Monday, March 18, 2013

A Tale of Two Life Goals

Listening to all of the rhetoric that surrounds the gay marriage debate today, it's interesting that the focus of those who accept it, at least the ones speaking most loudly today, seems to be on what makes people happy.

Now, this is the goal of the unbeliever. It is the goal of every self-worshiping religion on the planet, which is every religion beside historic Christianity. What one sees as the ultimate goal in life will ultimately dictate what behaviors one finds acceptable (that is, if he or she is consistent).

If the goal of life is to be happy, then you can fulfill that goal through any means necessary. If homosexual activity makes you happy, then go for it. If leaving your husband and children to pursue a new adventure in life makes you happy, then happy journeys. If drugs and alcohol make you happy, then shoot up, drink up, or shut up. Whatever makes you happy.

Worship the god you want, have sex with the object you want, take whatever you want, or give to the poor if that makes you happy. Whatever. If the ultimate goal is happiness, then these people can continue to argue this way, but if we all know that such would be wrong, then we need to ask whether it is true that happiness is the ultimate goal of life.

And we all know that it is wrong. I can't murder because it would make me happier to remove certain people from the world. I can't go on a stealing spree because I want everything to make me happy. And I can't just seek whatever sexual relationship I think might make me happy.

Why? For two reasons really.

The first is that we are under a sin-induced delusion that teaches us that happiness is to be found in things that are actually going to leave us unhappy in the end. We're are told that ultimately, only having a restored relationship with the God of the Bible through His Son, Jesus Christ, is the key to our happiness. So our delusions, ironically, lead us to pursue happiness in death.

But second, the ultimate goal of life isn't our personal happiness. It isn't the stimulation and exaltation of the self over others. The ultimate goal of life is to worship and exalt God by glorifying Him in our life choices. This, ironically, in return does bring us happiness, as love of God rejoices in His glorification and honor.

Because of these two things, the question can no longer be, "Doesn't this person deserve to be happy?" or even "If it makes me happy, why can't I pursue it?" Instead, it must be, "Does it glorify God in the truth He has revealed by loving Him and others over myself?" "Does it kill the Self in order that Christ and His Word might live in me, so that I might glorify God?"

If this latter trend is the line of questioning rather than the former, then you cannot argue for your alcoholism, drug addiction, murder, sexual abuse, false religion, neglect of your marriage and kids, or homosexuality as being rooted in the pursuit of happiness, as it is obvious that such is not the ultimate goal in life, since if it were, all of these would be legitimate pursuits, regardless of what oppressive laws or societal taboos might say contrary to the matter.

13 comments:

  1. "If leaving your husband and children to pursue a new adventure in life makes you happy, then happy journeys."

    What if it's to preach the gospel, like Jesus recommends? Is it then Ok to leave your families and responsibilities because divine authority grants you the right to do so?

    Mark 10:28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age".

    You know how I can tell that this isn't a Christian nation and that our founding documents were "inspired" by god? Because we have the right to pursue happiness without punishment! And if you're correct that we don't have that right, our founding fathers wouldn't have wrote it in the Declaration of Independence. Thank Jefferson for secular democracy.

    "The ultimate goal of life is to worship and exalt God by glorifying Him in our life choices."

    So the slave owner in the American south was glorifying god if he treated his slaves according to biblical mosaic law? I'm sure the slave was pleased to know if his master refrained from beating him or her too badly so that they couldn't recover in a "day or two", that it was all worth it because god was beautifully glorified.

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  2. Is there an actual argument here? Oh wait, I forgot, you don't care to make real arguments. Let me show you how easy it is to dismiss your "arguments."

    "What if it's to preach the gospel, like Jesus recommends? Is it then Ok to leave your families and responsibilities because divine authority grants you the right to do so?"

    In context, Jesus is talking about the idea of not being able to give up the comfort of home, not shun the familial responsibility to take care of those over whom God has placed you. Any shunning of that responsibility is condemned in Scripture. Christ Himself says that leaving your wife (which is the word for divorce) is to make your wife commit adultery, because she will then be forced to marry another in order to survive. Context is helpful.

    "You know how I can tell that this isn't a Christian nation and that our founding documents were "inspired" by god? Because we have the right to pursue happiness without punishment! And if you're correct that we don't have that right, our founding fathers wouldn't have wrote it in the Declaration of Independence. Thank Jefferson for secular democracy."

    "Praise Jefferson!" said the pedophile, father marrying his daughter, Ted Bundy, and everyone else who has the right to pursue happiness above any other duty in life. Great argument. That's putting the "thinker" in "The Thinker."

    "So the slave owner in the American south was glorifying god if he treated his slaves according to biblical mosaic law? I'm sure the slave was pleased to know if his master refrained from beating him or her too badly so that they couldn't recover in a "day or two", that it was all worth it because god was beautifully glorified."

    So by implication no one who is not perfect can glorify God. Good to know. So God cannot be glorified in your book by anyone who doesn't conform to a 21Cent mindset. I would argue that ripping the slave away from his family in the first place was not glorifying to God, but would it be to rescue a slave and treat him as a member of your household? Sure. Would you buy a slave in order to save his life and treat him well? I think that would glorify God.



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    1. Well I'm glad you admit that a literal interpretation of Jesus' words would be harmful.

      I'm not making an argument for pedophilia - your words not mine. Any rational person knows that the freedom to pursue happiness has to be limited when it deliberately harms others when it cannot be avoided. "Your freedom to swing your arms ends at my nose", as John Stuart Mill wrote. But as a Christian fundamentalist, I don't expect you to be rational at all. You think we must either live exactly according to scripture, or else have total anarchy and chaos. No. There are many ways to live civilly, and liberal democracy is one of them.

      Besides, where in the bible does it say that a 9 year old girl cannot be forced into an arranged marriage with an older man? That's pedophilia plan and simple.

      "So by implication no one who is not perfect can glorify God."

      Never said that or implied it. I was commenting on the act not the person. If someone were beating their slave today according to biblical standards, according to you, they'd be glorifying god with every strike of the hand and rod.

      "I would argue that ripping the slave away from his family in the first place was not glorifying to God, but would it be to rescue a slave and treat him as a member of your household?"

      If you're allowed to purchase slaves that someone else has ripped from their family, you are thereby helping and sanctioning the act and allowing it to flourish. It's like saying we'll buy all the young girls being trafficked on the black market and be nice to them as a way to solve to slavery. No, you'd just be given a larger incentive to the traffickers to steal more girls, and thus would make it worse. It's the institution of slavery that is the problem.

      "Would you buy a slave in order to save his life and treat him well?'

      Well, personally I would not, because I would just be making the problem worse for other people. I'd do whatever I could to stop the slavery in the first place by stopping the slave owner which is of course what god never recommends since he's basically just a moral compromiser according to your own implication.

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  3. You're obnoxiously self refuting. My entire argument was simply that there must be a goal greater than the pursuit of happiness, and you argued against that by saying that there is no greater goal but that goal has to be limited by the greater good. Duh. That was my entire argument. You just conceded it. Stop arguing against your own position, and for mine, and then acting like you're somehow refuting me. Again, reading skills are gold to the one who seeks them.

    "Besides, where in the bible does it say that a 9 year old girl cannot be forced into an arranged marriage with an older man? That's pedophilia plan and simple."

    Everywhere it condemns sexual immorality. To do so is to commit an anticreational sin. Maybe you ought to know more about the Bible before you go on and on about it.

    "If someone were beating their slave today according to biblical standards, according to you, they'd be glorifying god with every strike of the hand and rod."

    What? So to not obey God would be to glorify Him? How could you possibly get that from what I said?

    "If you're allowed to purchase slaves that someone else has ripped from their family, you are thereby helping and sanctioning the act and allowing it to flourish. It's like saying we'll buy all the young girls being trafficked on the black market and be nice to them as a way to solve to slavery. No, you'd just be given a larger incentive to the traffickers to steal more girls, and thus would make it worse. It's the institution of slavery that is the problem."

    So, in the world you govern as a god, everyone dies, because sinful people govern every institution that exists in this world. You can destroy an institution, and we eventually destroyed slavery in our parts, but many times it just manifests itself in other forms, and some institutions you have to work with or around to save lives. You would just let everyone die instead. Great god you are.

    "Well, personally I would not, because I would just be making the problem worse for other people. I'd do whatever I could to stop the slavery in the first place by stopping the slave owner which is of course what god never recommends since he's basically just a moral compromiser according to your own implication."

    That's a pie in the sky answer. You have no sense of what it means to save a life in THIS world of wicked people. If your mother, wife, child were enslaved, would you buy them back in order to save them? I bet you would. Why? Because you actually care for them as individuals and wouldn't want to sacrifice them from your lofty goals of not capitulating to a system you see as wrong.

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    1. "You're obnoxiously self refuting. My entire argument was simply that there must be a goal greater than the pursuit of happiness, and you argued against that by saying that there is no greater goal but that goal has to be limited by the greater good. Duh. That was my entire argument. You just conceded it. Stop arguing against your own position, and for mine, and then acting like you're somehow refuting me. Again, reading skills are gold to the one who seeks them."

      You're too quick to pat yourself on the back in victory once again and you make little sense here. We're obviously not arguing for the same things. If we were you'd support liberty, but you don't, you support a strict Calvinist interpretation of scripture. There is basically no individual liberty in Christianity, there is only submission to god. Since Calvinism basically says we're all animals with no sense of morality at all, it makes sense now how utterly irrational you are when I compare you to other Protestants.

      "Everywhere it condemns sexual immorality. To do so is to commit an anticreational sin. Maybe you ought to know more about the Bible before you go on and on about it."

      You must be aware that 9 year old girls can hit puberty. Give me one specific line in the bible that would forbid an underage girl from being forced by her father into an arranged marriage with an older man.

      "What? So to not obey God would be to glorify Him? How could you possibly get that from what I said?"

      You said doing what god commands glorifies him. Since the bible says you can beat your slaves with a rod as needed, that slave master is glorifying god with every drop of blood and tear that he beats out of his slave. What glory!!!

      "So, in the world you govern as a god, everyone dies, because sinful people govern every institution that exists in this world. You can destroy an institution, and we eventually destroyed slavery in our parts, but many times it just manifests itself in other forms, and some institutions you have to work with or around to save lives. You would just let everyone die instead. Great god you are"

      So now we're back to playing god scenarios. I'm sure that's probably something you fantasize about when you're feeling weak. I never entertain such thoughts, but if I was god, and I was somehow perfect and without need, I would never have even created this world in the first place. I would have the decency not to create so much unnecessary suffering and misery. If I was god, I'd know what would have happened if I had created such a world or any other world and merely knowing that would be to me just as real as the real thing. And I certainly wouldn't be a pathetic moral compromiser who commands genocide, slavery, and who has to abrogate my commandments, and who creates people sick and orders them to be perfect, and then blames them for the faults that I built into their design. Does that answer your question?

      "That's a pie in the sky answer. You have no sense of what it means to save a life in THIS world of wicked people. If your mother, wife, child were enslaved, would you buy them back in order to save them? I bet you would. Why? Because you actually care for them as individuals and wouldn't want to sacrifice them from your lofty goals of not capitulating to a system you see as wrong."

      You're missing the point as usual. Basically you're saying the ONLY right thing to do when confronted with the institution of slavery that god condones as being perfectly moral as long as it's done according to his rules, is to buy out slaves and ignore the institution. Wow, it's a good thing people like you don't have any power anymore.

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    2. Again, you miss the point entirely. My point isn't that you and I are arguing for the same higher goal. My point is that I argued above that there was obviously a higher goal than the pursuit of happiness, otherwise the pursuit of happiness would not be restricted by another higher goal. Hence, you, in fact, did admit to me that there is a higher goal, all the while arguing that the pursuit of happiness is the highest pursuit. Ergo, you are contradicting yourself.

      "You must be aware that 9 year old girls can hit puberty. Give me one specific line in the bible that would forbid an underage girl from being forced by her father into an arranged marriage with an older man."

      Puberty is not the only factor in being procreative and working toward human life. A nine year old pregnant girl is dangerous to both mother and child, both physically and spiritually. Hence, the principle of creation argues against it. I don't deal in prooftexts. My reading of the Bible goes beyond picking out verses. There is no verse that says you shouldn't lop your own head off with a sword, but anyone reading it can kind of get that from the overall principles therein.

      "You said doing what god commands glorifies him. Since the bible says you can beat your slaves with a rod as needed, that slave master is glorifying god with every drop of blood and tear that he beats out of his slave. What glory!!!"

      The Bible does not say you can beat your slave. Again, your reading skills are poor enough when reading me. Let's not go into case law, which you clearly don't know how to read (hint: you're confusing the case in the protasis with the economic sanction in the apodosis).

      "So now we're back to playing god scenarios."

      Because, despite your protest, you are continually lifting your own moral judgments above the God of the Bible. I'm simply asking what you would do, and now we now. You would do something far more horrible than anyone could possibly imagine. Rather than let us all decide for ourselves that we want life, even if it comes with suffering by necessity, which most people choose, you would rob us all of that choice and just annihilate everyone from the get go. So God is a moral monster for killing a group of people, but you are a good god for not allowing anyone to exist in the first place? Yikes. I'm glad you're not God.

      "Basically you're saying the ONLY right thing to do when confronted with the institution of slavery that god condones as being perfectly moral as long as it's done according to his rules, is to buy out slaves and ignore the institution."

      Uh, no. You're the one missing the point. I'm simply pointing out that one can use an institution that is abused for a good purpose. If you came upon a homeless man and his family, and could give him a home to stay in and food to eat and clothes to wear if he worked around the farm for you, you would see that as good. What is that but slavery. He may choose to reject the offer, but then he doesn't get the welfare of what you offer, so he and his family dies instead. So, by pain of death, he must become your "employee." Is that not a type of slavery? Yet, is it really that evil in and of itself? That's the situation in the ancient world. It's not like everyone can go work at Walmart or go get welfare from the state if they didn't own land. They simply found slave labor work or they died.

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    3. "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life."

      That doesn't sound to me like voluntary servitude, that sounds to me like slavery. Life long slavery. You're kidding yourself as are all other defenders of biblical slavery by trying to humanize it into being simple voluntary employment. It is not voluntary, it is forced.

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    4. "So God is a moral monster for killing a group of people, but you are a good god for not allowing anyone to exist in the first place?"

      It's one thing to bring a child in the world and then torture and kill it, and another thing to refrain from having the child in the first place by not choosing to create it. There is simply no moral parallel with theses two scenarios. So yes, I do still conclude that god is a moral monster.

      You cannot miss what you've never had. All the children who were never born will not miss the life they never had, so there's no tragedy here.

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    5. I didn't say it was all voluntary, and anyone reading my comments on the matter can see that. I said that's one of the reasons people would put themselves up to be sold. Slaves also came from war and debt payment.

      Second to this, there is nothing in this verse that talks about forced slavery being good. It just says that slaves should be purchased from among the Gentiles, but God desires His people to be free. This is, once again, using unbelievers to support the preservation of His people, and it also provides a means of mercy to the Gentile slave who might hear of God and be saved. It also gives them into the hands of slave owners who are commanded by God to treat their slaves well. Again, another good that God does in saving human life through a less than ideal institution.

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    6. In an atheistic world, no one misses their life when they're murdered either, so your argument is nonsensical.

      It also functions on the idea that human life is only precious if the human is consciously aware of the value of his life. That means it's OK to kill people in comas, babies outside the womb, and people who are delusional.

      "You cannot miss what you've never had. All the children who were never born will not miss the life they never had, so there's no tragedy here."

      There is no experienced tragedy because no one exists, but the same is true if one were to blow up the entire planet and murder the whole world.

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  4. btw, I really hope you don't buy any clothes, food, or supplies for shelter, because most of that has been secured from slave labor. Furthermore, you are currently benefiting from a economy established on slave labor. I would immediately move to an uninhabited island and live naked while you farm your own coconuts.

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    1. First of all for the past few years I've been buying American because I do care about the industrial slave labor in 3rd world countries and I want it to stop. You're not even making a real argument. You're just spouting a bunch of irrational rhetoric that only exemplifies how morally ignorant you are.

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  5. That's a dodge. You wouldn't save your family members? Do you have children? If you don't then I'll understand why you argue such nonsense. If you do, I would be shocked if you wouldn't buy them in order to save them, but then you'd be supporting the system. It's not I who is ignorant but you who don't want to even give an inch that maybe God can use a fallen institution in order to save life. And so would you if you loved the people involved instead of using them as a means to accomplish some lofty and unattainable goal in the ancient world.

    btw, buying American only means you're buying things assembled here. Most of the parts on American products are made in sweat shops.

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