good creator

The world is a dance in which good, descending from God, is disturbed by evil arising from the creatures, and the resulting conflict is resolved by God’s own assumption of the suffering nature which evil produces.  C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 72

Evil as the absence of Good is a suitable description, but better to say, with Lewis, that Evil is a disturbance of Good.  The surgeon’s scalpel used to murder, etc.  Evil as the fault of humans is a suitable analysis, but better to use the more general term ‘creation’, so as to include non-human agency as well.  Christian faith (like Lewis – i.e. Screwtape Letters) avoids both extremes of either disbelief in evil spirits or obsession with them.

But for theodicy, the salient point is that God is not the author of evil.  God, however, as both Creator and Redeemer, is ‘responsible’ for both a) the creation of the world, which was always going to spoil itself, and b) the redemption of the world, which was always going to require the unspoiled Creator to unite to (and thus ‘drag up’ with him) the spoiled creation.

40 thoughts on “good creator”

  1. Under this blueprint, you have a surefire recipe for confirmation bias because all evidence will support it; you can prove this to yourself by asking what evidence provided by reality would make you change your mind?

    It’s one thing to believe that evil is the absence of good and quite another to experience a freak event that causes large scale pain, suffering and death of all kinds of people and critters. It is against this kind of event that our metaphysical musings are revealed to be completely unsatisfactory in their reliance on word play and nebulous notions.

  2. Hi tildeb,
    Indeed, the categories of Creator and creation are large – ultimate even. But IMHO, the more ultimate the question, the more inappropriate your evidentialist epistemology seems. I don’t expect you to agree with me :) But arguably, and certainly in the experience of many who face “large scale pain, suffering and death”, their belief in a good, redemptive Creator has been far more than an irrelevant metaphysical speculation, but a “very present help” in the midst of (and indeed in spite of) times of trouble.

  3. I see how imaginary friends/daddies/protectors/comforters can indeed be a “very present help”. It’s a shame they can’t be verified as actually existing though..

    So why bother believing and investing so much time/energy/money/effort/thought into them..

  4. Hi Ryan,
    I think you meant to comment on the other post?

    At any rate, I’m well weary of many trips round the verificationist merry-go-round about ‘evidence’ for God’s ‘existence’. And FWIW, my understanding of the ‘Christlike God’ (John V. Taylor) is that investing time/energy/money/effort/thought into the least/last/lost/low/lonely is one of the principle ways we invest all of those things into God. I just want to do that better.

  5. Hahaha it seems I have hopped posts somehow..

    “And FWIW, my understanding of the ‘Christlike God’ (John V. Taylor) is that investing time/energy/money/effort/thought into the least/last/lost/low/lonely is one of the principle ways we invest all of those things into God. I just want to do that better.”

    Yeah and that’s great and that’s essentially what secular, loving, caring people do without faith. You don’t actually need that intermediary step of believing in an afterlife before you can invest time/energy/money/effort/thought into the least/last/lost/low/lonely.

    In fact, you’ll find that faith in God or a religion doesn’t actually open any doors to doing anything that you couldn’t otherwise do as a person of no faith..

  6. i’ll not chase you down that road. i just was sharing my understanding that the time/energy/heart for God is related (necessarily) to the same for people.

  7. But do you see how it’s a one way? Do you see how the time/energy/heart for people is not necessarily related to the same for God?

    With people investment – we see results all the time. It’s practical. It’s tangible. What results do we see coming out of time/energy/heart spent on God?

    ……………….

  8. You should try to answer your own questions before you ask them (I see little ‘evidence’ that you do). :) Coz if God is Christlike, then the humanitarian results are also kingdom-of-God (hungry fed, lost found, sinners forgiven, least exalted/valued, etc.) results.

  9. “if God is Christlike, then the humanitarian results are also kingdom-of-God (hungry fed, lost found, sinners forgiven, least exalted/valued, etc.) results.”

    Hahaha love it. Great headline “Non-Christian Philanthropists Worldwide All Achieving Results For The Kingdom Of Dale’s Christian God”.

    Still keen to hear some practical, tangible things that you achieve solely due to your time/energy/heart spent with/on/in God. Then get back to me ;)

  10. no I must have missed that in my 20 years of Christianity.. of course I’ve read it. you ever thought about how superfluous and unimportant that makes it being a Christian?

    The purpose of being a Christian is to allow God to work throu… hang on..
    The purpose of being a Christian is to….. you can finish that sentence.

    also: Still keen to hear some practical, tangible things that you achieve solely due to your time/energy/heart spent with/on/in God. Then get back to me

  11. no, if you’re going to say that being Xian is superfluous and unimportant, you’ll have to hang that on more than the obvious-and-biblical teaching that Christians aren’t the only ones “who can ever do good stuff”. Saying that “non-Christians also can and do act for good” would only be in tension with a would-be Xian doctrine that said only Christians can ever do anything good.

    As for uniquely Christian actions, clearly it’s not about the mechanics of the action (giving ‘x’ person ‘y’ amount of food – the mechanics would be the same obviously), but about the set of relationships which form the context for the action – and the character development of the one doing it. At the level of a human set of relationships, there are ‘selfish’ motivations (to feel good, or to be worthy of reciprocated equal action – to ‘do ones bit’), and of course these can accompany any action of anyone. But Christians are instructed to see Jesus in those they are serving, so that the action becomes both loving God (1st comm.) and neighbour as self (2nd). Call the first one ‘non-practical and non-tangible’ if you want, but for Christian faith, Love of God leads to more/better love of neighbour, and thus becomes profoundly practical.

    A final point about quantity of actions. for Christian faith, loving God will make each individual more human (whereas worshiping idols dehumanises), so whether the individual is starting from an addicted, self-oriented, selfish place that struggles to even consider, let alone show goodness toward others, or whether they are starting from a relatively stable, home where doing good to others was modelled to some degree, love of God through Christ still brings both closer to being fully human like Christ the true human, even if one non-Xian may well have done a higher quantity of ‘good things’ than the other Xian, who has a very long road of growth before her. It’s not a competition, it’s about becoming more loving, more like Jesus.

    p.s. the topic-Nazi in me (rightly/wrongly) isn’t fond of original post topic (evil/good) being left utterly behind for a loosely related topic (why be Xian?). Just sayin’ :)

  12. love of God through Christ still brings both closer to being fully human like Christ the true human, even if one non-Xian may well have done a higher quantity of ‘good things’ than the other Xian, who has a very long road of growth before her. It’s not a competition, it’s about becoming more loving, more like Jesus.

    Based on this notion, we can make a prediction: the more christian a populace, the more Jesus-like behavioural evidence we should see. Is this what we find in reality?

    No. What we find is the opposite, that there is a very strong correlation between the exercise of religious faith and the dysfunction of a populace, from greater economic inequalities to higher crime rates, from increased teen pregnancies per hundred thousand (arguably due to earlier sexual activity) to a increased scientific illiteracy.

    Yes, the exercise of behaviours has practical effects; the claim that religious actions are in some way better motivated that leads to an improvement does not bear up under examination. The opposite is true and this fact has important ramifications on those who incorrectly assume that the depth of religious belief is in any way a sign of a higher moral character or is a positive contributor to the health and welfare of a society.

  13. Tildeb,
    That study focuses (narrowly) on my home country, the US – Coyne is trying to show Christianity in general (and Creationism in particular) as a key marker for sick societies, whereas I think broader sociological analyses will show that societal unhealth will be caused by complex of factors, not just one – and certainly not one so easily dubbed ‘religion’.

    Furthermore (and No doubt you’ll be annoyed by this), but I distinguish between the vague label ‘religion’ and the quite specific dual relational dynamism mentioned above: love of God and neighbour. But more than this, I’d hope the irony would be obvious in any claim that economic inequality, crime, and teen pregnancy result from too much practice of a religion that teaches generosity, peace and chastity. More practicing is needed, not less. Rather than show that teaching generosity breeds hording, or otherwise, those stats would evidence hypocrisy, that ppl say one thing and do another.

    Interestingly, I think Christianity is uniquely able to provide both the forgiving patience with those who ‘have a long way to go’, as well as the sharp prophetic critique of those who grow complacent and hypocritical. America, sadly, is increasingly opting for a once-a-week concert+therapeutic-chat style form of ‘church’, which seems to be far less transformational for individuals (let alone society) than the picture of ‘church’ from the New Testament: an inter-related, inter-dependent ‘body’, sharing pains and joys, having significant enough level of relationship to both forgive and challenge one another. More of this authentic Christian community, not less, will make people more authentically Christ-like.

  14. “…for Christian faith, Love of God leads to more/better love of neighbour, and thus becomes profoundly practical.”

    That statement is erroneous. Love of God does not lead to more/better love of neighbor.

    Why? Like tildeb said:

    There exist many many people who love their fellow man more/better than
    a) people who first love God, then love people.
    b) people who love God and people simultaneously.
    or however you like to contemplate your dual relational dynamism.

    Tell me what you think is better Dale:

    1) loving people because you see Jesus in them (implying less or no love if you were to discover that Jesus wasn’t God)
    2) loving people regardless of a god existing because you see yourself in them (implying you abide by an ethic of reciprocity)

  15. Again, it’s not a competition, and some will obviously come from different social cultures and family cultures which equip them with very different behaviour patterns. No surprises there. The only claim is that authentic love of (and from) God makes the person a better lover of others.

    as for 1) v. 2), they aren’t mutually exclusive, because for Christian faith, loving/serving/clothing/visiting others ‘as self’ (that is ‘seeing yourself in them’) is also to love/serve/clothe/visit Jesus.

  16. It’s not about competition – it’s about the question “what’s the point of being Christian? what does it achieve?” And the answer it seem is “no point. achieves nothing.”

    “The only claim is that authentic love of (and from) God makes the person a better lover of others.”

    Yup and that’s all it is. A baseless claim.

    Yes they are mutually exclusive. 1) is a Christian 2) is not a Christian.
    Let me re-word them for you.

    1) loving people, first because you see Jesus in them as well as yourself (implying less or no love if you were to discover that Jesus wasn’t God)
    2) loving people regardless of a god existing because you see yourself in them (implying you abide by an ethic of reciprocity, value them as an equal, etc.)

    Unless you’re proposing someone can be both Christian and not at the same time..

  17. I don’t anticipate I’ll change your mind mate :)

    Your 1) and 2) were about motivation, not about presence (or absence) of Christian faith, but I’ll work with your re-wording: they are different, but still overlapping, hence not mutually exclusive. 1) just undergirds (or you’d probs say ‘tacks on’) their ‘ethic of reciprocity’ with love of/from God. What we’re hitting up on is that things like ‘love’, ‘humane’, ‘good’ etc. are things that both biblical Christian faith and secularists (as well as many others) both lay claim to. Christian faith, contrary to expression in some circles, doesn’t lay an exclusive claim to all/any acts which are ‘good’. But it maintains that a forgiven and loved person is more freed and equipped to love others than without being forgiven and loved. Modern psychology would suggest the same at the human level (those with human forgiveness and human love – will love others better than those without), but the divine/ultimate level takes it even further.

  18. You might change my mind if you back up your assertions :D

    Lol. Your second sentence is crack ups.

    “Your 1) and 2) were about being motivated due to faith or not – not about being motivated due to faith or not..”

    >.<

    Unfortunately they're still mutually exclusive. One can not have faith in Christianity and no faith in Christianity.

    "Christian faith…maintains that a forgiven and loved person is more freed and equipped to love others than without being forgiven and loved. Modern psychology would suggest the same at the human level (those with human forgiveness and human love – will love others better than those without)"

    Like you semi point out – nothing unique about Christian faith there. It's blatantly obviously that someone who has been forgiven by others and has forgiven themselves for things past is going to be more effective at relating to others in matters of forgiveness, etc.

    "but the divine/ultimate level takes it even further."

    haha yeeaahhh… about that baseless claim…

  19. yes, one cannot both have and not have Christian faith – nor did I ever claim that. But both the Xian and the non-Xian can both be motivated by a principle of reciprocity (selfish or not). The Xian just goes further and is also motivated at another level. Whatever motivations the non-Xian has, the Xian has another level of motivation. This is not complicated :)

  20. Dale, I don’t know if you’ve ever considered that this motivation of ‘going further’ to ‘another level’ contains a very dangerous component played out daily that can also be shown to cause an increase in human suffering: the assumption of extending ‘love’ also has to do with competing claims of authority and ownership of one’s life.

    If someone believes that all human life is owned by god (which is why someone might act towards another with the same kind of love for one’s self… thinking this is a moral high ground) then we can see the problem of respecting this divine authority over and above self-ownership in the form of enforcing impositions of laws based on this belief with beginning of life and end of life issues… on individuals who may not share the belief. This ‘love’ is revealed by anti-choice people who shower their efforts on behalf of honouring their god onto those who would exercise individual choice, whether it be about, say, therapeutic abortion or euthanasia. Extending one’s ‘love’ to actively interfere with individual rights causes increased suffering (and unnecessary deaths), so I don’t think you can safely assume that ‘going further’ is automatically an increase in good if it causes unnecessary suffering and unnecessary death.

  21. Christian has motivation A and motivation B. Utilizes A and B to achieve C.
    Non-Christian has motivation A. Utilizes A to achieve C.

    I’m seeing some superfluous motivation here..

    Still keen to hear you support the claims:

    – “authentic love of (and from) God makes the person a better lover of others.”
    – “the divine/ultimate level takes it even further.”

  22. there is the same danger with authority of government (we are just less likely to fear this danger coz we live in an area of relative justice and peace). Both political law and divine law is worked out ‘on the ground’ by people debating, discussing and interpreting. Guess we better work at debating, discussing and interpreting well :) My experience with these has led me to believe that the divine posture is well-summarised as pleading us to ‘choose life’.

  23. just picked up your other comment (and need to leave it there – coz obviously you’ve got more time today than me!),

    when I say that love of/from God makes a person a better lover of others, and that the divine level takes it further, I mean very much the same thing. If we know (intuitively and from experience) that a rapist who has both a) been authentically confronted with the atrocity of his crimes and b) also been genuinely forgiven by his victim, then he is almost certainly less likely to re-offend. Xian faith adds another ‘further’ level to this picture and says that if the same rapist also comes to a place of both a) authentically repenting of his crime as being contrary to God’s desire/will, and b) genuinely receives forgiveness offered through Christ and announced/mediated by the Church, then he is even more likely to re-offend.

    In the case of this and other kinds of people, whether they have been raised in abusive contexts or relatively kind ones, authentic Xian faith and community adds to (and sharpens) any existing motivations for good that they had, such that they, as you say, act from both motivation A and motivation B, and do C more than they did without their Xian faith. This hardly makes their uniquely Xian ‘superfluous’, any more than a sharpener is to a knife.

  24. there is the same danger with authority of government…

    Not with a secular government, there isn’t. Its authority comes from the consent of the governed, which is the central pillar of law: the rights of the individual. This is a bottom-up authorization for government authority.

    A theistic government – a theocracy – is the exact opposite. It’s authority comes from god, which is the central pillar of law: religious adherence and subjugation of the individual. This is a top-down authorization for government authority.

    The former you can change by appeal, the latter you cannot. That’s why theocracies are tyrannies. And this is the identical danger of tyranny we see come to fruition when Xian love crosses the boundary between private submission (the secular value of freedom of religion) and public enforcement: the rights of the individual are subjugated in the name of divine authority called ‘love’. Such ‘love’ causes harm, suffering and even death.

  25. “Xian faith adds another ‘further’ level to this picture and says that if the same rapist also comes to a place of both a) authentically repenting of his crime as being contrary to God’s desire/will, and b) genuinely receives forgiveness offered through Christ and announced/mediated by the Church, then he is even more likely to re-offend.”

    “authentic Xian faith and community adds to (and sharpens) any existing motivations for good that they had, such that they, as you say, act from both motivation A and motivation B, and do C more than they did without their Xian faith.”

    What you’re saying is “I can’t support these claims, they’re just what I believe to be true, to be the case, as part of my Xian faith”.

    “This hardly makes their uniquely Xian ‘superfluous’, any more than a sharpener is to a knife.”

    Oh agreed! For these people I say “Please, for the love of all things holy, remain a Christian if that’s what’s stopping you running rampant in the streets.”

    But do you see how faith in Christianity doesn’t have any objective necessity in this life? Like for example, oxygen does have objective necessity. Faith in Christianity is only subjectively necessary to those who would be terrible people without it.

    So again I ask you – whom do you think is better? Those who can be good sharp loving knives in society regardless of Christian faith? Or those who need Christian faith to sharpen their otherwise blunt love knives?

    I honestly don’t think you’d be a blunt love knife without Jesus. So why do you hold to what would be (if I’m right about you not being blunt without Jesus, which I think I am) a superfluous motivation for you??

  26. Tildeb,
    Spoken like a true Western democratic individual. :P

    Secular governments are not bottom (democratic) up by default – some have been quite top-down. You may say these were ideologically driven, but that’s the point – secularism is an ideology too. Some ideas are good others aren’t. No person and no government is exempt. Ideas have to be worked with, discussed, debated and interpreted.

    And in my interpretation of Xianity (at least I know I’m interpreting it!!), it cannot be a Xian government and still seek a top-down power, for Jesus taught his followers to lead with a towel and basin and not as the ‘rulers of the Gentiles who lord it over’ one another. Sure, we see all authority as sourced in God and Christ, but ‘on the ground’ it expresses itself in suffering, self-giving love. Distortions of this abound, just as distortions of ‘democracy’ abound. This has nothing to do with what those who founded Xianity (or democracy) intended however.

    Ryan,

    What you’re saying is “I can’t support these claims, they’re just what I believe to be true, to be the case, as part of my Xian faith”.

    Yes, I’m admitting defeat Ryan. You win. Take a victory lap. Champagne all around.

    The ‘sharp knife’ image is only shifting the language for what makes a ‘good human’ or ‘fully human’. For Xian faith, Christ is the perfectly sharp knife, the true human. Some are more blunt than others, but we all need to be sharpened more & more, moment by moment.

    So the claim is not simplistic: “Xians are all razor sharp and never do anything wrong! …and Non-Xians are all blunt as killers!” Rather, the claim is that Jesus is the reference point for genuine humanity, and that by following him and finding forgiveness in him, we are nourished and ‘sharpened’. So it’s not about whether or not I’d be a murderer or rapist if I wasn’t Xian, but rather about am I (or any individual) better as a Xian than not. I suggest that if anyone is worse off with Xianity, than it can’t be genuine Xianity they are being shaped by.

    (p.s. – do you know of a WordPress plug-in that limits comments-per-day? I have a friend who has too much time, and I find it hard to resist the temptation to reply quickly! :P)

  27. Again with the aloof ‘victory lap’ call? Really?

    I simply asked you to support (give evidence/reasons for believing) the claim/s that:

    – “authentic love of (and from) God makes the person a better lover of others.”
    – “the divine/ultimate level takes it even further.”

    Instead you opted to expand the claims a little but still with no support. You said: “Xian faith adds another ‘further’ level to this picture and says that if the same rapist also comes to a place of both a) authentically repenting of his crime as being contrary to God’s desire/will, and b) genuinely receives forgiveness offered through Christ and announced/mediated by the Church, then he is even more likely to re-offend.”

    You’re just telling me ‘what’ without telling me ‘why’ again. So I inferred that you just believe this to be true because it’s part of the/your Xian faith. If I’m wrong about that then show me. Ease off describing ‘what’ it is you believe and start telling me the reasons ‘why’.

    One last time so we’re clear – all I’m asking is that you tell me why/what reasons/what your base is for claiming these things to be true. You don’t need to keep reiterating or expanding what it is you/a Christian believes. I know these things. 20 years, remember.

    “For Xian faith, Christ is the perfectly sharp knife, the true human.”

    “the claim is that Jesus is the reference point for genuine humanity, and that by following him and finding forgiveness in him, we are nourished and ‘sharpened’.”

    Yes… I know this is what you claim/believe but again… this is just that – another claim – with no evidence.. (what’s worse, there’s evidence to the contrary, like tildeb was talking about)

    I want to know whhyyyy Dale, WHHHYYY. :D

    “I suggest that if anyone is worse off with Xianity, than it can’t be genuine Xianity they are being shaped by.”

    No True Scotsman to boot. You’re kicking goals over here!

    p.s. Utilize your Xian faith and motivate yourself to exercise some self-control man..!

  28. re victory lap – as long as you keep annoying me with victory-claiming tone (“So what you’re saying is, I can’t…”) instead of stating how you see it (“I don’t yet see or understand how you support…”), I’m likely to keep annoying you with these jabs :P

    So… allow me to clarify just what thing I’m saying you want ‘support’ for.

    In responding to your assertion that because a) non Xians can ‘do good stuff’, therefore b) Xian faith is superfluous, I am presenting my understanding (the ‘what’) of how authentic Xian faith, relationship & community (among other things) makes both miserable non-Xians and vastly-less-miserable(-and-commonly-called-‘good’) non-Xians more human > more like Jesus.

    SO… are you wanting me to ‘support’ why I believe folk are actually made better? I’ve seen it. Experience. Just as I’ve seen distortions of Xian faith make people worse, I and countless others have seen people regularly become better lovers of others. Not controversial.

    OR… are you wanting ‘support’ for why I believe that it is specifically Jesus-shaped Xian faith that makes them better? I assume that this question would be based on the apparent experience that non-Xian folk are also made better via non-Xian faith. This is where Wesley’s understanding of ‘common grace’ comes in. The basic idea is that God is not stingy with his gifts or goodness, but that there are gifts and goods that flow to those outside of the household of faith. So yes, because the God I believe in is the One, universal, Ultimate Lord of all things, then it follows that everything from the good hugs Osama Bin Laden probably gave his kids (thus making them ever so much a little better than they would have been without them), to the good ‘secular’ psychotherapy that helps folk understand their emotional interior selves falls within this understanding of ‘common grace’. Ultimate freedom, full human-ness (never attained in this life by anyone), however, comes through ‘saving grace’ through Xian faith and repentance, and we hold that both actual forgiveness of sins against God/others/self and knowledge of this forgiveness brings a level of freedom and fully forgiven human-ness that cannot be attained without it. This, too, is freely offered for all, so God is not ‘stingy’ with this either – but the gift must be received. And this brings us to the in-house debate over ppl who have not heard, etc.; which I take an ‘inclusivist’ position on. But let’s at least keep to the original tangent you lead us down, eh? :)

  29. It’s not victory claiming tone lol. I’m just trying to sift through the chaff and get clarification.

    It was the second one I was meaning – what you said after “OR…”.

    Everything you said about ‘common grace’ – my response is “so why be Christian?” which takes us to your spiel on ‘saving grace’.

    “Ultimate freedom, full human-ness (never attained in this life by anyone)”

    While I can grant that ‘ultimate freedom’, however that might be conceptualized (plethora of ways) could well and truly be unattainable – I take semantic issue with ‘full human-ness’.

    You and I are both fully human. A human or homo sapien is simply any member of the only extant species of the genus Homo. That’s it.

    So what I’m assuming you meant by ‘fully human’ is ‘the best and most morally perfect of any species’. This view raises problems as in the big picture (like that minutephysics video I linked you today) humans haven’t been around long and more importantly aren’t the penultimate of all species. We are another stepping stone in the evolution of life (on our planet). So to propose that there is an ideal state of ‘full human-ness’ to be achieved (let alone in another life) rings ridiculous bells to me.

    “we hold that both actual forgiveness of sins against God/others/self and knowledge of this forgiveness…”

    I’d scratch ‘knowledge’ and insert ‘belief’.

    “…brings a level of freedom and fully forgiven human-ness that cannot be attained without it.”

    I hope you’re still referring to the afterlife? Cos, like I’ve said, there’s certainly no greater degree of fully forgiven human-ness for the Christian over the non-Christian that is observable in this life.

  30. Clearly I’m not talking biology but theology, so species membership (you are right to assume) has nothing to do with it. Yes, ‘full’ human-ness implies that there is such a thing as ‘less-than-full’ human-ness. In Christian Anthropology, it is often framed relationally – relationship to God, neighbour and self. So a full human (i.e. Jesus) is fully related to God, neighbour and self. Again, psychology has some resonance (barring the God relationship) here, it just uses different terminology.

  31. And barring the God relationship, healthy relationships between neighbors and self are well within the realm of being attainable in this life..

  32. Lol of course. Perfect relationships, a perfect moral world, etc. it’s purely the stuff of fantasies and dreams. I’m the one here that can admit that.

    My point again is that being a Christian doesn’t actually achieve a higher state of goodness or ‘healthiness’ in a human’s 80 odd years anymore than not being a Christian does. There’s nothing objectively better about being a Christian (except maybe in a closed militant Christian extremist society where your value is life and your goal is survival). It’s purely subjective. For some people, Christianity will make them better people. Others don’t require the supernatural aspect to persuade them to do good.

  33. You’re flattening it out again, my claim is not that every Xian is better than every non-Xian, but that any specific/individual person will be made more human, more like Jesus, through being transformed/sharpened by authentic Xian forgiveness and community.

  34. “my claim is…that any specific/individual person will be made more human, more like Jesus, through being transformed/sharpened by authentic Xian forgiveness and community.”

    that’s a faith claim about the unknowable afterlife. Agreed?

  35. The only word you need to change is “any” to “some”.

    I know plenty of never-Christians who are more pleasant, more loving, selfless, etc. than people who have become Christians. I also know non-Christians who are better people now that they are no longer Christian!

    But I suspect a No True Scotsman on the way..

  36. You rightly anticipate my focus on authentic/genuine (indeed, ‘true’) Xian faith, community, etc. Mind you, the criteria for being a true Scotsman are a bit more vague than that for being a more fully human person (in the Xian sense – relation to God, others, self)

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