Attention to virtue: Christianity borrowed heavily down the ages from Greek philosophy, especially Aristotle. Hence, there is a good dollop of virtue theory at its heart. Virtue theory emphasises the role of human character in morality and stands opposed to the two other great schools of moral philosophy: the rule-based approach of deontology, and the semi-mathematical stance of utilitarianism.
The first of these is highly problematic in that it demands fixed rules in an age where ethical truths are seen as culturally and historically contingent. People tend to use a combination of all three when considering moral issues. We apply rules e. Courage is admired and greed broadly condemned.
Prayer: If secular humanists could steal one thing from the religious it should be prayer.
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Prayer has the effect of reinforcing and hardening ideas so that they become truths — truths that we can act upon. A lot of Christian prayers are about gratitude. Take grace before meals, the attraction of which is not lost on the American biochemist Leon Kass.
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Asking for forgiveness aloud in a room full of other people is cathartic. Each step of civilisation — each rebirth after trauma or war — has been marked by forgiveness. I imagine quite a few people use this time for silent reflection to think of, or wish goodwill towards, loved ones living and dead. Whether they can hear us is beyond the point.
Through this rite, we are reconnecting in an important way with the cycle of life. It must be said there are other ways for an atheist humanist to get what the church has to offer. If you spent an hour doing voluntary work or reading the Stoics you might well be better off. But exposing yourself to different perspectives is healthy and, at a time of heightened cynicism and intellectual segregation, the relatively charitable and sincere ambience surrounding Mass is a tonic.
Viewed from the pews, those around me seem less like worshippers of unreason and more like fellow travellers — people with the same doubts and anxieties, trying to be the best versions of themselves. South Africa has everything from wild coastlines to rugged mountaintops and super cities. Here are 10 great highs to get you going, when deciding what to experience. Medical activist paid great personal price for standing up to Chinese officials on epidemic. Why did the atheist go to Mass? Good things happen in church Sun, Dec 10, , Joe Humphreys.
When will we follow the example of Mother Teresa, quietly and tirelessly ministering to those who are suffering, instead of the countless televangelists, screaming holy fire and brimstone from the pulpit while amassing monstrous wealth for themselves and eventually succumbing to the temptations of debauchery that such excess provides? When will we stop justifying our materialism and greed and start behaving as though we are IN but not OF this world?
Maybe we need an Isaiah in America — but not for the government, rather for the church….
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I again point you back to the early Church. Did John rail against his exile? Did Peter scream curses upon his tormentors as they crucified him? We need to direct ourselves and others to a search for a loving God in the form of Jesus. Yes, the more we point people to Jesus, the better our theology will be, and the better people will learn to see and understand God. For many weeks I have been reading news posts on news Some clearly state that they were raised in a Christian home.
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Your post and the dialogue it created are valuable observations in this regard as it will continue to grow in being a need for Christians to be able to answer in responsible way. Ephraim Currier wrote in that if it is important that we have the Bible, it is important that we understand it. Before we even venture one step in reading the Old Testament, we need to understand and acknowledge that those books were written to the people of a specific nation and in specific circumstances.
Thank you. Your focus on the centrality of Christ for us I fully support. Too many preachers are preaching the bad news of a so-called antichrist instead of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God that Jesus of Nazareth preached. Once we do that it is inevitable that we start looking at our theologies through renewed eyes. I like that idea from Ephraim Currier. I have never heard of him. Is that from a book? I might like to read it.
Here, my god is totally believable. I have talked to quite a few atheists. You are right that most would not simply believe in God if presented with a different God. Actually, no one completely understands God since it is beyond our limited ability to do so as finite humans. The best we can do is hopefully get a reasonably clear view from what he revealed to us about himself in scripture. Similarly, a polytheist believes in many gods.
An idolater is one who worships a false god and not the one true God. There certainly are a lot of Christian idolaters. Many of them form a notion of who God is and then work backwards, interpreting scripture to justify the picture they have of him.
If we read scripture faithfully we will see that God is a God of love, but he is also a God of judgment against sin. That is primarily why we seek salvation — so that we might inherit eternal life and escape the fearsome judgment of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man. Our God is a consuming fire. As we see in John 5, Jesus himself will execute judgment. Our job as Christians is not to try to please and appease everyone by proving that we have a god they will like.
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If you desire the salvation he offers, believe in him and the Son that he sent to die for our sins. There is a tough side to them we would be foolish to ignore. Mt 10 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Martin if we follow God out of fear then we dont know God it is out of love that we obey him not because we are fearful of his judgement. Jesus took that punishment we deserved upon upon himself so that we could see that in fact he has nt come to punish us but he offers us his love and acceptance through what Jesus has done.
A believer needs not fear that judgement will come upon him if they are in Christ the scriptures say to love the lord with all our heart mind soul and strength and love others as yourself i believe if we do that then we are secure in our faith. It is precisely because I know God that I fear him.
What does it mean to be all-loving?
Do you have any idea how many verses enjoin us to fear God? Mt 10 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. So I guess you could say that because Jesus told me to fear God, I most certainly do. We love him because he first loved us. I love him because he rescued me not only from much sin and unhappiness in this life but he has promised me an incomprehensibly happy and fulfilling eternal life. So my motivation is both love and fear. Different Christians will probably have different ratios of the two and I imagine that the more we grow in Christ the more the balance will tilt toward love.
The rest of what you say I can agree with. If we truly love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love others as ourselves, we will feel secure in our faith and relationship with him.