Monday, August 18, 2008

Worldview Challenge Question

Let's put worldviews to the test. How does a human life gain value? If we are simply evolved animals, is a human life worth no more than the life of a cow? Or do our cognitive abilities rank us as more valuable? If so, is a dolphin then more valuable than a lamb? How about an insect, it’s a living thing. Does it have rights to life? How is it that squashing an insect does not invoke the same moral outrage as ending the life of a human? If the life of a human is priceless and valuable above all other living things, then how did this come about?


The Declaration of Independence declared that all men were created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. The United Nations manifesto grants that mankind has certain intrinsic rights, but omits any reference to them being God given.


If one rejects the Christian worldview that man is created in the image of God and is thus valuable and ought to be treated with dignity and respect then on what principal and standard do we maintain that humans have value?


Please think about this question and comment as to how your worldview answers the question of human value and rights.


20 comments:

Anonymous said...

What value do you get from a genocidal god that decides you are worthy of only hell from the moment you are born?

DB said...

I am confused, are you saying that since man is created in gods image that only christians who believe that can value human life over an animals life? Is that the only reason christians value human life? Christianity is simply one way of looking at life. Hindus and Buddaists value human life too.

Karla said...

DB, I am saying that God gives human life value. (He also tells us to be good stewards of all he has entrusted to us (the earth) so we do value treating animals kindly.) However, human life gains value because God breathed His life into us and He says the we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I am asking people of other worldviews to share their perspective on how humans have value. To you I would ask how atheism provides a foundation for human rights and value? You only challenged what I stated, instead of giving an argument from atheism. You are welcome to challenge the Christian worldview, but what do you replace it with?


To a Buddhist or a Hindu I would ask how their belief system gives foundation for human rights and value?

DB said...

I'm not challenging the Christian worldview, only the premise that it alone can give life value or meaning. Atheists often take a humanist worldview which is a philosophy of living. All I know is that countless people who are not Christian believe life has a value. Hindus, etc value life just as much as Christians (I don't know what their worldview says or is derived from, but I do know from experience that they indeed value life). This leads me to believe that more than one worldview is capable of what you claim, therefore imo it has nothing to do with a creator, but with the philosophy the religion/worldview presents. No "worldview" is better or worse than another if they all reach the same goal of giving life value. There are many ways up the mountain, but they all lead to the top.

Karla said...

"I'm not challenging the Christian worldview, only the premise that it alone can give life value or meaning."

That is part of the package of the Christian worldview, that only God gives meaning and value to human lives. All humans are valuable because God said we were fearfully and wonderfully made. We are distinct from the animals because He breathed life into us from Himself and created us in His image.

"Atheists often take a humanist worldview which is a philosophy of living."

Which says what about how life gains value?

"All I know is that countless people who are not Christian believe life has a value."

Yes but is the foundation of that end rationally line up with the conclusion? Most accept the conclusion, but how we arrived at it is of utmost importance.

"Hindus, etc value life just as much as Christians (I don't know what their worldview says or is derived from, but I do know from experience that they indeed value life). This leads me to believe that more than one worldview is capable of what you claim, therefore imo it has nothing to do with a creator, but with the philosophy the religion/worldview presents."

But does the philosophy support the conclusion? Just because the conclusion is "right" doesn't mean how we arrived at it is correct.

"No "worldview" is better or worse than another if they all reach the same goal of giving life value."

Some extreme moral relativist believe there is no difference between killing a cock roach or a human. Would not that worldview be worse than another? If so by what other worldview do we judge that this worldview is worse than the next. They cannot all be equal they all have different truth claims and some are more adequate than others, but to judge any as better or worse their must be something objective beyond them that we use to measure them. Or else you are just as comfortable with a person who values human life as with a cannibal that does not.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
Once again you seem to be under the incorrect impression that something has to either come from god or else it is worthless/of no value/etc. Either we have value because it comes from god, or no value can be had. Either we get justice from god or no justice can be had. Either we get goodness from god or no goodness can be had. Either we get morality from god or no morality can be had. The problem is that all of these things are simply not true. Apart from Euthyphro's dilemma (which works pretty well for most of the things on that list) there's no logical necessity that all these things must come from some source external to the universe. As humans, we create our own value systems using our cognitive abilities. We value other human lives due to the fact that we have evolved to do so.

Besides, the whole premise behind your question is a red herring. As I asked before, what value do you actually get from god? Simply because you believe god created us doesn't give us value. There is no inherent value obtained by that action. You can't simply assume your conclusion and then challenge all others to explain themselves while you are unwilling to actually formulate a logical argument for your beliefs.

Karla said...

I'm really just wanting to effectuate dialog between our different worldviews and that cannot happen if people don't share from their worldview. So I ask again to anyone and everyone how does it come to be from your worldview?

Anonymous said...

So, you are insisting that we answer your question while being unwilling to put forth your own argument? That doesn't seem right. You can't simply assume that your worldview has an answer to this problem and then also expect all of us to simply play along as if you do have an answer. You have to show that you have an answer.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Hi Karla,

Your opening sentence "Let's put worldviews to the test." makes this a competition and invites antagonists. Perhaps an opening statement like "This is my worldview, this is what I feel gives human life meaning. What do you think?" might have been better. Of course, you may have gotten the responses you wanted. Who am I to judge? :-)

Most have an emotional response to questions like this, especially this one. I believe we as humans hold human life above what some might see as non sentient life, because we love our own most, that and we can have conversations with each other. If you could talk to a cow, you'd probably be less likely to want to eat steak, even if the cow wasn't made in God's image. ;-)

Christianity and other religions give one a moral focal point. Some proponents of each religion either are drawn to them because they share values with that belief system and want something to strengthen their values. Others aren't sure what they believe, but are seeking some sort of moral compass and thus end up in a religion.

Atheism offers none of that, though various communities of atheists may end up with similar beliefs. More than likely you would get 10 different answers if you asked 10 different atheists.

I have Christian friends who are pet owners and they love their pets as much as they love humans. They would be equally appalled if someone were to harm a pet or a human loved one. What makes them love the pet and revere it's life as much as a humans? They know the pet wasn't made in God's image.

DB said...

So, unless my "worldview" comes from a creator, it is has no value? Can I not be ethical and moral without believing in a god? Without believing in god am I unable to treat other humans with dignity and respect? You may want to "test" yours and others worldviews, but I don't see them as competing if the goal is the same. You value life, as do I, and many other religions.

Karla said...

I was including that my own worldview be put to the test. It is not exempt from examination and critique. I just wanted to hear others view points. I did give my own. I just want to know what others think too. I can read all kinds of books telling me about other religions and beliefs, but I want to hear from real people what they believe and why. I want to foster exchange between ideas in attempts at growing toward truth in each of our paths.

I think an atheist worldview is as much a claim to exclusive truth as the Christian worldview or the Islamic or Hindu or what have you. We all make truth claims and if we didn't think it was true we wouldn't be believing that way. So I just want to hear from other people. I want to hear an apologetic for their worldview.

Sure I have no problem putting mine on the table amongst the others, and I think I have done so. I am uncertain why people are so reluctant to share there's?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"I think an atheist worldview is as much a claim to exclusive truth as the Christian worldview or the Islamic or Hindu or what have you."

Some atheist worldviews, perhaps, but few make a claim to have absolute truth the way a lot of religious folks do.

Regarding worldviews: "I am uncertain why people are so reluctant to share there's?"

I think that part of the difficulty is that atheists don't have any one thing to point to as a moral anchor. Christians can say that their values come from God via the bible. We can't always say "I believe X because of Y."

Why do I value human life? Because I always have. Even before I was a Christian I valued human life. I never even wanted to fight the occasional bully I ran into, not because I was afraid for myself, but because I didn't want to hurt them. That was one of the things that made my coming out as an atheist so difficult, because I knew I would hurt some of my loved ones.

Karla said...

Thanks Mike!

Vicki G. said...

Karla, I love reading your posts and all of the comments. By the way I tagged you on my recent post. Check my page.

Anonymous said...

"I was including that my own worldview be put to the test. It is not exempt from examination and critique."

OK, then you might want to answer the question: what value do you get from god and how?

Karla said...

Speaking from the Christian worldview, God gives life value. He created us with value. He says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. That He knit us together in our mothers womb. A sparrow does not fall from the sky without Him knowing. He is our Creator and He stamped His likeness upon us. Each person is precious to Him. Jesus told us to love one another and to be kind to those who are unkind to us. To do good to those who mistreat us. To love even our enemies. He said that if we hate our brother we don't know Him because He is love and if He is apart of us we will show His love.

JayBird said...

Great work Carla!

Aaron said...

A natural neural network cannot have a world view. It can only have a network centric view of the world. How the world is viewed through the input devices on the body, is purly the variances in our position and history.

No two Natural Neural Networks can experience the exactly same thing. Through variance, communication and negotiation we work together to explain our world view as seen from the Natural Neural Network of the organism to others.

Our arrogance that our Natural Neural Networks are better or annointed is preposterous. We are nothing more than bipedal mammals.

What makes me better that my Parrot, other than he is dependant on me for a safe, free from fear life? He does parent/protect all the smaller birds so they are safe, so he thinks. That is 'godly' behavior.

Only when I am humble will I be of benefit to others.

What scares me most is that religous arrogance, 'Christians, Jews, Muslims,... are all willing to KILL for their Information attached to their Natural Neural Networks. Where did Jesus talk about that. Christian Soldiers marching off to war. Sick.

I have tried following other people's belief systems. Christianity, Buddhism,... But that is all they are. Other people's belief systems. For the most part, others are not capable of understanding me, or even able to communicate with me. Why would I follow their non-intelligent, contridictory, inflammatory, belief/story/history system.

I have a world view. but my world view is open to review. You can show me where I am wrong. I will evaluate your discussion into my world view. Then I will evaluate my world view with the new information.

http://aaronsreality.blogspot.com

Aaron

Anonymous said...

"Speaking from the Christian worldview, God gives life value. He created us with value."

That's what you said before, and it prompted my questions. What value does god give and how does god give us value?

Karla said...

Hi Aaron, thanks for joining us. I enjoyed reading your eloquent response. I have posted my response as a blog post versus a comment so that I had ample room for more detail.

Anonymous, just the same I attempt to address your question in my last blog post. Like I've said before it's the Christian worldview I speak from. I would like to continue to hear others thoughts from their worldview as I respect their line of thinking too.