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Core Assumptions of Christianity

I'm posting this thread here because this is an attempt at something like CS Lewis' collection of BBC fireside chats, later compiled into a book of essays titled "Mere Christianity", but at a level lower than baseline theology, in which the existence of a deity is considered a prerequisite. I am looking toi define the core moralistic underpinnings of Christianity, whether or not a God exists that orchestrates the universe. I'll break up the argument into a few overarching themes derived from Jewish and Christian writing through the Old and New Testaments, and tradition.

Position 1: The Existence of a Moral Absolute

This position posits the idea that there is a moral absolute that is as persistent as a physical law.

As much as this concept is fought by various factions of both religious and secular philosophy, it seems to me that it is nearly irrefutably true. It is irrefutably true because everyone, whether they acknowledge it or not, believe in a universal moral code... indeed, nobody would dare judge others for their actions if they didn't believe there was a core behavior that was being violated. Many point to the great differences between individual moral code as evidence that such a foundational code exists, but that isn't really my argument here. My point is that everyone's belief struct hinges on a code that they believe is immutable and foundational points to the existence of a core moral code, even if we as human beings haven't sussed out what that is (though I believe we largely have, and will address it here.

The Holocaust was wrong. Most people will agree with this either directly, or indirectly. While on the one hand you have the majority of people who accept that the Holocaust was a fact, and was abominable, probably the next largest contingent of people, largely anti-Semitic, will argue that the Holocaust never happened. In BOTH of those cases there is the underlying assertion that a holocaust is wrong. THere is a small faction of people who accept that the holocaust is a fact, and also support it's goals, but even those people tend to largely remain silent, understanding that even if they believe it to be a moral good, the society at large does not. So, at the core, "The Holocaust was abominable" would appear to be a truth derived from a core, immutable, moral belief.

Position 2: The Sanctity of Life

This position grants that life, the biological definition, is Good.

I have always found arguing this position to be far more difficult than it should be. Unlike most of the positions I'll mention here, this one is proven nearly universally by simple self reflection. "Do you want to die?" is a question that the vast majority of people would answer "No" to. Even if you lack empathy for your fellow humans, the chances are good that you still prefer life over death for yourself. This, I'd argue, is the base foundation of the universal moral belief in life as a moral good. So much of our public discourse revolves, directly or indirectly, around this assumption.

One common debate topic in which this core assumption resides is in the arguments surrounding healthcare. Nobody would argue so strongly for variously assumed better means of delivering healthcare if they didn't have the core belief that protecting life is a common moral good. Where the various sides of these debates breakdown is on assumptions that the opposition would result in less healthcare, and more death than their own preferred methodology.

Setting aside the assumptions surrounding the two positions on the subject of healthcare, that is to say who is right and who is wrong, still shows that neither side is in favor of purposefully killing people, ut they have very different beliefs in what results in more people living and fewer people dying.


Position 3: Freedom and Free Will

This positions argues that humans possess free will, and that free will is a universal moral good.

This position is a bit harder to argue outside of western societies, I find, as the position of the benefits of Free Will are far less assumed or believed in rather large swaths of non-Western culture. I would argue the existence of Free Will is more proven by human behavior in those cultures, however, than in the West. Most migration across the globe happens as an exertion of free will, either fleeing totalitarian states who have no concept of free will, or the voluntary migration to regions of greater opportunity. In fact, the whole concept of opportunity have a baseline assumption of choice.

In the west we have various extreme views of freedom in both directions. Much like the holocaust example above, we are nearly universally opposed to the concept of slavery, though our positions get more differentiated on the more granular expressions of freedom, be it splits on government mandates, or medical autonomy (which will often commingle with positions on the sanctity of life).

But, like life, the majority of people, given the option, will choose more freedom than less freedom, which would indicate a universal understanding of the intrinsic good in freedom.

(more to come later)
 

Grand Mal

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And...if you dont choose to subscribe to religion, or you choose any other than xtianity, you burn in eternal hell and damnation forever and ever amen.

Yuh. "Free will". LMAO.:LOL:

Sounds like a big fat CROCK to me, but whatever.
Well, what you said should sound like a big fat crock to you.
 

MamboDervish

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Given that the Adam and Eve story goes back as far as recorded history,
??? The book of Genesis only dates back to about 1400 BCE. There are recorded histories that are twice as old.
 

jmotivator

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??? The book of Genesis only dates back to about 1400 BCE. There are recorded histories that are twice as old.

The story of Adam and Eve has been written and told since before the Book of Genesis.

Atheists try to argue that this invalidates the Bible as "borrowing" the Adam and Eve story from other sources, but that atheists could never be accused of deep thinking.

If we assume that the Adam and Eve story is true, then you would assume that all cultures throughout history would have a similar story since Adam and Eve would literally being the origin of all human life.
 

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So let's make it easier for you. Human beings will sin, all of us. Humans are given free will to make a decision about their religious belief. Choose Christ and repent of sin and be born again. Born guilty or not, very quickly you will be a sinful person so fix it with the choice of accepting Christ as lord and savior.

Myth.
 

Indydave

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Does anyone know for certain.....the only thing I know for certain is I will die......a moral absolute is a part of evolution.....
 

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??? The book of Genesis only dates back to about 1400 BCE. There are recorded histories that are twice as old.
The story of Adam and Eve has been written and told since before the Book of Genesis. Atheists try to argue that this invalidates the Bible as "borrowing" the Adam and Eve story from other sources, but that atheists could never be accused of deep thinking. If we assume that the Adam and Eve story is true, then you would assume that all cultures throughout history would have a similar story since Adam and Eve would literally being the origin of all human life.
Which they don't. Only the cultures of the near Middle East — aka, being within earshot of one other — have this borrowing or sharing of the biblical creation myth. Cultures that were isolated or fell to the influences of other "cradles" like those of the North China plains, Mesoamerica, or the Andean Coast do not have stories or creation myths that borrow from one another.
 

brothern

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Does anyone know for certain.....the only thing I know for certain is I will die......a moral absolute is a part of evolution.....
You? Yes. Those down the road? Well, that's some what debatable. There's around nine proposed hallmarks of aging. However all of them can be simplified to the statement that we age, because our cell replication process is faulty and becomes ineffective after many iterations of division. Think of it like a motor that gets gummed up or builds up sludge over time. It has the potential to run forever, but because of small imperfections its performance degrades and it ends up damaged.

Experimentally we can speed up and delay these hallmarks right now. However going with the motor analogy: We don't yet have the technology to perform an engine flush or fully prevent the small imperfections. It's going to take many, many years maybe a century or two to get that technology.

Whatever the case, though. Scientists in the field firmly believe that aging is not an undefeatable problem, nor an absolute. There's nothing that they can see that tells them otherwise.

PS: The heath death of the universe in a trillion plus years will kill everything in the end though.
 

jmotivator

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Which they don't. Only the cultures of the near Middle East — aka, being within earshot of one other — have this borrowing or sharing of the biblical creation myth. Cultures that were isolated or fell to the influences of other "cradles" like those of the North China plains, Mesoamerica, or the Andean Coast do not have stories or creation myths that borrow from one another.

That isn't true. There are Adam and Eve stories present in Native American Tribal stories, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Norse, India.... they must have had really loud voices in prehistoric times...
 

brothern

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That isn't true. There are Adam and Eve stories present in Native American Tribal stories, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Norse, India.... they must have had really loud voices in prehistoric times...
Cite them.
 

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The core assumption of Christianity that I have a problem with is Original Sin, that we each are born carrying the guilt of the sins of Adam and Eve and we need redemption of that sin. I'm good with Christ being a teacher, a mentor, meant to show us how we ought to try to live, but being born guilty? Can't get behind that one.
By my understanding of what the story of the Garden of Eden means we all suffer the consequences of the loss of innocence, of leaving the primitive state and becoming agricultural, but those consequences can't be redeemed.

Respectfully, I believe you may be working from a bit of a misconception - the point of Original Sin is not that ancestors physically ate some bad fruit one time because a talking lizard schmoozed a woman, but, that all humans are sinners - we are all broken.

G.K. Chesterton once said of Original Sin that it is the only Christian Doctrine that can actually be proven. :)
 

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Respectfully, I believe you may be working from a bit of a misconception - the point of Original Sin is not that ancestors physically ate some bad fruit one time because a talking lizard schmoozed a woman, but, that all humans are sinners - we are all broken.

G.K. Chesterton once said of Original Sin that it is the only Christian Doctrine that can actually be proven. :)

According to the Bible, at least, humans were at one time "perfect" and then committed the "original sin" by not obeying God, or something like that. So is that true, were humans once "perfect" and then became imperfect because of disobeying God? If so, exactly how and when did this happen? Or were humans ALWAYS imperfect with respect to being "sinners", in which case why did God create imperfect creatures who were already sinners? You need to expand and fill in your claims.
And how exactly did Chestertom show that original sin can be "proven"?
 

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Cite them.

Here are a few:





Enjoy!
 

Grand Mal

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Respectfully, I believe you may be working from a bit of a misconception - the point of Original Sin is not that ancestors physically ate some bad fruit one time because a talking lizard schmoozed a woman, but, that all humans are sinners - we are all broken.

G.K. Chesterton once said of Original Sin that it is the only Christian Doctrine that can actually be proven. :)
Chesterton could prove that we all are born guilty of sin?
The original sin, as I understand it, has nothing to do with fruit. The sin was learning to make a difference between good and evil. All that snake and fruit stuff is just a parable, an allegory. People lost their state of innocence when they started to call this good and that evil. People stopped living in the Garden of Eden when they started making that distinction.
They were hunters and gatherers before, living in a state of innocence, but now they had to become agriculturalists- Cain was a planter, Abel a herder. And all the problems mankind has been faced with all through history stem from that decision. Agriculture made two things posdible. Now we could live crowded together in cities and we could create a surplus and all our problems stem from two questions- who will rule the city and who will control the surplus.
We lost Eden when we decided this is good but that is evil but is that a sin that all future generations are born guilty of? Such a dire sin that we need redemption of it or spend eternity in hell? To me, that story is the creation myth of a tribe living in the Middle East and it describes an evolutionary change in terms of a tribal memory. As creation myths go It's a pretty good one but It's been a misconception to tie it into religion.
 

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Here are a few. Enjoy!
You didn't find what I was asking jmotivator for, watsup. The topic was about how cultures in the Near Middle East swapped and shared common mythologies including their creation myths; but that cultures outside of that realm of influence had different ideas all together. jmotivator disagreed and stated that these distant and disparate cultures all had Christian "Adam and Eve" creation stories which is just not a true statement. (This would justify jmotivator's belief that the Christian mythology is actually true.)

But the links you shared, watsup, while outlining some creation myths do not show any non-Near Middle East culture having an "Adam and Eve" story.

Instead your sources show how the Chinese believe the world hatched from a cosmic egg; or that when the thousand headed Purusha was slain by the Hindu gods, the parts of his body became the world's elements; or that Aztec goddess Coatlicue's mysterious pregnancies resulted in the birth of the moon goddess and sun god.

These creation myths are not "Adam and Eve" stories.
 

watsup

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You didn't find what I was asking jmotivator for, watsup. The topic was about how cultures in the Near Middle East swapped and shared common mythologies including their creation myths; but that cultures outside of that realm of influence had different ideas all together. jmotivator disagreed and stated that these distant and disparate cultures all had Christian "Adam and Eve" creation stories which is just not a true statement. (This would justify jmotivator's belief that the Christian mythology is actually true.)

But the links you shared, watsup, while outlining some creation myths do not show any non-Near Middle East culture having an "Adam and Eve" story.

Instead your sources show how the Chinese believe the world hatched from a cosmic egg; or that when the thousand headed Purusha was slain by the Hindu gods, the parts of his body became the world's elements; or that Aztec goddess Coatlicue's mysterious pregnancies resulted in the birth of the moon goddess and sun god.

These creation myths are not "Adam and Eve" stories.

Adam and Eve stories are “first human” stories:

“In this manuscript that predates the Spanish Conquest, the Mixtec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico, illustrate how their gods created the world. According to their cosmology, the first humans were the Primordial Twins. One Deer, shown here with magic incense copal and ground tobacco, created the Mother and the Father of the Gods. Mother and Father then made four men and an entire constellation of spirits for crops, fire, smoke, forests, and other aspects of nature and the world.”


Jwok (an androgynous god) had sons--first, an elephant; then, a buffalo, a lion, a crocodile, after that a little dog; and finally, man and woman. All this took place in a far country. The name of the first man was Otino. The name of the first woman was Akongo.
Sheikh Oterie of Dimma (a member of the Anuak tribe of Sudan), 1990.”

“The figures on the far left depict the creation of man as described in ancient Greek mythology. After Zeus assigned the titan (giant) brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus the task of creating man, Prometheus shaped man from mud, and the goddess Athena (Minerva to the Romans) breathed life into the clay figure. This plate is one of 1120 in a work by French scholar Bernard de Montfaucon (1665-1714) in which he reproduces images of ancient monuments that might be useful in the study of the religion, domestic customs, material life, military institutions, and funeral rites of ancient peoples.”


These are just a few. I’m sure that you could find many more of you really wanted to do so, but you clearly don’t. You want to hold onto your Adam and Eve myth very tightly for some reason.
 

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Cite them.

Kenya - The God Nagai made man, named Gikuyu, and gave him the land, but he needed a wife so Nagai gave him Mumbi.

Papua New Guinea - God made Man who lived in the world, but he was without woman, he heard a tree crying and was inspired to carve it into a woman.

Black Feet Indians - THe Creator Sun created his wife from dirt and blew life into her nostrils, she would later be fooled by a snake into betraying The Creator Sun. He then created Man out of Mud, brought him to life and took his small rib to make a Woman.

Norse Creation - The Gods made Embla and Ask out of wood, Odin gave them a soul and intelligence, they named all the animals of the world.

Nigeria - The God Abassi made Man and Woman, and gave them paradise. Their only rule was to not farm or procreate. The female disobeyed and talked the man into helping and they hid it from Abassi. When Abassi found out he cast them out of paradise.

And so on.
 

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Because Adam told her

Genesis 3

New American Standard Bible

The Fall of Mankind​

3 Now the serpent was more cunning than any animal of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! 5 For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will [a]become like God, knowing good and evil.”
 

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Genesis 3​

New American Standard Bible​

The Fall of Mankind​

3 Now the serpent was more cunning than any animal of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! 5 For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will [a]become like God, knowing good and evil.”

What a truly ridiculous myth, and yet it is the very foundation of Christianity. Very strange.
 

ataraxia

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Position 3: Freedom and Free Will

This positions argues that humans possess free will, and that free will is a universal moral good.

This position is a bit harder to argue outside of western societies, I find, as the position of the benefits of Free Will are far less assumed or believed in rather large swaths of non-Western culture. I would argue the existence of Free Will is more proven by human behavior in those cultures, however, than in the West. Most migration across the globe happens as an exertion of free will, either fleeing totalitarian states who have no concept of free will, or the voluntary migration to regions of greater opportunity. In fact, the whole concept of opportunity have a baseline assumption of choice.

I'm not sure why immigration is an example of free will. People move to where opportunities are. It's a little like how amoeba migrate to where the food is, or a positive charge will migrate to where the negative charge is. It's perfectly predictable.

If some smart psychologist/neuroscientist knows everything about you: your genes, your environment and upbringing, your prior experiences, your education, your likes/dislikes/phobias/passions, etc... theoretically they can predict everything you do in the future with perfect accuracy. You may still have the ILLUSION that you are doing all these things through your free will, but that neuroscientist will know what you will "freely" choose to do in any given circumstance way in advance.

In fact, isn't that how personality profilers work with forensics and the police to predict what a perp is going to do?
 

watsup

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f some smart psychologist/neuroscientist knows everything about you: your genes, your environment and upbringing, your prior experiences, your education, your likes/dislikes/phobias/passions, etc... theoretically they can predict everything you do in the future with perfect accuracy.

Disagree.
 

jmotivator

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I'm not sure why immigration is an example of free will. People move to where opportunities are. It's a little like how amoeba migrate to where the food is, or a positive charge will migrate to where the negative charge is. It's perfectly predictable.

If some smart psychologist/neuroscientist knows everything about you: your genes, your environment and upbringing, your prior experiences, your education, your likes/dislikes/phobias/passions, etc... theoretically they can predict everything you do in the future with perfect accuracy. You may still have the ILLUSION that you are doing all these things through your free will, but that neuroscientist will know what you will "freely" choose to do in any given circumstance way in advance.

In fact, isn't that how personality profilers work with forensics and the police to predict what a perp is going to do?

The biggest problem with your assertion is its inherent uncertainty that the imagined super smart neuroscientist can reach a certain prediction. That certainty is in fact an illusion as the system in which they would be predicting is itself chaotic. So your assertion boils down to if they knew everything that influenced everything that influenced me then this smart person could tell me what was going to happen.... but that would require seeing into the future, and a level of omniscience that only a God could hold... at that point I'd have to point out that there are few theists who would assert that an Omniscient God doesn't know what we will do next. So what makes it free will is not that God can't know what we will do next, it's that he lets us choose, even if he knows our choice.

The closest a human can come to that kind of understanding is looking back at a choice in the past, knowing all that transpired to influence the action... but then that is like saying you can predict the score of Sunday's game ... on Monday after it's played.
 
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