Joey, reading over your whole post, it seems that a lot of times we are taking nuances and making disagreements out of them. Yet, in other cases we really do have disagreements. I hope to do a decent job of telling the two cases apart in this post. We'll see how that goes.
Yes, I get what you are saying, but, I doubt you would consider any of these things your top priority, would you? If you would say you have bigger priorities, I think we are on the same page. If not, I'd want to challenge that idea.
Again it comes back to the fact that all actions serve more than one priority. And so, in all these cases, the action serves BOTH the priorities, so it becomes almost just a mental exercise to try to say one priority is above the other. In my mind, I see the better world for future generations as the top priority, thus, your asking if some of the other priorities are "bigger" is kina like asking if the pot boils because I turned on the stove, or if it instead boils because the stove got hot. I see these as a chain, not as competing goals. Did that analogy help?
Like I said in the beginning, I don't throw up my hands and say it's not worth trying to do. I do consider future generations and a better world a person goal. It's just that I value other things more than that (and I would hope you would too.)
I see those other goals as a causal chain, not as competing goals to "value more" or "value less". Another way to see that might to ask "do I place a higher priority on my child's right heart ventricle or my child's left heart ventricle?". In other words, trying to separate them in my mind is pointless.
I only mean one thing by God. That's the creator and sustainer of the universe.
That's where I, as an atheist, agree.
What's more, later in my previous post I described the key element associated with God that provides a sufficient reason for me to consider hope for the future a realistic goal, (a solution to evil by way of the death, burial and resurrection of the only begotten son of God)
That's where I, as a non-christian, disagree.
You mentioned recycling earlier. Why do you do that? Is it not because what man has (quite recently) done to our planet endangering not only all life as we know it, but all life period.
No, we are not that powerful. We couldn't endanger all life on Earth even if we wanted to. Even all our nuclear weapons, combined, are only one millionth the power of the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, and life survived that just fine, for instance. In fact, our ancestors survived it, without the benefit of any technology, even though it happened without any warning, and no preparation on their part.
What about chemical and nuclear weapons, overpopulation, obesity, and global terrorism? Has human kind faced as menacing obstacles in the past?
Yes, time and again. Epidemics have routinely wiped of a good percentage of the human population at a time, and genetic data shows that disasters like the Toba explosion nearly brought humans to extinction a number of times. The Tambora eruption is similar but on a smaller scale. I think that all of those in your list, except perhaps nuclear weapons, could kill only a small fraction of the population of 7 billion people.
You are right. We definitely disagree there.
But I don't have to show that my answer fits what's best for the future of human kind.. only what's best for humans right now. You have painted yourself into that corner. All I need to say is that it not acceptable to do what is best for the future at all costs (aka your top priority.)
But what sense is there in screwing over our grandchildren to benefit people today? I mean, if it were possible to use, say nuclear power to give everyone free electricity and consign all future generations to an Earth turned into a radioactive cesspool, wouldn't you oppose that, simply on the grounds that it hurts our future world?
LOL! Trust me.. I've got that one. I'm well prepared to make that case. And yes, I think it would be much easier for me to make it because of what I know about Christians and Christianity, but that's just my speculation.
I suspect it wouldn't be that easy, being that most Bibles repeat over and over that other religious are not to be tolerated. That's clearly a major theme of the OT, and is repeated in the NT (in fact, it is extended to also condemn Christians, if they are not the "right kind".)
I agree, but my point is, you would have to present evidence that was true, and that seems like an unnecessary burden, doesn't it? I mean why is it so hard to just appeal to the value of people today and say that there's no reason why we should value future generations so much more than we value them? Why take on the extra burden of having to show how it affects future generations?
Because it isn't any harder, and because it also clarifies many other questions, like the radioactive cesspool example. Basically, it is a simple answer that works across the board.
No, those are not differences between the two. The Bible can, has been, and is subject to, the exact same type of changes, based on the exact same types of conditions. The only things that are different are the circumstances (dates, intents, subjects of authority, etc.)I do see at least one fundamental difference. Constitutions can be decided to be wrong, and amended. … Another big difference is the reliance upon evidence.
In your version of Christinity, that appears to be true. However, for many theists (including many Muslims, Jews and Christians), Constitutions are simply the words of humans, subject to change and new evidence, while their holy texts are the immutable and authoritative word of God himself.
Nonsense! They didn't prioritize God at all, nor themselves, nor their families, nor their neighbors. They prioritized their enemies (as in indulging in their hatred of) above all those other things. Just because they use God as an excuse, doesn't mean they are being honest about it… any more than Christians were during the Inquisition. If these people had really placed God as top priority, they would have begun to see themselves as enemies of God's will, the way I see myself, and the constant need to surrender their evil wants and desires, rather than give into themI think we’d both agree that the way the 911 terrorists prioritized “God” above all else is clearly harmful,
I think it is very likely that many of the perpetrators of evil acts truly and honestly think that God is instructing them to do so. You are claiming that you not only can know their minds, but in addition claiming that in ALL millions of cases, they were not doing so with God as their top priority. It seems clear to me and to many other observers that they probably did take their religion seriously, and did commit these acts to carry out the will of God, as they perceived it. That list can extend to people like Andrea Yates and John List, where perhaps this is more clear, since it seems unlikely that they hated their own children.
Hopefully I'm far away from both.
First, like I said before, I'm talking about recognizing that I'm human and that humans do terrible things. They think they are better people than they actually are. They think they deserve better than they actually do. They think they can make their situation better on their own, and as such, they make themselves enemies to God. Since I'm human, I have to recognize that all these things apply to me, yet they do not apply to God, so making God top priority means trusting his will, as one unburdened by sin, over mine, as one that is.
But could not "trusting his will" lead to the 911 type stuff we talked about above? Especially if one takes the examples in the Qu'ran or one of the Bibles as examples of "His will"?
If he had prioritized himself better, then he could have lived longer, and that would have been better for him.
Could he not also have come to the same longer life by prioritizing future generations, including you and your son?
So yes, that is a bit selfish way of looking at it… but it's a good kind of selfishness, that I would hope all people try to have.
I agree that's a better way to look at it than rank hedonism. However, couldn't one get the same good outcomes by prioritizing future generations? For instance, I can be a better Dad to my kids if I'm kind, and can't be very kind if I'm always depressed, so it is out of prioritizing future generations that I make sure I do fun things, like going to play pool, from time to time, because it enables me to be a joy to those in my life.
I guess I see it the other way around. I think our answers are similar indeed, but to me it doesn't even address the "just, peaceful and sustainable world scenario."
Perhaps taking a wider view shows that these do help make the world a better place?
I sure hope that wasn't your valentine's card this year! ->
People tend to prioritize kids, then spouse, then self. I think families tend to be much stronger and healthier when those priorities are reversed with self, then spouse, then kids, but society tries to color that order in a bad light, not seeing how critical it is to healthy relationships.
So perhaps if everyone valued the whole working unit of a healthy family, for the benefit of current and future generations, we'd be better off?
If you can't provide even for yourself, how can you provide for anyone else?
I agree. If we are to help anyone, we need to first be functional ourselves, just like your example of your dad's smoking.
If that's what you meant, then I'll say that Jesus never taught that. He just taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love our enemies. There is definitely a hierarchy implied in the text.
Regardless of how I see that, I bet there would be many yeses and no's to that from other Christians too.......
I hope I’ve shown that in doing those above, you are not necessarily leaving “what’s best for the rest of the world and future generations” to last. Your actions may indeed be serving all those goals. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized more and more how deeply interconnected we all are, and that all decisions have many effects on many different goals or areas. That has fed my building conviction to widen my circle of care and concern to include all humans, and all future humans as well – including your great grandchildren, and even the great grandkids of my enemies.
Sorry but I'm still not on the same page with you there. Sometimes, yes, they fit together nicely, but sometimes they don't, and I think the outcome of having that be the highest priority has the potential to be quite devastating and at the least, lead to some very regrettable decisions.
As before, I think that in all situations, taking the wider view leads to a good choice. I know you disagree, so we may just have to agree to disagree there.
I think my priorities line up better both with scripture .... and what is truly more valuable
I think scripture often supports things that are harmful to people both today and tomorrow. I think we'll disagree there too..... ; )
as well as our shared intuition of what humanity is really like
Actually, we may agree there. We both see humans as having a lot of harmful desires at times. I think these are the clear footprints of evolution, and need to be consciously controlled. On a practical level, we may see those similarly.
Have a good day-