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CAN WE BE GOOD WITHOUT GOD? Davis Cope and Jim Kunz A debate 21 September 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "CAN WE BE GOOD WITHOUT GOD? Davis Cope and Jim Kunz A debate 21 September 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 CAN WE BE GOOD WITHOUT GOD? Davis Cope and Jim Kunz A debate 21 September 2013

2 A.1. Why am I participating? I said, Why should I? They said: One of the purposes of the debate is to make different ideas more clear to people. We feel there can be greater learning through these events rather than not having them. Many words can evoke emotions or prejudices, but thats why we feel its good to have both sides clarify their position and explain the reasons why they believe what they do with openness and respect.

3 A.1. Why am I participating? SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND LUNCH SEMINAR. PURPOSE. SRLS is an informal discussion group for controversial topics in science, religion, pseudoscience, and pseudoreligion. … Speakers may be scientists, ministers, students, faculty, theists, atheists, creationists, evolutionists, etc. … The motivation for SRLS is that controversial subjects deserve public discussion. Our great hope is that open examination will enable people of good will to resolve their differences and reach agreement. Of, if agreement cannot be reached, that differences will be clarified, an understanding of other views will be gained, and a due respect for such other views will develop. Or, if respect remains elusive, that the opportunity to practice civility – the appearance of respect – will be of value. Or, if civility cannot be achieved, that the spectacle of intransigent and ill-humored proponents will provide sufficient grounds for an opinion to those previously undecided.

4 A.1. Why am I participating? I am here to support a value shared by atheists and Christians: Public discussion of controversial or divisive issues is important.

5 A.2. My qualifications. My belief: The natural world is all there is. There is no supernatural world.

6 A.2. My qualifications. The supernatural world would consist at least of Heaven and Hell, God and Satan, angels and demons, the souls of dead folk, and possibly more. I believe none of this exists.

7 A.2. My qualifications. Freethinkers advocate the use of reason in reaching conclusions about religion, in contrast to the use of Church Authority or Revelation.

8 A.3. My topic: Honesty. Why should we be honest? Two possible answers: 1.Be honest because God says so. Ex.20:16. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 2.Be honest because it is essential for a stable and efficiently functioning society.

9 A.4. Personal integrity. What is our human condition? Two possible answers: 1.God has a plan for your life, including salvation from eternal punishment. Accept Christ and follow Gods plan. Until then, life is pointless, and you go to hell too. 2.You start as a child with an unformed and incoherent self, easily confusing fantasy and reality, and you develop an increasingly formed and coherent self through experience, learning, and continued honest reflection. This personal growth continues throughout your life and is a measure of your personal integrity.

10 A.5. Connections with ethics. DIVINE COMMAND THEORY. CLAIM. Good (or right) actions are what God wills. Bad (or wrong) actions are against Gods will. PROBLEM. A. Assume there are restrictions on what God can will. Then the restrictions define right and wrong, not God, and we can proceed to study morality without reference to God. B. Assume there are no restrictions on what God can will. Then actions we considered abhorrent and evil become good simply because God willed them. And if we try assuming that Gods will is expressed consistently, then this is restricting Gods will, and we are back in Case A.

11 A.5. Connections with ethics. William of Occam (c ) on Gods freedom to will as good anything He wants: [H]atred of God, theft, adultery, and actions similar to these … have an evil quality annexed insofar as [there is] a divine command to perform the opposite act. But as far as the … actions [are] concerned, they can be performed by God without any evil condition annexed; and they can even be performed meritoriously by an earthly pilgrim if they should [become] divine precepts, just as now the opposite of these in fact fall under the divine command.

12 A.5. Connections with ethics. Why should we be honest? Be honest because it is essential for a stable and efficiently functioning society What is our human condition? You start as a child with an unformed and incoherent self, easily confusing fantasy and reality, and you develop an increasingly formed and coherent self through experience, learning, and continue honest reflection. This personal growth continues throughout your life and is a measure of your personal integrity.

13 A.6. Why are we dishonest? Why are we dishonest? Two possible answers: 1.God says Dont lie. But we have a sinful nature and sometimes we must lie. We cant help it (until we accept Christ and start following Gods plan). 2. We may produce a dishonest result because we are misinformed. Or we may be forced to be dishonest for a greater good.

14 A.6. Why are we dishonest? EXAMPLE. I answer a pounding on my door and find a man waving a pistol and yelling, Wheres that atheist Cope? Im going to teach him a lesson! Should I assume that I am the lucky winner of a free target practice lesson in some drawing at the local gunshop and reply honestly? Of course not. The fellow seems to have an ulterior motive. So I would proceed to lie as convincingly as possible that I am not present.

15 A.6. Why are we dishonest? Some Christian groups believe that each person is destined for eitehr eternal life or eternal death, depending on whether or not they have accepted Christ. Naturally, they vigorously proselytize because they believe their efforts result in eternal life for their converts. This life or death prospect is much more series than my man-waving-a-gun example. Dishonesty seemed justified in that case. Problem: Would dishonesty be justified if it gained converts? It is a matter of life or death.

16 A.7. Your Bible Study group. How do you know if your Bible Study group is honest?

17 A.7. Your Bible Study group. How do you know if your Bible Study group is honest? TEST: If your Bible Study group has the Truth, then the Truth will stand examination or comparison with other views. A group with the Truth should be, of all groups, more open to contact with the world of knowledge – scientific, historical, philosophical, literaty religious – than any other group. Is yours? Thats the test.

18 B. Some good people. I can testify that the following 3 people: Are devout Christians Are practicing scientists Have thought deeply about the relation between science and his/her faith Have worked in his/her church to address misunderstandings about science (especially geology and biology) Kind persons

19 B. Some good people. If you are a Christian but believe that science is a threat to your faith, I hope you will talk with them, or have them give a talk, about science and faith. These people and I have DIFFERENT VIEWS about religion. We have the SAME VIEWS about the nature and importance of science.

20 B. Some good people. Dr. D. Bryan Bishop Department of Biology Co-Director Environmental Studies Concordia College Moorhead, MN

21 B. Some good people. Dr. David S. Buchanan Professor of Animal Science Associate Dean for Academic Programs College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources North Dakota State University Fargo, ND * I recently heard David talk to a group including both atheists and Christians and give his testimony to what he believes is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

22 B. Some good people. Dr. Heidi Manning Professor Department of Physics Concordia College Moorhead, MN

23 C. Closing. For reasons that should be adequate for us all: Honesty with others – external honesty – is essential for the stability and functioning of society. Honesty with ourselves – internal honesty – is essential for personal growth and integrity. Question: Where do we find the courage to be honest?


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