Re: Our discussion of The Four Horsemen: Hour 1 of 2
The issue is framed wrongly on so many levels. If you meet a person who thinks they are trying to live a good life in order to avoid supernatural punishment and receive supernatural reward, they are confused about their own religion. The confusion even appears in Paul's letters, but it is still wrong.
Suppose I told a member of the Communist Party, or a Humanist, or a Buddhist, that they were wasting their life chasing a myth. (The HorseMen even approach that issue in the dialog.) The person thus accosted would probably say, "What are you talking about? This is how I think life should be lived. This is what I think makes life meaningful and worthwhile. Why would I ever consider it a waste?" And so it is with a thoughtful Christian or Jew.
The thought of one of these HorseMen feeling regretfully obligated to inform religious people that they are wasting their lives is rather comical, I must say. If they really had any concern, they would consider approaching the question from within the framework the religious people use to orient their lives, and look at the words of Jesus, for example, to help the person understand. "Go and learn what it means when God says, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice' ". "Nothing you eat can make you unclean. What you think and what you say can defile you, though." "What will it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose their soul?" There are excellent passages from Paul as well that make the point: we seek inner transformation, not external reward.
The standard evangelical version of this idea is that we do not accept God's way as a matter of "fire insurance". There is plenty of twisted doctrine out there, with a long history, all about manipulating people so they will behave better. (Much of it amounts to precisely what Jesus objected to: rules aimed at others out of a sense of self-righteousness). But there is also plenty of common sense understanding that following (much less believing) just for the reward is fake following.
I am not too worried about the rudeness on either side. I mean, having a sense of rudeness is valuable, as it helps us to see the world from the point of view of others. On the other hand, I have no compunction about setting the record straight on Global Warming if someone has ignorant things to say about it. Rude? Maybe, but that's a secondary issue. Makes a difference? Who knows, but silence gives consent.
Yes, when faced with an absolutist about supernatural revelation in the Bible, that sort of question probably makes sense. I have been known to give Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses a hard time when they ring my doorbell. I don't try to persuade non-believers of my frame of reference, but I do try to exemplify the qualities I seek to cultivate.
Yes, I think labeling people as delusional is probably not helpful to anyone, including the labeler. Some people are delusional, of course, including some religious people, but the willingness to endorse dubious propositions about the nature of reality for the sake of solidarity, especially solidarity for the sake of gentle and nurturing values, is probably not in the same category of mental phenomena. Yuval Noah Harari is good on this in a recent New York Times piece.https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/24/opin ... truth.html
Not sure what you meant in that last sentence, but the inability to make the simple distinction between believers in mythology and terrorists does indicate a position adopted for rhetorical purposes, which when you think about it is pretty much what the HorseMen are attacking.