« Jesus is Lord didn't mean Jesus is God | Main | In science, the most exciting expression isn't Eureka! It's Huh? - NY Times »

October 11, 2008

Comments

R. Eric Sawyer

D.C., I think on the whole, a commendable response. My differences would be where you would expect them, principally flowing from the observation that while you see creation as unfinished, and will be completed, I see it as broken, and will be mended. Thus, I see Christianity as dealing, not just with “what is a Good life like” but with our very paltry success at actually living by the Summary (As an aside, I quite like your paraphrase), why we can’t seem to get it right, what are the consequences of that broken state, and how does that get fixed?
I also think it possible to understand a “Christian view of God” in a bit more nuanced way, but such are the differences.

To summarize what I think I read:
-There is a Creator/God , who is trustworthy, interested, and purposeful.
-I do well when if I acknowledge reality, truth and God as external to me, and as having a claim to at least recognition.
-There are claims, external to my wants, which are valid “oughts”

As a statement of theological axioms, from which all others flow, I think I would be quite content.

The courses down which that river flows, and the reliability of the extant maps are of course open for discussion!

-Blessings

Eric Pulaski

I admire your belief that life “… seems to be getting better over time.” I believe, however, that accepting this as a premise increases the plausibility of there being no afterlife. Here’s why:

The reason you give to the question of why God “would not just consign us to nothingness when we die” is that the realization of no afterlife would de-motivate us, making us of little use in God’s “continuing creation.”
IMHO, the fact that “things seem to be getting better and better” begs the following question: If God’s “continuing creation” seems to be making progress, and we can play a part in helping God to realize this goal, would we really need further motivation to make life worth living?

People working together, making the world a better place, are collectively producing a better world for generations to come. Perhaps we should consider the meaning of “living forever” in a terms of the fruits of our labor, our deeds, our words, our children, their children, and so on… Perhaps that this is how God intends us to “live forever”.

Thus, there is no need to posit the existence of a “life everlasting” to answer the question of “what is the meaning of life” or “why should I care about making it a great day today”.

The above is also supported as the more plausible alternative by the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever of any continued existence beyond our molecules being physically recycled. [God is not wasteful enough to “consign us to nothingness when we die”: God recycles us (“ashes to ashes, dust to dust”) after we have served our purpose here on Earth.]

Perhaps we are nothing more than what we appear to be: beings with the ability to reason, aspire, strive, and work together to make the world a better place for our successors. Our life here is the only one we have, so we should make the best of it. Perhaps, that makes life even more precious and valuable – both to us and in the eyes of God – precisely because we only have a limited time and do not have an immortal soul. Why isn’t this vision enough to motivate us in the here and now? Why is only an immortal life one that is worth living?

As for me, I don’t find this “demotivating” in the slightest. Even if God where some crazy cosmic scientist that created the universe with no ultimate purpose at all, of even if there were no God and the Universe just popped into being one day – or perhaps always existed [See Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang, by Steinhardt & Turok for an interesting new scientific alternative to the Big Bang theory] I am a motivated, happy liver of life, working to make the world a better place, for me and for generations to come, with no need for the promise in live everlasting. [Although, I’d take immortality if it was an option! ] For me, the knowledge that I am not immortal – that this is the only life I’ve got – makes it even more precious.

Eric Pulaski writes: 'If God’s “continuing creation” seems to be making progress, and we can play a part in helping God to realize this goal, would we really need further motivation to make life worth living?'

I feel pretty much the same way you do: Even if oblivion awaited us, I think I'd die happy if I felt I'd made some infinitesimal contribution during my lifetime.

But I think we have to chalk that feeling up as a personal preference. I don't have a strong sense that a lot of people would be motivated by that alone.

----------

Eric writes: "... there is no evidence whatsoever of any continued existence beyond our molecules being physically recycled."

I'm not so sure about that. Post-mortem 'sightings' are not unheard of, including in my own family, who are not prone to hysteria. (Most of us, anyway ... <g>) See a blog posting I did a couple of years ago, Resurrection Appearances: What Did the Disciples Really Experience? The available evidence doesn't compellingly support the notion of an afterlife, by any means. But it does suggest that we don't know enough to categorically rule out the possibility.

Thanks for stopping by, Eric.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Your email address:


Powered by FeedBlitz

Favorite Posts

Adv.

Episcopal Church

  • Come and Grow