What if…
Posted: 01 October 2012 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2012-09-25

New here.  Been an admirer of Sam Harris for a while now.

I have been pondering this question for some time but have not posed it to any Christians until recently on another forum.  The feedback was very disappointing.  Hope it is Ok to post it here.  Just would like some feedback from Christians and non believers.

Many, if not most Christians I encounter (including myself when I was a believer for 25 years) would probably claim that they have faith in and worship God/Jesus because of who God/Jesus are. In other words - God is worthy of their worship and adoration simply because He is God, not because of anything He has done (or will do). And the specific thing “He has done” that I want to discus is God’s provision of “heaven” for His followers to live for eternity.

I listened to a debate recently between Dr. W. L. Craig and Dr. Sam Harris concerning morality. In the debate, Dr. Craig said - “You don’t believe in God to avoid going to hell. Belief in God isn’t some kind of fire insurance. You believe in God because God, as the supreme good, is the appropriate object of adoration and love. He is goodness it’s self to be desired for it’s own sake…It has nothing to do with avoiding hell or promoting your own well-being.”

Dr. Craig claims that believers believe in God because God deserves to be believed in. He claims that belief in God has nothing to do with what you will receive as a result of that faith.

My question is then directed primarily toward Christians - If the bible that Christians now possess had no mention of heaven, meaning that, regardless of whether or not a person “believed in” the God of the bible or not. Regardless if a person “worshipped” God or not, when we die, we ALL would end up in the same place - hell

1 - Christian, do you think you would still believe in and worship the God of the bible if you would still end up in hell when you died?

2 - Christian, do you think anyone would have good reason or incentive to worship the God of the bible if He, God, did not promise some kind of reward (escape from hell and eternity in heaven) for that faith and worship?

You see, I believe Dr. Craig has not actually thought it through. As intelligent and educated as he is, I do not believe his above quote is true. I believe if you remove the promise of a reward from the Christian concept, most prospective believers, those who would become Christians under the current biblical concept of heaven and hell, would not become Christians if the concept of reward (heaven) were removed. Which would mean that people don’t believe in God simply because He is God, but because of what He has to offer as a reward - heaven.

If my suspicions are correct, which I believe they are, people become Christians out of purely selfish reasons - self preservation.  To me, that is counter to Dr. Craig’s above claim.

Thoughts?

[ Edited: 01 October 2012 10:39 AM by rsweatt]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 October 2012 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  140
Joined  2012-08-11

Every candid conversation I’ve had with a believer resulted in being told they believe because either they’re hedging their bets on the afterlife, incompetently, or they’re convinced that god is the source of morals.  A quick scan of the bible will show that these are not our morals, but the indoctrination they’ve undergone is a powerful force, and not easily overcome.

Hedging bets - I still have people putting forth Pascal’s Wager, which is very telling.  Seems like all you need is sincerity, and if you can fake that, you’re in.  Of course, one may wonder how one could fool an all-knowing entity, but rarely does the thought process make it that far in the head of a believer, obviously.

 Signature 

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
~ Hitch

I prefer the full-on embrace of reality to the spiritual masturbation that is religion.
~ S.A. Ladoucier

I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people
~ M. Teresa, Fruitcake of Calcutta

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 October 2012 10:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1587
Joined  2006-10-20
rsweatt - 01 October 2012 09:10 AM

Thoughts?

I thought about it earlier in the “God Owes Me” thread.

 Signature 

“All extremists should be killed!” - neighbor’s bumper sticker

Profile
 
 
Posted: 25 October 2012 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  226
Joined  2012-09-10
rsweatt - 01 October 2012 09:10 AM

I listened to a debate recently between Dr. W. L. Craig and Dr. Sam Harris concerning morality. In the debate, Dr. Craig said - “You don’t believe in God to avoid going to hell. Belief in God isn’t some kind of fire insurance. You believe in God because God, as the supreme good, is the appropriate object of adoration and love. He is goodness it’s self to be desired for it’s own sake…It has nothing to do with avoiding hell or promoting your own well-being.”

Dr. Craig claims that believers believe in God because God deserves to be believed in. He claims that belief in God has nothing to do with what you will receive as a result of that faith.

My question is then directed primarily toward Christians - If the bible that Christians now possess had no mention of heaven, meaning that, regardless of whether or not a person “believed in” the God of the bible or not. Regardless if a person “worshipped” God or not, when we die, we ALL would end up in the same place - hell

1 - Christian, do you think you would still believe in and worship the God of the bible if you would still end up in hell when you died?

2 - Christian, do you think anyone would have good reason or incentive to worship the God of the bible if He, God, did not promise some kind of reward (escape from hell and eternity in heaven) for that faith and worship?

You see, I believe Dr. Craig has not actually thought it through. As intelligent and educated as he is, I do not believe his above quote is true. I believe if you remove the promise of a reward from the Christian concept, most prospective believers, those who would become Christians under the current biblical concept of heaven and hell, would not become Christians if the concept of reward (heaven) were removed. Which would mean that people don’t believe in God simply because He is God, but because of what He has to offer as a reward - heaven.

If my suspicions are correct, which I believe they are, people become Christians out of purely selfish reasons - self preservation.  To me, that is counter to Dr. Craig’s above claim.

Thoughts?


To understand why people believe in God, one must understand meme theory. What memes are. How memes replicate. How they “take control” of their hosts. How people free themselves of those memes. A good place to learn Meme Theory is from David Deutsch’s book, _The Beginning of Infinity_. You can read the intro here: http://beginningofinfinity.com/opening-paragraphs


It also requires some understanding of the psychology of conventional people. I wrote about why most people like to believe in God: http://ramirustom.blogspot.com/2012/09/is-allah-real.html


By the way, Dr. Craig’s idea about why people *should* believe in God is a rationalization. I wrote about why most people rationalize here: http://ramirustom.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-do-people-rationalize.html

 Signature 

—Rami Rustom

If you agree with my ideas, you’d enjoy these:

http://ramirustom.blogspot.com
http://fallibleideas.com/
http://groups.google.com/group/beginning-of-infinity/subscribe
http://groups.google.com/group/taking-children-seriously/subscribe
http://groups.google.com/group/rational-politics-list/subscribe
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Autonomy-Respecting-Relationships/messages

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 January 2013 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2013-01-08

I believe if you remove the promise of a reward from the Christian concept, most prospective believers, those who would become Christians under the current biblical concept of heaven and hell, would not become Christians if the concept of reward (heaven) were removed. Which would mean that people don’t believe in God simply because He is God, but because of what He has to offer as a reward - heaven.

If my suspicions are correct, which I believe they are, people become Christians out of purely selfish reasons - self preservation.  To me, that is counter to Dr. Craig’s above claim.

-rsweatt

I imagine a selfish desire for something more is a central motivator for belief like you suggest. I would also take into consideration the wish for an afterlife as a mechanism of consolation for loved ones lost. While still essentially a selfish exercise in self-delusion, it may be both a projected hope for the departed as well as a method for making sense of something so traumatic. In this way it could be focused on the self and the wishful betterment of others.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 26 January 2013 01:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  114
Joined  2013-01-24

People have a map of the value landscase where life is seen as instrumentally valuable. Worship God and he will rewards you later. So they do all kinds of stuff expecting a transcendent rewards later on. I think we ought to focus on this life, and that of fiture generations, because that is known with more objective confidence. I do not mean ban all faith, but try and equate (use equations) where value is canlculated with reference points and standard measured that can be understood secularly, and that do not denigrate the secular in the favour of the other worldly.

[ Edited: 26 January 2013 01:36 AM by Hypersoup]
Profile
 
 
   
 
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed