Okay, I was hoping to discuss this topic with you. Atheist have always intrigued me because of their unfaith. Maybe you can explain better why while I explain why I believe. Good. Any dictanary can give you a Good explaination. To be better, to be the best. The list goes on and on. The Christian definition means to follow God and do what is right in His eyes. I know you might think that since no one can really agree on one God, there is none. That is not true. You and your friends might disagree on whether or not there is candy in a jar and what kind. You might each think of different things according to what each of you believe, hope and think is in there. Yet no matter how much you fight over it, there is only one kind of candy in there. Not the best illusion I know, but you get my point. Only one person is right, therefore making every one else wrong. You might argue that no one can be good because we don’t know what God wants us to do since we have never talked to Him. We’ll get to the part about talking to Him later, but you as a child never knew exactly what your parents and everybody wanted you to do, no matter how many times you listened. You might have a good idea about it, but never was it perfect. Same with God. Also, if your parents said that they knew what was best for you and then told you to stab a knife through your hand, that would be wrong. You know that if God wants you to do something bad, such as murder or steal or terrorize people then it is wrong. He is not God. God, as recorded in the Bible did not allow for His people to do things such as that. I need to go now. Please email me your response. Thank you.
P.S. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodnes, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I’m going to give a pass to using a dictionary definition of “good,” since it won’t get to the root of what we’re talking about here. Your Christian definition is much more useful for our discussion, and I’ll get back to that in a minute.
First, let me say that I’d never say something like, “there is no God because people can’t agree about God.” In fact, I’d never say that there is no God, because I have no way of proving such a statement. You are also right that when people disagree about God only one person may be right, but what I need is a way to tell which person is the correct one.
Your point about a child not understanding exactly what parents want as a metaphor for knowing what God wants is well taken, but I think it falls a bit short of the mark. I may not have always understood my parents as a child, but I certainly knew when they were talking to me. I never had to worry that some natural phenomena might be a message from my parents, or that how I felt inside was what my parents were trying to say, and I never had strangers tell me that when I thought I was hearing advice from my parents I was really listening to Satan.
In any case, if I am going to use God’s will as my standard for good I need to be convinced a) that God exists, b) that he can and does communicate desires to people, and c) that I can tell God’s speech from things that are not God’s speech. You provide one criteria — that instructions that are really from God would not ask us to do something that is wrong. The problem here is that if you are defining “good” as obeying God, then by definition anything God asks you to do isn’t wrong. Saying otherwise implies that you know the difference between right and wrong whether or not God exists (for example, you say that stabbing yourself is wrong).
Things get even muddier when we look at all the things religious people say God has asked them to do, many of which I would say are immoral. In the Bible, for example, God tells a man to kill his own son, and so far as I can tell there is no discussion of whether or not this was a real request from God since God would never ask for such a thing.
Continuing with the Bible, you say that God in the Bible would not allow his people to, “murder or steal or terrorize people.” However, there were killings of whole towns (sometimes excepting young girls) at Moses’ command, and the Israelites stole a great many valuables from the Egyptians when they fled. Maybe these things don’t count as murder and theft, or maybe they don’t count as being done under God’s command, but in any case they make it very, very difficult for me to see how you use your religious beliefs to decide right from wrong.
At this point, I still feel that when I open the candy jar you mention, I’m going to find it empty. I look forward to hearing from you again.