I don’t necessarily think the argument Baggini advances in order to accomplish his redefinition of the word “atheism” is sound.

But he also warns:

It seems to me that evangelicals who hold to exclusivists positions ideologically (i.e. that only Christianity is true and all other religions false) have no choice but to admit with Baggini that human beings in general are not good at interpreting their experiences — especially religious experiences.  How can Muslims be so skeptical about the religious experiences of Christians (or vice versa), but be so confident in their own?

Scientific understanding having more continuity globally than religious understanding

According to the Bible when people die they are just death and can do nothing or think anything. But there are religious people who think their soul is some extra element in their body which shall go out of it. In such an instance, when there would be a soul leaving the body, able to think and do things, this ‘soul’ should remain fully conscious after death. When this would the case you should wonder why the soul does not retain memories for those with brain disease, dementia , Alzheimer, etc..

Here it seems that views of consciousness after death are problematic in light of the dependency relationship established by science between consciousness and brain activity.  This area of science is forcing some evangelicals, for example, to rethink their interpretation of biblical language about souls to accommodate the scientific data. {Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

Several people say there is strong evidence for consciousness after death by the “testimony of mediums, supposed appearances of ghosts, and near-death experiences.” First of all they forget the near death experience is an experience the person had when he or she was not death but alive. It is an experience of a ‘living soul’, being the ‘being’ of a person.

Psyche and Amor, also known as Psyche Receiving Cupid’s First Kiss (1798), by François Gérard: a symbolic butterfly hovers over Psyche in a moment of innocence poised before sexual awakening.

In the Bibletranslations we do find the Hebrew ne′phesh and the Greek psy·khe′ in certain languages being translated as “soul” and “psyche”. It is not about Psyche (/ˈsk/, Greek: Ψυχή, “Soul” or “Breath of Life”) or Eros the mythical figure which fell in love with Cupid or Amor. It is about the Psyche (psychology) which is the totality of the human mind, conscious, and unconscious.

When we look at the different texts in the Holy Scriptures we can see that it was God Who placed His Breath in the first human beings, plus in the animals,  and as such the person or animal came into a living being. When spoken about a soul, this person or animal was meant. The soul is the life that a person or an animal enjoys and it does not mean an immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. The Bible tells us that when God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life that after that action man became a living soul.

“(7)  And יהוה {Jehovah} Elohim formed the man out of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils breath of life. And the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7 The Scriptures 1998+)

It does not say that man was given a soul but that he became a soul, a living person.

“(5)  “But only your blood for your lives I require, from the hand of every beast I require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I require the life of man.” (Genesis 9:5 The Scriptures 1998+)

The “blood of your lives” or the blood of your souls” is not the blood of something different than the normal body we can see. When we see the same word in the original text we should translate it the same or when we use once ‘soul’ and the other time ‘live’ or ‘body’ in the same translation we should know that it is all speaking about the same thing ‘the corps’ the being of something or someone’. The Greek word translated in 1 Corinthians 15:45 for “soul” in many translations is the accusative case of psy·khe′. KJ, AS, Dy, JB, NAB, and Kx also read “soul.” RS, NE, and TEV say “being.”

” (45)  And so it has been written, “The first man Aḏam became a living being,” the last Aḏam a life-giving Spirit.  (46)  The spiritual, however, was not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.  (47)  The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second Man is the Master from heaven.  (48)  As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.  (49)  And as we have borne the likeness of the earthy, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly.  (50)  And this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood is unable to inherit the reign of Elohim, neither does corruption inherit incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-50 The Scriptures 1998+)

When something happens with people the Bible says this or that happened with the souls.

“who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” (1 Peter 3:20 HNV) (NHBESY, NKJV, RNKJV, RV,Sawyer, WORNT,
“eight, souls were brought safely through water.” (WPNT); “eight souls, were delivered through water” (NET)
eight souls, were saved by water (RHB)
“wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (KJV, BRG, LEB, LITV, a.o..)
“Those who in the past were disobedient; and in the days of Noah, when the Spirit of God had patience, he commanded an ark to be made in the hope of their repentance, but only eight souls entered into it, and were saved by it floating upon the water.” (1 Peter 3:20 Lamsa NT ) “which were formerly disobedient, in the days of Noah, when the long suffering of Alaha commanded an ark to be made, in hope of their repentance; and eight souls only entered into it, and were kept alive in the waters.” (1 Peter 3:20 Re. Murdock);  “a few folks” (JMNT)
“those who disobeyed long ago in the days of Noah, when YHVH in extreme patience, commanded an ark to be made, hoping that they would amend their ways, but only eight people entered it and survived the water during the flood.” (1 Peter 3:20 ToY+ )

In several places, like in Joshua 11:11 we can find that those “souls” could be “stricken” or “killed” or could fall under the edge of the sword.Theo Philo writes:

It seems impossible to contest that the traditional Christian anthropology of body-soul dualism is problematic because it requires one to believe that “non-material thinking souls exist along side brains and somehow interact with them, and that, further, the dependency of consciousness on brain activity miraculously disappears at death, when the soul lives on without the body”

But according to the Bible there is no body-soul dualism at all and when people fall asleep, leaving the world of the living they shall be death and will not be able to do anything with what they collected in their life nor shall they be able to think something or do something, except having their body decaying or to dust or in the incinerator coming to ashes. When life comes to an end it is the breath of the person which goes out the person but not to live somewhere else. The breath is the transfer of air caused by breathing or by being alive.

” (2)  While I live I praise יהוה {Jehovah}; I sing praises to my Elohim while I exist.  (3)  Do not put your trust in princes, In a son of man, in whom is no deliverance.  (4)  His spirit goes out, he returns to his earth; In that day his plans perish.” (Psalm 146:2-4 The Scriptures 1998+)
” (5)  For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know naught, nor do they have any more reward, for their remembrance is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 The Scriptures 1998+)
” (9)  See life with the wife whom you love all the days of your futile life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of futility. For that is your share in life, and in your toil which you have laboured under the sun.  (10)  All that your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9-10 The Scriptures 1998+)
” (14)  I know that whatever Elohim does is forever. There is no adding to it, and there is no taking from it. Elohim does it, that men should fear before Him.  (15)  Whatever is has already been, and what shall be has been before. But Elohim seeks out what has been pursued.  (16)  Then again I saw under the sun: In the place of right-ruling, wrongness was there. And in the place of righteousness, wrongness was there.  (17)  I said in my heart, “Elohim judges the righteous and the wrong, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.”  (18)  I said in my heart, “Concerning the matter of the sons of men, Elohim selects them, so as to see that they themselves are beasts.”  (19)  For the event of the sons of men is also the event of beasts – one event befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Indeed, they all have one breath – man has no advantage over beasts. For all is futile.  (20)  All are going to one place – all came from the dust, and all return to dust.  (21)  Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the beast, which goes down to the earth?  (22)  So I saw that man could do no better but to rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion. For who would bring him to see what shall be after him?” (Ecclesiastes 3:14-22 The Scriptures 1998+)

For us will happen the same as the animals. Our penalty for the sins we have done shall be paid by our death, where we shall end up breathing, thinking, speaking or being able to do anything. For that which happens to us happens also to animals. Even one thing happens to both of us, man and animal alike. As the one dies, so the other dies. Yes, they have all one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity. There is no evidence at all for life after death and the Holy Scriptures tells us what is going to happen to our body (our souls). We shall all return to dust. Decay shall come over human beings as it comes over plants and animals. We better believe in the stronger evidence for human mortality than in evidence for immortality of human ‘souls’ being some extra spiritual being in man.It is the philosophical ideas of the early writers and of later fantasts which made people dream of adventures lives in some strange after-life worlds or underground-worlds, or several heaven-levels (be it 8 or 12 heavens according some worldly writers).We can not see any different soul than the souls running around on this planet, the masculine and feminine beings, called man and animal. No scientific X-rays or special screening could prove there would be some alternative ‘ghost’ or ‘spirit’ in the human beings. What is scientifically proven is the aura or a sort of temperature change around each living being. The aura appears by humans but also by animals and plants. so that also does not proof any existence of an extra spirit in the human beings which would be an other ‘soul’ than the ‘soul’ spoken of in the many books of the Bible where it is meant the persons.

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Next: Science, belief, denial and visibility 2

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Please do find additional reading:

  1. Faith
  2. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  3. The Trinity – the Truth
  4. Idolatry or idol worship
  5. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. #1 Creator and His Prophets
  6. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  7. Edward Wightman
  8. Dying or not
  9. What happens when we die?
  10. The Soul confronted with Death
  11. Dead and after
  12. Destination of righteous
  13. Destination of the earth
  14. Sheol or the grave
  15. Soul
  16. The Soul not a ghost
  17. Is there an Immortal soul
  18. Human Nature: What does the Bible teach?
  19. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  20. How are the dead?
  21. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  22. Let not sin reign in your mortal body
  23. We will all be changed

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Also of interest:

  1. 3 Ways Religion Has Failed Us
  2. Direct Faith & Belief
  3. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction

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  • No religion ‘is the new establishment’ (christiantoday.com)
    Two surveys conducted by YouGov reveal that out of 8,455 British adults polled, 38 per cent – 3,199 in total – said they have ‘no religion’.

    This is most notable in younger generations, with almost half (48 per cent) of those under 30 identifying themselves as having no religion, while only 27 per cent of over 60s said the same.

    Furthermore, for the first time ever, ‘no religion’ has become the identity of the absolute majority of those aged 18 and 19.

    It is important to note that ‘no religion’ is not synonymous with ‘atheist’.

  • UK Supreme Court: Religion Does Not Require God (clrforum.org)
    Last week, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom–since 2009, the highest court in the UK–handed down what looks to be a significant decision on the meaning of “religion” in English law. The decision suggests that, for legal purposes, religion does not require a belief in God.
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    Lord Toulson made clear he was not announcing a categorical test for all circumstances–Scientology qualifies as a religion. The court ordered the government to certify the couple’s church as a place where valid marriages could take place.
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    Religion is inherently communal, and some of the most important benefits the state derives from religion–for example, greater civic participation–depend on religion’s being a group activity. In America, some people have begun to argue for a very individualistic definition of religion, one in which a sole practitioner, following her own inner voice, can qualify as a religion for legal purposes. Earlier this year, a federal appeals court rejected this view, and there are good reasons to do so. I’ll have more to say about all this is a forthcoming paper, to be published next month by the European University Institute. I’ll post more on this subject then.
  • New Statistics: the religious make-up of America (skeptical-science.com)
    The Washington Post has published a rather detailed breakdown of religion in the US … alas statistics, so yes it can indeed be potentially quite dull stuff, I’ll skip a lot of details and cut to the chase of what it is of interest – non-belief is rapidly increasing.
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    40 per cent of people in Boston have no religion at all, and it’s more than half in many counties. As for the 47 per cent of Bostonians who are Catholic “participants” – well, there isn’t much participation going on come Sunday morning. We’re talking about 17 per cent Mass attendance these days –and it was only 20 per cent before the clergy scandals broke. The story is the same in many other supposedly Catholic cities – fewer than one in five Catholics go to church regularly. Compare that to the 70 per cent in the 1950s
  • Ask an Atheist: The Usual Questions (csgroome.wordpress.com)
    I am not 100% certain. I am certain beyond reasonable doubt, enough to state that I see no reason to think supernatural beings exist. Any academic and self respecting atheist who embraces science and reasoning would always leave their opinions open for change and new evidence. This is where Atheism differs from religion, because we are not certain and would change our views if given evidence, but we are convinced by the lack of evidence and by all rational argument, that appealing to myths from intellectually dark parts of human history can not even begin to give us answers to any questions, even moral or epistemological ones.
  • Haunting the chapel: my thoughts on heavy metal and religion. (seanmunger.com)
    Is heavy metal inherently anti-religious? Having been virtually a lifelong metalhead, I can say from experience that many people, both within and without the scene, believe that it is, or should be. Critique of organized religion or aspects of it has been a common lyrical and thematic element in metal for decades.
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    Even without analyzing the long history of Satanic themes in metal, the music itself has always celebrated nonconformity. Its heavy and dissonant tones, developing beginning in the 1950s, by their nature challenge the normal, the usual and the mainstream. Religion, especially orthodox or fundamentalist religion, is the ultimate conformity. It certainly didn’t help that some religious organizations and people, especially evangelical Americans, made metal music a target in the 1970s and 1980s, blaming it for causing suicides, school shootings or indoctrinating kids with Satanism. Against this background, the heavy-handed anti-religiosity of figures like Glen Benton (Deicide) seems more like retaliation than provocation.
  • Visible Religion: Beliefs permeate life in Indonesia (indonesiaful.com)
    Students praying in West Java. (Elizabeth Kennedy/Indonesiaful)

    Students praying in West Java. (Elizabeth Kennedy/Indonesiaful)

    Indonesia has six accepted religions: Islam, Catholicism, Christianity (which really means Protestantism), Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It is not acceptable, however, to be atheist, agnostic, or Jewish. The first pillar of pancasila, Indonesia’s guiding political policy, is “belief in one God,” which has enough room in it to accept Indonesian versions of Hinduism and Buddhism, but definitely not the lack of any God at all.

    As a result of “knowing” that everyone has more or less similar beliefs, religion takes a highly visible role in everyday society here. My school’s flag ceremony alternates every other week with school-wide prayer, which is separate for Muslims, Christians, and Catholics. There are different uniforms for Muslim girls (long skirts and sleeves for girls, with headscarf) and Christian girls (short sleeves and knee-length skirts). All students take classes in their own religions, and each school has rooms for each religion.

  • Religion and Young People: The Lost Generation? (collectionofclancy.wordpress.com)
    I know of many relatives, friends and people I’ve met in general who are either agnostic or atheist and I don’t judge them for it. However what kills me is that their status gives me the feeling that they are the smarter and more enlightened people. But on the other side, the church gives me the feeling that because I have more liberal beliefs means I cannot truly be as good as the devout. A rock/hard place moment.
  • Does Religion Shape a Person? (meesh14102.wordpress.com)
    My Catholic education and religious family background influenced me to be a devout Catholic; no doubt about it. I attended Church every Sunday, received the sacraments, prayed every night, etc. I was a firm believer in God, heaven, and hell. However, as I matured in my college years, I began to have a few doubts about my religion. There was no traumatic life event or epiphany to lead me to these doubts, I just simply began to question. I began researching different religions, asking people of different beliefs their opinions on God (or lack there of) and finally I read a book. I was assigned to read, “God No!” by author Penn Jillette during my Communication Ethics course.
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    I don’t need a God to influence a good and honest behavior. My mom told me to never speak of my new belief (or lack  there of) ever again and to Never tell my father. I respected these wishes and continue to keep my thoughts about God and religion to myself. I believe a persons’ inner self shapes their character. I do not believe religion is what influences a good or bad character.
  • Religion? (lordmontello.wordpress.com)
    The cause and effect of religion leads to nothing but groups of different beliefs that have waged war on each other for not accepting their beliefs. Without religion their would be no blood shed by religious cults and will prevent mass war between other civilizations belifs.
  • The False Compatibility Of Religion And Science (amitoben.com)
    Religious counterparts will often point out that many scientists are religious, and that most, if not all, scientists in the past were religious as well. This claim is often propped up by such big names as Kepler, Galileo and Newton, and is commonly capped off with a challenge to nonbelievers that takes the form of “Who are you to claim to be smarter than those great religious scientists?”.
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Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Eurobarometer Poll 2005 Percentage of those wh...Religion, religiosity and spirituality are not the same. Many people use the three words as synonyms and see no difference between them. Religiosity has to do with the quality of being ‘religiose‘ or being extremely, obtrusively, pious, sanctimoniously or even sentimentally religious, but in its broadest sense it also used to indicate the sort of activity a person is willing to take on for that what he believes.  It is about the numerous aspects of religious activity a person is willing to undertake, his dedication for that belief or religious doctrine. Another term that would work equally well, though less often used, is religiousness for the person’s belief in a god, the God of gods or in gods and their observance of associated activities.

With the choice of a religion comes the preparedness to follow certain teachings of that religion and to follow a sociocultural program for developing spiritually and for bringing spiritual realizations into everyday life according to the teachings or doctrines of that religion. In that movement about certain teachings concerning the individual and his environment the person shall want to become part of that religion and as such would want to take certain attitudes and do certain exercises in that faith. doing those readings, meditations and exercises for the mind, the person shall use ‘‘spirituality’’ to refer to his or her inner experiences that arise from trying to put such programs into practice.

Folk religiosity and faith

Folk religiosity and faith (Photo credit: AlmaGamil_Philippines)

Through the ages lots of people tried to find ways to come to a higher ecstasy or to get into raptures. Their actions in their faith should bring them “Spirituality” bringing them in exaltation a sense of transcendence, sacrality, and ultimacy, making them ready to bring praise, tribute, worship, acclaimglory, blessing, homage, reverence, magnification, apotheosis, glorification, acclamation, panegyric, idolization, extolment, lionization, laudation, in elation, delight, joy, excitement, inspiration, ecstasy, stimulation, with exhilaration, jubilation, exultation, joyousness. Their religious actions want to trigger the ‘becoming more’ going beyond or exceeding the Self. To do this, encoded signs and symbols may be the means by which experiences not only are generated but are described, even recognized and labelled, as religious. The many religions, the world is rich, have always relied upon several symbolic forms for breaking outside of the profane world. In most religions the believers try to come into an other stadium of life and of feeling. They even try to come in an other or alternative reality known only through its ecstatic qualities and interpretive frames.

Even within contemporary, more secular social settings, research suggests that those persons most involved in their religious traditions are more likely to report having strong religious experiences (Yamane and Polzer 1994, pp. 1–25).

To come to full or real spirituality the person has to give himself or herself to the faith which she want to follow and take on its traditions, demanding not only the will to come to an interior life or religious discipline but also to undertake social action, making ethical choices, family commitments, friendship, to live and work according that faith and to make choices for the way to live and in politics.

Whilst ‘Religion’ is a human invention that centers on specific rituals and a set of stories that outline a basic moral code and belief system, ‘spirituality’ is a natural reaction on feeling and the way people do behave. Spirituality relates to the spirit or essential essence of humanity. People who say they are spiritual are working to grow and better this inner force. Religious people are generally spiritual people as well, but spiritual people do not necessarily have to be religious. They may work to attain a heightened spirituality through alternative methods. Religions often, but not necessarily, have a hierarchy of initiates, bringing those further into the inner circle, leading the rituals for the general populace. Their rituals may look or seem spiritual but often can be performed on automatic pilot leaving the spiritual out.
English: Graph of timelines for major religions

Graph of timelines for major religions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people may be very religious but not exactly spiritual, not interested to dig deep in themselves. Some religious people are not so much interested in doing the things themselves, but just want to follow set regulations and handlings done in the religious community. They for example just want to sit down in church and be passive, looking and hearing what is going on, with sometimes even having the mind strolling of to somewhere else. Whilst the religion may be brought on by their parents or their environment where they grew up to get spiritual they have to undertake themselves the action to be willing to enter the spirituality which stems from their inner soul, and not from the hierarchy of their religion, their pastors or priests, but is dependent on their will to search in themselves, to look for the very essence of their own being. The spirited approach or spirituality like the religion may come form influences of different sources, where the parents, in first instance or the most important one, and from driving forces in the life of the person, like a God Almighty.

Some think spirituality can be achieved only through the use of every moral quality in its proper place and on its proper occasion. Moral shall influence the way of thinking and the background of material shall give possibilities to think about those theories, values and attitudes. Because being bounded to the natural state of our being in the universe, our ‘natural state of man’ has a very strong relationship with his moral and spiritual states, so much so that even a person’s manner of eating and drinking affects his moral and spiritual states. If the natural state of a person is subjected to the control of the directions of divine law it becomes his moral state and deeply affects his spirituality, as is said that whatever falls into a salt mine is converted into salt. That is why several Holy Scriptures like the Torah, the Bible and the Qur’an have laid stress on physical and psychical cleanliness and postures, and their regulation in relation to all worship and inner purity and spiritual humility.
According to the Bible the first essential quality of a spiritually perfect man is that his relationship should be correct and right both with his Creator God and man, his fellow-creatures. Both relationships should be right and correct which can only retrieved by having righteous conduct, seeking good influences, safeguarding oneself against conduct which is likely to harm the relationships.
The division of ‘morals’ is to be found also in religious faith and in religious life. It is important, therefore, to be clear about religious faith and religious life. There are people who equate religious life with moral life and think they are the same. To them to be religious is to be moral and to be moral is to be religious. This is incorrect and confusing.In religious life ‘morality’ and ‘spirituality’ may be the cornerstones. A man of good moral character may be just moral and be not necessarily religious. He may be a good man but not a perfect man. His moral part is all right, but not his spiritual part. We as human beings should come into ‘a being’ or ‘a creation’ where moral, spirituality and religion are in balance in a correct relationship with the other creatures and with the Creator.

Religious views generally have a great impact on a person’s lifestyle and differing views can cause conflict in relationships. In history we have seen enough examples where the religion was used to come in conflict with other members of the creation. An atheist may be incredibly uncomfortable if their significant other wanted to attend religious services and continue prayers every day. Likewise, a person who is used to being involved in religious practices may feel like something is wrong with them if their boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t want to come with them to their Holy books study or other religious gatherings.
Icon-religion

Many religions cause difficulties in a family or in a community. – Icon-religion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religion may become a stumbling block in a family whilst the spirituality may have the family grow, because it can be independent from the religion. In a family religion can really become a hot mess of opinions, beliefs and arguments. Whereas, spirituality is life affirming. Even atheist can be a spiritual human being. Spirituality is a way of life. It is the only way to conquer ignorance. the spirituality is looking to get out of spiritual blindness which may cause enough foolishness, benightedness, unenlightenment. Spirituality may take the person beyond his first thought limits and bring him or her out of mental darkness. It is understanding that we all are part of a whole. The realm of spirituality is mystical and mysterious. When we look at the world with an attitude of wonder and awe, we become aware that the world is filled with spiritual life. Part of spirituality is being willing to admit that something is beyond our comprehension. With our materialistic attitude and ego-tripping of today, many having a high quality ore it is difficult for them to come to the science in understanding the world, trying to find answers they may never find. When we look at the universe and into our own hearts and see that which we don’t understand, we know that we have touched that which is unknowable and holy. To come to the acceptance of nullity is the most difficult part of spirituality. Only by willing to see  the futility of our self, accepting that insignificance we shall be able to become really spiritual. though we may be religious it can well be that we are not at all spiritual.

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Preceding article: Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Read also:

  1. Faith
  2. Living in faith
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Religion and spirituality
  5. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  7. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  8. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  9. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  10. How should we react against the world
  11. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  12. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  13. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  14. Childish or reasonable ways
  15. Words to push and pull
  16. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  17. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  18. If we, in our prosperity, neglect religious instruction and authority
  19. Can we not do what Jesus did?
  20. Making church
  21. Church sent into the world
  22. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  23. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  24. True riches
  25. If you have integrity
  26. Happiness is like manna
  27. Happiness an inner state
  28. Poetry of Peace

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Additional reading:

  1. A Soul Wrapped in Vanity
  2. Identify With Your Soul by Ram Dass
  3. Relationship with God

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religiosity-cover-test-2

religiosity-cover-test-2 (Photo credit: jeffmikels)

  • The Rise of Religion Might Be All About Sex (alternet.org)
    A study suggests religion might have arisen to protect certain reproductive strategies, like long-term partnership.
  • Is There Still a Place for Religion? (virtuoussociety.com)
    Sociologists juxtapose the low religiosity of countries in Northern Europe with their low rates of crime and poverty. Unbelievers in America remark that religious people are over-represented in US prisons—and under-represented among its scientists and thinkers. In the opinion of many researchers, the statistical landscape of religion is bleak.
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    the US states with the lowest incarceration rates have the lowest levels of religiosity. But when controlling for race, income and other social factors by way of regression methods, Stark finds that religion is actually negatively correlated with violent crime.
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    To the extent that social scientists have neglected rigorous analysis in favor of more agreeable correlations, they must re-evaluate their assumptions, and paint their portrait of religious society in finer strokes, and from a wider palette. They will likely find that faith does not cast a shadow on modernity, but rather lights its way.
  • Texas A&M professor blends neuroscience, religion in new course (believervsnonbelievers.wordpress.com)
    In the apparent conflict between science and religion, many are turning to the field of neuroscience to weigh in on debates like whether the Book of Revelation was based on an inspired dream, like Paul said it was, or a simple neurological process.
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    With more than 50 years of research and teaching experience across the entire spectrum of neuroscience, Klemm admits that his emphasis is on neuroscience, because, as he says it, “I’m not a preacher,” but he wants the students to take their own religious beliefs and try to make the connection with what he teaches them about neuroscience.
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    Religionists hold that humans have free will and are accountable for their beliefs and choices, while scientific experiments have led scientists to believe that free will is an illusion.
  • Supplementary Materials on Spirituality and Religion (chermercado.wordpress.com)
    For those who want to expand their understanding of the topic and Spirituality and Religion, you may refer to the following links below. I’ve provided some points of reflection that should help you re-think things though you may not necessarily agree with them.
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    Some Thoughts about the Integration of Spirituality and Religion
    The tendency of people who claim to be Spiritual but not religious is to treat faith as if it were a buffet: cherry-picking only the good parts and leaving the rest behind (as explained by the meme above). It’s convenient and satisfying but it doesn’t capture the essence of real faith.
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    Faith is a matter of reciprocity because it is a two-way street.
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    In summary, if your aim is to develop a personal but life-giving spirituality, it needs a check-in balance system to make sure it does just that. This check-in balance is easily provided by organized religion.
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    The Value of Community in Christian Spirituality
    To relate with the Church, then, is to concretely relate with Jesus, who is God afterall. If you find yourself having a difficult time dealing with the Church’s imperfection, that’s insight in itself into how it might be like for God to be dealing with each and everyone of us. To relate with others (the Church), then, is to get to know more how God relates with us and how He has to deal with our petty problems and imperfections.
  • Religion Vs. Spiritual (etsuwmst.wordpress.com)
    Many people religious background comes from what their parents instill in them but once they reach a certain age is where they find their true calling as to what they think and feel is right. Realistically most people just conform into whatever is most common to them.
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    Religion is organized; it’s more of a physical thing. Like something imaginable as far as seeing or feeling. Religion is instituted by man. In a religion there are many gods, although they are serving the same purpose. Just like there are many beliefs in religion. Where a spiritual person does not have an organized way about being spiritual, it is all within yourself. It’s more of being spiritual than something being physical.
  • Religiosity Raises Risk Among Sex Offenders, Clergy More Dangerous Than Other Groups (atheistrev.com)
    Male clergy accused of sex crimes were found to be more dangerous in some important ways than matched non-clergy offenders (Langevin, Curnoe, & Bain, 2000). And religiosity was positively associated with the number of convictions for sex crimes and the number of victims among convicted male sex offenders (Eshuys & Smallbone, 2006). It was also inversely related to the age of the victims (i.e., more religious offenders tended to victimize younger children).Parents place clergy on pedestals due to their presumed connection to some sort of “god,” and they teach their children to do the same. They lower their guard because the pastor wouldn’t possibly do things like that. Clergy are often viewed as morally superior to the rest of us, and the same goes for highly religious non-clergy. They are given the benefit of the doubt again and again. We couldn’t possibly question behavior that would never be tolerated in other contexts. And this continues despite evidence that clergy and highly religious persons may actually be more dangerous to our children.
  • Who is religious? (suryanarayanarajumd.wordpress.com)
    Common man understands religion by belonging to certain religion or belief system, he follows the pattern followed by crowd, mob by going to temple on certain dates, enjoys the entertainment involved in it.But religiosity is an inner science, “doing” is relevent to outer but “non-doing” is the key to inner exploration which does not mean laziness but it demands heightened awareness. With heightened awareness you touch a point from which you witness the seemingly opposite things are complimentary both in the outer and the inner.
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    First when you are not doing bodily or mentally which include thinking, concentration, contemplation, when all activity caeses “you simply are”, “just be”.
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    develop the skill of watching self activity which is nothing but self-inquiry.As you go on watching self activity from your center of being, thought process slows down, there is radical change in self-activity and one fine day self stops functioning when it is not required. Mind is not enemy but because of lack of awareness in functining of daily activities at present it is dictating our way of life. Mind means past plus future. But life is in the present.
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    The whole education makes the human mind conditioned to trust only in objects which he can dissect their basic constituents.

    The problem arises when when one tries to analyze the subject in the same way. An average mans thinks of Self in an objective way.

    But the nature of subjectivity is that it cannot be observed. That which is observable is not your subject.

    Meditation, watchfulness is the key to explore the inner. With watchfulness a distance is created between the watcher and the mind.

    As watchfulness crystallizes the distance becomes longer and longer. Soon the mind is so far away you can hardly feel that it exists.

  • Spirituality is the world around us (realmof13.wordpress.com)
    God and spirituality are pretty controversial subjects in this day and age.  I myself have run the full circle of beliefs, not really wandering, but falling into the next one based of experiences and changes of perception.  I have never been the biggest fan of organized religion, but I have recognized the good it does for those who participate with good intention in their hearts.
  • Religious vs. Spiritual (reginayflorence.wordpress.com)
    Many people study different types of religions. It says “ the fact that many of the negative things which people attribute to religions are features of some forms of some religions(usually Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), but not of other religions (like Taoism or Buddhism).” We are stating that being spiritual is expressing our religion. By worshiping our spirit it shows that our religion is more than that. It is a way of getting deeper with him(God). It bring a deeper meaning to us when we believe.
  • Relying on Religion (creativesolblog.wordpress.com)
    Many conversations concerning the topic of religion get quite personal, emotional and out of hand fairly fast. This is the case so often that common etiquette generally recommends that one avoids the subject all together (especially at the dinner table).

Are Science and the Bible Compatible?

“The significance and joy in my science comes in the occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, ‘So that’s how God did it!’”— Henry Schaefer, professor of chemistry.

Science does much to help us understand the natural world, revealing a level of order, precision, and sophistication that points, in the eyes of many, to a God of infinite intelligence and power. In their view, science reveals not just details of the natural world but also facets of the mind of God.

That point of view finds abundant support in the Bible. Says Romans 1:20:

“[God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.”

Likewise, Psalm 19:1, 2 states:

“The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling. One day after another day causes speech to bubble forth, and one night after another night shows forth knowledge.”

Despite all its wonders, however, the natural world reveals only some aspects of our Creator.

Where Science Is Limited

Many truths about God are beyond the scope of science. To illustrate, a scientist may be able to describe every molecule in a chocolate cake, but will his analysis reveal why the cake was made or for whom? For answers to questions like that—which most people would regard as the more important ones—he needs to consult the person who baked the cake.

Description : Erwin Schrödinger, Austrian phys...

Erwin Schrödinger, Austrian physicist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Similarly, science “gives a lot of factual information,” wrote Austrian physicist and Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger, “but it is ghastly silent about all . . . that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us.” This includes, he says, “God and eternity.” For example, only God can answer such questions as the following:
Why is there a universe? Why does our planet have an abundance of life, including intelligent life? If God truly is almighty, why does he permit evil and suffering? And is there hope beyond the grave?

Has God answered those questions? Yes, in the pages of the Bible.

16 All Scripture is inspired of God+ and beneficial for teaching,+ for reproving, for setting things straight,* for disciplining in righteousness,+ 17 so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

‘But how,’ you may ask, ‘can I be sure that the Bible really is from God?’ From a scientific point of view, what the Bible says about the world around us must harmonize with scientific fact, for God does not contradict himself. Does the Bible reflect such harmony? Consider a few examples.

Scientifically Ahead of Its Time

When the Bible was being written, many people believed that various gods inhabited the world and that those gods, not natural laws, controlled the sun, the moon, the weather, fertility, and so on. But that was not the case with the ancient Hebrew prophets of God. Of course, they knew that Jehovah God could directly control the natural world and that he did so on specific occasions.

12 It was then, on the day that Jehovah routed the Am′or·ites before the eyes of the Israelites, that Joshua said to Jehovah before Israel: “Sun, stand still+ over Gib′e·on,+ And moon, over the Valley* of Ai′ja·lon!” 13 So the sun stood still and the moon did not move until the nation could take vengeance on its enemies. Is it not written in the book of Ja′shar?+ The sun stood still in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to set for about a whole day. 14 There has never been a day like that one, either before it or after it, when Jehovah listened to the voice of a man,+ for Jehovah was fighting for Israel.+(Joshua 10:12-14)

Isaiah replied: “This is the sign from Jehovah to show you that Jehovah will carry out the word that he has spoken: Do you want the shadow on the stairway* to move forward ten steps or back ten steps?”+ 10 Hez·e·ki′ah said: “It is an easy thing for the shadow to extend itself ten steps but not to go back ten steps.” 11 So Isaiah the prophet called out to Jehovah, and He made the shadow on the stairway of A′haz go back ten steps after it had already descended the steps.+ (2 Kings 20:9-11)

Nevertheless, John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, England, observed that those prophets

“did not have to have their universe de-deified [of mythical gods]. . . , for the simple reason that they had never believed in the gods in the first place. What had saved them from that superstition was their belief in One True God, Creator of heaven and earth.”

How did that belief protect them from superstition? For one thing, the true God revealed to them that he governs the universe by precise laws, or statutes. For example, more than 3,500 years ago, Jehovah God asked his servant Job:

“Have you come to know the statutes of the heavens?” (Job 38:33)

In the seventh century B.C.E., the prophet Jeremiah wrote about “the statutes of heaven and earth.”—Jeremiah 33:25.

Hence, all who lived in ancient times and had faith in the writings of the Bible prophets could know that the universe was governed, not by mythical, temperamental deities, but by rational laws. As a result, those God-fearing individuals neither bowed down to created entities, such as the sun, the moon, or the stars, nor did they have a superstitious attitude toward them.

15 “Therefore, watch yourselves closely*—since you did not see any form on the day Jehovah spoke to you in Ho′reb out of the middle of the fire— 16 that you may not act corruptly by making for yourselves any carved image having the form of any symbol, the representation of male or female,+ 17 the representation of any animal on the earth or the representation of any bird that flies in the sky,+ 18 the representation of anything creeping on the ground or the representation of any fish in the waters under the earth.+ 19 And when you raise your eyes to the heavens and see the sun and the moon and the stars—all the army of the heavens—do not get seduced and bow down to them and serve them.+ Jehovah your God has given them to all the peoples under the whole heavens. (Deuteronomy 4:15-19)

Rather, they saw God’s works as objects of study that reveal his wisdom, power, and other qualities.

When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, The moon and the stars that you have prepared,+ What is mortal man that you keep him in mind, And a son of man that you take care of him?+ You made him a little lower than godlike ones,*And you crowned him with glory and splendor. You gave him dominion over the works of your hands;+You have put everything under his feet: All the flocks and cattle,As well as the wild animals,*+ The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.  O Jehovah our Lord, how majestic your name is throughout the earth! (Psalm 8:3-9)

19 Jehovah founded the earth in wisdom.+ He solidly established the heavens in discernment.+ 20 By his knowledge the watery deeps were split apart And the cloudy skies dripped with dew.+ (Proverbs 3:19, 20).

In harmony with today’s views

In harmony with the views of many scientists today, the ancient Hebrews also believed that the universe had a beginning.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” says Genesis 1:1.

bibles

bibles (Photo credit: fancycwabs)

Also, some 3,500 years ago, God revealed to his servant Job that the earth ‘hangs on nothing,’ or is suspended in space. (Job 26:7) And finally, more than 2,500 years ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote that the earth is a circle or sphere.

22 There is One who dwells above the circle* of the earth,+ And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He is stretching out the heavens like a fine gauze, And he spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.+ (Isaiah 40:22).* {For a more extensive discussion on the existence of God and the accuracy of the Bible, please read the brochure Was Life Created? and the book Is There a Creator Who Cares About You? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.}

Yes, the Bible does harmonize with scientific truths about the natural world. In fact, the two fields of study are more than compatible — they beautifully complement each other. To disregard either one is to leave unopened a door to the knowledge of God.

105 Your word is a lamp to my foot, And a light for my path.+ (Psalm 119:105)

26 “Lift up your eyes to heaven and see. Who has created these things?+ It is the One who brings out their army by number; He calls them all by name.+ Because of his vast dynamic energy and his awe-inspiring power,+ Not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26.)

We may conclude that in the Bible we can find a scientific accuracy in describing basic “kinds” of life. Those description which have been proven by the years strengthens also the credibility in other areas, including history and prophecy.

We should find the God of gods as the Source of infinite power, or energy.

23  Understanding the Almighty is beyond our reach;+ He is great in power,+ And he never violates his justice+ and abundant righteousness.+ (Job 37:23)

Standing still at God His wondrous works

We cannot order God His speech by reason of darkness, but we can stand still and consider the wondrous works of God in everything we can see around us. Human beings do want to have an explanation for everything, but they just can not. Never shall human being have the same knowledge as the Supreme Being Who is the Source of the “vast dynamic energy” that produced the universe. (Isaiah 40:26)

Scientist shall not be able to change the system in the essence, but it will be God Who shall use his supreme power to sustain His creation. Many people even would like to tell others that the world would become destroyed and shall not exist any-more after some time, but the Bible says regarding the sun, moon, and stars that the Creator God shall keep them established forever and ever.

148 1 Praise Jah!* Praise Jehovah from the heavens;+ Praise him in the heights. 2   Praise him, all his angels.+ Praise him, all his army.+ 3   Praise him, sun and moon. Praise him, all shining stars.+ 4   Praise him, O highest heavens*  And waters above the heavens. 5   Let them praise the name of Jehovah,
For he commanded, and they were created.+ 6   He keeps them established forever and ever;+ He has issued a decree that will not pass away.+ (Psalm 148:1-3-6).

Many human beings searched for explanations and wanted to explain the beginning of the universe. Though in simple terms the the Bible explains creation in a way that harmonizes with science and also gives answers to questions that science cannot, — such as, What is God’s purpose for the earth and for mankind? *

The astronomer Allan Sandage once said:

“Science cannot answer the deepest questions. As soon as you ask why is there something instead of nothing, you have gone beyond science.”

+

Preceding articles:

Bible containing scientific information

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?

Next: Reconciling Science and Religion

Dutch version / Nederlandstalige versie: Stemt de Bijbel overeen met de wetenschap

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Additional reading:

  1. The True God, Divine Creator or God of gods
  2. Incomplete without the mind of God
  3. Suffering
  4. Suffering-through the apparent silence of God
  5. Hope for the future
  6. Gods hope and our hope
  7. Prophecy pamphlet
  8. Is it “Wrong” to Believe that the Earth is a Sphere? Inclusive the first generation of Christadelphians their views
  9. A dialogue about the earth moving and spinning around the sun
  10. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  11. Everyday beauty

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  • Why I Love the Bible (richardmansel.com)
    the Bible is more than just a book. It is a living thing, breathing wisdom and power. It is a message from God and a window to the future. Nothing else exists like the Bible in the entire universe.
  • Answers in Genesis takes on Bill O’Reilly over Bible comment (tnchristiannews.wordpress.com)
    The Bible is the history of mankind; to call it only a theological book is to miss the whole point of Christianity.
    +
    The Bible Is a book of history–it’s a book of historical science. That’s why I teach thousands of kids each year to say “The Bible is the history book of the universe.’
  • Costco apologizes for labelling Bible as fiction (sunnewsnetwork.ca)
    A California pastor who tweeted a photo of a Bible labelled as fiction at his local Costco says a boycott of the chain is unnecessary.But Caleb Kaltenbach told the show Fox and Friends it is at times like this that “Christians in America need to stand up for their faith.”
  • Abusing Love: Why God’s “Love” Makes Me Cringe (n8carlson.wordpress.com)
    God’s love is manifest in the Gospel. The Gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). The Gospel is for the salvation from sin for believers. It is offensive. The Gospel tells an individual that they are a sinner, that they have rebelled against God, and that they cannot do anything to fix that. The Gospel does not affirm people as good people. It is not tolerant. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is God’s way and no other’s.
  • Unified Truth: Faith and Reason (str.typepad.com)
    Personally, not a huge fan of Thomas Aquinas. Greek philosophy is not compatible with Christian theology, except in a few areas. In Greek philosophy, the body is bad. In Christian theology, the body is good and will be redeemed eventually by God. Greek philosophy has brought us off course in our understanding of eschatology and other important things on many occasions in the church. I am a bit wary about some of what Thomas Aquinas believes because of that. (Jared Berryman)
    +
    As Aquinas did, Evangelicals conflate reason with truth. With their puffed-up minds, they think that if an argument can be made concerning Scripture using reason, then their reasoning constitutes the truth. For example, some of these wisdom lovers claim that God’s greatest attribute is His sovereignty. Surely reason tells us this apparent fact, but it isn’t found anywhere in Scripture; rather, it is their philosophical presupposition. (Sebastian Gonzales)
  • Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom by Robert M. Woods (facebookapostles.org)
    prior to the Enlightenment, wisdom was closely connected to reason. For them to reason, reflect, imagine, conjecture, was part of what it meant to act faithfully in accordance with being in the image of God. As it related to the four causes expounded by Aristotle and adhered to by Thomas, wisdom is an understanding of the final cause. Sadly, this has all but been lost in science and philosophy today.Is it possible that one reason Philosophy is ridiculed by so many today as irrelevant and outdated is because it lost its way a few hundred years ago and has never fully found the way back to the path. If philosophy was still about the blending of the theoretical and the practical, the reflection and the proper moral action, one can imagine that there would be many who would come to love and live wisdom.
  • Jerry Coyne’s Twisted History of Science and Religion (forbes.com)
    What’s truly amazing is just how much science early Christians were doing. John Philoponus (c. 490 – c. 570) was one of the first Christian professors in Alexandria. Historians today are stunned by his achievements.As a Christian, Philoponus was happy to ditch pagan orthodoxy and start afresh. So he was the first to actually do the experiment of dropping stones, proving Aristotle wrong about falling objects. Alas, shortly after he died, Egypt was invaded by the Persians and then by the Arabs. Alexandria lost its status as an important center of learning, while the Byzantine Empire went into siege mode as it fought an existential struggle for survival. Not a great environment for science!
    +It is truly amazing how many alleged instances of Christianity holding back science turn out to be completely bogus. Legends that the Church banned zero, fought lightning rods or anesthesia, excommunicated Halley’s Comet, and forbade human dissection all turn out to be false. The most widely cited example – the persecution of Galileo – was as much about politics as science. (Galileo purposefully insulted the Pope, which was not a wise move. For more on Bruno, the trial of Galileo, and a whole lot more, see James Hannam’s book, The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution.)Dr. Coyne continues:

    There was and still is, of course, opposition to science by Christians. The greatest opponent of biology’s greatest theory—evolution—has always been Christianity.

    Untrue. The writings of influential Church Father Thomas Aquinas hint that he would have accepted evolution. Besides, singling out Christianity as uniquely opposed to “biology’s greatest theories” overlooks the biggest enemy of genetics in the 20th Century: Soviet Communism. Communists rejected the work of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel (the latter, of course, a Catholic monk). Instead, they embraced the Stalin-approved Lamarckian vision of Trofim Lysenko, setting back Soviet genetics by decades.

  • How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidence (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    The absolute origin of the universe out of nothing is also incompatible with atheism, Buddhism, Mormonism, etc. because they also require an eternally existing universe.
    +
    If you prove that the universe is eternal than would falsify the Bible’s claim that God created the universe out of nothing. That would be a scientific disproof. If you could find the body of Jesus still inside a tomb, that would falsify the Bible’s claim about a resurrection. That would be a historical disproof. The nice thing about Christianity is that we make lots of testable claims. Christianity is about forming beliefs that are in line with the available evidence.
  • What Caused the Big Bang? A Master Mason and Knight Templar Offers a Unique New Approach to Multiverse Cosmology (prweb.com)
    “When you understand that Consciousness and Identity are convertible, your spiritual understanding explodes. You no longer need any form of religion, belief, doctrine, or even a conventional identity,” Augustine stated. “My work can expand a person beyond their boundaries and into a new and higher level of Consciousness and spiritual understanding. This is why my subtitle of my book is ‘Consciousness and Enlightenment in the Internet Age and Beyond.'”
  • Creation (illustrationstoencourage.wordpress.com)
    Modern science agrees that the universe had a beginning. A recent scientific model suggests it to be almost 14 billion years old.
    +
    The false ideas of creationists could lead you to dismiss the Bible altogether. On the other hand, if the Bible actually contains a credible account of creation, you stand to benefit from its storehouse of “practical wisdom.”—Proverbs 3:21.
  • What Is the Meaning of Life? (illustrationstoencourage.wordpress.com)
    The question of the meaning of life may be asked in many ways, such as Why are we here?        or Does my life have a purpose? The Bible shows that our purpose in life is to build a        friendship with God. Consider some of these fundamental truths that the Bible reveals.
  • I Don’t Feel Good About My Life—Can Religion, God, or the Bible Help? (illustrationstoencourage.wordpress.com)
    The Bible, an ancient book of wisdom, provides answers to life’s important questions and can help you to feel better and have a sense of well-being.
  • Jehovah’s Witness Systematic Theology: Doctrine of Jehovah (trueforms.wordpress.com)
    “True, you cannot see God because he is an invisible spirit. (John 1:184:241 Timothy 1:17) By learning about him through the pages of the Bible, however, you can come to know him as a person.”
    (What Does the Bible Really Teach?, What is the Truth about God?)

    “No human has ever seen God because he is a Spirit, which means that he is a higher form of life than the physical creatures who live on earth. (John 1:18; 4:24) Nevertheless, we can discern God’s personality from the things he has made. For instance, the variety of fruits and flowers tells us of his love and wisdom. The size of the universe tells us of his power.—Read Romans 1:20.

    We can learn even more about God’s personality by reading the Bible. For example, it tells us what God likes and what he does not like, how he treats people, and how he reacts in different situations.—Read Psalm 103:7-10.”
    (JW, Good News from God, Who is God?)

Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics

Since 1872 when the UK Parliament authorised public meetings, very Sunday, Londoners gather at ‘Speaker’s Corner’ in Hyde Park to talk, debate and preach about whatever they choose.

In the 1970ies wherever you went in London you could find street corner preachers of which some also presented themselves as prophets. They where full of fire and let their spirit go over many listeners and curious onlookers.  Often they acted as if they were deeply concerned about the fate of souls. With those who disagreed with they were willing to show their way of thinking was right.

The street corner preachers are gone, but today we have the online preachers. Their attitude does seem to be quite similar like their old colleague’s. John Blake from CNN does find you can tell that those contemporary street corner preachers relish the prospect of eternal torment for their online enemies.

Some don’t even try to hide their true motives:

“I hope you like worms because you will have your own personal worm to feed off your fat drippings in hell for all eternity…”

That’s what a commenter called “HeavenSent” said to another following an article on evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. HeavenSent ended his malediction with one word: “Amen.”

Okay, so that’s the wrong way to argue about religion online if you’re a street corner prophet. Now, here’s the right way:

Not everyone who disagrees with you deserves eternal torment. People rarely listen to someone who is in perpetual attack mode.

MSN Classic sign-in screen

MSN Classic sign-in screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I had my MSN blog and reacted on several MSN Groups I encountered often very unchristian attitudes and even got several viruses especially send to my mailbox. Some reactors or so called Christians would not have hesitated to put shit in my mailbox. It was incredible how some people who I did not know personally, and who did not really knew me, reacted and called me all sorts of names. Those Christian shouters were all the time Trinitarians defending their belief as the only one belief. Non-trinitarians were called heretics and even nonbelievers, though according to me everybody does belief something.

 

The first page of the Nicomachean Ethics in Gr...

The first page of the Nicomachean Ethics in Greek and Latin, from a 1566 edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aristotle who could not be called ‘a believer’ in his Nicomachean Ethics believed already that people could study ethics and by doing so could become good, and in so doing become a virtuous, flourishing, fulfilled, happy human being.
The agnostic as a person who claims, with respect to any particular question, that the answer cannot be known with certainty, may have an open mind about religious belief, especially the existence of God, but often believes that because there is no reference to any concept of gods or the supernatural that it does not mean there would be not such special power or not something after death.

The humanist, who wants to take a philosophical position that stresses the autonomy of human reason in contradistinction to the authority of the Church, may believe that moral values follow on from human nature and experience in some way. Most humanists would agree or believe that people should work together to improve the quality of life for all and make it more equitable. According to some, humanism is a full philosophy, “life stance” or worldview, rather than being about one aspect of religion, knowledge, or politics.

With many who say they are “non-religious” we can find the believe in humanity. Many of them look for the way and sense of life. Even when they reject the idea of any supernatural agency, they are aware of the universe and the placing of the human being in the whole ‘creation‘. They also belief we should look for ways to make the best out of the world.

Sceptics as either doubter, cynic or a person who believes the worst about people or the outcome of events, perhaps may swear that they do not believe in anything, but already by swearing they confess a certain believe. It is their belief that there is doubt about all the many religious sayings, myths, supernatural or “paranormal” beliefs. More than one cynic believes that people always act selfishly and that people are malformed by their upbringing and cultural environment..

 Organizers of the “Open Hearts, Open Minds” conference at an Oct. 15 press conference: from left, Frances Kissling of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter Singer of Princeton, Jennifer Miller of Bioethics International, and Charles Camosy of Fordham.

Organizers of the “Open Hearts, Open Minds” conference at an Oct. 15 press conference: from left, Frances Kissling of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter Singer of Princeton, Jennifer Miller of Bioethics International, and Charles Camosy of Fordham.

Charles Camosy, who teaches Christian ethics at Fordham University in New York City may find those who give criticism, those who go against somebody his thoughts, are justified to do so, and we should understand that they sometimes react in ways we would not expect. His academic work focuses in biomedical ethics, but he is also very interested in the confluence of ethics, theology and politics in our public sphere more broadly.

In his work the Roman Catholic got confronted with many opinions. He did not mind to look at discussable subjects, like we would like to tackle on this platform. As such he has spent considerable time working to find ways to dial down the polarization in our public sphere and fruitfully engage difficult issues like abortion, euthanasia, treatment of non-human animals, and health care distribution.

According to him and us, the key of understanding and ability to talk about such subjects is to be open for an other opinion and to have

intellectual solidarity with those who think differently.

In his second book Camosy engages the first sustained and fruitful conversation between Peter Singer and Christian ethics — and once again considers a wide variety of bioethical and social issues. As a non-typical Catholic moral theologian he questions how Singer can push Catholic ethics to greater depth and how Catholic ethics can push Peter Singer to greater depth. For example, on the issue of abortion, the differences appear insurmountable. Singer not only holds that abortion can be morally licit but also infanticide.

In Camosy his work he points out several areas of commonality, and that is what many Christians overlook. Being part of the same body, the Body of Christ, using the same book as their base, the Bible, they should have more things in common or otherwise it would be clear that they are not following their so called teacher Jesus of Nazareth.

Camosy says that online discussions about religion are difficult because they are not in person. Tone and nuance gets lost online.

“You can’t look them in the face,” he said. “You can’t shake their hand or give a hug. You find it very difficult to have that sort of embodied trust.”

According to John Blake who witnessed some of the nastiest religious arguments online

It’s too bad that many of the exchanges between atheists and people of faith in our comments section don’t follow the same script.

He gets the source of frustration for some atheists.

They have longed been caricatured by people of faith as moral degenerates who don’t care about morality. Some of them, in turn, have caricatured people of faith as weak-minded hypocrites who believe in fairy tales.

Whatever a person may believe or how he may look at those who believe certain things, he should know that everybody may have a field in which he may know a lot. We should know that we can not know everything and can not have enough knowledge in the many fields of science. For many it is difficult to accept that there is a limit to knowledge also for themselves.

To debate about religion should not mean to go to war against those who think differently. In case we are interested in religion we may encounter some extreme interpretations and reactions, knowing that many thoughts come from the emotional heart.

In interviews after the Rutgers event, Singer and Camosy each gave the same answer: dogmatism. Camosy elaborates:

Furthermore, I think most disagreement comes – not from differences in evidence in argument – but because of social or emotive reasons. Someone is turned off by a group of people who hold a particular view, or part of their self-identity comes from not being like another group, and thus the arguments are built on top of that first principle as to why such a group holds mistaken views. And so on.

James Goodrich writes:

We would be naïve to think that there aren’t overly dogmatic persons or those who define themselves by their opposition in both camps. Given this thought, could it be the case that we ourselves, in some sense, are responsible for a lack of ethical progress? Could progress be made if we all were all actually able to sit down together with open minds and our best arguments? I think it’s not irrational to be hopeful. It is unlikely that we can completely do away with some level of dogmatism, but if the reason disagreement persists is in part due to social reasons, then perhaps given enough time progress is indeed obtainable.

We might come to find, at least with respect to ethics, that religious and secular thinkers really did just start from different places at the base of the mountain and will someday meet at the peak.

According to it’s probably one of the most intractable and complex questions in philosophy to know how free will, determinism and moral responsibility work together. Those who call themselves Christians should have a certain moral and an attitude to all people who are according the Bible created in the image of God and part of His Masterwork. Of those who call themselves children of the Creator God you would expect moral responsibility.

Charles Camosy

our will needs to be, at some important juncture, determined by something we identify with as ‘us’.  What specific kinds of things might these be?  Well, the normal things you might imagine: our interests, goals, values, moral convictions, characters, motivations, processes of deliberation, etc.  (And additionally, these things need to be left up to us and not ultimately determined by some other mind with their own interests, goals, etc… among a few other clauses which space won’t permit.)

In many religious groups though, we may find that the disagreements there are should not always be such a terrible stumbling block. Lots of time many similarities can be found, or little details which are not as important to the outcome, they may think.

As children of God we should respect the other creations of God, and accept that they may have their own interests and their own believes. We should imagine a multitude of possibilities in this world, or models of the way the world could be. We also should accept that not everybody wants to choose the same things or the same order. We should leave them the liberty to choose freely,

pick between them based on our personal interests and values a la Hume.

When defining free will simply (and crudely) as “an uncaused will” or “caused by nothing but ‘myself’”, you get the kinds of tensions that keep some determinists up at night.  However, why define it this way?  Why not define it differently?

We all have a very real experience of free will, of choosing between live ‘options’, and of being morally ‘responsible’.  There is a very real phenomena I seem to be pointing at with these words that begs an explanation.  So it seems that there are really two separate kinds of free wills, or ways in which we use the term free will.  Specifically, ‘free will’ can refer to 1) a concept or definition or 2) a phenomena we experience.

Cupido

To understand this think of “Love”.  Love is an very real and powerful emotion, yet there are a thousand definitions and understandings of what it is and causes it.  Psychologists, sociologists, evolutionary biologists, and theologians all understand the term differently and operate on different academic definitions.  So in the first way we could, for instance, simply define “love” as “mutually altruistic pair emotional and social bonding” and then work off of that definition.  Then, in contrast, I could ask: What is this phenomena over here in front of me that we all experience and often call ‘love’? And, further, why accept this definition of ‘love’ as opposed to some other?  How should we define this phenomena and what characterizes it?

When we do have the capacity to take things in perspective we should try to understand others’ differing interests. Out of our love for the creation we should feel empathy and show understanding, trying also to learn from the other person his ideas, intelligence or sense. Each of us should know that it is not because we might have a strong personal opinion or interpretation of a subject that the other opinion could not be right as well or could not receive our sympathy as well. Though sometimes there may be a close similarity in appearance or quality; inherent likeness, we should be wiling to see. It just demands a free spirit who puts away the selfishness of the ego, liking its own ideas.

We better should look for the quality of fitting or working harmoniously with one another, trying to find ways to make this living space a better space for every one, whatever they may like or whatever opinion they would like to hold on.

Like we should treat kids we should take the right attitude to people around us. We should look at them with investigating minds, not condemning the situations or actions straight ahead. We should look for harmony between things, ideas, and where we see something going right or wrong we should mention the good things first.

Moral blame and praise (very different from punishment and rewards, btw), holding people accountable for their actions, and other moral considerations daily effect how we think about our choices and make our decisions.

Holding people morally responsible, promoting moral values, etc still has tangible and valuable effects on peoples’ conscious and subconscious deliberations and life choices.

agrees , but he also thinks

Even if ‘free will’, crudely defined, creates problems for moral responsibility, again, who cares?

Those who are aware of the Higher Being and belief that we live in a temporary system, should care, and try to come to good alternatives.

may believe that in the 3000 yr old tradition of Philosophy, the discussion about God and ethics was pretty much finished with Plato in the Euthyphro Dialogue. The question about what ‘right’, ‘good’, and other moral terms actually are may still be on many tongues. We as citizens should listen to the worldly lawmakers, but should always put the Most Important  and Most High Lawmaker in the first place.
Paul Chiariello who is currently studying for his PhD in Philosophy at Yale University and who is also the assistant coordinator and webmaster at the Humanist Chaplaincy at Rutgers University, gives a good answer:

So like ideal teachers, parents and legislators, God instead commands and loves what is already right and good, independent of his commanding/loving it.  God has, in a sense, figured out ethics already (being omniscient and whatnot) and then tells us about it.

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Please do find to read:

  1. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  2. Being prudent – zorgvuldig zijn
  3. Choices
  4. Choosing your attitudes
  5. Not the circumstances in which we are placed constitutes our comfort
  6. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  7. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  8. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  9. How us to behave
  10. Not liking your Christians
  11. Who are the honest ones?
  12. Greatest single cause of atheism
  13. What’s church for, anyway? (by Marcus Ampe)
  14. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  15. How we think shows through in how we act
  16. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  17. If you want to go far in life
  18. People should know what you stand for
  19. The manager and Word of God
  20. Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing
  21. A learning process for each of us
  22. Are Christadelphians so Old Fashioned?
  23. Feed Your Faith Daily
  24. Followers with deepening
  25. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  26. Unconditional love
  27. Life and attitude of a Christian
  28. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  29. Work with joy and pray with love
  30. Abhor evil. Adhere to goodness
  31. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  32. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  33. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  34. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  35. A Living Faith #9 Our Manner of Life
  36. It is free will choice
  37. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  38. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  39. You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind
  40. Ask Grace to go forward
  41. Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal
  42. Spread love everywhere you go
  43. Don’t wait to catch a healthy attitude
  44. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap
  45. Finish each day and be done with it
  46. Christadelphian people

Those who understand Dutch can also find:

  1. Uitkijken voor de steeds groter wordende kloof tussen wereld en kerk
  2. Zorgvuldigheid of oplettendheid
  3. Grootste oorzaak van atheïsme in de wereld zijn de Christenen
  4. Niet houden van dat soort Christenen
  5. Woede Oordeel en veroordeling
  6. Niet de omstandigheden waarin we geplaatst zijn vormen onze troost
  7. Hoe we denken schijnt door in hoe we handelen
  8. Onze houding naar anderen belangrijk om te overtuigen
  9. Een norm waaraan de verstandigen en eerlijken zich kunnen herstellen optrekken
  10. Als je ver wilt gaan in het leven
  11. Mensen moeten weten waar je voor staat
  12. Tot bewust zijn komen voor huidig leven
  13. Je verliest alleen energie wanneer het leven saai in je geest wordt
  14. Vergeet niet dat wie je bent slechts zo belangrijk is als wat je doet
  15. Beoordeel niet elke dag door de oogst die je plukt
  16. De Bekeerling, bekeringsactie en bekering
  17. Christen, Jood of Volk van God
  18. Christen genoemd
  19. Christenmensen met ons geloof
  20. Welk soort leven moet een Christen hebben?
  21. Christen worden iets anders dan lid worden van een kerk.
  22. Volgelingen met de vrucht van verdieping
  23. Hoe ons te gedragen
  24. Handel alsof alles wat je denkt, zegt en doet uw hele leven bepaalt
  25. Neem afstand van het kwade
  26. Kleed jezelf met compassie, zachtheid, vriendelijkheid, nederigheid, en geduld
  27. Vraag Genade om voorwaarts te gaan
  28. Christadelphian mens
  29. Zijn Christadelphians zo ‘Old fashioned’?

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Additional reading:

  1. What’s church for, anyway? (by )
  2. Four Reasons Why Determinism is Irrelevant to Ethics & Free Will
  3. Christian ethics and Peter Singer
  4. Peter Singer & Christian Ethics
  5. Seeking common ground
  6. A Quick Report from ‘Christian Ethics Engages Peter Singer’ this Past Week at Oxford
  7. Euthyphro’s Dilemma: Why Atheists & Theists are Stuck in the Same Ethical Boat
  8. Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion
  9. You Blind Guides! You Strain Out a Gnat But Swallow a Camel
  10. “A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” — Tom Stoppard
  11. Cultivating A Gospel Shaped Attitude
  12. Relationship with God
  13. You are not limited to who is in charge
  14. 3 Characteristics Of A Person Called To Bless
  15. Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – The Transformation Choice
  16. The Yes Face
  17. Leading neuroscientist: Religious fundamentalism may be a ‘mental illness’ that can be ‘cured’

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  • Debating with theologians and preachers and their somewhat constricted views…. (healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com)
    41,000 denominations of Christianity in the world. Wow.

    That’s a lot of people, getting a lot of what God wanted us to know – wrong, and who knows who is right???

    I’ve put my very un-theologically sound views in there, which surprisingly has been welcomed by some – but I think hey – if they are all arguing with each other and getting a little personal with each other in some of their opinion, I might as well interject with some psychology based opinion too. Of which some have agreed with, men included.
    +
    I have no desire to be a preacher, no desire to lead in Church, in fact I can’t think of anything worse for me. But, I don’t see a compelling argument either way and all the theologians can’t get it right and agree.

    But, I do like seeing all their views and thinking about them and seeing some of their confusion, some of their rigid religious beliefs and some of their..well… silly arguments.

    Cognitive distortions are responsible for some of it, religious idolatry responsible for some of it, narcissism some of it, ego some of it, doctrine some of it, peer pressure some of it and some is just well…stupid.

  • #PreachersofLA: As Real as It Gets (themisinterpreted.com)
    What frightens us is that we’re not seeing something that is false, but something that is very real. A mirror is up and if we don’t like what we see then maybe we should begin to do some internal soul searching. The sooner we own up to that, the sooner we can face the realities that there are significant flaws and brokenness within our Christian leadership (and community). This show represents what we have nurtured and fed for decades. We have supported, encouraged and enabled
    arrogance,
    entitlement,
    a misplaced rationalization of prosperity,
    egoism,
    narcissism,
    sexism,
    position worship,
    emotional & spiritual manipulation
    et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
  • Why can’t I warm to street preaching? (christiantoday.com)
    Street preaching was encouraged as Biblical practise when Jesus came to Earth and has been since.

    Those who are brave enough to take to the streets are therefore following the footsteps of Jesus and spreading the word of the Gospel as we are asked.

    Even so, I cannot help but think that street speakers actually scare the public away from Christianity. We’ve all seen the eye-rolling of passers-by and it gets me wondering about the effect street preachers actually have on religious conversion.

    +
    There is certainly an argument that we must take the Word to the street because most people avoid Churches and religious buildings entirely. But I wonder whether the public aren’t encountering the right kind of street evangelism?

    Some evangelists preach discreetly in the streets by framing unintimidating picture boards for example, or by engaging in casual conversations. Others perform Christian music busker-style. These methods may be better suited to today’s society. After all, Jesus introduced street preaching over 2,000 years ago and modern society has changed profoundly.

  • Moderates, good deeds and religious fanaticism (samizdata.net)

    John Stephenson argues for the need to ask religious moderates about the motivations behind their actions. Are moderates – seeing faith as virtuous – tacitly defending fundamentalists (who are the genuinely committed believers), allowing them to become the “tail that wags the dog”? Moreover are religious moderates actually engaged in religion because they are “humanists in disguise”?

    One of the problems with engaging religious folk in conversation is the fact that, before falling victim to the charge of being “angry” or “strident”, we find that the rules of discourse and logic are warped and violated beyond recognition. Find me a religious fanatic who doesn’t endorse his faith through the actions supposedly committed in its name and you will have probably found me a liar.
    +

    The fact that what we perceive as a sense of morality is innate within humanity as opposed to religion is evident by virtue of the cherry-picking so commonplace among moderate believers. Among casual Church of England Christians for example, the Sermon on the Mount may be advocated yet the more abhorrent elements of Deuteronomy or Leviticus will be ignored. I suspect that a large proportion of these individuals are religious in name alone and that, for the most part, their attendance comes as a result of habit or an intrinsically vague idea that to attend church constitutes as a “good thing”. These people have often given very little thought to the doctrine their religion entails, but understand church to be a place of warmth and community – things that most of us are drawn to.

  • Can Faith Ever Be Rational? (ronmurp.net)
    When the question, is it rational, is asked of faith, the method by which a belief is maintained, then no, faith is not rational at all. Faith is the antithesis of rationality. Faith is what you use when you want to believe something, or are otherwise driven to hold a belief, when there is no reaason or evidence to support the belief. And faith can result in belief in spite of counter evidence and reason.

    When the question is asked it may be asked of faith, the system of belief, such as Christianity or Islam. So, can Christianity be rational? Can Islam be rational? Well, they can contain elements of reason, rationality, in the arguments put forward to support them, but that does not make them consequentially rational.

  • “Nicomachean Ethics” by Aristotle (noneedtomindme.wordpress.com)
    In the passage, “Nicomachean Ethics”, by Aristotle, he explains about good and evil are the main contributions to our happiness, it crafts our character, and our virtues. I totally agree with his concept, because our virtues can help distinguish other relationships, and help relate to other people’s intention and emotions.
  • Political Correctness and “Bashing” (fggam.org)
    The adverse impact of “political correctness” on American culture cannot be overstated. Its sinister influence has been monumental and subversive in the extent to which it has reshaped American values, literally driving the population farther away from its Christian moorings, and redirecting civilization toward hedonism, socialism, atheism, humanism, and a host of other anti-Christian philosophies.
    +
    It is ever the case that error and falsehood are self-contradictory, and typically guilty of the same malady it imagines in others. Observe that those who express their disdain for “bashing” do not hesitate to bash the ones they accuse of bashing, and to do so publicly. They openly express to others (people who have no real connection to the matter) their rejection of and dislike for specific persons and groups who have had the unmitigated gall to express disapproval of a false religion or an immoral action.
  • John C. Richards Jr. Cuts Through the Focus on the Prosperity Gospel to Expose a Better Way for the Church (blackchristiannews.com)
    The pulpit has always been sacred space for the African American community.
    +
    The pulpit was reserved for the pastor. A sacred space for someone who recognized the sacred duty. Like Moses’ encounter at the burning bush, a preacher was to recognize they were standing on holy ground. As God’s mouthpiece, the preacher would deliver a message that was to deliver the people of God from bondage and sin. Recognizing this, the preacher’s accompanying humility-laden approach to sermonizing would cause others to grow deeper in their faith. As John Wesley puts it, the preacher’s duty was to “catch on fire” so “others will love to come and watch you burn.” Have we doused the fire in the Black church? Have we grabbed our extinguishers labeled “prosperity,” “tradition,” and “justice,” and forgotten about the Gospel? Do we just run across the pulpit as a shortcut to our next destination? Have preachers forgotten about that sacred space?
  • Does God Exist? (crain207.wordpress.com)
    I’ve often thought on that long-ago neighbor’s sad statement of belief. I’ve wondered if he only wanted to get rid of a visiting preacher, if deep down he still believed but responded in shock-the-preacher fashion because the parson on his porch reminded him of wounds he felt he received in church.
    +
    I often think of Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God; for he who comes to God must believe that God exists and rewards those who search for him.”
  • Preachers Of LA’s Bishop McClendon Says He Was Set Up (rhythmraveradio.wordpress.com)
    The new reality series on Oxygen’s ‘Preacher’s of LA’ has caused quite a sir, especially when two of the ministers on the show , Bishop Clarence McClendon and Deitrick Haddon got into an argument .

Morality, values and Developing right choices

In 2011 laurie cordy wrote:

Every person has within them a set of values which are tuned in the school of hard knocks. For instance if a child pinches another it soon gets pinched back and if it hurts he or she soon learns better conduct or recognises that they are doing the wrong thing. This ability to learn from experience is not a set of taught rules or expedients but ethical principles which are enunciated in the proverbs and the character of people like Job and many others.

The ultimate expression is found in the character and discourses of Jeshua Ha’Notzri commonly known as Jesus of Nazareth who ‘learned from the things that he suffered‘. He was not concerned with doctrines and challenged those of the religious rulers.

Cover of "Right Choices"

Cover of Right Choices

This ability to choose right from wrong seems to be innate and a specific human characteristic, and those who develop right choices are highlighted in the Jewish histories. This is commendable, and whether one ascribes it to God as godliness is related to arguments for or against the existence of a creator. To deny this is to postulate that ethical principles are acquired characteristics, that is, that morality can be passed on in the genes. If this is the case one would expect the development of two classes of society over time, the totally moral and the other totally immoral.

Like my argument for a being called God, http://www.christadelphianism.info/is god {not available any more in 2013}
Not to accept the proposition leads one into impossible arguments such as “Out of nothing everything came into existence”.
The argument for maintaining ethical principles is also on the site “Rules or principles”, and whether or not one allows the existence of a god in all of this, it still seems better to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. I suggest that to do this is, in biblical terms, godliness, or an expression of the proposition that God is.

I am suggesting that this is an ethical thing and not a belief thing and that religions have got it all wrong in trying to differentiate their beliefs.

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  • The ethics of admitting you messed up. (blogs.scientificamerican.com)

    Humans make mistakes.

    Some of them are the result of deliberate choices to violate a norm. Some of them are the result of honest misunderstandings, or of misjudgments about how much control we have over conditions or events. Some of them come about in instances where we didn’t really want the bad thing that happened to happen, but we didn’t take the steps we reasonably could have taken to avoid that outcome, either. Sometimes we don’t recognize that what we did (or neglected to do) was a mistake until we appreciate the negative impact it has.

  • A Friendly Discussion (Morals, Ethics, and Theism) (ahumanistsperspective.wordpress.com)

    I deny the existence of any credible evidence to warrant the conclusion that a personal deity exists.

    I furthermore acknowledge evidence otherwise in the light of an impersonal universe which is indifferent to the well being of anyone or anything.
    +
    Consequently, and because of this acceptance, man has to conjure up a right/wrong approach to life (this you have just done). This, you say, is not in accordance with an outside source (such as God), but in accordance with “matters of effect,” or, in essence, to what an individual person likes (pleasure) or dislikes (discomfort, suffering). Your moral code is the result of “natural principles” (this is the foundation of its existence).
    +

    About My Humanist’s Perspective
    Having spent the first 40 plus years of my life as a practicing fundamentalist Christian, I have utilized what time that I could these past several years to read and reflect on life from outside the “biblical box” if you will.
    +
    ultimately I have come to realize that common decency is and always has been a somewhat self imposed development of human experiences and consequences, and that such is and always has been the case regardless of one’s religious perspectives and practices.

  • Ethics and Answers: Leave pirating to the high seas, not your cable box (naplesnews.com)
    Often there are no ethical absolutes. Ethical people can, and do, disagree.
    +
    The concept of ethics has been defined in many ways, but it is generally considered to be the principles that guide societies toward “right” behavior and away from “wrong.” While there is overlap among law, morals, religion and ethics, ethics focuses on the societal good.
    +

    Ethics are historically dynamic: They evolve. Ethics typically aren’t situationally dynamic; what is ethical should remain so despite outside factors. Just because a behavior can be justified does not transform it from an unethical behavior into an ethical one.

    For a behavior to be ethical, it should be ethical regardless of outside factors. Complications can follow when two ethical positions collide, for example, balancing the ethics of stealing food versus the ethics of letting a nearby child die of starvation.

  • International Encyclopaedia of Ethics (ejournalscambridge.wordpress.com)

    Trial access is now available to the International Encyclopedia of Ethics. The trial ends December 14th 2013.

    Access the trial via this link.

  • Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion (appliedsentience.com)
    Many moral philosophers – or at least those who think there are objective facts about what is right and wrong – find widespread disagreement over these facts very troubling. That is, if there are objective moral facts, why does there seem to be so much disagreement about what they are? After all, experts from other disciplines that seek objective facts (i.e. physics) seem to have converging beliefs about what is true.
  • An Introduction to Logic (amthorn0602.wordpress.com)
    Basically, there are three laws of logic from which every other law of logic is derived. there are dozens of logical arguments that can be derived from these three laws.
    +
    In logic, there are variables (similar to the way that there are variables in mathematics). Let’s take the variable “A”. now, the first rule of logic is called “The Law of Identity” and it simply states that: If A is true, then it is true. This seems intuitively simple, it means that if A is true, it must, by definition, be true.
  • Louis P. Pojman – Ethical Relativism (darinafridman.wordpress.com)
    Louis Pojman takes on the non relativist point of view in this article. His thesis claims that moral principle’s derive their validity from dependence on society or individual choice. While reading this I kept comparing his view points to those of Ruth Benedict, both of them make interesting arguments.