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  #1  
Old Jun 6, '13, 11:37 pm
CompSciGuy CompSciGuy is offline
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Default I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

Tonight I was talking with a friend of mine who is agnostic. He brought up the point that faith is not a reliable source of moral virtue; you cannot be sure of it because people are capable of doing bad things in the name of God. The thing is we both believe in absolute morality as opposed to relative morality. We both agreed that the human conscience is evidence of this. I brought up that human conscience can be disordered and needs guidance. I said that the Church exists for this reason. He told me this was blind faith, I denied this. He brought up the story of Abraham, how God commanded Abraham to kill his own Son as a sacrifice. I argued that God is the author of life and has the complete right to give and take life. He sort of showed me how this was based on blind faith because the Islamic terrorists could use the same argument. He said "how do we know this is the voice of God." You can't argue from conscience anymore, because our conscience would not allow us to do something like that. The whole defense of the Christian moral ethos is that it resonates with the human conscience and is written on our hearts. The story of Abraham is problematic because God gave Abraham a moral conscience and then commanded him to do something that goes against it, in fact, something that according to the old testament is abominable: human sacrifice. Ultimately Abraham showed that he was willing and capable to do this, and God rewarded him not for his moral judgment but for his obedience. This makes the Christian ethos one of obedience only, not conscience. Thus blind faith. I do not believe that any Catholic would recommend that someone accept something that goes against their conscience. So how can I expect an agnostic to accept the teachings of the Bible and of God?
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  #2  
Old Jun 7, '13, 12:30 am
Ion Ion is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

He sort of showed me how this was based on blind faith because the Islamic terrorists could use the same argument.
There are some ambiguous things that Mahomed said...Nobody ever said that God commanded him directly to do something...

Ultimately Abraham showed that he was willing and capable to do this, and God rewarded him not for his moral judgment but for his obedience.

You use your judgement and decide about your faith; then you simply have faith...

He brought up the point that faith is not a reliable source of moral virtue; you cannot be sure of it because people are capable of doing bad things in the name of God.

God is the source of moral virtue, not your faith. People did bad things in the name of God but the problem is the people not the morals. Usually non-believers are orbiting around "if it doesn't feel good it isn't good"; they can't understand why the Noah's flood was a good thing from the point of view of the generations to come later..."Why God didn't do something in such a way so they wouldn't die or suffer, and just become good felas?" God is not humanity's servant to run around us and fix the wrong doings. And the real problem was at that time ( as it is these days ), that those guys believed about themselves that they are good felas...
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  #3  
Old Jun 7, '13, 12:42 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

The Church teaches that our ultimate authority is our conscience, a fact of which Abraham was obviously unaware. He is rightly admired for his trust in God which was so deep that he would have sacrificed his own son. His mistake was to believe he knew the Will of God but he was mercifully enlightened before it was too late.

This is a lesson for all fanatics who needlessly destroy people's lives ...
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  #4  
Old Jun 7, '13, 12:46 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

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Originally Posted by Ion View Post
He sort of showed me how this was based on blind faith because the Islamic terrorists could use the same argument.
There are some ambiguous things that Mahomed said...Nobody ever said that God commanded him directly to do something...

Ultimately Abraham showed that he was willing and capable to do this, and God rewarded him not for his moral judgment but for his obedience.

You use your judgement and decide about your faith; then you simply have faith...
That is the teaching of the Church.
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  #5  
Old Jun 7, '13, 12:50 am
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josh987654321 josh987654321 is online now
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
The Church teaches that our ultimate authority is our conscience, a fact of which Abraham was obviously unaware. He is rightly admired for his trust in God which was so deep that he would have sacrificed his own son. His mistake was to believe he knew the Will of God but he was mercifully enlightened before it was too late.

This is a lesson for all fanatics who needlessly destroy people's lives ...
that's a great way of explaining it.
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  #6  
Old Jun 7, '13, 12:53 am
Ion Ion is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
The Church teaches that our ultimate authority is our conscience, a fact of which Abraham was obviously unaware. He is rightly admired for his trust in God which was so deep that he would have sacrificed his own son. His mistake was to believe he knew the Will of God but he was mercifully enlightened before it was too late.

This is a lesson for all fanatics who needlessly destroy people's lives ...
The sacrifice Abraham was asked is not the kind of the human sacrifice other religions or people did. Those sacrifices were initiated by people to please the gods and to get something from them. They are kind of canibalism.
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  #7  
Old Jun 7, '13, 12:57 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

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Originally Posted by josh987654321 View Post
that's a great way of explaining it.
Thanks, Josh! Not everyone will agree but I think the OP should be able to get to sleep now...
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  #8  
Old Jun 7, '13, 1:01 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

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Originally Posted by Ion View Post
The sacrifice Abraham was asked is not the kind of the human sacrifice other religions or people did. Those sacrifices were initiated by people to please the gods and to get something from them. They are kind of cannibalism.
Whereas Abraham stood to lose everything!
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  #9  
Old Jun 7, '13, 1:15 am
Semangelof Semangelof is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

Abraham knew God would raise Isac from the dead because of the promise he was given.
Quote:
Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”c 19Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
It wasn't blind faith, Abraham knew God and so he put his faith in His will knowing that He would not break His promises. The entire instance was an example of what God would soon do for us with His own son.

What your friend is describing on morality is a transcended or objective morality. Such a thing could only exist if God also exits.
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  #10  
Old Jun 7, '13, 5:15 am
Nita Nita is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

A conscience has to be "formed".
In order to choose what is good and avoid what is evil, we have to learn what God has said is morally good and what is evil, and learn what the Church teaches. That is how we "form our conscience". It is God who establishes moral laws (Scripture & Church teaching) -- not our own reasoning.
We use our reasoning to determine whether or not a specific act is in conformity to God's revealed moral law. That is how we follow our conscience - our properly formed conscience.
1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. the education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

......

1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P60.HTM#7
It would be helpful to read the whole section on “Moral Conscience” in the Catechism (#1776 -1794)
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P5Y.HTM
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  #11  
Old Jun 7, '13, 5:34 am
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ChurchSoldier ChurchSoldier is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nita View Post
A conscience has to be "formed".
In order to choose what is good and avoid what is evil, we have to learn what God has said is morally good and what is evil, and learn what the Church teaches. That is how we "form our conscience". It is God who establishes moral laws (Scripture & Church teaching) -- not our own reasoning.
We use our reasoning to determine whether or not a specific act is in conformity to God's revealed moral law. That is how we follow our conscience - our properly formed conscience.
1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. the education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.


......

1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P60.HTM#7
It would be helpful to read the whole section on “Moral Conscience” in the Catechism (#1776 -1794)
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P5Y.HTM
Thanks for the reference and clarification!
__________________
Be nice. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about
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  #12  
Old Jun 7, '13, 5:38 am
Nita Nita is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

In connection to "conscience", it's very interesting to read about and ponder just what happened in the Garden of Eden - what the fall involved.

Adam and Eve knew what God had commanded. (Their conscience was formed.) But they chose to act in a way that they knew was not in conformity to God's revealed will -- they did not follow their consciences
Eve's thinking was that eating seemed "good for food" and for wisdom. Choosing to act contrary to God's revealed will is not following one's conscience - EVEN THOUGH TO OUR THINKING THE ACTION MAY SEEM "GOOD" AND "WISE".

Adam chose to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Strange name for a tree! He rejects God as the knowledgeable source of determining what is good and what is evil. Instead he falls for Satan's lie and believes he can know and determine on his own what is good and what is evil.
Gen. 3:5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
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  #13  
Old Jun 7, '13, 5:45 am
HolyRosaryChild HolyRosaryChild is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++
...and why have some people never given Jesus the benefit of the doubt; enough to open up their Hearts and pray the prayers that He left to us through His Scriptures and Apostles? How is the bloke (your friend and my brother in Christ) able to state that he is not a Believer or Agnostic or Athiest if he has never given Jesus a go in his Life here?

For he truly does not know...what he has not tried, he does not know if you follow my meaning.

If someone gets into a debate about Religion or God - I allow them to ramble on and on and at the end I separate Religion from God and then leave it with them "have they prayed in order to open up their Hearts to Jesus", ie to truly get to the point of 'believing' and 'trusting' in Jesus. Sure, some Children of God do not need to pray in order to believe and trust in Jesus. However, many of us do!

Yet, people will give the benefit of the doubt to many other things and other idols on Earth; why have we blindly followed other things in our lives and not put time aside to open up our Hearts and give Jesus a try (through prayer)?

I would put this to your Friend and then leave the situation to heal after you have prayed for him continuously (for this is God's Calling to you - reaching out to your friend by praying for him for conversion)!
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  #14  
Old Jun 7, '13, 6:06 am
LegoGE1947 LegoGE1947 is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

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Originally Posted by HolyRosaryChild View Post
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++
...and why have some people never given Jesus the benefit of the doubt; enough to open up their Hearts and pray the prayers that He left to us through His Scriptures and Apostles? How is the bloke (your friend and my brother in Christ) able to state that he is not a Believer or Agnostic or Athiest if he has never given Jesus a go in his Life here?

For he truly does not know...what he has not tried, he does not know if you follow my meaning.

If someone gets into a debate about Religion or God - I allow them to ramble on and on and at the end I separate Religion from God and then leave it with them "have they prayed in order to open up their Hearts to Jesus", ie to truly get to the point of 'believing' and 'trusting' in Jesus. Sure, some Children of God do not need to pray in order to believe and trust in Jesus. However, many of us do!

Yet, people will give the benefit of the doubt to many other things and other idols on Earth; why have we blindly followed other things in our lives and not put time aside to open up our Hearts and give Jesus a try (through prayer)?

I would put this to your Friend and then leave the situation to heal after you have prayed for him continuously (for this is God's Calling to you - reaching out to your friend by praying for him for conversion)!
You might take two aspirins and call me in the morning!
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  #15  
Old Jun 7, '13, 6:20 am
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Lasting faith Lasting faith is offline
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Default Re: I got in a morality debate with an agnostic and now I can't sleep

As long as you have faith you have nothing to worry about.
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