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Ants don't try to understand things? I beg to differ.

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Ants can certainly learn. But understand? Does an ant know why something happens?


The operative word here is "try". When you step on their house, many come running out and dart around just in case there's something to be done. They desperately want to understand what they need to do. If they see a large animal around, depending on what kind of ants they are, they might attack. (maybe "understand" is a bit misleading. :o))

How so?

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People of faith have done some terrible things in the name of God. So when a religious authority orders something terrible, the question every moral theist has to ask is whether what is being demanded really is the will of God. You can't address this question without having some understanding of the nature and character of God. That's why the "why?" question is important.

When someone says that God wants you to fly a plane into a building full of people, or to kill an abortion doctor, or even something more prosaic like vote for Bush, I think it useful to ask why and whether it makes any moral or logical sense.

I think even the discussions here are useful in that regard. For those whose conception of God is focused on a literal reading of the OT, with all the divinely inspired massacres from Sodom to the flood to Egypt's first born, it is a pretty short step to justify flying an airplane into the building of your enemy or believing in divinely induced strokes. But recognize the shear immensity of God's creation and the notion that God intervenes in regional politics borders on the absurd.

Or so it seems to me.


Within the Christian view, it seems that the words of Christ would be the final say in any matter. He didn't say things like "you know why God wants you to love your enemies? Because.." He just said to do it. The reason may be so outside a human mind's ability to understand that God just asked for obedience, not understanding. Matter of fact, Jesus quite specifically said that people can't understand the why of God. Now, we see through a glass darkly.

Love your enemies, turn the other cheek, offer your cloak also, love others as you love yourself, don't return evil with evil, don't take credit for your good acts, die for your brother, forgive all, the list goes on. None of these things come with an explanation except that God thinks they're the best thing to do. Interestingly enough, Jesus also said that no human is capable of this stuff (except Him). Peter said he was above a particular sin and Jesus said that, this day, he would succumb to that very sin.

It seems (and I could be wrong) that no one can understand the mind of God because, if they did, they would act as God would have them act because of their understanding- not because the Bible says so. It's said the those who are born again become new creatures in Christ and that the Holy Spirit enters them and illuminates the word (their conscience) so that they no longer crave the things their sinful nature places so much value on. But even these can't live the life of Christ.

Or so it seems to me. :o)

k

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