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A note on charity …

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Earlier today, William J. Murray expressed frustration with a Web site, The Skeptical Zone who, he says, don’t think they should be charitable to Uncommon Descenters.

I can’t recall visiting that site much, if at all. I routinely avoid people who identify themselves as “skeptics.” They lost me somewhere between the Big Bang as a mirage from a collapsing higher-dimensional star and the Big Bazooms theory of evolution. Actually, come to think of it, they lost me earlier.

Given that they think this kind of stuff should replace traditional thought, I find I just prefer the latter. So far, that’s my right.

About charity, well the reason a Christian is counselled to show charity is that he wouldn’t be a Christian if charity had not been offered to him from a divine source. And he best demonstrates that fact by displaying charity himself.

I am in no position to explain why non-Christians should show charity except to say that we have reason to believe that The Boss likes and rewards that quality in people so much that he cares more about that than about their often confused and untutored religious theories.

Does charity pay? Certainly not if we usually expect others to follow suit. For one thing they may not have had our experiences in life.

They may believe that they exist for no other reason than to impose their views on the world until they are meaninglessly extinguished, just as they meaninglessly began.

They may have given their lives to the promotion of crackpot cosmology or neo-Darwinian evolution, and now find that the true nature of reality is simply too complex in an ordered way for any of that to make sense.

They may sense that most of the people who support them just don’t understand what the problems are, or else they are in it for the money and advancement that comes from toeing the party line. So they count on whatever support they can muster in the same way that bankrupt governments count on fatuous promises to dim voters. Anything to keep going.

They may also be proud adherents of new atheist movements tarred by sex scandals and sex uproars. People tend to be angry and defensive when this stuff happens, even if the general opinion is, well, what do you expect, no hard feelings, but sure hope you didn’t have money at stake. 

People in their kind of a mess are in no position to be charitable, so there is no reason to expect it. So they blame us.

If we are in fact on the right track with reality, it is not unreasonable that a higher standard is expected of us, including charity.

tjguy, You have absolutely no idea what my beliefs are, so your dialogue is basically just hanging out there without any moorings. I don't believe in the golden rule. I don't care what the Bible says. I love Christians and defend them because they are responsible for building one of the greatest nations on earth, founding science and, since reformation and the enlightenment, have been the leading force behind good change and progress in the world. I don't share some of their important beliefs, but I give credit where it is due and I appreciate the religious freedom they have provided me. But, IMO, Christians have become watered-down, bullied, cowering, sniveling, new-age shadows of their former selves (most present company excluded), and they are letting the nihilistic barbarians on one side, and the theocratic muslim warlords on the other, destroy the greatest civilization in the history of the world because they no longer understand what it takes to win a war or preserve our way of life. William J Murray
Mr. Murray, what you are advocating is “Do unto others as they do unto you.” Jesus says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, it is totally based on whether a person “deserves” it or not.
Sorry. That didn't come out right. The last sentence is referring to Mr. Murray's view of charity, not the Christian view. tjguy
@5 WJM
Of course, I wasn’t claiming that we shouldn’t be charitable – we should be charitable in our interactions – but only where charity is called for. It is not called for in a war; it is dangerous to be charitable to one’s enemy in a war.
Mr. Murray, what you are advocating is "Do unto others as they do unto you." Jesus says "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In other words, it is totally based on whether a person "deserves" it or not. None of us "deserve" God's grace or His love. None of us! None of us can ever be good enough to claim that we deserve heaven! That is an extremely arrogant view that only can be held to if one has a warped(unbiblical) understanding of God, His holiness, and His standards This is the world's view of charity. If a person deserves something, reward or retribution, then it is right for us to let him have it. In the courts, yes, this is true. Government has God given authority to preserve order in the land. But, when it comes to personal relationships, the Bible tells us to leave revenge up to God. Revenge will happen. God will never let a person escape the consequences of our sin. He just tells us that we are to leave that up to Him. We are not God and we do not have the authority to bring judgment on people and wipe them out for their sins. If your wife gets angry at you, does that make it right for you to get angry back at her? It happens for sure, but if you think that is the right way to handle things, then I have to wonder how your marriage relationship is going. Was is about winning, not necessarily totally destroying the enemy. God's judgment will happen. He cannot allow the guilty to go unpunished. If someone "get's away with something in this world", yes, it is a shame, but we needn't fret. They will be held responsible for their actions. tjguy
They aren't "disinterested" either. They're agenda-driven ideologues. cantor
Communalism Universalism Disinterestedness Originality & Skepticism.
As you well know, the problem with self-proclaimed "skeptics" is that they aren't skeptical. Which is what Denyse was alluding to. Which you also know. cantor
Of course, I wasn't claiming that we shouldn't be charitable - we should be charitable in our interactions - but only where charity is called for. It is not called for in a war; it is dangerous to be charitable to one's enemy in a war. If you want the Christian equivalent, God wasn't charitable in times of war; God knew that in order to win the war, you must become a creature of war and annihilate that which you are at war with. This is, once again, how the post-modernists and intelligensia browbeat the torchbearers of rational civilization into acquiescence: by guilting us with our own principles into thinking that war can and should be waged in a polite, civilized, humane way. War is about destroying your enemy and gaining total surrender, not a few papers in Nature magazine and a few crumbs of ID-friendly curriculum. William J Murray
What I don’t see you being ‘charitable’ about is your relationship with ASA, BioLogos and others whom you mockingly label as ‘Christian Darwinists’ when you know that is a silly and distortive term.
At least she has them as Christians first and Darwinists second. :) Are they more properly called "Darwinist Christians"? This is hilarious, coming from Gregory. News, perhaps you should take to calling them Big C Big D darwinists and insist that if Gregory wishes to speak of them that he use the correct capitalization or suffer your mockery.
Since you are not a scientist, Denyse, it might help if you learned a bit more about what scientists actually do – and this is key – including people at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
They post often over at BioLogos do they? Mung
As well, the following experiment is very interesting in that it was found that ‘perturbed randomness’ preceded a worldwide crisis by 4 hours:
Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter - Random Number Generators - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007 Mass Consciousness: Perturbed Randomness Before First Plane Struck on 911 - July 29 2012 Excerpt: The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre four hours before they happened - but in the fevered mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked back by sceptics. But it also appeared to forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated the epic tragedy.,, Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with apparently inexplicable powers. 'It's Earth-shattering stuff,' says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus researcher at Princeton University in the United States, who is heading the research project behind the 'black box' phenomenon. http://www.network54.com/Forum/594658/thread/1343585136/1343657830/Mass+Consciousness-+Perturbed+Randomness++Before+First+Plane+Struck+on+911
Thus we actually have very good evidence supporting Dr. King’s observation that ‘that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws’. In fact, since the emotional reactions happen before the violent images are even viewed, or before the worldwide tragedies even occurred, (and did not happen just instantaneously), then one would be well justified in believing that morality abides at a much deeper level of reality, in the very nature of God's being, than the ‘mere’ physical laws of the universe do (just as a Theist would rightly presuppose that morals should do prior to investigation). Moreover, the atheistic materialist is left without a clue as to how such ‘prescient morality’ is even possible for reality. Supplemental note:
Stephen Meyer – Morality Presupposes Theism (1 of 4) – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSpdh1b0X_M The light is the sum of all love... give love and your reward will be the love you gave and the love you received... If you do not give love then all you will have is the love you were given,,, and that is still wonderful but why not add to the sum of all love,, It is like ruby's and sapphires in heaven when we give love... Love is the currency of the next life... so give love... Rudi - Near Death Experiencer The Day I Died - NDE Documentary Part 6 of 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVjfhsBaups
Music and verse:
Foreigner - I Want to know what love is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loWXMtjUZWM John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
as to:
Does charity pay?
Believe it or not, science can give us an answer to this question and the answer is yes:
Study finds it actually is better (and healthier) to give than to receive – February 4, 2013 Excerpt: A five-year study by researchers at three universities has established that providing tangible assistance to others protects our health and lengthens our lives. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-02-healthier.html
Pretty neat huh? Here are a few more studies along that line:
ABC News - The Science Behind the Healing Power of Love - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t1p-PwGgE4 Social isolation and its health implications January 2012 Excerpt: Studies show that social isolation and/or loneliness predict morbidity and mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and a host of other diseases. In fact, the body perceives loneliness as a threat. Research from the University of California suggests that loneliness or lack of social support could triple the odds of being diagnosed with a heart condition. Redford Williams and his colleagues at Duke University directed a study in 1992 on heart patients and their relationships. They discovered that 50% of patients with heart disease who did not have a spouse or someone to confide in died within five years, while only 17% of those who did have a confidante died in the same time period.12 http://www.how-to-be-healthy.org/social-isolation-and-its-health-implications/
In fact not only does a caring, loving, attitude, have a positive effect on health, but a uncaring, hateful, attitude also has a pronounced negative effect on health:
Upgrade Your Brain Excerpt: Researchers gave married couples small suction blisters on their skin, after which they were instructed to discuss either a neutral topic or a topic of dispute for half an hour. Researchers then monitored the production of three wound-repair proteins in the subjects’ bodies for the next several weeks, and found that the blisters healed 40 percent slower in those who’d had especially sarcastic, argumentative conversations than those who’d had neutral ones. http://experiencelife.com/article/upgrade-your-brain/
Now for me, as a Christian Theist, I have no problem with love and care having a pronounced positive effect on health, but, for someone of the survival of the fittest, 'Selfish Gene', mindset, this finding is certainly an uncomfortable fit.
1 John 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
and this:
John 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
Of course an atheist could always spin another just so story to fit this evidence. A just so story to paper over how nature, red in tooth and claw, just so happened to select love instead of brutality. Thus to go even deeper, and undermine this 'just so' route, and show objective morals, such as love God and love your neighbor as yourself, really do exist, let's look at what our science can tell us about objective morality. That objective moral values really do exist is readily apparent to most people with common sense, save for the most die hard atheists who are willing to deny anything and everything rather than ever admit there is any evidence for God:
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I think this quote from Martin Luther King is very fitting as to stating what we should a-priorily expect as to objective morality's position within reality:
“The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.” - Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
But do we have actual empirical evidence for ‘moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws’ as Dr. King held? (And as all Christians should rightly hold?) Yes we do! We now have very good evidence that moral laws are 'just as abiding as physical laws'. In fact, in this following study it is found that,,,
Moral evaluations of harm are instant and emotional, brain study shows – November 29, 2012 Excerpt: People are able to detect, within a split second, if a hurtful action they are witnessing is intentional or accidental, new research on the brain at the University of Chicago shows. http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-11-moral-instant-emotional-brain.html
Which is pretty good evidence, especially considering the fact that neo-Darwinists cannot even maintain a consistent identity towards a stable, unchanging, cause for objective morality in the first place (Dr. Craig calls it a 'knock down' argument);
The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris’ moral landscape argument – William Lane Craig – video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL_vAH2NIPc
And although split second reactions to hateful actions are pretty good, 'non-locality' of morals, (i.e. morals that arise outside of space and time and are grounded in the perfect nature of God’s transcendent being), demand a more ‘spooky action at a distance’ evidence. And due to the seemingly miraculous advances in today's modern science we now have evidence to even this ‘spooky’, beyond space-time, level:
Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared. http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/views/TimeFlies.html Can Your Body Sense Future Events Without Any External Clue? (meta-analysis of 26 reports published between 1978 and 2010) - (Oct. 22, 2012) Excerpt: "But our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between two and 10 seconds beforehand,,, This phenomenon is sometimes called "presentiment," as in "sensing the future," but Mossbridge said she and other researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future. "I like to call the phenomenon 'anomalous anticipatory activity,'" she said. "The phenomenon is anomalous, some scientists argue, because we can't explain it using present-day understanding about how biology works; though explanations related to recent quantum biological findings could potentially make sense. It's anticipatory because it seems to predict future physiological changes in response to an important event without any known clues, and it's an activity because it consists of changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin and nervous systems." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022145342.htm
Denyse, Perhaps you don't know the classic Mertonian norms (modified) of doing good scientific research, which include the following: Communalism Universalism Disinterestedness Originality & Skepticism. Since you are not a scientist, Denyse, it might help if you learned a bit more about what scientists actually do - and this is key - including people at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Why? Because you demonstrate a glaring weakness of not providing 'news' about Catholic scientists and scholars at UD, especially those who reject IDism for good reasons. Charity, yes, of course. WJM, KF/GEM, Axel & Brent are displaying none of that here in their hearts; just war and battle. But please don't play a victimised 'we always get blamed' card when you still haven't faced up to those non-skeptics whose theistic anti-IDism stands on highly credible and responsible grounds. It is fine that you are showing in this thread the reality of theistic-IDism, specifically Christian-IDism. What I don't see you being 'charitable' about is your relationship with ASA, BioLogos and others whom you mockingly label as 'Christian Darwinists' when you know that is a silly and distortive term. Will you be charitable to them and stop calling them that; will you take your own advice? Gregory

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