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The Afterlife


spiritseeker
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S-T,

 

 

Then man's aspirations and sense of morality has only come by chance. Whereby, Man has developed a feeling of moral motions where everything is only relative- that is: sociological, statistical, situational or the standard of averages. In such a setting, to be right is just as meaningless as to be wrong. Being left with just metaphysics we are left where morals disappear. We are just the little against the big.

No religious language can overcome the strain because they essentially have no more real meaning thatn the naturalistc, psychological reduction of morals to conditioning and reflexes.

 

If you can only have an absolute moral standard if conservative Christianity is true, why don't even conservative Christians agree on what's moral? There's over 35,000 denominations of Christianity in existence, each claiming to know the truth to some degree yet none of them can agree on what's moral and what isn't. There are conservative Christians who are pro-life and conservative Christians who are pro-choice. There are conservative Christians who believe it's God's will for them to murder abortion doctors and conservative Christians who believe the murderer is sinful. There are conservative Christians who support same-sex marriage and conservative Christians who are against it. There are conservative Christians who believe euthanasia should be a legal option for medical patients and conservative Christians who are against it. I could go on with more examples but if you're a member of a church congregation, I wouldn't be surprised if even in your congregation, there's a huge amount of diversity about what is moral and what isn't moral. Why are modern day conservative Christians against murdering gay people even though according to their same interpretation of the book of Leviticus, God permitted it in the OT if morals are absolute? So, if morals are only absolute if Christianity is true, what is this absolute moral standard and why can't anyone come to a universal agreement on what is moral?

 

If you have any evidence to prove the contrary, now would be a good time to present it.

I have given you dozens of evidence before where religious people have been no more moral than non-religious people but this went unaddressed. You don't need anymore evidence than to look at the situation in Uganda where evangelical Christians are trying to pass a law in Uganda that would sentence gays to death just for being gay because of a literal absolute belief in the book of Leviticus. Edited by Neon Genesis
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If, as suggested previously, we take a look at Genesis the question is what (exactly) do we find?

 

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, (see the comma).

 

Right from the start, this is a space-time based narrative. Before the "beginning", there was "something". If God is eternal, and outside of time, this is not God speaking, it is humans speaking.

 

Genesis 1:2 (comma) the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. (now we have a period)

 

I have yet to find a literalist who can explain the significance of "the deep" and "the waters" pre-existing Creation "in the beginning". Water is matter in a liquid state, so matter existed before "the beginning". Since this is before the Garden of Eden story, the literalist must explain how "the waters" and "the deep" differ from other "matter".

 

I could go on ... and on ... verse by verse. For me, literalist accounts steal the true meaning of this "grand narrative".

 

Ask me more ... I'll speak for my views knowing that I cannot "explain it all". That each and every one of you find God is all that counts, I care not how you do it.

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Dear Neon,

 

Good, you've given dozens of evidences of man arguing over right and wrong. Why does he?

 

The personal beginning answers for final absolutes and final catagories which give meaning to the particulars concerning right and wrong. Do you believe by the evidence to the contrary, that the personal doesn't?

 

With an impersonal beginning, the universe provides only silence concerning morals. Do you believe by the evidence to the contrary?

 

Christianity argues for the personal beginning. Do you believe by the evidence that Christianity does not argue for a personal beginning?

 

It's not whether man, Christian or not, will argue over the particulars, for certainly he will. But by what evidence is there that this personal beginning is not the answer or that Christianity holds that it is?

 

The existance of morality does not depend on Christianity. Christianity rests, in part, on a belief that morality exists and depends on there being a reason for morality's meaningfulness, which is sufficiently explained by there being a personal-infinite God.

 

David

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Dear Neon,

 

Good, you've given dozens of evidences of man arguing over right and wrong. Why does he?

 

 

You claim only true Christians can have meaningful morality so why is it that bible-believing Christians are no more moral or holier than thou than non-Christians are? The bible says you'll know who Christians are by their fruits, so where are your fruits that only true Christians can have a meaningful morality? All you have presented in favor of your understanding of morality being correct is theological arguments, but you have no evidence in favor of your arguments, so if you believe Christianity is more than just a leap of faith, where's the evidence that it's more than a leap? On the other hand, I have posted evidence to the contrary that bible-believing Christians are not morally superior to non-Christians at all or understand morality any better yet you dismiss it as being unimportant while insisting non-Christians are going to hell unless they accept your beliefs without evidence. Edited by Neon Genesis
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David,

 

In a very impersonal response you have totally ignored the challenge in the evidence that Neon puts forth.

 

evidence than to look at the situation in Uganda where evangelical Christians are trying to pass a law in Uganda that would sentence gays to death just for being gay because of a literal absolute belief in the book of Leviticus.

 

Based on Neon's evidence and your response I think that the answer to your question below is "Let's ignore the evidence on earth and in the Bible and I, David, will tell you. I will tell what the Bible means since you clearly misread it and I will tell you how logic works because clearly you don't understand."

 

The personal beginning answers for final absolutes and final catagories which give meaning to the particulars concerning right and wrong. Do you believe by the evidence to the contrary, that the personal doesn't?

 

The personal beginning gives no evidence for final absolutes and final categories. A personal beginning gives evidence for relationships. Relationships are not absolutes or categories; they are personal and dynamic.

 

Hi :)

 

Your grinding stone,

Dutch

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Hey y'all,

 

Dutch, you got it backwards:

 

Existence with its complexity is the evidence of a personal beginning. Man is the evidence of a personal beginning. Man being personal is the evidence of a personal beginning. Relationships are the evidence of a personal beginning. Man's aspirations are the evidence of a personal beginning. Man's individuality is the evidence of a personal beginning. Morality is the evidence of a personal beginning. Freedom is the evidence of a personal beginning. Knowledge is the evidence of a personal beginning. Absolutes are the evidence of a personal beginning. Real meaning for the particulars that now exist is the evidence of a personal beginning.

---

 

Challenge all he will, but Neon has made false premise after false premise and not of any matter that I can recall ever having professed; i.e.; ... only "true Christians" have a meaningful morality; etc. etc.

How do I answer for his delusions?

 

What I have said is: Man knows morality has meaning. Otherwise, he would know he could not rightfully argue over right and wrong. I have said without a personal beginning, man can't know "why" morality exists at all.

 

Let me add:

Once we consider a personal beginning, we have another choice to make, God or gods.

The Judeo-Christian God being one such choice. There are other religions/philosophies that have chosen a god or "gods". Reality conforms to which?

Davidk

Edited by davidk
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Hi David,

 

I appreciate that you have engaged myself and everyone here very graciously. Although it feels like we've been beating a dead horse for a little while now here, I feel compelled to make yet another response. Perhaps this is a sign that this self is not truly free to choose after all.

 

Further, I haven't intended for there to be any implication that universals don't exist or that man doesn't know they exist, or that they aren't or can't be looked for by anyone. They do exist. That existence doesn't rely on who does the looking. That's part of my entire point. Man needs to see that the universe does exist in its present form.

 

In the context though, you did argue that any point of view which does not accept a 'personal beginning' cannot account for universals. I would say universals can be accounted for in many ways, all it takes is some philosophical imagination.

 

But, if we only have the impersonal as a foundation, that is only time, mass, energy, or motion (all equally impersonal), then there is no reason for significance in variance. If the beginning is nothing other than the impersonal plus time plus chance, then there is no answer for the needed complexity of the universe, nothing has any meaning as a particular.

 

Surely the meaning of any particular is wedded to the meaning of the universal, though the question strikes me of what the meaning of the 'universal' might be, apart from referring back to the particular. It seems to be that dividing everything along lines of 'universal' and 'particular', while not necessarily invalid, is a matter of definition and categorizing reality and therefore without any real way of confirming whether those categories actually apply....that is, except inductively or pragmatically. On the whole, the dichotomy of universal vs particular is rooted in deductive logic, or vice-versa, and therefore suffers the same limitations of logic, as I understand it. Deductive logic starts with a universal and applies it to a particular to reach a general or universal conclusion about the particular. Such reasoning is true by definition and therefore tautological.

 

I do happen to disagree with your assertion at base, that without a personal beginning there is no reason for particulars. First of all it is questionable whether there ought to be some 'reason' - as if reality ultimately is something we can distance ourselves from and reason about. Secondly, it is not clear how a supposed 'personal' beginning answers for the complexity of the universe any better than the impersonal. The personal leaves questions unanswered too, and may be seen as superfluous. For instance, biological evolution needs not invoke any personal oversight in order to explain complexity. It seems to me you are limiting what may be or may not be the case without proper justification.

 

Another instance - denying a theistic conception of the universe does not necessarily reduce the universe to time, mass, energy, motion, although there is nothing illogical about that either. They are simply modern scientific terms. This is a fallacy of a false dichotomy, just like, in my view, the choice between 'heaven' and 'hell'.

 

Speculative thinkers may work with impersonal universals, truth, beauty, or qualitative realities like consciousness, experience, or semantic relationships between objects instead of merely numerical - some thinkers also think of the universe as a computation.

 

On another note, I do not feel the need to categorize reality 'ultimately' as either personal or impersonal, since both are particulars themselves. It makes little sense to me honestly to speak of an 'absolute personality', an 'infinite person', etc, since, as you yourself emphasize, being a person is about relationship, and relationship means finitude for both parties involved. To be an infinite person is a paradox - and don't get me wrong as I'm fine with paradoxes, but not when they are dogmatically asserted.

All of what I've said leads to a personal infinite God who created all else. It is this personal beginning that ultimately gives meaning to man. It is that a personal beginning gives meaning to the variances we know exist. If it were that all is essentially just part of a oneness (and always have been), which is the only result of impersonal origins, then any variance would be essentially meaningless. This answers for unity, but fails miserably when explaining the observed differentiations in existence. No differentiation, no freedom, no morality, no personality, no man.

 

If you say so, and I would emphasize that it is you who says so.

 

The Christian personal-infinite God has given us a choice to make which will color all of the other choices we make.

On the other hand Buddhism gives us no choice, because ultimately it tells us we all simply begin and end at the same place. I think that's what is meant by "not much of a choice".

 

Man has no significance if ultimately his decisions don't make any difference in the consequences. If they make no difference, then there's no real choices to be made, and no real purpose for any decision. Man cannot be considered to have free will if he doesn't know what the consequences of his choices will be. If man has no free will in his decisions, he has no signficance, he may as well be a carrot or a water molecule.

 

Again, if you say so. As I suggested before, man's significance might not be teleological as much as ontological. But if life is about 'choosing' heaven as opposed to hell, then I maintain there is no actual choice involved - it's like having a gun held to your head and being told you still have a choice on what to do. What in any other field of life people call 'forcing', only in certain religious thinking can be called 'choice'. For no one of sound mind who actually believed in hell, that is, became convinced of its existence, would choose it, just like no one who, knowing he has a gun pointed at his head, that is, knowing he will die, will choose not to yield the money to the robber. Therefore not only is this not a choice, but God becomes unethical for not presenting enough knowledge to the individual for that person to make an informed decision.

 

Secondly, Buddhism in its texts and scriptures talks a lot of choice and freedom. It is a choice whether or not we choose to practice, to live our lives differently. Ultimately your idea of heaven contradicts everything you say about purpose and significance - in heaven there will no longer be the burden of choice, no longer will there be any purpose because it is eternal, it is God's dwelling - God, who has neither beginning nor ending (without purpose). Nirvana and heaven are both destinations that equate to each other more closely than I think you'd like to confess. Once the destination is reached, purpose falls away and you are left with a divine purposelessness.

 

Thirdly, it is you who are placing ultimately significance on man's ability to make choices. Realistically there are very sharp limitations on our choices, including our freedom to even choose that freedom. And I still find the very premise that without eternal consequences man's choices are insignificant to be an unproven and unjustified assertion.

God made each of us significant by allowing us to choose between known consequences. i.e;.Spend all your money and you'll be broke.

Your decision means something on that level and it means something on the ultimate level as well.

Believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but by Him. It's your decision in what to believe.

 

See, I don't agree that you can just interchange 'the conventional' and 'the ultimate' so easily. And Also, I feel that it is very dubious, in fact psychologically impossible, that we simply 'decide' what we are to believe in.

 

I shall move on with another quote originally addressed to Neon,

 

Christianity is a rational philosophic, as well as religious, belief in a personal-infinte God. This personal beginning gives final absolutes and final catagories concerning right and wrong. If you begin with the impersonal, the universe is totally silent concerning any such word as morals.

 

If you have any evidence to prove the contrary, now would be a good time to present it.

 

In a similar vein, it is not necessarily so that a personal beginning gives final absolutes or categories any more than the impersonal. And I would also disagree that the universe is totally silent concerning morals without a personal God - for here we are, all discussing morals, each having different convictions about the universe. Even Christian theology has had no final conclusion on such things - remember, for centuries in the West, philosophy was Christianity.

 

But regardless of whether their philosophy centers upon a personal-infinite God (again I feel that 'infinite' is a questionable adjective after 'personal'), ethical and moral considerations are always a centerpiece of any culture. Moral considerations are something reality demands that we deal with if nothing more than existentially, and often more than existentially.

 

Secondly, it is a again a similar limitation - apparently arbitrary - to place on reality the restrictions in your premises.

 

Your argument also does not account for impersonal laws which may speculatively exist such as Karma - which would be reality's impersonal endorsement of morality. There may also be other categories which we have not discussed, which may have been hitherto unthought of. Who says reality must conform to any of our categories to date, if any category at all?

 

But if for the sake of argument were we to accept your premise, Christianity does not seem to stand unique in its answer, for there are other religions which personalize the universe, either monotheistically or polytheistically, including Hinduism and even Buddhism in the setting of its traditional Indian or Chinese cultures. Gods and deities are continuously invoked, nigh well unto monotheism as in Krishna in Hinduism which you can find specifically in the Bhagavadgita. Krishna, though identifying with the world as its true Self, is still very much personal, which is to me not any more illogical than the idea of an infinite-personal being.

 

What I have said is: Man knows morality has meaning. Otherwise, he would know he could not rightfully argue over right and wrong. I have said without a personal beginning, man can't know "why" morality exists at all.

 

I would say that you can always ask 'why', right up the ladder of significance to the very throne of God. Why does God exist? As I've asked, what is the meaning of God? If God has no meaning, and everything comes from God, then logically nothing else 'has' any meaning ultimately. Perhaps 'why' is not such an important question to ask, or rather - to answer. Man can know very few things, including whether or not there is a personal beginning. 'Why' morality exists at all is intimately wrapped up in 'why' anything exists at all, for nothing exists absolutely unto itself, nothing is its own reality.

 

But the fact is, we have answers as to 'why' this or that exists, at least, we have potential answers that are not so easy to dismiss. I do not feel the need to debate moral theory, for it has been done, is being done, will be done. Suffice it to say that we don't need to have an absolute 'why' in order to explain morality, any more than we need to know an absolute 'why' in order to take a shower, other than that it keeps us clean and if we don't we'll smell - and that's not good on any level.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

Edited by Mike
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What I have said is: Man knows morality has meaning. Otherwise, he would know he could not rightfully argue over right and wrong. I have said without a personal beginning, man can't know "why" morality exists at all.

 

 

So, if we can only understand the meaning behind morality through Christianity, why are there Christians in Uganda who are trying to get a bill passed that would execute gay people simply for being gay because of their absolute literal belief in the book of Leviticus?

 

I do happen to disagree with your assertion at base, that without a personal beginning there is no reason for particulars. First of all it is questionable whether there ought to be some 'reason' - as if reality ultimately is something we can distance ourselves from and reason about. Secondly, it is not clear how a supposed 'personal' beginning answers for the complexity of the universe any better than the impersonal. The personal leaves questions unanswered too, and may be seen as superfluous. For instance, biological evolution needs not invoke any personal oversight in order to explain complexity. It seems to me you are limiting what may be or may not be the case without proper justification.
I think this is a good point to bring up, Mike. Even if you believe in God, there are still unanswered questions people have about God that have no easy answers to. Even St Paul says in his famous love chapter that we only know in part now and are seeing through a glass darkly. One example of a question with no easy answers is the problem of evil. For centuries since Epicurus first asked the question, both believers and skeptics have questioned how could a universe filled with suffering be compatible with the existence of a loving, personal, god. Likewise, many believers and skeptics have tried to come up with universal absolute answers to these questions but none of these answers have been universally accepted by everyone and people on all sides of the religious spectrum continue to ask this question and the "answers" continue to lead people into completely different directions. Edited by Neon Genesis
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A note to clear up some future confusion - this sentence in my last post didn't come across with my intended meaning - kind of the opposite.

 

Man can know very few things, including whether or not there is a personal beginning.

 

What I meant to get across is that I don't think man is privy to such information, that is, knowledge about 'the beginning'.

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David,

 

Give Neon enough respect to discuss the following in particulars.

 

why are there Christians in Uganda who are trying to get a bill passed that would execute gay people simply for being gay because of their absolute literal belief in the book of Leviticus?

 

If these people are not taking right action how are they to know what right action is?

 

Dutch

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I have experienced a writing moment where everything relates to my focus and so write a litany such as this "evidence of personal beginning" list. Ignoring the figure-ground problem of "personal beginning" many of the items seem meaningless to me. But a few catch my attention.

 

Existence with its complexity is the evidence of a personal beginning.

As Mike commented evolution explains complexity very well, I think.

 

 

Relationships are the evidence of a personal beginning.

I am open to this but that is because, following Jakob Boehme, I think that seeking self knowledge is the why of creation and relationship is the how.

 

Freedom is the evidence of a personal beginning.

Evolution is sufficient explanation for freedom.

 

I have said without a personal beginning, man can't know "why" morality exists at all.

 

I don't understand why humans have to know the "why" of morality. Morality grows out relationship. There is no prior why that I see. I think that morality can be explained by evolution and learning how to live together.

 

 

And . . .

 

Two truckers and the low bridge . . . that's how science works and yes, it hurts sometimes. Just ask those people who thought we could fly by imitating the flapping wings of a bird and tested the idea by jumping off bridges.

 

 

Flying low,

Dutch

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So, if we can only understand the meaning behind morality through Christianity, why are there Christians in Uganda who are trying to get a bill passed that would execute gay people simply for being gay because of their absolute literal belief in the book of Leviticus?

 

Dear Neon,

 

If your premise about Uganda is as some of your other premises have been, I don't need to respond.

The 'if' has no relevance to the 'why'. But, if you need an answer: I don't understand the question. Besides, I would never have thought Christians would seek to execute anyone who believed in the book of Leviticus, or that a literal belief of Leviticus would cause someone to be gay.

-

I don't have the knowledge or authority to say whether any person will finally be more moral than anyone else.

It is that all men have a sense of moral behavior. But you know that having a compelling reason doesn't necessarily result in obedience.

People may or may not have thoughtout their beliefs consistently, and that could be true of either/both subjects in your question.

Do you know of anyone who hasn't done things they knew they shouldn't. At one time or another, haven't men had answers staring them in the face, and yet, defy them anyway. These exemplify some of man's dilemma.

The universal "why" is not going to be universally accepted by everyone on all sides of the religious spectrum. I have made no claim otherwise. It is desirable, but not reasonably expected. Man does exersize the freedom to accept the answer or not.

---

 

Mike and Dutch,

The concept of the universal seems to be a source of some confusion.

 

Without the universal "why's" (final absolutes or final catagories), there's no significant meaning for anything.

 

note: The disciplines of science are always trying to boil down everything into as few universals (the 'why's') as possible that can explain as many particulars (parts and functions) of the material universe as possible (i.e.; gravity, magnetism,...), trying to remove dichotomies from all catagories. In that way, science can effectively move toward the explanations of how our existence exists.

 

All of the world's philosophies and religions seek similarly.

 

There are only three possible choices for a beginning. 1- all came from nothing. 2- all came from an impersonal . 3- all came from a personal.

No. 1 is unsustainable.

 

No. 2; If everything is nature only, all is equally impersonal, everything is finally mass or energy particles, including man, and must be explained only in terms of that impersonal plus time plus chance. There are no other factors. There are no basic philosophic differences which impersonal you begin with, and everything is finally understood by reducing it to the original, impersonal factor(s). If everything can be reduced to only an impersonal factor, it does not give anything, including man, any significance? Everything is just an accident of chance.

 

If everything is nature only, the latest step in the process of natural selection, then there is nothing in man's behavior that is not the continued results of that natural selection. There are no other factors. By what authority do we make efforts to alter the natural development of man behaving normally? Do you wish to make man behave abnormally?

 

No. 3 A personal beginning answers existence and what man needs to have any personal significance. With anything less than personality, it must be reduced to the impersonal.

 

--

If it cannot be recognized that man exists as different from non-man, then it is of no wonder that no difference can be seen between the personal and the impersonal. This is either a refusal to believe what actually exists (i.e.; the personality of man), or some have just now become aware.

 

Any observation of Christianity is without understanding if it is said that Christianity has no final absolute for morality.

 

Davidk

Edited by davidk
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Dear Neon,

 

If your premise about Uganda is as some of your other premises have been, I don't need to respond.

The 'if' has no relevance to the 'why'. But, if you need an answer: I don't understand the question. Besides, I would never have thought Christians would seek to execute anyone who believed in the book of Leviticus, or that a literal belief of Leviticus would cause someone to be gay.

I did not say that the book of Leviticus makes people gay. I think you're missing my point. My point is that you're claiming only bible-believing Christians can have a true understanding of morality if you believe the bible to be literally true. Yet bible-believing Christians in Uganda are trying to pass a law to execute gay people because of their literal belief in the book of Leviticus which commands gay people to be executed because God thinks it's an abomination. These Uganda politicians have specifically cited the teachings of western evangelical Christians like Rick Warren and Richard Cohen as the inspirations for this anti-homosexuality bill. And it goes even further than that, the evangelical Christian, Scott Lively even helped to make this bill. If you can only have a true understanding of morality if you're a bible-believing Christian, why didn't being a bible-believing Christian stop these people from trying to execute gay people or make them more moral people?

 

 

There are only three possible choices for a beginning. 1- all came from nothing. 2- all came from an impersonal . 3- all came from a personal.

No. 1 is unsustainable.

 

 

But there's also a fourth option which many people in the ancient world believed, that perhaps the universe was created by an impersonal god but there's a pantheon of multiple personal deities who worship the impersonal deity. Edited by Neon Genesis
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"Any observation of Christianity is without understanding if it is said that Christianity has no final absolute for morality."

 

We'll have to agree to disagree here. I believe early Christianity started with the idea that we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit to help us make decisions that glorify God. LOVE is the test of Christian morality, not submission to any given set of rules. Jesus showed us that when he broke the Sabbath and hung out with the "unclean." Here I agree with Dutch - that a personal God causes relationship rather than giving moral absolutes.

 

We humans are still in the process of learning about God. Each of us sees God a little differently. As long as your Christian beliefs call you to glorify a God who values love and relationship more than anything else, you are probably working toward the same Kingdom on Earth that I am.

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David,

 

If your premise about Uganda is as some of your other premises have been, I don't need to respond.

The 'if' has no relevance to the 'why'. But, if you need an answer: I don't understand the question. Besides, I would never have thought Christians would seek to execute anyone who believed in the book of Leviticus, or that a literal belief of Leviticus would cause someone to be gay.

 

This is non-responsive non-sense to the Ugandan situation. Since your rational philosophic of Christianity seems to be useless in finding values or morality issues to discuss here then it seems to be meaningless.

 

So sorry,

Dutch

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Dutch,

No need to apologize. It was intended to humorously answer for Neon's faulty grammar. It apparently fell short of my intent.

As has unfortunately become common, Neon offers us a faulty premise of a Ugandan Bill "that would execute gay people simply for being gay". Until he decides to get his facts straight I have no reason to respond in any different fashion.

---

 

Neon,

Deity is personal. We're back to the three possibilities.

---

 

AITNOP,

Welcome to the fray.

I believe Christianity began with Jesus, who then promised to send the Holy Spirit to counsel us after He departed. But that is not really at issue. We're speaking of the beginning for everything.

I would have to say morality is knowing that there is right and there is wrong. What gives them meaning is the question.

 

Davidk

Edited by davidk
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Dutch,

No need to apologize. It was intended to humorously answer for Neon's faulty grammar. It apparently fell short of my intent.

As has unfortunately become common, Neon offers us a faulty premise of a Ugandan Bill "that would execute gay people simply for being gay". Until he decides to get his facts straight I have no reason to respond in any different fashion.

 

What facts have I gotten wrong? You claimed only true Christians can understand the meaning of morality yet "true" Christians are using their literal belief in the bible to form a "kill the gays" bill in Uganda or are you denying there is such a bill? This is not a premise. This is going on right now in Africa. You can see for yourself that this is a real bill inspired by literal beliefs in the bible:
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This thread on the afterlife has pretty well run its course and is now off thread. The language is getting borderline personal with assertions and accusations of "faulty grammar" and "premises" among other things. I have allowed it to continue up to now so that participants that wished to continue to engage each other on the subject could in a respectful manner. But it is clear to me that all concerning this topic that can be said by the individuals has been said and points made so that participants can as AITNOP said, agree to disagree without further assertions or accusations that one is wrong. Opinions and views are opinions and views. It need go no further so I am asking current participants that wish to, to make no more than one last post as a summary and to keep it respectful of opposing views.

 

JosephM (as Moderator)

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In closing:

 

To whom it may concern,

 

There has been some interest expressed by a couple of members to have me answer a question proposed by another member concerning a bill before the Ugandan parliament.

 

The question, as proffered, concerning a "kill the gays" bill in Uganda, is unanswerable. For such a bill, proposed or otherwise, that "would execute gay people simply for being gay" does not exist.

 

There is an existing bill that, according to David Bahati, the Ugandan sponsor of the bill, is concerned with saving lives by restricting dangerous homosexual practices, including pedophilia, child rape, and the deliberate spreading of the AIDS virus. The controversial death penalty provision is for these types of crimes of aggravated homosexuality. This is the bill that has been purposefully mischaracterized as the "kill the gays" bill.

 

There were evangelical leaders from the West that were counseled with.

 

There is and has been no effort or bill from anyone advising Uganda's President or parlaiment to consider that would command them to kill any gays simply for being gay. The language in Levitcus would not support any such advice if they had.

 

God's grace to y'all,

Davidk

 

P.S. The Judeo-Christian, infinite-personal God is the final absolute that gives all else meaning. He is the only sufficient answer.

Edited by davidk
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And in my closing, I will simply post a link to the anti-homosexuality bill itself and let the actual bill speak for itself: http://wthrockmorton.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/anti-homosexuality-bill-2009.pdf

1.1. The principle

The object of this Bill is to establish a comprehensive consolidated legislation to protect the

traditional family by prohibiting (i) any form of sexual relations between persons of the same

sex; and (ii) the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other

places through or with the support of any Government entity in Uganda or any non governmental

organization inside or outside the country.

This Bill aims at strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external

threats to the traditional heterosexual family.

 

 

This legislation further recognizes the fact that same sex attraction is not an innate and

immutable characteristic.

 

4, Attempt to commit homosexuality.

(1) A person who attempts to commit the offence of homosexuality commits a felony and is

liable on conviction to imprisonment seven years.

(2) A person who attempts to commit the offence of aggravated homosexuality commits an

offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life

Now here's the quote from Leviticus 20:13
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.
Edited by Neon Genesis
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From the February 2010 issue of In These Times comes the following:

"Homosexual sex carries a 14-year maximum sentence in [uganda], but the new [bahati] bill adds the definition of 'aggravated homosexuality,' which would carry the death penalty. This would apply to 'serial offenders,' those 'living with HIV,' anyone who uses drugs or alcohol in the commission of the crime, and anyone who has sex with someone who is disabled or under 18 years of age. The bill also adds prison sentences for anyone who 'promotes homosexuality' or knows of it and fails to 'disclose the offense,' including parents that fail to inform on their children."

 

Certainly, a person who has HIV and has sex with those who do not is putting them at risk, but the death penalty? The same holds for sex with minors or the disabled. Isn't this a bit of an overreaction? And what is a "serial offender?" Does that include gay couples in monogomous relationships? And would having a glass of wine with sex be grounds for the death penalty? And since I am a member of a Protestant congregation that supports LGBT rights, am I a "promoter" of homosexuality and therefore subject to going to prison? Calling the proposed law the death penalty for being gay may be an overstatement, but not by much. It is clear that both the present and proposed laws are grossly homophobic.

Edited by grampawombat
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I will leave readers of the most recent controversy with this fact:

 

From the Government of Uganda (March, 2009):

 

UGANDA

HIV Prevention Response and

Modes of Transmission Analysis

 

The % of incidence of AIDS in Uganda attributable to MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) is ... ?

 

0.61% [Yes, you read it correctly, zero point six one percent! This number does not differentiate between gay men and bisexuals.]

 

http://www.unaidsrstesa.org/files/u1/Uganda_MoT_Country_Synthesis_Report_7April09_0.pdf

 

(see page 28 for the major modes of transmission)

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  • 1 month later...

My views of the afterlife are very, very specific... and horribly controversial.

I do not mind stating what I believe, but I will not sit here and defend or debate it with people who want to rip it apart. I really have no interest nor time for that kind of thing. I am a live-and-let-live pluralistic girl, I believe what is right for you is fine and what is right for me is fine. Can we not just get along? ;) At least I think, that people will be respectful... I'm hinging on that, so don't prove me wrong. My views are and you really do have to read the entire thing to grasp the overall view. I need to go through it step by step to layer my beliefs up into a stack that will form one entire viewpoint, so if you aren't in for a read, you might wanna skip this post.

The basics:

First, I believe there is an afterlife (Heaven), and I don't really believe in a Hell in the usual definition ... I do not believe we automatically go to the afterlife when we die. I think we'll all end up there eventually, but it isn't an instant transition. I'll talk very, very, ever so briefly about this at the end of the post. It'll be just about my most controversial view, I think.

Heaven: I believe in it. That it is a state of existence after death where we exist with God, not apart from Him. I see Heaven almost as a potential working and functional society which typically differs from the "sit around and eat bonbons in joy and worship God 24/7" motif. I think after death we will have a "life," with work or tasks, goals, and so on. There will be no suffering, it will be perfect, but the manner in which I see the "perfection" of the afterlife is quite different from most people. I don't think God's ideal of perfection is for us all to be lazy, or mindless robots with no choices, or for us to not maintain relationships or goals. For me, sitting around doing nothing all day is more like my idea of Hell ;)

Moving on.. I think God's love is perfect, and eternal. Eternal doesn't mean it ends at death. I think the idea of damnation being "just" is flawed. Some people are appalled by the fact that murderers could end up in Heaven... but I would be appalled if they didn't, because that would mean God either didn't want to forgive them, or was incapable of forgiving them, one of the two. Neither of these sits in my (very personal) Christianity. I don't mind that murderers might be beside me in heaven, because they will have been forgiven by God for their sins just as God forgave mine. Perhaps I didn't murder someone, sure... but I've done plenty of my own trespasses that need God's grace. Who am I to say what is greater than another when it comes to sin, people, or even deeds of any kind? That's not my place.

People often argue "Well we're given every chance to seek God while we're alive," but that isn't true. If we are to be given -every- opportunity to accept God, we not only need a nearly limitless amount of chances to do so, but we must also be allowed to stand in His presence and decide for ourselves. (More on that in a moment...)

Hell? I don't believe in a literal place of fire and brimstone. I think the literal Hell was a garbage dump on the outskirts of Jerusalem and I probably wouldn't wanted to have lived there. Anyway... as per Hell: I think that it makes no sense (not in logic nor justice nor religion) for a loving and "just" God to punish a mortal finite life of 90 or so years, with eternal punishment. Eternal punishment for finite actions is not justice, unless we're talking a kind of hell you can work your way out of over time (finite hell for finite actions? Maybe... That's not my belief though, just for the record. I'm just saying it makes more sense.)

I don't believe God needs to "punish" us at all because He forgives us, with love and justice that knows no bounds. I think it makes more sense that God's grace and truth are eternal in all aspects, including in/through/after death. When we face God, including those who never believed in Him, we will then know the truth... and we will be faced with reality, and we will still have a choice. When God gave us free will, He gave us the ability to choose our own fates. At our final hour, this choice will not be stripped from us, and that makes no sense under the whole "eternal punishment for finite actions" deal. And even if we never before believed in God, or even if we did horrible things to people during our lives... who could stand before God now and say "You don't exist" or "I reject you." -- Who wouldn't fall on his or her face and beg God's forgiveness for basically being a moron in life?

Actually ... I think some people could, that's the thing. Look to God Himself after death and still reject Him, I mean. So if in all of that... if even after death we are given a chance to accept God's grace while standing -in his presence-, and still we reject Him for whatever unfathomable reasons? Then yes, we do place ourselves in a state of Hell: A state of separation from God we choose to thrust ourselves into. I don't know what that state is or how it operates... while my beliefs are fairly firm on this, the details are sketchy; however, I simply don't think the details are all that important since I have a relationship with God. I'd imagine if I needed to know more about it, God would be letting me in on it. As it stands, I only know that a separation from God after death would logically involve the extreme opposite of existing in perfection on all things (including joy) -with- God. The exact extreme opposite of perfection in joy certainly can't be very good, to put it mildly... but I choose not to dwell on negative things.

That "interim period"... All right so.. I gave you the basics, and my thoughts on heaven, and my thoughts on hell... there is that one little thing left hanging that I almost hate to mention, the whole "What happens after we die if the Afterlife isn't immediate" idea. This is where I get Gnostic on people, and they basically lose me all together, they tell me I'm not a Christian, and proceed to feed me to the resident wolves (I'm on a number of Christian forums, I know the standard procedure ;)) ...

I believe that we are reborn after we die, and we will continue to be reborn until we have learned what we need to know in order to connect with God so that we may return to Him. *shrugs* Anti-climactic perhaps, it's not a new concept, though it does get quite controversial in Christianity of all places. But, it's actually pretty fitting with everything I just said (assuming anyone read it all :P), since I believe God must in all fairness give us every possible opportunity to accept Him since He is eternal and not base anything off of a single mortal life. Rebirths make complete sense to me, and they jive in my personal relationship with God. And yes, it may seem that this makes Hell obsolete entirely, but I do believe a person can go all their lives til the end of the earth or the end of humanity (should we manage to get off this rock), or the end of the universe, or some other end I'm not aware of, and just.. never get it.

And there may still be other instances where the soul stops progressing through rebirths that I am simply not aware of, I am after all not God and not the master of life and death... But all I know is that end, whatever it may be, that is when you really have your final chance to get it right. Standing in His presence, once and for all, having managed to screw it up time and time again. You've got your last shot.

To touch back on that for a moment, I honestly do believe that 99.999~% of people will be with God, which means I do believe there is someone (probably a lot of someones when you total up the population over the entire history of the human race) who is going to end up separating themselves from God in a state of "Hell". The idea of someone rejecting God in His presence seems silly perhaps to some, but I've actually read blogs of people who have stated outright they have intention to reject God in His presence when they die, for any number of reasons. Now frankly, I don't believe they will all truly be able to do what they claim.. but if they really do have that will in life, if they aren't even willing to say "You know, all right, if I'm face to face with Him in death, I guess I can't ignore that," that may mean they are capable of carrying that will and that choice into death as well. So I definitely can't count it out.

There is one other facet to the "separation from God" aspect: That when you die (in any one life), you've rejected God so completely and fundamentally that you've created a stain so deep on your very existence, that rebirthing isn't even a possibility any longer. You've truly died to yourself in the worst possible way (a statement Christians often used as a positive statement -- dying to yourself as obedience to God -- but one I consider accurate in a much different and negative way). If you cannot even acknowledge God at all any longer, how can you keep going when God is what keeps the process going in the first place? When God is at the root of all that exists. ... and I think this in essence is the true blasphemy that threatens to separate us from God forever.

Final thoughts: .. well .. that is my entire belief in the afterlife. Perhaps there is no one who will ever agree with me, I'm ok with that. I guess it might sound cowardly (though I consider it "peaceful"), but I really have no interest in "defending" my beliefs. I enjoy sharing what I believe but... that's really the extent of it. I see a question that was asked, and I want to answer it so that people can see my take on the subject... but what do I care if everyone wants to pull it apart from the seams? It has no impact on my personal beliefs because I right my beliefs with God.

So you'll forgive me if anyone decides to take issue with what I've said, and I then seem suspiciously absent. It's not personal. It's just business.

On one last offnote: I stuck to the "afterlife" related concepts in this post, but I actually do believe in other sorts of "hell" that we as mortal beings confine ourselves to in the mortal realm. Those are important but, I believe they relate more to life than to death, and this thread is about the afterlife.

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