Why Are We Here?

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Paidion
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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Paidion » Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:09 pm

I am going further than that. I am saying if there is no God then why is Human Joy important? How can it be any more important than a fire burning?
With or without God, it doesn't make sense to ask why human joy is important. It is intrinsically valuable.
To ask why human joy is important is a bit like asking a person why he likes to eat olives (when you don't like them). There is no answer to that question since it's all a matter of taste. However, unlike enjoying olives, human joy itself is universal among mankind. Everyone wants joy and wants to avoid pain. That is why Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for them, to accept a slapping from someone, to give to those who ask you for something, expecting nothing in return, to avoid parading our piety before people, etc. All of these acts help us to maximize our joy and to minimize the pain and/or discomfort of others——and doing that is the very essence of morality, and thus the basis for Jesus' teachings.
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Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Paidion » Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:41 pm

So crgfstr1, what do you think is the basis for morality? Are God's commands the basis? Is a morally right act defined as that which God commands? And a morally wrong act defined as that which God forbids? And if God said nothing about the act, then it's up to us whether to do it or not?

For example, let's consider one of the ten commandments: "Thou shalt not steal." Is stealing immoral simply because God forbade it? Suppose God had not forbidden stealing. In that case, would you consider stealing not to be immoral?

As I see it, stealing would be just as immoral if God had not forbidden it. For this reason:

People have belongings because they worked for them. If you steal their belongings you are depriving them of the pleasure that they would otherwise derive from those belongings. Yes, morality and immorality are wholly related to joy or pain, to pleasure or deprivation of pleasure. Stealing is not morally wrong because God forbade it. Rather God forbade it because it is morally wrong.
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Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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crgfstr1
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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by crgfstr1 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:14 am

Paidion wrote:
I am going further than that. I am saying if there is no God then why is Human Joy important? How can it be any more important than a fire burning?
With or without God, it doesn't make sense to ask why human joy is important. It is intrinsically valuable.
To ask why human joy is important is a bit like asking a person why he likes to eat olives (when you don't like them). There is no answer to that question since it's all a matter of taste. However, unlike enjoying olives, human joy itself is universal among mankind. Everyone wants joy and wants to avoid pain. That is why Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and pray for them, to accept a slapping from someone, to give to those who ask you for something, expecting nothing in return, to avoid parading our piety before people, etc. All of these acts help us to maximize our joy and to minimize the pain and/or discomfort of others——and doing that is the very essence of morality, and thus the basis for Jesus' teachings.
It is intrinsically valuable to humans. But what if our joys comes at the cost of some other animal (which often it does). Or if it comes that the cost of millions of bacteria? Why is our value above theirs if there is no God. If we are merely an accident the we are a chemical reaction that has "created" our own feelings to ensure the chemical reaction continues. Nothing else.

Love, joy peace are valuable because they come from a divine being.

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by crgfstr1 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:04 am

Paidion wrote:So crgfstr1, what do you think is the basis for morality? Are God's commands the basis? Is a morally right act defined as that which God commands? And a morally wrong act defined as that which God forbids? And if God said nothing about the act, then it's up to us whether to do it or not?

For example, let's consider one of the ten commandments: "Thou shalt not steal." Is stealing immoral simply because God forbade it? Suppose God had not forbidden stealing. In that case, would you consider stealing not to be immoral?

As I see it, stealing would be just as immoral if God had not forbidden it. For this reason:

People have belongings because they worked for them. If you steal their belongings you are depriving them of the pleasure that they would otherwise derive from those belongings. Yes, morality and immorality are wholly related to joy or pain, to pleasure or deprivation of pleasure. Stealing is not morally wrong because God forbade it. Rather God forbade it because it is morally wrong.
Thanks Paidion. Here is how I see it:

We really only have one commandment. That is to love God with everything we have all the time. The love everyone as God does is part of that. If we seek and love God we will want to be more like God. God is righteous. To be moral is to do what God would do. Immoral is to do anything that God wouldn't do.

I agree. God didn't forbid anything arbitrarily. The 10 commandments were just a start of understanding of what it is like to be like God. Jesus explained though there is more behind them. They aren't merely rules. They are examples for us to consider what is good and what is bad. It is the lack of love, compassion, etc that any of these acts require in order to do them. How can I truly love someone and steal from them?

God is after our heart and our character not just our actions. Good actions without a loving heart and God's character is not the lesson we are here to learn. I am not even sure if the actions matter at all. It may be 100% heart and character that God seeks. If he had wanted something done he could have done it. By having us do things he is helping to build our character and purify our hearts. The actions (good or bad) are a means to an ends.

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Paidion » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:38 pm

I'm happy to learn that yours is the position of love being the source of morality, crgfstr1.
Perhaps it may surprise you to learn that I also believe love is the source.

But what is love? Love is not merely an emotion; it is action—action to benefit people. For that reason, I was surprised at your sentence, " I am not even sure if the actions matter at all." Without actions there is no love. Any act that harms people is the opposite to love. Any act that benefits people is the consequence of love.
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Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by crgfstr1 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:39 pm

Paidion wrote:I'm happy to learn that yours is the position of love being the source of morality, crgfstr1.
Perhaps it may surprise you to learn that I also believe love is the source.

But what is love? Love is not merely an emotion; it is action—action to benefit people. For that reason, I was surprised at your sentence, " I am not even sure if the actions matter at all." Without actions there is no love. Any act that harms people is the opposite to love. Any act that benefits people is the consequence of love.
Paidion, I think we agree. The "I am not even sure" part maybe should have been "I am pondering how much". Obviously from a practical sense the actions (deeds) matter. It is funny to me though when I was thinking of how to respond to you that your signature seems to be more on the side of what I stated:

"Man judges a person by his past deeds (actions), and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous."

Seems God is more after our character than our actions (deeds). Seems man is after the actions. This is more to the point I was trying to make. Some put way to much importance on the actions rather than the character.

I have heard in some of Steve's lessons that love is not merely an emotion. I agree that the feeling of love without the act of love is nearly useless. However the other extreme I believe is equally misguided. That is the lack of emotion but merely the deed. Even if it is done to please God (this could be for our own benefit). It is fine when it is a "fake it till you make it" scenario as long as our goal is to make it not fake it. I think God is seeking for us to truly love everyone. Not just treat everyone with love but not feel it.

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Singalphile » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:33 pm

I agree, more or less, with Homer's original post, and I tend to agree that morality makes no sense in naturalistic atheism (not all atheists are naturalists, I gather).

That said, the reality of "God" (not necessarily the real God) is sometimes said to ground morality, but I'm not sure I get that. Why is it necessarily true that we ought to do what our creator says?
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by jonperry » Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:59 pm

As a non-believer, maybe my two cents will count a bit here.

My assumption is that I'm truly mortal - my mind is an emergent property of my brain and it did not exist before my brain developed. Likewise, my mind will be destroyed with my brain when I die. This is unfortunate and pretty disturbing to think about, but it doesn't mean I have no sense of purpose or morality while I'm here. To the contrary, I get a sense of purpose from the idea that this time is all I have. If I don't like how things are, I personally have to change them.
Homer wrote:Paidion,
If there is no God, could you show that the most sensible thing for a personal way of life would not be a calculated selfishness? I. e., maximize self pleasure in whatever way you can without causing others to harm you.
For me it's not possible to maximize pleasure through selfishness because I get most of my truest pleasure through building sincere relationships with other people, through teaching, and through struggling against things I see as injustices.

To answer the original question "Why are we here?" Right now we're here to chat with people on the internet about the purpose of life. Later tonight, my purpose will be to go to a fundraiser for Chintimini Wildlife Center where I'll eat and drink with longtime friends.

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by Paidion » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:36 pm

Hi Jon,
Amazingly, with much of your recent post I agree, even though I do believe in God, that Jesus is the Son of God, begotten before all ages, and that after his death, God raised Him from the dead, and that He is Lord of my life.
You wrote:My assumption is that I'm truly mortal.
I, too, believe I am truly mortal. Indeed, the apostle Paul wrote that God alone has immortality (1 Tim 6:16 ESV)
My mind is an emergent property of my brain and it did not exist before my brain developed.
This is my belief also.
Likewise, my mind will be destroyed with my brain when I die.
Agreed. Even the apostle Paul indicated that unless there is a resurrection of the dead there's nothing more. He wrote:
“...If the dead are not raised,'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'”(1 Corinthians 15:32)
This is unfortunate and pretty disturbing to think about.
Here is where I begin to disagree. Though I believe that when I die, I'm dead, and no longer exist (including my mind), as a Christian, I have the fond expectation of being raised from the dead, just as Jesus was raised. The writer of Revelation called Him "the firstborn from the dead." However, I don't believe that I will be raised until Jesus returns. That could happen in ten years or in ten thousand years or more.
...but it doesn't mean I have no sense of purpose or morality while I'm here.
I fully agree that an atheist can have a sense of purpose and also recognizes moral imperatives—to benefit other people, and to refrain from doing them harm.
To the contrary, I get a sense of purpose from the idea that this time is all I have.
You may have a sense of purpose for this reason, but I must disagree that this is all the time you have. Although this may be all the time there is for you now, the time will come when God will raise you to life again.
If I don't like how things are, I personally have to change them.
That could be hurtful. What if the things you like would result in greater harm to people?
But even supposing you like only the things that benefit people, what if you are unable to change the harmful things that people do to one another?

Another thing I would like to ask you. Are you fully satisfied with your life? Or do you feel that there is something lacking—and that you can't quite figure out what it is?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

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Re: Why Are We Here?

Post by jonperry » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:33 am

Paidion wrote: That could be hurtful. What if the things you like would result in greater harm to people?
But even supposing you like only the things that benefit people, what if you are unable to change the harmful things that people do to one another?
If I were to start harming people, I would hope that would stop me. I think it's important for all of us to be vigilant—to stick up for ourselves when treated poorly, to stick up for others, and to try to understand where others are coming from. If we fail, that's unfortunate.
Paidion wrote:Another thing I would like to ask you. Are you fully satisfied with your life? Or do you feel that there is something lacking—and that you can't quite figure out what it is?
I wouldn't say there's something lacking but I'm certainly not complacent, I have constant desire to progress in most things that I do.

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