One of the "classic" arguments for the existence of God is one based on the human need for God. After reading your e-mail, it occurred to me that this might make more sense to you now, than it ever did for me. Why do you sit up reading message boards on philosophy and religion? There is nothing sad about it. Circular pegs will never fill in the square holes. Or referencing your quote, although one drinks the sand in absence of water, he will never be satisfied, no matter how much sand he consumes.
Christians are a blessed people, but it is not the social clubs or Christian versions of Britney Spears (what an oxymoron that is!) that causes Christians' lives to blessed. In fact, the servants of God often are not blessed in this life. The writer of Ecclesiastes spoke of the frequent reversal of roles, the blessing of the wicked and persecution of the righteous. A Christian is often most blessed when he appears the weakest to the world.
It is good that you are looking for the water. It is actually what Jesus offers, water of life (John 4:6-26; 6:1-71). The only thing that could possibly make sad your investment would be if you do not find that which you seek. Yet, if it is truth you genuinely seek, you will find it (Matthew 7:7-11). Be sure that you beware the delusion that awaits those who do not love truth (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12). If you love truth, you will avoid the trap.
Regarding the membership, there is actually no privileges or dues of membership. The meetings are casual. No attendance is really noted or maintained. A contact list is maintained, but only to update people on meeting notices. Feel free to come and go to the meetings as you please. I think there is one more meeting left for the semester; however, I am sure some of the other members would be glad to talk with you anytime.
You may find the classes are built on a foundation with which you may not agree completely at this point, but unless someone asks, the topics may not cover the issues in which you are most concerned. The topics are kind of covered by request.
Oh, about the "national value of virtue", I wanted to offer one last train of thought. As the writer mentioned, atheism offers no moral standard. In fact, it lends itself to the "free-loader" philosophy. Why care for everybody else? Sure, society may flourish, but why should you bear the burdens of others? Would not satisfaction be found in recognizing our true animal nature and fulfilling it exclusively? We could take advantage of others to enhance our happiness. I am number one. Why should I seek to promote something that has no value to me? Of course, if this philosophy was adopted, society would quickly fall into anarchy and ruin. True atheism cannot argue against the Hitlers of the world. There is no real standard - just so long as I am not a victim, but a victimizer - that's all that matters.
Any recognition of the "good of society" places a value or standard that transcends our lives. For an atheist, this life is everything. To admit that such a good exists is to surrender the position. In fact, if one does not live the "Fight Club" mentality, then he can be no true atheist, because he is living for something that transcends his existence. So, why is it that most people can't bring themselves to live this way? Because we are far more than mere animal...
Concerning the Deist concept, please consider that Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism/Hinduism cannot spiritually coexist. Yes, they should be able to live peaceably, but they cannot spiritually coexist. Jesus claimed to be Christ and Deity. If He was not, then He was either insane or a liar. Obviously, such a person could not be the central figure, standard, and basis of the true religion. Mohammed said Jesus was a prophet, but not THE prophet, as Jesus professed. Instead, Mohammed was the prophet. Now, they cannot both be right. Both, claimed to be THE prophet, denouncing all others. All religions which recognize the "rightness" of both of these religions are clearly ignorant of this dilemma and therefore born by the wisdom of men, unless God is the author of chaos and conflict, which Christianity denounces (I Corinthians 1:10; 14:33).
The point of this is that no middle road exists. It is impossible to accept all such religions as ultimately good. At most, only one of them is good, and it cannot be an all-accepting religion. Logically, there is only one or none. Which is it? I think about this almost every day. It is the central question of life: Is there a Creator, and therefore, how should I live?
God's commandments are for our good always (Deuteronomy 6:24). In as much other religions or civil laws borrow or support the morality taught in God's law, that system will prevail and its constituents will find temporal happiness. However, if it is "another gospel", then it cannot offer the eternal hope of redemption or fulfillment (Galatians 1:6-7). It is the true gospel for which I seek.
Let me know what you think.
Last edited by m273p15c
on Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.