thoughts and theology, do they matter? | INFJ Forum

thoughts and theology, do they matter?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Barnabas, Sep 12, 2010.

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  1. Barnabas

    Barnabas Time Lord

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    simple and complicated, no?

    we're generally taught that we should judge people by their deeds, or as Jesus would put it "by their fruit".

    it reminds me of a debate that me and Satya had a while back, one of his statements didn't sit right with me "it doesn't matter what people believe, only what they do". It makes sense when you read it right? But there was something nagging me about this, it lead me to question why beliefs and theology matter at all. What does it matter if someone believes that Jesus is the Christ, son of the living God if he or she commits all kinds of evil? Scripture like "does not even Satan believe" kept creeping into my head.

    It hit me the other morning like a sack of bricks, it was indeed absurdly obvious. Our thoughts and beliefs directly influence our actions.

    If our thoughts direct our action then our beliefs our theology must direct our faith. A weak theology, a weak conception of God leads to a weak faith, an overbearing theology leads to an overbearing faith.

    If people are judging us by our actions and our actions are driven by our theology then it is true that people are judging us by our theology. So if we judge a person by his actions it is no good to change his behavior but instead his thoughts and for Christians our theology.


    what do you think, are thoughts and theology important? or actions the only things of value?


     
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  2. Tulip

    Tulip Community Member

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    Thoughts do direct actions. However, underlying motives need to be taken into account when looking at their deeds. Why do people do what they do?

    Evil things cannot come from a good heart but good things do not necessarily come from a good heart.

    When people do good, do they do it out of love of others? Or just to give off a good impression? Or looking to be rewarded? Or to be praised? Or because of social pressure?


    Unfortunately, actions do not necessarily match a person's values, regardless of the person's beliefs and theology.


    Deeds sometimes can be good telling of a person's spiritual life though.

    :m093:
     
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    #2 Tulip, Sep 12, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  3. Stu

    Stu Town Drunkard
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    it is a chicken and egg loop. Most folks have thoughts and beliefs to justify their actions.
     
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  4. jyrffw54

    jyrffw54 שכינה עוֹלֶה

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    Assuming you are speaking of Christianity,one can do all of the good deeds they want, but if they don't have faith, If they don't have Christ in their heart, then such deeds don't matter. In other words, it's not a religion. it's a relationship

    Or in secular terms, One can do all the goods, be kind to a person, but if they are not on good terms, then it doesn't matter.

    Does that make sense?
     
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  5. ~jet

    ~jet Director of Space Exploration

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    Are you including everything in theology? Even a-theology? I just ask because in my life I've known good natured christians and really really evil terrible awful christians... and atheistic people who are manipulative and cruel and atheistic people who are the most giving, wonderful, selfless supposedly jesus-esque people I could ever know. I'm just not sure if theology is the critical element in this equation. (no offense intended.)
     
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  6. KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    Active intent is all that matters, I think. Not being able to perceive intent directly, we fall to actions, but ultimately the judge of our character is what we attempt to do. Notice I said active intent. If someone wants to be a good person, but gives in to evil impulses, that person is no more clean than the person who never held such a passive intent in the first place.

    I believe that if God is a judge, God would judge by the essence of our character, not by what we did or even what we believed. Though I'm probably projecting by what I believe people should be judged for.
     
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  7. just me

    just me Listening and waiting.

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    "it doesn't matter what people believe, only what they do". Don't let that confuse you. If it only mattered what people do, that would negate religion and faith altogether.

    "we're generally taught that we should judge people by their deeds, or as Jesus would put it "by their fruit"."
    ...and be careful to judge not, lest ye also be judged. We are told we can tell the tree from the fruit it bears.
    It says to judge this: that no man lay a stumblingblock or rock of offense for another.

    Men cannot walk their theology without falling short. Shall we judge men(and women for those not accustomed to the way I write) for their steps in life without taking into account their mere human frailties? We should all be lost, save One.

    Should we speak of ourselves too highly? It is written, "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world."

    If the branches and fruits boast of themselves, where does that place the tree that bears them? And what of the roots?
     
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  8. Lerxst

    Lerxst Well-known member

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    As Thich Nhat Han said, "I think therefore, I am not"

    Too much time spent thinking, means not enough time spent doing. You can sit and meditate 24 hours a day and that may ease your mind, but will it make you a better person?

    Thinking just acts as a foundation to build off of, it's not the final step. And acting without thinking is just as dangerous. How many wars would have been fought if the people consciously thought about the possible consequences?

    There doesn't always have to be one right and one wrong way. Thinking in terms like that only lead to the state of our society as it is now (Bi-partisan politics, Pro-Life/Pro Choice, Anti Immigration, Animal Rights, etc.) Realizing they both have value and blending the two (Yes, I need to think in order to act, therefore they are both equally important) is the only answer that can really be considered and transcend the state of "right" and "wrong".

    Anything less than that and we'll spend the rest of eternity just chasing our own tail.
     
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  9. The Jester

    No, their actions do matter.
    So if I'd provide everyone in the world shelter, that deed would not matter because I don't believe in the christian god?

    That's why I don't like religion. It blindfolds you.
    You have you eyes focused on heaven so much that you can't see and intervene in the real world.

    So yeah, you praise the all-loving God and w/e, but what good deeds have you done?
     
  10. Saru Inc

    Saru Inc Schrödinger's Pussy
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    Oh god, you ARE an infj. (Me too! )

    Barnabas, I whole heartedly agree haha. I was reading your post saying "wow thats a very good question" and then when I read your epiphany I had the biggest herp derp moment of all time. Thoughts do directly influence your actions.

    Now I don't necessarily agree with the Bible on the verse stating they perform evil because of evil in their hearts. Or maybe I just need some help understanding it. If someone performs an evil action, does that mean they are consumed by evil, or just lost control? I don't mean stealing a cookie kind of sin. But if someone is a good loving God following Christian, who's spouse is murdered, and in blind rage he performs one of the greatest evils, in taking a life. Does that mean he always was evil? Your thoughts? I take that verse as saying if someone commits a great evil, then the evil had to not only always be there (which it is, due to original sin) but that it always had to overrun the good.




    Take a look at all the thousands of Christian ministries, orphanages, life giving facilities. Now, look at all the Atheist ones. Including Margaret Sangers baby butcher shop. (And I'm pro choice.)

    And Atheism blinds you just as much as Christianity does. Which is incremental. I intervene and see the world as it is, just as much as you do Jester. I don't have my eyes focused on heaven anymore than I focus on the people around me. Or could it be theorized you do not like Religion because it tells you what to do?
     
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    #10 Saru Inc, Sep 21, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  11. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    Any undertaking is judged fundamentally by its purpose or goal.

    For any life to lead well two foundational things are necessary: a good goal; and a good intention (ie. to reach that goal). Put theologically, one cannot live a Christian life, without the goal of attaining the perfect good, which is God himself - this goal is held by Faith; and to live a good Christian life, one needs also desire this goal (Charity) and use the right means to attain it (Hope).

    Many Christians fail in terms of Hope, either through deficiency (despair), or excess (presumption). It is a sin against Hope to think one can be saved without living a good life, without the reception of the sacraments, and without avoiding sin.

    However, it is impossible to have a good Christian undertaking without having a Christian goal - so Faith is the foundation of the Christian life, Hope is the living of the Christian life, and Charity is its perfection.
     
  12. Animekitty

    Animekitty Regular Poster

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    Helping others is worth my efforts regardless of Gods existence. I do what I feel is right. I dislike seeing others suffer.
     
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