## The moral character of Christians (David Lewis on religion)

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Cheers. The fact that the immoral literal interpretation is held to be true by a great number of your fellow-travellers, despite your sophistic brilliance, remains.
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There is no easy answer at the ground level.

Yet this is the level that matters.

People typically know little more about their religion than they do their government or political party - they are just engaged in tribalistic behavior

I refuse to just let religious people get away with this.

But no matter how you feel about Christians, stop dictating what religion is, was, or can be. Especially stop questioning the legitimacy of someone's religion because it doesn't comport with your understanding of bad religions.

Oh, I don't think they are "bad" religions. It seems more likely they are accurate, evolutionarily advantageous religions.

If Tom can't handle the religious bullying in his otherwise nominally secular workplace, and quits his job and accepts a worse, less payed one, then this is a victory for the religious. Who laugh at him.

Religion will long outlive us both, maybe we should be fostering better religion (however you understand that) and not just kicking it.

You're mistaking me for someone else. I believe religions are generally evolutionarily advantageous, in that they provide justifications for the Darwinian struggle for survival.
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Your pointing out plain (and I mean screamingly obvious) absurdities in the Bible, as if believers could not have seen them as absurdities had it not been for your helpful guidance, must be missing something, unless you truly are baffled as to why such a large segment of the population could be so very blind to the obvious.

The best source I can cite to you for the position I'm arguing is The Case for God, by Karen Armstrong, which I've begun reading recently, whose position seems very much aligned with what I've been arguing.

From a review of her book at: https://religiondispatches.org/religion-is-not-about-belief-karen-armstrongs-ithe-case-for-godi/

“Until well into the modern period,” Armstrong contends, “Jews and Christians both insisted that it was neither possible nor desirable to read the Bible literally, that it gives us no single, orthodox message and demands constant reinterpretation.” Myths were symbolic, often therapeutic, teaching stories and were never understood literally or historically. But that all changed with the advent of modernity. Precipitated by the rediscovery of Aristotle and the rise of scholasticism in the late middle ages, rational systematization took center stage, preparing the way for a modern period that would welcome both humanistic individualism and the eventual triumph of reason and science."

This discussion has been hopelessly hampered by political correctness.
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The fact that the immoral literal interpretation

It's still not clear why you consider it immoral.

Is the Darwinian struggle for survival immoral? If you don't think it is, then based on what can you consider the literal interpretation of the Bible immoral??
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It's still not clear why you consider it immoral.

Why not? It's in the original article, in the one mentioned above and I've presented it several times myself, as well as even Hanover's repeating it in agreement just above.

Are you having trouble with your comprehension?
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Again:

Is the Darwinian struggle for survival immoral? If you don't think it is, then based on what can you consider the literal interpretation of the Bible immoral??
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1.

A good God (like a good human) would ensure that a
person’s punishment should be
proportionate
to their crime. 2.

Since humans only live for a finite number of years (and can commit only a finite number of evils during this time), they can commit only a finite amount of evil. 3.

Hell involves an
infinite
amount of punishment, and would not be appropriate for
any
crime. 4.

So, an all-good God would never sentence people to Hell. If
the “God” of Christianity and Islam does this
, then it is a highly immoral being that does not deserve to be worshipped.
(Or, God simply doesn’t exist).

I'm not going to reformat it for you.
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The fact that the immoral literal interpretation is held to be true by a great number of your fellow-travellers, despite your sophistic brilliance, remains.

I don't travel with the literalists. They're your kin.

But sure, to the extent there are those advocating throwing stones at little girls' heads, I stand opposed. Such a radical position for a theist, I know.
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Since humans only live for a finite number of years (and can commit only a finite number of evils during this time), they can commit only a finite amount of evil.

Is that how that works? We count how many evil acts you’ve committed? More is worser?

God could have done a better job letting people know about it (for example, God could have given Hitler, Stalin, etc. a few more hints on what would happen if they continued on their evil path.)

So the argument goes like this:

1. It would be appallingly unfair of God to allow Hitler and Stalin to experience eternal damnation (in any of the several forms contemplated, including annihilation).
2. At most they should get a lot of damnation, but not an infinite amount.
3. Honestly, they probably shouldn’t even get that, because how could they possibly know — really know — there would be a price to pay in the afterlife.
4. The whole system was rigged against Hitler (and Stalin!) from the beginning.
5. Guy that would set up a system like this, basically to entrap Hitler (and Stalin!), that’s not a good guy.
6. Anyone who thinks it’s okay to treat Hitler (and Stalin!) so shabbily, is also morally suspect.
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If there is a god then David Lewis should qualify for eternal damnation for writing such an asinine article.
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You think the bible's bad? you should try Aesop's fables.

Childish pranks punished by being eaten by wolves, Grasshopper attention deficit punished by being cast out of society and left to freeze and starve. You won't believe how immoral this collection is.
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:D

There are enough people out there that assent to neverending damnation, not just in the US.
Anyone that doesn't - kudos - good for you. :up:

Why not accept the free gift of salvation?
only to threaten with the above if someone puts them on the spot.
Call them fringe or cult if you like, or distance yourself from them.
Has little bearing on Lewis' point.

If anyone wants to witch-hunt the assenters, then they're no better.
At some point someone ought be/come better, and yaay some have. :up:
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Negate $+\infty$ (God) and you get $-\infty$. No?

Is God a mathematician? — Mario Livio
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So what is one to make of the moral character of folk who hold someone who tortures folk unjustly in the highest esteem?

That someone's moral character can be judged on this basis is questionable. It is evident that not all Christians, or more generally, all who worship a monotheistic God do not all have the same moral character.

But the assumption that the Bible represents a single, unchanging, universal God is simply wrong. We cannot begin in the beginning. The stories in the Bible are not ex nihilo. They were told and retold in various ways, by various authors from various cultures with various beliefs and values. They are more representative of those authors than of some single entity that informs their stories.

In addition there is a history of interpretation, often quite contentious.
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The fact that the immoral literal interpretation is held to be true by a great number of your fellow-travellers, despite your sophistic brilliance, remains.

Actually, the majority of modern translations of the Bible are flawed, at least in English and French. A literal translation of the Greek word 'aion', with respect to the passages concerning damnation, would be more appropriately rendered as 'age' and not 'eternity'. It is quite a severe error that drastically alters the meaning of the passages where it appears.

Therefore, for those who are aware of the original Greek meaning the concept of punishment is finite. Although admittedly, most Christians do indeed believe that hell is eternal.

If you have some free time and the inclination watch this video for further detail.

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/.../
6. Anyone who thinks it’s okay to treat Hitler (and Stalin!) so shabbily, is also morally suspect.

What the OP @Banno and D. Lewis are forgetting is that in no major monotheistic religion is killing, raping, and pillaging an automatic disqualifier from getting into heaven eternal (!!!). It just isn't.
You can kill, rape, and pillage and still get to heaven just fine.
Now how's that for "divine evil"!

In actual monotheistic religions, what is said to be the cause for eternal damnation is the act of rejecting god. Different monotheistic religions specify different criteria for what exactly counts as a rejection of god, but they do agree on this one point.

This way, for example, a person who has lived a pious, harmless life (one without killing, raping, and pillaging) but has a change of heart on their deathbed and rejects god, goes to hell, forever doomed to suffering, while even serial killers can go to heaven and enjoy eternal happiness in heaven as long as they repent and accept god.
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Since humans only live for a finite number of years (and can commit only a finite number of evils during this time), they can commit only a finite amount of evil.

Rejecting god is an infinite offense, an infinite evil.
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O, the infinitely evil Buddhists; all destined for eternal damnation! :rofl:
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in no major monotheistic religion is killing, raping, and pillaging an automatic disqualifier from getting into heaven eternal (!!!). It just isn't.
You can kill, rape, and pillage and still get to heaven just fine.

That's an accurate assessment and probably well covered by the likes of Hitchens and Dawkins.
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You can kill, rape, and pillage and still get to heaven just fine.

That is correct. Contrary to popular belief, we'll all make it to paradise, even me!
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That is correct. Contrary to popular belief, we'll all make it to paradise, even me!

Yep but not without a period of punishment. This is the universalist position and there is even Biblical evidence for this. It's pretty uncommon among Christians but I have met a few people who believe this.

That's an accurate assessment and probably well covered by the likes of Hitchens and Dawkins.

Hitchens and Dawkins covered this but they presented it as though a murderer could simply repent on their deathbed and get instantly into heaven. That's a strawman of Christianity that conveniently leaves out the idea of purgatory.
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we'll all make it to paradise, even me!
— Olivier5

Yep but not without a period of punishment.

Not according to St Polnareff.
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Il n'est pas un saint, lui.
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His song saved me when I was a kid, though.
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Hitchens and Dawkins covered this but they presented it as though a murderer could simply repent on their deathbed and get instantly into heaven. That's a strawman of Christianity that conveniently leaves out the idea of purgatory.

Further, it's a strawman that leaves out that someone who has lived their life killing, raping, and pillaging isn't likely to repent on their deathbed.

Anyway, the point is that in monotheistic religions, killing, raping, and pillaging isn't the kind of automatic disqualifier from living a good life (forever) they way it is in a humanistic outlook.
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