A question about following Christianity

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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river4
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A question about following Christianity

Post by river4 » November 22nd, 2019, 10:55 pm

Hi, all. I've wanted to ask Christians a question, but I've been afraid to ask the Christians in my life in case I offend them too terribly. So if you're Christian and have a high anger tolerance or would humor me, I'll ask the question:

How would you show that you're actually worshiping God instead of Satan in the guise of God? That you're not accidentally worshiping and following the will of Satan and then going to hell for it when you're instead told that you'll go to heaven? Is that a safe bet? If you say that God is good and true, how would you show that it isn't Satan that tells you that he himself is what's good and true and godly?

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Thomyum2
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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by Thomyum2 » November 25th, 2019, 1:52 pm

river4 wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 10:55 pm
Hi, all. I've wanted to ask Christians a question, but I've been afraid to ask the Christians in my life in case I offend them too terribly. So if you're Christian and have a high anger tolerance or would humor me, I'll ask the question:

How would you show that you're actually worshiping God instead of Satan in the guise of God? That you're not accidentally worshiping and following the will of Satan and then going to hell for it when you're instead told that you'll go to heaven? Is that a safe bet? If you say that God is good and true, how would you show that it isn't Satan that tells you that he himself is what's good and true and godly?
I do consider myself a Christian and so will make a try at answering your question, although with the caveat that I'm no expert on doctrine or theology so this will be more of my own perspective than an authoritative answer and I hope that it doesn't come across as preaching either, as it's not intended to be. I don't find the question at all offensive and can't imagine that another Christian would, but you never know with this kind of thing. I do find it a thought-provoking question, but I think that there are some underlying misconceptions.

To start with the second part, I think there are common misunderstandings about what 'hell' is (many of which have come from Christians themselves) and I think that an overemphasis on hell as a possible destination after death is a misleading distraction and not really what the Christian message is or should be about. I personally think that hell is best defined as separation from God and not as some place or punishment to which people are sent for incorrect beliefs are actions. So if God is our creator and the source and root of all that is good in us, then to be in hell is to be separated and isolated from all of that goodness - to be alienated from our 'true' nature as humans, since we as humans are considered created in God's image.

So to the first question, I think that we as humans, at the core level of our being, are able to distinguish God from Satan (which is the false god, the one who tempts us with false goods which may appear good on the surface but which will actually lead us away from our essential goodness) because they are both a part of ourselves - because we know them in as much as we know ourselves and our own nature. We are able to recognize God and Satan in the same sense that we are able to know good from evil because that knowledge is, as St. Paul put it, "written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."

Having said that, you use an interesting word in your question by asking how would you 'show' this, and that puzzles me a bit and I would ask, show whom? Do you mean to 'show' this to God? If so, I don't think there would be a need, because as an integral part of our own nature, it would be impossible to hide it, let alone have a need to show it. Or to 'show' other people? I think Christians would say that we show this to other people by how we live our lives - to use a scriptural saying 'by their fruits shall you know them' - in other words, if we live in accordance with our true nature of the God and the goodness that we have within us, our life will reflect it and show it accordingly.

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by h_k_s » November 25th, 2019, 2:56 pm

river4 wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 10:55 pm
Hi, all. I've wanted to ask Christians a question, but I've been afraid to ask the Christians in my life in case I offend them too terribly. So if you're Christian and have a high anger tolerance or would humor me, I'll ask the question:

How would you show that you're actually worshiping God instead of Satan in the guise of God? That you're not accidentally worshiping and following the will of Satan and then going to hell for it when you're instead told that you'll go to heaven? Is that a safe bet? If you say that God is good and true, how would you show that it isn't Satan that tells you that he himself is what's good and true and godly?
As far as this religious question is concerned, Jesus himself answered this same question when the Pharisees and Sadduces accused him of being "of Satan."

Jesus explained that a house divided against itself cannot not stand. Ergo since he cast out demons, he himself could not be "of Satan."

You must however remember that Religion is a totally different area of knowledge than Philosophy or than Science.

All modern knowledge can be divided into Religion (the most ancient of these 3), Philosophy (which dates from the 8th Century BCE in Greece and about the same time in China), and Science (which was invented by Galileo in 1610 AD when he first looked through his home-made telescope and gathered data about the moons of Jupiter).

Don't confuse the 3 of them.

Keep them separate, as Bertrand Russell highly recommended.

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by Sculptor1 » November 25th, 2019, 7:01 pm

river4 wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 10:55 pm
Hi, all. I've wanted to ask Christians a question, but I've been afraid to ask the Christians in my life in case I offend them too terribly. So if you're Christian and have a high anger tolerance or would humor me, I'll ask the question:

How would you show that you're actually worshiping God instead of Satan in the guise of God? That you're not accidentally worshiping and following the will of Satan and then going to hell for it when you're instead told that you'll go to heaven? Is that a safe bet? If you say that God is good and true, how would you show that it isn't Satan that tells you that he himself is what's good and true and godly?
The fact is that Xity is so confused that violence has been the most common response to questions such as yours throughout history.
It is only in the last 200 years where the black-clad devils that call themselves priests have lost their power and the churches that finance their evil that you no longer face burning at the stake or ostracism for questioning faith.

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by chewybrian » November 25th, 2019, 9:01 pm

h_k_s wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 2:56 pm
...and Science (which was invented by Galileo in 1610 AD when he first looked through his home-made telescope and gathered data about the moons of Jupiter).
This guy died in 1040:
The first, and possibly greatest Islamic scholar, was Ibn al-Haytham, best known for his wonderful work on light and vision, called 'The Book of Optics.' He developed a scientific method very similar to our own:

State an explicit problem, based upon observation and experimentation.
Test or criticize a hypothesis through experimentation.
Interpret the data and come to a conclusion, ideally using mathematics.
Publish the findings
https://explorable.com/history-of-the-scientific-method

But, the first time someone tested various fertilizers on crops, or how much water was best for them, and recorded or noted the results, that seems like science to me.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by h_k_s » November 26th, 2019, 2:14 pm

chewybrian wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 9:01 pm
h_k_s wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 2:56 pm
...and Science (which was invented by Galileo in 1610 AD when he first looked through his home-made telescope and gathered data about the moons of Jupiter).
This guy died in 1040:
The first, and possibly greatest Islamic scholar, was Ibn al-Haytham, best known for his wonderful work on light and vision, called 'The Book of Optics.' He developed a scientific method very similar to our own:

State an explicit problem, based upon observation and experimentation.
Test or criticize a hypothesis through experimentation.
Interpret the data and come to a conclusion, ideally using mathematics.
Publish the findings
https://explorable.com/history-of-the-scientific-method

But, the first time someone tested various fertilizers on crops, or how much water was best for them, and recorded or noted the results, that seems like science to me.
This tells us that Aristotle was the first "scientist."

But it seems to me that Aristotle's methods were way too speculative to be called science. So I would not give him the credit for that.

I'll stick to my guns with Galileo because science uses fine instruments and gauges to measure things and collect data and records them in a reproduceable way. That has Galileo and Vanleeuwenhoek written all over it.

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by river4 » November 26th, 2019, 9:47 pm

Would it be alright if people stated whether or not they are Christian. I'm primarily interested in what a Christian thinks of the notion of God maybe being Satan in disguise. Also, what I meant by "show" was "how do you know?"

As for the Pharisees and Sadduces, according to what logic does casting out demons mean that he could not be of Satan, if such logic was presented in God's holy book? If God is Satan, wouldn't that make the Bible and its words unreliable? This statement, too, is unreliable since the Devil is in the Bible.

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by Felix » November 27th, 2019, 4:14 am

Well, Descartes was a Christian and in his writings he presented his argument for why God is not an evil demon. He said, "Perhaps it is wrong, even in imagination, to attribute such unkindness to God, but there might be an evil demon, no less cunning and deceitful than powerful, employing all his industry in misleading me. If there be such a demon, it may be that all the things I see are only illusions of which he makes use as traps for my credulity. There remains, however, a something that I cannot doubt: no demon, however cunning, could deceive me if I did not exist. I may have no body: this might be an illusion, but thought is different" .... He then goes on to explain his cogito ergo sum argument.

Actually, in their Cosmogenesis, the Gnostics describe the creator God, Yadabaoth, as the Child of Chaos, and the son of Sophia (wisdom). Yaldabaoth is called an angel in the apocryphal Gospel of Judas. He is first mentioned in “The Cosmos, Chaos, and the Underworld” as one of the twelve angels to come “into being to rule over chaos and the underworld”. In the “Gospel of Nicodemus,” Yaldabaoth is called Satan.
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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by Steve3007 » December 4th, 2019, 11:18 am

river4 wrote:How would you show that you're actually worshiping God instead of Satan in the guise of God? That you're not accidentally worshiping and following the will of Satan and then going to hell for it when you're instead told that you'll go to heaven? Is that a safe bet? If you say that God is good and true, how would you show that it isn't Satan that tells you that he himself is what's good and true and godly?
If, in your actions, you're generally following the behavioural guidance of the 10 Commandments then presumably the question boils down to: Are the 10 Commandments the work of God or of Satan?

I don't see how you can possibly answer that question unless you allow yourself at least one axiomatic truth that you believe to be the founding principle from which other truths are derived and which you attribute to God. One candidate for that axiomatic truth might be:

"Order is better than chaos."

You could then consider the various probable consequences of living your life in accordance with the 10 Commandments and see if the result is order or chaos. If it's order, you're worshipping God. If chaos, Satan.

How's that?
Would it be alright if people stated whether or not they are Christian.
I live in a culturally Christian society and come from a Christian family heritage but do not consider myself religious and, as far as I remember, never have.

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by MAYA EL » December 5th, 2019, 3:55 am

This is one of the questions that I had that was the catalyst for me leaving the faith because the answer got although life changing especially because I come from a very religious family (grandfather was a pastor for over 40yrs and mother and father were evangelist) but I could not deny the truth and that is that NO there is no demonstrable method of proving that the god of the bible and all the rest of the Christian epistemology is accurate or not . At best it's just one of those "because it feels right to me" kind of things ( despite the Bible saying you can't trust your feelings lol)

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by Pattern-chaser » December 8th, 2019, 11:38 am

river4 wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 10:55 pm
How would you show that you're actually worshiping God instead of Satan in the guise of God?
If you're looking for reliable and certain proof, then you can't. Assuming God and Satan both exist, and that Satan is not God, we are still wondering about two beings of whom we know little or nothing. We don't have enough information to determine whether one of them is trying to convince us he's the other one. So we can "show" nothing. Faith is your friend here, as it so often is in religious matters. 🤔
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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by h_k_s » December 11th, 2019, 3:25 pm

chewybrian wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 9:01 pm
h_k_s wrote:
November 25th, 2019, 2:56 pm
...and Science (which was invented by Galileo in 1610 AD when he first looked through his home-made telescope and gathered data about the moons of Jupiter).
This guy died in 1040:
The first, and possibly greatest Islamic scholar, was Ibn al-Haytham, best known for his wonderful work on light and vision, called 'The Book of Optics.' He developed a scientific method very similar to our own:

State an explicit problem, based upon observation and experimentation.
Test or criticize a hypothesis through experimentation.
Interpret the data and come to a conclusion, ideally using mathematics.
Publish the findings
https://explorable.com/history-of-the-scientific-method

But, the first time someone tested various fertilizers on crops, or how much water was best for them, and recorded or noted the results, that seems like science to me.
Islam preserved ancient literature, philosophy, and history after the fall of Rome and during the European dark ages.

But the Saracens did not have much if any communications with Europe, so we generally did not credit them with their scientific and social advancements. The Saracens monopolized the land routes to India blocking and taxing trade goods, and they monopolized the black slave industry from Africa as well. Other than taxes on trade goods and on slaves, there was little or no communication. The Muslim world remained insulated from Europe and from China.

That leaves Galileo as the gateway to science (which is a branch of Philosophy, applying rational Aristotelean logic to physical phenomena and gathering data with instruments, as Galileo first did with his telescope contraption).

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by Hereandnow » December 15th, 2019, 12:03 pm

Thomyum2

To start with the second part, I think there are common misunderstandings about what 'hell' is (many of which have come from Christians themselves) and I think that an overemphasis on hell as a possible destination after death is a misleading distraction and not really what the Christian message is or should be about. I personally think that hell is best defined as separation from God and not as some place or punishment to which people are sent for incorrect beliefs are actions. So if God is our creator and the source and root of all that is good in us, then to be in hell is to be separated and isolated from all of that goodness - to be alienated from our 'true' nature as humans, since we as humans are considered created in God's image.
A Christian? Excellent. I like thoughtful Christianity. Hate Christendom. Anyway: God and goodness, what are these? I mean, how do you ground them in something beyond the mere saying? What is there in the world that makes 'God' a meaningful idea at all?

So to the first question, I think that we as humans, at the core level of our being, are able to distinguish God from Satan (which is the false god, the one who tempts us with false goods which may appear good on the surface but which will actually lead us away from our essential goodness) because they are both a part of ourselves - because we know them in as much as we know ourselves and our own nature. We are able to recognize God and Satan in the same sense that we are able to know good from evil because that knowledge is, as St. Paul put it, "written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
Oh. You answered my question. But now it gets interesting. How does the anthropomorphic designation sustain at all? And what is there in Goodness that is so "written" that warrants the expression "living God"? You speak of love, indirectly, which is itself ambiguous. What IS this? I am not challenging the that is does exist, but inviting inquiry into its nature.
Having said that, you use an interesting word in your question by asking how would you 'show' this, and that puzzles me a bit and I would ask, show whom? Do you mean to 'show' this to God? If so, I don't think there would be a need, because as an integral part of our own nature, it would be impossible to hide it, let alone have a need to show it. Or to 'show' other people? I think Christians would say that we show this to other people by how we live our lives - to use a scriptural saying 'by their fruits shall you know them' - in other words, if we live in accordance with our true nature of the God and the goodness that we have within us, our life will reflect it and show it accordingly.
I think the matter is much more complicated than this. One's behavior, the outward show, is the face of virtue, not the reality, especially given how we play such subtle games (ever read Virginia Woolf? Our reality is not what we say and do, but lies within the drama beneath. Of course, if there is no drama at all, one is either living a trivial life or one is in perfect faith, like Kierkegaard's Knight of Faith).

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by Hereandnow » December 15th, 2019, 12:07 pm

h_k_s

You must however remember that Religion is a totally different area of knowledge than Philosophy or than Science.
I beg to differ: I hold that all there is in a single thought is what is at the basis of religion, putting aside the institutional bodies contrived by people. "Pass the salt" possess all that religion is in its existential foundation.

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Re: A question about following Christianity

Post by Thomyum2 » December 25th, 2019, 10:56 pm

Hello Hereandnow, it’s good to cross paths with you again here on the forum. And as it’s Christmas here, where I am now, what better time and place to post.
Hereandnow wrote:
December 15th, 2019, 12:03 pm

Thomyum2

So to the first question, I think that we as humans, at the core level of our being, are able to distinguish God from Satan (which is the false god, the one who tempts us with false goods which may appear good on the surface but which will actually lead us away from our essential goodness) because they are both a part of ourselves - because we know them in as much as we know ourselves and our own nature. We are able to recognize God and Satan in the same sense that we are able to know good from evil because that knowledge is, as St. Paul put it, "written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
Oh. You answered my question. But now it gets interesting. How does the anthropomorphic designation sustain at all? And what is there in Goodness that is so "written" that warrants the expression "living God"? You speak of love, indirectly, which is itself ambiguous. What IS this? I am not challenging the that is does exist, but inviting inquiry into its nature.
I’m not sure I completely understand the sense of your question, but would be interested in exploring it more. To start, I wouldn’t call this ‘anthropomorphic’, but rather metaphorical - I think that metaphor, symbol, allegory, etc., all appear often in religious and spiritual writings for good reason as they’re helpful to understanding of things that don’t have direct physical counterparts - visible signs of invisible realities, so to speak. And the idea of a ‘living God’ is an essential part of Christian faith - that for Christians, God is not just a distant figure that created us and then stepped back to watch, but rather is one who is present with us now, a ‘risen’ God who is not dead, but alive and knowable, beside us through life and sharing In our experiences. And yes, as you’ve said, is a God of love, among other things, and whom we know in as much as we love.
Hereandnow wrote:
December 15th, 2019, 12:03 pm
Thomyum2

Having said that, you use an interesting word in your question by asking how would you 'show' this, and that puzzles me a bit and I would ask, show whom? Do you mean to 'show' this to God? If so, I don't think there would be a need, because as an integral part of our own nature, it would be impossible to hide it, let alone have a need to show it. Or to 'show' other people? I think Christians would say that we show this to other people by how we live our lives - to use a scriptural saying 'by their fruits shall you know them' - in other words, if we live in accordance with our true nature of the God and the goodness that we have within us, our life will reflect it and show it accordingly.
I think the matter is much more complicated than this. One's behavior, the outward show, is the face of virtue, not the reality, especially given how we play such subtle games (ever read Virginia Woolf? Our reality is not what we say and do, but lies within the drama beneath. Of course, if there is no drama at all, one is either living a trivial life or one is in perfect faith, like Kierkegaard's Knight of Faith).
Yes, the outward show is not always the reality, but there is a quality we call ‘integrity’ which suggests we can sense when a person is living outwardly in accordance with their inward convictions. In any event, it is recognized that we all have our flaws and fall short at times, so I supposed some of that drama is always inevitable. But I think the notion of a ‘redeemer’ is one that can even take the outcomes of those flaws and transform them and make them vehicles of bringing goodness into the world, of bringing light into darkness, as is sometimes said (again another metaphor). And yes, I think you’re right that sometimes a life of ‘perfect faith’ may indeed have no drama at all, which we see in the simplicity of the lives of the devout and of some of the Saints. (I haven’t read Virginia Woolf in a long, long time, but perhaps I should revisit her!)
Hereandnow wrote:
December 15th, 2019, 12:07 pm
h_k_s

You must however remember that Religion is a totally different area of knowledge than Philosophy or than Science.
I beg to differ: I hold that all there is in a single thought is what is at the basis of religion, putting aside the institutional bodies contrived by people. "Pass the salt" possess all that religion is in its existential foundation.
I agree. Another idea that I think would be worthy of further exploration.

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