We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
--dunno how to answer, except to propose a hypothetical --that everyone you know, and all the figures of histrory, will have in your mind a vague, amorphous quality that could be described as an impression of spiritual health that if it were customary could actually have some sort of index attached to it. Like female beauty, where a "10" is one's feeling that she is as pretty as pretty gets.
I guess that's probably really too obvious to have been mentioned, now that i think it over. But then OTOH what else is one measuring but those effects, when one regards one's most beloved, or conversely a jeffery dahmer or adolf hitler?
Having faith that there is a God has NOTHING to do with the values that I have.
Religions have been able to package morality for the masses, and have done a poor job. They have managed to replace simple concepts like the Golden Rule with their own autocratic control and have done much more damage than good.
The education system has to go back to basics. Aristotle, Plato, etc. Ethics, Morality unrelated to any Religion.
--i just am unable to comprehend a value system that posits no absolutes at either end. If Aristotle and Plato had nothing to compare to or measure against, how is any human act any different than any other?
Queer as it sounds : The historical accounts in the Gospels might, historically speaking, be demonstrably false and yet belief would lose nothing by this : not, however, because it concerns `univeral truths of reason'! Rather, because historical proof (the historical proof-game) is irrelevant to belief. This message (the Gospels) is seized on by men believingly (ie. lovingly). That is the certainty charactrerizing this particular acceptance-as-true, not something else.
A believer's relation to these narratives is neither the relation to historical truth (probability), nor yet that to a theory consisting of `truths of reason.' There is such a thing. - (We have quite different attitudes even to different species of what we call fiction!)
I read : ``No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.'' - And it is true : I cannot call him Lord; because that says nothing to me. I could call him ``the paragon,' `God' even - or rather, I can understand it when he is called thus ; but I cannot utter the word ``Lord'' with meaning. Because I do not believe that he will come to judge me ; because that says nothing to me. And it could say something to me, only if I lived completely differently.
What inclines even me to believe in Christ's Resurrection? It is as though I play with the thought. - If he did not rise from the dead, then he decomposed in the grave like any other man. He is dead and decomposed. In that case he is a teacher like any other and can no longer help ; and once more we are orphaned and alone. So we have to content ourselves with wisdom and speculation. We are in a sort of hell where we can do nothing but dream, roofed in, as it were, and cut off from heaven. But if I am to be REALLY saved, - what I need is certainty - not wisdom, dreams or speculation - and this certainty is faith. And faith is faith in what is needed by my heart, my soul, not my speculative intelligence. For it is my soul with its passions, as it were with its flesh and blood, that has to be saved, not my abstract mind. Perhaps we can say : Only love can believe the Resurrection. Or : It is love that believes the Resurrection. We might say : Redeeming love believes even in the Resurrection ; holds fast even to the Resurrection. What combats doubt is, as it were, redemption. Holding fast to this must be holding fast to that belief. So what that means is : first you must be redeemed and hold on to your redemption (keep hold of your redemption) - then you will see that you are holding fast to this belief. So this can come about only if you no longer rest your weight on the earth but suspend yourself from heaven. Then everything will be different and it will be `no wonder' if you can do things that you cannot do now. (A man who is suspended looks the same as one who is standing, but the interplay of forces within him is nevertheless quite different, so that he can act quite differently than can a standing man.)