I Want to Know What's Real


Snow
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What he said was that he was saddened by me making a statement that contemplated the non-existence of God. 1. He's not really sad. 2. It's a patently dumb point. People with brains can speculate on the implications of all sorts of things. 3. No body rejected God's hand in creation and design. 4. His other relevant points were equally as absurd - that without an afterlife, life has no significance. He really has no clue was is significant to anybody but himself; and that non-believers are amoral.

The first sentence is right. (And by the way, I am a she) I am only saddened by that speculation by someone who claims to know God. I am not talking about everyone. This is an LDS gospel discussion forum. Let me try to explain;

There is a dichotomy between temporal based thought processes and spiritual based thought processes. In other words, mind versus heart, reasoning versus faith, fear versus love. Of course we typically think of things using a combination of these processes, we can't help it. But our goal is to take of the better part, like Jesus explained to Martha. This thread paints that spectrum between mind and heart, the knowing of what is real (mind)versus the feeling good (heart) way of knowing. Our goal is to overcome the temporal, to follow Jesus' example in doing that. When posed with this dichotomy, as members of the church who understand the gospel we should always push towards knowing and understanding spiritually. The natural man is an enemy to God. Happiness is greater when understanding the ways of God is done spiritually. Why then would anyone with any ounce of testimony of the true gospel of Christ want to push understanding in the opposite direction of spiritual understanding. Sure when one is starting out in their understanding it is good to do things out of fear than nothing at all, to understand with the mind, but then once that is had Jesus taught the better way is through love, through the spirit. Why push back in the opposite direction. Trying to reason through whether God is real by temporal understanding is the opposite direction Jesus wants us to go. When Jesus was on his ministry, How much of what he said do you think flowed from his brain only versus his spirit directly? He had to overcome his brain, he had to grow in stature and favor of men and God. But once he overcame the body, his words were purely of a spiritual source. We are not close to that, but that is our goal. So why promote the temporal method? Why push backwards in our understanding? If you really are not a man of God then I could understand that thought process. But if one already has a testimony and holding onto the iron rod, the temporal reasoning and contemplation method holding more weight than the "feeling" method is wrong and should not be promoted. In that setting it serves no purpose but to pull away from real understanding. If one has no understanding of God at all, sure temporal reasoning is a good start until the spirit ultimately rules over the body (brain). If your brain rules your spirit there is more work to do but if the spirit rules the brain, then one is taking of the better part, like Mary did.

In so many words, and maybe I am misinterpreting this, please tell me, it seems that you give more weight to temporal understanding than to spiritually understanding the things of God. And I think wanting and desiring a temporal way to understand God over the spiritual method is most often counterproductive and causes one to lose their grip on the iron rod, at least it doesn't make their grip any stronger, so why promote it?

Again, towards the end of Jesus life, what percentage of his words do you think came directly from his brain (no spiritual input) versus purely from his spiritual thought process?

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:5–6.)

Elder John A. Widtsoe taught that “there is a spiritual meaning of all human acts and earthly events. … It is the business of man to find the spiritual meaning of earthly things. … No man is quite so happy … as he who backs all his labors by such a spiritual interpretation and understanding of the acts of his life.” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1922, pp. 96–97.)

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The truth can only be seen if you believe in the evidence presented. You ask if we want to know the truth. Several have presented truths found in our beliefs. Life is not always happy, nor does it always feel good. Do I think man has all the truths? We are told we do not. Would you believe that? Only if you believe certain truths we say we have. It is like a circle. There are things we have to accept on Faith. If you are searching for the truth of any given subject then you go to that information. Given the subject of this site, you will not find your truth here. Our truth is there is a God.

Edited by zippy_do46
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Yes I agree that it is faith and inspiration that matters - but what is the difference between our faith that makes us so certain and all the others of believers who also have faith in their own version of theology and are just as certain that they have the truth?

I've heard you say this more than a few times in this forum, Snow. I appreciate the question. Because, underneath that question is that age-old peeve of mine that makes me really annoyed when somebody - be it Catholics, Baptists, LDS, etc - stand on the pulpit and say, "X religion is wrong".

Let me attempt to answer this question. The difference between my faith and other's version of theology is that it is MINE. I can only be accountable for what I believe is true. If God is truly a just God, then he will know within my heart that I have reasons to believe it is true and that I am trying my best to live by what I believe is true. So that in the day of judegement, I may stand before Him and be judged for what I know. The Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Buddhist, etc. etc., will similarly be judged by what has been made manifest to them as the truth (and of course, that's just what I believe), therefore, it is not for me to tell them they are wrong, it is for them to search in their own hearts the confirmation of the truth and act accordingly.

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if you can find something quantateivly better than the truth .... i would love to know what it is .

knowledge begats faith. faith brings more knowledge.... the trick is being able to subject your own best understanding to that knowledge that comes from the spirit of god. And at the risk of sounding conseated . I belieave that is the biggest hang up of every other Religion.

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I disagree. Morality is an essential part of our survival as a species. Immorality (defined as rejection of social mores for the purposes of this thread) creates chaos, and that could easily lead to our extinction. It behooves us to follow the laws set in place by society and lead good lives so that the human race can continue to flourish. I believe there's plenty of meaning to be found in that.

You are certainly entitled to disagree.

In my opinion, without God and life after death, then this mortal life is nothing but a brief (very brief) existence which will end anyway. If we were not immortal souls with a possibility at eternal life or eternal death, then this life would be nothing (or next to... like a single drop in the largest sea).

Sure, it's good to be good. But, with no ultimate law, judgment, or punishment/reward, then there is no good or bad, just existence. How can you be "bad" if there is no law? How can the law be enforced if there is no punishment? Why does one need to be good if there isn't eternal significance?

If there was no God to decree what is good or bad, what man's view of good or bad would we go by?

Which begs the question: Is it better if it makes us feel good, even if it may not be true?

I don't understand what this question is directed towards, specifically.

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You are certainly entitled to disagree.

In my opinion, without God and life after death, then this mortal life is nothing but a brief (very brief) existence which will end anyway. If we were not immortal souls with a possibility at eternal life or eternal death, then this life would be nothing (or next to... like a single drop in the largest sea).

I don't know about you, but I certainly don't view my life as nothing. I've had many great experiences and learning opportunities, and I look forward to many years of further learning and living. In the grand scheme of things, yes, my life is very brief and insignificant, but it has plenty of meaning and depth on a purely individualistic level.

Sure, it's good to be good. But, with no ultimate law, judgment, or punishment/reward, then there is no good or bad, just existence. How can you be "bad" if there is no law? How can the law be enforced if there is no punishment? Why does one need to be good if there isn't eternal significance?

If there was no God to decree what is good or bad, what man's view of good or bad would we go by?

Existence is a term that is defined entirely by perspective. As I said, I've been able to find plenty of meaning and fulfillment in my existent without the belief in a God or afterlife. My morality is guided by social mores and my own survival instincts, instincts that most human beings are born with regardless of religious persuasion. If I were to ignore those, I would be living a life that is antithetical to a satisfying and meaningful existence. The fact that I don't believe in eternal law is irrelevent. Temporal law and morality play a crucial role in ensuring that we live happy and fulfilling lives. Otherwise, as I said, life would be chaos and our species would face extinction.

Which begs the question: Is it better if it makes us feel good, even if it may not be true?

I don't understand what this question is directed towards, specifically.

You said:

I'm saying anything that is worth having temporarily is only made better if it is permanent.

This mortal plane of existence is a certainty, and I think it's safe to say that we all do our best to make the most of it. There is nothing certain about the afterlife. You have revelations, scripture, and doctrine that lead you to believe in a certain post-mortal existence, but how can you really be certain that this is truly what awaits you when you die? The point I was trying to make is that belief in eternal life shouldn't be based solely on emotional desires. If you have a logical basis for such beliefs, then you're on the right track. But if you're basing supernatural beliefs entirely on the feelings associated with them, then you're essentially casting aside objectivity. Just because outcome X sounds better doesn't mean it's true. Outcome Y may seem more dismal, but should you dismiss it on that basis alone? There's nothing fair or just about life. Why should that change when we die?

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I disagree. Morality is an essential part of our survival as a species. Immorality (defined as rejection of social mores for the purposes of this thread) creates chaos, and that could easily lead to our extinction. It behooves us to follow the laws set in place by society and lead good lives so that the human race can continue to flourish. I believe there's plenty of meaning to be found in that.

I am glad people feel that way otherwise you are right we would live in a very barbarian world. But, to me at least, that is the very reason I believe most people in this world have some "light of Christ" in them. They know basic wrong from right. We are just debating where that "plenty of meaning" you see as well comes from. I say it comes from their spirit not from their "minds". Of course, the spirit expresses itself through the mind so it can be hard to distinguish.

I believe that everyone here believed in Jesus, and therefore God, before coming here and still maintains some of that. To not believe in God takes effort. In other words, we don't start out with a clean slate, we start with a belief in God as little children. I am not saying an 'understanding,' of course that comes with study and pondering and learning but the basic belief is there. A disbelief in God requires some hardening of the heart to the point of ignoring that inner light. And I think it is important to realize that most of the time that hardening process comes in little steps, like not going to church when invited or fighting with your siblings when you are young or choosing to not listen to one's parents or not reading the scriptures when you are invited to (etc.) and then eventually one may ponder the possibility of their not being a God when the heart is hardened to that degree. But the arrival at that state of mind of unbelief was not made based on any logical reasoning, it came about by a series of emotional or moral choices, the same emotion that people wonder about in those that believe in God. It is almost a hypocritical thing to say that 'one should not believe in God based on emotion' when the person making that statement claims to not believe in God. It is almost hypocritical because they, most of the time, don't realize their belief is based on emotional decisions in their life.

The belief that there is no God, is believing in a lie. And the lie comes from the father of all lies. It is very deceptive because I think most people who even say they don't believe in God, in their heart of hearts really do believe, they just ponder the possibility of there not being a God. This is why Jesus said, forgive them for they know not what they do. Jesus knows those people really do believe in God and the gospel just they forgot or were deceived along the way. This is why in the Plan of Salvation an overwhelming majority of people will receive a glory, very few will be cast into outer darkness for their claim of unbelief. Even Satan believes in God. We are asked to be like little children, because their 'light of Christ' has not yet been jaded by the lies of this world and God wants us to remember what it was like when we fully believed without any clouding by our temporal thoughts.

Edited by Seminarysnoozer
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I believe the circle and starting again. :0) those that believe in God and those that do not. We have our free agency and our belief is that you have yours. :0) from the amount of posting you have been here awhile. I bet this subject will come again. We have no base to prove something to you that you as a non-believer would accept. Again our belief is based on Faith. Something you do not believe in. There are things in this world even our scientist can not explain. Man keeps searching. Who is right? I believe our Father in Heaven will settle this point. You do not. If you are happy then you have made a choice as we have made ours. I hope you find your answer in your search for knowledge. It may be on the next thread or it may not. ;0)

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I was reading in Alma this morning and Alma's words may apply here (he is speaking to Korihor):

Alma 30:

37 And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?

38 And he answered, Nay.

40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.

41 But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true?

43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words.

44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

48 Now Korihor said unto him: I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe.

49 Now Alma said unto him: This will I give unto thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb, according to my words; and I say, that in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no more have utterance.

50 Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was struck dumb, that he could not have utterance, according to the words of Alma.

51 And now when the chief judge saw this, he put forth his hand and wrote unto Korihor, saying: Art thou convinced of the power of God? In whom did ye desire that Alma should show forth his sign? Would ye that he should afflict others, to show unto thee a sign? Behold, he has showed unto you a sign; and now will ye dispute more?

All things do witness that there is a God. I know that God lives. Yes, I have felt Him, but I have also seen His creations and read His scriptures. There are signs enough. I ask for no more.

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I don't know about you, but I certainly don't view my life as nothing. I've had many great experiences and learning opportunities, and I look forward to many years of further learning and living. In the grand scheme of things, yes, my life is very brief and insignificant, but it has plenty of meaning and depth on a purely individualistic level.

Existence is a term that is defined entirely by perspective. As I said, I've been able to find plenty of meaning and fulfillment in my existent without the belief in a God or afterlife. My morality is guided by social mores and my own survival instincts, instincts that most human beings are born with regardless of religious persuasion. If I were to ignore those, I would be living a life that is antithetical to a satisfying and meaningful existence. The fact that I don't believe in eternal law is irrelevent. Temporal law and morality play a crucial role in ensuring that we live happy and fulfilling lives. Otherwise, as I said, life would be chaos and our species would face extinction.

On one hand you say humans are born with instincts, which I think is true, see my previous post (light of Christ) but then on the other hand you say if you were to ignore those it would be against a drive for a satisfying and meaningful life on an "individualistic level". Why do you care about a life of meaning after you are dead and gone? If you do not believe in an afterlife or God why would you care if our world faces extinction. Eventually everyone you know and care about will be gone and since you are not around any longer to care about it it would be no different than an alien race on a far away planet surviving or not. What difference would it make to you? None, if you believe there is no God. It would hold as much significance as a character in a novel living or dying or doing well or poorly. Your life is as meaningful as Batman living or dying or catching the bad guy or not. I really don't care if Batman lives or dies or if they turn him into a villan, it is a made up morality and life, it means nothing when the story is over. The reason you want to live a happy life and ensure that we live fulfilling lives is because you still have a little light of Christ in you that tells you your life has meaning. Please, reason out loud, because I am trying to understand this and have tried many times, why do you care if our species faces extinction after you are long gone and nothing and everyone you know is gone? Why does it matter to you?

If you knew you were going to die of cancer in a week or two, why not rob a bank or shooting spree or be promiscuous? You wouldn't care after you are dead any more than if you did those things on Grand Theft Auto video game.

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The examples you give are changes in practice, not changes in doctrine.

Its not only a change in practice, its a change in doctrine as well. Why change a practice, if the doctrine remains the same? There would be no need to change it.

But since the doctrine has changed, the practice had to change as well.

As simple as that. And no other way to get around it.

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Its not only a change in practice, its a change in doctrine as well. Why change a practice, if the doctrine remains the same? There would be no need to change it.

But since the doctrine has changed, the practice had to change as well.

As simple as that. And no other way to get around it.

I hate to tell you this, but poolygamy is still recognized as an eternal doctrine in the church, we just don't practice the same way we did 125 years ago. The practice of withholding the priesthood from blacks was also a practice that has changed. The doctrine that a man must receive the Priesthood of God from those who are in authority has not changed.

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... it's knowing the truth that matters, not believing what makes us feel better about life and ourselves.

Beliefs are very difficult to know for sure, since religious beliefs always find their wellspring in the metaphysical realm.

As far as what makes Mormons different from 'other religion A'- the simple difference is that either the Mormons are right, 'other religion A' is right, or both are wrong. Faith only benefits us if said faith is in something that is true- hence the importance of an unyielding search for the real truth, whatever that truth maybe.

You left out the possibility that both may have truth, since truth is multifaceted and often relative. President Hinckley realized that in his famous line, "Bring your truth to the table...".

:)

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I was trying to find the lyrics to a song I remembered from my youth. I found it on the church web site.

“Who am I, this being that I am, who walks the earth midst beings as myself?

Born was I of parents; who are they?

Why do I exist to walk a while and then depart? Who am I, who takes up time and space,

Who motions vacillate, some bad some good,

Who feels the null and void of all of this, without the question answered, who am I?

By happenchance have I come about by some ornate confusion?

By happenchance have I grown from rudimentary species eons past evolved?

By happenchance? By happenchance am I a worthless piece of thing

So dross, so void, so much of nothingness that when I pass,

My passing is just passing into past?

Who am I? This is who I am!

My spirit lived with my Father before the earth was formed. …

I am a child of my Father. I am a child of God.”

Link to article:

LDS.org - New Era Article - Songs Sung Backstage and in Balconies

What's more interesting is that this song seems to have been written for the Oakland Temple Pageant in 1977. That's where I learned this song as a youth... in the Oakland Temple Pageant! I was in it (or at least I remember practicing for it)! The memories that brought back!

Anyway, I think the lyrics express some of what I feel about life.

It's a beautiful song... I wish there was a link where I could listen to it.

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I was reading in Alma this morning and Alma's words may apply here (he is speaking to Korihor):

Alma 30:

37 And then Alma said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?

38 And he answered, Nay.

40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.

41 But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true?

43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words.

44 But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

48 Now Korihor said unto him: I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe.

49 Now Alma said unto him: This will I give unto thee for a sign, that thou shalt be struck dumb, according to my words; and I say, that in the name of God, ye shall be struck dumb, that ye shall no more have utterance.

50 Now when Alma had said these words, Korihor was struck dumb, that he could not have utterance, according to the words of Alma.

51 And now when the chief judge saw this, he put forth his hand and wrote unto Korihor, saying: Art thou convinced of the power of God? In whom did ye desire that Alma should show forth his sign? Would ye that he should afflict others, to show unto thee a sign? Behold, he has showed unto you a sign; and now will ye dispute more?

All things do witness that there is a God. I know that God lives. Yes, I have felt Him, but I have also seen His creations and read His scriptures. There are signs enough. I ask for no more.

I think what is the most interesting thing about this story is that Korihor admits to always knowing there was a God, he had to write it down, because he was struck dumb. And he explained that he was deceived by the devil and then started to even believe the lie. "and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me."

There is a difference between not knowing the truth and going out and speaking untruths. By speaking lies one may even start to believe them himself. And that is why they shouldn't be brought up as a possibility when one knows it is not true because one will slowly start to close off what really is true.

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On one hand you say humans are born with instincts, which I think is true, see my previous post (light of Christ) but then on the other hand you say if you were to ignore those it would be against a drive for a satisfying and meaningful life on an "individualistic level". Why do you care about a life of meaning after you are dead and gone?

I don't. I care about living a good life while I'm alive. After I'm dead, none of it will matter. But that's not what I'm focusing on. I'm more concerned with making the most of life while I have it. My self-awareness drives me to desire happiness and fulfillment. The fact that these things aren't eternal is irrelevant.

If you do not believe in an afterlife or God why would you care if our world faces extinction. Eventually everyone you know and care about will be gone and since you are not around any longer to care about it it would be no different than an alien race on a far away planet surviving or not. What difference would it make to you? None, if you believe there is no God.

It makes a difference to me while I'm alive. I want to be happy while I have consciousness. As for the survival instinct, it's a universal trait that all living things share. Yet humans are the only species that have developed self-awareness and belief in life after death. Why do zebras herd together? Their lives are just as finite as ours but they lack our sense of self-awareness, so why do they go through the effort of trying to preserve their species? Our consciousness has given us a sense of importance, and as a result we have convinced ourselves that we are somehow superior to other living organisms. Do intelligence and self-awareness save us from the same fate as them? I personally don't believe that they do. Those things make us unique, but only on a temporal level. There's no reasonable basis for the belief that our species is able to escape mortality.

If you knew you were going to die of cancer in a week or two, why not rob a bank or shooting spree or be promiscuous? You wouldn't care after you are dead any more than if you did those things on Grand Theft Auto video game.

Things like that don't bring me happiness. My family and friends bring me happiness, so I would spend my last days with them and reminisce about the good times I shared with them. I can think of no better way to end my mortal existence.
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With animals it's all instincts. We have the ability to reason, analyze our behavior, and change it. You really can't compare them to us. They have no morals. They just survive. They don't make the effort to lie to one another, steal, or cheat. They just follow their instincts. We would not meet the level of our creation if that's all we did.

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I don't. I care about living a good life while I'm alive. After I'm dead, none of it will matter. But that's not what I'm focusing on. I'm more concerned with making the most of life while I have it. My self-awareness drives me to desire happiness and fulfillment. The fact that these things aren't eternal is irrelevant.

It makes a difference to me while I'm alive. I want to be happy while I have consciousness. As for the survival instinct, it's a universal trait that all living things share. Yet humans are the only species that have developed self-awareness and belief in life after death. Why do zebras herd together? Their lives are just as finite as ours but they lack our sense of self-awareness, so why do they go through the effort of trying to preserve their species? Our consciousness has given us a sense of importance, and as a result we have convinced ourselves that we are somehow superior to other living organisms. Do intelligence and self-awareness save us from the same fate as them? I personally don't believe that they do. Those things make us unique, but only on a temporal level. There's no reasonable basis for the belief that our species is able to escape mortality.

Things like that don't bring me happiness. My family and friends bring me happiness, so I would spend my last days with them and reminisce about the good times I shared with them. I can think of no better way to end my mortal existence.

There is no "mortal existence" with that belief, it is just existence.

So, with that description "...and as a result we have convinced ourselves that we are somehow superior to other living organisms" you think our lives are as valuable as any other living organism on this planet? The same value as the millions of viruses that are dying in your stomach right now? It is just as valuable as all the bacteria and yeast in the nose and mouth your body kills every day? Why should you remain in existence more than all those life forms that you kill by your very existence? ... unless of course you thought you were superior to a virus, bacteria or yeast. The poor little herpes virus that lives in the lip wants to group together and form a cold sore but the immune system keeps them at bay, and the streptococcus in the nose just want to group together in the nose like the zebra group together but the murderous immune system kills them before they flourish. How can you justify living any longer?

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Godless,

I am confused. Do you suggest that Zebras herd together to save each other? They could care less about preserving their species. A bigger crowd equals a bigger defense so it is still all about self-preservation.

The self-awareness that you talk about sounds like supreme selfishness: Doing good things because it makes ME happy. It brings ME fulfilment. Its all about ME. (But your not hurting others so that makes it good??)

There is reasonable belief that our species is able to escape mortality because there are witnesses. Prophets and even regular people who have seen and talked with God and have been given knowledge from him of the afterlife. You and many others chose not to believe those witnesses.

No one can recieve a witness unless they are honestly willing to open to the possibility that God could exist because humans also have the unique ability to explain away the things we see, hear and feel. As long as we can rationalize, we can create our own "truths" and deny another's.

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o, with that description "...and as a result we have convinced ourselves that we are somehow superior to other living organisms" you think our lives are as valuable as any other living organism on this planet? The same value as the millions of viruses that are dying in your stomach right now? It is just as valuable as all the bacteria and yeast in the nose and mouth your body kills every day? Why should you remain in existence more than all those life forms that you kill by your very existence? ... unless of course you thought you were superior to a virus, bacteria or yeast. The poor little herpes virus that lives in the lip wants to group together and form a cold sore but the immune system keeps them at bay, and the streptococcus in the nose just want to group together in the nose like the zebra group together but the murderous immune system kills them before they flourish. How can you justify living any longer?

Two words: food chain. The situations you described are a natural part of the world we live in as much as the death of a zebra at the hands of a lion is. Physically speaking, humans are probably one of the weakest species on earth. We had to use intellect and ingenuity to get to where we are today. Had it not been for that, we would have been wiped out thousands of years ago. So no, I don't hold animal life to the same value as human life. We are superior in the sense that we are able to survive through sheer intellect alone. No other species has that ability. When it comes to questions of mortality, however, we are no different from them.

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Godless,

I am confused. Do you suggest that Zebras herd together to save each other? They could care less about preserving their species. A bigger crowd equals a bigger defense so it is still all about self-preservation.

I admit, that may have been a bad example.

The self-awareness that you talk about sounds like supreme selfishness: Doing good things because it makes ME happy. It brings ME fulfilment. Its all about ME. (But your not hurting others so that makes it good??)

When I talk of self-awareness, I'm referring to our human consciousness. You're right though, we generally do things out of a desire to obtain individual happiness. And so long as we're not doing so at the expense of others, I see nothing selfish about it.

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Two words: food chain. The situations you described are a natural part of the world we live in as much as the death of a zebra at the hands of a lion is. Physically speaking, humans are probably one of the weakest species on earth. We had to use intellect and ingenuity to get to where we are today. Had it not been for that, we would have been wiped out thousands of years ago. So no, I don't hold animal life to the same value as human life. We are superior in the sense that we are able to survive through sheer intellect alone. No other species has that ability. When it comes to questions of mortality, however, we are no different from them.

It's also natural for many species for the male to protect its territory and prevent other males from entering its territory and keep its pride or herd etc. So, when a gang-banger comes in your neighborhood and takes what it wants including doing what they want with young children you would just say, that is natural, part of our species behavior, doing what comes natural. If that's natural then I take it you wouldn't believe in policing them or putting them in jail. And likewise as an army reservist why would you fight another member of your own species unless you thought there was some moral hierarchy to the group you fight with. Where does that moral hierarchy come from?

Who's to say that maybe our species would have done better by limiting the population by remaining barbaric and fighting with each other, protecting our small groups without banding together. Why not say one man taking another man's possession is just the "food chain" as that happens in nature too. Just because you are more passive than the gang-banger doesn't mean that his way is not the right way. Right? In the gang-bangers mind he is just preserving his way of life. In your way understanding of the purpose and the meaning of this life is self-preservation or preserving your way of life, then the pirate, the terrorist, the robber and the gang-banger have just as much right to protect their way of life. With that thinking, you wouldn't think you are morally superior than those that bombed the world trade center, right? In their minds, they are just trying to protect their way of life.

And why do you care about selfishness?

By the way, I am not trying to pick on you, you are the only one I know willing to respond to this kind of questioning and you are kind enough to put up with such railings. I do appreciate it. I am sincerely trying to understand your logic.

Edited by Seminarysnoozer
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It's also natural for many species for the male to protect its territory and prevent other males from entering its territory and keep its pride or herd etc. So, when a gang-banger comes in your neighborhood and takes what it wants including doing what they want with young children you would just say, that is natural, part of our species behavior, doing what comes natural. If that's natural then I take it you wouldn't believe in policing them or putting them in jail. And likewise as an army reservist why would you fight another member of your own species unless you thought there was some moral hierarchy to the group you fight with. Where does that moral hierarchy come from?

We have moral codes and societal standards. These are natural by-products of our advanced intellect and consciousness. We are the only species on earth that has a sense of right and wrong, and so we developed laws and moral codes to ensure people do things that allow our societies to function smoothly.

Religion is also a by-product of our consciousness and intellect, and I'm not going to sit here and try to argue that it hasn't had a beneficiary effect on our social mores, because that is simply not true. The point I'm trying to make is that moral codes, whether obtained through secular law or dogma, are a natural survival mechanism for our species.

And why do you care about selfishness?

Because we are social creatures. Altruism is an essential part of our existence, unless you're a hermit.

By the way, I am not trying to pick on you, you are the only one I know willing to respond to this kind of questioning and you are kind enough to put up with such railings. I do appreciate it. I am sincerely trying to understand your logic.

Understood. I'm pretty thick-skinned, and I enjoy answering questions like these. :cool:

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