The Case for Belief in Christianity, the Bible, and God
We are spiritual beings, not just skin and bones. Marriages would not endure beyond 7 years if all we were were just chemistry or just physics.
Love, marriages, and relationships work best when there is mutual sacrifice, not when people treat each other as pleasure devices or objects. Objectification and dehumanization undermine relationships–they are a cancer and poison to relationships.
No one would will they had a hyper-utilitarian (aka bean counter) as a husband or wife. Relationships are deeper, more meaningful, and more complex.
Arguments of skeptics are reductive. They only tell part of the story. That’s why they feel like they are true, but they are ultimately strawperons given that they don’t tell the whole story.
Skepticism and rationalism misunderstand humanity at a cellular level. We are certainly rational beings, but we are soooooo much more. Humans are fundamentally communal and relational. We are more than the strictly utilitarian and rational.
Its only by using the utilitarian in addition to the ethical that we come to fully know ethics. The utilitarian leaves out virtues which are critical to our humanity.
Pure utilitarianism fails as an ethical system. Act-utilitarianism failed. I’m not sure anyone claims to be a Benthamite. Rule-utilitarianism provides a better basis for ethics than pure utilitarianism.
When we follow ANY virtue for God and experience the value of the virtue, we’ve learned more fully to lean on faith and walk more fully in the model of Jesus. Gratitude, courage, sacrifice, service, loving, encouraging, and living with joy all are separate arguments–experiential arguments for God. I would rather live in the values than their opposites. The value of the character and virtue development is a manifestation and proof of divinity in the world.
The experience of the transcendant and the ideal is best understood and experienced–its left behind when we try to be bean counters or rationally slide and dice all types of problems rather than understanding the limits of rationality in terms of the types of problems its amenable to. Love and relationships aren’t always subject to the rational.
Bifurcating rationality and emotion leads to marital dead end. Its also why emotional intelligence as a value set has never fully been valued by individuals or cultures. People live in different lives with different challenges, when we deal in one on one relationships we have to take those issues into account. We can’t objectively lop those differences off in an attempt to re-make them in the image of and idealized and mythical “rational man.” Similarly human relationships are messy. Humans are messy. Emotions are messy. However, attempting to say all emotions don’t matter or should otherwise be suppressed is a dead end. We would all live an existence like Shedon….Spock……or worse robots. We would only talk to people when they could do something for us–not just because they are human and deal with human achievements and sufferings. They experience highs and lows just we do. They have feelings just like we do.
Living in the real world we never have 100% proof or evidence or much of what we do. We are individuals. We can use science to assist us and its quite good at that in some instances. But we don’t have millions of dollars to run scientific experiments on our lives. Not to mention it would be impossible, because we only live one life. In light of that, taking risks and experiential learning is the basis of progress and evolution–not to mention basic existence of humans in society.
Stories fit the human experience better than utilitarian. Stories explain why suffering is good, because in the long run it builds us into better humans. Suffering causes us to be more empathetic and understanding. Suffering brings communities together to relate and share. Suffering causes us to remember we are dependent on God and not actually just mythical individualists we suppose ourselves to be. The development of self-control and discipline can help us inspire those values in others. Heaven beats hell when it comes to suffering. Also, celebrating eternally in heaven beats suffering eternally in hell.