The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Can a Non-Believer Live a Moral Life?


#97

Is it impossible for an unbeliever to feed a hungry person for altruistic reasons?


#98

I’m going to shake the tree - a bit. :smiley:

I’m taken back into my mind, to my days in academia. Suppose I was taking a Christian theology class or a philosophy ethics class. And the professor asked us,

Well, we really can’t discuss this question, until we clear up some issues. Or answer some basic questions:

What is the definition, of a moral life?
How do WE know, whether a person is leading - a moral life or not?
How do WE know, if a person is a Christian - or not? Can someone who is a Jehovah’s Witness, Quaker, Mormon or Christian Scientist be Christian? Why or why not? What is the definition of a Christian?
In the Old Testament, there is a person named Enoch. And there is a verse, which I will quote from Wiki (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enoch_(ancestor_of_Noah.

. Well, Enoch wasn’t a prophet, as far as scripture mentions. What kind of moral life did he lead - that God “took him” (in other words, he did not see death - from conventional understanding)? And why don’t other Old and New Testament figures (with the exception of Elijah and Christ) - experience this? Or even Christians in our century? For the benefit of everyone, here’s the Calvinist site - Got Questions, talking about Enoch: gotquestions.org/Enoch-in-the-Bible.html
I attend every two weeks, a Buddhist mindfulness meditation group. It’s held at a spiritual center, run by Franciscan nuns. And everyone there, appears to be acting moral. And some might be Christian, some Buddhist, some both and some other. How can I tell, if they are acting moral or not?. There’s an old saying, called the duck test (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_test).

P.S.Here’s an interesting Calvinist CARM, Matt Slick Facebook video:

Interview with an Ex-Mormon Scholar

I rate this video interview very hightly :exclamation: :smiley: And Matt Slick did say something, to this effect - in the interview:

:laughing:

And he does talk, about defining your terms. :smiley:


#99

Well, it would be most amazing if the “church fathers” didn’t contradict one another. As the saying goes, “Bring together any three people and you have five different opinions.”

Do you suppose that what you call “the God-inspired Scriptures” contain no contradictions or errors? First, tell us which writings for you constitute “the God-inspired Scriptures.” The 66 writings (or “books”) of the Protestant Bible? Or the 73 writings of the Roman Catholic Bible? Or the 76 writings of the Orthodox Bible? Each of these three contains contradictions or errors. Or is yours a list that differs from all three? Whatever it is, were the writers not “fallible fallen errant humans” also?

Secondly, tell us the basis on which you deem your list to be “the God-inspired Scriptures.” It so happens that all three, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox have in their Bibles the same set of 27 NEW TESTAMENT writings. But on what basis are they deemed the correct list? The early Christians did not agree as to which ones should be included in the writings that were read in the churches. Irenæus (born 130) either omitted or cast doubt on Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude. The same with Origen (born 185) except that he accepted Hebrews. However, Athanasius (born 296) had exactly the same list of 27 books that are found in today’s Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Bibles. Is that why you accept these 27 books as the exclusively “God-Inspired Scriptures”? Or do you accept this particular list merely because of Christian tradition?

The early Christians also read in the churches Clement’s letter to the Corinthians which he wrote shortly after the death of Paul and Peter (Paul was beheaded, and Peter was crucified upside down). Clement was Paul’s fellow labourer in the gospel (Phillipians 4:3). Clement is believed to have been born about A.D. 30 and to have died about A.D. 100. I think it is a shame that this writing is virtually unknown in the Christian world. On what basis can it be said not to be inspired? Just because Athanasius didn’t include it in his list? Was Athanasius inspired to choose the correct “New Testament” list to be read in the churches? If so, there must be inspiration outside of the Bible. (By the way, Athanasius included Baruch in his OT list, a book that is not found in the Protestant Bible).

I would be pleased to learn why you think your particular list of “God-inspired Scriptures” is the correct one, and that the writings of “the church fathers” are not inspired by God.


#100

Origen, In looking at this the other way around, The Bible says this: Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
Again in Genesis 5:1 we read ,“In the day that God created man, he made Him in the likeness of God.”
If this is true, then man really has no power to change this nature, as Mark 10:9 says, "Therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. Yes, we can choose to do evil, but there is no life in this.Just as a fish was made to live in water, if taken out of the water, it cannot live.


#101

I suppose some of them are quite liberal.


#102

I’d be surprised if there were not a number of threads here that have already discussed this topic. Perhaps the search engine would reveal them?
There is certainly tons to be found on google & many websites that answer the questions you’ve asked & defending the doctrinal statements of this website, The Evangelical Universalist, which we are posting on:

Perhaps you and Davo would like to start your own threads in answer to the above “Minimal Statement of Faith for Evangelical Universalists” and come out of the closet with your own creedal statements :bulb:

:smiley:


#103

“The third point of common grace as adopted by the CRC pertains to “civic righteousness by the unregenerate.” This means that God, without renewing the heart, exercises such influence that even the unsaved man is enabled to perform good deeds toward his fellow man.”

gotquestions.org/common-grace.html

“Bolt’s treatment of the third point of common grace is surprising. The third point teaches that the unregenerated person is able to perform good works in the sphere of everyday earthly life in society. This is due to an operation of the Holy Spirit within him which, without renewing his heart, so influences his soul that good thoughts and desires produce good works. Hoeksema condemned the teaching as a denial of the biblical and confessional doctrine of total depravity. Louis Berkhof and other Christian Reformed theologians contended that the third point is a necessary defense of total depravity.”

standardbearer.rfpa.org/article … formulated

Herman Hoeksema: A Theological Biography
By Patrick Baskwell [p.275]

books.google.ca/books?id=pQcXAg … &q&f=false


#104

#105

[quote=“DaveB”]
Isn’t ALL theology ‘roll-your-own’?]

And let’s NOT forget ALL the theological articles, related to Zombie theology and the Zombie Apocalypse. Like the one from the Patheos Evangelical newsletters:

A Theology of America’s Zombie Apocalypse

I FULLY believe all these right and left wing articles - flooding the Internet and airwaves…will trigger the Zombie Apocalypse. And I’ll introduce Zombie theology and theology of the Zombie Apocalypse - to counter this trend. :wink:


#106

GEE, Randy, the topic I linked to had nothing to do with lefty-righty or with zombies. You managed to bring both things in, though! :astonished:


#107

The topic is “Can a Non-Believer Live a Moral Life?”. I know what you linked to - Dave. I’m just focusing on our theological future. We can’t discuss such a topic, without bringing up right wing articles, left wing articles and zombies. I’m sure I can find a way, to make it all fit together. Just like folks here manage, to fit all the biblical elements - into a unified theology. :laughing:


#108

Ah.


#109

Okay, so if we look at this subject in a ‘realistic’ mode, And turn the paradigm view, why would we even question that a ‘non believer’ could live a moral life? Maybe we should be asking, why do we have to believe in Jesus to be a ‘moral’ person :open_mouth:


#110

One answer is this - that without Total Depravity (TD) the entire Calvinistic house of cards comes tumbling down. If that happens, the entire age-old fight between Arminians and Calvinists and others would evaporate. There would be less to fight about, and less to divide us. So, we need TD!!

Only half-joking there. TD is THE basis for the rest of TULIP; all the other so-called ‘doctrines of grace’ depend on and follow TD.


#111

Well, you are right IMHO, but at some point we (who the hell are the we :open_mouth: ) need to spread the news that God loves us… We are what we are created to be!!! He is God and kind of knows what is going on… MAYBE :exclamation: :laughing:


#112

I’ve heard this said before, but can you prove it or provide a logical argument that is necessarily the case?

To begin, you’ld need to define Total Depravity. That could be a problem in itself. I’ve seen a number of different definitions.


#113

You can prove it by removing TD, and then re-assessing ULIP.
It’s an excercise you can do yourself with a pencil and paper, just working through the results of removing TD - I spent a good little time a number of years ago doing it. It becomes apparent that hard logic demands that TD beginning point.


#114

That’s kind of good… But what will that do to the Calvinist guard? How can he/we change that? :astonished:


#115

I’m somewhat slow today, Chad - could you re-state the question?
Really - I am slow today. :blush:


#116

Pretty much Dave… however, those who are predestined to believe TD, inevitably will. :laughing:

The reality is… the goodness of God has NEVER been restricted to religianity, which is WHY anyone so inclined “CAN choose to live a moral life”. Now IF such a one wants to make THAT their own badge of personal honour well good luck to them, but THAT of itself would just make them as self-righteous as the predestined churchified one who gazing down his snout musters up the humility (cough, cough) to declare… “God, I thank You that I am not like other men…”.