HOW SHOULD WE DECIDE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG? — UPDATED

The Temptation of Christ
Ary Scheffer, 1854 (from here)

UPDATE:  violetwisp continued our debate here.

I visited The Lions Den today, and I read Thought for the day. Here ColorStorm put up a very simple proposition.

It does not require the mind of an Einstein, a Tesla, a molecular biologist, a heart surgeon,  a carpenter, or a lawyer, to know there is a God.

All one needs is to be alive.

Then again, ask any two year old, as the divine code is imprinted on the conscience. It’s too bad the so-called scientists hide their knowledge of this between their sandwiches of theory and endless detours, which provides no nutrition, for the bread of unbelief is quite stale.

Audacious, don’t you think? Then I looked at the comments. I don’t know why, but violetwisp was the only person to take issue with ‘s post. Usually, he attracts a small horde of doubters.

  • violetwisp says:

    So what you are saying here is that only stupid people believe in your god? But that scientists, who are aware your god exists, are telling people lies about two-year-olds who all really follow your god? It’s kind of confusing ….

So I asked a question.

  •   Citizen Tom says:

    @violetwisp

    You seem very concerned about proper behavior. Why? How do you know what is “socially acceptable”? How do you define what is “socially acceptable”? Is it right makes might, or is it might makes right? If it is right makes might, then what is the difference between right and wrong? Who or what decides the issue? Why should a little child ever bother to care?

Unfortunately, did not bother with a reply. Why? Think about that long and hard.

Supposedly, we can form a rigorous ethical system without believing in God, but I am not familiar with one. Instead, what I have seen is that most Americans, including atheists and agnostics, tend to adopt a subset of Christian ethics? Why only a subset? Well, all of us find it very difficult to give up our own preferred sins. What sins should other people give up? Well, if they give up our preferred sins we will most definitely feel slighted.

So why didn’t reply? Well, it is much easier to attack what others believe than it is to defend our own beliefs.  The Bible is out there. Anyone can read it, and the Bible has numerous detractors.  So it is not difficult to become familiar with what the critics have said and rail against the Bible, and that is something many atheists and agnostics enjoy doing.  What we don’t often see, however, is Christians attacking what atheists and agnostics believe. Why do most Christians have so little interest in the subject?

Consider.  Google the following

What is there to attack? Is there anything of substance or just speculation?

Have atheists and agnostics undermined your belief in the God of the Bible? Have you asked them what they believe?  Have you looked up what some of them say they believe? Are you comfortable they know what they are talking about?

Before you give up on Christianity, please read the Bible carefully. That includes reviewing some good commentaries and participating in a Bible study with other Christians. Does that seem to much to ask? Then consider.

  • Have you watched a child grow? Have you visited the country, gotten far away from the city and looked into the night sky on a clear night? We live in a world — in a universe — that only God could have made. Creation is evidence that God exists.
  • Have you ever been wronged? When you were a child? How did you know what had been done to you was wrong? When you wronged another, did your conscious complain? Each of us have a moral compass. That too is evidence of God.
  • If the Bible is true, have you considered what you are giving up by not reading it? Even if you seriously doubt the Bible, don’t you want to understand why so many believe? Don’t you want to understand why America, a land founded by people who did believe the Bible, is so unique?

The Bible exists as only one of the proofs of God’s existence.  If you doubt God exists, then study the matter carefully. You may very well be surprised to find that there many gifted and intelligent Christian philosophers.  These men and women have carefully examined the issue. Because they thought so carefully about whether the God of the Bible exist, they believe. God sent these men and women to help us understand so we can believe too.

Hebrews 11:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

We base our faith on evidence, not just what we want to believe.

18 thoughts on “HOW SHOULD WE DECIDE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG? — UPDATED

  1. I have been very disappointed with the commentary provided by good Violet and her atheist comrades.

    They think they are so original but their rather incoherent and simple thinking was thoroughly addressed by Plato in his, “Republic,” over 2500 years ago.

    One of Plato’s points was that even if you were able to determine the definition of justice, it would be necessary to institute such a brutal tyranny to enforce it that the cure would be much worse than the disease.

    And the institution of such a brutal republic is exactly what good Violet and her atheist comrades have mind.

    To them, such brutality is mercy, compassion and fairness because their intention is to bring about justice for all.

    Socrates (the main character in the Republic) points out that becoming a lover of knowledge and wisdom, a philosopher, is the highest calling of man.

    So in the brutal Republic we have the collective (the subject of one of your recent posts) forced into a just life, living for the state.

    In the Socratic society justice is brought about through the individual pursuing the fulfillment of his human nature.

    Today, in these tumultuous times, it’s Deja vu all over again.

    And people like good Violet have no idea that the evil they so passionately believe in has been proven so time and again throughout history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @silenceofmind

      At one time, my beliefs were not greatly different from those of good Violet and her atheist comrades. I cannot claim any innate superiority. I just believe Christ Jesus is God. Any grace and truth I possess I borrow from Him. I suspect atheists and agnostics find that extremely difficult to accept. It certainly took me a long time. Meanwhile, I preached that the Bible contained interesting mythology and primitive nonsense. Yet is what I thought I knew — what I had imbibed from our secular state — that was pure foolishness and even outright lies.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Citizen,

        When I was in junior high, I would spend lunch in the library reading.

        I read every book on the shelf about World War II.

        I read “Treblinka.”

        You can’t be a Violet after that.

        Like

        1. @silenceofmind

          After reading about the horrors men have done, it is difficult believe evil does exist. And if there is evil there must also be a holy good that defines evil as such.

          In my high school years, I read too. I came away confused. I did not know what to think about God.

          Because my parents were Christians, I started to read the Bible, but made the mistake of trying to read it from front to back. Genesis is okay. Exodus is not too difficult, but heaven help the poor slob who tries to read Leviticus, especially without a good commentary. So that slowly fizzled. It was decades before I realized how foolish I had been.

          I have heard some say Christianity is caught, not taught. There may be some truth to that. I know the Lord caught me. There was nothing I did to become a Christian except gratefully accept the fact I had been caught.

          Nevertheless, if we are to spread the faith and practice it appropriately, we each must learn what being a Christian means. We each must accept instruction in the teachings of Christ Jesus and His Bible. I don’t think we have been doing enough learning and teaching.

          Like

    1. @insanitybytes22

      Arm wrestle? I had better start exercising more.
      😀

      ColorStorm did put together s good little post, didn’t he? Takes a bit of genius to put together something that makes its point so concisely and yet so powerfully.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah yes CT, I may have strung together a few words to make a point, but you diagrammed the sentence. 😉

    And of course the carpenter can see God, even others can see Him through the work of the carpenter, but no special hotline to the Creator is needed.

    And the little one? Same way. He/she can see the loving care of God through parents, through trust, through faith, and through a thousand other ways. The stars always held a special place for me.

    But nice work in your including Violet’s hesitance, she is missing a golden opportunity to engage with you. Maybe she and a few other customers will pop over, and I can say with all the kinship of your readers here, she would be in quite capable hands.

    Tkx for the heads up, and all the best in the Lord’s way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Unfortunately, did not bother with a reply. Why? Think about that long and hard.”

    There I two reasons I haven’t replied Tom. I have hardly had time to turn on the computer for the last week – that’s the main reason. The second reason is I had I long and completely unfruitful conversation with the Branyan’s on this topic recently, and as I said to you on a recent post, I’m sick of banging my head on a brick wall. But, once again, for the sake of not leaving the thread unanswered, I’m happy to step back in.

    You seem very concerned about proper behavior. Why? How do you know what is “socially acceptable”? How do you define what is “socially acceptable”? Is it right makes might, or is it might makes right? If it is right makes might, then what is the difference between right and wrong? Who or what decides the issue? Why should a little child ever bother to care?

    I find these questions unbelievably blinkered and have to adjust my perspective to that of a Christian who will only view life in terms of intended creation. We live in co-operative societies, much like many other animals. If we had no instinct to love and care for our offspring, we could never have developed as a species to our current form. But as humans we can also move beyond this basic instinct and put ourselves in the position of others (empathy) and care for others. It’s not only more pleasurable for most of us to see other people happy because of this empathy, but it’s also logical, in terms of continuing to thrive in stable, mutually supportive society.

    Can you give me one reason why it would make sense to attack other people? Little children often hit if something they are enjoying playing with is taken by another child – the base instinct of ‘mine’ is important for self-preservation when resources are scarce, but in societies where we reap the benefit of sharing, we teach our children to suppress this instinct for their own good – both in terms of social acceptance and in terms of helping them learn the pleasure we can get from other people’s enjoyment. It still comes back into play when we are feeling threatened – tired, hungry or scared.

    No invisible god in beaming down ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ to our silly brains. We have naturally evolved to enjoy social contact, and to understand paths of harm and benefit and adjust our actions accordingly. We can still behave in a way that ultimately not useful (often called ‘sin’ by Christians) if we choose our personal satisfaction in terms of personal pleasure over consideration of other outcomes – such as the suffering of others. And it’s our empathy that makes us feel guilty, or our acknowledgement that we put pleasure above other considerations.

    We each decide the difference between right and wrong based on our understanding of life and the experiences we have. That’s why some people think that women should have the choice to terminate their own pregnancies if they feel it’s best of them and their families – the empathy driven ‘right’ looking at the suffering often caused by continuing with unwanted pregancies; yet other people want to deny women the choice to terminate their pregnancies because they believe it is ‘right’ to force any partially developed human to be born.

    I’ll paste this answer over at SOM’s place as well, in case anyone thinks I didn’t come back to answer your questions. 🙂

    Like

    1. @violetwisp

      Thank you for the kindness of a reply.

      Are my questions blinkered? Well, that seems to be the case from your point-of-view. Is it difficult to see things from another person’s point-of-view? Yes, and I congratulate you for trying.

      Several years ago I wrote a series of six posts: DO YOU THINK MIGHT MAKE RIGHT? The first one, with links to the others, is here. Pagans were the atheists of antiquity. Because they believed their gods would reward them, pagans sacrificed and gave worship to their gods.

      Those pagans did not know the true God. They knew only the less frightful manlike gods they wanted to exist. The God of Bible doesn’t need anything from us. We can please Him, but we have no hope of manipulating Him.

      Matthew 9:10-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

      10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

      12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

      Are atheists pagans? I suspect it is more accurate to say that to some degree we are all still pagans. However, we hide our worship of idols. Instead we worship what the ancients wanted from their idols: pleasurable sex, lots of valuable stuff, the power of the state, and the glorification of our self.

      You say we live in cooperative societies, much like other animals, suggesting morality is instinctive. For the sake of argument, let’s just concede that statement. Then, what is moral is whatever we can get away with. That is why the ancients lived in stratified societies governed by one primary rule, might makes right. The strong ruled the weak.

      Is caring for others because of empathy logical? Yes, there is not much point in antagonizing someone to the point they will stick a knife in your back. In fact, it is easier to get work out of happy slaves than it is out of sad and bitter slaves.

      So why then would it make sense to attack other people? Ancients soldiers would have laughed at that question. They attacked their neighbors for glory, for land, for property, for slaves, and for excitement. That’s is how the Roman created an empire, and they were quite proud of it. When people rebelled, they just crucified them. Then they were proud of the terror they inspired.

      It seems you think we have advanced (or perhaps evolved) beyond the Romans.

      But as humans we can also move beyond this basic instinct and put ourselves in the position of others (empathy) and care for others…..No invisible god in beaming down ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ to our silly brains. We have naturally evolved to enjoy social contact, and to understand paths of harm and benefit and adjust our actions accordingly.

      What followed Rome? Christian Europe? The Protestant Reformation? The Enlightenment which was relatively successful in England and America and a complete flop in Europe. Do you seriously believe Christianity had nothing to do this advancement?

      What Christianity teaches is that we must love each other. What atheism offers is an empty dream, living in a co-operative society, much like other animals. If you want to live in a society with Christian values, you may as well consider encouraging everyone to become a Christian. Otherwise, you will treat your neighbors according to the following maxim: might makes right.

      We each decide the difference between right and wrong based on our understanding of life and the experiences we have.

      Nothing new about that idea. Where does it lead? It leads to a society where the old, where the maimed, where the young, where the weak of all kinds are destroyed simply because we can destroy them, and it seems most convenient to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “It leads to a society where the old, where the maimed, where the young, where the weak of all kinds are destroyed simply because we can destroy them, and it seems most convenient to do so.”

        Tom, it’s like you don’t understand empathy or logic. We are all young and old at some point in our lives – why would a society that harms ‘us’ at any stage of our lives be logical? Why would we want to see other people suffering? There are some people obviously who don’t consider these things, or who have had unfortunate lives lacking love that leave them devoid of empathy, but most people (see work of the UN, for example) agree broadly on the principles of taking care of each other – independent of religion now gods aren’t required for the gaps.

        Is this Jesus?
        “Rather than being a “necessity,” the act of giving voluntarily in Buddhism is motivated by a recognition that all beings exist in interdependence. The interdependence of all things, combined with an awareness of those less fortunate, inspires compassion. Practicing selflessness in this way is thought to increase one’s own merit and is also an antidote to greed or grasping to possessions or other resources. Giving is an expression of the natural qualities of kindness and compassion.”
        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/askanexpert/2015/08/what-does-buddhism-say-about-charity/

        Is this Jesus?
        “Among the roles of the state, embodied in the office of the king, was the social mandate to feed the poor and support religious institutions. Today Hindu temples continue to promote charitable and community activities. Still, the highest praise in Hindu history is not reserved for the generous but for those who regard wealth with indifference and are able, when the proper stage of life arrives, to renounce all their belongings.”

        So stop being absurd and pretending to yourself that all forms of empathy rely on the teachings of Jewish gods. Many religions come to similar conclusions simply because we all recognise we could be in another person’s shoes at any point in our lives, and besides watching suffering is not pleasant.

        Like

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