The ‘I’m a Good Person’ People

 

How do you know you’re living in a post-Christian, neo-pagan society? How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m a good person,” or even, “He’s a good person?” This is essentially a judgment about the state of someone’s soul, which we Christians believe is only discernable by One Judge, and He ain’t you or me.

The “I’m a good person” people are mainly, although not always, on the secular Left. Their piety is put into practice with woke-ism rather than Protestantism or Catholicism, for example, although sometimes Christians stray so far left, you’ll hear the same self-assessment coming from them. Secularists on the Right who say such things are generally people who assess themselves good because they’ve mainly avoided disordered behaviors (in religious terms, “sins”) they’re not terribly attracted to, while carrying on with the ones they prefer, guilt-free. These are the “I may regularly sodomize the person I ‘love,’ but I believe in your right to your freedom of religion and free speech and, oh, incidentally, I haven’t murdered anyone” people.  Let’s just say the standards they set for themselves could be a little higher, even if they go unmet, like in the case of, oh, 100% of Christians.

Faithful Christians, while recognizing the value of every human life made in the image and likeness of God and made to be good (made to share in the Beatific Vision), will address each other as “my fellow sinner” as Bishop Barron does in his sermon on the Prodigal Son. We know we’re falling short of the good God intends for us.

These thoughts on “good person” people, neo-paganism, and ancient paganism contra Christianity come from the appended videos, which I think you’ll find worth your time, wherever you are on the religious-pagan spectrum. The Joe Heschmeyer clip includes an amusing reflection on the title of this post*. Namely, if you ask an “I’m a good person” person if he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom or the Nobel Prize, he’ll say, “obviously not.” But, if you then ask him if he’s going to heaven because he’s a “good person,” he’s pretty comfortable answering “yes,” with no sense of irony that he believes himself deserving of nothing less than eternal bliss! Oh, really? Huh.

Gary Michuta’s book Revolt Against Reality sounds like another one I’ll have to buy and be too distracted to finish (squirrel!), but it addresses the ethical hinge of history that was the Incarnation. In his conversation with Cy Kellett, he starts by saying the effects can reveal the cause. How did the world change by the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? The ramifications are too many and too profound to cover in a reasonable length post, but start with how women and children were viewed with the advent of Christianity. Rather than being property of men, as pagans believed, women and children became valued as other children of God, with all the inherent dignity that entails. Christians (especially Catholics) are accused of oppressing women and wanting to keep us “barefoot and pregnant.” The opposite is true, and in the case of Catholics, it’s most evident in the devotion to the Blessed Mother. Women were elevated by the Incarnation, not diminished.

Take also, science. Science developed in the Christian West because of the belief that God is coherent and consistent within Himself — and that He made the world intelligible. Why bother to try to understand it otherwise? This realization was one of the prime motivating factors for my reversion to the faith of my fathers.

No examples that could be given of the radical change in ethics with Christianity will be exempt from Christians acting badly (we’re all sinners). As apologist Joe Heschmeyer says, the sins of individual Catholics are not the result of them acting “too” Catholic, but rather not Catholic enough!

*Joe has some profound thoughts on the built-in need for humans to make sacrifices that still pertain to the secular Left today (pssst — human nature is unchanging, pass it on). Their sacrifices just take the form of recycling or putting a COEXIST sticker on their bumper.

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  1. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    The “I’m a good person” often goes along with “spiritual, but not religious.” Which typically means membership in The Holy Church of the Self.

    • #61
  2. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    The reason moderns find Aquinas’s view shocking is that they don’t take God or our eternal destinies to be serious subjects.

    I think our eternal destinies are serious subjects. However, I doubt that many Catholics would supporting having someone put to death for publicly professing that Islam is a false religion, despite the fact that many Muslims believe that to state such a thing results in eternal damnation.

    The lack of consensus regarding the nature of heaven and hell, what types of people ascend to heaven and what types of people descend to hell and other related issues is, perhaps, why moderns find Aquinas’s view shocking.

    Actually there is strong consensus on which type of people should be damned – racists are at the top of the list.

    In modern times, each person is allowed to subscribe to whatever religious beliefs they want. Even heretics enjoy basic human rights, including the right not to be burned at the stake by someone claiming to be a defender of the one true faith.

    Not really. People are allowed religious belief as long as it does not challenge the dominant secular culture. In other words, as long as it is private heresy and not public heresy, just like was allowed in the Middle Ages. Go to Church all you want, but thinking religious sisters should be exempt from paying for abortions and contraception is forbidden public heresy.

     

    Somewhere along the way it became fashionable to refer to moral objections to specific behaviors as phobias. We gave up a lot when we allowed that to happen. 

    • #62
  3. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Django (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    The reason moderns find Aquinas’s view shocking is that they don’t take God or our eternal destinies to be serious subjects.

    I think our eternal destinies are serious subjects. However, I doubt that many Catholics would supporting having someone put to death for publicly professing that Islam is a false religion, despite the fact that many Muslims believe that to state such a thing results in eternal damnation.

    The lack of consensus regarding the nature of heaven and hell, what types of people ascend to heaven and what types of people descend to hell and other related issues is, perhaps, why moderns find Aquinas’s view shocking.

    Actually there is strong consensus on which type of people should be damned – racists are at the top of the list.

    In modern times, each person is allowed to subscribe to whatever religious beliefs they want. Even heretics enjoy basic human rights, including the right not to be burned at the stake by someone claiming to be a defender of the one true faith.

    Not really. People are allowed religious belief as long as it does not challenge the dominant secular culture. In other words, as long as it is private heresy and not public heresy, just like was allowed in the Middle Ages. Go to Church all you want, but thinking religious sisters should be exempt from paying for abortions and contraception is forbidden public heresy.

    Somewhere along the way it became fashionable to refer to moral objections to specific behaviors as phobias. We gave up a lot when we allowed that to happen.

    I agree.  I don’t think one is “transphobic” because one thinks that biological girls and biological women should be shielded from competing against biological boys and biological males in athletic events.

    The Left uses slurs in lieu of serious arguments.

    • #63
  4. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    The reason moderns find Aquinas’s view shocking is that they don’t take God or our eternal destinies to be serious subjects.

    I think our eternal destinies are serious subjects. However, I doubt that many Catholics would supporting having someone put to death for publicly professing that Islam is a false religion, despite the fact that many Muslims believe that to state such a thing results in eternal damnation.

    The lack of consensus regarding the nature of heaven and hell, what types of people ascend to heaven and what types of people descend to hell and other related issues is, perhaps, why moderns find Aquinas’s view shocking.

    Actually there is strong consensus on which type of people should be damned – racists are at the top of the list.

    In modern times, each person is allowed to subscribe to whatever religious beliefs they want. Even heretics enjoy basic human rights, including the right not to be burned at the stake by someone claiming to be a defender of the one true faith.

    Not really. People are allowed religious belief as long as it does not challenge the dominant secular culture. In other words, as long as it is private heresy and not public heresy, just like was allowed in the Middle Ages. Go to Church all you want, but thinking religious sisters should be exempt from paying for abortions and contraception is forbidden public heresy.

    Somewhere along the way it became fashionable to refer to moral objections to specific behaviors as phobias. We gave up a lot when we allowed that to happen.

    I agree. I don’t think one is “transphobic” because one thinks that biological girls and biological women should be shielded from competing against biological boys and biological males in athletic events.

    The Left uses slurs in lieu of serious arguments.

    Hey! I agree too!

    • #64
  5. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    The reason moderns find Aquinas’s view shocking is that they don’t take God or our eternal destinies to be serious subjects.

    I think our eternal destinies are serious subjects. However, I doubt that many Catholics would supporting having someone put to death for publicly professing that Islam is a false religion, despite the fact that many Muslims believe that to state such a thing results in eternal damnation.

    The lack of consensus regarding the nature of heaven and hell, what types of people ascend to heaven and what types of people descend to hell and other related issues is, perhaps, why moderns find Aquinas’s view shocking.

    Actually there is strong consensus on which type of people should be damned – racists are at the top of the list.

    In modern times, each person is allowed to subscribe to whatever religious beliefs they want. Even heretics enjoy basic human rights, including the right not to be burned at the stake by someone claiming to be a defender of the one true faith.

    Not really. People are allowed religious belief as long as it does not challenge the dominant secular culture. In other words, as long as it is private heresy and not public heresy, just like was allowed in the Middle Ages. Go to Church all you want, but thinking religious sisters should be exempt from paying for abortions and contraception is forbidden public heresy.

    Somewhere along the way it became fashionable to refer to moral objections to specific behaviors as phobias. We gave up a lot when we allowed that to happen.

    I agree. I don’t think one is “transphobic” because one thinks that biological girls and biological women should be shielded from competing against biological boys and biological males in athletic events.

    The Left uses slurs in lieu of serious arguments.

    Hey! I agree too!

    Mass hysteria. Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together!

    But seriously, that was a brilliant tactic on the part of the left. It takes away any possibility of discussing objective moral standards and shoves those possible objections to behavior into the realm of psychological problems. It’s then a personal shortcoming that must be treated … or dealt with.

    • #65
  6. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

     

    So far, J Climacus and others have saved the day on this thread. Thank you!

     

    Those are kind words, but I’m not sure I saved anything, or had to.  HW likes to comment on religious posts, and repeats the same criticism of Aquinas time and again, but it’s not like Aquinas needs me to defend him. His life and  thought will live on and inspire people long after we and Ricochet are forgotten. 

    What I hope to do is invite people to go beyond their superficial criticisms – not just of Aquinas but any renowned philosopher in the history of thought.  There are so many treasures there I hate to see people closed off from it. We can find reasons to learn from the great philosophers or find reasons to dismiss them without understanding them. If we choose the latter, the only loser is ourselves.

    • #66
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I would say the West is definitely in a “revolt against reality” (Gary Michuta’s book, which he discusses in the second video). It does not bode well that a Supreme Court justice can’t say what a woman is because she’s not a biologist, although she’s a woman herself. . .

    On a segue – I was out for dinner with a friend who is (like me) progressive, and who works as a research scientist.  for some reason trans women in sports came up and we agreed that an XY chromosome stays an XY chromosome.

    A social identity which suits you best is fine, but at the Olympics it isn’t social identities which are battling it out, it’s a biological thing.  If that makes sense?

    “I don’t care about people’s good intentions. I only care about the fruits they produce.”

    Hear hear. 

    • #67
  8. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I would say the West is definitely in a “revolt against reality” (Gary Michuta’s book, which he discusses in the second video). It does not bode well that a Supreme Court justice can’t say what a woman is because she’s not a biologist, although she’s a woman herself. . .

    On a segue – I was out for dinner with a friend who is (like me) progressive, and who works as a research scientist. for some reason trans women in sports came up and we agreed that an XY chromosome stays an XY chromosome.

    A social identity which suits you best is fine, but at the Olympics it isn’t social identities which are battling it out, it’s a biological thing. If that makes sense?

    “I don’t care about people’s good intentions. I only care about the fruits they produce.”

    Hear hear.

    Great point.

    If someone doesn’t believe that Mohammed heard God’s message in a cave in the 7th century, that might not necessarily be a sign of moral depravity, but, rather, a sign that the person isn’t easily fooled into believing nonsense.

    Similarly, if someone doesn’t believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, walked on water, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, this might be a sign that this person has good critical thinking skills and doesn’t bow to societal pressure.

    If someone is trying to persuade you into joining their religion, it’s appropriate to hold the religion on offer up to scrutiny.

    • #68
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    You know, honestly, all religions function on faith rather than reason.  I’m not sure subjecting any of them to the test(s) of reason is engaging with their core issue.

    • #69
  10. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Zafar (View Comment):

    You know, honestly, all religions function on faith rather than reason. I’m not sure subjecting any of them to the test(s) of reason is engaging with their core issue.

    In the broadest sense, I take religion to be an attempt to define and articulate man’s relationship to the Universe. That may or may not require belief in a Supreme Being. And the emphasis there is on “Being”. Not a blind force, and uncaused cause. No, rather a self-aware and willful Being. Some entity who can apprehend individual humans and allow them to in some small way perceive Him. 

    • #70
  11. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Zafar (View Comment):

    You know, honestly, all religions function on faith rather than reason. I’m not sure subjecting any of them to the test(s) of reason is engaging with their core issue.

    Is it certain that faith and reason are opposed? Is it possible that one might have good reasons for embracing faith or, conversely, that reason might, in certain circumstances at least, require faith?

    • #71
  12. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    You guys really need to watch the Peterson-Robinson video linked above, and engage with the proponents of faith and reason, which is a particularly strong tradition in the Catholic church. 

    • #72
  13. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    You know, honestly, all religions function on faith rather than reason. I’m not sure subjecting any of them to the test(s) of reason is engaging with their core issue.

    Is it certain that faith and reason are opposed? Is it possible that one might have good reasons for embracing faith or, conversely, that reason might, in certain circumstances at least, require faith?

    Let’s say that someone is asked to join a church in the Appalachian mountains, where people are told that they can be bitten by poisonous snakes and if they have faith in Jesus no harm will come to them.  

    I think it is perfectly reasonable for this person to say, “No.  I will not join that snake-handling church, not because I don’t have faith in Jesus, but because I don’t have faith that my faith in Jesus will protect my body from the effects of a poisonous snake bite.”  

    So, even if we agree that “we all have faith in something,” we might disagree on what we have faith in.  

    I had major surgery last year.  I had “faith” (or perhaps a better word would be “confidence”) that the surgery I had performed on me would likely be successful, based on the experience of prior surgeries.  

    I was told that my chances of dying as a result of the surgery was about 3 in 10,000.  I went through with the surgery.  One could say that I had faith in the physicians, the hospital and perhaps the medical community in general.  

    But I don’t have much faith in someone who says, “Jesus rose from the dead.”  I think that anyone who really believes that Jesus rose from the dead is mistaken.  I have listened to numerous debates over whether Jesus really did rise from the dead.  But I remain unconvinced that Jesus actually did rise from the dead, despite the sincere belief in those who say Jesus did rise from the dead.  

    • #73
  14. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    You guys really need to watch the Peterson-Robinson video linked above, and engage with the proponents of faith and reason, which is a particularly strong tradition in the Catholic church.

    St. Thomas Aquinas is the premier example of this in the history of the Church. His Faith told him that there is One God, and therefore One Truth, and everything good ultimately comes from God – not just in Christian culture, but any culture, since the One God is responsible for all that is.

    When Aristotle was reintroduced into the West in the 12th century, some Christians were skeptical of the influence the great pagan philosopher might have. Aquinas, to the contrary, took the truth wherever he could find it, and was not afraid to plunge deeply into Aristotle to learn from him – his faith telling him that all truth ultimately comes from God, so whatever truth is in Aristotle is from God and is nothing to fear. 

    Constrast his attitude with the attitude so common today, that has no real faith in the position being held, and so shields it from criticism or looks for superficial ways to dismiss alternatives.

    • #74
  15. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

     

    But I don’t have much faith in someone who says, “Jesus rose from the dead.” I think that anyone who really believes that Jesus rose from the dead is mistaken. I have listened to numerous debates over whether Jesus really did rise from the dead. But I remain unconvinced that Jesus actually did rise from the dead, despite the sincere belief in those who say Jesus did rise from the dead.

    And that’s fine. But you acknowledge that these others have reasons for believing Jesus rose from the dead. It’s not that their faith is simply opposed to rationality altogether. If it was, they would never engage in a debate in the first place.

     

    • #75
  16. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    But I don’t have much faith in someone who says, “Jesus rose from the dead.”  I think that anyone who really believes that Jesus rose from the dead is mistaken.  I have listened to numerous debates over whether Jesus really did rise from the dead.  But I remain unconvinced that Jesus actually did rise from the dead, despite the sincere belief in those who say Jesus did rise from the dead.  

    I don’t have an answer, but I do remember how Bill Buckley responded. He said that when the disciples of Jesus saw “with the blinding force of their own eyes” what had happened to their Saviour, they were somewhat disheartened. (Man had a talent for understatement.) Yet somehow, some occurrence gave them the faith to re-group and march off to spread the Gospel and suffer fates at least as horrific as they had seen their Saviour suffer. I don’t remember which one it was, but the one who was flayed alive probably suffered as much or more than Jesus did. 

    What was that occurrence? Did they actually see with their own eyes the resurrected Jesus? I don’t know. 

    • #76
  17. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Django (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    But I don’t have much faith in someone who says, “Jesus rose from the dead.” I think that anyone who really believes that Jesus rose from the dead is mistaken. I have listened to numerous debates over whether Jesus really did rise from the dead. But I remain unconvinced that Jesus actually did rise from the dead, despite the sincere belief in those who say Jesus did rise from the dead.

    I don’t have an answer, but I do remember how Bill Buckley responded. He said that when the disciples of Jesus saw “with the blinding force of their own eyes” what had happened to their Saviour, they were somewhat disheartened. (Man had a talent for understatement.) Yet somehow, some occurrence gave them the faith to re-group and march off to spread the Gospel and suffer fates at least as horrific as they had seen their Saviour suffer. I don’t remember which one it was, but the one who was flayed alive probably suffered as much or more than Jesus did.

    What was that occurrence? Did they actually see with their own eyes the resurrected Jesus? I don’t know.

    And that’s why it’s called “faith.” It isn’t unreasonable, it’s something in addition to it for those things not discernable with your five senses (watch the Peterson-Robinson video). But, it certainly isn’t unreasonable to believe something extraordinary (supernatural even) happened in the first century to a backwater Jewish peasant that changed the world forever. You can see that with your own (Western) eyes.

    • #77
  18. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    But I don’t have much faith in someone who says, “Jesus rose from the dead.” I think that anyone who really believes that Jesus rose from the dead is mistaken. I have listened to numerous debates over whether Jesus really did rise from the dead. But I remain unconvinced that Jesus actually did rise from the dead, despite the sincere belief in those who say Jesus did rise from the dead.

    I don’t have an answer, but I do remember how Bill Buckley responded. He said that when the disciples of Jesus saw “with the blinding force of their own eyes” what had happened to their Saviour, they were somewhat disheartened. (Man had a talent for understatement.) Yet somehow, some occurrence gave them the faith to re-group and march off to spread the Gospel and suffer fates at least as horrific as they had seen their Saviour suffer. I don’t remember which one it was, but the one who was flayed alive probably suffered as much or more than Jesus did.

    What was that occurrence? Did they actually see with their own eyes the resurrected Jesus? I don’t know.

    And that’s why it’s called “faith.” It isn’t unreasonable, it’s something in addition to it for those things not discernable with your five senses (watch the Peterson-Robinson video). But, it certainly isn’t unreasonable to believe something extraordinary (supernatural even) happened in the first century to a backwater Jewish peasant that changed the world forever. You can see that with your own (Western) eyes.

    It’s also not unreasonable to think that St. Paul’s “revelation” was similar to the “revelation” that the prophet Mohammed received in the 7th century.  

    Both St. Paul and the prophet Mohammed might have sincerely believed that they heard the voice of God.  

    I think they were both sincere and wrong.  Human beings have a habit of being both sincere and wrong at the same time. 

    • #78
  19. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    Django (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    But I don’t have much faith in someone who says, “Jesus rose from the dead.” I think that anyone who really believes that Jesus rose from the dead is mistaken. I have listened to numerous debates over whether Jesus really did rise from the dead. But I remain unconvinced that Jesus actually did rise from the dead, despite the sincere belief in those who say Jesus did rise from the dead.

    I don’t have an answer, but I do remember how Bill Buckley responded. He said that when the disciples of Jesus saw “with the blinding force of their own eyes” what had happened to their Saviour, they were somewhat disheartened. (Man had a talent for understatement.) Yet somehow, some occurrence gave them the faith to re-group and march off to spread the Gospel and suffer fates at least as horrific as they had seen their Saviour suffer. I don’t remember which one it was, but the one who was flayed alive probably suffered as much or more than Jesus did.

    What was that occurrence? Did they actually see with their own eyes the resurrected Jesus? I don’t know.

    A lot depends on why we are investigating the history of the Resurrection. Is it as a perhaps interesting historical case about which we are personally indifferent? Or is it because we are attracted to the person of Jesus Christ, and we sense in his story and message something that gets to the heart of the human condition in a unique way; in other words, with a view to possibly becoming a Christian?

    If it’s the former, then we can certainly withhold judgment pending decisive, objective evidence for the Resurrection. Ten years, twenty years, a lifetime, whatever: We can hold ourselves objectively aloof because it holds no particular or pressing issue for us. If the latter, we will find the question expanding itself into questions of philosophy, history, our own character, our view of our own lives and their meaning and worth; these latter issues we will find are not separable from the question of the Resurrection. The question then gains an urgency it didn’t have before, an urgency the indifferent investigator won’t understand and might find “unscientific.”  Real communication between the two on the subject becomes very difficult, and debates between the two never seem to engage, as two ships passing in the night.

     

    • #79
  20. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    But I don’t have much faith in someone who says, “Jesus rose from the dead.” I think that anyone who really believes that Jesus rose from the dead is mistaken. I have listened to numerous debates over whether Jesus really did rise from the dead. But I remain unconvinced that Jesus actually did rise from the dead, despite the sincere belief in those who say Jesus did rise from the dead.

    I don’t have an answer, but I do remember how Bill Buckley responded. He said that when the disciples of Jesus saw “with the blinding force of their own eyes” what had happened to their Saviour, they were somewhat disheartened. (Man had a talent for understatement.) Yet somehow, some occurrence gave them the faith to re-group and march off to spread the Gospel and suffer fates at least as horrific as they had seen their Saviour suffer. I don’t remember which one it was, but the one who was flayed alive probably suffered as much or more than Jesus did.

    What was that occurrence? Did they actually see with their own eyes the resurrected Jesus? I don’t know.

    And that’s why it’s called “faith.” It isn’t unreasonable, it’s something in addition to it for those things not discernable with your five senses (watch the Peterson-Robinson video). But, it certainly isn’t unreasonable to believe something extraordinary (supernatural even) happened in the first century to a backwater Jewish peasant that changed the world forever. You can see that with your own (Western) eyes.

    It’s also not unreasonable to think that St. Paul’s “revelation” was similar to the “revelation” that the prophet Mohammed received in the 7th century.

    Both St. Paul and the prophet Mohammed might have sincerely believed that they heard the voice of God.

    I think they were both sincere and wrong. Human beings have a habit of being both sincere and wrong at the same time.

    Certainly. And if you find the person of Jesus Christ no more attractive than you do the prophet Mohammed, then there is no point in investigating the history of the Resurrection.  The reasonable thing to do is move on. I don’t find Mohammed attractive at all, so I don’t spend any time investigating the history of his person; opportunity cost is a part of life and we don’t have time to investigate everything.  I did and do find the person of Jesus Christ attractive, so I have spent a lot of time investigating the history of the New Testament, as well as the history of Western Christianity in general.

    • #80
  21. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    I was thinking about this topic in general most recently because of a family member that passed, and just the general state of the world as it becomes more and more secular (really atheistic). I think about it because of how the Bible describes in eerily exact terms (both Old and New Testaments) what is happening in our world (and this new dis-information and control). Our US Constitution is faith-based, although not touting a specific religion, so it works for everyone. Yet we are seeing it ignored and subverted.

    I’m reminded that even the devil is a believer…….

    Free will has brought us to this place and our free will will determine where we go from there, including the afterlife….

    Well we’ve always had free will, so I don’t think that’s the reason for loss of faith. What’s different I think is that we’ve become totally materialistic. We only see the material world and have lost faith in anything metaphysical. The dialectal materialism of Marx is ultimately winning the day. The irony is we defeated communism through our Christian faith but may ultimately succumb to it through take over of our mind set. 

    • #81
  22. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It’s also not unreasonable to think that St. Paul’s “revelation” was similar to the “revelation” that the prophet Mohammed received in the 7th century.

    Both St. Paul and the prophet Mohammed might have sincerely believed that they heard the voice of God.

    I think they were both sincere and wrong. Human beings have a habit of being both sincere and wrong at the same time.

    Certainly. And if you find the person of Jesus Christ no more attractive than you do the prophet Mohammed, then there is no point in investigating the history of the Resurrection. The reasonable thing to do is move on. I don’t find Mohammed attractive at all, so I don’t spend any time investigating the history of his person; opportunity cost is a part of life and we don’t have time to investigate everything. I did and do find the person of Jesus Christ attractive, so I have spent a lot of time investigating the history of the New Testament, as well as the history of Western Christianity in general.

    I find the person of Jesus more attractive than the person of Mohammed.   

    Now, to be clear, I don’t think that the person of Jesus is presented to us with much accuracy in the New Testament.  There are likely some historical facts about Jesus woven into the New Testament narrative along with lots of myth.  

    So, if Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet, a view that I find persuasive, I still find this Jesus more attractive than Mohammed.  

    But I also prefer the person of Winston Churchill more attractive than Neville Chamberlain.  I do find many of Churchill’s speeches and the history of how he lead his country during World War II very inspirational.  

    Similarly, even if Jesus was just a failed apocalyptic prophet and even if many of the words attributed to him in the gospels weren’t actually spoken by him, I can still find some of the “story” of Jesus interesting and even inspiring.  

    It’s just that I am not going to tell some Jewish person or some Hindu person or some Buddhist person, “You need a savior.  You aren’t complete without Jesus.” 

    I think that line of thinking is incorrect.  But many Christians really believe that stuff.

    • #82
  23. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    You know, honestly, all religions function on faith rather than reason. I’m not sure subjecting any of them to the test(s) of reason is engaging with their core issue.

    Is it certain that faith and reason are opposed? Is it possible that one might have good reasons for embracing faith or, conversely, that reason might, in certain circumstances at least, require faith?

    Everything (even science) accepts some foundation on faith. “Only that which is tangible is real”, tangible being defined by our 5 senses. That is a statement accepted on faith, not reason or logic. It is the foundation that the reason and logic is built on.

    Faith and reason are not opposed. Science and faith are not opposed. Science and religion are not opposed. It is scientists bent on disproving God that are at odds with those that believe in God. But that is a subset of scientists, not science.

    • #83
  24. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    You know, honestly, all religions function on faith rather than reason. I’m not sure subjecting any of them to the test(s) of reason is engaging with their core issue.

    Is it certain that faith and reason are opposed? Is it possible that one might have good reasons for embracing faith or, conversely, that reason might, in certain circumstances at least, require faith?

    Sure. Where faith comes in is the starting assumption that God exists. (Reason – used her as a more materialist approach to reality – also has a starting assumption, it’s just different.)

    • #84
  25. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    You guys really need to watch the Peterson-Robinson video linked above, and engage with the proponents of faith and reason, which is a particularly strong tradition in the Catholic church.

    I ended up watching both of them.  Do you think Christianity’s development reflects its  Greco-Roman cultural context?  Meaning there are a lot of ‘pagans’, how would Christianity look if it had developed in the context of India, or China, or Meso-America?

    • #85
  26. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It’s also not unreasonable to think that St. Paul’s “revelation” was similar to the “revelation” that the prophet Mohammed received in the 7th century.

    Both St. Paul and the prophet Mohammed might have sincerely believed that they heard the voice of God.

    I think they were both sincere and wrong. Human beings have a habit of being both sincere and wrong at the same time.

    Certainly. And if you find the person of Jesus Christ no more attractive than you do the prophet Mohammed, then there is no point in investigating the history of the Resurrection. The reasonable thing to do is move on. I don’t find Mohammed attractive at all, so I don’t spend any time investigating the history of his person; opportunity cost is a part of life and we don’t have time to investigate everything. I did and do find the person of Jesus Christ attractive, so I have spent a lot of time investigating the history of the New Testament, as well as the history of Western Christianity in general.

    I find the person of Jesus more attractive than the person of Mohammed.

    Now, to be clear, I don’t think that the person of Jesus is presented to us with much accuracy in the New Testament. There are likely some historical facts about Jesus woven into the New Testament narrative along with lots of myth.

    So, if Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet, a view that I find persuasive, I still find this Jesus more attractive than Mohammed.

    But I also prefer the person of Winston Churchill more attractive than Neville Chamberlain. I do find many of Churchill’s speeches and the history of how he lead his country during World War II very inspirational.

    Similarly, even if Jesus was just a failed apocalyptic prophet and even if many of the words attributed to him in the gospels weren’t actually spoken by him, I can still find some of the “story” of Jesus interesting and even inspiring.

    It’s just that I am not going to tell some Jewish person or some Hindu person or some Buddhist person, “You need a savior. You aren’t complete without Jesus.”

    I think that line of thinking is incorrect. But many Christians really believe that stuff.

    Did Jesus or did he not tell his disciples to spread “the good news”? Did he or did he not say that “no one comes to the Father except through me”?

    And although I am not a biblical scholar, I think he said something to the effect that if someone hears Me and does not believe, I won’t judge him, but I am on good terms with the One who will. 

     

     

    • #86
  27. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    It’s also not unreasonable to think that St. Paul’s “revelation” was similar to the “revelation” that the prophet Mohammed received in the 7th century.

    Both St. Paul and the prophet Mohammed might have sincerely believed that they heard the voice of God.

    I think they were both sincere and wrong. Human beings have a habit of being both sincere and wrong at the same time.

    Certainly. And if you find the person of Jesus Christ no more attractive than you do the prophet Mohammed, then there is no point in investigating the history of the Resurrection. The reasonable thing to do is move on. I don’t find Mohammed attractive at all, so I don’t spend any time investigating the history of his person; opportunity cost is a part of life and we don’t have time to investigate everything. I did and do find the person of Jesus Christ attractive, so I have spent a lot of time investigating the history of the New Testament, as well as the history of Western Christianity in general.

    I find the person of Jesus more attractive than the person of Mohammed.

    Now, to be clear, I don’t think that the person of Jesus is presented to us with much accuracy in the New Testament. There are likely some historical facts about Jesus woven into the New Testament narrative along with lots of myth.

    I’m talking about a reaction to the stories taken at face value. If you find nothing compelling about the person of Jesus Christ as presented in the stories (i.e. the Gospels), there’s no point investigating what is or isn’t historical about them, other than as a matter of historical curiosity.  Which is fine. 

    So, if Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet, a view that I find persuasive, I still find this Jesus more attractive than Mohammed.

    But I also prefer the person of Winston Churchill more attractive than Neville Chamberlain. I do find many of Churchill’s speeches and the history of how he lead his country during World War II very inspirational.

    Would you say that the effects Churchill had on Britain, and the subsequent history of World War 2, is one of the reasons you find him inspirational? And, in a sense, that history validates the depth and appropriateness of Churchill’s speech and conduct?

    Also, I suspect you might find someone who is obsessed with Churchill’s drinking or his failure at Gallipoli – and it’s all they will ever talk about when Churchill comes up -as missing the main point about the man.

     

    • #87
  28. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Django (View Comment):

    Did Jesus or did he not tell his disciples to spread “the good news”? Did he or did he not say that “no one comes to the Father except through me”?

    John 14:6-7

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

    This statement is only found in the gospel of John but not in the synoptic gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke.

    My sense is that Jesus never said what was attributed to him in John 14:6-7, but, rather, this was part of theological development during the latter part of the 1st century.  

    As for whether he told his disciples to spread the “good news,” this could also be part of latter theological development and not part of “the real Jesus’s” actual ministry.  

    Obviously Christians are likely to disagree with the idea that Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet.  They are likely to read the “red letters” in their Bible (the words Jesus supposedly spoke) and try very hard to apply Jesus’s words/sermons/parables to their life.  

     

    • #88
  29. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Did Jesus or did he not tell his disciples to spread “the good news”? Did he or did he not say that “no one comes to the Father except through me”?

    John 14:6-7

    “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

    This statement is only found in the gospel of John but not in the synoptic gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke.

    My sense is that Jesus never said what was attributed to him in John 14:6-7, but, rather, this was part of theological development during the latter part of the 1st century.

    As for whether he told his disciples to spread the “good news,” this could also be part of latter theological development and not part of “the real Jesus’s” actual ministry.

    Obviously Christians are likely to disagree with the idea that Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet. They are likely to read the “red letters” in their Bible (the words Jesus supposedly spoke) and try very hard to apply Jesus’s words/sermons/parables to their life.

     

    Those who were coevals were definitely spreading the news. While it may have been formalized later, there is no doubt that he expected them to do so in his time. 

    • #89
  30. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    I find the person of Jesus more attractive than the person of Mohammed.

    Now, to be clear, I don’t think that the person of Jesus is presented to us with much accuracy in the New Testament. There are likely some historical facts about Jesus woven into the New Testament narrative along with lots of myth.

    I’m talking about a reaction to the stories taken at face value. If you find nothing compelling about the person of Jesus Christ as presented in the stories (i.e. the Gospels), there’s no point investigating what is or isn’t historical about them, other than as a matter of historical curiosity. Which is fine.

    It’s hard to generalize.  But let’s take the story in Matthew 4:1-11, the temptation of Jesus.  

    It’s pretty inspiring how Jesus successfully resists the devil’s temptations.  Jesus doesn’t turn stone to bread because “one does not live by bread alone” and Jesus doesn’t throw himself from the temple because, Jesus says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”  

    Now, did Jesus really have this conversation, this back and forth, with the devil?  I tend to doubt it.  But it’s metaphysically possible, I suppose.  

    So, if Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet, a view that I find persuasive, I still find this Jesus more attractive than Mohammed.

    But I also prefer the person of Winston Churchill more attractive than Neville Chamberlain. I do find many of Churchill’s speeches and the history of how he lead his country during World War II very inspirational.

    Would you say that the effects Churchill had on Britain, and the subsequent history of World War 2, is one of the reasons you find him inspirational? And, in a sense, that history validates the depth and appropriateness of Churchill’s speech and conduct?

    I suppose even if Britain had been conquered by Nazi Germany, Churchill could have still been viewed as someone who took on a noble, but failed, cause.  The fact that Britain did prevail against the Nazis does add additional vindication.  

    Also, I suspect you might find someone who is obsessed with Churchill’s drinking or his failure at Gallipoli – and it’s all they will ever talk about when Churchill comes up -as missing the main point about the man.

    Probably so.  I think a fair treatment of Churchill would point out both Churchill’s successes and his failures.  Also, if I recall correctly, Churchill was reluctant to let go of Britain’s imperial possessions.  

    Even very strong Churchill fans, and I count myself as one of them, are capable of saying, “Well, Churchill got this call wrong.”  

    But it’s harder to get away with that kind of dispassionate attempt at objectivity when it comes to Jesus or other religious figures if one want to remain part of the “in group” of religious believers.  Within many denominations of Christianity (though not all), one can’t simply be an admirer of Jesus.  One must be a follower of Jesus and believe if Jesus’s divinity.  

     

    • #90
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