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Pastafarians not giving up their claim to be a religion

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The claim was recently dismissed by a judge. From Atlas Obscura:

Since its introduction in 2005, the mythology of Pastafarianism has grown to encompass pirates, an afterlife with a beer volcano, and more. There is, of course, a snazzy orientation video to welcome you into the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s noodly arms:

Spaghetti, Wenches & Metaphysics: Episode 1—The FSM from Matt Tillman on Vimeo.

In fact, Pastafarianism is an officially recognized religion in three countries—first in Poland, where it became an officially registered religious community in 2014 thanks to a legal technicality, then in the Netherlands this past January. And just this weekend, New Zealand recognized the first legally-binding Pastafarian wedding, officiated by “minestroni” Karen Martyn. The happy couple were wed in the customary pirate’s garb, and Martyn is ready to perform additional ceremonies for any legally eligible adults, explaining to the BBC, “I’ve had people from Russia, from Germany, from Denmark, from all over contacting me and wanting me to marry them in the church because of our non-discriminatory philosophy.” More.

The underlying purpose may be to bring religion into disrepute by organized silliness.

A central characteristic of traditionally recognized religions, protected by conscience rights, is that, whether one thinks them right or wrong, sensible or silly, people do believe them. One somehow knows that these people do not believe what they say.

The result of successful legal challenges would be to undermine the importance of honest belief and conscience as such in determining cases involving religion.

See also: Wow: Court rules for common sense… Flying Spaghetti Monster not a religion Pastafarianism was so obviously a regional cultural parody, and yet… Maybe it’s instructive that it was a North American judge who figured that one out.

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92 Replies to “Pastafarians not giving up their claim to be a religion

  1. 1

    It would probably be instructive to recall the life of B-grade Sci-Fi writer, L. Ron Hubbard when he invented a new religion, “dianetics”.

    Rumor has it that his attempts to tell everyone it was a mistake, ended up with him being silenced. Starting religions are not for the faint of heart–they are usually far more dangerous than they appear. Why? C.S. Lewis argues in “The Last Battle” and “That Hideous Strength” that religions have a way of eating you. I use the phrase “positive feedback”. You get back much more than you put in, and since you invented the thing yourself, you get a giant-sized version of yourself back.

    I will confidently predict that as soon as popularity leads to real money for Pastafarians, the first “pastafarian homicide” will occur in about 5 years, preceded by some sort of expensive “licensing” of minestronis. Count on it.

  2. 2
    daveS says:

    The underlying purpose may be to bring religion into disrepute by organized silliness.

    A central characteristic of traditionally recognized religions, protected by conscience rights, is that, whether one thinks them right or wrong, sensible or silly, people do believe them. One somehow knows that these people do not believe what they say.

    I think there are several underlying purposes, some more serious than others. In my view, one serious purpose is to challenge the notion of state-recognized religions.

  3. 3
    Aleta says:

    Yes. I sometimes question why something officially deemed a religion gets special considerations, such as not having to pay taxes or having their “sincerely held beliefs” have more weight than sincerely held beliefs that don’t ground themselves in a religion.

    I think this a point that several groups are trying to make.

  4. 4
    Indiana Effigy says:

    DaveS: “I think there are several underlying purposes, some more serious than others. In my view, one serious purpose is to challenge the notion of state-recognized religions.”

    I agree. I don’t like the idea of state recognized religions because that automatically gives them a legitimacy over those that are not recognized. Even the People’s Temple enjoyed tax free status because it was the off-shoot of a state recognized religion.

  5. 5
    News says:

    Commenters at 1 through 4: Recognizing religion has several functions; one is to support conscience rights.

    The Pastafarians probably don’t in fact believe what they say and they aren’t likely to attract anyone who does (Scientology did not originate in a spoof).

    The end result of recognition would be to blur issues of conscience by making it sound ridiculous.

  6. 6
    Aleta says:

    I agree that Pastafarians don’t believe what they say, and am not saying they should be recognized as a religion. I agree they are a spoof.

    What we are saying, I think, is that the issue being brought up is why should any religion, or religion over non-religion, get special rights just by virtue of being “really” religious?

    News says,

    Recognizing religion has several functions; one is to support conscience rights.

    But I also have an equal right to have my “conscience rights” supported, even though I don’t claim them to be derived from some religious source.

  7. 7
    daveS says:

    News,

    Commenters at 1 through 4: Recognizing religion has several functions; one is to support conscience rights.

    In the US, this results in outfits such as the Church of Scientology being awarded tax exemptions. I would prefer that the government just stay out of the business of recognizing religions. Surely we can still protect conscience rights without the government trying to decide whose religious beliefs are sincere.

  8. 8
    EvilSnack says:

    The other thing they could have done is to request that the rights enjoyed by members of state-recognized religions be extended to everybody, regardless of religion. (Most libertarians would love this, since that is precisely what they’ve advocated all along.)

    I notice particularly that the Pastafarians didn’t come up with a religion that requires its adherents to do anything that Western culture’s progressives oppose, such as to bear firearms 24/7 or to refuse to pay taxes.

  9. 9
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Is Rastafarianism a recognized religion?

  10. 10
    Aleta says:

    See the OP – I think it answers your question.

  11. 11
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Aleta: “See the OP – I think it answers your question.”

    I was asking about Rastafarianism, not Pastafarianism.

  12. 12
    Aleta says:

    Ooops! My apologies. I googled this and didn’t see an answer, but I’m interested now.

  13. 13
    daveS says:

    After some googling, I guess I was wrong to refer to “recognition of religions” by the US government. The issue is rather tax exempt status granted to religious organizations by the IRS.

  14. 14
    Aleta says:

    But various states are passing, or at least considering, bills which would give accommodations based on “sincerely held religious beliefs”, so at some point courts might have to address both the question of whether a belief was “religious” as well as whether it was “sincerely held”.

    Some questions occur to me:

    1. If a belief is a standard belief of a religious denomination, is that enough to declare it “sincerely held” by all its members?

    Or, even if so, would a court look into how “sincerely” a particular individual held that belief?

    2. Also, what if an individual claimed a sincerely held religious belief even though it was not a universally supported belief of his church?

    3. And does denomination make a difference? What if different denominations, or even churches within a denomination, take a different stand on a particular situation? Would it be possible for two people to be in a conflict in which both were acting upon their particular sincerely held religious belief?

    These types of questions are one reason, of several, why I don’t believe religious beliefs should have any special legal status.

  15. 15
    EvilSnack says:

    So offer the progressives who are going after religion this: Churches lose their tax exempt status, but aside from fraud, coercion, and violence, the claim of sincerely held religious belief is a full defense against all criminal charges.

  16. 16
    Aleta says:

    But the question is why should a sincerely held religious belief have a special status as opposed to a sincerely held belief on a similar topic that doesn’t claim religious justification?

    To be more specific, why should my sincerely held belief be considered less valid than yours in the eyes of the law just because I claim no religious justification for my belief and you do for yours?

  17. 17
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Aleta @14, I agree that this would be a minefield. For example, what if you lived in a town with a single pharmacy and the pharmacist is Catholic. Your doctor prescribes birth control pills. Can the pharmacist refuse to dispense them because his/her religious belief is opposed to birth control?

  18. 18
    Aleta says:

    IE, I believe (although I don’t a source and might be wrong) there are people who have made that exact claim.

    But here’s the question I am trying to focus on.

    Suppose person A is a Catholic who doesn’t believe in contraceptives and person B is an atheist who also has the sincerely held belief that women should not use contraceptives.

    Should the law support person A because their beliefs are religious, but not support person B because their’s is not religious?

    Again, why should the fact that a belief is religiously based give it a special legal status that a non religiously based belief doesn’t have?

  19. 19
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Aleta: “Should the law support person A because their beliefs are religious, but not support person B because their’s is not religious?”

    The law shouldn’t support either. Religious freedom gives you the right for you to live your life according to your beliefs. It does not allow you to force others to live their lives according to your beliefs.

    Another hypothetical. Should an emergency room physician be able to withhold a transfusion for a patient because it is counter to his religion.

  20. 20
    CLAVDIVS says:

    New Zealand has recognised Pastafarianism for purposes of solemnising weddings:
    http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/.....ns/7332360

  21. 21
    Aleta says:

    I agree with you, IE.

    But I am interested in the opinions of others here who might believe that, as I asked about in 16, that a sincerely held religious belief should get special legal status. My question to them is “why?”.

  22. 22
    Phinehas says:

    I can’t figure out how the government can decide whether something is a religion or not without violating the separation of church and state.

    The same goes for the IRS.

    This makes me think churches shouldn’t have tax exempt status.

    Then again, I’m not sure how the government can decide how much a church ought to pay in taxes without violating the separation of church and state.

    Maybe we could take religion out of the equation by making tax exemption purely about charitable organizations?

  23. 23
    Origenes says:

    Surely we are all very much aware of the fact that all this talk of “should”, “rights”, “laws” and so forth is meaningless to the naturalists on this forum, simply because there is no way that naturalism can ground morality and responsible freedom.

    Dawkins: In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

  24. 24
    daveS says:

    Aleta,

    But the question is why should a sincerely held religious belief have a special status as opposed to a sincerely held belief on a similar topic that doesn’t claim religious justification?

    To be more specific, why should my sincerely held belief be considered less valid than yours in the eyes of the law just because I claim no religious justification for my belief and you do for yours?

    Yeah, I have issues with that too.

  25. 25
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Origenes: “Surely we are all very much aware of the fact that all this talk of “should”, “rights”, “laws” and so forth is meaningless to the naturalists on this forum, simply because there is no way that naturalism can ground morality and responsible freedom.”

    Surely you are not going to get into the IS and OUGHT BS. The only people who believe this are the ones who falsely believe that theists are somehow superior to atheists. Just because KF says it, doesn’t make it so.

  26. 26
    Origenes says:

    Indiana Effigy: Just because KF says it, doesn’t make it so.

    We are in agreement on this, but I have to ask — are you sure that “because I say so” is KF’s argument? You are not just making things up, right?

  27. 27
    Aleta says:

    Origenes writes,

    Surely we are all very much aware of the fact that all this talk of “should”, “rights”, “laws” and so forth is meaningless to the naturalists on this forum, simply because there is no way that naturalism can ground morality and responsible freedom.

    I assumed someone would make this point, and it is irrelevant to this discussion.

    Let me explain why.

    It is not the job of the law to adjudicate whether a religious belief is true or false. There is no legally valid way to do so.

    The argument given above by Origenes is a religious belief. There are others (me, for instance) who believe that it is a false. It is not the job of the law to support Origenes’ religious belief over my non-religious belief that all people, in their own way, have the right and ability to make moral judgments. My rights in this regard are not lessened in the eyes of the law just because I don’t make the claim that my beliefs have a religious justification.

    Arguments that atheists have no moral basis for their judgments are religious arguments, and it is not the job of the law to decide whether those arguments are true are not.

    So the point goes back to the original question: why should sincerely held religious beliefs have special status? Saying that only religiously grounded moral beliefs are justified is circular reasoning because it avoids the question of why that religious belief has special status.

    Origens thinks strongly, and no doubt sincerely, that he is right. I think he is wrong. Our disagreement is philosophical, but it is not relevant to a legal discussion.

  28. 28
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Origenes: @We are in agreement on this, but I have to ask — are you sure that “because I say so” is KF’s argument? You are not just making things up, right?”

    No, KF has plenty of arguments. They usually go along the line of “if you disagree with me you are a troll building straw men soaked in oil of red herring and…blah, blah, blah”. But no, I understand where the IS/OUGHT argument comes from. But, when it is examined in detail, it still never gets beyond “opinion”.

  29. 29
    Origenes says:

    Aleta:

    Origenes: (…) there is no way that naturalism can ground morality and responsible freedom.

    I assumed someone would make this point, and it is irrelevant to this discussion.

    Let me explain why.

    It is not the job of the law to adjudicate whether a religious belief is true or false. There is no legally valid way to do so.

    Unresponsive. Not even wrong. And no, I’m not going to explain it.
    ——–

    Indiana Effigy: KF has plenty of arguments. They usually go along the line of “if you disagree with me you are a troll building straw men soaked in oil of red herring and…blah, blah, blah”.

    How old are you? 12?

  30. 30
    Aleta says:

    Origenes, it is you are avoiding the point. I made no attempt to respond to your assertion because arguing whether you are right are wrong is not relevant in the eyes of the law.

    Your assertion is a religiously based belief, and it is not the job of the law to decide whether a God exists who grounds morality or not.

    You may decide to not try to respond to this point if you wish, but dismissing my point as “not even wrong” is missing entirely the actual point I’m making.

  31. 31
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Origenes: “How old are you? 12?”

    No, but I have read plenty of KF’s posts and the way he responds to any opinion that differs from his. What you quoted there were KF’s words, not mine (except for the blah, blah).

    But you are avoiding the gist of my comment. The entire concept of IS/OUGHT, or that morality can’t exist without God, are nothing more than unsubstantiated opinion. Claiming otherwise is just not supported by anything other than your own belief.

  32. 32
    Aleta says:

    Yes, IE, I am making approximately the same point to Origenes. His belief about no morality without God is based on his belief that there is a God. If there is no God, as I believe, than the foundation for his beliefs is gone, and we are all in the same boat when it comes to morality, which is what I believe.

    And despite Origenes’ and other’s arguments about the existence of God, it is clear that they are not compelling to many, including billions of people who believe in other Gods: his belief is a religious belief which he can hold if he wishes, but it has no weight for others who do not hold the same beliefs.

    That is one reason, among several, why it is unreasonable to give special status to sincerely held religious beliefs over sincerely held beliefs that don’t invoke religion for their justification.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    IE & Origines

    I am busy locally, but passed by a moment.

    I just noticed the attempt to dismiss one of the most profound issues in philosophy, the fact that we find ourselves governed by an inescapable sense of ought. This points to the challenge highlighted in recent centuries by Hume in his guillotine argument, the IS-OUGHT gap.

    I cite:

    In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.

    IE, like far too many new atheists, you are inclined to belittle, trivialise and dismiss worldview level issues and philosophical considerations on them. On evidence, it seems to be by and large a rhetorical tactic to make the consistent want of substance on the part of new atheists seem of no great account.

    But in fact that glib, supercilious, snidely dismissive superficiality is precisely one of the strongest indicators that there is little substance behind the toxic rhetoric and bombast.

    Ought is real, and ought should be grounded.

    There is only one level where such can be found (as the very image suggests): world foundations.

    Is there a serious world-root candidate IS that would adequately ground OUGHT?

    Yes, but it is Him with whom the New Atheists would have nothing to do.

    Namely, the inherently good and wise Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible, freely given service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

    God, the God of ethical theism, and the God of the Judaeo-Christian tradition that is undeniably foundational to our civilisation. God who IS and who grounds OUGHT in inextricable aspects of his nature as necessary, maximally great world root being. That is, OUGHT goes all the way down to the root.

    Not the least of the points of concern here, is that if we are only subjectively aware of a sense of oughtness that has no objective basis beyond might and manipulation make ‘right’ or ‘truth’ etc, then we are subjects of a grand and near-universal delusion. So pervasive and persistent a delusion would bring our rationality in question, leading to collapse of the credibility of the life of the mind.

    Nor does appeal to a moral principle such as the Golden Rule as though it were an axiom solve the problem. For, to love neighbour as self and cherish thus do no harm, implies we OUGHT to do such. It assumes and is rooted in the reality of oughtness, it does not provide a ground for it.

    Fear of retaliation by clans or by state policing agencies or social shunning does not answer either, such are — if treated as foundational — little more than appeals to might and manipulation/ Which opens the door to nihilism.

    Attacking the concept of foundation or rootedness does not help either.

    For first, foundations must be coherent logically and dynamically, and able to bear the super-incumbent weight of what is erected on them. The root of a tree is inter alia its foundation. And what is being pointed to is that knowledge is warranted, credibly true belief.

    So, warrant must be provided leading to a regress from A to B to C etc. Infinite regress being unattainable as endlessness cannot be traversed in finite stage steps, and empty circularity of P => Q and Q => P being futile, we face the issue of finitely remote, worldview grounding first plausibles.

    (None of this is new nor is this unique to me; I am summarising from thousands of years of serious thought. And yes I agree with moderate foundherentism and with the significance of abductive reasoning by inference to best explanation at worldview level. The attempt . . . we can read between the lines IE (and the penumbra of fever swamp attack sites joined to cyber and on the ground stalking speak for themselves) . . . to tag as oh it’s that IDiot from the Caribbean, KF we can point to him, sneer and dismiss fails. Fails in a telling way that reveals thoughts and intents of the heart.)

    The IS-OUGHT gap issue is real, and it can only be addressed at world root level.

    The God of ethical theism is on the table as a serious candidate.

    It is further claimed that this is the best and indeed the only adequate candidate.

    To refute such, simply provide a second serious candidate and then let us address comparative difficulties.

    That has been on the table for months and years.

    That the sort of rhetoric we have been seeing is the resort in reply speaks for itself.

    The challenge remains, answer to the is-ought gap.

    KF

    PS: Aleta, re-labelling serious worldview and world root philosophical considerations as “religion” with the pejorative dismissive tainting that is commonly attached does not change the reality that there is a pivotal philosophical challenge on the table hinged to our inescapably morally governed constitution by nature as responsible, rational human beings. That challenge is to be addressed, and in the context that oughtness is foundational to law, justice and sound community. As we are now beginning to find out the hard way. As a hint, a pivotal point is that God, if he is, is necessary, ontologically connected to the framework for a world being possible or actual. A serious candidate necessary being will therefore either be impossible or else actual in any manifested real world. Atheism therefore pivots on the implicit view that God is an impossible being. A tough row to hoe.

    PPS: A flying spaghetti monster is thus not a serious candidate world root being, being a composite, material entity. In fact, such was put up as a rhetorical parody of God, and its flaws simply point out that this was put up by people who did not bother to do their philosophical homework (and too often dismiss the point that such needs to be done). Pastafarianism, so called, is not a serious candidate to be a religion. Indeed that name echoes the name of Haile Selassie, Ras Tafari [a ducal title], Christian king and Emperor in Ethiopia [which nation proclaimed that Christ is victor], who on realising that there were ill informed people trying to worship him as Messiah, sent Ethiopian Orthodox missionaries to try to gently instruct such.

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    IE,

    As you have been trying to personalise, polarise and dismiss, here is Alinsky in rules for radicals, on what you and your ilk have been doing:

    5] “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

    13] “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

    The trollish, shabby tactics stand exposed sufficiently by contrast with the serious issues on the table.

    If all you have is ad hominem attacks and marxist radical tricks, in reply to a serious world foundations matter that speaks volumes.

    KF

  35. 35
    Origenes says:

    Aleta,

    Aleta: Origenes, it is you are avoiding the point.

    Well, I did not address any particular point you have made. What made you think I did?

    Aleta: I made no attempt to respond to your assertion

    Fine. In post #23 I did not respond to any assertion you have made either.

    Aleta: (…) because arguing whether you are right are wrong is not relevant in the eyes of the law.

    My simple point is that naturalism cannot ground morality, how, indeed, is that relevant to the law?

    Aleta: Your assertion is a religiously based belief (…)

    No it’s not. Naturalism lacks the means to ground morality, irrespective of any belief one may have.

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I should note that — across years — I have been careful to identify typical cases and patterns of fallacious reasoning commonly found among design objectors. That I have been able to show such, repeatedly, now seems to be used as a basis for the strawman tactic, ad hominem laced acusation that my argument is that if you differ you are guilty of red herrings dragged away to strawmen soaked in ad hominem abusive arguments and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere, frustrating responsible, reasonable discussion. Ironically, the very objection just raised shows a case in point of exactly this habitual pattern of fallacies so often resorted to by objectors to design. After all one of their leading spokesmen has never retracted or apologised for the smear that we are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. The accusation that we are right wing, theocratic christo-fascists trying to bring back the inquisition, and tiresomely more, are all massive record. I suggest that it would be more profitable to actually address the merits. KF

    PS: Likewise, with selective hyperskepticism and ill-founded Clifford-Sagan evidentialism — which are now increasingly seen as a serious problem with the new atheism movement, indeed such became obvious in the elevatorgate scandal over sexual harassment of women at atheism conferences. Nor should we let such get away with the self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialism (whether or not it is dressed up in a lab coat) and its inherent amorality and radical relativism which invite nihilism and its agenda that might and manipulation make ‘right’ and ‘truth’ etc.

  37. 37
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Infinite regress being unattainable as endlessness cannot be traversed in finite stage steps,

    *Proof pending?

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: As the issues of worldview grounding:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu

    and the ploy of one sided accusatory litanies of the sins of Christendom:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u9_intro

    are likely to lurk or emerge, I have just now pointed to discussions of same.

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, proof given over and over, as the case of the thought exercise of pink and blue punched tapes shows. start both at 0, advance blue to arbitrarily large but finite k, then k+1 etc. Put blue from k in complete, endless 1:1 match with pink from 0. This shows pink is infinite and blue from k on is the same. Moreover as endlessness onward is always there from any finite k, no process of repeated finite stage steps can traverse that endlessness. I suggest this side issue goes back to its proper thread. KF

  40. 40
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Thanks, I’ll respond in the other thread.

  41. 41
    Aleta says:

    I’ll note, for the record, that none of the respondents actually responded to the question I asked in 16, which involves not religious and philosophical beliefs themselves but rather the position of the law in respect to the rights of people who hold those differing beliefs.

  42. 42
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “I just noticed the attempt to dismiss one of the most profound issues in philosophy, the fact that we find ourselves governed by an inescapable sense of ought.”

    True. What we disagree on is where the OUGHT originates. You think it originates with God (religious belief) I think it originates within us. The fact that there are so many variations on OUGHT strongly suggests that it is internal, strongly affected by community.

    IE, like far too many new atheists, you are inclined to belittle, trivialise and dismiss worldview level issues and philosophical considerations on them.”

    Not belittle. Disagree with. If you think that a disagreement is belittling, that is your problem, not mine.

    On evidence, it seems to be by and large a rhetorical tactic to make the consistent want of substance on the part of new atheists seem of no great account.”

    Your unsubstantiated opinion is duly noted.

    But in fact that glib, supercilious, snidely dismissive superficiality is precisely one of the strongest indicators that there is little substance behind the toxic rhetoric and bombast.”

    Your ad-hominem attack is duly noted.

    Ought is real, and ought should be grounded.”

    Agreed. It is grounded by our teaching and experience. How else do you explain that the OUGHTs vary from community to community and from time to time?

    There is only one level where such can be found (as the very image suggests): world foundations.”

    Your opinion is duly noted, but not supported by evidence.

    Is there a serious world-root candidate IS that would adequately ground OUGHT?”

    Teaching and experience.

    Namely, the inherently good and wise Creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of ultimate loyalty and the reasonable, responsible, freely given service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.”

    Your religious belief is duly noted, and respected. But not agreed with.

    God, the God of ethical theism, and the God of the Judaeo-Christian tradition that is undeniably foundational to our civilisation.”

    Your exclusion of the majority of the world’s population is very telling.

    The IS-OUGHT gap issue is real, and it can only be addressed at world root level.”

    Agreed. Everybody on earth is exposed to teaching and experience. That is where the world root level exists.

    The God of ethical theism is on the table as a serious candidate.

    It is further claimed that this is the best and indeed the only adequate candidate.”

    Your unsubstantiated claim is duly noted.

    To refute such, simply provide a second serious candidate and then let us address comparative difficulties.”

    Provided, repeatedly, above. All evidence supports this over a God rooted system. How else do you explain the fact that morality varies from society to society and over time within the same society. And from individual to individual within the same society. The more universal the OUGHT is, the more you will find that it is needed for any society to endure.

    The challenge remains, answer to the is-ought gap.”

    Has been done repeated, on tis site and others. The fact that you don’t like the answer is your problem, not mine.

    G’day.

  43. 43
    Aleta says:

    Good answers, IE. However,beside teaching and experience, I think there is a nature component to complement the nurture part.

    (FWIW, and I mention not to invoke authority but just to explain background), my original degree was in anthropology, with a major interest in religion and belief systems in primitive societies.)

    I think there is universal, biologically-based predisposition towards qualities related to moral systems. For instance, and this seems pretty obvious, there are natural impulses for adults to love and care for babies, which grows into love, affection, and commitment to each other among members of the closest circle of people around some one. It is common, perhaps universal, for there to be several circles of groups of people to whom different levels of morality apply, starting with one’s family (however defined in any particular society), a next circle of one’s community (such as a village), larger identity groups (one’s tribe or city, state, or nation), etc., with an outer layer of enemies for whom very different standards of moral conduct, or lack thereof, apply.

    Although all societies ground their understanding of these different social circles of moral obligation in cultural terms (which most often include religion as a major component), as you point out, the exact details of the moral rules and the belief systems which are used to culturally ground them vary widely.

    This interplay between some universal predispositions in human nature and cultural details which are invented and passed on is what makes such a large diversity of societies that all share, nevertheless, some basic human commonalities.

  44. 44
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Aleta, I agree that nature (instinct) also plays a role.

  45. 45
    Aleta says:

    FWIW, I think instinct is too limited a word. A baby’s rooting for a nipple is instinct, but the capacity and inclination to love and feel committed to one’s closet social circle, for instance, the ability to talk, the ability to use our hands to manipulate things, etc, are complex behaviors that develop via an interplay with experience. They are part of our biological nature, but too complex, I think, to be considered just instinct.

  46. 46
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Aleta, sorry, I misunderstood your earlier comment. But in your latest comment you talk about the ability to talk, the ability to use our hands to manipulate things, etc as if they are the result of nature (during development or after birth. But are not these things the result of having a complex brain, vocal chords, opposable thumbs, etc.? Whether or not we avail ourselves of these capabilities will be largely the result of our learning and experience.

  47. 47
    Trumper says:

    @Aleta 16-
    Why would that be your question? I’m certain that in a fair and just society, if you wanted to claim tax exempt status for your beliefs you would do so (just follow the laws to make it happen). For example – the “law” treats many atheist organization equally as religious denominations when it comes to tax exempt status. this is an example that shows where a fair and balanced law can work. Maybe you have a specific example in mind where you see this imbalance?

  48. 48
    Phinehas says:

    Hey, if space-time, matter, information, life, and consciousness all “emerged” from nothing, then why not morality?

    As Origenes points out, “Naturalism lacks the means to ground morality, irrespective of any belief one may have.”

    But who needs to ground things when one is so incredibly adept at swallowing camels?

  49. 49
    Phinehas says:

    If Dawkins, speaking from the naturalism perspective, is correct in implying that all the universe has to offer, at bottom, is pitiless indifference, then anything in the universe that demonstrates other than pitiless indifference is, at bottom, an illusion.

    Morality, in concept and practice, is pretty much the opposite of pitiless indifference. Therefore, from naturalism’s perspective, morality must be, at bottom, an illusion.

    Concluding that morality is, at bottom, an illusion tends to work against grounding it. Thus, Dawkins’ view and naturalism’s lack the means to ground morality.

  50. 50
    Andre says:

    It is my sincere held belief that it is good to torture babies. How can those that have sincere beliefs that it is wrong have a higher regard than mine?

  51. 51
    Indiana Effigy says:

    It is my sincere held belief that it is good to torture babies. How can those that have sincere beliefs that it is wrong have a higher regard than mine”

    Can you perceive of a society that could endure if torturing children was an accepted practice? I have sufficient reasoning capacity to realize that doing this (or condoning it) is not in my best interest in the long term. But if you require a mythical being to convince you of this, that works too.

  52. 52
    Aleta says:

    to Trumper at 47:

    The reason I ask the question is that many states are passing laws, or considering it, to let people not do things they would otherwise have to (such as serve customers, or provide other services) if such acts would be against their sincerely held religious beliefs, and my question is why a belief should have to be religious in order to get such dispensation. What makes religious beliefs special?

    For instance, consider a law allowing a pharmacist the right to refuse to dispense birth control pills to unmarried women because they have the sincerely held Catholic belief that both contraception and sex outside of marriage are wrong.

    Assume you support such a law. Should a non-religious person who also has a sincerely held belief that women should not use contraception nor have sex outside of marriage have that same right? Or does this person not have that same right because their belief isn’t religiously based?

    My answer to this question is that the law should be the law, irrespective of whether someone’s sincerely held beliefs are violated or offended, and whether they are religiously-based or not. Religious belief should confer no special privilege. If the law says that a pharmacist has an obligation to serve the public as their doctor prescribes, then that is what the pharmacist should do. If the pharmacist has moral difficulties with that then he, as we often due, has to decide how best to resolve the situation for himself: he can find a different occupation, he can accept that people will do things he doesn’t like but that he is obligated to serve them, he can work in his non-professional life to educate people about the issue as he sees it, he can work to change the laws, etc.

    What he can not do is not obey the law because it is in conflict with his religious beliefs.

    That’s my position.

  53. 53
    Aleta says:

    I’d like to clarify the last main sentence of my last post at 52:

    Added for clarification: Of course, one can not obey the law, and live with the consequences, and for each of us I am sure there are at least potential laws that we would feel it more important to disobey than follow.

    What I mean is that “What he can not do is expect a law to let him not have to obey another law just because it (the second law) is in conflict with his religious beliefs.”

    More broadly, I don’t believe one’s sincerely held beliefs, religious or not, should be the basis for being allowed to not follow a law.

  54. 54
    Trumper says:

    @Aleta – you stated ” and my question is why a belief should have to be religious in order to get such dispensation. What makes religious beliefs special?”
    Actually a belief does not have to be religious at all to get such dispensations… I just gave you one of several examples where atheists get tax exempt status… Yea! they can be considered a religion now!
    Fact is, we have laws that benefit both the religious and non equally – would you complain about those?
    Being morally based does not necessitate a law being valid…there are plenty of examples that I’m sure you get…some laws are flat out just safety based, and common good. Your birth control example is very similar to the gay marriage certificate clerk event that took place a while back… the clerk did not believe in gay marriage so she did not issue certs once it was announced that gay marriage was legal in that jurisdiction. I have no problem with that because as it turns out the worker was hired while gay marriage was illegal. Had she been hired after the law changed then she should of either accepted the law or not have applied for the position. This is no different that an atheists that refuses to teach ethics in a public school because they don’t feel that the class represents their beliefs. In either case the ‘institution’ found a way to provide the law on the books without the annoyance.

    You and I both know that morality is not exclusive….and laws are not always fair. Would you want to be forced to pray every night before you go to bed in your own house? What if there was a law passed that forced you to do this or you got fined. How about if you were using public roads and every time you passed any church you had to pause and pray? Not liking that either?
    Even you likely have some decency standards that you ought not be ok with in a public place. Would you be willing to suppress someone who does not share your moral decency standard? Take the public torture of babies while you shop for groceries… would you want this practice to flourish? Likely not but for different reasons than me.

    We are slowly getting better as a society (civilized ones at least). Takes time but as a civilization diverges itself from commonness to more and more disparate lifestyles the laws can’t keep pace….I don’t see this getting better sadly.

  55. 55
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Trumped: “I just gave you one of several examples where atheists get tax exempt status… Yea! they can be considered a religion now!”

    No. Any group can apply for not-for-profit status and not have to pay taxes. It has nothing to do with religion. I work for a not-for-profit. It has nothing to do with religion. We accredit the labs that test your drinking water.

    Your birth control example is very similar to the gay marriage certificate clerk event that took place a while back… the clerk did not believe in gay marriage so she did not issue certs once it was announced that gay marriage was legal in that jurisdiction.”

    Not at all similar. She was an elected official who swore to uphold the laws of the country, and then refused to do so. She could have resigned but chose to break her oath instead. An oath she swore on a bible. In my mind, she is just a deplorable individual.

    Would you be willing to suppress someone who does not share your moral decency standard?”

    You mean like that deplorable county clerk who refused to issue a legally entitled marriage licence? What is your point?

    Take the public torture of babies while you shop for groceries… would you want this practice to flourish? “

    When you can find an example of anyone suggesting this, get back to me. Until then, stop suggesting hypotheticals that only the mentally moronic would suggest.

    We are slowly getting better as a society…”

    I agree. The increased secularity and decreased superstitious reliance on religion is beginning to show benefits. Thank you for noticing.

  56. 56
    Aleta says:

    Some responses to Thumper

    The example about tax exempt status doesn’t seem relevant to this discussion. Non-profits don’t pay taxes, but that doesn’t have anything to do with religious belief at all. Most laws affect people entirely independently of their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. We all are to stop at stop signs.

    So when you ask,

    Fact is, we have laws that benefit both the religious and non equally – would you complain about those?

    My response is of course not. What I am “complaining about”, or rather, stating my opposition to, is/would be laws which allow people special exceptions from the laws because of their religious beliefs. That is a fairly narrow range of laws.

    You write,

    Being morally based does not necessitate a law being valid…there are plenty of examples that I’m sure you get…some laws are flat out just safety based, and common good.

    I agree. Most laws are based on considerations such as these. Even those which coincide with common moral beliefs (murder is bad) are also grounded in such things as the well-being of individuals (including the protection of their rights) and the common good.

    Also you mention the following,

    This is no different that an atheists that refuses to teach ethics in a public school because they don’t feel that the class represents their beliefs.

    I don’t know whether there is really a case like this, but my opinion is that if there were the teacher should be fired. I was a public school teacher for almost 40 years, and I believe strongly that a teacher has an obligation to teach the curriculum determined by whatever local and state regulations apply.

    Also, the job of an ethics teacher (as well as political science teacher, which I was for a short while), government teacher or comparative religions teacher, etc. is to give the students a well-rounded overview of the subject, nit to teach one’s own perspective. Ideally, the students should not even know the particular beliefs of the teacher.

    You mention a number of possible problematic laws: being forced to pray every night before you go to bed in your own house, and others including the seemingly ubiquitous example of torturing babies.

    Hypotheticals are not worth spending very much time on. I can think of lots of laws that I would feel obligated to disobey based on my own standards and principles, but most of them are so extremely unlikely to exist (in part because most people would be in agreement about them) that I don’t think they are very instructive to think about.

    But I do acknowledge that, as I said before, that all of us could find ourselves in a position where we felt that not following a law was called for. In such cases, one needs to be prepared to live with the consequences. There was a least one situation in my life, back in the 60’s, where that was the case for me, but the situation never fully developed and so I didn’t have to actually make that choice.

  57. 57
    Andre says:

    Will it help the deniers that write long winded posts in their way if I said atheism is in actual fact a religion? It is the belief that there is no God….

    Yes it’s just a belief, to know there is no God means you have to know everything. Do you know everything?

    P.S. You also get atheist churches these day who congregate on Sundays.

  58. 58
    Andre says:

    IE

    A few things… How do you know it’s wrong? Secondly it’s a bit cheeky of you to tell me about your reasoning capacity if you ultimately deny reason.

  59. 59
    Andre says:

    Aleta

    How can you say people have obligations? Obligation to who? For whatever reason? If these obligations are not met then what? You see one thing atheists keep gettimg wrong is the silly idea that you must be a good person or be good…. If that is what you think or believe then you miss the very point of your existence.

  60. 60
    Aleta says:

    to Andre at 57:

    long winded posts …

    Hah! 🙂 Have you read BA77 or Kairosfocus lately?

    Andre, you’ve thrown out a few of the standard, simplistic canards about atheism. However, my interest in this thread is limited to the political question of laws that privilege religious belief.

  61. 61
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Andre: “Will it help the deniers that write long winded posts in their way if I said atheism is in actual fact a religion? It is the belief that there is no God….”

    It may help you in trying to convince yourself of this delusion, but it won’t help anybody else.

  62. 62
    Andre says:

    Aleta

    I find that BA and KF post substance, I enjoy their posts you are of course free to point out their incoherency or and deficiency in logic. But here is the issue, atheism is hollow and as a former atheist I speak of what I do know. There is no substance to atheism, it avoids the critical questions and it is like a locked gate that prevents you from exploring what’s beyond my comfort zone.

    Here you guys are using reason to deny reason, here you guys are using your logic that you seem to think is not ground in anything and here you are trying to profess truth, but in a atheistic universe does truth even matter? Then of course you carry on about your morals, and how those morals are being shot down. Don’t forget that you also think that life magically arrived by the few random crashes of atoms and elements….

    What do you ground your morals in? What meaning does reason, logic and morals have in a world that has no objective standard?

    To think that I once believed exactly like you, viewed the world exactly like you reasoned exactly like you and acted exactly like you is rather funny, but in truth is sad.

    Now on this laws that privilege religious belief what are they? Are you complaining about their exemption from tax? Do you know why there is an exemption?

    Some history…..

    The first recorded tax exemption for churches was during the Roman Empire, when Constantine, Emperor of Rome from 306-337, granted the Christian church a complete exemption from all forms of taxation following his supposed conversion to Christianity circa 312.

    Why are churches exempt from tax from a political point of view as you ask?

    Here are the reasons….

    1. Exempting churches from taxation upholds the separation of church and state embodied by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The US Supreme Court, in a majority opinion written by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, decided May 4, 1970, stated: “The exemption creates only a minimal and remote involvement between church and state, and far less than taxation of churches. It restricts the fiscal relationship between church and state, and tends to complement and reinforce the desired separation insulating each from the other.

    2.Requiring churches to pay taxes would endanger the free expression of religion and violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. By taxing churches, the government would be empowered to penalize or shut them down if they default on their payments. [12] The US Supreme Court confirmed this in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) when it stated: “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.”

    3. Churches earn their tax exemption by contributing to the public good. [14] Churches offer numerous social services to people in need, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, afterschool programs for poor families, assistance to victims of domestic violence, etc. [15] These efforts relieve government of doing work it would otherwise be obliged to undertake.

    4. Taxing churches would place government above religion. The Biblical book of Judges says that those who rule society are appointed directly by God. [2] Evangelist and former USA Today columnist Don Boys, PhD, asked “will any Bible believer maintain that government is over the Church of the Living God? I thought Christ was preeminent over all.” [16]

    5. A tax exemption for churches is not a subsidy to religion, and is therefore constitutional. As stated by US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in his majority opinion in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970), “The grant of a tax exemption is not sponsorship, since the government does not transfer part of its revenue to churches, but simply abstains from demanding that the church support the state. No one has ever suggested that tax exemption has converted libraries, art galleries, or hospitals into arms of the state or put employees ‘on the public payroll.’ There is no genuine nexus between tax exemption and establishment of religion.” [5]

    6. Poor and disadvantaged people relying on assistance from their local churches would suffer if churches were to lose their tax-exempt status. According to Vincent Becker, Monsignor of the Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville, NY, the food and clothing programs his church offers would be threatened by a tax burden: “All of a sudden, we would be hit with something we haven’t had to face in the past… We base all the things that we do on the fact that we do not have to pay taxes on the buildings.” [17] Crucial services would either be eliminated or relegated to cash-strapped local governments if churches were to lose their tax exemptions.

    7. US churches have been tax-exempt for over 200 years, yet there are no signs that America has become a theocracy. If the tax exemption were a serious threat to the separation of church and state, the US government would have succumbed to religious rule long ago. As the Supreme Court ruled in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York (1970), “freedom from taxation for two centuries has not led to an established church or religion, and, on the contrary, has helped to guarantee the free exercise of all forms of religious belief.” [18]

    8. Taxing churches when their members receive no monetary gain would amount to double taxation. The late Rev. Dean M. Kelley, a leading proponent of religious freedom, explained that church members are already taxed on their individual incomes, so “to tax them again for participation in voluntary organizations from which they derive no monetary gain would be ‘double taxation’ indeed, and would effectively serve to discourage them from devoting time, money, and energy to organizations which contribute to the up building of the fabric of democracy.”

    10. The only constitutionally valid way of taxing churches would be to tax all nonprofits, which would place undue financial pressure on the 960,000 public charities that aid and enrich US society. If only churches were taxed, government would be treating churches differently, purely because of their religious nature. [20] [21]

    11. The vast majority of churches refrain from political campaigning and should not be punished for the actions of the few that are political. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) gives churches the freedom to either accept a tax benefit and refrain from political campaigning like all other nonprofit charities, or reject the exemption and speak freely about political candidates. [1] [23] There are 450,000 churches in the US, yet only 500 pastors made political statements as part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday on Oct. 2, 2011. [35] [58] The tax exemption should remain in place to benefit the vast majority of churches.

    12. Withdrawing the “parsonage exemption” on ministers’ housing would cost American clergy members $2.3 billion over five years, [60] which would be a major blow to modestly paid men and women who dedicate their lives to helping people in need. According to the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA), the average American pastor with a congregation of 300 people earns less than $28,000 per year. The NACBA also states that one in five pastors takes on a second job to earn extra income, and that only 5% of pastors earn more than $50,000. [59] As stated by D. August Boto, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, “the housing allowance is critically important for making ends meet—it is not a luxury.” [62]

    the bad…..

    1. Tax exemptions for churches violate the separation of church and state enshrined in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. By providing a financial benefit to religious institutions, government is supporting religion. Associate Justice of the US Supreme court, William O. Douglas, in his dissenting opinion in Walz v. Tax Commission of the City of New York, decided May 4, 1970, stated: “If believers are entitled to public financial support, so are nonbelievers. A believer and nonbeliever under the present law are treated differently because of the articles of their faith… I conclude that this tax exemption is unconstitutional.” [24]

    2.A tax exemption is a privilege, not a right. Governments have traditionally granted this privilege to churches because of the positive contribution they are presumed to make to the community, but there is no such provision in the US Constitution. [25]

    3.Churches receive special treatment from the IRS beyond what other nonprofits receive, and such favoritism is unconstitutional. While secular charities are compelled to report their income and financial structure to the IRS using Form 990 (Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax), churches are granted automatic exemption from federal income tax without having to file a tax return. [1]

    4.A tax break for churches forces all American taxpayers to support religion, even if they oppose some or all religious doctrines. As Mark Twain argued: “no church property is taxed and so the infidel and the atheist and the man without religion are taxed to make up the deficit in the public income thus caused.” [26]

    5.A tax exemption is a form of subsidy, and the Constitution bars government from subsidizing religion. William H. Rehnquist, then-Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, declared on behalf of a unanimous court in Regan v. Taxation with Representation (1983): “Both tax exemptions and tax deductibility are a form of subsidy that is administered through the tax system. A tax exemption has much the same effect as a cash grant to the organization of the amount of tax it would have to pay on its income.” [27]

    6.The tax code makes no distinction between authentic religions and fraudulent startup “faiths,” which benefit at taxpayers’ expense. In spring 2010, Oklahoma awarded tax exempt status to Satanist group The Church of the IV Majesties. [8] In Mar. 2004, the IRS warned of an increase in schemes that “exploit legitimate laws to establish sham one-person, nonprofit religious corporations” charging $1,000 or more per person to attend “seminars.” [28] The Church of Scientology, which TIME Magazine described in May 1991 as a “thriving cult of greed and power” and “a hugely profitable global racket,” [29] was granted federal income tax exemption in Oct. 1993. The New York Times reported that this “saved the church tens of millions of dollars in taxes.” [30]

    7.Churches serve a religious purpose that does not aid the government, so their tax exemptions are not justified. Tax exemptions to secular nonprofits like hospitals and homeless shelters are justified because such organizations do work that would otherwise fall to government. Churches, while they may undertake charitable work, exist primarily for religious worship and instruction, which the US government is constitutionally prevented from performing. [31]

    8.Exempting churches from taxation costs the government billions of dollars in lost revenue, which it cannot afford, especially in tough economic times. According to former White House senior policy analyst Jeff Schweitzer, PhD, US churches own $300-$500 billion in untaxed property. [9] New York’s nonpartisan Independent Budget Office determined in July 2011 that New York City alone loses $627 million in property tax revenue. [11] Lakewood Church, a “megachurch” in Houston, TX, earns $75 million in annual untaxed revenue, and the Church of Scientology’s annual income exceeds $500 million. [32] [33]

    9.Despite the 1954 law banning political campaigning by tax-exempt groups, many churches are clearly political and therefore should not be receiving tax exemptions. [9] [34] Every fall, the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, organizes “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” encouraging pastors to defy IRS rules by endorsing candidates from the pulpit. More than 500 pastors participated in Oct. 2011, yet none lost their churches’ exemption status. [35] In Oct. 2010, Minnesota pastor Brad Brandon of Berean Bible Baptist Church endorsed several Republican candidates and dared the “liberal media” to file complaints with the IRS. Brandon later announced on his radio program: “I’m going to explain to you what happened… Nothing happened.” [35]

    10.American taxpayers are supporting the extravagant lifestyles of wealthy pastors, whose lavish “megachurches” accumulate millions of tax-free dollars every year. US Senator Chuck Grassley, MA (R-IA) launched an investigation into these groups in Nov. 2007 after receiving complaints of church revenue being used to buy pastors private jets, Rolls Royce cars, multimillion-dollar homes, trips to Hawaii and Fiji, and in one case, a $23,000, marble-topped chest of drawers installed in the 150,000 square foot headquarters of Joyce Meyer Ministries in Fenton, Missouri. [36]

    11.The tax break given to churches restricts their freedom of speech because it deters pastors from speaking out for or against political candidates. [1] As argued by Rev. Carl Gregg, pastor of Maryland’s Broadview Church, “when Christians speak, we shouldn’t have to worry about whether we are biting the hand that feeds us because we shouldn’t be fed from Caesar/Uncle Sam in the first place.” [37]

    12.The “parsonage exemption” on ministers’ homes makes already-wealthy pastors even richer at taxpayers’ expense. The average annual salary for senior pastors with congregations of 2,000 or more is $147,000, with some earning up to $400,000. [61] In addition to the federal exemption on housing expenses enjoyed by these ministers, they often pay zero dollars in state property tax. Church leaders Creflo and Taffi Dollar of World Changers Church International had three tax-free parsonages: a million-dollar mansion in Atlanta, GA, a two-million-dollar mansion in Fayetteville, GA, [63] and a $2.5 million Manhattan apartment. [64] Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, leaders of Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Fort Worth, TX, live in a church-owned, tax-free $6.2 million lakefront parsonage. [62]

    http://churchesandtaxes.procon.org/

    Of course if you wanted truth you would have found this information yourself, instead you’re just here baiting people…….

    but what you must do here is weigh-up the pro’s and the cons, can you imagine if government was solely responsible for charity? Can you even imagine the misery that would follow?

  63. 63
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Andre: “I find that BA and KF post substance…”

    Nobody disagrees. It is the nature (and aroma) of the “substance” that is open for debate:)

  64. 64
    Andre says:

    IE

    It may help you in trying to convince yourself of this delusion, but it won’t help anybody else.

    Right… lets test your knowledge, do you know everything? because to know there is no God instead of believing it would mean you do know everything… Do you know everything Indian Effigy?

  65. 65
    Andre says:

    IE

    you changed your post now….. so lets comment on your new response

    Nobody disagrees. It is the nature (and aroma) of the “substance” that is open for debate:)

    There are many truths I don’t like nor do I, like, the nature, “aroma” or substance of many others, but here is the kicker, it does not make it less true.

  66. 66
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Andre, did I ever say that I know there is no God? Nobody can ever make that claim. However, there seems to be no shortage of people claiming that they know their is a god. Even they have far less evidence for the positive than I have for the negative. Go figure.

  67. 67
    Andre says:

    IE,

    There is far more positive evidence for the existence of a Prime First Mover than negative….. you are welcome to post what this negative evidence is…. go right ahead.

  68. 68
    Andre says:

    IE

    Let me be very clear, knowing there is a God and assessing the evidence and weighing up the facts to make an informed decision on the matter is not the same thing. If I could dispense any advice to anyone it is this……

    “Question everything hold onto the good.”

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Still busy, so I will briefly clip Haldane on the core problem of materialism . . . a problem that remains there as the elephant in the middle of the room never mind attempts to act as though it is not there:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]

    Food for thought.

    KF

    PS: For those who imagine that they can push being under the government of ought into the domain of subjectivity (which itself becomes a delusion under evolutionary materialist assumptions) and thus into radical relativisation, I point here in context (and do, bear in mind Plato’s warning from 2350 years ago): http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....#u2_morals

    PPS: Those who imagine that the 1st Amdt to the US Const under the post 1947 “separation” USSC doctrine is a global law should think again of wider experience in our civilisation. Also, they should ponder the relevant history and proper sense without projecting a convenient anachronism by way of the Jefferson correspondence with the Danbury Baptists. To wit, post Westphalia in 1648, the principle in the Germanies was that there would be no overarching religion in the Empire, but local rulers could have state establishment; in context Lutheran or Catholic with Calvinist sometimes tolerated. This was extended to republican circumstances in the US. The Federal Government being set up and regulated was to have NO JURISDICTION to legislate on matters of established, Land Churches so there could not be a Federal Church of the USA. At that level all would be freikirke. Local states per amdt 9, 10 retained the right of local establishment (and 9 of 13 states did have established churches). In that context, a cluster of key rights was to be recognised as the dissenters had insisted . . . and recall, it was the dissenters’ insistence that led to the incorporated amendments. So, we may now more accurately read the Amdt as recognising — God grants rights per the DoI as acknowledged in the preamble — classic rights connected to freedom of conscience:

    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion [–> no federal landeskirk], or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [–> at this level all churches and chapels are freikirke]; or abridging the freedom of speech [–> so one is free to preach and witness to one’s conscience, no preacher licensing games], or of the press [–> one is free to print what one has to say, within common law on defamation]; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble [–> no forbidding of dissenter chapels] , and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. [–> as was done by dissenters, leading to the 10 amdts]

    Yes, these freedoms have and always had much broader significance, but this is the root context that should guide and guard understanding. Yes, guard from those who would wrench and distort to practically mean just the opposite, quasi-establishment under false colour of law of the de facto anti-church of evolutionary materialist secularism and scientism leading to all the ills of might and manipulation based amorality and ruthless factionalism Plato warned against in The Laws Bk X.

    PPPS: It seems there is need to note that the power to tax is the power to subvert, corrupt or destroy under colour of law. If we have this much trouble when churches as charitable benevolent societies are in name tax exempt, imagine what would happen when Plato’s ruthless amoral factions sit in control of taxing agencies with power to intervene in the churches that have courage to speak moral truth to amoral power, in the name and prophetic voice of God. (Notice, a wide array of civil society groups and organisations are tax exempt almost as a matter of course; too much of what is going on patently reflects an evil eye set on a hated target, driven by a hostile heart and wolfish appetites. And FYI I have a perfect right to say this as my very name tells me. My family shed martyr’s blood to have my name literally inscribed over the door of my native land’s parliament in a context of a dissenter member speaking up in the name of oppressed people and warning of a coming explosion, only to be scapegoated, kangaroo courted and judicially murdered on one hour’s notice. If we do not learn from history bought with blood and tears, we doom ourselves to repeat it.)

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    IE,

    the pivotal issue remains.

    God, patently, is a serious candidate necessary being [which such being would be inextricably entangled in the basis for existence of a possible world, even as no world is possible without distinct identity and twoness, etc].

    God, being here understood as an inherently good creator of the world, a necessary and maximally great being.

    Either you and/or ilk show that God is not a serious candidate (as a flying spaghetti monster is not a serious candidate) . . . which is frankly futile on thousands of years of thought at the highest level . . . or else you and your fellow atheists and agnostics have the task to show that God is an impossible being even as a square circle is impossible.

    Not, that one may doubt the reality of God or deny the individual and cumulative force of arguments pointing to God, but instead that there is a fundamental and irreconcilable incoherence in the concept God such that logical or dynamical impossibility obtains.

    Formerly, it was often suggested this is so on the problem of evils, but that has collapsed post Plantinga’s free will defence.

    Likewise, you have to reckon with the implication of general delusion on our common sense of being under moral governance and law, and the devastating implications for general credibility of mind of it being a mass delusion that millions across the world and across thousands of years have met God in power and have had minds, hearts and lives transformed thereby, often in miraculous ways. For millions, there is no more reason to doubt the reality of God than to doubt the reality that they have loving mothers who are not mindless, unfree, programmed zombies.

    Of which the 500 eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection are the capital example.

    And in which context, absent a miracle of guidance to the doctor who saved my life, I would be dead over 40 years past now.

    KF

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    Andre, thanks. KF

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, you have a track record. That track record shows you belittling and dismissing worldviews analysis. In addition, it is not an ad hominem attack on my part to point out the habitual fallacies of too many atheistical objectors as has become demonstrated across years; logic after all includes the study of fallacies. That you have fallen into some of these fallacies is a matter of your track record, trying to play the rhetoric of personalising and polarising against me only further underscores the problem on your part. I do not have time for a step by step point by point just now, so I leave it at a slice or two of the cake. I have already pointed to a far more central issue. KF

  73. 73
    Indiana Effigy says:

    IE, you have a track record. That track record shows you belittling and dismissing worldviews analysis.”

    The fact that you interpret disagreement with belittling says more about you than it does about me.

    In addition, it is not an ad hominem attack on my part to point out the habitual fallacies of too many atheistical objectors as has become demonstrated across years;…”

    Let’s examine this statement. You said “But in fact that glib, supercilious, snidely dismissive superficiality is precisely one of the strongest indicators that there is little substance behind the toxic rhetoric and bombast.” Sounds like an ad-hominem to me. But what do I know.

    trying to play the rhetoric of personalising and polarising against me only further underscores the problem on your part.”

    Refer above. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

    God, patently, is a serious candidate necessary being [which such being would be inextricably entangled in the basis for existence of a possible world, even as no world is possible without distinct identity and twoness, etc].”

    You repeating this does not make it true.

    Either you and/or ilk show that God is not a serious candidate …”

    Been there. Done that. The fact that you don’t accept what I have said is your problem, not mine. All observations suggest that morality is subjective. How do you explain different morals between people in a community, different morals from community to community, different morals in the same community over time?

    Of which the 500 eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection are the capital example.”

    A single documented claim that there were 500 eyewitnesses does not have the same evidentiary value as 500 documented eyewitness.accounts.

    And in which context, absent a miracle of guidance to the doctor who saved my life, I would be dead over 40 years past now.”

    I wouldn’t underestimate the value of the ten years + of training that your doctor underwent before becoming a doctor.

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    IE, you have not merely disagreed with viewpoints over many weeks now, you have specifically dismissed worldviews analysis. That you now try to twist my pointing that out into an accusation against me that if you differ I accuse, that speaks volumes — and those not well — of you. But then this twisting and attempted turnabout accusation is just more of the red herring, strawman, ad hominem tactic that is so habitual with too many objectors to design theory. KF

  75. 75
    Indiana Effigy says:

    KF: “IE, you have not merely disagreed with viewpoints over many weeks now, you have specifically dismissed worldviews analysis.”

    You use the word “dismissed” as if I never thought about it. That is not the case. My major disagreement is with your IS/OUGHT conclusions. I pointed out that reality does not conform to your view and that subjective morality better explains the variations that we see. I understand that you do not accept my conclusions. The fact that you chose to characterize that as being dismissive (straw man, oil of red herring, turnabout, blah, blah) — that speaks volumes — and those not well — of you.

    But then this twisting and attempted turnabout accusation is just more of the red herring, strawman, ad hominem tactic that is so habitual with too many objectors to design theory. KF”

    Now who is being dismissive?

  76. 76
    Trumper says:

    I.E @55 – you missed the point there. I clearly showed that not just religious and non-religious groups can hold tax exempt status…you seem a tad too defensive there.
    you then spew out “Not at all similar. She was an elected official who swore to uphold the laws of the country, and then refused to do so. She could have resigned but chose to break her oath instead. An oath she swore on a bible. In my mind, she is just a deplorable individual.”
    – you seem to ignore that she was elected when the law was clear on not allowing gay marriage – to which she took an oath to uphold the laws at that time. Now I do not know if she is required to take a new oath every year or every law change..that would settle it for me if so. is she “a deplorable individual” because she swore on a bible or because you don’t understand the situation?

    @FAuleta-
    Maybe you have a specific example in mind where you see this imbalance? you stated a pharm example where a religiously inclined individual was tasked with violating one or any of their core religious beliefs. Basically should their be laws on the books protecting someone from being considered deplorable and hated in the eyes of a few others.
    My response is that the pharm worker should allow for the fair and good treatment for all customers guided by their personal/professional knowledge and the mission statement of the employer by which they work. (basically I trust honest and ethical individuals more than dishonest and unethical) One can’t always know another’s motivation unless they state it…if that worker states that she will not fill the prescription but a co-worker can then I have no problem with that. Would you have a problem with the government requiring a place of business to perform it’s duties in a fashion contrary to it’s mission statement? ( I.Effy may not understand this since it verges on a hypothetical…afraid to be pinned down but you have been fair in your responses)
    This is no different than the requirement/laws on a religious charity to perform services contrary to its core belief system.

  77. 77
    daveS says:

    Has anyone directly responded to Aleta’s post #60? I see Andre did reply, mainly addressing tax exemptions, but I think Aleta’s concerns are broader than just that.

    Why should sincerely held religious beliefs have a legal status that sincerely held nonreligious beliefs don’t have?

  78. 78
    Aleta says:

    Thanks, Dave.

    Trumper asks,

    Basically should their be laws on the books protecting someone from being considered deplorable and hated in the eyes of a few others.

    Hmmm. I have no idea what this question is asking???

    Would you have a problem with the government requiring a place of business to perform it’s duties in a fashion contrary to it’s mission statement?

    Yes, if the mission statement asked it to perform duties that were against the law.

    If the pharmacy had a mission statement that stated it would not fill contraceptive prescriptions, that would go against legal responsibilities that all pharmacies have. In that case the law would take precedence over the mission statement.

  79. 79
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Trumper: “– you seem to ignore that she was elected when the law was clear on not allowing gay marriage – to which she took an oath to uphold the laws at that time</b?. "

    Nobody takes an oath to only uphold the laws that are in place at the time they take the oath. They take an oath to uphold the law. Period. Full stop. Laws change all the time. Officials such as her are charged with upholding all current laws.

    When the government passed laws allowing inter-racial marriage, elected county clerks could not refuse to provide inter-racial licences simply because it was against the law when they got elected. If their conscience does not allow them to do this they have the option of quitting.

    Again, I think deplorable is the perfect description for her. But you are free to feel otherwise.

  80. 80
    Aleta says:

    IE is right. If someone is sworn to uphold the law, and the law changes, that is what they are to uphold. Allowing otherwise, besides being wrong, would be chaotic, as enforcement would involve knowing when every person whose job it was to enforce the law was first elected.

  81. 81
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Aleta: “IE is right.”

    I don’t read that much here. It brings a tear to my eye.

  82. 82
    Trumper says:

    “If someone is sworn to uphold the law…and the law changes”…. then they are no longer held to same standard. Pretty easy to follow the logic. If you were certified as a CPA and the rules/regulations changed then I would hope that you would have re-certified yourself. If your employer does not require it then shame on them for allowing someone to continue to practice under older regulations.
    This puts the state as a deplorable entity…at the very least ignorant.
    Funny how some try to spin things their way…till it is pointed out how moronic it seems:
    If one was a political science teacher and they did not believe that God was the foundation of our civilized country and they taught a fair and balance curriculum ..but one day the laws changed where they now must lead prayers before each class and then teach creationism…… how would that settle down with them? I now I would have an issue with it….

  83. 83
    Trumper says:

    @ Effy “Nobody takes an oath to only uphold the laws that are in place at the time they take the oath. ”

    You seriously are trying this path? Let’s take a few examples to show how wrong your though process is:

    1- You take an oath/pledge to uphold the laws of the state of California… 3 years later the state votes to split into north and south one liberal one not-so-much…does your oath still apply?…if so to which?
    2- You make a vow to your significant other to uphold the sanctity of marriage…the next year the laws change and invalidate the marriage, your ‘other’ then re-marries…are you still considering yourself married for life?

    You may try to wiggle away and cry about hypothetical s… to which you would be wrong (Cali is an example of an actual state split..hint hint).
    One would have to be considered ignorant if they claim that their beliefs must follow the laws of the land at the time the laws are laid down…this is basically what you are trying to claim. Free will…sure you can change your mind as you mature…but it is not dictated by a law.

    I just invalidated your claim that if the law changes then so should your moral duties.

  84. 84
    Aleta says:

    Perhaps there is some confusion between us here. I don’t think we (IE and I) were talking about moral duties – we were talking about legal obligations.

    I agree that someone could support a law but not support the law after it was changed – obviously this applies to Davis in Tennessee. But that is different than the legal obligation to follow the law: when the law changed she was, by virtue of her office, legally obligated to follow the new law, even if she morally disagreed with it.

    When people are in that position, they have to decide what to do, and that is an individual moral decision. But if they do choose to not follow the law, I think they should acknowledge that they are prepared to take the consequences.

    What they cannot legitimately do is claim that because of their moral beliefs they should be excused from having to follow the law.

  85. 85
    Trumper says:

    “I agree that someone could support a law but not support the law after it was changed – obviously this applies to Davis in Tennessee. But that is different than the legal obligation to follow the law: when the law changed she was, by virtue of her office, legally obligated to follow the new law, even if she morally disagreed with it.”

    -You are saying two things here… One could not support a law after it was changed but… should follow it due to ones position/standing. This is a rather weak attempt to make ones position supportable.

    This is very similar to Hitler….. say you were transfered to a ‘camp’ to murder millions of innocent souls..your job was to decide who was killed and who was allowed to work….. the law was clear…the orders even clearer…. “What they cannot legitimately do is claim that because of their moral beliefs they should be excused from having to follow the law”…..

    Ouch.
    I fully disagree with you on your claim that one cannot claim this…morals are what would save us or lack thereof what would end us.

  86. 86
    Aleta says:

    You are leaving out a critical part of what I have said, and perhaps therefore not fully understanding me.

    We all could be, and perhaps have been, faced with situations where our moral beliefs conflict with the law. In that case we have to make the decision how to act: is the situation important enough to us to therefore not follow the law?

    If we make that decision, though, we need to also be prepared to live with the legal consequences. Our moral beliefs may cause us to choose to not obey the law, but they don’t relieve of us of our legal obligation to follow the law. They just put moral obligation above legal obligation.

    Do you see the difference: there is a difference between saying

    A: “I have moral objections to this law and therefore I should be legally excused from having to follow it.”, and

    B: “I have moral objections to this law and therefore am going to willfully choose to not follow it, even though I am aware of the legal consequences of not doing so.”

    A is a statement about the society’s response to your moral objections, and is wrong: society should not excuse you from a following a law just because you have moral objections to it.

    B is a statement about your own response to your moral objections, and is a choice that you can make if the situation seems serious enough.

  87. 87
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Trumper: “One would have to be considered ignorant if they claim that their beliefs must follow the laws of the land at the time the laws are laid down…this is basically what you are trying to claim. Free will…sure you can change your mind as you mature…but it is not dictated by a law.”

    Nobody is saying that a county clerk cannot act on their moral values. All we are saying is they cannot let them impact the carrying out their duties as a clerk. If these duties run contrary to the current laws that they are sworn to uphold, then they are morally bound to resign. To refuse to carry out those duties is, in itself, moral as long as they continue to accept the pay checks.

    Here is the oath that clerks must take. Please point me to the part that says that they are only swearing to uphold the laws at the time that the oath is taken.

    I, ….., do swear that I will well and truly discharge the duties of the office of ………….. County Circuit Court clerk, according to the best of my skill and judgment, making the due entries and records of all orders, judgments, decrees, opinions and proceedings of the court, and carefully filing and preserving in my office all books and papers which come to my possession by virtue of my office; and that I will not knowingly or willingly commit any malfeasance of office, “and will faithfully execute the duties of my office without favor”, affection or partiality, so help me God.”

    I especially like part about “without favour”.

  88. 88
    Phinehas says:

    Aleta:

    What they cannot legitimately do is claim that because of their moral beliefs they should be excused from having to follow the law.

    Yes and no. I suppose it depends on what you mean by being “excused.” At bottom, I do claim that Rosa Parks ought to have been excused from having to follow the law, don’t you?

  89. 89
    Aleta says:

    I mean legally excused, not morally excused. I think I clarified this some in #86.

  90. 90
    Phinehas says:

    Aleta:

    “Excused from having to follow the law” is different from “legally excused?”

    Do you not think Rosa Parks ought to have been legally excused?

    Or would you merely tell Rosa Parks that she is to be commended for her moral stand, but ought to understand that she still must face the legal consequences of her actions?

  91. 91
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Phineas: “ At bottom, I do claim that Rosa Parks ought to have been excused from having to follow the law, don’t you?”

    I must have missed something. Did Rosa Parks swear an oath to uphold the law? Was she receiving a pay check to uphold the law?

  92. 92
    Aleta says:

    Hi Phinehas. I’m confused about exactly what you are saying, and would like to be clearer – I can’t tell whether we disagree about something or are just not clear about the position I’m stating.

    I understand that people sometimes choose to break the law because they believe the law is morally wrong and because they are willing to accept the consequences for doing so. In Rosa Parks case, there were legal and social consequences that negatively impacted her, but she also made a difference and helped bring about a change in the laws that she objected to.

    But you ask,

    Do you not think Rosa Parks ought to have been legally excused?

    I’m not quite sure how to interpret this question. Yes, I personally agree with Rosa Parks that the laws she broke were morally wrong, and I honor her for the role she played in confronting them.

    But do I think that just because the objected to the laws on moral grounds that it would have been reasonable to expect for the legal authorities to say, “That’s fine – if you object to the laws you don’t have to follow them.” Of course not.

    That’s my main point. One can’t expect to be legally excused from following a law just because they morally object to it.

    Maybe it would clarify things if I knew what you thought:

    Take the pharmacist example: do you believe that a pharmacist who is legally licensed to, and thus legally responsible for, dispensing birth control pills should be allowed to refuse to do so, without legal consequence, to unmarried women because he believes it is morally wrong for those women to use them.

    Does his moral belief give him the legal right to not follow that part of the law to which he objects?

    What are your thoughts on this situation?

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