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Benjamin-Newton Really Mobile: Who Should I Follow and What Should I Do?
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The point of my writing, other than supporting those who already feel the same as idea, like people with similar experiences might, I encourage people to think critically. I see this as the chief aim, of at least my studies of philosophy. Critical thinking might sound like a buzz word, but all it means, as I use it, is to not just believe everything anyone else tells you. If you hear from a friend, a website, a TV show, a sermon, or whatever I encourage you to not just take what is said at face value.
We are all worried about financial scams and risky financial investments, but there are also things to avoid in terms of belief systems and individual beliefs. For one thing, I think it is perfectly reasonable and almost always necessary to not accept every single belief of any belief system. God is infallible, but people aren't. God knows everything about your situation, but people don't. Whenever you read something that isn't scripture, it is an interpretation of the source of your faith.
Even in Christianity, other than salvation and general rules, there are a wide range of different ways to understand, believe, and live your life for God. Most importantly, you need to find a way to serve God and be happy at the same time. It is worth doing almost anything to get to that point. Dying for God is great, but living for Him is greater. Christianity is supposed to be a lighter burden, than living for ourselves and money, so do not give up joy in service of your God.
Ultimately, I think most people can agree that ethics is about doing what is best for everyone, including you, in the long term. People sin (or do immoral things) because they are fun, but the consequences later on are not fun. The consequences cause most of the pain we experience in life.
Many people like to drink alcohol in excess, but the next day feel lousy. People have sex with different people without protection and then find they have a disease that they may or not be able to get rid of. People get a huge bunch of things on credit and then have to pay for it (literally) for years on end. You eat the wrong foods or not enough of the right ones and you have worse health later on in life.
Many people believe that the Bible is about sacrifice, but it is really about following God's rules (obedience). God's rules are designed to make us happier in the long run. Following God is rational because you suffer less, by following Him, than by not following Him.
I am all for minimizing pain in life, and it is hard to see in the Bible but the Bible subtly does answer this question: accept God's free gift of salvation, follow Gods rules, learn how to live wisely, let God make you a better person, choose to grow and treat others better, and become an example for other believers.
For some reason God lets us have a huge amount of freedom, to run our societies how we want to and many people suffer because of this. God constantly intervenes to help, but why does He allow this freedom, in the first place? I think this can be understood better with the analogy of sin or breaking God's rules, as similar conceptually, to overcoming addictions.
In addiction counseling, people debate over whether or not addiction is a disease that you need others to intervene and cure you of and the other side that says you are addicted because you choose to be and until you find it within yourself to say no, your life will only get worse. This is another paradox: both are true. While God gives us the strength to say no to what hurts us in the long run, we must continually choose and not give up on the path to recovery.
The important thing to remember, that will guide you, as to when you should follow what others say and when you should not is first your conscience, second your common sense, and third reflection, reading, and talking to others you respect. Ultimately, what makes you happy in the long term is usually the right things to do. The concept of delayed gratification is hard to accept, for many of us, but having discipline, even in a fragile and weary state, can be one of the critical thing, that brings you up.
Although God does not want us to suffer continually in life, we should work to help reduce the suffering of others. This should lift us up emotionally and help us get perspective beyond our circumstances. Hard work and making good choices is a healthy way to live and the biggest way to reduce your pain, that you have control over. Be creative and enjoy life, but do not forget to be responsible and wise: you do not have to choose between the two.
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