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Featured Global Citizenship: My Personal Philosophy Replaces Religion

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by joe1776, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Of course I have a problem with those laws. Killing people for those offenses is absurdly harsh as judged by my conscience. Is that not the same reason they are no longer enforced? What does your conscience tell you about those commands?

    So, do you disagree with the Jews who "watered down" those laws by not enforcing the death sentences? I doubt it.
    That's a false analogy. Both scripture and conscience can be ignored. However, scripture can also be misinterpreted and consequently mislead. For example, the Bible's commandment: You should not kill is interpreted by the majority of Christians to be a general rule and by a minority to be an absolute rule. So, either the majority or the minority is being misled.

    In my opinion an all-knowing Creator would know better than to use a human language vulnerable to misinterpretation and mistranslation to give moral guidance. If such a being exists, and wanted us to have free will and moral guidance, then conscience, simple and cross-cultural, is the kind of tool we'd be given.
     
    #161 joe1776, Feb 17, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  2. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I believe you will not have eternal life on that basis and if there is no change eventually you will go to Hell.
     
  3. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    I think you believe that probably because, as a child, you were coerced to believe it by the reward and punishment method which can train lots of animals to behave as we want them to.

    The offer of an afterlife of Heaven (reward) or Hell (punishment) is hard to refuse, especially by young, naive minds.

    Unfortunately, the threat of eternal punishment meant that the Christian god had to be portrayed as a vengeful enforcer who has no idea that genuine love is always unconditional.

    The idea of a fair punishment for misbehavior, meant to instruct, is certainly consistent as an act of love. But eternal punishment in Hell for not accepting a religious doctrine is laughingly absurd.
     
  4. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Please remember the times and the culture of the people to whom these laws were given. They were an insular nation, separated from the nations around them, who worshipped other gods. They originally operated under a Theocracy, which is rule by God; they had his laws and knew the penalty for breaking them. That alone should have been enough of a deterrent, but not for everyone apparently. Those who broke the rules had to cop the penalty.....it isn't like they were ignorant.

    Israel's history is like a roller-coaster.....when they obeyed the laws of their God, they were blessed.....then they got complacent and decided to ignore those laws and do their own thing....God punished them and they repented, so he accepted them back and the same cycle repeated over many centuries. Once the Jews left their homeland and dispersed out into other nations, God's laws pertaining to immorality, cursing one's parents by calling down evil upon them, and how to handle rebellion that was out of control, were still binding. Even though the penalties did not apply as they did when Israel was in one location with one judicial arrangement that applied to all, God's moral laws remained unchanged.

    We have God's instructions in written form. That is the best way for information to be transmitted over long periods of time. The Bible is one book, with one author, one story and one set of moral rules that apply to all.

    But as free moral agents, God allows us the choice to obey him or not. If he has clearly stated what his standards are, and we decide that they are too restrictive for ourselves to follow, we can wander outside of those moral laws if we choose to....but there are consequences to all decisions. If we know the consequences before we act, then who can we blame when they are implemented?

    That is a good point. What was that law saying exactly?

    At Exodus 20:13, it simply say..."You shall not murder." It doesn't say 'you shall not kill' because those crimes that carried the death penalty, would have been impossible to carry out if that were the case. "Murder" then is the "unlawful" taking of a human life. Only God can sanction such a thing and he hasn't sanctioned bloodshed since Israel occupied the Promised Land and protected it from their enemies.

    Unfortunately, Christendom's churches have also taken that to mean that they can participate in killing fellow humans deemed to be their enemies in a declared war or political conflict....this is not what Jesus taught at all. He said we had to 'love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us'. (Matthew 5:44) How do you love someone with a bomb or a tank or an assault rifle? How loving are nuclear weapons? [​IMG]

    So from my perspective, any "Christian" who can take a human life with no regard for God's law, is not a Christian at all. Man can tell us to kill, but if God says not to, then we are supposed to obey God. (Acts 5:29; 2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

    To understand why the human race is in this predicament, you have to go back to the beginning and figure out what the issues are, and how they are being resolved. Once you understand what is going on, then it becomes clear why God has handled things this way. I don't find anything ambiguous in the Bible because I have a pretty clear understanding about what it means for these issues to be resolved once and for all time. It will have a lasting effect on our future.

    If you are waiting for man to solve these problems....please don't hold your breath. There are madmen loose in the world with their fingers on nuclear buttons....[​IMG] Man cannot solve the problem because MAN IS THE PROBLEM.
     
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  5. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    You justify that the offenses are immoral; but that isn't why I have a problem with those laws. It's the overly harsh death sentences that God commanded that trouble my conscience. I asked you if they troubled yours, but you didn't reply.
    Every moral situation can be boiled down to a simple question: Is this action right or wrong? That makes it possible for an all-knowing Creator to give us guidance that is as simple as a light switch, either on or off. I think we have that in conscience. When a soldier is given an order to kill innocent civilians, his conscience is troubled immediately.

    If that soldier is a Christian, and he interprets the commandment as "You shall not murder" as you suggest, he gets no guidance at all because murder is the word we use to describe a wrongful killing. But what this soldier needs to know immediately is: Would this killing be wrong? His conscience answers the question for him, but the commandment is useless.

    As I see it, both the problem and its solution are built into human nature. We are making moral progress. The good side of our nature is stronger than the bad side.
     
    #165 joe1776, Feb 18, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  6. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Why do you believe that the penalties were 'overly harsh'? If God set them, who are we to say that they are too harsh? Please understand, that for those who love God's law, there is no fear of punishment. For those whose conscience does not guide them, fear is ever present and failure means that the punishment will be too harsh because it is being applied to them. At the end of the day, according to the Bible, God's punishments will be implemented for all unrepentant wrongdoers. But the two options are not heaven or hell, but rather everlasting life or everlasting death.....that's it.

    My conscience is never troubled by God's actions or his laws for the simple reason that his view of things is also my view of things. Who am I to judge my Maker?

    If you believe that humans can't help sinning, then think again. We drive our own lives by our own choices....we determine what behaviours are acceptable to us, but if our standards do not conform to God's standards...guess whose standards will be deemed invalid? An ant cannot stand on a railway track screaming at the oncoming locomotive that he has a right to be there and that the locomotive should yield to him.

    As I mentioned before, as a Christian I accept that God's standards of behavior are always correct, and that he gives us choices in order to make his choices about our qualifications for life in the Kingdom to come. If we don't qualify for citizenship in that Kingdom, there will be nowhere else for us to go. We determine our own future by how we judge human standards of behavior....be that sexual behavior or the taking of human life or whatever.

    No, it isn't that simple. Its who sets the standard of right and wrong for any individual? A person raised by militant jihadists will see nothing wrong with beheading a perceived infidel, or using a suicide bomb to further their "righteous" cause. A Christian OTOH would see that as barbaric. Consciences are trained to perceive right and wrong, so who provides the training is the important factor here.

    The Creator provides all we need to live a good and useful existence in this world. That usefulness should spill over into everything we do. The kind of person we become as adults is built on the foundation of our childhood. But nurture is also offset by nature. These two factors have a great bearing on who we become and what our attitudes will be....and consequently what our conscience will dictate. How many people understand this?

    For this reason, a true Christian cannot be a soldier. The military involves training to kill other human beings. The sanctity of human life means that even training to kill other humans is against what Christ taught. To actually take life, especially innocent life will require an accounting. If soldiers disobey their orders, what happens to them? Does a conscience belong in the military at all?

    If we disobey God's orders, what will happen? Why do we expect a different outcome?

    Your optimism is commendable, but observing current world events, and the ongoing divisiveness of humanity, it is not realistic or even accepting of the way humanity is behaving. We as a human race have never been more divided, and hatred has never been more palpable than present circumstances reveal.

    Humans continue to distract themselves with sport and entertainment......but even these can be extremely violent. It hardly promotes peace.
     
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  7. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    I will respond to this post in more detail, but I need to make a request first: Please define "conscience" for me and tell me if God had anything to do with it.
     
  8. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    "The word "conscience" is translated from the Greek sy·neiʹde·sis, which is drawn from syn (with) and eiʹde·sis (knowledge) and thus means co-knowledge, or knowledge with oneself. Conscience is a capacity to look at oneself and render judgment about oneself, bear witness to oneself. The apostle Paul expresses the operation of his conscience in this manner: “My conscience bears witness with me in holy spirit.”—Romans 9:1.

    Conscience is inherent in man, having been made part of him by God. It is an inward realization or sense of right and wrong that excuses or accuses one. Hence, conscience judges. It also can be trained by the thoughts and acts, convictions and rules that are implanted in a person’s mind by study and experience. Based on these things, it makes a comparison with the course of action being taken or contemplated. Then it sounds a warning when the rules and the course conflict, unless the conscience is “seared,” made unfeeling by continued violations of its warnings. Conscience can be a moral safety device, in that it imparts pleasure and inflicts pain for one’s own good and bad conduct." Conscience — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY


    That is a fairly good description IMV.
     
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  9. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    The Watchtower definition of conscience doesn't make sense to me. Don't you see the potential conflict between these two statements?

    1. Conscience is inherent in man, having been made part of him by God. It is an inward realization or sense of right and wrong that excuses or accuses one. Hence, conscience judges.

    2. It also can be trained by the thoughts and acts, convictions and rules that are implanted in a person’s mind by study and experience.

    If the Catholic Christian interprets the Bible's commandment on killing differently than the Witness, and sees nothing wrong with a soldier fighting a just war, one of you is wrong. One of you has created a conflict with his conscience by misinterpreting his Bible. Why would an all-knowing God create two moral guides (the Bible and conscience) that might conflict?
     
  10. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Why do you find them conflicting? The *faculty* of conscience is what is created in man.....our conscience judges our actions as either excusable or with a feeling of condemnation, depending on what we have been taught.

    But a conscience can be trained with false precepts as I explained before. Convictions and rules can be indoctrinated by dangerous spiritual guides or those with a hateful political agenda. Whatever a person puts into their mind goes into their heart and motivates their actions. This is why a suicide bomber believes that his actions are honorable and will be rewarded. His conscience is clear but only because of his training.

    It is easy to see who is misinterpreting scripture. All you have to do is allow the Bible to interpret itself.

    Jesus said....“You heard that it was said: ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good and makes it rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:43-45)

    On the night of his arrest, Jesus gave Peter a rebuke.

    "Then they came forward and seized Jesus and took him into custody. 51 But look! one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, taking off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword." (Matthew 26:47-52)

    Jesus never advocated involvement in politics. He told his disciples to be "no part of this world"....and it wouldn't make them popular. (John 15:18-21)

    Then we have the apostle Paul's words....

    "Return evil for evil to no one. Take into consideration what is fine from the viewpoint of all men. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says Jehovah.” 20 But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this you will heap fiery coals on his head.” 21 Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good." (Romans 12:17-21)

    "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage warfare according to what we are in the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things. 5 For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

    Let the Catholics justify their killing to God and his son. Their obedience to the one they claim to serve is wanting I'm afraid.

    I believe that Paul explains what God is doing....

    "But we have renounced the shameful, underhanded things, not walking with cunning or adulterating the word of God; but by making the truth manifest, we recommend ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God. 3 If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through." (2 Corinthians 4:2-4)

    Those who have embraced the word of God and are happy to live by its laws and principles have already given up the works of the flesh. Their conscience is clear. So as Paul said...if the good news is "veiled" or hidden from certain people, its because they were not adhering to what God requires in the first place. These "unbelievers" can be "blinded"...not in their eyes but in their minds.....nothing about God's requirements will seem important to them.

    Paul goes even further by speaking about those who get spiritually sidetracked by their own ideas....

    "But the lawless one’s presence is by the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders 10 and every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth in order that they might be saved. 11 That is why God lets a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie, 12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

    The devil can only deceive those who want to be deceived. God does not cause this delusion, but allows those who want to believe the lie to keep believing it. They take pleasure in what he condemns, so he has no interest in them.

    It is all very clear to me.....conscience has to be trained to be sensitive in the right way or else it can lead us in the wrong direction. :(
     
    #170 Deeje, Feb 19, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
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  11. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Deeje wrote:
    I've read that the Bible contains nearly 800, 000 words. I'm certain the Catholic hierarchy would claim that their reading of the commandment is correct and that your understanding of it is wrong. They would then cherry-pick among those 800,000 words and find scripture that seems to support their position just as you've done.

    It seems obvious that either you Witnesses or the Catholics have been misled by interpretation of scripture. So, it makes no sense that an all-knowing god would create two moral guides, conscience and the Bible, capable of conflicting on an important issue such as killing.

    I ignore the Bible and follow my conscience which tells me that a killing in a clear case of self-defense is justifiable. It tells me that killing such men as Adolf Hitler and his Nazis is morally justified. My reasoning mind concurs since we'd live in a world dominated by bully-tyrants if we, the good people of the world, were unwilling to kill for any reason.

    You asked me earlier what I saw wrong with the harsh penalties of those eight commands of God from the Torah. I can't supply a reason because the judgments of conscience are not judgments of reason. They are intuitive. Those commands felt wrong. Since Jews don't follow them, my guess is that they heeded their conscience which rendered the same judgment as mine.
     
    #171 joe1776, Feb 19, 2018
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  12. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    Jesus said : "love your enemy. (Matthew 5:44)" If I may ask you: when could killing someone **ever** be considered loving, in this context? Interpretation? Come on.

    Besides, obedience to God always supercedes obedience to a human government! -- Mark 12:17; Acts of the Apostles 5:29; John 15:10; John 15:17; John 15:14.

    That's why, as Jesus said at John 13:34-35, love is such an ID marker! Because, not just Catholics but almost every branch of Christendom, they've killed even their brothers, supporting their respective national brotherhoods over their spiritual one.

    In actuality, it's the clergy that bear most of the bloodguilt: as teachers of God's Word, they should've set the example. As Jesus did.....he didn't blame the flock, he blamed their shepherds, the scribes, Pharisees, and priests.
     
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  13. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    We don't hate the rabid dog that we see in the street, but we have a duty to kill it. We do it with regret and as an act of love for all the animals and people it might infect and kill. We didn't have to hate Adolf Hitler and his sick Nazi followers, but we had a duty to kill them in order to prevent the killing they were doing and the world domination and oppression that would have followed. For the men and women who gave their lives to stop the Axis powers in the Second World War, it was the supreme act of love for humanity.

    If a Loving Creator exists, and I think that's possible, and if it intended that we have free will and moral guidance, we would be given a very simple, cross-cultural, internal moral guide. I think conscience, our moral intuition, is exactly that and, as such, is the best evidence that such a being might exist. But you are ignoring your conscience in favor of words that came from the minds of men who claimed to be inspired by God.

    Christians claim that God is all-knowing; yet why would a halfway intelligent god offer moral guidance in a human language? He didn't know that the language would become obsolete or that it would be mistranslated and misinterpreted? Most Christians disagree with your position on killing. Do you think God intended to mislead most Christians on the killing issue or was He just ineffective in inspiring the authors of the Bible?

    Is the correct translation You should not kill or You should not murder?

    If the translation is You should not kill that might mean you should not kill as a general rule, as most Christians interpret it; or it might mean one should never kill, in the minority interpretation. Either the majority or the minority is wrong.

    If the translation is You should not murder, the word murder describes a wrongful killing which implies there must also be justifiable killings. However, the commandment gives no guidance in determining what kind of killing is wrongful and which is justifiable. Thus, on its own, as moral guidance, the commandment in this translation is useless.
     
    #173 joe1776, Feb 20, 2018
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  14. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    Grief! Don't you think you're grasping, to justify? It's 'moral guidance is useless' if we accept how you understand it. But
    In context with being 'no part of the world (John 17:16; John 17:14; John 18:36)', it's clear.

    If you want to support this world in it's conflicts, you're joining it. That's like buying a ticket and then trying to patch up the Titanic. Because what is God going to do with this world? (1 John 2:17; 2 Peter 3:7) 2 Peter 3:11 then tells us how we should act accordingly.

    Besides, is this short life in this System all we're promised? We must keep in mind what Jesus said @ Luke 17:33; John 12:25.

    (I hope you'll look up these Scriptures, all you gotta do is tap / click on em).

    As for precedence, Origen and Tertullian confirm the early Christians non-involvement in military.

    I've seen some professed Christian websites trying to say that some early Christians joined the Roman military using all kind of justification, but they ignore one fact: Christians were persecuted and killed just for being one! They couldn't have joined the system persecuting them, unless renouncing their faith.
     
    #174 Hockeycowboy, Feb 20, 2018
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  15. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    You remind me of Trilateralists.
     
  16. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    I've gotta add....this is exactly what God's Kingdom will accomplish: one world government (Daniel 2:44, "....it itself will last forever.")
     
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  17. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    I hope you understand that I'm not trying to persuade you to change your mind. I'm just hoping you will understand that our difference can't be reconciled for two main reasons:

    1) You see the quotes you offered to be in support of your position. I don't see any relevance at all. It's a matter of interpretation. What seems clear to you baffles me.

    2) You take it on faith that the Bible offers God's words. I don't have your faith, so you can't expect me to accept quotes from the Bible to prove that your position makes sense in the world that we both live in.
     
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  18. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Is there something wrong with a group that wants nations to cooperate more effectively?
     
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  19. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    I haven't predicted a one-world government. However, an upgrade over democracy is needed for better decision-making. I think the seeds of that advance are already being sown with some interesting experiments online with group decision-making.
     
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  20. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    No, I wasn't being critical, I hope I didn't come across that way?

    It's proper and desirable, to want global unity. But neighborhoods can't even achieve that, to be a lasting endeavor.

    I realize, now, that you don't accept the Bible. (My fault, for not reading your OP; I just 'jumped in'.) But the Bible has much to say on this subject that is enlightening. For instance, many who believe Scripture are mistakenly taught that 'God rules the world'. That is not so.
    Jesus said his enemy controlled it -- John 14:30..."I cannot speak with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. But he has no power over me." Luke 4:6, 2 Corinthians 4:4, 1John 5:19, and Revelation 12:9,("the entire inhabited Earth") support this further.

    No wonder mankind can't accomplish anything of lasting value. There are forces working against us.
     
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