Well if youre born lets say in middle of amazon and live your life there without knowing "the Word" (of which ever particular religion) youd still end up in hell? That is one thing I find tiny bit weird. In my opinion, if there's God(s) either he/she/they/it dont mind which ever particular religion you follow or just plain dont care.
I believe we will all be judged for what we do with what we know. Again, your opinion on whether they don't mind or don't care has no bearing on the matter if it happens to be true.
I feel that is pretty big if there. Just feels...too petty to me. Talking about faith, i dont want to believe in petty God(s). But is ofcourse just my opinion and everyone is free to their own.
For example daily praying to any God(s) - i feel that sort of thing may make person think about some deep question and -perhaps- make the person that way more better. But I dont feel that daily praying (or any other ritual) is automatically any sort of free card to heaven.
-> Especially when you start to think about the usual "good boys go to heaven and bad boys go to hell" thing - I mean what is good and what is evil in the first place? Depending wether you live 2000bc, year 0 or 2000ad - there are plenty opinions even in the same region and religion, never mind the differences with cultures.
Is it conceivable to you that someone torturing their babies for fun could ever make it off the evil list? If there is an objective moral standard according to God's nature, then our differing opinions matter only as far as they measure up to that standard. On the other hand, if there is no standard, then we have no moral grounds by which to judge torturing their babies as abhorrent. We have our opinion and they have theirs, and if no one has the might to stop them, then they are right.
I am not confident enough to judge any one on "universal level". I have my own opinions and standards, but I am well aware that my standards simply wont make it on certain parts of world. Objective moral standard might be cool and very assuring to have - just havent seen any better than "Do more good than evil"....But I cant really define what is good and what is evil.
Also, are we to be judged for our deeds or our intents?
Talking about that torturing babies is evil, then is it evil to abort baby? What if mothers health is in danger, does it make difference? Was aztec human sacrifice evil, if they thought it to be necessary to keep world continuing (I have faint memory of it perhaps having something to do with sustaining solar/lunar cycle)?
I understand the need of many people to look for some holy book or prophet to explain them in absolute terms how to do and how not to do, but cant bring myself to believe in it. Too detailed, too singular - should there be some kind of divine über law I highly doubt it could be put in a book or teached by words alone.
Love your neighbors as yourselves. The rest of moral code is more or less just spelling that out.
"You want to learn a great deal quickly, don't you? Very well, I shall teach you the Torah while you stand on one foot. This is our Holy Torah: 'What is hateful to you, do not do unto others.'" -Hillel
A random quote I just happened to remember - Now if the religious authorities could keep this kind of thinking in their mind more often...
Anyway, I am not totally convinced that the possible God would have any sort of personality or even be self conscious entity. Certainly if that was a case, think what sort of being omnipotent personality would be? The God would propably have to know and sense anything and everything in the universe - that would lead my thoughts on to pretty deterministic path. ...and unbending fate and destiny are something I dont believe - would be damn boring for the God too ;)
The Bible details interactions between God and man, so that would help you to understand His personality. You may be interested in reading about Molinism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molinism
Although some claim otherwise, I believe all the holy writings to be written by men or women. Which, like I mentioned earlier - is good food for thought, but which I also cannot take as literal Word from God(s).
Sure it would be pretty convincing to have either stone tablet or email or two from "up there" - Ive never got one. Thus like i mention waaaaaay back, I believe this sort of thing should be discovered on more personal level, through personal insight - instead of just taking someone elses word for it.
Who knows - maybe someone someone did get a fax from God, but how am I to know it? Even if the person walks to me on street and tells me "Hey I just got fax from God!" - well, there are also plenty other people trying to "sell" you their own religious views every single day just the same way. Could I really be expected to pick "the right one" on the street from all the possibilities thrown at you on daily basis?
...which leads me to boring recap: Should there be omnipotent God(s) that is present everywhere - then I feel ill go less wrong by trying to discover his/her/its nature by myself, instead of picking one of the precanned products on the shelve.
Ano no, i dont believe this is cocky or arrogant in the slightest.
Thanks for the link btw, ill check it out later.