Strata of Christian Belief - Strata 1 - Assumptions about being and the whole field of ontology & CONCLUSION.
" Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever"
The answer is totally reliant on material from the upper strata and not at all self-evident or proven by empirical science. It subjectively assumes the existence of God, a human relationship with God and communication with God.
In Acts 17:28 a pagan poet is quoted by Paul which states "in him we live and move and have our being". The quote originally referenced Zeus but Paul reinterprets it to mean his God.
In what do we "live and move and have our being"? Part of the answer is given by science. We live and move and have our being" in the laws of science. Some call it Nature. It includes mathematics and perhaps can be part of knowing the "mind of God" as Paul Davies suggest. This is not "living and moving and having our being" in dead Jewish peasant - Jesus of Nazareth - for which there is absolutely no empirical evidence. It has nothing of a "personal relationship" with a supernatural being that communicates in understandable propositions.
Why are we here? What gives us meaning in our existence? Is the meaning part of nature or nurture? Are we born with constructed meaning or do we construct our own meaning? Are there any objective criteria in such a construction and how does that relate to the subjective assumptions of Chrstianity?
Christians say that every human is born with "original sin" and is intrinsically evil as a result of subjective intepretation of bible verses that speak about a "Fall" from God's grace by Adam and Eve who are subjectively assumed to be the parents of all humans. It is also subjectively assumed through interpretation of bible verses that this sin can be passed down and inherited by all their offspring for ever and ever, Amen. As of the present time no scientist has found the "original sin" strand in any DNA.
The strata are evidence of subjective choices from beginnng to end. Thousands of subjective choices. These subjective choices inform or are reliant upon strata above and below. One wrong choice in the chain and the reliant choices are totally invalid and thus the conclusion is invalid. It is precisely that the independently verifiable base is missing from Christianity despite claims to the contrary theologians and clergy. The top strata of dogmas, bible, God, Jesus and the human response to such are all spoken about as though they were objective truths by the vast majority of clergy and Christians yet they are nothing but subjective assumptions. At every step subjective assumptions are made that have no bearing in empirical science or history. The strata are a short history of those subjective assumptions.
One cannot hold that the subjective assumptions are indeed subjective and in the next breath give a sermon which speaks of the same subjective assumptions as objective truths to be believed and followd. That is hypocrisy.
Christian proselytise on the basis of subjective assumptions about bible verses without grounding in empirical evidence.
"we live and move and have our being" in something. Some call that God. It is perhaps better to explore that Ground of all being rather than make subjective assumptions about it based upon bible verses. It is a "Mysterium Tremendum Et Facinens"- fearful and fascinating mystery - a Latin phrase which Rudolf Otto uses in The Idea of the Holy. An infinite God is beyond knowing in totality by any finite human or group of finte humans. An infinite God is both utterly transcendent and thus ultimately unknowable yet at the same time immanent and closer than your own thoughts. The human finite Jesus of Nazareth can never be such an infinite God. Any time the infinite reduces itself to the finite it annihilates itself. It is a mathematical proof.
This is a beginning of a journey. Continue the journey. There is no endpoint in this lifetime.