OrthodoxChristianity.net
November 27, 2014, 07:48:12 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Is There An Afterlife (great video debate)  (Read 1053 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
android
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GO Archdiocese of America- Southeast US
Posts: 158


« on: March 21, 2011, 10:19:56 AM »

Not sure if this is the right place for this, but this is a debate/discussion among Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris (2 noted atheists) and a couple of Rabbis that I though was fascinating.

http://www.jewishtvnetwork.com/?bcpid=533363107&bctid=802338105001


Though no Orthodox point of view is represented, it's an interesting discussion. I always enjoy Hitchens even though I may disagree with some of his views (and think most of his criticisms of religion are really targeted towards Catholicism, which he deems to be an effective rebuttal/arguent against religion generally).

Thoughts? I personally struggle with the notion of an afterlife- are we really just deceiving ourselves because (a) we'd like to believe, and (b) we've inherited a ready-made construct (religion) that gives us psychological comfort and social/cultural connection and coherent path for personal and familial development/understanding? That's why I posted this in "Faith Issues".

I believe and try to live an Orthodox life, but given the myriad belief systems over time and the lack of real evidence, many signs point towards religion just being a crutch (and means of controlling people and/or explaining the unexplainable)

Sorry for my frankness- just being honest about a topic I'm sure many struggle with.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 10:22:04 AM by android » Logged
PoorFoolNicholas
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Theologoumenon
Posts: 1,664


« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2011, 12:21:24 PM »

Can there be any real joy without religion? What would the world look like if everyone were a nihilist? Hell, my friend.
Logged
android
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GO Archdiocese of America- Southeast US
Posts: 158


« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2011, 12:29:19 PM »

Can there be any real joy without religion? What would the world look like if everyone were a nihilist? Hell, my friend.


of course there can be. and for many, the absence of religion (and the psychological stress, constraints and control it imposes on them) would increase joy.

and i'm not sure everyone would be nihilist without religion. perhaps people would truly work to limit suffering and help their fellow man if they weren't laboring under the notion that the suffering is, on some level, part of God's plan (whether as a natural outgrowth of free will, as punishment, justice, etc.).
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,720


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011, 12:42:48 PM »


of course there can be. and for many, the absence of religion (and the psychological stress, constraints and control it imposes on them) would increase joy.


Well, wouldn't this prove wrong the idea that the afterlife exists for people's comfort?  You seem to argue here that the afterlife exists for some people's discomfort.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
android
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GO Archdiocese of America- Southeast US
Posts: 158


« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 12:47:32 PM »


of course there can be. and for many, the absence of religion (and the psychological stress, constraints and control it imposes on them) would increase joy.


Well, wouldn't this prove wrong the idea that the afterlife exists for people's comfort?  You seem to argue here that the afterlife exists for some people's discomfort.

right, and i wasn't trying to prove that idea wrong. i'm saying if there is no afterlife, all we are left with is the here and now and perhaps understanding/embracing that will increase joy with what we actually have rather than fritter away what we have in exchange for an afterlife that isn't there.

but yeah, many take comfort in the knowledge that there is an afterlife. most everyone hates the notion of their own non-existence.

to be clear- i'm orthodox- i don't want to argue on the side of there being no afterlife, but i think it's worth having an honest discussion about and believing for the right reasons, with a clear understand for what we can really know and what we can't know.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,720


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 12:52:32 PM »


of course there can be. and for many, the absence of religion (and the psychological stress, constraints and control it imposes on them) would increase joy.


Well, wouldn't this prove wrong the idea that the afterlife exists for people's comfort?  You seem to argue here that the afterlife exists for some people's discomfort.

right, and i wasn't trying to prove that idea wrong. i'm saying if there is no afterlife, all we are left with is the here and now and perhaps understanding/embracing that will increase joy with what we actually have rather than fritter away what we have in exchange for an afterlife that isn't there.

but yeah, many take comfort in the knowledge that there is an afterlife. most everyone hates the notion of their own non-existence.

to be clear- i'm orthodox- i don't want to argue on the side of there being no afterlife, but i think it's worth having an honest discussion about and believing for the right reasons, with a clear understand for what we can really know and what we can't know.

Forgive me.  I don't mean to turn this against you.  I'm just challenging the notion that the afterlife merely comforts people, and not an independent idea that is rooted in Christian hope of resurrection.  It's a matter of truly conquering death and accounting for all the people who are born and died in the past until now.  No amount of human technology no matter how advanced in my opinion can solve this human problem.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
android
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GO Archdiocese of America- Southeast US
Posts: 158


« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 12:57:40 PM »


of course there can be. and for many, the absence of religion (and the psychological stress, constraints and control it imposes on them) would increase joy.


Well, wouldn't this prove wrong the idea that the afterlife exists for people's comfort?  You seem to argue here that the afterlife exists for some people's discomfort.

right, and i wasn't trying to prove that idea wrong. i'm saying if there is no afterlife, all we are left with is the here and now and perhaps understanding/embracing that will increase joy with what we actually have rather than fritter away what we have in exchange for an afterlife that isn't there.

but yeah, many take comfort in the knowledge that there is an afterlife. most everyone hates the notion of their own non-existence.

to be clear- i'm orthodox- i don't want to argue on the side of there being no afterlife, but i think it's worth having an honest discussion about and believing for the right reasons, with a clear understand for what we can really know and what we can't know.

Forgive me.  I don't mean to turn this against you.  I'm just challenging the notion that the afterlife merely comforts people, and not an independent idea that is rooted in Christian hope of resurrection.  It's a matter of truly conquering death and accounting for all the people who are born and died in the past until now.  No amount of human technology no matter how advanced in my opinion can solve this human problem.

you don't need to be forgiven.  Smiley  i know you weren't turning anything against me i'm just very self-aware (and uncomfortable) with some of these ideas i'm playing with...yet i still think they are worth meeting head on.

i agree no amount of technology can solve the problem. i guess i just struggle with the notion of actual resurrection (reanimation of our physical bodies).

did you watch the video (just curious)?
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,720


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 01:11:27 PM »


of course there can be. and for many, the absence of religion (and the psychological stress, constraints and control it imposes on them) would increase joy.


Well, wouldn't this prove wrong the idea that the afterlife exists for people's comfort?  You seem to argue here that the afterlife exists for some people's discomfort.

right, and i wasn't trying to prove that idea wrong. i'm saying if there is no afterlife, all we are left with is the here and now and perhaps understanding/embracing that will increase joy with what we actually have rather than fritter away what we have in exchange for an afterlife that isn't there.

but yeah, many take comfort in the knowledge that there is an afterlife. most everyone hates the notion of their own non-existence.

to be clear- i'm orthodox- i don't want to argue on the side of there being no afterlife, but i think it's worth having an honest discussion about and believing for the right reasons, with a clear understand for what we can really know and what we can't know.

Forgive me.  I don't mean to turn this against you.  I'm just challenging the notion that the afterlife merely comforts people, and not an independent idea that is rooted in Christian hope of resurrection.  It's a matter of truly conquering death and accounting for all the people who are born and died in the past until now.  No amount of human technology no matter how advanced in my opinion can solve this human problem.

you don't need to be forgiven.  Smiley  i know you weren't turning anything against me i'm just very self-aware (and uncomfortable) with some of these ideas i'm playing with...yet i still think they are worth meeting head on.

i agree no amount of technology can solve the problem. i guess i just struggle with the notion of actual resurrection (reanimation of our physical bodies).

did you watch the video (just curious)?

Not yet...I will, but it's too long at the moment.

I do want to mention that if we look at Christian morality, the agape love that we have with one another (or should have) and with all of humanity, one cannot help but be moved to add that the afterlife is a necessity in this love we have with all of humanity.  If there is no afterlife, there's no point in loving them.  Of course, we can admire them inasmuch the time we have now until we hypothetically cease to exist.  But this just proves that in the end, it doesn't even matter.  I always feel that the way you act in this world reflects the reality of the world beyond even if you don't believe in it.  Just in the same way that the laws of the universe work even if you don't know they do.

Atheists will say well this makes the moment even more valuable when we cease to exist.  I answer, yes and no.  Yes, it makes it more valuable, but no, the value is subjective to each human.  Not every human is the same, and this needs to be altered in a more objective reality.  If one loves all with the greatest value, then that means there is a life beyond.  If one loves who he sees and knows around him with the greatest value, then life is what you make of it.  Christianity calls us to love all, not just our friends and family.  If you believe in loving all, you must believe in the life beyond.  So in my opinion, despite what atheists claim that we put less value on love and life in an eternal afterlife, I believe a proper belief of the afterlife should confirm and expand our view of love.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
android
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GO Archdiocese of America- Southeast US
Posts: 158


« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2011, 01:17:38 PM »


of course there can be. and for many, the absence of religion (and the psychological stress, constraints and control it imposes on them) would increase joy.


Well, wouldn't this prove wrong the idea that the afterlife exists for people's comfort?  You seem to argue here that the afterlife exists for some people's discomfort.

right, and i wasn't trying to prove that idea wrong. i'm saying if there is no afterlife, all we are left with is the here and now and perhaps understanding/embracing that will increase joy with what we actually have rather than fritter away what we have in exchange for an afterlife that isn't there.

but yeah, many take comfort in the knowledge that there is an afterlife. most everyone hates the notion of their own non-existence.

to be clear- i'm orthodox- i don't want to argue on the side of there being no afterlife, but i think it's worth having an honest discussion about and believing for the right reasons, with a clear understand for what we can really know and what we can't know.

Forgive me.  I don't mean to turn this against you.  I'm just challenging the notion that the afterlife merely comforts people, and not an independent idea that is rooted in Christian hope of resurrection.  It's a matter of truly conquering death and accounting for all the people who are born and died in the past until now.  No amount of human technology no matter how advanced in my opinion can solve this human problem.

you don't need to be forgiven.  Smiley  i know you weren't turning anything against me i'm just very self-aware (and uncomfortable) with some of these ideas i'm playing with...yet i still think they are worth meeting head on.

i agree no amount of technology can solve the problem. i guess i just struggle with the notion of actual resurrection (reanimation of our physical bodies).

did you watch the video (just curious)?

Not yet...I will, but it's too long at the moment.

I do want to mention that if we look at Christian morality, the agape love that we have with one another (or should have) and with all of humanity, one cannot help but be moved to add that the afterlife is a necessity in this love we have with all of humanity.  If there is no afterlife, there's no point in loving them.  Of course, we can admire them inasmuch the time we have now until we hypothetically cease to exist.  But this just proves that in the end, it doesn't even matter.  I always feel that the way you act in this world reflects the reality of the world beyond even if you don't believe in it.  Just in the same way that the laws of the universe work even if you don't know they do.

Atheists will say well this makes the moment even more valuable when we cease to exist.  I answer, yes and no.  Yes, it makes it more valuable, but no, the value is subjective to each human.  Not every human is the same, and this needs to be altered in a more objective reality.  If one loves all with the greatest value, then that means there is a life beyond.  If one loves who he sees and knows around him with the greatest value, then life is what you make of it.  Christianity calls us to love all, not just our friends and family.  If you believe in loving all, you must believe in the life beyond.  So in my opinion, despite what atheists claim that we put less value on love and life in an eternal afterlife, I believe a proper belief of the afterlife should confirm and expand our view of love.

so is it just confirmation bias? we need our desires to be affirmed, so our beliefs "coincidentally" sync up with our desires and we move on down the road because there is psychological utility? in that sense, it is like an "opiate" in that we are willfully choosing not to live in reality because things are so much better/livable on the drug.

i agree the notion of love is great and wonderful, but if we are just creating religion to provide the ribbon around which we tie our warm and fuzzy feelings are we not acknowledging that religion is man-made, it isn't true, but we are doing it anyway?

we are told to love because Christ commanded us to- so it isn't so easy for humans to do that. so, to base a belief in an afterlife on "well, we love, therefore there is an afterlife" seems tricky... that truth is not at all universal because there are many who don't love (and none love all the time).
Logged
Marc1152
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rocor
Posts: 13,314


Probiotic .. Antibiotic


« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2011, 04:14:58 PM »

There is considerable evidence that people survive death that has nothing at all to do with religion.
Logged

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
PoorFoolNicholas
Site Supporter
OC.net guru
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Theologoumenon
Posts: 1,664


« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2011, 05:15:29 PM »

There is considerable evidence that people survive death that has nothing at all to do with religion.

Yes a very good point indeed. And to Android:
How do you think that no religion doesn't equal nihilism?
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,720


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2011, 11:03:50 PM »

so is it just confirmation bias? we need our desires to be affirmed, so our beliefs "coincidentally" sync up with our desires and we move on down the road because there is psychological utility? in that sense, it is like an "opiate" in that we are willfully choosing not to live in reality because things are so much better/livable on the drug.

I'm not following your argument here.  I'm saying that if we are called to love all people, past, present, and future, enemies and friends, then it doesn't make sense if our lives end and we cease to exist.  How can I truly love and pray for someone who ceases to exist.  I may love their contributions, I may love how the future might look, but true love, the love that yearns for everyone's salvation, that is a love you can find only with Christianity in my opinion.  I don't see how that's an "opiate."  I see a consistency between the belief in the Resurrection, the love of this life, the love of all humanity past, present, future, enemy and friend, and the love of God incarnate.  It all meshes together nicely and consistently for me, not as opiate, but as an affirmation that only this system can work for this particular type of love we are called to try to become.

Quote
i agree the notion of love is great and wonderful, but if we are just creating religion to provide the ribbon around which we tie our warm and fuzzy feelings are we not acknowledging that religion is man-made, it isn't true, but we are doing it anyway?

On the contrary, I don't see anything man-made about the notion that I should love unconditionally all humanity.  I don't see anything man-made about the notion that I should forgive and to go beyond that and love my enemy no matter who that enemy is or what he/she did.  I find these behaviors a truth that one needs to reach, and the only reason one can believe in these truths is if there is actually hope for those he actually loves, and this hope is in the resurrection.  And what other religion gives us a God who becomes incarnate and lives out in humility a human life of that same love we should live?

And on top of that, the complexity of the Godhead, the fact that God is a Trinity, and that there's a level of just utter mystery in that understanding of the Godhead, where it is much easier and manmade to say that there are multiple gods of the one (Hinduism) or one simple un-triune god (Islam, Sikhism, Bahai) or a who cares mentality (Hinduism/Buddhism/Bahai).  And on top of that, that the Trinity explains best the love of God, and the love that rules the laws of the nature around us.  I find that a very difficult thing for humans to come up with on their own.

Quote
we are told to love because Christ commanded us to- so it isn't so easy for humans to do that. so, to base a belief in an afterlife on "well, we love, therefore there is an afterlife" seems tricky... that truth is not at all universal because there are many who don't love (and none love all the time).

No, I think you misunderstand my argument.  We are told to love because we should, but it won't make sense to love just about anyone you see or not see unless there's an afterlife, a resurrection.  If we are to become God, we must love like He loves, and not merely love who we know around us.  That is a difficult concept that no human can really achieve or even grasp fully.  It makes sense to say that we should love our friends and try to make peace with our enemies.  It doesn't make sense that we should love unconditionally everyone.

I listened to the debate, and really, I find the rabbis more on the defense than anything, but also quite liberal.  They opened the door pretty much to putting themselves in similarities with Buddhist and Hindu philosophies, and in fact, they even compared the Scriptures to Shakespeare to get important lessons from it.  And because omnipotent to the atheist means "tyrant," then they had to deny the omnipotence of God only to make Him, as Harris said, a friendly guru giving you advise.  Utter shame really this whole debate I'm listening to.  Weakness on the side of the rabbis.  The problem is this:  that atheists cannot understand what a religion is like unless they change their lives in a certain moral manner.  And since they're quite liberal with their morality, they won't understand religion at all.  They have to continually and daily reject the moral reality of life in order for them to live their atheistic lives.  That isn't to say their immoral, but that there are some morals they won't practice to see a difference in their lives.  I challenged an atheist friend to not cuss for a month, and he refused at the utter nonsense of trying to stop.  In my experience, it's much easier to be an atheist, since even most theists don't live like theists.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2011, 03:23:26 AM »

There is considerable evidence that people survive death that has nothing at all to do with religion.


Such as?
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
NorthernPines
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA
Posts: 934



« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2011, 10:49:43 AM »

Can there be any real joy without religion? What would the world look like if everyone were a nihilist? Hell, my friend.

good grief. Just because YOU would be a nihilist without religion doesn't mean everyone would be. There are millions of non believers just in america alone who are not nihilists. I really wish christians would stop using this argument; all it does is prove that the person saying it is a nihilist, not that anyone else is.
Logged
Marc1152
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rocor
Posts: 13,314


Probiotic .. Antibiotic


« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2011, 04:01:14 PM »

There is considerable evidence that people survive death that has nothing at all to do with religion.


Such as?

In general, we have near death experiences that have a great consistency with each other across cultural lines.

We also have considerable evidence of contact with so called Ghosts. We have enough technology these days that people who do such investigations can easily record answers to questions they ask in a "haunted" area and also capture images on film.

I had and experience and saw two Ghosts at a Civil War Battlefield.. i can tell you the story when I have more time.

In my case, my wife passed away 4.5 years ago. We had an agreement made many years earlier that we would have a specific signal to each other if one died. I had forgotten all about it until about 3 days after her funeral when it appeared. I then recalled our agreement and said to her outloud. "Okay..do it again"

A couple of days later the signal appeared again bigger and more grandiose as if she were saying IS THAT BIG ENOUGH FOR YA?

My kids always had their picture taken at the door on the first day of school since they were little. My son was home last year before the first day of his college semester. Just for fun I had him pose at the door and snapped a picture. When we developed it there was an "Orb" in front of him. An Orb is a round glowing ball that looks a bit like the moon. It is thought to be how spirits are visible to us.

www.near-death.com 
Logged

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
android
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GO Archdiocese of America- Southeast US
Posts: 158


« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2011, 09:33:48 AM »

so is it just confirmation bias? we need our desires to be affirmed, so our beliefs "coincidentally" sync up with our desires and we move on down the road because there is psychological utility? in that sense, it is like an "opiate" in that we are willfully choosing not to live in reality because things are so much better/livable on the drug.

I'm not following your argument here.  I'm saying that if we are called to love all people, past, present, and future, enemies and friends, then it doesn't make sense if our lives end and we cease to exist.  How can I truly love and pray for someone who ceases to exist.  I may love their contributions, I may love how the future might look, but true love, the love that yearns for everyone's salvation, that is a love you can find only with Christianity in my opinion.  I don't see how that's an "opiate."  I see a consistency between the belief in the Resurrection, the love of this life, the love of all humanity past, present, future, enemy and friend, and the love of God incarnate.  It all meshes together nicely and consistently for me, not as opiate, but as an affirmation that only this system can work for this particular type of love we are called to try to become.

Well yeah, there is no point in praying for someone if there is no God/afterlife. You can still love though. It's ridiculous to claim that there is no love w/o God. The VAST (i.e. 99%) of humanity has not believed in "our" God and has loved their children, parents, significant others, friends, etc.

I'm not saying that God/Christ don't add another dimension or significance to it- but to the point of the thread- love isn't a proof of God.

And if there is a particular type of love (as you described) that, as you say "can find only with Christianity" then so be it, but that doesn't prove anything except that Christianity does something for you emotionally/psychologically.

Quote
i agree the notion of love is great and wonderful, but if we are just creating religion to provide the ribbon around which we tie our warm and fuzzy feelings are we not acknowledging that religion is man-made, it isn't true, but we are doing it anyway?

On the contrary, I don't see anything man-made about the notion that I should love unconditionally all humanity.  I don't see anything man-made about the notion that I should forgive and to go beyond that and love my enemy no matter who that enemy is or what he/she did.  I find these behaviors a truth that one needs to reach, and the only reason one can believe in these truths is if there is actually hope for those he actually loves, and this hope is in the resurrection.  And what other religion gives us a God who becomes incarnate and lives out in humility a human life of that same love we should live?

And on top of that, the complexity of the Godhead, the fact that God is a Trinity, and that there's a level of just utter mystery in that understanding of the Godhead, where it is much easier and manmade to say that there are multiple gods of the one (Hinduism) or one simple un-triune god (Islam, Sikhism, Bahai) or a who cares mentality (Hinduism/Buddhism/Bahai).  And on top of that, that the Trinity explains best the love of God, and the love that rules the laws of the nature around us.  I find that a very difficult thing for humans to come up with on their own.

Everything you describe can be mere opinion and man-made. "Trinity" isn't mentioned in scripture or by Christ- it's per se a construct (albeit, as we believe and affirm, a true one).

Quote
we are told to love because Christ commanded us to- so it isn't so easy for humans to do that. so, to base a belief in an afterlife on "well, we love, therefore there is an afterlife" seems tricky... that truth is not at all universal because there are many who don't love (and none love all the time).

No, I think you misunderstand my argument.  We are told to love because we should, but it won't make sense to love just about anyone you see or not see unless there's an afterlife, a resurrection.  If we are to become God, we must love like He loves, and not merely love who we know around us.  That is a difficult concept that no human can really achieve or even grasp fully.  It makes sense to say that we should love our friends and try to make peace with our enemies.  It doesn't make sense that we should love unconditionally everyone.

I listened to the debate, and really, I find the rabbis more on the defense than anything, but also quite liberal.  They opened the door pretty much to putting themselves in similarities with Buddhist and Hindu philosophies, and in fact, they even compared the Scriptures to Shakespeare to get important lessons from it.  And because omnipotent to the atheist means "tyrant," then they had to deny the omnipotence of God only to make Him, as Harris said, a friendly guru giving you advise.  Utter shame really this whole debate I'm listening to.  Weakness on the side of the rabbis.  The problem is this:  that atheists cannot understand what a religion is like unless they change their lives in a certain moral manner.  And since they're quite liberal with their morality, they won't understand religion at all.  They have to continually and daily reject the moral reality of life in order for them to live their atheistic lives.  That isn't to say their immoral, but that there are some morals they won't practice to see a difference in their lives.  I challenged an atheist friend to not cuss for a month, and he refused at the utter nonsense of trying to stop.  In my experience, it's much easier to be an atheist, since even most theists don't live like theists.


And I guess I don't understand your argument. Love as some guiding principle sounds all well and good but proves nothing. I'm honestly at a loss for how your discussion about loving everyone, needing an afterlife, etc. constitutes an argument. Of course, if you assume (as it seems you have) that God has commanded us to love, then an afterlife makes sense. I don't think anyone who sees God's commandment to love as a fact (i.e. there is a God, he has communicated and reached out to humans, and part of that communication is to love) would doubt an afterlife.

I agree the rabbis were basically liberal religious intelligentsia and conceded a lot. The problem is they didn't have much of a response to the critiques Hitchens and Harris were levying. Why is that? All you or I (as Orthodox Christians) could do is regurgitate our own particular form of doctrine and affirm it is as truth, but it wouldn't address the critiques.
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,720


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2011, 01:12:03 PM »

Think of any person you love that passed away?  Now how would you love them if they already passed away.  You loved them, but you can't love someone that ceases to exist.  You can love the memory of them, an idea of them, but to love THEM as real persons that continue to exist, well, that is a concept only if you believe there's an afterlife, and we do this by praying for them, and asking them to pray for us, to continue to have a relationship with them even after they died.  To some, it's an illusionary coping mechanism, and to others, it's a Christian duty of a real realm.

Now think of any person that passed away that you feel most people hate and in fact wished to die a horrible death.  Surely, why should people waste their time continuing to hate a man who ceases to exist?  And most importantly, what's the point of a Christian to love that particular enemy of humanity, forgiving him and loving him?  What's man-made about loving your enemy?  It would make more sense to wish the person hell than to wish for his salvation.  If that love comes at a mystery that is unexplainably not-man-made.

I'm not saying love is a proof of God.  I'm precisely talking particularly about loving that takes an "extra dimension" (as you so nicely put it) that Christ brought, absurd to the atheist, and wholly virtuous to the Christian.  I'm not talking about the love that all people naturally have.  But the "extra dimension" is a sort of proof for God's existence, sort of because it's not officially a proof if one doesn't act upon it.

And my gosh, let's not get into a Jehovah's Witness style of debate on the word "Trinity."  The Scriptures talk about distinct entities, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that are all worshipped.  Call it Three Dudesism or the Three, or Thrice Holy, or Thrivinity or whatever you call it, the idea is there and the idea is hard for simply a man to make it up is what I was getting at.  It just so happens the word "Trinity" is the universal vocabulary for the concept, just as the word "soteriology" is a study of our salvation, a word also not found in Scriptures.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 01:24:13 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,720


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2011, 11:16:19 PM »

I wanted to add something that also has been interesting me on the case of morality.  We have a variety of atheists, from the most militant (Hitchens) to the most charismatic (Dawkins):

Hitchens:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EuDYGnWMiQ&NR=1
Dawkins:  http://richarddawkins.net/articles/20

But what can we find that unites Hitchens and Dawkins on the morality issue, especially those radical moral laws of Christ?  Well, Dawkins puts it best here:

Quote
Let's put it even more bluntly. From a rational choice point of view, or from a Darwinian point of view, human super niceness is just plain dumb. And yes, it is the kind of dumb that should be encouraged - which is the purpose of my article. How can we do it? How shall we take the minority of super nice humans that we all know, and increase their number, perhaps until they even become a majority in the population? Could super niceness be induced to spread like an epidemic? Could super niceness be packaged in such a form that it passes down the generations in swelling traditions of longitudinal propagation?

Well, do we know of any comparable examples, where stupid ideas have been known to spread like an epidemic? Yes, by God! Religion. Religious beliefs are irrational. Religious beliefs are dumb and dumber: super dumb. Religion drives otherwise sensible people into celibate monasteries, or crashing into New York skyscrapers. Religion motivates people to whip their own backs, to set fire to themselves or their daughters, to denounce their own grandmothers as witches, or, in less extreme cases, simply to stand or kneel, week after week, through ceremonies of stupefying boredom. If people can be infected with such self-harming stupidity, infecting them with niceness should be childsplay.

Hitchens probably believes that there will always be evil, which necessitates the rejection of the stupidity of unrelenting altruism even towards your enemies.  Dawkins proposes an "atheistic religion" where we depend on the stupidity of the masses of people to spread the stupidity of impartial altruism to make this world a more livable place, and concentrate perhaps on the more important, like education.

To be an atheist requires that you believe most humanity is stupid.  To be a Christian requires that you believe most humanity is capable of freedom from this stupidity (because the person in front of you is your equal, no different from you), to practice unfettered and impartial altruism not for a narcissistic sense of community peace, or a selfish sense of reward (or fear of punishment), but ultimately to do this because you know this is the right thing to do.  True freedom, the same freedom God has, which gives us the companionship of that unity with God.  That is the ultimate goal of life, to grow up from any sense of reward or punishment, to transcend a Darwinist approach towards life, and that's only possible if one believes in God.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 11:18:32 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.103 seconds with 46 queries.