TBS: You have just returned from a very successful tour of the U.K., where you participated in nearly a dozen lectures and debates. Even so, the most famous atheist you were to debate—evolutionary biologist and bestselling author, Richard Dawkins—was a no-show. In a public statement that got a lot of web play, Dawkins claimed he did not want to debate with you because you refuse to distance yourself from God, who in the Book of Deuteronomy orders the destruction of the Canaanites, which Dawkins termed “genocide.” In hindsight, what do you make of this episode?
WLC: Well, in hindsight I have to say that Dawkins’ attacks in The Guardian and elsewhere turned out to be the best publicity for the event at the Sheldonian Theatre [at Oxford University—ed.] that we could have possibly made up! [vid] His reaction was so counterproductive, from his point of view. Other atheists in the blogosphere and also in The Guardian roundly condemned him for what were clearly manufactured pseudo-reasons for not participating in the debate with me. So the whole fiasco just proved to be a boon to the public profile of the lecture that I gave in the Sheldonian Theatre, which was responded to by three other Oxford faculty, who apparently didn’t share Richard Dawkins’ reservations about being on the platform with me. So it really was very helpful to our outreach!
(Wouldn’t debate? It wasn’t about the elevator. Yes, he said it was about this. More likely, some say, about this. More coffee, please.)
240 Replies to “New interview with William Lane Craig – that Christian guy Dawkins wouldn’t debate”
OT: This article with video, despite the emotional theme, is actually very good:
Obama challenged on abortion at prayer event
More likely the reason Dawkins doesnt want to debate Craig is because he knows his arguments would get stomped by Bill.
YouTube user Birdieupon has a series of videos that completely demolish every flimsy excuse Dawkins concocted for avoiding Dr. Craig.
Dawkins knew his views would be exposed by Craig’s superior intellect and arguments. It’s quite telling when the world’s most prominent atheist runs scared from one of the world’s most formidable theists.
I pointed this out in another thread, but there are several reasons for the biblical injunction to destroy the nation of Canaan.
Note in particular that some people survived because they turned to God; this is not genocide by any means. Here are the reasons:
1. The Canaanites were, in a sense, squatters in a land that did not belong to them. How so? Some 400 years earlier, God had promised the faithful man Abraham that his descendants would possess the land of Canaan. (Genesis 15:18) God kept that promise when he caused the nation of Israel, which descended from Abraham, to occupy the region. Of course, some might protest that the Canaanites already lived there and therefore had a right to the land. But surely, as the Sovereign of the universe, God has the ultimate right to determine who will live where.—Acts 17:26; 1 Corinthians 10:26.
2. “They should not dwell in your land,” God warned regarding the Canaanites, “that they may not cause you to sin against me. In case you should serve their gods, it would become a snare to you.” (Exodus 23:33) The prophet Moses later told Israel: “It is for the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah your God is driving them away.” (Deuteronomy 9:5)
Just how wicked were those nations?
Immorality, pagan worship, and child sacrifice were widespread in Canaan. Bible historian Henry H. Halley notes that archaeologists excavating the area “found great numbers of jars containing the remains of children who had been sacrificed to Baal [a prominent god of the Canaanites].” He adds: “The whole area proved to be a cemetery for new-born babes. . . . Canaanites worshipped, by immoral indulgence, as a religious rite, in the presence of their gods; and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale. . . . Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than he did.”
3. One might ask, why single out the Canaanites? God has selectively executed sinners on many occasions. When “the earth became filled with violence” in Noah’s day, God caused a deluge that wiped out all but one family—Noah’s family. (Genesis 6:11; 2 Peter 2:5) God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when the sin of their inhabitants became “very heavy.” (Genesis 18:20; 2 Peter 2:6) And he pronounced judgment against the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, “the city of bloodshed,” although he spared that city when its inhabitants repented from their bad ways. (Nahum 3:1; Jonah 1:1, 2; 3:2, 5-10)
As for the Canaanites, God destroyed them in order to protect Israel, the nation that would eventually produce the Messiah.—Psalm 132:11, 12.
4. On the surface, God’s exterminating the Canaanites might seem inconsistent with his love. (1 John 4:8) However, that love becomes quite apparent when we take a closer look.
God knew long beforehand that Canaan’s inhabitants were headed in the wrong direction. Yet, instead of immediately wiping them out, he patiently allowed 400 years to pass until their error had “come to completion.”—Genesis 15:16.
When the sin of the Canaanites reached the point where all hope of improvement was gone, Jehovah brought their end. Even so, he did not blindly execute all Canaanites. Why? Because not all were beyond reform. Those willing to change, such as Rahab and the Gibeonites, were shown mercy.—Joshua 9:3-11, 16-27; Hebrews 11:31.
5. Really, though, it was God’s love that impelled him to take such drastic measures against the wicked. To illustrate: When a patient develops gangrene, doctors often have little choice but to amputate the infected limb. Few would enjoy performing such a procedure, but a good doctor knows that the alternative—the spread of infection—is worse. Because he cares, he carries out this unpleasant task for the good of his patient.
Similarly, Jehovah did not enjoy destroying the Canaanites. He himself says: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” (Ezekiel 33:11, Darby) At the same time, he purposed for the nation of Israel to produce the Messiah, the one who would open the way to salvation for all those exercising faith. (John 3:16) Thus, God simply could not allow Israel to become infected by the disgusting practices of the Canaanites. He therefore ordered the Canaanites to be cut off, or evicted, from the land. In so doing, God demonstrated outstanding love—love that moved him to perform an unpleasant task for the benefit of his faithful worshippers.
God mercifully spared Rahab and the Gibeonites when they turned to him in faith. This reminds us that anyone who truly wants to please God can do so, regardless of his background or past sins.—Acts 17:30.
Barb, Im tempted to tell you not to cast your pearls among swine. Im sure you know what I refer to.
Well Barb, though others are unreasonable, uncharitable with your posts, I appreciate your insights.
I do, and thanks.
I confess my ignorance about these issues, but could the Biblical verses be the way “unconditional surrender” was expressed at the time?
Honestly, Dawkins’ excuses for not wanting to debate WLC have gotten more and more outrageous as each excuse is found out.
Instead of debating the man in a professional setting he prefers to hide behind child-like excuses, throwing stones from the sidelines while his own colleagues take the stage in his place, with many shaking their heads at the cowardice of “the world’s greatest atheist”.
Actually, I’m surprised at just how dim Dawkins is. ‘Butterly on a wheel’ or not. I was under the impression he was a materialist, so he, above all kites and crows, would focus on the issue of God’s existence or otherwise, and not side-track himself(!) onto the issue of the ethical merits or otherwise of the God he holds to be hypothetical!
It’s all about religion with him, as with most atheists, and zero interest in empirical truths of established science. I don’t believe he was ever very bright as a kid. He, himslef, once admitted that he got where he did through a lot of application and hard work.
A conceptual thinker, he is not, nor ever was. I suspect he saw a niche in the market for peddling atheism to disaffected, angst-filled adolescents and went for it. Or perhaps he just feels a particular affinity with them. In any case, a shrewd move, in its own way, since his requirements of his fan-base are evidently not too demanding.
“Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than he did.”
I read on a general Christian forum that someone’s father had remarked to the family, “It seems to me that if God doesn’t destroy us (the US) soon, he’ll have to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
That might be the case.
That’s what I thought.
I’m curious, Barb: how do you think the Israelites knew for sure that that’s what God wanted them to do?
And, as a follow up: if someone said in court, that they’d murdered a number of sex-workers because God had told them to, would you consider it a reasonable defence?
If not, why not?
Well, as far as I am concerned, Dawkins’ article in the Guardian informed me of something I didn’t know – that Craig was a believer in “Divine Command Theory”, and apparently believes that genocide can be morally right, as long as it is commanded by God.
That was pretty shocking, and if Dawkins hadn’t provided an actual link to Craig’s essay, I wouldn’t have believed it. I had subscribed to Craig’s site, because it was called “Reasonable Faith”.
A complete misnomer, as it turns out.
Lizzie, Im sure its a mischaracterization of Craigs belief to say he believes its morally right to commit genocide if God would command it.
It would not be morally right to commit genocide under any circumstance(given the dictionary definition of genocide). In any case, the God of the bible is not guilty of genocide, and he would never command genocide given the evil nature of it. So to say”well what if he did?” Is an excercise in impossibility, like saying what if a square was a circle?
No, kuartus, Dawkins is absolutely right about Craig. Read what Craig says about the slaughter of the Canaanites:
Pitiful, isn’t it?
I’d like a cite for that quotation, and also a cite for the archaeologists who have dug in the ruins of those Canaanite cities.
A location of those cities would also be cool. As would evidence that the Israelites wandered in the desert at all, apart from the scriptural account.
Barb, good job and that was a very brief, but well articulated post.
Elizabeth, your question makes as much sense as a square circle. Why is that?
The Christian God is, by Biblical definition, the locus of all moral goodness. He cannot “murder” because to do evil would be contrary to His nature. Rather, He executes righteous judgment upon evil, when necessary. In this case, against Canaanite murderers.
In the case of the Canaanites children, it spared them from a heinous suffering torturous fiery sacrifice and afforded them entrance to heaven instead of condemning them to a possible cultic sacrificial death, or worse, a life of rebellion against the one true God, and the eternal consequences of such rebellion.
Kuartus, I can’t see any other way of reading the essay that Champignon has just quoted from, and to which Dawkins linked in his Guardian article.
tbh, I think Dawkins was an idiot to link his indictment of Craig’s moral philosophy to his refusal to debate Craig, but then I think Dawkins is often an idiot.
That, however, is irrelevant to what his link revealed about Craig. Those bolded words are his. What else could they mean? The command in question was a command to commit genocide, which Craig fully agrees would have been wrong/sin, were it not for the fact that God commanded it.
i.e. “he believes its morally right to commit genocide if God would command it” which is what I said.
So God was willing to do that ‘favor’ for the Canaanite children, but not for the children all over the world toady who will grow up to be nonbelievers? How unfair! Why doesn’t he kill them too?
Man, you have really drunk the Kool-Aid.
toady -> today
I think Craig is missing the whole picture frankly. This is how I see it.
Where do governments get the authority to carry out capital punishment? The theist would say from God. God would say that capital punishment would fulfill justice in certain crimes. IOW, God gives actual governments the right to carry out justice. In the case of the israelites, it is clear that they are carrying out justice on the canaanites. The canaanites were ancient nazis or worse. They werent killed because they were cananites, they were killed because they were evil bastards. Imagine all the WW2 nazi criminals had been captured and had to stand trial at the nuremberg trials(in reality only very few faced justice for what they had done, the majority escaped i believe). If they executed all guilty nazis because of what they had done, would you call that genocide against the nazis? Would it be parallel to the holocaust commited by the nazis?
To say the least. Take it up with him.
Every single one of them, including every woman, every child, and every infant, was an “evil bastard”?
No. What’s your point? Now suppose that all of the citizens of Germany were executed after WWII, along with the infirm, the elderly, the children, and the infants. Would that be genocide? Yes. Would it be moral? No. Would it be moral if God commanded it? No.
The women apparently were (or are you suggesting women aren’t capable of evil?).
If all the adults were wicked and warrented death, what was Israel do with the kids? Israel could barely support it’s own at the time. Keeping a whole bunch of kids around to grow up and hate them in their own camp is a terrible idea don’t you think?
Meh. Whatever. All this has been argued over already (here and elsewhere) and both positions will still fail to understand the other. Not sure what good dragging it back up will do.
“Every single one of them?”
No, not every single one of them. Just the evil bastards. I guess I should have been more clear. In any case, we have to ask who were the ones that were killed. The ones that stayed in the land. There is every indication that the cananites knew israel was coming, if not years, decades in advance. Most of what you would call the innocent people would have moved from the land and would not have been hunted down by israel. This was not genocide. BTW, migrating would NOT have been a big deal back in those days. In fact you could even say it was routine.
But guess who stayed behind? The evil nazi cananites! Those were the ones that were to be executed. Which brings me to my last point. The israelites were commanded to destroy the cananite nations, not every single cananite individual. To destroy a nation no more would be
necessary than to dissolve sovreignty. Removal from the land was indeed sufficient for that purpose. Of course the true nazi cananites werent going to leave without a fight. Seriously, they got what was coming to them.
Your rationalizations don’t work:
Not according to Yahweh:
Champ… I wouldn’t presume to know the answer to your question, as much as you presume God’s existence in asking it.
However, a possibility, I suppose, is that no society today is as characterized by such heinous evil as ritual child sacrifice like the Canaanite society was. As such, there is no need for God to enact supernatural justice when God-instituted human justice is sufficient to do the job.
Also, I suspect you are ignorant of the fact that the Hebrews were the most civil, legal, ethical, equitable, fair, just society during that time period.
As for the rest of your little rant, you’re just exploiting the misery of Canaanite children to make your emotional appeal. In reality, you couldn’t care less about Canaanite children. At least the Judeo-Christian God you rail against (and Christians) are openly and publicly against the murder of innocent, unborn children. That is more than most secularists can say for themselves.
Now you say:
So God will intervene to protect children from being sacrificed, but not to prevent them from suffering for all of eternity?
Yes, I’m “exploiting” the Canaanite children by arguing against their murder. Their parents probably “exploited” them the same way. Good thing that the Israelites did the moral thing and killed them, as God commanded.
Champ, did you even read what you just quoted from the bible?
None of it contradicts what I just said. In the first part of the verse, God ia laying out general ground rules from when israel goes to war with its foes. They were to offer peace first, and if they rejected, all responsible parties that chose to wage war were to be killed. They chose war! What do you expect? They had the chance to give up but chose to do war. If you do war you will be engaged and killed. Thats war! It happens today also you know. An as for the innocent captives, they were not to treat them badly.
The rest of the verse deals specifically with taking the land from the cananites. Again, they were to destroy the nations, not every individual. Those that resisted and stayed behind were the one that were in charge and the ones guilty of promoting and perpetrating the nazi crimes so to speak.
Yes. Did you?
If the city was distant, they were to kill the men but keep the women, children and livestock. If the city was nearby, they were to kill “anything that breathes.”
Your rationalizations don’t work.
“So God will intervene to protect children from being sacrificed, but not to prevent them from suffering for all of eternity?”
Either children would be sacrificed in cultic ritual sacrifices and end up in heaven, or they would be spared a lifetime of rebellion against God and thereby spared from eternal judgment. Either way, God is saving them. Also, FYI, there is no suffering in heaven, so it would not be possible for Canaanite children to suffer for eternity.
If what God did was “murder”, then what would you call what the Canaanites did? And is what the Canaanites did any different than the modern day secularist genocide of aborting healthy, normal children for selfish reasons from the safest, healthiest place on earth, a woman’s womb?
Go back and read my comment again, either more carefully or more honestly, as needed. Then answer the question.
Sorry, let me rephrase:
“Keeping a whole bunch of kids around to grow up and hate them in their own camp when they can barely take care of themselves is a terrible idea don’t you think?”
Onto your response, isn’t this for cities they go to war with OUTSIDE of land they are to inherit? Like, ‘AFTER you settle, here’s how you go to war’? Thus Israel would HAVE the supplies to take care of kids who hate them (as well as their mothers), as opposed to when they first enter caanan, when they barely have enough for themselves?
Standard ancient warfare really.
However, before they can do all that, they need their land to settle on. Otherwise they’ll have no way to supply the front line if they are trying to expand their empire, and no fortifications to defend their homes from someone doing the same and so caring for POW’s would be nigh impossible. Remember this is a nomad people until the war on the Caananites begins and Israel takes down their first nation. Hence:
Interestingly, the Israelites actually didn’t erradicate everyone like they were told to. Once they’d gotten settled in a good bit they actually started having mercy on a few of the nations and made ’em serfs/slaves instead. And a generation or two later they did end up doing the same crap the Caananites were doing (just short of child murder if I remember right) just as predicted. And so begins the long flow of punishment and forgivness Israel goes through till Rome finally shows up.
I doubt their parents care as much as you do seeing as they regularly killed their children themselves. By throwing them into fire. Alive. Apparently while having sex with hookers on the alter. -_-
Yeah, imagine being willing to kill your child just because your God told you to. Abraham would never have done that, would he? Just them dirty Canaanites.
“Yes, did you?”
I dont know whats going on here. I dont want to accuse you of having a reading comprehension problem but anyone who is not just trying to score rhetorical points will see that,
“If the city was distant, they were to kill the men but keep the women, children and livestock. If the city was nearby they were to kill anything that breathes”
Is a complete misapprehension of the quoted bible verses. Do you think we are blind Champ? The verse is right there for everyone to see! I explained to you the context of those verses and why they dont conflict with my explanation.
But who cares about the evidence anyway, right Champ?
Anyways, Im more than happy to leave it at that. Its obvious your hatred for the bible is clouding your judgement,or maybe your eyesight. Who knows?
Oh… Wow… Hey, what happened after that? Did Abraham actually go through with…
Oh wait, that’s right. He didn’t. ‘Cause God wasn’t into that sort of thing… but he did want to know how much ole Abe believed.
Meanwhile, guess who DID go through with killing their kids? In a fire. Alive. Apparently while having sex with hookers.
And we have their little bones to prove it.
So Abraham was good because he was willing to kill his child when he thought his God wanted him to, and the Canaanites were evil because they were willing to kill their children when they thought their God wanted them to.
Absolutely consistent. Makes perfect sense.
Nope. He was obediant though, which I think was what God wanted to see.
According to Genesis the whole thing was a test to see where Abrahams loyalties lay. As soon as it was evident God gave him a substitute so evil wasn’t done, and made sure that Abraham and all his children (and their children) knew child sacrifice was a no-no.
The same can’t be said of the Caananites. Who threw their kids in fire. Alive. Apparently while sleeping with hookers. Which, outside that region, wasn’t the norm… All for a image the people themselves made.
And we don’t need a holy book to know this. Because we have their bones. And if I remember rightly the statues they sacrificed to.
So again. I doubt their parents cared as much as you… though its nice you care. 😉
So were the Canaanites. They did the sacrifices for their God, just as Abraham was willing to do it for his God.
Why was his obedience good if theirs was evil?
Read my response again. Where did I say Abraham being willing to kill his son as a sacrifice was a ‘good’ thing?
Note also, that God didn’t think it was good either. Which is why it didn’t happen. And why there were laws written out for the nation to prevent it from happening.
Meanwhile, the caananites DID throw their kids in fire, alive, while maybe sleeping with hookers.
You’re not even denying it! ;D
How long have you been a Christian, Sonfaro? I ask because I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t understand that Abraham passed God’s test by being willing to sacrifice Isaac:
Because the authorities of the day said so. Which is precisely the problem with the opinions of scientists in the modern day isn’t it?
It’s because of their breeding. Do you consider blaming Darwin a reasonable defence?
What is true for Barb’s response is precisely true for your response.
As would be evident for the origin of species and all, apart from the sriptural account.
If God doesn’t exist then your question is merely “If the government/populus demanded it, would it be moral?” You say no, and I perhaps would agree with you.
But if God does exist then your question is “Is it moral to do what you want with your own Legos?” In which case there’s no moral or immoral involved. It’s all just a kvetch about plastic bricks.
But if there is no God, and this is your philosophic perspective, then your question is “Is it moral to do what you want with you own chemistry?” In which case there’s no moral or immoral involved. It’s all just a kvetch about wave functions.
And this is where I need to understand your perspective before agreeing or disagreeing with you: Is chemistry a deontological issue?
No, it’s precisely the opposite. Scientists do not appeal to authority; they appeal to evidence and argument, and all their conclusions are provisional, not absolute.
You have helped me make my exact point, so thank you.
Of course not. And that’s because there is no symmetry between our views. I hold a person responsible for their actions because it is the person who acts, not their ancestors, or their neurons.
Only if the person is clearly damaged in some way, or “not in possession of their mind” do we absolve them of personal responsibility.
That would include the delusion that they were being commanded directly by the voice of God.
Read any textbook on phylogenetic analysis.
Do you know of any archaeological evidence for the conquering of the Canaanites by a tribe of Israelites migrating from Egypt?
Or even for the Exodus itself?
Because Israeli archaeologists looked pretty hard, and had a pretty strong vested interest in finding such evidence, and, to my knowledge, have found none.
Thankfully, it seems likely that the whole story is fictional. But why anyone should want to believe it true, given what it implies about the nature of the deity referred to as Yahweh, defeats me.
Good. Although your “perhaps” worries me.
Whether or not God exists, what you do with your Legos is unlikely to present you with a moral dilemma.
Of course it isn’t. If you kill yourself, then other people are affected, and distressed. That’s why suicide presents a moral dilemma, even if it’s what you wish. This is true whether you posit a god or not.
Yes if it concerns the welfare of sentient beings.
You seem to think that because some of us think that sentient beings are solely the result of physical interactions that that means that we are “just” physical interactions. Is water is “just” oxygen and hydrogen atoms? and are oxygen and hydrogen atoms “just” sub atomic particles?
No, they are not. They may solely consist of the units at the level below, but the units at the levels below do not share the properties of the entity in question. Water has countless properties not possessed by “hydrogen” or “oxygen”. Similarly people have countless properties, including sentience, agency, goal-setting and decision-making, not possessed by their cells or neurotransmitters or ions.
And sentient beings impose upon us obligations that non-sentient objects (Legos for example) do not.
You have made, in other words, a straw man of materialism, by ignoring the properties we, like you, ascribe to the assemblies of the parts of which we consist and which are not, clearly, the properties of the parts. I am not a neuron, I am nothing like a neuron, and my neurons are nothing like me.
Read my response again. Both of them if you need to.
Where did I say Abraham failed?
I mean I get that you think you know more than everybody but really, putting words in peoples mouths?
I’m suggesting that some tests are just tests. If I wanted to see how much liquid a container holds, does it fail if it holds 4L instead of 5L? It still holds liquid either way. I’m just testing how much.
Moreover, In that passage you quoted, where does God say being willing to kill your kid is good?
He doesn’t? Oh okay.
It was a test to see how far Abraham would go. When it was known, the test was stopped, an out was given, and a generation later when the laws were written up how God felt about it was spelled out for the nation to see. Which is that child sacrifice is evil.
Meanwhile the Caananites did sacrifice their children, which we still don’t need the bible for, seeing as we have their bones. And unless you’re a moral relativist and anything goes, you know that such an action is evil.
So again, it’s nice you care so much. Their parents didn’t seem to.
While you’re busy trying to spin my post, can you answer how the story of Abraham and Issac refutes my statement that: “[The caananite kids] parents […] regularly killed their children themselves. By throwing them into fire. Alive. Apparently while having sex with hookers on the alter.”
And if it doesn’t, just say so.
Champ, if you will look at the order of responses, I have answered your questions. I am entirely responsible for the fact that you cannot reply with reasonable argumentation.
Bottom line is: You hate God. That’s a personal problem. Making an emotional appeal to how bad God because He doesn’t do what you think He should do and doesn’t conform to your whacked, immoral framework only makes your style of argumentation appear sophomoric. You aren’t even familiar with scholarly material pertaining to the Canaanite conquest, and you only post Scripture taken out of context when it suits you. This is extremely poor exegesis, and indicates an immaturity on your part, both personally and intellectually. You can do better.
I suggest you read Paul Copan’s book “Is God A Moral Monster?”. He covers the Canaanite conquest in detail that is both accurate and accessible to a layperson. It will do you good to understand more before launching into petty, 2-bit flatulent outbursts about a topic you are not prepared to discuss civilly.
You get angry when you lose an argument.
When you lose an argument you post comments like the one above, or beginning with something like ‘Why can’t you admit when you’re wrong?’ You put it at the beginning and use few enough words that it shows up in the excerpts on the home page. To anyone skimming over the posts it gives an apparently deliberate impression that you’ve just issued some compelling refutation or caught someone in an error.
Did you think no one would notice? That’s really lame.
As you like to say, “It’s not hard, dude.”
God ordered Abraham to kill Isaac. Abraham was willing to follow God’s command. God was pleased:
If Abraham’s willingness to obey his God was a good thing, why was the Canaanites’ willingness to obey their God an evil thing?
Welcome back, Scott.
Anyone who doubts my characterization is free to read the thread. That’s the beauty of blogs: the comments are preserved for posterity. Fossilized, so to speak.
Meanwhile, let’s continue our discussion on the Feser thread. I’m curious to hear why you think natural law can’t explain what brains do when they map symbols to referents.
Thanks, but I’m leaning toward editing myself out of the discussion, perhaps permanently. I wish I had the self control to comment selectively, but my tendency is more toward responding way too much. And there’s no shortage of commentary from people who know a heck of a lot more than I do while being just as unfailingly right as I always am.
I’ve recently received some really good (and often) repeated suggestions about not spending too much time on the internet. Some will know exactly what I’m talking about.
For those of you who can juggle it, more power to you.
Interestingly, Abraham knew BOTH he and his son would return alive.
(Gen 22:5) Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”
So what can we make of this? That God in His foreknowledge knew that Abraham, given the opportunity, would have killed his own son in obedience to Him and sent the angel to prevent it…which shows God’s providential mercy and care.
Or did Abraham have so much faith as to believe God would not allow Him to kill his own son, and believed on God until the last moment when the angel prevented him from going through with it, which shows both God’s providential mercy and care, as well as the faith of Abraham.
In either case, Abraham demonstrated faith and obedience. Isaac was not killed, and God demonstrated mercy and care.
Does the scripture say “And God was pleased?” (When something pleases him he/the bible usually says so)
Does this say he told Abraham “You have done a good thing?”
What does it say? “Now I know you fear me, being willing to sacrifice your son.”
Just After specifically saying “Do not do this?”
Is that all he says about the subject?
Up till he told Abrahams descendants NOT TO DO IT, yep.
No dice. You do have a lovely imagination though. 😉
Just for gits and shiggles here’s the bible on Child sacrifices, specifically to the Caananite deity Moloch:
So what do we know?
1. The practice of sacrificing children is considered evil.
2. According to scripture, God wanted to test Abraham’s faith by asking him to commit evil.
3. Abraham was willing to do it, and God put a stop to it after learning the extent of Abrahams faith.
4. After the incident, Abraham calls the land ‘the lord provides’.
4. Years later, as they prepare to take the land promised, God told Abrahams kids not to do it [sacrifice kids]; and that if someone did and they weren’t given a death sentence, he’d turn his back on the entire nation.
BONUS. The Caananites kept doing it till their destruction. (Do you deny this?)
Anything beyond this is pure speculation on your part and not married to the text. And if your opinion is that OT God is evil, that’s how your minds gonna warp the words, isn’t it?
Try reading it neutral, with no preconcieved notions. Maybe that would help you.
Anyway, no. It’s not hard dude.
Now, back to the main point: “[The caananite kids] parents […] regularly killed their children themselves. By throwing them into fire. Alive. Apparently while having sex with hookers on the alter.”
True or false?
Grrr, that second 4 was supposed to be a 5. Wish there was an edit function.
Probably wise, especially if those suggestions are coming from your wife.
Too bad. I was looking forward to seeing how you would argue on the Feser thread. Your position seems indefensible — agreeing on the one hand that brains operate strictly according to physical law, yet claiming that physical law can’t explain what brains do when they come up with new symbols.
Make up your mind. Did Abraham pass God’s test, or fail it?
And if you think he passed it, as your fellow Christians do, then answer my question:
If that’s true, then it wasn’t a test at all.
And what would you have expected Abraham to say to his servants? “You stay here with the donkey. I’m going to take the boy over there and kill him, and then I’ll return?”
Man, oh man — the contortions you folks will put yourselves through to defend the Bible are amazing.
This is why people accuse you of having comprehension issues.
How would a container “pass” such a test? How can it “fail”?
If the test is to determine the length of Abrahams faith, how can he pass it? fail it?
Think this way:
Seriously, do you read my posts, or just look through for snippets just to argue with?
And again: “[The caananite kids] parents […] regularly killed their children themselves. By throwing them into fire. Alive. Apparently while having sex with hookers on the alter.”
True or false?
This bit was @Champ
An edit function would be lovely 🙁
Yeah, that was one pending exchange I have been waiting for, anticipating. Too bad.
Does it make any difference to you that the Bible says you’re wrong?
The Bible says that Abraham’s obedience was a good thing. You say it was neither good nor bad, just a test.
I’ll let you try to convince your fellow Christians that you’re right and the Bible is wrong. Wear a helmet.
@Champ in 17!
Bantay, Champignon isn’t saying that s/he hates God or that God is evil.
S/he is saying that the god to whom you are ascribing such appalling attributes would not be a good god.
In other words your idea of God makes no sense if God is supposed to be good.
Scott, just in case I don’t get the opportunity to say it, then, I’ve enjoyed your posts!
And found quite a bit to agree with, as you know.
Science has been left behind here. All I can remember about second-year Physics is that we were told something about thermos flasks – and I’m having to remind you. Crazy.
When are you guys going to realise that the existence of God (or not, for the incorrigible), which used to be solely a metaphysical question, now falls within the ambit of empirical science. And the ethical standing of God has no bearing on that, whatsoever – no matter how horrified we might be if we believe, he’s a wrong’un.
Champ, yes it would have been a test. The test would be a test of Abraham’s faith, not God’s moral nature.
Obviously, Abraham demonstrated great faith, and God demonstrated great mercy and care.
Are you reading what you’re posting?
Or are ‘faith’ and ‘obedience’ now the same things?
So you can see how silly this post is:
Abraham’s obedience wasn’t what made God pleased. It was his faith. According to Hebrews his faith that –
If any good came from this, it was that Abraham’s faith didn’t falter, even as he was prepared to do something wicked, even EVIL, he believed it would all turn out for good and that no harm would truely befall his son.
And it didn’t. Low and behold.
Which is basically one of the options Bantay just suggested, isn’t it? And you laughed it off?
So far we’ve had you:
1. Misrepresent my statements.
2. Misread the bible.
3. Mock someones post and then confirm it in the span of a few minutes
and 4. Conflate faith and obedience.
Are you really that desperate to believe the bible is so evil that you’ll post anything that seems to conflate it without giving it a thought over?
And you say we drink the kool-aide.
And again, for the third or fourth time: “[The caananite kids] parents […] regularly killed their children themselves. By throwing them into fire. Alive. Apparently while having sex with hookers on the alter.”
True or false?
Thanks for the reminder Axel. Sorry for derailing the thread
I’m done, honest. Champ’ll be back up here to spin my post again so that he feels better about his faith/worldview/lifestyle choice. He can have the last word if you wants it. Won’t change either scripture, his attitude, or mine. A waste of words on a close minded individual.
Somebody talk science! 🙂
Abraham’s faith made him willing to do what his God commanded. The Canaanites’ faith made them willing to do what their God commanded.
Why is Abraham good if the Canaanites are evil?
“If you wants it…”
IF HE WANTS IT! Urgh, what a terrible writing day.
LOL. Take a look at the title of the OP:
The reason Dawkins gave for refusing to debate Craig was Craig’s approval of the Canaanite genocide. Thus the Canaanite genocide, and the fact that the OT God commanded it, is absolutely germane.
Also, this is UD. Religion is a major topic here. Take a look at these post titles:
Last post! I Swear! This one is easy.
Who said their faith was evil? You or me?
What I said was:
1. Child Sacrifice is evil.
2. Believing that God can render evil null and void is good.
Both Abe and the Caananites were prepared to do 1. Only Abe had 2. The caananites knew their kids weren’t coming back, and went forward anyway. Even if their gods exist/ed, said evil wasn’t being nulled. It was encouraged.
You do believe child-sacrifice is evil. Right?
Anyway, we’ve both gone wildly off topic. I can acknowledge that I believe Abraham was prepared to do something evil at Gods request (I’ve said it several times now, but whatever). And you can acknowledge that the caananites were killing their children by burning them alive to a god whose sole purpose apperes to be burning kids alive (seriously, the thing isn’t even a fertility god or anything).
So you think there is evidence for a powerful creator being, who is empirically verifiable, and who may or may not be good?
If so, can I ask you two questions:
1. Why would you call such a being a “god”, rather than, for example, a super-powerful alien from a universe beyond our own?
2. Why would you worship such a being, especially if the empirical evidence suggested it was a “wrong’un”?
This doesn’t count because I’m not saying anything new.
My first answer is found at 188.8.131.52.30 in that thread. An illustration which contrasts acting within natural laws with explanation via those laws (the car) is at 184.108.40.206.35, which I apparently posted in the wrong place (see, I freely admit a capacity for error) and you copied over.
Elizabeth – thank you.
“I’m curious, Barb: how do you think the Israelites knew for sure that that’s what God wanted them to do?”
Because he told them. The nation of Israel was descended from Abraham’s family. The land was theirs by a covenant that Abraham had with God.
“And, as a follow up: if someone said in court, that they’d murdered a number of sex-workers because God had told them to, would you consider it a reasonable defence?
If not, why not?”
Your lack of intelligence stuns me, Elizabeth. Are you asking these questions rhetorically, or do you genuinely want a response?
If you want to know why God waged war on the Canaanites, I explained it upthread.
Does God tell us to wage war today? No, he does not. Christian warfare, as explained in the book of Ephesians, is spiritual and not literal. Why did the nation of Israel wage war? Because they were fighting for land that was rightfully theirs.
You might also check the source of my quote, Henry Halley’s Bible Handbook. The land belonged to Israel because God, the creator of the universe, said it did. Who would you be to argue?
You might look at James Hoffmeier’s book “Israel in Egypt”. There are a few others I found doing a simple Google search.
Why would anyone want it to be true? Because of faith, Elizabeth, something you are sorely lacking. Sorry if you don’t get the point after having it repeatedly explained to you.
It is obvious from his posts here and elsewhere that Champignon hates God.
And who are you or anyone else to define ‘good’? Based on what, exactly? You own limited human intelligence? Is that the objective standard by which you measure goodness–because an all powerful, omnipotent god would laugh at you if you tried.
How did he tell them? Did they hear the voice of God? Did he appear to them in a vision? How did they know it was not a hallucination?
I want a response, Barb, and I am not particularly lacking in intelligence.
But let me put it slightly differently:
How do you tell whether a voice that claims to be the voice of God is really God or a hallucination?
Because the Israelites and Peter Sutcliffe both apparently believed that that God was telling them to murder people. We have no difficulty in concluding that Peter Sutcliffe was hallucinating, if only for the simple reason that we do not think that God tells people to murder other people.
And yet you are happy to believe that God told the Israelites to murder other people. Why?
I’m not asking why he did. I don’t even believe he did. I think it is extremely unlikely there even was an Exodus, as there is apparently absolutely no archaeological evidence for it at all. What I want to know is how you think the Israelites knew that it was God telling them to murder the Canaanites.
That is not what I asked. Not that I would have been exactly satisfied with your answer if it had been what I asked as it simply begs the question as to how the Israelites knew that the land was “rightfully theirs”, seeing as all they had to go on was the belief that God had told them it was, and you have provided me with no criteria that they, or you, could use to check.
I’d be a rational person who normally doesn’t assume that a voice in someone’s head, or from some kind of vision, is the voice of God, especially as a) it is generally considered a hallucination and possibly the sign of potentially dangerous psychosis if the content of the hallucination is incitement to murder and b) if the document in question was written by a successfully invading force.
Yes, based on my limited human intelligence, in combination with the accumulated wisdom of many other human beings who have, over the millenia, gradually learned the rules the best allow them to live in harmony.
It’s as objective as we’ve got, for the simple reason that we have no way of telling – or at least you have not provided one – whether an edict from an alleged “all powerful omnipotent god” is indeed and edict from an “all powerful omnipotent god”, and not a subjective delusion.
The fallible human collective at least has the advantage of being able to use reason and argument and experience.
Yes, that’s a problem. But even if you DO find grounds for such a conclusion, what to make of said edict? If, in some dystopic scenario we find an edict that demands the wholesale slaughter of the Midianites down the road a ways, every last man woman, child and infant run through with the sword, how would that provide a basis for moral obligation or deontological priority for me (or you)?
I can see that it may be a matter of ‘might makes right’, and we would be obligated to slaughter everyone in another tribe, lest we be killed ourselves. But ‘all powerful’ doesn’t entail goodness or evil in human terms, and in the case just described, that would be an over-the-top example of an evil god, by human measures. Maybe one could get super dark in one’s imagination and contemplate some god who would snuff out — say, drown with a global flood — the entirety the human race, save a handful of chosen survivors, but the challenge would be the same: why would our human empathy and natural sense of justice and love not compel us to curse and resist such an evil god, if, per chance, that nightmare scenario were ever to be thrust upon us?
The first step toward recovery is admitting that you have a problem. 🙂
I responded to the latter comment here. I think this excerpt sums up the problem:
I was the one defending God from your accusation that he wrote the Bible!
Liz: “I’d be a rational person who normally doesn’t assume that a voice in someone’s head, or from some kind of vision, is the voice of God, especially as a) it is generally considered a hallucination and possibly the sign of potentially dangerous psychosis if the content of the hallucination is incitement to murder and b) if the document in question was written by a successfully invading force.”
Was Martin Luther King delusional? If MLK was not delusional, why then, should we assume that all other cases of people with these types of experiences are delusional. Some might be. A good indicator would be, how consistent is their behavior in other aspects of their life. Simply put, if one person claiming to hear God and kill hookers is crazy, it does not logically follow that all people that claim to hear God’s voice, or that Divine experience = delusion. It should go case by case.
In this case, you have a man on a mission to free his people from the inequalities of their nation, claiming to have experienced the Divine and heard the voice of God. After a bomb attack, he encourages his people to push foreword with the struggle, telling them that “God is with us.” He is later killed and his people are eventually granted equality.
There is absolutely no difference in this story, than any other similar biblical event. The only difference is the treatment of the event by secular-atheist-darwin thumpers.
If this was a biblical text treatment it would read something like:
“And God spoke to Martin, and said fear not, I am with you. And Martin continued foreword against the evil tribes of America, his people followed him, and he was martyred and his people were free.”
And this statement would be accurate, inline with everything we understand about the history of MLK. No delusions or hallucinations.
If you wish to challenge this, provide evidence of Martin Luther King’s metal illness.
My question seems invisible here.
“How do you tell whether a voice that claims to be the voice of God is really God or a hallucination?”
I didn’t say it was; I didn’t say it wasn’t. I asked: how do you tell?
Both generally, and specifically in the cases that what it is telling you to do is go out and massacre people, as was the case, reportedly, with the Israelites and with Peter Sutcliffe.
It is not a rhetorical question, I am not trying to say the Israelites were psychotic, I’m asking exactly what my words indicate I’m asking.
And I’d really appreciate an answer.
I have my own answer, which is very simple, but I’d really really like to hear yours.
That’s not dim, Axel. Dawkins is not focussing on the ethical merits of God. He’s focussing on the ethical merits of a man who worships a putative deity who allegedly commanded people to commit genocide, and who can say, with a straight face, that something that would normally be wrong is not wrong if commanded by said deity.
Of course it has nothing to do with science. It has to do with the evils of such a worldview – a worldview that defines good as that which is commanded by a putative deity, rather than one which reifies good as a deity. Dawkins is quite happy with that second thing, as he makes explicit in his book, The God Delusion.
Some people here have no problem getting that point. But, bizarrely, several people are defending Craig.
I find myself flabbergasted.
No, I don’t get the point.
Why would anyone want it to be true that the god they worship had commanded one tribe of people to massacre another on order to take the land they lived in?
Also why it is a good thing to have faith in a putative god that delivers such commands.
I used to have faith in a good God. There’s a sense in which I still do. I have never regretted the lack of a faith in a mythical tyrant.
Liz: “how do you tell?”
I already said, but I’ll say it again, it should be taken case by case. Auditory-command hallucinations are tied to psychosis, schizophrenia etc. Martin Luther King claimed to hear the voice of God telling him to move foreword with the struggle, which he admitted to on several occasions. If Martin Luther King had an auditory-command hallucination, then provide evidence of his mental illness. If you cannot provide evidence for his mental illness (temporary or otherwise), then you can consider him a liar, who deceived his people and put them all in danger. In that case, please support any claim that MLK was intentionally deceiving the people in his movement by claiming that God spoke to him while he sat at his kitchen table.
A blind leading a blind. As Aesop has it in one of his fables, people say, well perhaps that dog barking at the elephant is strong and brave. But the elephant walks past not even noticing the pathetic bully. This chap with all his books is not even worthy of being taken seriously.
There is a third possibility. He heard a voice for real but he mistook this voice for God’s. A lot of such cases are described in the patristic literature of the Christian East (the first centuries AD), e.g. refer to Philokalia, a collection of writings on prayer by prominent Orthodox Christian saints. In Orthodox Christian tradition, it is strictly forbidden to listen to any voices during prayer or to stimulate one’s imagination in any way. Such mental states in Russian are called ‘prelest’ (delusion). They may or may not lead to diagnosable mental illnesses.
Lizzie, actually there is quite a lot of archeological evidence that there was a conquest of the land of canaan by israel just like the bible says, and quite a lot of evidence for the presence of foreign semitic peoples in egypt when the bible says israel was there. Here is a link you might want to look at. It would do you good to inform yourself on these issues:
And why should we conclude that israel didnt wander in the desert for forty years just because there is not archeological trace of them? Not only is that the fallacy of argument from silence, but in fact it is more than credible to believe they wouldnt leave anything behind to discover seeing that the only things the ancient scythians left behind in way of archeological evidence for their presence was a few royal tombs, and thats after several centuries of habitation!
As to why anyone would want to believe in a mythical tyrant that commands genocide? Who knows? I dont think anyone would want to.
Certaintly I dont.8
Just an addition, it is obvious that while such states (at early stages in any case) may not be classified as illness, they are extremely dangerous spiritually and lead to peril because people learn to trust their own imaginations instead of sober spiritual guidance by tradition.
First link is wrong: http://www.biblearchaeology.or.....quest.aspx
“Yes, based on my limited human intelligence, in combination with the accumulated wisdom of many other human beings who have, over the millenia, gradually learned the rules the best allow them to live in harmony.”
I wouldn’t call what’s happening in the Middle East “living in harmony”. Unless you wanted to ignore reality.
“It’s as objective as we’ve got, for the simple reason that we have no way of telling – or at least you have not provided one – whether an edict from an alleged “all powerful omnipotent god” is indeed and edict from an “all powerful omnipotent god”, and not a subjective delusion.”
There have been examples provided to you in this thread of God directing the activity of humans. If you don’t want to believe that is anything but a delusion, that is your choice.
“The fallible human collective at least has the advantage of being able to use reason and argument and experience.”
Is experience always the best teacher? Do I truly have to try drugs to know that they’ll destroy my mind?
Also consider that the Bible states, “The wisdom from above is reasonable.” The fact that you don’t understand portions of the Bible does not make this statement untrue. It just means that you don’t understand portions of the Bible. That’s all.
1. Because we have evidence, in the form of the Bible, that God might exist. We have no evidence to show that aliens of any sort exist.
2. What makes you think the empirical evidence would show that it’s wrong? If God exists and it was proved empirically, the only people who should be sweating are the atheists who’ve long denied and decried his existence. I have no worries.
Yes, we know. Despite repeated attempts to explain it to you.
As pointed out already, it fulfilled prophecy; it was their land by right. If I inhabited the house you own and refused to move, would you have me evicted?
And, as pointed out already, the Canaanites practiced child sacrifice. Are you suggesting that this practice is okay, and that the Israelites should have turned a blind eye to it?
Try reading my posts.
Because having faith allowed the Israelites to take possession of the land that was rightfully theirs and to live in relative peace and security.
Because having faith allowed some of the Canaanites peoples–namely, the Gibeonites and Rahab and her family, not to mention Ruth–to live with the Israelites and to not be killed as the other nations were. Genocide has no survivors. God’s warfare, in this instance, did. I notice that nobody seems to have picked up on that. I wonder why.
Because having faith is what allows you to understand the big picture. Abraham did not see the fulfillment of the covenant that God had made with him. He died before the nation of Israel, his descendants, took possession of the land. He did understand that this was part of God’s purpose, to pave the way for the Messiah.
However, all this being noted, the Bible frankly does acknowledge that “faith is not a possession of all people.” No, Elizabeth, it certainly is not in your case.
kuartusFebruary 7, 2012 at 4:43 am
I could poke my head in once a day, but what’s the point? (And yes, I do admit that I have a problem.)
I though my point was clear that the same thing is happening. How does that answer my argument that the natural laws it acts within do not explain it? I spelled that out, and you ignored it to respond to the opposite of what I said.
Because having faith allows you to fly aeroplanes into buildings.
And that has what to do with this discussion? Nothing? Non sequitur. Try not to use logical fallcies when posting, as they don’t prove anything.
Why is that a logical fallicy and why is it irrelevant to the claims you are making about faith?
A logical fallacy such as non sequitur indicates that the person is making a statement that has nothing to do with what’s being discussed and/or debated.
You brought up the events of 9/11. This thread, so far, has been discussing the faith of Abraham.
What does 9/11 have to do with Abraham?
Do you truly not understand this, or are you trolling?
The people who committed those acts did so because they believed that it was Gods will – they had faith, just as Abraham did.
You made a series of statements regarding Abraham and the Canaanites and used the idea of faith as something, from what I can see, that justified the events – that made them right.
My point was to highlight the fact that your, or their personal faith that something is Gods will does not make it morally right or Gods will.
From what I can see your position is that if you come to believe that the God you have faith in says it is OK, then it is OK. I don’t think that is in any way good, or morally grounded, indeed it is the root of much evil.
So now you see the relevance we can re-phrase your question properly: “What does faith have to do with Faith?”
The elephant in the room, Barb, which you seem determine not to see, to the extent of completely missing the point of my posts is the answer to the question:
IF YOU THINK YOU HEAR A DIVINE COMMAND, HOW DO YOU KNOW IT REALLY IS?
The people who flew planes into the twin towers thought they were acting by divine command. So did Peter Sutcliffe. So did, allegedly, the Israelites who allegedly massacred the Canaanites and the Midianites.
How do you know which ones were really following God’s orders and which ones had made a terrible mistake?
Please simply answer my question, instead of casting aspersions on my lack of intelligence or faith.
And the Middle East is a good example of a secular society, coming to reasonable conclusions from collective experience?
That looks like an own goal to me, Barb.
I didn’t say that God doesn’t direct the activity of humans. I didn’t say that the perception that one is directed by God is a delusion. I’ve repeatedly tried to make that clear, yet your eyes seem to skate over my words. What I asked was: how do you know? In other words: by what means do you discern that the command is from God?
No, which is why I specifically used that word “collective”. Please try to read my posts in full Barb, this is getting very frustrating.
That argument is completely circular. If you can’t understand that, then that may explain why we are having this problem.
Please try to break out from the circle and address the simple question: how do you know that a command from God is from God?
I think, personally, the answer is very simple. But I won’t give mine until at least one theist on this thread has attempted to give theirs.
“I think personally, the answer is very simple”
I would love to see your answer.
“But i wont give mine until…….”
Oh, shucks! Well I guess I could try. The israelites had already seen God smite egypt with ten plagues. Afterwards they saw God part the red sea. When God told them judgment needed to befall the cananite nations, I think they were pretty confident they werent just “hearing stuff”
So how can you tell if God really is talking to you? You will probably see some miracles coming your way. Your turn.
Phrased that way, it’s actually the easier question to answer. If you think you hear a divine command (a voice, a message in a dream, or a vision) absolutely do not listen to it. It is not a divine command. It is either deception, mental illness, or just a really weird dream.
It’s actuality rather easy. Divine commands are always in ALL CAPS.
Why do you keep pushing this myth that Dawkins refused To debate Craig for Noble reasons when Dawkins already knew about Craigs Article and mentioned it back in 2008? Dawkins claimed that he did not know about Craigs words when he shared the stage of a panel Debate back in 2010 so we know that what he is saying is false.
Furthermore in an article in 2011 Dawkins again mentions about Craigs writing concerning the issue but Dawkins gives the excuse that he does not want to help Craig in his relentless quest for self promotion and that will continute to be his position.
It is 5 months later that Dawkins shifts his position and uses Craigs article as an excuse.
If you are interested in the truth then I am sure you will quit Defending Dawkins position, Whether you have a problem with Craig is beside the point, Dawkins reason does not stand up to scrutiny.
Elizabeth on a video by birdieupon on youtube there are 12 excuses given for dodging Craig including the ones about Craigs moral philosophy even though Dawkins was found to contradict himself and have no credibility because he knew about Craigs article and even in 2011 mentioned it in an article while using a different excuse, it was only afer so much pressure that he used Dr Craigs writing as an excuse.
Only his most blind followers are defending him, 12 excuses and contradictions would try even the most reasonable of devotees, I am happy to see you have shifted your position and realize that Dawkins excuses do not hold water.
Do you support Dawkins views on morality because that would undercut your position to make moral judgements?
F/N: How do you know that the voice of your mom is not a program in a zombie?
Or, a pill speaking , or — personal, painful point — Mr Alzheimer’s speaking — or, the thoughts in your own head? There are no good materialist answers, which is of course the context of Plantinga’s remarks on God and other minds. There is no intrinsic reason why any and all cases of those who claim to have heard — audibly or otherwise — from God, should be deemed ipso facto delusional.
I would suggest that the real answer is that one discerns the voice of God, from self, from delusion, by reason of long term growth in relationship, so that one has a rational intuition that this is the real deal. That is going to require a long term growth in virtue and building a confidence based on experience that shows this is not delusion but he real deal.
As a specifically Bible-believing Christian, I think it was well said that when God speaks, he speaks truth, which will correspond to reality, and will open eyes to the right; as opposed to the easy way. If you are hearing a voice from your head, or on the radio, or a pulpit, or a lecturer’s podium or a political platform, or wherever, that is tickling you ear with what you want to hear as opposed to calling you to the difficult path of the right, that is NOT the voice of God.
I think we can all easily enough recognise the voice of God in scripture, and in conscience aligned with the right, and in circumstances. if we are willing to humble ourselves and yield to the correction implied in that.
Consistently, the pull is going to be to the right, not the easy path. The rule I learned long ago now was look for alignment of well tested and warranted trustworthy Scripture, circumstances and whatever personal, subjective sense of leading or voice — inner, outer, pulpit, lecturer’s podium, politician’s platform — one hears.
I generally agree with Dr Selensky that we can easily, ever so easily, deceive ourselves, taking an over-confident expectation of our virtue and wisdom. Our own hearts and imaginations are ever so often deceitful and desperately wicked; if unchecked.
The other thing I say, is that it is wise to look for the unexpected as a way God will speak to us. Like the wise remark a solid sister of mine once told me: XXX would never have made it up unto that platform by herself to speak like that, and that is a wisdom that is well beyond her natural ability.
So, I suggest,t he3re are no easy answers, and the answers that sound right are utterly challenging.
Gioven what MLK achieved, and what he had to say, he could well be telling us the truth, never mind his personal stuggles, which we all have as finite, fallible, fallen and too often ill willed.
BTW, those are also tests of claimed guidance.
Let Paul have the last word:
In his book “River Out Of Eden”, Richard Dawkins wrote: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference”
1.If you agree with Dawkins views about Good and Evil then what grounding do you have to make moral judgements against Craig?
2. If you disagree with Dawkins views about Good and Evil then why are you not condemning Dawkins just like you admitted he was an idiot for his idiotic excuses to duck debate with Craig.
3. If you do condemn Dawkins views about Good and Evil then on what basis do you do that? How specifically would Dawkins be Wrong?, what would make him a Bad Atheist and you a Good Atheist?
I don’t care a fig about why Dawkins didn’t want to debate Craig. I personally wish he had, and I thought it was pretty stupid to come up with a post hoc justification (which was what it read like).
But as I say, I don’t care a fig about that. I’m not a great Dawkins fan anyway.
What I am, however, grateful to him for, is giving the link to Craig’s essay.
Which I have of course now read, in its entirely, as well as several others.
I find it absolutely appalling, and the issues as to whether or not Dawkins using it as an excuse is completely irrelevant to it’s appallingness.
Here is a man saying, explicitly, that a thing that would normally be wrong is not wrong if God commands it.
A point repeatedly rebutted by, of all people, Jesus.
On the contrary, your own response, below, not only makes less sense than a square circle, but defines black as white.
Right. So goodness, by your definition, is whatever God does, even if it’s murdering Canaanites.
So it’s just fine to kill children if they might not have a decent upbringing by true-God worshipping parents?
Are you serious? Do you read the words you write?
Do you even read the words in the bible? What was, allegedly, commanded by their deity, over and over again, was genocide of all tribes who occupied the land the Israelites thought they’d been promised by their god.
Genocide, very explicitly and old-fashionedly: murder of the men, sex slavery for virgins, slaughter or kidnapping of the infants. Tribal conquest, in other words, justified, post hoc, by appeal to the local deity whose commands are “by definition” regarded as “good”.
Well, if you don’t see the problem you don’t see it again. But, frankly, square circles are the least of your problems.
Right. We learn to discern what is virtuous and what is not, and that enables us to discern what is God’s will and what is not.
Thank you, kairosfocus. Exactly.
Now, the only difference between an atheist and a theist, is the fact that atheists dispense with the second part, seeing it as a tautology. In other words, if what is good is God’s will, and what is God is what is good, then we can economise with words and simply state:
We learn to discern what is virtuous and what is not.
And we learn in exactly the same way as you do – from our rational intuition and through our relationships with others.
Exactly. If we find ourselves torn between what we want, rather than a more difficult path that is less comfortable, but which benefits others, or has more long term benefits, then we know we “ought” to do the the second thing – that the second thing is “right”.
Some of us, if we believe in a good God, call it “doing God’s will”, and some of us just call it “doing good”. But the point is that we require discernment to recognise both good and a good God.
There aren’t any shortcuts, and ethical arguments will go on for as long as there are humans, but we are equipped with empathy, abstract reasoning and our fellow humans, so we will probably do OK. Even better, I guess, if the holy spirit turns out to have a role.
As long as we recognise the holy spirit by what is good, not what is good by what we think might be the holy spirit.
Eugene, thanks also for your encouraging response.
I’m not defending Dawkins. I’m criticizing Craig.
Because there are good reasons to expect archaeological traces. Migrating tribes usually leave artefacts and signs of habitation (cooking sites, for instance) behind.
But I don’t think we should conclude they didn’t, any more than you guys should conclude from the gaps in the fossil record that there were no intervening populations. Although fossilisation is a much rarer event than the preservation of evidence of evidence of migration. Humans generally make a bit of a mess, especially when they are committing genocide.
I do give a fig about whever you agree with his philosophy, I don’t see as an Atheist how you can be diamectrically opposed to Dawkins views if you are being a logically consistent Atheist.
In his book “River Out Of Eden”, Richard Dawkins wrote: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference”
1.If you agree with Dawkins views about Good and Evil then what grounding do you have to make moral judgements against Craig?
2. If you disagree with Dawkins views about Good and Evil then why are you not condemning Dawkins just like you admitted he was an idiot for his idiotic excuses to duck debate with Craig.
3. If you do condemn Dawkins views about Good and Evil then on what basis do you do that? How specifically would Dawkins be Wrong?, what would make him a Bad Atheist and you a Good Atheist?
I can’t disagree more that the question makes no sense. It’s a very good, very important question and line of questioning. What if the 9/11 attackers had asked themselves that question?
“God says so” is great for some people. In some cases that’s beneficial, but in others it can do harm. Why would God want the sort of blind, unreasoning obedience that leaves people unable to distinguish between right and wrong, between living in peace, flying into buildings, and paying someone money for permission to commit serious sins?
The trouble is that the answer isn’t drawn from the sort of evidence and logic we’re used to. We reason that if we wanted to avoid confusion and make something known, we would say it this or that way, removing any room for doubt. Why doesn’t the Bible do that? Some people will give the Hallmark “faith vs. evidence” fortune cookie answer. That’s nonsense. As many have pointed out, the Israelites saw the Red Sea parted. Less noted is that it such plain-as-day evidence did most of them no good anyway in the long term. It did more good for others (such as the Gibeonites) who didn’t see it but did believe it.
Here’s two ways of looking at it:
One, the Bible absolutely does not command any form of violence or seemingly evil behavior for Christians. It makes it clear that Christians living in various countries should behave commendably, paying taxes, and maintaining good reputations.
This doesn’t fully answer the question about every act recorded in the Bible. But it does take violent acts performed by Christians completely off the table. (That statement may raise objections. “No true Scotsman” isn’t always a fallacy.) Christians will never be asked to act violently so that they or anyone has to wonder if the command really came from God.
Second – I understand the back-and-forth between the Bible saying that everything that God does is just, and by definition everything he ever commanded was righteous. I fully understand how circular that may sound.
But look at it this way: If the Bible is wrong when it says that everything God does is just, then it would probably be wrong about all those things that supposedly happened, too. What is the point in examining a hypothetical case in which all the stuff the Bible says happened is true, but what it says about God is false?
There are several sects of Christians who believe violence is absolutely prohibited by Jesus. Individuals differ on how this might apply to self defense.
I graduated from a Quaker college. I think they would answer the self defense question by saying that a Christian has an obligation to take proactive steps to prevent war and violence. One cannot simply wait until one is attacked and then justify a violent response.
It is not always clear what will prevent violence, but there is an obligation to use all of one’s intelligence and imagination to try.
F/N: Those troubled by the new atheist “moral monster”
talking points might try here for a different view. Having been over this and similar grounds several times recently, I only note for record to help those seeking help, having become convinced that there will not be any reasonable discussion on such topics that — suitably strawmannised — feed the rage that animates that movement. KF
I’m not “diametrically opposed” to Dawkins. I just said I wasn’t a great fan. I do think he has written some good books, and I’ve been greatly moved by at least one of his articles, but, oddly, I don’t think he’s the greatest communicator on the subject of evolution. It was not, after all, his research subject.
I agree with Dawkins about the universe. I don’t think it was designed by any oneor thing with a purpose, for evil or for good. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think that people can do evil or good. I think they can.
And I’m not making moral judgements against Craig. I don’t tend to judge people, but I do judge their actions. I’m saying that what he is saying is wrong and dangerous. And the “moral grounding” I have is reason and common humanity. Reason, because I think it is a completely circular to define a deity as good, then justify what would (by his own free declaration) otherwise be evil acts by the fact that that deity commanded them, then announce the superiority of that deity over other deities because your deity is good. Common humanity, which tells me that causing deliberate pain and distress to other human beings is not wrong.
Because I don’t think there is anything wrong with his views about the moral status of the universe. I think he’s right. And I do agree with him that views like Craig’s are evil (I can only think that Craig lacks the imagination to notice) and dangerous.
Well, I think that Stalin was a bad atheist, because he did evil things – massacred people. I don’t know any evil that Dawkins has done, though I expect, like most people, he does things that he shouldn’t. I think he’s a bit conceited. But I don’t think that’s any more or less heinous than things that I do.
The point being, mrchristo, that I simply do not accept this idea that we can only derive moral standards from some kind of theism. I think it’s quite false. In fact I think that any theism worth having arises from our moral sense, not the other way round. I think as human beings we have the capacity, unlike any other animal – or at least to an extent way beyond any other animal – for what is sometimes called “mental time travel” – the capacity to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, or in our own at some future date. That means that we are faced with choices in which our immediate desires are pitted against the options in which others, or ourselves at some future date, benefit. Thus we are capable of posing to ourselves the decision between what we “want” to do and what we “ought” to do. So I’d say that morality is a direct consequence of our cognitive capacity to imagine the world from a view other than our own, now, as does our altruism. These, reified by symbolic language, form the basis our moral cognition.
The universe as a whole may be pitiless, but the part of it that is human is not.
I don’t think that Dawkins would disagree.
Absolutely. Another thought – what do Christians do if persecuted, even with violence? In the first century they avoided it when they could, and if not they suffered and/or died. They did not take up violent revolt to save themselves or even their families. They didn’t want to die, but violent revolt was worse than death.
What differentiates being invaded by a hostile army from that? If you’re persecuted for Jesus, suffer it, but if they want to kill you and take your land, fight to the death?
The answer is that a Christian dying for being a Christian likely had no way to prevent that violent death other than recanting. What would happen if an entire nation of Christians told an invading army, please don’t invade, but if you do, we surrender? Odds are they wouldn’t need to kill or be killed. (If both nations are Christian, the issue would never come up.)
I understand that might not sit well with some people. But Jesus said to love our enemies, give our very garments to the one who demanded them, and carry the load they tell us to carry. Or we can fight them to the death. It’s impossible to do both.
Being invaded or attacked poses difficulties for pacifists, but the pacifists I know spend their time trying to defuse the causes. Of course one cause is bullies in charge of governments, but one can try to isolate them and diminish their appeal to ordinary people.
I am not a Quaker. I think I am the only Vietnam vet to graduate from my college. But I have enormous respect for pacifists who actually work at bringing people together. Somewhat less respect for the shouters. You never hear about the quiet ones. 🙂
Being wrong on theological issues doesn’t necessarily make the Bible wrong on historical issues, but it does mean that we can’t assume that the Bible is correct on any particular point. We have to examine it critically, as we would any other book.
This doesn’t sit well with those Christians who say “the Bible said it; I believe it; that settles it.” They realize that much of what the Bible says can’t withstand independent scrutiny. By bundling everything together and declaring the whole to be inerrant, they shield the flimsier parts from questioning (at least by believers).
As this thread illustrates, this can lead to bibliolatry, where people would rather accuse God of horrible behavior than admit that the Bible contains errors.
The question I would like readers to ask themselves is this:
The answer is obvious. The Israelites were a brutal Bronze Age nation, so it’s not suprising that the God they created shared their brutal Bronze Age morality. But that means admitting that the Bible is wrong. Hence the fierce resistance from Christians in this thread.
Lizzie, if what you are saying is true then we should expect quite a lot of archeological evidence for the scythians since they shared common lifestyle with the israelites and inhabited the part near the black sea for several centuries, yet they didnt. All they left behind was a few burial mounds, and the only mention of them comes from herodotus. Yet you dont see any historian doubting they existed.
Actually, when I referenced the Middle East I was speaking about your comment of living in harmony. You misunderstood.
The Israelites discerned this because God spoke to them, usually through a prophet or judge or high priest. The commandments came from a reliable source. Today, I would judge that reliable source to be God’s written word, the Bible.
I could say the same.
All I did was make a simple statement, not an argument. You seem to be stating that the Bible is wrong primarily because there are statements and/or events recorded there that you don’t understand.
They believed it was their god(s) will. Were they correct? Were their god(s) powerful enough to stop the Israelites from invading and taking possession of their lands? No? Maybe they were worshipping the wrong god(s).
Well, you may be right. As I said, I wouldn’t conclude the Exodus didn’t happen from lack of archaeological evidence, but not would I be rushing to assume it did, solely from a non-contemporaneous set of stories.
Here are a rabbi’s thoughts on the archaeological evidence:
And the charge of genocide is false. It doesnt matter how many times atheists repeat this slander against the God of the bible, it wont make it true. Either you contend with the evidence or you should think about retracting your accusation. As it stands your accusation amounta to little more than defamation against the God of the bible: http://www.christianthinktank.com/quamorite.html
I’m trying my best to understand your argument and respond to it, but I’m having trouble coming up with an interpretation of it that makes any sense.
Here’s my best stab at it: When you introduced the card sorting example, you seemed to be making the point that the meaning of the symbols on the cards doesn’t emerge from the physical properties of the cards themselves.
This is true, of course, but beside the point. The mapping of symbol to referent doesn’t inhere in the card. It’s done by the brain, evolving through a series of states according to natural law. The fact that a particular brain moves through these states and assigns meaning to the symbols, rather than causing its owner to whistle Beethoven, is explained by natural law.
Why do you think it isn’t?
Barb, to Elizabeth:
You seem to be rejecting the Quran primarily because there are statements and/or events recorded there that you don’t understand.
Perhaps you should give it another chance.
Your link is broken. Here’s the correct one:
There is quite a lot of evidence for contemporaneous authorship: http://www.christianthinktank.com/aecy.html.
As for the rabbis thoughts, nothing that hasnt been refuted before. Visit the biblearchaeology website for details.
That article is pitiful.
Here’s how the author rationalizes the Canaanite genocide:
Oh, so God only commanded the murder of some innocent people. Well, that’s much better.
And their innocent children definitely deserved to die.
I’m not the one alleging that God commanded genocide, or that the Israelites even committed it.
I’m sure the first is false, and the second may well be.
Genocide is defined by the Resolution 260(III), Article 2, of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948:
What the Israelites were allegedly commanded to do, and allegedly did was, by that definition, genocide. For example:
Numbers 31: 7:18
If that’s what they did, it was genocide.
Elizabeth you agreed with Dawkins views about the universe, You said that you had used reason but if you had been reasoning correctly then you would have realized that you had 0 grounding to say what is evil at all.
This following argument is made by a Guy named Jime on another blog who destroys Dawkins and the Atheist position and seeing as you agree with Dawkins remarks about the nature of the universe then this will be used as a rebuttal to you.
“1)If, at the bottom, there is not such thing as the “good” or the “evil”, then the title of Dawkins’ work “The root of all evil” is contradictory with Dawkins’ worldview, in addition of being misleading and false; since there is not evil at all.
2)The above implies too that objective moral values don’t exist. There can’t be objective moral values in an universe that objectively lack (in the bottom) of such values (remember that for Dawkins, the universe shows nothing but blind, pitiless indifference)
3)The above implies moral subjetctivism and relativism, that view that moral values are relative to persons, society or other contingent (not absolute) thing or phenomenon. Dawkins has explicitly defended this view: “Science has no methods for deciding what is ethical. That is a matter for individuals and for society” (A Devil’s Chaplain, p.34)
Dawkins is correct that science has no methods for deciding what is ethical. But it doesn’t follow that “that is a matter for individuals and for society”, unless that objective values don’t exist. In the latter case, then only individuals (who have different beliefs) and societies (which have different cultures and values) can “decide” what’s ethical or not.
On the other hand, if what’s ethical is just a matter of individuals and societies, then individuals and societies promoting bigotry and persecution against atheists should be accepted too (because they’re deciding, arbitrarily, what’s ethical for them).
4)If objective moral values don’t exist, and the ethical questions are a matter of individuals and society, then how does Dawkins know that religion is bad or the “root of all evil”? If it’s only a matter of individuals, then the religious individuals’ belief than religion is good is morally equivalent to Dawkins’ rejection of it (because religious individuals have the same right to decide what’s ethical or not).
Dawkins can not defend rationally his own moral position, because it depends in his personal opinion alone (not on an absolute and objective standard). In fact, Dawkins has conceded it too in this interview: “Now, if you then ask me where I get my ‘ought’ statements from, that’s a more difficult question. If I say something is wrong, like killing people, I don’t find that nearly such a defensible statement as ‘I am a distant cousin of an orangutan”
Note that if Dawkins’s atheism is right, and moral relativism and subjectivism implied by atheism is correct, then saying that “killing people is wrong” is not a defensible statement (at least, no one such a defensible one as a factual one. The reason is that for Dawkins, moral statements are NOT factual, because they don’t refer to anything objective).
The implication of Dawkins’ view is astonishing. Consider the following moral claims:
-Killing atheists for fun is good
-Raping atheists just for fun and entertaiment is good
-Promotion and active persecution, discrimination and bigotry against atheists and secular humanists is good.
-Destrying science and promoting ignorance is good.
Do you agree with the above moral claims? If you’re sane, probably your answer is NO (you probably will say that the above moral claims are objectively false and wrong, not just a matter of fashion, cultural indoctrination or subjective opinion). But if Dawkins’ atheism is right, then the above moral claims are not objectively false nor wrong (because, remember, at the bottom the “evil and the good” don’t exist at all; at most, they’re ethical questions which are just a matter of opinion of individuals and societies)
Also, if ethical questions are a matter of society, then the religious values of society (like in U.S.) should rule and be respected as correct (since that society has chosen these values as the correct ones). So, why to substitute society’s religious values with the (anti) values of secular humanism, the latter shared only by a very small minority, distrusted by most members of U.S. society?
Dawkins is EXPLICIT in his moral relativism and his intellectual unability to offer a rational justification for moral decisions and beliefs: “I couldn’t, ultimately, argue intellectually against somebody who did something I found obnoxious. I think I could finally only say, “Well, in this society you can’t get away with it” and call the police”
What amazing foundation for morality is offered by Dawkins’ atheistic worldview!
5)If moral values are relative, then “life” is not an absolute value. It implies that murder people may be ethically “right” in certain circunstances (according to the contingent, subjetive and arbitrary criteria of “individuals” and “society”). Dawkins has conceded it too in the same interview: “The second of those statements is true, I can tell you why it’s true, I can bore you to death telling you why it’s true. It’s definitely true. The statement ‘killing people is wrong’, to me, is not of that character. I would be quite open to persuasion that killing people is right in some circumstances”
Note that Dawkins’ moral theory explicitly justify, potentially and according to purely arbitrary criteria (because not objective and absolute standards of value exist), cases of murder.
6)If moral values are relative, then pornography, paedophilia, infanticide, abortion, zoophilia and other sexual pervertions aren’t intrinsically wrong or bad. It explains why secular humanists are receptive and tolerant (and in many cases endorse) these behaviours or practiques (but at the same time, they’re extremely intolerant and hostile of religion, spirituality and scientific research into parapsychological phenomena, suppressin and discrediting serious efforts of research through the so-called “organized skepticism”).
You can see the intrinsic irrationality, negativity and dishonesty of the worldview of metaphysical naturalism and secular humanism. It’s a purely negative, anti-religious philosophy; but it’s intrinsically immoral and potentially dangerous for society and the sanity of individuals.
It’s essentially totalitarian in nature; in his most extreme forms, it can’t tolerate disidence or critical questioning of their dogmas and beliefs, and its disidents are defamed and morally attacked; (see for example the case of Antony Flew and the speculations about him becoming old, delusional and fearful of death, as “explanations” of his convertion to deism; see also the bigotry manifested by atheists to low the rating in Amazon of a book defending the belief in the Christian God.).
In this point, it becomes very similar to the most irrational and intolerant forms of religious fundamentalism.
Given the ethical implications of atheism and metaphysical naturalism, if you have independent good reasons to think that moral values are objective and agree that certain actions (like torturing children for fun, or raping atheists for fun) are intrinsically and objectively bad and wrong, then you have a powerful ethical reason to reject metaphysical naturalism and materialistic atheism.
After all, as atheist and naturalist Keith Augustine has persuasively argued: “I think there is a certain degree of plausibility among atheists in the view that without some kind of transcendental intelligence in the universe, there can be no objective moral laws… It seems to me that all ethical codes must ultimately be man-made, and thus there could be no objective criteria for determining if human actions are right or wrong. Admitting that moral laws are man-made is equivalent to acknowledging that ethical rules are arbitrary and therefore human beings are not obligated to follow them… given that moral subjectivism is just as logically viable as moral objectivism and that moral objectivism is implausible if a scientific naturalism is true, I think that there is a good case for the nonexistence of objective moral values”
Therefore, if moral objetivism is true, scientific naturalism is plausibly false. So, if you agree with moral objectivism (e.g. if you agree that torturing babies for fun is objectively wrong, not purely a matter of social indoctrination, consensus, invention or biological pressure), you have a powerful reason and argument to reject metaphysical naturalism.”
I’ll rephrase in response to your rephrasing. As far as I know, the act of recognizing or mapping a symbol is a series of chemical reactions within one’s neurons. It’s all physical. Shakespeare was one guy’s neurons, then ink on paper, then other people’s neurons.
You say that natural law explains it. It does not. To repeat my example, that is like saying that books are explained by the chemical binding of ink and paper. After all, that’s all books are, right? But you use the word “explain,” and more than once. If you found a naughty word keyed into the side of your car, would you consider the physics of how a key interacts with your paint job to be an explanation? I’m certain you would look for a better one, and it wouldn’t involve the discussion of any natural laws.
If natural laws explain the mapping or recognition of symbols, then use a natural law to explain the mapping or recognition of a symbol. How simple and reasonable. Sound familiar?
And please don’t respond with some lame example of something that is explainable by natural law and tell me that if I don’t accept your explanationless assertion of what natural law can explain that I must deny that, too.
Just do what you’ve said a dozen times can be done. Someone else’s explanation will do fine. Anyone’s. Anything. You’ve said it over and over, so I don’t see how that can be an unfair request.
Let me just say that you cannot. And then you respond with a bunch of reasons why no one can use natural law to explain what you keep saying natural law does explain. And then I repeat myself. Etc.
By your logic, natural law doesn’t explain why the shrapnel ends up where it does when a bomb explodes, because nobody can apply natural law and show you why the metal sheared exactly where it did, why the pieces tumbled in precisely the way they did, and how the air resistance modified their trajectories so that they landed in those very spots.
So? Do you believe in IE (intelligent explosions)?
The foundation upon which your logic sits is the assumption that your moral judgments are the standard by which all others are measured. As far as I can tell you don’t believe in God (I don’t know) but in the hypothetical sense you are certain that if there were an omnipotent being who created everyone, you’d be qualified to judge its actions.
Even if I were an atheist, if I were to imagine a hypothetical omnipotent being who created all things, it would still be smarter than me and exercise greater moral authority over its creation. It’s one thing if you don’t believe in one, another if you can’t imagine one. Whatever you do for work, you should quit and take over the UN, and quickly.
But an understanding of the Bible can be likened to food. All you can do is offer it. If someone isn’t hungry, you don’t argue with them. You just offer it to someone else. That’s all I have to say about that.
No champ, what is truly pitiful is you comprehension level. You should really look into getting some help for that.
God NEVER intended for the innocents to die, rather for them to leave.
Thats why as I explained to you before there was ample warning that israel was coming and ample time for them to leave. No ordinary cananite in his right mind would have chosen to stay and confront the israelites given what they had done to the greatest superpower in the world at the time. We have no reason to believe that anyone other than die hard cananite child sacrificers would have opposed israel.
As to their innocent children, there is no one else to blame other than the cananites. When a thieving parent gets thrown in jail, his children
suffer. Their suffering isnt the courts fault. The blame lies squarely with the criminal parent. The child suffers not because he deserves it or because is is being punished by the judge, but because the actions of the parents have consequences for the family, whether for good or bad. Thats how the world works champ
The children of the evil cananites suffered in direct consequence of the choice of their parents, but what happened to them was not punishment on them. They didnt deserve it. But the israelites had no means of supporting these extra children. They could barely get by themselves
Do you prefer the israelites were to just leave then all by themselves to starve and dehydrate and be victims to wild predators? How is that more
humane? That to me is not obviously preferable. The only ones too
blame here are the evil cananites.
Well, no. I don’t think you are correct.
Dawkins did not say there was no such thing as good or evil. He said, rightly, in my view, that they are not properties of the universe we observe. He did not say that they are not properties of people, or of actions. Clearly people are not pitiless. But the universe appears to be.
So the entire rebuttal is based on a faulty premise, AFAICT, namely a misreading of Dawkins’ perfectly clear sentence.
Of course they are wrong.
No, Dawkins did not say that evil and good did not exist. He said they weren’t properties of the universe. Clearly, as I said, they are properties of people’s actions.
Well, ethical questions are certainly thorny, so yes, we do need to thrash them out between ourselves if we want to live in a harmonious society.
No, not necessarily. We should be constantly trying to figure out how to make the world a more harmonious place. If religions are making it worse, then we should probably try to fix them.
I’m not a US citizen, but it it is my impression that there is a substantial set of values shared by the majority of US citizens, atheist and theist alike, and that they include the Golden Rule: do as you would be done by. Obviously some people don’t share it, and some people don’t apply it in the same way – by objecting to gay marriage, for example, but that’s something your country has to figure out for itself. Democracy is messy, but it’s probably the soundest approach to figuring out how to promote Peace and Good Government (as the Canadians have it).
It seems reasonable to me. I don’t think there are any easy answers to finding moral standards that we can all agree on, although there are moral philosophers who make a better stab at it than Dawkins.
It’s always going to be a collective effort though.
Yes, I do think that killing is sometimes right. Or at least the lesser of a choice of evils. It’s not that moral values are relative, it’s that ethical choices are often a matter of weighing up relative evils, and there is no course of action that does not cause harm.
That’s why, of course, that some people argue for capital punishment, and why your country still has it, at least in parts. Thankfully, in the UK we don’t, nor in the rest of Europe.
Yes, and I agree with him. I think it is sometimes the most merciful thing to do, and that sometimes it is the inevitable consequence of an action intended to save more lives.
Well, “arbitrary” in the literal sense of requiring judgement. Yes indeed. That’s always the case when deciding on a course of action where all options are going to do some harm. That’s why we need to “arbitrate” – make a judgement as to which course of action is likely to cause the least harm. So often, though, we do not know, and have to weigh up not only harm, but risk.
Well, as I said, it’s not moral values that are relative, but that context matters in coming to an ethical judgement. Moral values, it seems to me, are those values that lead us to take the long, or the altruistic, view over our current desires. What we “ought” to do rather than what we “want” to do. Clearly, paedophilia is pretty patently non-altruistic, and if people ever thought it was harmless, the evidence is now clear that it isn’t. The others, I’d say, were arguable in certain circumstances, for example, infanticide in the case of extreme painful disability. Abortion is clearly a much more disputed case, as while most people agree that infanticide is rarely, if ever, altruistic, that is not the case in abortion, where there are powerful arguments on both sides as to when an unborn conceptus/embryo/foetus becomes and “other”. You will disagree of course, but I think there is room for reasonable argument. And so on.
Yes, it probably does. Secular humanists are, in my experience, much more likely to apply a fundamental moral principle (like the Golden Rule) to each case on its merits, than invoke a set of specific rules regardless of context, which religious organisations often, but not always, tend to do. So secularists tend to see no problem in gay marriage, but may see a very great problem in, for example, cruel religious or cultural practices like genital mutilation. Because they don’t think that we are “ensouled” at conception they are more likely to consider abortion from the point of view of the mother than of a foetus who has yet, in their view, to have the capacity for a sense of the future of which termination would deprive it.
In other words, secularists have moral values, just as you do, but because they lack belief in souls and gods, do not have rules about how you must behave in order to please some deity, but rather ground their rules in our reason and knowledge and understanding of human joy and suffering, and in our lives as social animals.
I certainly can not. It seems highly rational to me, and much more honest, for example, than pretending genocide is fine as long as some alleged deity commands it. And also far less negative. Our rules are not all about forbidding things, but rather about how to maximise joy and harmonious living.
I completely disagree.
Well, there are certainly some intolerant atheists, I agree. I also know of some intolerant theists. I’m not going to generalise from either example to the rest of the people who wear those labels.
Well, it’s perfectly possible. Are you intolerant of that possiblity?
Why is that “bigotry”? Perhaps they read it and thought it was a bad book? Isn’t that what the Amazon customer ratings are supposed to do?
But I guess it could be bigotry. Certainly bigotry is widespread in human beings. Look at the intolerance shown to gays, for example.
Well, I’m sure there are a few rather irrational and intolerant and “fundamentalist” atheists knocking around, just as, as you point out, there are irrational and intolerant religious fundamentalist.
But I’m sure you would agree that you can’t generalise from the extremists to everyone else in the big tent.
Well, no. I certainly think that torturing anyone, for fun or otherwise, is bad and wrong, but I would argue that that flows directly from reason and empathy, not from theism. Theism, on the other hand, may well flow from reason and empathy. I have no problem with it as long as it’s that way round.
But I certainly don’t see why I should reject something that doesn’t prevent me concluding that causing another person harm and distress is wrong. And I certainly don’t see why instead I should adopt a religion that has an allegedly sacred text in which the putative deity appears to command the killing of children and the murder of unbelievers – and certainly not on the grounds that it is wrong to kill children and murder unbelievers!
Well, yes, there is a case, but I think he’s missing a very important point, which is that just that because there is no absolute set of moral values doesn’t mean that objective human observers can’t collectively figure out the values that enable us to live in a harmonious society, nor that human beings living in a culture in which we have honed those values over millenia can’t use their reason, capacity for empathy and goal-directed decision-making to figure out that doing the right thing by others matters. It’s never going to be totally objective, but a lot more objective than everyone making up their own subjective rules, and certainly a lot more objective than everyone subjectively choosing (or worse, simply adopting by birth and culture) one of a large number of holy books, and, from those, one of a large number of possible sets of supposedly moral precepts, and regarding them as “objective morality”.
Well, you forgot reason, and I wouldn’t call it social “indoctrination” but societal systems of justice, and I’m not sure what you mean by “biological pressure” but certainly I think we are biologically capable of developing the kinds of moral values we need to live in harmonious societies. So if that’s rejecting moral objectivism, then I reject moral objectivism. But I don’t see that theism gives us any either, so it’s no loss. I think reason and empathy give us as objective an approach as is possible.
Well, looks like I don’t.
Didn’t I say no lame examples? That’s exactly what I was talking about. I did not say that to paint a bulls-eye.
There is no logical rebuttal to a comparison between deliberately arranged symbols and the fragments of an exploding bomb. I can’t find any polite words to say what I think of that.
Since when does combat count as genocide? Is what the U.S.A doing to the taliban genocide? The israelites were at war with some midian tribes, and not all midian tribes. God commanded israel to retaliate against the midian tribes that had attacked them before and had devises and carried out a plan to destroy israel. God never commanded that they kill all midianites, including the ones that had no hostilities towards israel. The hostile midianites were killed because of their unprovoked hostilities not because they were midianites or any other inclusive group. This was not genocide
Yep, pretty much. Or do you thinks there is nothing wrong with them burning their kids alive in order to have a good day?
Liz: “So if that’s rejecting moral objectivism, then I reject moral objectivism.”
Finally for record, dated and time stamped, you have had admitted that atheism, and it’s central dogma metaphysical naturalism, when followed to it’s logical conclusion, can only lead to moral relativism.
From here on out, understand that all your moral statements and wishes are simply the product of your current status at the apex of a specific evolutionary pathway, and they are no more or less valid than any other moral statements put forth by a self aware being at the apex of their specific evolutionary pathway.
That must be why he said “do not leave alive anything that breathes” instead of “don’t kill the innocent children.”
Because after all, whenever a country is invaded, no one but the die hard child sacrificers bothers to defend it. Cockroaches.
Absolutely. It surely wasn’t God’s fault for ordering their murder.
And we all know that when you encounter innocent children, the virtuous thing to do is to kill them rather than sharing your food with them.
Each of us has to depend on his or her own judgment. You can’t pass the buck by saying “I get my morality from the Bible,” because it is still your responsibility to decide whether the Bible is morally reliable. The same goes for any other external authority.
That’s right, I no longer do.
I have no choice. Each of us has to depend on his or her own judgment.
I see Hitler committing genocide and I judge him to be evil. Could I be wrong? Could Hitler have had some benign purpose in mind such that the Holocaust was a necessary evil in the service of a greater good? It’s possible, but I doubt it.
I see the God of the OT commanding genocide and I judge him to be evil (or more accurately, I judge him to be the fictitious creation of a bloodthirsty people). Could I be wrong? Could God have had some benign purpose in mind such that the Canaanite genocide was a necessary evil in the service of a greater good? It’s possible, but I doubt it.
Why would you grant it moral authority without knowing whether it was good or evil?
And if you offer old, moldy bread to someone who knows what good food is, don’t be surprised when he declines.
Translation: “I can’t come up with a good counterargument, so I’m going to pretend that you’re being ridiculous and hope that the onlookers buy it.”
If natural law explains why shrapnel is scattered in all directions when a bomb explodes, then use natural law to explain how one particular shard ends up in its final resting place. How simple and reasonable.
Are explosions explained by natural law, Scott?
This is really the point that it comes down to, isn’t it?
I have my reasons for trusting God. They aren’t scientific, but they aren’t irrational either. And that is my judgment. We all make decisions at times to trust the judgment of someone else who we believe knows more than us. If I reject that in favor of your wisdom, then I’m depending on your judgment rather than mine.
Pass the buck for what? I’ve never done a bad thing in my entire life because I listened to the Bible, only when I didn’t. No exceptions.
The chance that you or anyone you love or anyone else will be killed by me or any man who believes as I do on any side of any war or in any bombing, fanatical or otherwise, is zero. I have no problem taking responsibility for that.
I haven’t flown a plane into anything.
I only know a little of the Quran myself, but from that little, the reason I don’t accept it, is because I DO understand it.
It is almost the complete opposite of the Bible. First part is peace, second is war and aggression. But there is no way to reconcile them, unlike the Bible. The Bible has it this way: Peace, mutiny, war, peace. The Quran, again, has it backwards from what I can tell.
In my judgment, William Lane Craig is almost right, but not quite. He is right to justify all of God’s actions in the Old Testament, but he is wrong to do it in the name of Divine Command Theory, which is illogical and morally inconsistent. First, lets’ make the critical point: If, after repeated warnings, the Canaanites simply refused to repent, and IF they were compromising God’s plan of salvation, and IF they were forming their children so that the perversions were destined to continue on to future generations, then it would seem that God, reluctantly and even painfully, would have had to wipe the slate clean, just as he did with generation of Noah.
In other words, while God arranged for the killings, he did not do it because he hated the victims or wanted to kill them, much less did he consider them to be sub-human, motives that are always present when humans commit genocide. On the contrary, God was sorry that He had to do it and wished that it had not been necessary. Granted, the dictionary definition of “genocide” does not make provisions for good motives, but I think it should be a factor in our analysis of God’s actions. Put another way, these Old Testament killings are not good because God commanded them (Divine Command theory); God commanded them because they were good (Natural Law theory).
At this point, we are now in a better position understand where William Lane Craig, for all his other virtues, goes wrong. Divine Command Theory reduces God’s morality to a whim: Today, we should not commit adultery, but tomorrow God might change his mind. Adultery, from this point of view, is not wrong because it violates any objective standard of morality but only because God says so—at least for now. Under those circumstances, the formation of an informed conscience would be impossible. How can I learn to be good today and grow in moral knowledge if God may come along tomorrow and change the rules?
This is also where Islam goes wrong with its teaching on “abrogation,” the notion that God can change the moral code at his pleasure. How can we say that we live in a moral universe if there is no such thing as a natural moral law that reflects God’s inner nature? How can we say that God is rational if He cannot make up his mind about what is good or what is bad? To me, this is the only reasonable way to approach Old Testament theology.
I’m not actually pushing the Quran. I’m just pointing out Barb’s chronic double standard.
When Elizabeth sees a problem with the Bible, Barb says things like this:
Barb’s argument boomerangs on her:
Yes, it comes down to individual judgment.
We have a book in which God commands his people to commit genocide, wipes out the entire population of the earth in a flood, tells people to cut off the hands of women who defend their husbands, and on and on and on.
I look at that book and see no way it could have been written by an omniscient, omnipotent, loving God. Nothing about it seems divine. It’s obviously the work of fallible people who were projecting their own moral shortcomings onto their deity.
You look at the same book, rationalize away all the evil, and see the morally perfect word of God.
Okay! I did consider that you weren’t actually endorsing the Quran. And I’m glad you’re not, because what little I said is about all I got! 🙂
If defined in what I consider that way, yes.
As I made specifically clear, no. That’s why I said to mrchristo: “you forgot reason”.
junkdnaforlife, I really don’t think there’s any point in conversing with you, if you are going to take a smattering of my words, out of context, and apply them willy nilly to anything else I say.
You clearly are not interested in what I think, only in finding some little set of my words with which you can excuse yourself from trying to find out.
If I don’t respond to you again, that is why.
I thought it was the Israelites land?
Anyway, if we use your own logic then clearly the Christian God wasn’t strong enough to stop the 9/11 terrorists so maybe you are worshipping the wrong God. Were Saladins victories against the crusaders due to him believing in the right God?
When you say that God promised the land to the Israelites, that God justified the slaughter etc, how do you know this – you know it from the history as written by the victorious – the Israelites. Perhaps the Canaanites would have told a different story if they survived.
Faith that your act of barbarism is by divine command.
OK, thanks, that’s a nice straight answer.
However, it raises a second problem:
If miracles are proof that a god is talking, how do you know that that god is good?
But your straight answer deserves one from me:
Assuming that God is good, I’d say the way to know whether a command is from God if it commands us to do something good. If it commands us to do something evil then we know that it cannot be a command from a good God.
That means, of course, that we first have to figure out what “good” means.
But at least that way, if it turns out that a good God doesn’t exist, or that God is evil, we’ve still tried to behave well.
The problem with assuming that anything commanded by a miracle-working god must be good, is that if it turns out that the god is fictional, or evil, we’ve been actually trying to behave badly.
Thank you Stephen.
I absolutely agree that Divine Command Theory is illogical and morally inconsistent.
And that we derive morality from Natural Law not from Divine Command.
We might disagree about where that “Natural Law” comes from but at least we are on the same page on this.
Good to see you commenting.
Here are my recent thoughts on the topic.
I hope this may be helpful.
Elizabeth, was it good that we fought against the Germans in the last World War?
It seems like you have assumed something that you need to make an argument for, namely that it is always wrong to make war on other peoples.
If a loved one stood by while you were assaulted, would you call it love? It seems like your idea of good and love are not very comprehensive and, therefore, make problems for a coherent worldview.
If one believed they were hearing from the all good and omnibenevolent Almighty God, they would be forced to conclude that whatever He said was good, whether it appeared to their natural senses to be the case or not.
My answer is that wisdom is proved right by her children.
Is this some sort of Jedi trick, KF?
I suggest you take the time to read and reflect on SB and VJT as well as onward links from my own remarks, before further responding. There’s more than one side to the matter.
“Elizabeth you agreed with Dawkins views about the universe, You said that you had used reason but if you had been reasoning correctly then you would have realized that you had 0 grounding to say what is evil at all.”
“Well, no. I don’t think you are correct.”
If you think about your own position properly then you will know I am correct.
“Dawkins did not say there was no such thing as good or evil. He said, rightly, in my view, that they are not properties of the universe we observe. He did not say that they are not properties of people, or of actions. Clearly people are not pitiless. But the universe appears to be.”
Of Course Dawkins has said that evil does not exist, To say that something is evil is to suggest that there is a correct way to behave, But if there is no objective standard that exists independent of man then all you have is personal preference, You cannot have left with out right, up without down, and you cannot have evil if there is no objective standard of how one should or should not behave, Saying he did not say that they are not a property of people does not help your case, That shows that good and evil are nothing more than the property of ones thinking, That means that good and evil do not exist for the atheist just thinking makes it so. That’s why you cannot say how Stalin’s actions violate atheism, Because moral nihilism is perfectly compatible with atheism.
“So the entire rebuttal is based on a faulty premise,”
No Elizabeth your rebuttal is based on faulty reasoning, That you do not seem to know that evil does not exist objectively for You, Michael Ruse calls it an illusion foisted on us by our genes, If you were consistent and understood your own worldview then you would never say such nonsense that the rebuttal is faulty, If evil does not objectively exist then it is nothing more than an illusion a product of your thinking, But you have 0 grounding to say anyones behaviour is evil, When you say how stalins behaviour violates atheism then you might have some grounding, You have none.
“Of course they are wrong.”
How can they be wrong if there is no objective standard of how one should behave? To say that a person is wrong in their behaviour assumes that there is a correct way to behave, You have not shown how objective right and wrong exist in an Atheistic Universe, Your feet are planted firmly in the air.
“Well, ethical questions are certainly thorny, so yes, we do need to thrash them out between ourselves if we want to live in a harmonious society.”
If someobody does not want to live in a harmonious society then the most you can say is that they are antisocial, But as you have not established that objective right and wrong exist in an Atheistic Universe then you have no grounding to say that they are morally wrong, A person in an Atheistic universe can tell you to take a run and jump and that just because you want to live in a harmonious society that does not mean that he should care for your welfare or the fact that he has stole from you or damaged your property, As others have pointed out, You and your evolutionary just so stories are descriptive, Morality is more than descriptive it is prescriptive, Saying what one should or should not do, it also informs of us what we should do in the future. You are first assuming that which you need to prove, You have to show how evil exists objectively for the Atheist and is nothing more than personal opinion, if there is no objective standard of how one should behave then there can be no wrong way to behave only personal preference, All you have is personal preference so it is quite rich to see you making moral judgements of others. In fact Dawkins realizes it
In an Interview with Dawkins the questioner asked
“As we speak of this shifting zeitgeist, how are we to determine who’s right? If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?”
“Yes, absolutely fascinating.” His response was immediate. “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question.
Dawkins seems to realize the consequences of his worldview, btw Elizabeth if you are still in doubt about Dawkins views, I have more that show that you are totally out of sync with him, Dawkins only feigns moral outrage when it suits him, His writings show some disturbing views on morailty.
“No, not necessarily. We should be constantly trying to figure out how to make the world a more harmonious place.”
There is the operative words ” We Should be” Why should people do what you say they should do when all you have is your personal preference, You keep assuming that which you need to prove, You would probably say about consequences, But again you would be using moral judgements to prove moral judgements without first establishing that you have any grounding to make moral judgements, In other words you are arguing in a circle.
“If religions are making it worse, then we should probably try to fix them.”
Christianity has been of Great benefit to society I believe that Dawkins admitted that he would rather live in a Christian Society than one based on Darwinism, However people of any religion can sin and do bad things, The reason we condemn them if because we first assume sin exists and there is a correct way to behave, That is why the Christian or the muslim or any religion that believe that they are more than accidents in an accidental universe and that morality exists because there is a moral law giver are consistent, You yourself need to have some conception of a moral law giver in order to make moral judgements, You have to assume a theistic worldveiw in order to condem theists, In other words you are being hypocritical, if you are consistent and there is no design behind the evolution that you believe in then religion as you know it is the product of evolution, You have no groundings to say that you have evolved correctly and others have evolved incorrectly, Their actions would not be the result of religion but of Evolution, world. If nature is non-normative then a person is not intrinsically possessed with a set of rights. Humans would be just another natural phenomenon; The result of the blind and uncaring forces of evolution which had no goal of how people should or should not behave. Thus a natural phenomenon cannot be vested with rights when nature is non-normative
“I’m not a US citizen, but it it is my impression that there is a substantial set of values shared by the majority of US citizens, atheist and theist alike, and that they include the Golden Rule: do as you would be done by”
A person of a certain religion might decide that it is ok to kill another man for apostasy because if he left his religion then it would be ok to do the same to him.
Furthemore you are assuming morality to prove morality, why should one care about you elizabeth? if they don’t then you might say they are antisocial but you have no grounding to say they are immoral, if they are convinced that Atheism is true and that there is only one life then why should they empathize with other people, why waste their time when they can enjoy the fruits of exploiting others, A logically consisent Atheist who recognizes that Moral nihilism is consistent with atheism is not going to care for your idealism Elizabeth,They might care if you showed how objective right and wrong exist but for you Elizabeth if you are being logically consistent, they dont.
What amazing foundation for morality is offered by Dawkins’ atheistic worldview!
“Yes, I do think that killing is sometimes right. Or at least the lesser of a choice of evils. It’s not that moral values are relative, it’s that ethical choices are often a matter of weighing up relative evils, and there is no course of action that does not cause harm.”
You have yet to establish that evil and atheism are incompatible, You haven’t.
“That’s why, of course, that some people argue for capital punishment, and why your country still has it, at least in parts. ”
I am not American Elizabeth, However I find it funny that you have no problem with a mother killing a child in a womb and you would probably get into a long debate on what is life or what is not life but you would have a problem with the execution of serial killers.
“Again assuming that one should not harm others, Making moral judgements without first showing that objective right and wrong exist in an an atheistic universe.”
Yes you are assuming that which you have to prove which is cheating.
“In other words, secularists have moral values, just as you do, but because they lack belief in souls and gods, do not have rules about how you must behave in order to please some deity, but rather ground their rules in our reason”
Lack of belief is not anything Elizabeth, Atheism is the belief there is no god. so you don’t want to talk about Atheism but want to use the term Secularism?, Don’t be embarrased by it. No Elizabeth Atheism provides you with 0 grounding for morality, And reason tells you that moral nihilism is compatible with Atheism the reason that you don’t recognize that is because you have not been reasoning correctly.
“I certainly can not. It seems highly rational to me, and much more honest, for example, than pretending genocide is fine as long as some alleged deity commands it.”
You think the genocide of babies in the womb is ok because of arguments about babies not being human, It is that kind of argument that the nazis used against the jews, that they are not human.
“Our rules are not all about forbidding things, but rather about how to maximise joy and harmonious living.”
And that is why it is about emotion for you not reason,the atheist does not want to be judged for their actions, that is why they have such a liberal attitude to drug use and abortion and causal sex etc
“Look at the intolerance shown to gays, for example.”
Why shouldn’t people be intolerant to gays? You haven’t shown me that you have any grounds to make moral judgements, You are intolerant of people with 0 grounding from Atheism and you are condemning people who do have grounding, it is funny to see.
In this point, it becomes very similar to the most irrational and intolerant forms of religious fundamentalism.
“Well, no. I certainly think that torturing anyone, for fun or otherwise, is bad and wrong, but I would argue that that flows directly from reason and empathy” not from theism. Theism, on the other hand, may well flow from reason and empathy. I have no problem with it as long as it’s that way round.”
Reason tells you that moral values do not objectively exist if Atheism is true so appealing to reason does not help you it undermines you, You are appealing to emotion Elizabeth not reason.
“But I certainly don’t see why I should reject something that doesn’t prevent me concluding that causing another person harm and distress is wrong. And I certainly don’t see why instead I should adopt a religion that has an allegedly sacred text in which the putative deity appears to command the killing of children and the murder of unbelievers – and certainly not on the grounds that it is wrong to kill children and murder unbelievers!”
Whether you adopt a specific religion or not is moot, You have to assume a theistic worldview of some sort in order to make moral judgements of others, if you had any consistencey then you would not be getting on your moral high horse against anyone because for you morality is an illusion if you actually used reason and undersood the moral implications of Atheism.
“Well, yes, there is a case, but I think he’s missing a very important point, which is that just that because there is no absolute set of moral values doesn’t mean that objective human observers can’t collectively figure out the values that enable us to live in a harmonious society”
Therefore, if moral objetivism is true, scientific naturalism is plausibly false.
Well yes Elizabeth, Sorry if you don’t understand it.
“Well, you forgot reason and I wouldn’t call it social “indoctrination” but societal systems of justice, and I’m not sure what you mean by “biological pressure” but certainly I think we are biologically capable of developing the kinds of moral values we need to live in harmonious societies. So if that’s rejecting moral objectivism, then I reject moral objectivism. But I don’t see that theism gives us any either, so it’s no loss. I think reason and empathy give us as objective an approach as is possible.”
Reason tells you that on Atheism morality is man made and is nothing more than personal opinion, Saying that one should care for the harmony of others is begging the question, the most you can say is that you think a persons action is illegal or antisocial but you have still failed to show how their actions can be deemed immoral on Atheism because objective right and wrong do not exist.
you have a powerful reason and argument to reject metaphysical naturalism.”
“Well, looks like I don’t.”
Looks like you do, it is just that contrary to your assertions about using reason, You have rejected reason and appealed to emotion, You do not understand the moral implications of Atheism.
I think Tom Morris finds an instructive balance, as I noted in my old JTS course unit on ethics, summed up in F/N 10:
Morris goes on to argue:
So, Morris goes on to counsel that the proper use of rules is in moral training, with the aim being to build a life that is marked by character, wisdom and virtue in proper alignment: our habits of thought, feeling and behaviour should habitually line up with a correct understanding of how we ought to live in light of the ultimate reality of the world.
In short the matters here are anything but simplistic and the relevant facets can arguably be synthesised into a rich whole. It is strawmannish to set up and knock over caricatures of facets of a common whole. That’s different from saying that no one view captures the whole.
GEM of TKI
Great Posts Gem, I always Enjoy reading your posts.
No, I’m not assuming that.
I think one problem here confusion between what I call morality (the concept that there are things we ought to do) and ethics (the issue as to which thing we ought to do).
I think it often difficult to know which thing we ought to do, which is why we talk about “ethical dilemmas” – too often we are faced with a choice between two harmful outcomes – or between two hard-to-quantify-risks of harmful outcomes.
So I don’t think it is “always wrong” to do one thing rather than another. That is the sense in which I am a “relativist” and I expect, tbh, most people here are.
However, I do think that there is a fairly clear universal definition of “morality” – the concept that there are things to do – whereby what we “ought” to do is the thing that we would do if it we did were not prioritising our own immediate desires and autonomy over that of others. I think that is almost definitional (the only other sense in which we use the word “ought” is when we use it to denote what we would do if we were not prioritising our own immediate desires and autonomy over our future desires and autonomy, but we don’t usually call that kind of ought “morality” – it’s usually referred to as “self-discipline”)
So I think we can substitute something like “altruism” for morality quite easily, in which case, I’d say that altruism is an “absolute” virtue (it’s what we mean by moral behaviour), but I’d say that what the most altruistic course of action is in any given context may be often far from clear.
On the other hand, in some contexts it’s as clear as day.
What does faith have to do with flying airliners into buildings?
You don’t have any evidence that they flew those jets into buildings because it was “God’s will”.
It can be easily said that they did that because they were desperate-> desperation born of ignorance and loathing.
No, indeed, but there’s a fair bit of evidence that they flew those jets into buildings because they thought it was “God’s will”. That’s the point.
Elizabeth because of time constraints and getting distracted in making large posts as well as using my own words I will just reprint what others in reply have said because it saves time, Just like there was no need for me to repeat what Gem said in his post about the Golden rule.
This is Dawkins own words.
“Let’s all stop beating Basil’s car
by Richard Dawkins
Ask people why they support the death penalty or prolonged incarceration for serious crimes, and the reasons they give will usually involve retribution. There may be passing mention of deterrence or rehabilitation, but the surrounding rhetoric gives the game away. People want to kill a criminal as payback for the horrible things he did. Or they want to give “satisfaction’ to the victims of the crime or their relatives. An especially warped and disgusting application of the flawed concept of retribution is Christian crucifixion as “atonement’ for “sin’. Retribution as a moral principle is incompatible with a scientific view of human behaviour. As scientists, we believe that human brains, though they may not work in the same way as man-made computers, are as surely governed by the laws of physics. When a computer malfunctions, we do not punish it. We track down the problem and fix it, usually by replacing a damaged component, either in hardware or software. Basil Fawlty, British television’s hotelier from hell created by the immortal John Cleese, was at the end of his tether when his car broke down and wouldn’t start. He gave it fair warning, counted to three, gave it one more chance, and then acted. “Right! I warned you. You’ve had this coming to you!” He got out of the car, seized a tree branch and set about thrashing the car within an inch of its life. Of course we laugh at his irrationality. Instead of beating the car, we would investigate the problem. Is the carburettor flooded? Are the sparking plugs or distributor points damp? Has it simply run out of gas? Why do we not react in the same way to a defective man: a murderer, say, or a rapist? Why don’t we laugh at a judge who punishes a criminal, just as heartily as we laugh at Basil Fawlty? Or at King Xerxes who, in 480 BC, sentenced the rough sea to 300 lashes for wrecking his bridge of ships? Isn’t the murderer or the rapist just a machine with a defective component? Or a defective upbringing? Defective education? Defective genes? Concepts like blame and responsibility are bandied about freely where human wrongdoers are concerned. When a child robs an old lady, should we blame the child himself or his parents? Or his school? Negligent social workers? In a court of law, feeble-mindedness is an accepted defence, as is insanity. Diminished responsibility is argued by the defence lawyer, who may also try to absolve his client of blame by pointing to his unhappy childhood, abuse by his father, or even unpropitious genes (not, so far as I am aware, unpropitious planetary conjunctions, though it wouldn’t surprise me). But doesn’t a truly scientific, mechanistic view of the nervous system make nonsense of the very idea of responsibility, whether diminished or not? Any crime, however heinous, is in principle to be blamed on antecedent conditions acting through the accused’s physiology, heredity and environment. Don’t judicial hearings to decide questions of blame or diminished responsibility make as little sense for a faulty man as for a Fawlty car? Why is it that we humans find it almost impossible to accept such conclusions? Why do we vent such visceral hatred on child murderers, or on thuggish vandals, when we should simply regard them as faulty units that need fixing or replacing? Presumably because mental constructs like blame and responsibility, indeed evil and good, are built into our brains by millennia of Darwinian evolution. Assigning blame and responsibility is an aspect of the useful fiction of intentional agents that we construct in our brains as a means of short-cutting a truer analysis of what is going on in the world in which we have to live. My dangerous idea is that we shall eventually grow out of all this and even learn to laugh at it, just as we laugh at Basil Fawlty when he beats his car. But I fear it is unlikely that I shall ever reach that level of enlightenment.”
Reply To Dawkins words
“1)Dawkins claims that according to science human brains “are as surely governed by the laws of physics” and hence the concept of “retribution” is unscientific. Therefore, “punishment” makes no sense at all (Dawkins: “When a computer malfunctions, we do not punish it.”)
Such a view implies DETERMINISM (i.e. the view that human thinking and actions are wholly determined by physical laws, not freedom of the will is allowed).
True, naturalism implies such view on determinism, but wait a minute. Think about it: If determinism is true, then Dawkins’ belief in determinism is ALSO determined by physical laws, not by reason or logic (which are no physical laws). Dawkins is a determinist because physical laws impose on him such a belief, not because such a belief is rationally justified over other non-jusitified beliefs.
So, as we never say that a computer is irrational when it malfunctions (because such computer is not guilty of the malfunctioning due to the deterministic physical laws which controls it), we cannot say that human beings (e.g. religious fundamentalists) are irrational when they have false beliefs or do dangerous actions. After all, like the computer, human beings are fully determined (by physical laws) in their functioning (reason and logic, not being physical laws, don’t determine anything), and the concepts of rational or irrational makes no sense.
Moreover, on what grounds are you going to criticize religious people who believe in God, free will, the afterlife, spirits and indeterminism, if their beliefs are ALSO determined by the same physical laws which impose on Dawkins his deterministic view?
The same physical laws which makes Dawkins an automata without free will will be efficacious to make all the other people automata too. And the difference of beliefs of each person will be caused by physical laws, not by the person’ fault, and hence you cannot complain that such people are irrational or guilty, since they have not responsability at all regarding the beliefs they hold.
2)Dawkins claims that “evil and good” are MENTAL CONSTRUCTS and USEFUL FICTIONS (i.e. they exist in our minds alone), and don’t have any objective, mind-independent existence. In Dawkins word’s: “Presumably because mental constructs like blame and responsibility, indeed evil and good, are built into our brains by millennia of Darwinian evolution. Assigning blame and responsibility is an aspect of the useful fiction of intentional agents that we construct in our brains as a means of short-cutting a truer analysis of what is going on in the world in which we have to live. My dangerous idea is that we shall eventually grow out of all this and even learn to laugh at it”
Note that Dawkins constrast such a mental constructs and fictions with the “truer analysis of what is going on in the world”, which implies that such mental constructs and fictions are probably FALSE.
Again, this view is entailed by metaphysical naturalism and atheism, so Dawkins is (at least in this point) being consistent.
Now, if the “evil” is a mental construct which a scientific atheist should deny (on behalf of a more rational and true scientific analysis), then WHY THE HELL DID DAWKINS SAY THAT WLLIAM LANE CRAIG’S THEOLOGY IS EVIL? On that objective moral grounds is Dawkins going to criticize Craig if such a moral ground is a pure mental construct without any objective validity? Moreover, is Craig guilty of something “evil” when, according to Dawkins’ beliefs, the evil doesn’t exist and Craig is fully determined in his beliefs and actions by the same deterministic physical laws which determine Dawkins’ beliefs and actions?
This is evidence which Dawkins doesn’t take his worldview seriously. He denies the objective existence of the “evil”, but then accusses others (specially religious believers) of being evil or of doing evil things.
He denies the justification of the concept of “retribution and punishment”, but then castigates Craig when the latter defends a religious view that Dawkins finds unpalatable.
He criticizes (and uses as an excuse to refuse debating) Craig by his (alleged) justification of biblical genocide, but Dawkins himself claims that he is open to the persuasion that “killing people is right under certain circunstances” (so, supporting genocide).
Do you think the evidence mentioned here support the conclusion that Dawkins is a rational, logical and intellectually honest scholar?
I think the answer is obvious. As I said, in my opinion, people like Dawkins deserve to receive a public exposing and evidence-based intellectual punishment (=solid refutations of his views), and in this blog I’ll contribute to this purpose.
I entirely agree with atheist Oxford philosopher Daniel Came who says that Dawkins’s refusal to debate Craig is cynical and anti-intellectualist, and that people like Dawkins “seek to replace one form of irrationality with another.”
Nope, that is just western propagana and you are just gullible.
THAT is the point…
Alright. But then, now you are going to have to apply that to what happened with the Canaanites. Can you take your understanding of morality and apply it to that narrative in the Bible and make a case that it was immoral? (And it looks like, from a quick scan of what is posted elsewhere here, that you didn’t explicitly make the charge of genocide, but that you agree that according to the narrative in the OT that you would say it is)
Also, the definition you gave of genocide from the UN is a wee bit broad. Technically, anyone could be charged with genocide who has murdered or seriously hurt someone under that definition.
No, no, no! Sorry! I thought you’d understand.
Your link is missing the link.
Interesting post, Stephen.
When you put it like that, the question one must ask is: Where does the “Natural Law” come from?
If it is from God, then I don’t see any distinction, or meaning, whatsoever in your statement. If it isn’t, then God is not sovereign because He has some other thing (Natural Law) outside of Himself which governs Him.
If God is Good, and all good flows from Him, then necessarily everything He does, indeed, defines goodness (to us. He wouldn’t need any definition as He IS the definition). But, when we in addition say that God is perfect, that also entails that He be unchanging (for He would have to become less than perfect if He changed). So He therefore would (and could) also never “on a whim” decide that adultery was now okay. So I don’t see how, in at least this narrow area, Divine Command Theory is a problem (though it may well be in other related areas of which I’m not aware).
Note: Some may not like the phrase “could never” associated with God, but the Bible tells us that God cannot lie, for instance.
Finally, the Missing Link has been found!
How long until Google changes their logo to celebrate this momentous occasion?
Who says I haven’t? Didn’t I explain to you in another thread that I’ve studied world religions? I haven’t seen any evidence that what the Quran states is superior to what the Bible states. Can you provide any?
What double standard? I studied religions, plural, and was convinced—after examining the evidence—that Christianity was true.
Then you’d have to compare what the Quran states with what the Bible states and see which book(s) hold up under scrutiny. Consider their internal harmony, their historicity, and their practical value. There are probably other metrics that you could measure the two with. I would agree that both could be misinterpreted or misquoted. But misquoting or misinterpreting scripture proves nothing.
<BLOCKQUOTE“I thought it was the Israelites land?”
It was, which is why they eventually took possession of it.
Not really. Jesus himself explained that bad things would happen on a worldwide scale in Matthew chapter 24. He talked about ‘wars and reports of wars.’ The apostle Paul also mentioned living in ‘critical times’ at 1 Timothy chapter 3.
The question is why does God allow it? The issue is one of universal sovreignty and the explanation goes back to the Garden of Eden. Humankind has been given millenia to prove that they are incapable of ruling themselves without God’s direction and favor. God promises that eventually peace will happen on a worldwide scale.
I know it from reading the Bible. Why are you arguing in favor of a people who practiced child sacrifice?
But Abraham didn’t sacrifice his son. He was asked to, but God did not allow him to follow through. Do you not understand that point?
But several peoples including the Gibeonites were spared. Rahab and her family were spared. Does genocide allow for survivors?
Except for Noah and his family, who survived. Interestingly, the Bible notes that Noah preached to people about the flood for decades before it happened. If people wanted to survive, they could have gotten into the ark. How is that unmerciful? He made the way out, but people refused to take it.
We get it. You don’t understand the Bible. Just because you don’t understand why God commanded something does not make it wrong. It just means that you don’t understand it. That’s all.
It has the marks of humanity on it, but it was divinely inspired. You, with your limited human intelligence and knowledge may not understand why God did what he did but that doesn’t make it wrong. You’re projecting.
I’m not rationalizing anything away. I am looking for an explanation of why God did what he did, which is apparently more than what you did as an evangelical Christian. I took the time to both read and study the Bible. Having an open mind is helpful.
“That must be why he said “do not leave alive anything that breathes” instead of “don’t kill the innocent children”
So you think it is more merciful to leave them there to starve for days or weeks and die of exposure? Thats more humane to you in comparison to a quick death?
“Because after all, whenever a country is invaded, no one but the die hard child sacrificers bothers to defend it. Cockroaches.”
Its a case by case basis champ. Why you are set on ignoring that is a mystery to everyone but you. Moving to another country was not a big deal to anyone in the ancient middle east. It was routinley done. No one in their right mind would take on a nation that had just brought down the strongest superpower in the world at that time, which was egypt. Getting the hell out would have been the most sensible thing for everyone not hardfast on staying in a land they KNEW was not theirs. It was not their land. They knew that. Someone is coming to take their land back from you, something you know they have a divine deed to, you get to steppin, unless you think sacrificing more kids to your gods will make your gods bring victory to you. And thats why most people left. Cananite nations were simple vassals to egypt. Sensible cananites could do the math. B(egypts gods)greater than C(cananite gods). A(israels God) greater than B(egypts gods). A>B>C, therefore A>C. Therefore “Im getting the hell out of here!”
Im glad we agree! The children would not have been orphaned if the cananites had enough sense to do the right thing. Or do you think its God’s fault they were evil? That would be a new one!
“It surely wasn’t God’s fault for ordering their murder”
He didnt order their murder. He ordered the most humane way to deal with these children who were put in this situation by their wicked parents. It was a the most merciful way out at the time.
“And we all know that when you encounter innocent children, the virtuous thing to do is to kill them rather than sharing your food with them.”
Case by case basis champ. Once the israelites had become well established in the land, they indeed started taking in captives since they had the provisions to do so. They just didnt have the means to do so at the time.
“Assuming that God is good, I’d say the way to know whether a command is from God if it commands us to do something good. If it commands us to do something evil then we know that it cannot be a command from a good God.”
I would agree with most of that. A good God would not command an evil deed. So if you see someone working miracles and then commands you to do something bad, then you know its not a good god your’re dealing with. But most theologians and philosophers of religion would say that if God was evil, then he couldnt be the real God anyway. Part of the definition of God is a being who displays maximal greatness. A wicked god would not be maximally great because evil is an imperfection. God would have to be perfect, and therefore display characteristics which signify greatness and would include perfect goodness and fairness.
Murder and starvation weren’t the only options, kuartus. Why didn’t God command the Israelites to feed and shelter the innocent Canaanite children? Remember, according to you there weren’t very many of them left in the land since most of the people had decided to leave before the Israelite invasion.
Feeding and sheltering them is more humane than killing them.
Give me a break, kuartus. You are so enamored of this silly book that you’re willing to defend it even when it implicates God in the most evil of crimes.
Ask yourself the question I posed earlier:
Interesting questions, Brent.
Clearly, Christian Theology would hold, as would I, that God is perfect and unchanging. It would follow that his morality, which reflects his perfect goodness, is also unchanging.
In that sense, I think I grasp your point. If, in fact, God’s goodness is an infallible guarantee that He will always command what is good, then we can be assured of doing the right thing even if we do not understand why God deserves to be obeyed. So, why fuss over the difference? We either obey or we don’t.
I think the distinction would be this: There seems to be a difference between [a] obeying a master’s rules as fearful slaves and [b] following a Father’s commands as loving children. It seems to me that Divine Command Theory lends itself to [a] while Natural Law Theory lends itself to [b]. Don’t misunderstand, I think there is a place for both, but the latter approach would be the goal, though the pathway to love may well be through fear.
To that extent, it seems that both theories would overlap, and that there would be some truth to Divine Command Theory (we should obey God without question) but more truth in Natural Law Theory, which, in my judgment, provides a better and deeper answer to the moral questions about God’s behavior, especially as recorded in the Old Testament, (Why should we obey God?)
Right. Which is the point I have been trying to get across.
In order to know whether something is of God or not, you first have to know whether it is good.
It doesn’t work the other way round.
That’s why it is fallacious to argue that atheists have no ground on which to evaluate good. They have exactly the same grounds as everyone else.
And why it is also fallacious to argue, as Craig does, that if God commands you to do something that would normally be wrong, it is not wrong.
In fact, it’s not just fallacious but very dangerous. Which was Dawkins’ point.
How do you know that God would command anyone to do something that is normally wrong? What does that even mean- to be “normally wrong”?
And dawkins doesn’t have a point except to avoid having to support his position in a public debate.
Elizabeth why moan at the non-God? If you are right then there’s not someone actually behind the scenes that Craig is a follower of. Your complaint is merely directed at human thoughts. Since it was the organ that produces other thoughts that produced the notion of God. No different than elves and angels.
Elizabeth You and Dawkins should be saying “the NERVE of some neurons producing certain thoughts!. which are completely out of the range of willful behavior. But, didn’t Dawkins tell us not to yell at Basil Faulty?
Why Elizabeth. it’s not Basil’s fault. nor his car.
You are pro-abortion & you want to make complaints at Craig who you say is defending actions of a fictional god (from your perspective) from a fictional text(from your perspective) but you & Dawkins have no trouble supporting those who kill real babies.
Not only do I find you to be a hypocrite but I find your liberal permissive attitude to abortion etc to be abhorrent.
The difference though is that you have 0 grounding to make moral judgements, You have failed on this thread to ground morality, You have just assumed it,You have however displayed your hypocrisy. You need to try some introspection.
What ground is that?
See? If you look above (220.127.116.11.6), Lizzie has taken this way (your previous way, anyhow) of putting it and run with it to say there is something other than God, a “third realm” perhaps (my words), whereby we may know good apart from God. I think we have to be very, very careful here. She now seems literally to be saying that there is a “rule of good” that even governs God.
To your reply:
It seems that your “distinction” is only more of a “way of looking at it”, and that from our perspective. I agree that it is easier to think of and a better way of looking at it, but when it actually comes down to it, there is no way to say that good governs God, and, therefore, there really is no distinction between saying that what God does is good because He does it, or that He only does things that are (or because they are) good. If good comes from God, there is no difference.
I will say, however, I think it permissible, and better even, to think of it in the way you suggest.
I think it is far more simple to just go to the direct issue: how can OUGHT be grounded, given that we credibly are morally obligated, i.e. are under moral government.
(Notice, the objectors above imply this all over the place when they accuse us of all sorts of moral failings, real or imagined, though of course at a more sophisticated level some may actually only be playing the cynical game of manipulating moral sensibilities. That such feel it necessary to conceal their might and manipulation makes might views shows that they realise — deep down — that they are morally abnormal, or even warped, even monstrous. Hence, BTW, the ultimate root of playing at the polarise the atmosphere by accusing God of being morally monstrous and his followers of being dangerous barbarians game. Turnabout false accusations tend to confuse and poison the atmosphere. Herr Schicklegruber played that propaganda game to perfection in the 1930’s, so long as he could pretend Germany was the victim of others.)
Now, Hume was notorious for asserting his surprise at the transition from IS to OUGHT in reasoning. This is a clue as to his correct insight and his fallacy. he is right that unless there is the inherently moral in the foundation of one’s worldview, then one may not objectively ground OUGHT thereafter. Either it comes in at foundation, or it is not going to be there, period.
And, that, in a context where the general consensus of mankind is that we ARE under obligation of OUGHT. For instance, it is self evidently true that we ought not to torture innocent children for pleasure. The attempt to deny lands one in patent, immediate absurdity.
So, the only worldviews worth investigating seriously are those that do ground OUGHT in a foundational IS.
That’s kinda obvious, but of course many who seem wise and intelligent would deny this. I guess this is the sort of line down which the Apostle Paul argued in Rom 1 (in part), and Locke in his intro to the Essay on Human Understanding, section 5 — and yes, the biblical allusions and citations are his, I have just filled in references:
My immediate point is, that — given that we face a world in which ought is credibly real and binding — the best candidate for such a worldview foundational IS sufficient to ground OUGHT is the inherently good, wise, fair Creator God, Lord and Just Judge of all.
That shines through even the problem of evil (especially post Plantinga’s Free Will Defense).
And such is multiplied by other lines of evidence that build a cumulative case that points — arguably, compellingly — in the same direction. And, notwithstanding the attempt to create a scientific theory that seemed to account for life and its body plan level diversity without design, the truth is, that evolutionary mechanisms, once assessed on the question of accounting for the origin of functionally specific, complex organisation, come up drastically short, cf. here on. Indeed, these days, they are propped up by institutional fiat, as Lewontin so plainly admitted: a priori materialism. It is no accident that the co-founder of evolutionary theory was a design thinker (at the least, post 1869), and was largely forgotten.
In that context, debates over divine command vs natural law etc theories of morality can be brought to a reasonable resolution, noting of course where each can go off the rails, once it is taken out of the better context of being seen as a facet of moral reasoning. That’s why I like Thomas Morris’ outline synthesis as I already put forth in summary:
So, Morris goes on to counsel that the proper use of rules is in moral training, with the aim being to build a life that is marked by character, wisdom and virtue in proper alignment: our habits of thought, feeling and behaviour should habitually line up with a correct understanding of how we ought to live in light of the ultimate reality of the world.
No one model of ethical thinking is a be-all, end-all, so plainly the best is a synthesis that is critically aware and balanced in light of issues and concerns. In particular, the good God will not issue commands that are arbitrary or unjust [noting that justice as an act of government may have to be quite severe in the face of great and destructively spreading evils — think, Martial law in the face of destructive rebellion and anarchy], and such a God would create a world in which core morality would be discernible form appropriate reflection on the nature of things, e.g. the inherent worth of fellow creatures made in God’s image. Thus, I come again to Locke’s cite from “the judicious [Anglican Canon Richard] Hooker,” in Ch 2 Sect 5 of his 2nd treatise on civil govt, when he set out to ground liberty and justice in community:
Of course, Locke goes on to discuss the case where someone has joined a war against other men, by embarking on the path of injustice, and the issue of force in defence of the liberty and justice of the community, is then warranted. That is the remit for both police and armed military forces. But of course, such power is itself a temptation in a world of finite, fallible, fallen and too often ill-willed men, and so we have to deal with corruption and the possibility of tyranny. On this, Locke grounds the theory of just revolution, in the wider context of Reformation era thought of interposition of existing or emergent lower magistrates or representatives, who lead in remonstrance, and in the end may have to jointly act in defence of liberty and justice in the face of a determined tyrant. This was directly relevant to Locke’s context of the English Glorious revolution of 1688, and it is the context of the American Revolution from 1775 on, as can be seen in the arguments in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776, and as can be discerned in the declared purposes of the later Constitution.
Here is the shocker that Dawkins et al will not tell us: if you trace back to say Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, 1579, you will find that the Israelite uprising in Egypt is a paradigmatic example for this thought. This of course includes the plagues of Egypt and the promise of land, land settled by seven nations that had now reached the point where the cup of their iniquity was brimful and overflowing. but first, having passed through ten plagues in Egypt that judged the Egyptian state and people based on stubborn ill-will, the Israelites faced ten tests in the Wilderness, and a whole generation perished in the desert due to their own disobedience. Israel was of course warned that it too was subject to judgement as a nation, and the story of the prophets and exiles of judgement, redeemed by the promise of restoration, is too notorious for me to recount. But in each of these cases of judgement, there was fair warning, and a fair chance to repent or get out of the way; indeed it is arguable that in each of our lives, there is sufficient light of truth we know or should know to warn us to turn from the wrong to the right, and the consequences of refusing to do so. The conclusion, regarding judgements of the nations, is that the principal targets of judgement were corrupt elites, whose power had to be broken to restore a morally sane environment; though there were cases that were so corrupt that the judgement was much more extensive. But the balancing witness is the case of Jonah and Nineveh, where the call of destruction was abated 40 days short, once there was a turning from the wrong. And the exchange between the half-understanding prophet and God in Ch 4, is revealing:
Somehow, as a rule, we do not hear of this sort of balancing point from the denunciations of the New Atheists.
For those troubled by their fulminations, I suggest here on as a place to begin reflection.
GEM of TKI
KF, you are a pious fraud and a liar:
You have no evidence whatsoever that any of us who have been criticizing the Old Testament God for his genocidal tendencies secretly believe that “might and manipulation make right”.
Another false accusation for you to retract.
LOL – so you know that the stories in the Bible are true because you read them in the Bible. No doubt many Germans in the early 20thC thought Hitler was an heroic leader because they reddit in his book.
I’m not, but it was very charitable and christian of you to make this false accusation. I forgive you 0)
We were actually discussing the questions of ethics and morality, and how the relate to the idea of divine command.
I think you have got a bit muddled about the topic:
You then changed the subject from the massacre of the Cannanites, to Abraham and his son … ?
The point never came up because we were not discussing Abraham’s son.
Clearly Noah was an unconvincing prophet, a failure – no one believed him, and why should they anyway. Is that the peoples fault, Noah’s fault, or Gods …. People like David Koresh have had more success than Noah at convincing people thet they are talking Gods truth – The problem for every day folk is how to tell the difference between the Noahs and the Koreshs without waiting until after the fact. You can’t just go around believing anyone who claims to speak for God.
You avoided addressing the issue and resorted to a personal attack – perhaps you should simply explain why women should have their hands cut off.
Which parts were divinely inspired and how do you tell?
Neither can you, yet you keep claiming that you understand the bible but none of us do.
Your mind seems to be closed to the possibility that God didn’t do some of the things that the authors of the bible claim that he did, and that it is simply people creating an historical account after the fact to suit their ideology and justify their actions.
Ch has just gone too far, making a false character accusation with no good warrant — and indeed this is a case on his part of making a repeated ACT of false accusation that points to a significant civility problem for both him and his side of these issues.
Remember, this is all in a wider context where he is defending a group, Aiden, that thinks it appropriate to respond to the gospel by publicly smearing verbal filth across it and portraying Christian clergy as blood-mongering vampires, and worse. Even more unfortunately revelatory for his side, the leading spokesman for the new atheism [prof Dawkins] has been carded to appear, next month, on stage with this group and is on record in a bestseller — so debased are many in our civilisation — with many outrageous accusations against the God of specifically the OT scriptures, i.e. the Tanakh.
As in, just answer: just which “tribe” in the “bronze age” was worshipping YHWH?
Is Ch willing to outright accuse major sections of adherents of that same faith today — say, Rabbi Boteach et al — of support for Genocide?
If not so, then why is it that he and ilk are ever so willing to use these texts to knowingly falsely accuse Christians of support for genocide; knowing full well that Christians find such cases difficult precisely because we do not support racially motivated mass murder?
(NB: If the atmosphere-poisoning false accusations on alleged support for genocide trouble you, kindly cf here on, for a first level, more balanced view. Ch et al would be especially well-advised to peruse Dr Torley’s response to Dr Dawkins, here, as well.)
I find it frankly disgusting and telling on their attitude that in the face of easily accessible careful, reasoned response from many directions, for months now these new atheists have insisted on a false and poisonous accusation that they MUST know is false.
If they had said that Christians struggle and sometimes say wrong or even foolish things in response to cases of destructive judgement of nations, that would be true and fair comment.
But that is NOT what we are seeing.
We are seeing insistent false accusations of genocide that seek to make cheap, poisonous rhetorical points.
That tells me volumes on character, attitude, motivation and want of basic broughtupcy on their part. and of course the attempt predictably will be made, here and elsewhere to twist this into a turnabout further false accusation.
That tells us worlds about the nihilistic mindset we are dealing with, especially given the basic point that such have no worldview foundational is that can objectively ground ought. Which ends in the tendency to revert to the nihilistic premise that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ something that has been pointed out by many far more august figures than either of us, on excellent warrant. Namely, absent a worldview foundational IS that is inherently moral Hume’s IS-OUGHT gap cuts with guillotine force, severing IS and OUGHT. And evolutionary materialism can only present matter, energy, space time and forces of blind chance and necessity at that foundational level.
so, it is inescapably amoral and vulnerable to the rise of nihilistic factions who seek to use might and manipulation to get their way. Obviously, since people do have a built in moral candle, not all who are believers in this view or are influenced by it will be part of such factions, but the reason for that is a tension between the candle within and the inherent tendencies of an amoral worldview. From another angle, that is why Crick’s determinism is an “astonishing hypothesis,” and it is why Provine found his “no free will” implication such a hard sell.
These, of course, are fairly well known voices inadvertently testifying against interest.
We can, however, see ever so many cases of the nihilism and manipulation of moral sensibilities just described around us, and what Ch just did is yet another case in point.
So, all of this is cheap, willful manipulation of moral sensibilities to gain an advantage in a debate where such advocates of evolutionary materialism have no solid, stable foundation for OUGHT.
That should tell us all we need to know, in light of the horror story of Alcibiades and co, on where this sort of manipulativeness and want of sound moral foundation predictably leads, once we move beyond the circle of the genteel to the rise of nihilistic factions.)
Notice, also: having a case of stumbling and so needing to correct an ACT of wrongdoing is not the same as having a habitual character problem, but this is now several times in recent days — despite having been specifically warned — that Ch has resorted to willfully false statements that he hopes to profit from being perceived as true.
Ch has fatally shot his own credibility through the heart.
He will doubtless continue with such raillery and cavils as long as he thinks he can get away with taking up the part of the ill-bred and abusive, but he has definitively excluded himself from the circle of those with something serious to say.
“Scratch an ‘altruist,’ and watch a ‘hypocrite’ bleed.” – M. Ghiselin (1974)
Is Elizabeth ready to propose a new (post-Comtean) ‘religion of humanity’?
And the debate rages on…
And as I mentioned in another thread, I came to believe the Bible is true by study and research. That is why I believe it is true.
That was directed to GCUGreyArea. I’m sure you know that. Try again.
Try reading the thread. The topic started out as being about the Canaanites since Dawkins brought it up as a reason (or excuse) regarding his refusal to debate with Craig. The thread continued and discussion turned to Abraham. Do try and keep up.
We are, however, discussing whether or not God is merciful as seen in the OP. This goes a long way towards proving that point.
Are you kidding me? That’s the best you can do? Really?
Of course it is the people’s fault! They made a choice, didn’t they? If someone tells you that a storm is coming and you need to take steps to evacuate and you don’t, it is entirely your fault if you are injured or killed.
Come on. I can’t believe you typed that with a straight face. That, ladies and gentlemen, is truly a sign of a deeply closed mind. This isn’t rational thinking, this is holding tightly to your preconceived notions and not allowing a single fact to penetrate.
Koresh only had what, a few hundred followers, if that? How would that compare to mainstream religions today with millions of adherents? You’re right that you can’t simply believe what someone tells you. You have to do the research yourself.
This was rather thoroughly discussed in another thread. I trust you can tell the difference between a statement (“You don’t understand the Bible”) and a personal attack (‘You’re stupid because you don’t understand the Bible”).
All of it, according to what Paul wrote at 1 Timothy 3:16, 17. You determine this by studying the Bible. Compare translations if you want. See whether or not biblical accounts are vertified through secular history or archaeology.
Seriously, didn’t you do any of this while an evangelical Christian? If not, then why not?
I claim to have done some research. If my explanations are off, then show me where a valid explanation lies. Show me an alternative explanation that doesn’t involve throwing up your hands and saying, now I’m an atheist because I can’t make sense of this. That’s a cop out.
My mind is closed to that possibility because it doesn’t fit the empirical evidence. One of the things that I found interesting in studying the Bible was not only its internal harmony but the candor of the writers. They freely admitted when and where they went wrong, which is not something you see in many other historical accounts.
Let us get back to basics* from which all subsequent arguments must necessarilly and logically flow, without which no coherent picture can possibly emanate to formulate any warranted, justified conclusion.
The Creationist argument is premised on, “So God created great sea creatures and EVERY* living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their KIND*, and every winged bird according to its KIND*…” ( Gen 1: 21, Emphasis added) (See also vv. 24,25)
Now, is there any sound scientific evidence, from the Fossil Record, confirming this propostional truth claim, from the Bible, Almighty God’s divinely inspired Word, written by man, Moses, who was inspired to pen such an account of the beginning of all creation?
Yes, there is overwhelming factual scientific evidence* facts, supporting the creation narrative account, thousands of years AFTER* the FACT*, by literally MILLIONS of Fossil finds, all of which, each and every time they are discovered, no matter where on earth, or in the sea, each and every time, regardless of the species, they ALL appear ‘abruptly’ that IS* fully and comletely FORMED* exactly as they were Created* in the first place by Almighty God.
Yes, I’m fully aware of all the facy, pseudo-scientific jargon that Evolutionists create, invent, such as ‘punctuated equilibrium theory’ and other such like fantacies, deviously for their own agenda, to keep Almighty God, our Creator, out of, their Atheist mind-set, and the Universe He Created and sustains.
The salient point is, that no matter how many of these false science ‘theories’ they fabricate or come up with, the plain simple FACTS* of millions of FOSSILS, repeadedly speak in their eloquent silence, LOUDLY* that we were ALL Created, by Almighty God, that’s why, we ALL* appear FULLY FORMED, no ‘transitional’ fossils will ever be found, as WE did NOT* evolve, we were Created.
Evolutionary materialists, with their rooted ‘Atheism’ IS* a priori commitment,cemented IN* a philosophical ideology, NOT science, in fact rampant, rabid, intellectually dishonest atheism, couched, veneered and convoluted in a maze of of pseudo-scientific jargon, which continues to deceive many, who have simply not taken the time to examine the facts, which overwhelmingly support and confirm the creation model as outlined in God’s Word, the Bible in Genesis chapter 1 and two.
And, this is just scratching the surface, of the amazing evidence and facts, throughout the course of history,that logically, coherently, objectively, and legally, confirm the historical veracity of Almighty God’s prophetic Word, in all ancient Pagan Civilizations, that came to utter ruination at His Omnipotent hand, of righteous judgment, because of rampant IDOLATRY, bar none!
BTW, when I use Caps Lock, I am not shouting at anyone, certainly not; I only use it for emphasis and augmentation, nothing else is intended.
kairosfocus: What you have written above is really quite outrageous. You have repeatedly accused me, and others, of accusing you of suggesting that we are amoral, when we have been clear that we are simply accusing you of suggesting that we are promoting an “amoral” worldview. Now you turn round and accuse us, outright, of being “morally abnormal”, and indeed, of accusing others of being “dangerous barbarians” when what we have objected to is a worldview (as expressed by Craig) that we consider amoral. You seem unable to apply your own principles even-handedly.
In fact, I’ll go further. I think you are in the grip of a completely unfounded fear of a worldview that you do not understand, and to which you attribute, again without foundation, most of the world’s ills. Your fear prevents you from trying to undertand us, and your lack of understanding feeds your fear.
As a result, I venture the suggestion that it is you kairosfocus, who is poisoning and confusing things. I don’t think you are doing it deliberately – I think you regard your the prospect of what you fear as adequate justification for your strong words.
But that makes them no less destructive, and I ask you to consider at least the possibility, that thing thing you fear is a vast straw man of your own making, and that the reality is a set of people who simply do not share your belief that there are god or gods. Instead, they are awed by the wonders of the natural universe, and the goodness and love of their fellow human beings. Our worldview is not “amoral” – far from it it. We have moral values based on the principle of altruism, just as you do.
We just differ in what we see as the origins of that altruism.
Elizabeth, I have an embarrassingly short memory I’ll admit, but it’s not THAT short!!!
Above you said that altruism was a “substitute” and “what we mean” by moral behaviour.
So, what makes morality, or altruism, objectively true or binding? Again, what’s the ground?
I meant a substitute for the word. That they have the same referent.
Hope that clarifies my meaning. To address your question:
First of all, let me make a distinction between my use of the world “morality” by which I denote our capacity to distinguish what we “ought” to do from what we “want” to do, and “ethics”, by which I denote the system of criteria by which we judge what we “ought” to do.
So I’m using “Morality” to refer to the fact that we are bound at all, and “ethics” to refer to what we are bound to do.
So, in the sense I am using the term “why is morality binding” is a non-question – it’s a bit like asking “why is adhesive sticky”? If morality wasn’t binding, we wouldn’t call it morality. We would never need to use the word “ought”.
However, there is one wrinkle, that I have addressed, but will repeat:
“Ought” is the word we use when we are faced with a choice between actions in which one delivers immediate personal benefits. So if I go to the shop for my sandwich, and I pass the chocolate, I will say to myself “I’d like chocolate, but I ought not to”. All I am doing there is balancing my immediate desire for chocolate against my future desire for a pair of trousers that fit properly.
But what “binds” me to the action of walking past the chocolate shelves is not what we call a “moral” binding, but simply my desire to sacrifice immediate for future reward. And if I am successfully “bound” to future rewards, others would describe me as “self-disciplined” or “having strong will-power”, not as being “morally upright”. I’ll call that the “non-impulsive ought”.
But there is another kind of circumstance in which we use the word “ought”, and that is when what we “ought” to do is something that benefits not our selves (either immediately, or in the future) but someone else. And when we use the word “ought” to describe actions that conflict with our own immediate or future desires but which benefit someone else, then we are talking about “moral” bindings – the balancing of the desire to benefit ourselves with our desire to benefit others. And a person who consistently does what she “ought” to do, in that sense – does what I will call the altruistic “ought” – we say is a morally upstanding person.
In other words, we use the word “ought” to denote what we are “bound” to in contrast to what will satisfy our immediate desires, and when what we “ought” to do refers to actions that will simply benefit ourselves in the future, that’s not the “moral” ought, merely the “non-impulsive” ought. However, the “moral” ought, is, as a fact of our language, the “ought” that reflects the binding or our actions to the welfare of others.
That’s why I say we can use “morality” and “altruism” to refer to the same thing – the choosing of actions that benefit others, even when those conflict with what we desire for ourselves. You could also perhaps, use the word “disinterested” for such choices of action, if the word hadn’t gone into sad decline, or “unbiased”.
So what I’m saying is that by using the word “ought”, as in the altruistic ought, we are announcing ourselves as moral choosers. Those who do what they “ought” in that sense, are, truly, “amoral”. They do only what suits themselves, either now or later. They do not bind themselves to promote the benefit of others, and so lack morality.
So that’s the grounding, and it’s universal and really very simple.
The real disagreements however, start now. Having established (I hope!) that the signifier “morality” has essentially the same referent as “altruism” we are faced with the ethical questions:
1. Who is ncluded in those “others”? Members of other tribes? Citizens of other countries? The unborn? Other species?
2. What constitutes their “benefit”? What they want now? What is good for them? What will happen to them in the afterlife?
And that’s where atheists and theists often (but not always) differ. The fundamental grounding is the same – altruism – but who should be the beneficiaries and how they should benefit is subject to fierce dispute.
And I cannot see anyway round it. Morality may be universally defined, but ethics aren’t, and must always be contextual, as someone above actually pointed out to me. So often we have to choose the lesser of two evils.
Anyway, even if you don’t agree, I hope it is now clearer what I mean.
I think you may be leaping a bit to characterize KF’s comments as personal attacks. What he is saying is that all approaches to the “ought,” in the context of translating moral law into civil law, will, in the final analysis, be reduced either to the natural moral law, or the principle of “might makes right.” In that context, he is correct, as Plato demonstrated over 2000 years ago.
The civil law must always be based on some higher principle that unifies, informs and shapes it. If the objective natural moral law does the unifying, informing and shaping, then leaders, aristocrats, plutocrats, laborers alike, must honor it. If, on the other hand, the aggregate of all the hopelessly varied subjective opinions tries to do the shaping, the project will fail due to lack of unity and the aristocrats will do shaping based on their own personal whims and ordinary citizens must conform to those whims.
So, if you and Champ do not acknowledge the natural moral law, you are, by process of elimination, advocating the alternative principle, which is “might makes right.” There is no slander involved in making this observation.
For further record (with particular notice to the pseudonymous objector using the web handle “Larry Tanner”)
Some time ago, I noted that the accusation that the God of the OT is a bronze age tribal deity and moral monster and that his followers are supporters of genocide etc is at least by implication anti-semitic.
Rabbi Boteach, responding to the late Christopher Hitchens, one of the leading New Atheism Advocate, upgrades that to actual, not just implied or potential. Let me excerpt the section of the NCSTS unit on The Sins of Christendom that deals with this issue:
>> we may examine leading new atheist and multiply best-selling author, professor Richard Dawkins’ notorious quote as he begins his attack on what he terms “the God Hypothesis,” in his best-selling book, The God Delusion (2006):
Dawkins, The God Delusion: “The God of the Old Testament [= The God of Israel . . . ] is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully . . . ” [Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Great Britain: Bantam Press, 2006, 31. Cf. Lennox- Dawkins debate, here. For a quick initial response to this sort of rhetoric, cf. CARM here and JPH of Tektonics here, here, here and here. Also cf. Vox Day’s short book length critique of the new Atheists in a free to download format here. (Available from Amazon here.)]
The rebellion-rooted anger at God, the dismissal as “fiction[al],” the demonised strawman caricature, the multiple inaccuracies practically leap out.
At least, to the reasonably informed reader who knows the balance of the Biblical and OT teachings and records on the good and just God who loves, is concerned, and therefore redeems, forgives, often relents even on the brink of destructive judgement (once there is penitence), and as a rule rescues a remnant — whether a Noah and family, or a Rahab, or even the brands plucked from burning who save themselves from an untoward generation in the New Testament — even in the midst of destructive judgement.
Given the rising intensity of especially the poisonous and polarising snide insinuations deeply embedded in the above —
i: that Bible-believing Christians
ii: [and by probably unrecognised implication (so poisonous is this) Jews . . . this is the OT and “the God of the OT” Dawkins would stigmatise is the God of Israel . . . ]
iii: are held to be followers of an imaginary, barbarous bronze-age tribal deity and so
iv: are would-be theocratic tyrants, terrorists and
v: supporters of racially-tinged genocide —
. . . the resulting rising tide of outright hostility or even hate, is predictable, but ill-warranted. Instead, we should pause and notice how a more responsible and more widely informed reading would approach troubling texts . . . .
a: Instead of the sort of incendiary rhetoric cited above, a responsible view would have first highlighted that: our civilisation, historically, has had a strong respect for life, for justice and for protecting innocent life shaped by a moral climate deeply influenced by its Judaeo-Christian, biblical foundations.
b: In that light, many people in our civilisation, Christians and otherwise, struggle with the apparent meanings of instructions given to the Israelites during the Canaanite conquest.
c: This conquest is presented as a divine judgement of seven nations that — after 400 years of warnings dating to Abraham and the exemplary judgement from heaven against Sodom and Gomorrah — had defiantly filled up the cup of divine wrath [and as foreshadowing a similar fate hovering over Israel (and by extension other nations) if it too would forget and utterly rebel against God]; and there are other similar cases.
d: There are different final views taken on these texts, but none — including the dismissive — are without fairly serious difficulties of one form or another.
e: Here, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach speaks, soberingly, from a heart that has lurched like that. He wrote in reply to the recent accusation of New Atheism spokesman, the late Christopher Hitchens, that “Torah verses will also be found that make it permissible to murder secular Jews as well as Arabs” in order to convert the West Bank zone of Judaea and Samaria into a radical Jewish theocracy, as follows:
(In short the antisemitism concern raised above is not just theoretical, for here we see a case of outright blood libel from one of the top several New Atheist spokesmen that takes advantage of high feelings on the admittedly thorny Arab-Israeli conflict, to slip in the poisoned rhetorical knife. So, it was entirely in order for Dr Torley to conclude by asking Dr Dawkins, who used these texts as an excuse not to debate his anti-Christian claims in his The God Delusion with Dr William Lane Craig: “would you be willing to debate the topic of God’s existence with an Orthodox Jewish rabbi holding such a view [as Boteach’s]? Would you be prepared to look a rabbi in the eye and tell him, “Your God is a genocidal monster”? Or do you also consider rabbis holding such views to be beyond the pale of civilized debate, and would you shun them as you have shunned Professor Craig? “) . . . >> [Onward links and context will be helpful.]
On fair comment, those who have been playing the “the God of the OT is a bronze age moral monster with barbarian genocide-promoting followers” card have some very serious answering to do.
And, those who suggested that in raising this issue of a disturbing implication I was merely scare-mongering, have some fairly serious explaining to do, and some correction of the record to do, as well.
It seems to me, that it is high time that a more responsible and reasonable attitude were to prevail in new Atheist circles.
I suppose I should repeat my bottomline on these matters, that if our hearts have not lurched with those of a Petain, or a Churchill etc, we should pause and think twice before over-judging these matters.
GEM of TKI
I am sorry that you are taking a correction to a major worldview moral hazard, as a personal attack.
I cannot help that, but I still have the responsibility to point out that evolutionary materialism is a worldview that has no foundational IS that can objectively ground OUGHT. It thus is forced to ground ought on power games, whether the naked might makes right, or the veiled manipulation makes right variety.
Do you remember Mao’s dictum that political power comes out of the barrel of a gun?
That is where this all ends up, as in the end it is the guns that control the mikes.
I find that, consistently, you have failed to acknowledge an equally emphatic point, that there is an implanted candle in us that calls us to the right and exposes the error in such worldviews. Even, in your attempt above, you imply that I am more than blind genetic forces and culturally implanted memes in action, I am a real deciding person. Whence cometh that on evolutionary materialist premises, other than the poof magic of “emergence”?
Those who adhere to evo mat views can live by reasonable principles if they listen to their consciences and do not dull them. But history tells us that cultures don’t stay that way, nihilist factions soon enough play power games and seize control. As, you should know from being around today’s too often dog eat dog law of the jungle academic environment.
So, please listen to the warning I have given ever so many times, before it is too late.
GEM of TKI
First, thank you for the long and fairly detailed reply. It is interesting and certainly helpful, and yes, makes things clearer, but not quite totally clear.
This seems like an attempt at sleight of hand. OF COURSE for morality to be morality it must be binding. So my question should be clearly understood to mean something more like: How did it get sticky, and what keeps it that way?
I am driving 120 mph down a city street and you tell me I cannot do it. I tell you that I don’t care what you say I can or cannot do, and continue on. You then explain that this isn’t just something of your fancy, but there is a law against my actions, with officials that have the authority over me to enforce these rules.
That is an example of a binding rule. It’s no answer to say it’s binding because it’s binding. You must answer that it is binding because it comes from a higher authority. Only then is it truly binding.
So, where did these binding and “sticky” morals come from? Which is the same as asking how did they get sticky, for if they didn’t come from a higher authority, they wouldn’t be “sticky”.
Further to the above, kindly see Boteach in reply to Hitchens. QED. KF
F/N: A little context helps:
>>the objectors above imply this all over the place when they accuse us of all sorts of moral failings, real or imagined, though of course at a more sophisticated level some may actually only be playing the cynical game of manipulating moral sensibilities. That such feel it necessary to conceal their might and manipulation makes might views shows that they realise — deep down — that they are morally abnormal, or even warped, even monstrous. >>
In short, I am specifically speaking to cynically calculated, sophisticated nihilists who are manipulators of the masses — I here particularly had in mind Shirer’s description of Goebels winding himself up in a speech into an apparent fit then sneaking a look at his watch (he was timing his histrionics effects!) — and I intend to speak of the VIEWS as abnormal. I would think that the general consensus is that such nihilism is abnormal. Ch of course set up and knocked over a strawman, by neatly omitting material context. Game over, Ch. KF
There comes a point at which it is difficult to take it any other way, kf. It is my world view, and I do not think I present a moral hazard to anyone by virtue of holding it. I’m not personally offended, but I think that continuing to imply that we may is highly divisive.
And as I keep saying in counter-point, it hs no more or less foundation than your own.
And as I keep saying in rebuttal, it does no such thing, unlike, for example, the world view that defines God as good because He is powerful, not because we recognise him as good.
There is absolutely nothing in “evolutionary materialism” (assuming I understand what you mean by that phrase) that justifies the view that “naked might makes right”. Nothing.
F/N: I get a little tired of seeing the 9/11 terrorists portrayed as though this is a typical product of that horribly irrational and barbarous thing: FAITH. The very fact that some seem to think it is a legitimate talking point to put forth is revealing on what we are up against.
Let’s lay this snide little bit of poisonous rhetoric to rest:
1 –> Fanatical suicide bombers are not even particularly representative of Islam.
2 –> They are the product of intensive brainwashing that is much more akin to what happens in the most destructive cults or out of control intelligence agencies that you can imagine. Indeed, they are just that, a horrific blend of the two. And, it is very hard to get someone that deeply brainwashed. This is a phenomenon of truly bizarre social psychology, with surprisingly little to do with religion.
3 –> Indeed, it is unsurprising that the immediate antecedent example was the largely secular Tamil Tigers, and before that Japanese suicide attack units.
4 –> So also, it should be blatantly obvious — save to the utterly rage driven with the warped judgement that that produces — between normal people who follow a religious tradition and are integrated into normal community life and those who have been cut off from normality to undergo this sort of brainwashing.
5 –> But there is something else at work, where many have been misled to perceive “faith” as an inherently irrational act, one that is bizarre and suspect. This in large part reflects materialist indoctrination that sets up “skepticism” as the intellectual virtue to be prized, and equates faith with blind credulity on no reasonable warrant.
6 –> In fact, ironically, such a view is what is really incoherent, ill considered and unwarranted. Especially, where it spills over into selective hyperskepticism and strawmannish, supercilious, even sophomoric dismissals of what is not properly understood.
7 –> To restore balance, let us first ask, why accept a given claim A as trustworthy of being true? generally speaking that is because of something else, B that supports it and which we accept.
8 –> So, why accept B? C. Then D, . . .
9 –> We see looming out of the mists here an infinite regress of warrant, which is an impossible task for the finite and fallible.
10 –> So, we must truncate the chain somewhere. Looping in a circle does not help, so we are stuck at some point, say F, that we take as plausible and credible without further warrant.
11 –> F, of course is one’s faith-point, the point of trust where one takes first principles or first insights or first experiences for granted as credibly so.
12 –> We all do this, and so we all live by faith.
13 –> The issue is which faith, and why that one.
14 –> This brings us tot he key worldviews level challenge: comparative difficulties across alternative worldview stances, on factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power.
15 –> of course, it is possible to have a set of commitments that are ill-considered and ill digested. This is act5ually the usual case in 0ur day and age, we tend to catch presuppositions like people catch measles or flu, from those around us. (Which BTW is what sets us up for brainwashing or less extreme indoctrination and blind adherence to some panel of experts or reference authorities or other. And, a panel dressed in the holy lab coat can be just as off base as one dressed in ecclesiastical robes.).
16 –> So, we cannot prove everything, and must trust some things, if we are to know anything and operate responsibly in the real world. SURPRISE!
17 –> And, that point of trust is our point of faith.
18 –> Going beyond the issue is to have a reasonable faith, a factually adequate, coherent, explanatorily powerful worldview that is not an ad hoc patchwork, is not simplistic, does not exert inconsistent standards of warrant for what we are inclined to accept and what we are inclined to doubt, when they are of comparable degree of access to warrant, and so forth.
19 –> Of course, the main target for skeptical denigration and dismissal in today’s hostile climate is Judaeo-Christian theism. I suggest that if you are serious about seeing why intelligent, educated people are Christians in today’s day and age, start here on in context as a useful 101.
It should be clear enough now why it is utterly unfair and even slanderously bigoted and scapegoating to equate faith with what happened on 9/11.
I hope those who have indulged themselves in such prejudicial and hostile thinking will stop and think again.
GEM of TKI
You make a good point here,
“Remember, according to you there weren’t very many of them left in the land since most of the people had decided to leave before the Israelite invasion”
But dont let that get to you head. Remember that I’ve been working under YOUR assumption that there were cananite children still living with their evil parents in canaan right before israel launched their attack. But now that I think of it, why should we put it past the canannites to sacrifice ALL their remaining children in an effort to guarantee that their gods back them in battle against israel and give them victory? If Im right, there wouldnt have been that many children left. Sick nazi cananites wouldnt have thought too much of it. The bible passages dont mention israelites having to put to the sword any cananite children. As your so fond of quoting it says,”do not leave alive anything that breathes”. What if the only ones breathing were the nazi cananites with the blood of their remaining children in their hands?
“Feeding and sheltering them is more humane than killing them”
No duh sherlock! But you see champ, the world is not as black and white as you make it out to be. There would be circumstances in which feeding and sheltering captives would not be a possibility. The israelites were constantly complaining of hunger themselves and on various
occasions seriously contemplated going
back to egypt and risk being severely punished. It sure as hell would have made things downright critical if they would have had to take in a considerable amount of captives.
“Which is more likely:
1) That a good, loving God commanded a horrible genocide, or
2) That the Israelites rationalized a horrible genocide by attributing it to their God?”
Is that a rhetorical question? Of course number two is more likely. That being said, it has yet to be demonstrated that the israelites commited any genocide. They were never commanded to,”hunt the cananites unto the ends of the earth.” The judgement on the majority of the cananites was to face deportation, and afterwards the israelites were to leave them alone, not go after them. The remaining cananites faced the death penalty for their crimes. I see no genocide being commandd here. Just justice.
One more thing. The israelites didnt even want to do it, and in fact didnt and as God predicted they fell into the ways of the cananites, and they themselves along the road started practicing child sacrifice. Why would they rationalize something they didnt want to do, and in fact failed to do?
I think maybe the “fear” is that more people will realise that it’s possible to lead a moral, selfless, GOOD life, without reference to any deity or self-appointed representative of a deity; or to any ancient writings or, indeed, philosophers.
It’s a fear of losing power over others: tinged, I sometimes think, with envy.
It certainly wasn’t an attempt at sleight of hand. I’ll try to explain, below, what I mean:
Well, “law” means that it’s binding. So it’s not binding because it’s binding, it’s binding because it’s a legal requirement, and they are, by definition, binding.
Morality are, by definition, binding, though, like laws, why may choose not to be bound by them. So just as you can break a binding speed limit, so I can say: “well, I really ought to go and visit poor old Auntie Mabel, but I’d much rather sit here and each chocolates in front of the fire, so I will”. The visit to Auntie Mabel is binding (that’s why I used the word “ought”) but I choose not to be bound.
Well, laws are binding, as you say, because they come from, well not a “higher authority” necessarily, but because they are they are enacted on our behalf by leaders of the collective. In other words, they are a legal imperative.
So where do we get our moral imperative from? Why do we have this word “ought” we use for things that we would personally rather not do but which will benefit other people?
I’d say there are three related sources:
1.The fact that we are social animals and therefore interdependent.
2.The fact that we have “theory of mind” capacity, and can understand how the world is perceived from another person’s point of view (both literally – it probably starts with “shared gaze” capacity – and metaphorically).
3.Our language capacity, and with it, our capacity for “mental time travel” and thus the capacity to reify distant goals as they affect both others and ourselves, and thus make choices that are not solely determined by immediate personal reward.
In short, it evolved. But whether you agree with me that it evolved, or argue that it was implanted in us as a gift from God, it is undeniable that we have it, because every language has a word for “ought” AFAIK, and I know of no culture in which “duty” is an unknown concept.
Truth, by definition, is absolute.
Truth is the ultimate certitude; regardless of whoever denies this reality. Truth, does not need anyone’s approval or acceptance to be Truth. Reality IS* synonymous with Truth; and truth is unyielding, one can choose to ignore it, scorn and scoff at it, or even curse it, but all to know avail; in the end, Truth impassively stands its ground in the face of the most overpowering, emotional, verbal, and intellectually dishonest onslaught.
Truth, can be, and is especially brutal to those who worship at the Alter of Theory. This is because Truth has a way of frustrating theory, and, much like the mongose circling a snake, ultimately wearing it down, and devouring it.
Man cannot invent Truth; Almighty God of historic, divine revelation, our Creator, IS* the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Immutable, Eternal, source of ALL truth. He allows us to descover Truth, which is unchanging.
Reason, the ability to think rationally, critically, objectively, IS* necessary for ‘Revelation’ I.e., facts, evidence to be COHERENT.
Therefore, the structure of justification, warranted credible facts and evidence, in defending any proposition ‘Truth claim’ IS* coherence. Coherence IS* our sole criterion for Truth.
The Historic Judeo/Christian Worldview.
This Worldview, essentially contain truth claims about reality, which are either TRUE of FALSE.
Therefore, any Worldview must be subjected to, and must sustain (3) test in order to be considered valid.
1) Logical Consistency
2) Empirical Adequacy
3) Experiential Relevancy
The only religious Worlview, across comparative difficulties, premised on warranted, credible facts and evidence, that meet and sustain to, all three of test, is the Historic Judeo/christian Worldview.
Secondly, and intricately connected to the above criterior for validity, every system must also demonstrate, and deal with the following question:
Again, the theistic Judeo/Christian Worldview, is the ONLY* one that convincingly demonstrate and sustain to, the above questions, unparalleled with any other religious, and/or secular, Evolutionary/Atheistic Worldview.
And, this is just scratching the surface of the Historic Judeo/Christian Worldview. The only ancient document, that gives us the Origin, Meaning, Morality, and ultimate Destiny of mankind, beyond anything he could EVER have imagined or dreamed, IS* the Bible, Almighty God’s Divinly Inspired Word, which has NEVER* proved to be wrong in any of its over 6,000 predictive/prophetic proclamations, throughtout the course of history.
As Martin Luther King once said, “Facts are stubborn things, and only the stubborn refuse to accept them.”
“To say of what IS* that it IS*, or what is NOT* that it IS* NOT* is TRUE.” (Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1077b 26)
The Truth Shall Make You Free, from all deception and lies!
The Lord Jesus Christ, said:
“And you shall KNOW* the Truth, and the Truth SHALL* make you FREE.” ( John 8:32) Emphasis added.
Jesus also said:
“I AM the WAY, (not one of many ways!) the TRUTH, (not one of many truths) and the LIFE*( the Only One that gives Eternal Life). No one comes to the Father, except through ME.” ( John 14:6) Emphasis added.
Across the nations of the World, over the last 2000 years, from every ethic, and racial background, and increasing rapidly over recent decades MILLIONS from Russia, China, Africa, and yes, the Middle East (Muslims), in India and Paskistan, throughout South America, are coming to the Only Lord and Saviour, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, The Lord Jesus Christ, and are finding and enjoying, the Joy, Peace, and Liberty, IN* HIM*, been set free from the bondage of ritualistic religion, secular materialism, humanism, and even dead Atheism.
Many miracles are well documented in these countries, that have occured IN* the Name of Jesus Christ, with amazing testimonies, celebrating what Jesus said, 2000 years ago, to those who BELIEVE, by Faith, not blind faith, but reasonable faith, grounded IN* the historic reality of the eyewitnesses, as recorded in the Gospel and Epistles of 1st century Apostolic EYEWITNESSES, comfirmed over and over again, throughout the centuries, and continuing right up until today, and will continue, right up until His Glorious appearing, at His Second Advent!
Scoffers and skepics, will continue in their unbelief; while vast multitudes around the world, choose to believe, from the evidence and facts, that can be denied, by the skeptics, but NOT refuted!
Nope, ID has nothing to do with religion…..
This is what I was looking for:
But it’s very problematic. First, your 1, 2, and 3 are not descriptions of source in the sense of where they came from ultimately, but only how we may realize their existence. It is simply giving an account of how we may come to realize them, or probably more accurately, how we can conceive that altruism may be beneficial. But that seems in a roundabout way to imply one knows they are not “from above” and may potentially not actually be binding.
But, I don’t think we need to argue about that, for you said, “in short, it evolved”, and it seems then that your three points are a description of parts of that process, then.
But, if it evolved, then it isn’t from a higher source. Even if Nature, somehow, evolved these rules apart from man, it still isn’t permissible to say that they are binding, for man is a part of Nature as much as (really, more than) anything else. So just as a man can tell you that you aren’t an authority over him, you being a mere co-human, a man can also say that Nature is no authority over him because he is co-Nature with Nature herself. In other words, I have the valid option of telling Nature to go take a flying leap.
But of course, you don’t believe in a teleological Nature anyway, so you would have further trouble in arguing that Nature “knows what’s best” for us. At any rate, your three points above make it sound like you are saying that these binding morals evolved from man (again, it’s really the same as saying from Nature, man being part of that Nature).
So, you haven’t shown a coherent way for these morals to be binding, for:
If man is the source of the moral law, then man governs the moral laws, and the moral laws do not govern man.
Now, the problem is what I emphasized above in quoting you, “it is undeniable that we have it”. Well, yes, it is. You have it, and you know it’s binding. That isn’t the problem in itself. The problem is that when I say, “You have no grounding for your morals, to make them actually binding upon us rather than arbitrary.”, your inner “moral indignation” rises up and says, almost rightly, “Hey! I have binding morals just like you, you creep!”.
But it’s only almost right. The reason isn’t that you don’t have the morals claimed, but that it is answering what wasn’t asked, or defending against what was never blamed.
Three Men Walking
One normal guy walks up. I ask him to jump. He does.
Another guy walks up. He is as normal as the first guy, with one exception. He is walking in the air. I ask him to jump. He tries, but cannot. He is not grounded.
A third guy walks up. He is as normal as the other two, with a different exception. He is walking on the ground, but says that he doesn’t believe in the ground. I ask him to jump. He does.
Now, when I and others say you have no grounding for a binding morality, you think we are claiming that you are the second “guy”. “But”, you say, “Look! I can jump just as well as you!” and you can.
But I am not claiming you are the second guy at all. I’m claiming that you’re the third guy. You are grounded, and can jump as well as anyone. It’s not your grounding that’s the problem in the physical and practical sense, it’s your thinking about the ground that is wrong. Your thinking is irrational and incoherent on this point. You are denying the ground from which you can, still, jump.
You can jump from now until the cows come home, but until your thinking about the ground changes, you’ll never have correct understanding of an obvious fact.
You can, and do, have correct and binding morals, just as the third man can jump, but your thinking, also just like the third man, is simply incorrect.
See post # 18.104.22.168.16 above.
Your take is wrong. It isn’t, at least, what Christians claim. We don’t claim that you or anyone cannot know or follow the moral law apart from knowing or acknowledging God. On the contrary, it should be a sobering fact that we do not, but conversely hold, according to scripture, that these laws are knowable and binding to anyone, and it is they that will condemn a man in the end if he doesn’t live according to them.
And Romans 2:
If that is God’s word I have quoted, and I say it is, then it is also God’s winky/smiley, because it was a simple copy and paste from the KJV.
See! God even has the net covered in scripture! Amazing!
Quick! Someone tell the KJV only crowd about this!
It looks like you need a refresher from the FAQ, top of this page under references. Also, look at the definition of ID under the same tab.
You will be able to see that the ID = Creationism in a cheap tuxedo smear, is just that. A cheap propaganda stunt. It is now very stale and well past sell-by date.
You also will see that the theory of design, and more specifically the design inference, is about empirical warrant for the inference to design on tested, observable, reliable signs. Signs such as CSI, IC and since specification in biology is “cashed out” in function, FSCO/I.
but also, because Science is the dominant intellectual institution in our era and civilisation, and because origins science issues inevitably intersect with deep worldviews questions, worldviews questions will come up and need to be answered seriously in the wider discussion of design theory and its context in society. Not least, because of smears targetted at design theory by those who know or should know better, but hope to profit from propagating irresponsible falsehoods such as the one addressed at the top of this comment.
In that context, this thread has surfaced a huge array of the underlying issues and themes, talking points and smears used by the New Atheist movement.
Think about the equation FAITH = 9/11.
Think about the antisemitic implications of the assertion that the God of the OT/Tanakh is a bronze age tribal deity and genocide encouraging moral monster, and ask yourself why if it would be out of order to accuse a rabbi like that, so many think it acceptable to smear Christians like that.
Think about an Aiden, which seems to think it appropriate to respond to the Christian gospel by smearing verbal filth across it, and to portray Christian clergy as blood-mongering vampires.
Think about how, just next month, the leading new atheist spokesman, prof Dawkins, is carded to stand on the stage that has been “warmed up” by this so wonderful band.
Think about the theme of this thread, where Dawkins, who evidently sees nothing wrong with standing on the same stage as Aiden, and would probably shrink from the sort of antisemitism his fellow leading New Atheist, Christopher Hitchens indulged (as is documented on p. 1 of this discussion), took occasion of Craig’s views that are fairly similar to those of Boteach, to smear him as unworthy of sharing the same debate forum. (I frankly think the evident reality is that Dawkins was fishing about for any excuse to avoid having to stand up and defend the outrageous, sophomoric bombast in his The God Delusion and other works, in a debate with a leading, informed Christian Philosopher-Theologian who has made significant contributions on say the philosophy of time and the Cosmological argument. That he resorted to smears is utterly revealing.)
I think that any fair minded person would acknowledge that something toxic is going on here, and that it is appropriate to pause and address it.
Even here at UD.
Going beyond, in the immediate context of your comment in reply to Zoe, kindly remember that essentially anyone who is within the reasonable bounds of civility may register and comment here at UD.
That even includes Christians of what you would call a “fundamentalist” bent.
And, Zoe is speaking in outline of worldview foundations, and where he sees warrant for the Christian faith.
He has put forth a serious and provocative thesis, that coherence, ruthlessly and broadly applied is the key criterion of test for truth.
This has a point, in that we are in the end making judgements on facts, structure of reasoned arguments, and on explanatory adequacy. The breakdown of logic in this context, will normally come out by the emergence of inconsistencies in our reasoning. This is in fact the context of the classic reductio ad absurdum argument strategy, which is at minimum, a major weapon in the mathematician’s arsenal. So powerful is it, ever since Pythagoras discovered the incommensurateness of the sides and the diagonal of a square, that it is used to justify whole new realms in mathematics, starting of course with the irrational numbers.
In worldviews analysis, this principle is very useful in worldviews foundations too. Take Josiah Royce’s “Error exists.”
If one tries to deny it, one is rapidly reduced to patent absurdity, i.e we see a reductio, and we see that several popular worldview notions are irrational: that here is no truth beyond subjective persuasion, that there are no self-evident truths, that relativism is a well founded view, that truth is not real, that knowable truth is not accessible, etc etc etc.
We have just mown down a wide swath of today’s post modernist views!
Zoe has also said something very important about that which is known by experience to be true: facts are stubborn things.
So, when we have credible facts in hand and are in need of a coherent framework that addresses the facts, we have to reckon with the force of facts. And, as Zoe points out, if we are to have a responsible worldview, we need therefore to reckon very seriously with the factual claims surrounding a certain Jesus from Nazareth in Israel, c 27 – 30 AD. And, with the scriptures that predicted these things. Playing at selectively hyperskeptical games to brush them aside, or worse, tagging, smearing, scapegoating and angrily or contemptuously dismissing will not do.
At the very least, we need to reckon seriously with some very sobering evidence from C1 here.
Similarly, and lastly for this comment, we need to reckon soberly with evidence that we find ourselves morally obligated. Even the objectors above, imply that. So, the only worldviews worth serious consideration, are those that can objectively ground OUGHT. Given Hume’s guillotine, the only way for ought to be in a worldview is for it to rest on a grounding IS that can justify OUGHT.
It may not be politically correct, and many plainly find it offensive to say such, but the alternative to this is, that OUGHT is simply a genteel cover for might and/or manipulation make ‘right.’
But our consciences tell us different, that OUGHT is real.
Here is the kicker, T: the only serious worldview foundational IS that can objectively ground such OUGHTNESS, such moral government, is an inherently good and wise, fair and just Creator God.
That is the key sticking point above.
It is also the reason why the silly equation FAITH = 9/11 is so much of a bigoted, ill-informed smear. This, I took time to address and expose for what it is.
Now, T, look back at this thread again and ask yourself, looking in the mirror, what is going on with your side, at the worldviews and society level of the discussion.
GEM of TKI
And nor are Lewontin, Provine and Dawkins particularly representative of those of us who accept the theory of evolution and don’t believe in god or gods.
Please consider your own “prejudicial and hostile” thinking.
Barb, I said:
But I am GCUGreyArea.
Yes, many more than Noah.
I quoted all the exchanges in my reply – read them.
Lets just skip to the end:
Barb, you don’t even seem to know which people you are having this conversation with, forgive me if I don’t have much faith in your ability to do thorough, objective research!
I think there is little point pursuing this discussion.
“Barb, you don’t even seem to know which people you are having this conversation with, forgive me if I don’t have much faith in your ability to do thorough, objective research!
I think there is little point pursuing this discussion.”
Yes, because running away is always the answer. If you’d have bothered to read the thread, you’d see that I was responding to not only you, but champignon and Elizabeth as well.
Forgive me if I continue to think that you are simply taking the coward’s way out by not responding to any of my points.
Hello Elizabeth, You seem to be confused as to what Atheism is and think that it is “a-theism ” but it’s not “a-theism” but “athe-ism”. And It comes from the greek “a-theos” which means “no gods”. Hence, “athe-ism” means BELIEF IN atheos (there are no gods).
The definition “a-theism” is a fairly recent attempt to trivialize itself as merely describing a psychological state of lacking belief.
You will find that alot of Anti theists who call themselves Atheists like using this incorrect definition because they like to go on the attack without providing their burden of proof.
Now we got that out of the way, You said.
“And nor are Lewontin, Provine and Dawkins particularly representative of those of us who accept the theory of evolution and don’t believe in god or gods.”
I agree Elizabeth, Why should we restrict the logical consequences of Atheism to those guys when there are other Atheists Who show the moral poverty of Atheism and who are honest about what logically follows from Atheism, It is unfair to you when other Atheists are aware of how empty Atheism is when it comes to morality.
“I think there is a certain degree of plausibility among atheists in the view that without some kind of transcendental intelligence in the universe, there can be no objective moral laws… It seems to me that all ethical codes must ultimately be man-made, and thus there could be no objective criteria for determining if human actions are right or wrong. Admitting that moral laws are man-made is equivalent to acknowledging that ethical rules are arbitrary and therefore human beings are not obligated to follow them… given that moral subjectivism is just as logically viable as moral objectivism and that moral objectivism is implausible if a scientific naturalism is true, I think that there is a good case for the nonexistence of objective moral values”
Keith Augustine Atheist Philosopher.
“If there is no single moral authority. . . we have to in some sense “create” values for ourselves. . . that means that moral claims are not true or false in the same way as factual claims are… moral claims are judgments it is always possible to someone to disagree with… without saying something that is factually false… you may disagree with me but you cannot say I have made a factual error” (Atheism: A Very Short Introduction, pp. 41-51
Julian biaggini Atheist Philosopher.
Elizabeth, There are three options available for you, Abandon Atheism, Embrace Moral Nihilism or give up Logic.
You have given up logic, When you can’t live consistently with an Atheist philosophy of life then maybe it is time for you to give up that Philosophy and be consistent.
It’s been a busy day, so only now can I respond.
Has it struck you that Lewontin was explicitly summarising the dominant view of the scientific elites among whom he is a member and of which the late Carl Sagan was also a member? That among the four further major cites are the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Science Teachers Association BOARD?
Did you miss where I documented from the Free Thinker Aveling and Sir Charlse Robert’s own son Francis, that Darwin was an agnostic, in the context where this is in effect soft form atheism or its kissing cousin? Does that not underscore that Provine had done his homework and knew that Darwin dismissed the existence of God as at best highly dubious?
Do you not recognise that, on evo mat premises, the foundational ISes of our universe are matter, energy, space, time and forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity, none of which can objectively ground OUGHT? So, Hume’s guillotine, valid form, slices, and OUGHT has no basis in the foundation of the system of the materialist view? And so also, we are reduced on such a basis to might or manipulation makes ‘right’?
Moreover, on such a view, we are wholly shaped by our genes and psycho-social conditioning, rooted in personal and cultural history. So, we would have no freedom of will to decide apart from the impulses of chance and necessity, i.e. responsible choice goes out the window. Thus, we have no freedom to think, reason or decide responsibly.
And, that is of course the context in whyich Dawkins too reflects the patterns of the New Atheists. but for him, we have a metric of just how representativehe is: his 25 – 30 year string of best sellers, which have been lionised far and wide.
Indeed, he is the acknowledged leading spokesman for the new atheists, and just retired as the Oxford Simonyi professor for the public understanding of science. Was there any significant protest of the scientists that he was not a major voice, or was propounding outlandish ill founded views that should be shunned rather than lionised?
He had his critics, but we do not find any mainstream view that he is a crank spinning out ill-founded speculations. Save, from the philosophers and theologians who panned his sophomoric The God Delusion.
So, sorry, Dr Liddle, your assertions do not wash, and your comparison does not work.
Remember, the point I made on the al Qaeda bombers, was that they were subjected to a brainwashing regime and were artificially made into living bombs by leaders of a narrow and unrepresentative movement.
It is the loaded, presumptuous comparison of your average Evangelical Christian or Jew or the like to such a terrorist that is an appalling smear, and I think you have some fairly serious explaining to do on your attempts to twist the correction about.
Good day, madam
GEM of TKI
I’ve been reading your blog, and it seems that you have a problem with homosexuality, and furthermore you seem to be of the opinion that homosexuals are, by definition, immoral. This strikes me as an odd position for somebody like you to take, who constantly expresses their adherence to the biblical message.
Is that opinion a result of your freedom to think, reason and decide responsibly or is it programming from the book you hold as holy?
Would you care to repudiate that here and now with a clear, straight denial that a homosexual person is by definition immoral?
Where in the bible does Jesus condemn homosexuals? If he did not why do you?
Just to split hairs,
If someone calls themselves an atheist but has the definition wrong, I would say that whatever they think it means is a description of what they personally believe. They might not be using the word technically right, but if they say they don’t believe in God as opposed to believing in the nonexistence of God, then that’s what they believe (or don’t.)
If he thinks something you agree with then it’s freedom to think. If you disagree then it’s brainwashing. That’s the only difference.
Why isn’t that a fair question to ask you? Are you free to think or did someone program you?
It has been a long day, and you have set out on dragging in yet another tangent.
I will simply say a man’s saliah is as the man, and refer you to Rom 1 and 1 Cor 6:9 – 11, with side lights from Mt 19:1 – 6 or so on the creation order being disordered so willfully in our time.
Note as well, the issue is not the person — we are all sinners struggling with moral challenges — but the behaviour.
I suggest as well since you want to play with my blog, that you look up the link for My genes made me do it, and read the summary and at least Ch 1. But this blog is not the place for a long tangential debate. Those who wish to play Is 5:20 games will have to deal with a far more august personage than I on the matter, so I suggest that the burden of proof is theirs, not mine, to justify their BEHAVIOUR.
GEM of TKI
F/N: Apparently, the objectors above don’t know enough about brainwashing — “thought reform”/”coercive persuasion” (etc) — to realise that brainwashing is a popular name for some fairly specific procedures that exploit the effects of isolation and alienation from one’s socio-cultural milieu, induced cognitive dissonance and crisis, manipulated re-orientation of thoughts, attitudes, perceptions and roles, leading to a new pattern stabilised either externally or internally. In the case of suicide attackers, such as the Tamil Tigers or Al Qaeda etc, a sustained intensity is required that is extremely hard to achieve, and requires trained manipulators. As one who has had to expose manipulative sects and help pick up broken pieces of shattered lives, I will not give details publicly, save to say that if a change process is manipulative and you cannot get straight answers to reasonable questions, get out. But, in the light of what should be obvious to all on the nature of worldviews, the attempt to make an equation Faith = 9/11, as can be seen above from objectors, is a crude and tellingly revealing smear driven by a rage-filled hostility and disrespect that are utterly revealing. As in, Alcibiades type stuff. KF
@ Peter Griffin, re Homosexuality is not Condemned in the Bible!
“The Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality is as clear and plain as the Bible’s condemnation of murder, adultery, premarital sex, kidnapping, lying and idolatry. Further, for me to openly condemn homosexuality theologically makes me no more a “gay basher” than I am an “adultery basher”, “premarital sex basher”, “kidnapper basher” or a “murderer basher”. If you disagree, your argument is with God’s Bible.
“The homosexual community has two ways of promoting their personal choices of being homosexual through the religious forum. First, some will claim the Bible actually promotes and condones homosexuality. Second, others try to get the Bible banned from public use by categorizing it as hate literature.”
“For any to use the Bible to condone rather than condemn homosexual activity in the theological arena just proves such a one has absolutely no idea what the Bible actually teaches. For anyone to suggest the Bible says homosexual activity is acceptable to God, is nothing short of willful blindness. So to set the record straight once and for all, here is what the Bible teaches on the subject.”
“Anyone who has heard of the cities of “Sodom and Gommorah” knows that they were notorious hotbeds of homosexuality. Gen 19:5-8 “and they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.’ But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, ‘Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly.'” The Greek word in the New Testament for homosexuality is literally “a sodomite”. Jock is trying to redefine what the term “sodomite” means. (A term that has unchanged in 5000 years, even today- “sodomy”) Apart from the fact the city was clearly destroyed by God because of homosexuality in the narrative of Gen 19, even the New Testament clearly states exactly the same thing in Jude 7 “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” Any sinner should always remember that the God who commands us to love our neighbour is the same God who will cast any and all unrepentant sinners into the “eternal fire”. Here are more Bible quotes, Lev 18:22-23 “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” Lev 20:13 “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.” 1 Cor 6:9 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals” 1 Tim 1:9-10 “realizing the fact that (civil) law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers” Rom 1:26-27 “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”
“If the homosexual community chooses to practice homosexuality in privacy, that is there free choice. But let such persons know for certain that the Christian Bible condemns all such practices and God will judge them unfit for the kingdom of heaven if the continue to practice and openly promote homosexual sex.”
Seven Things I Wish
Pro-Gay People Would Admit
by Bob Davies
1. “I wish they would admit that many people are not happy with their homosexuality or lesbianism, and that this conflict is internal, based on legitimate, intelligent religious and moral convictions–not just the result of a so-called “homophobic” society which is forcing guilt upon people who don’t conform to a heterosexual ethic.
Stop throwing out the cheap, inaccurate labels like “internalized homophobia” to explain our motivations.”
2. “I wish they would acknowledge that homosexuals and lesbians can experience significant change in their sexual feelings and desires, even though they may never be totally heterosexual in their sexual thoughts and feelings.
Be honest enough to admit that such change is significant and genuine, even if it isn’t complete.”
3. “I wish they would acknowledge that many former homosexuals and lesbians have found a greater measure of peace and satisfaction after leaving a gay or lesbian lifestyle than they ever experienced while embracing homosexuality.”
“Not all “ex-gays” are miserable, plotting how to secretly fulfill their homosexual lusts without being caught.”
4. “I wish they would acknowledge that many former homosexuals and lesbians have genuine joy in their marriages.”
“Most former gays and lesbians don’t get married in a futile attempt to “escape” homosexuality; they marry as a natural consequence of resolving that issue in their lives.
“5. I wish they would acknowledge that all people have as much right to pursue a heterosexual lifestyle as they do to pursue homosexuality.”
“Former homosexuals and lesbians should not be harassed and castigated by the gay community. But I have never heard any gay or lesbian leaders speak out against the violence (such as bomb threats and physical/verbal abuse) which some people perpetuate against Exodus ministries.”
6. “I wish they would stop equating our decision to leave homosexuality with “hatred” and “bigotry” against gays and lesbians.”
“We don’t hate gays; we simply desire to live free of homosexuality. Don’t put nasty labels upon our motives. That’s being judgmental and unfair.”
7. “I wish pro-gay religious leaders would admit that their endorsement and promotion of monogamous homosexual relationships is a facade.”
“Many–probably most–men and women involved in long-term partnerships are not sexually monogamous, but gay churches don’t discipline members for committing “adultery” outside their “gay marriage.” Neither do they discipline gays or lesbians who have sex before entering into a “holy union” with their partner. ”
Bob Davies is past President of Exodus International and an ex-gay himself. He has been married for nine years.
(Used by permission of the Exodus Standard, P.O. Box 77652, Seattle, WA, 98177.)
I appreciate that you have taken an effort to respond on the Biblical view on homosexuality. As you can see above, I deliberately set several points for investigation by the serious. I also pointed to the online book, My Genes made me Do it, which provides eye-opening medical, sociological and general research on the subject, that move beyond stale talking point exchanges, as in how does one address the variable, culturally shaped expressions: Classic Greek, Modern Western, Melanesian models? Differences within western society between urban/rural and particular sub cultures etc etc.
I did that for record, just to give those who are open minded something to chew on.
I have little doubt but that the point of PG’s raising the above was to push a hot button polarising issue, to try to discredit me in the eyes of those who are caught up in an Is 5:20 moral inversion. For such, the distinction between correcting the sin and caring for the person caught up in it is largely lost in the toxic talking point that to object to homosexual behaviour is to hate homosexuals.
It will never register with them — unless the indoctrination and polarisation are broken — that when my colleague, friend and former hall mate ended up a suicide, it was a moment of grief and loss; a loss of a good mind our native land could ill afford, too. (FYI, it seems, arguably at least, the biggest driver of homosexual suicide attempts is unstable, short-term relationships characteristic of that community; and the rates are comparable in homosexuality approving communities as well as disapproving ones.)
We could go on and on, but he basic point is this was yet another polarising distractor for the thread; meant to feed the smear that design thought is nothing more than Creationism in a cheap tuxedo.
Never mind how carefully that is corrected, if the objectors manage to drag threads into Bible discussions or the like they will use that to say see, it is all about creationism.
No, it is not.
And, where it is appropriate to deal with theological issues, is in the context of worldviews, ethical and related questions, which have to do with the wider fact that we are dealing with a culture conflict of major proportions. One in which the objectors often have their own worldview motivations and even indoctrination-laced socio-cultural baggage. The close association between Evolutionary Materialism and Atheism, is a very clear case in point.
I hope this helps.
At least, those willing to be helped.
GEM of TKI
Isn’t it far more likely that the Israelites just made up this story to justify their desire for land belonging to others. And the land in question doesn’t look much like a Divine Gift. does it? I mean, it’s so small and poor in natural resources. Doesn’t it make more sense to say that what was promised to the Israelites was a land ruled over by the Divine Will – providing they remain obedient to It – which MUST then bring the richest SPIRITUAL blessings, IN THE FIRST PLACE; with material wealth following on the heels of that afterwards?
However, the Israelites chose a material fulfilment, CONTRARY TO THE WILL OF GOD, which ended in genocide of the Canaanite – to explain away which, myths were created about how God commanded this wicked act?
Why should we make ourselves slaves of words written by others instead of drawing the clear logical inferences from the facts before us?
F/N: I know, I know, this is supposedly a dead thread.
I did however run across something significant, in reviewing Anti Evo habituee LouFCD’s attempted rebuttal to my personal blog’s expose on the deleterious impacts of web porn (through statistics from Pink Cross Foundation, of former porn stars — they are a good place to go for help if you are porn addicted BTW).
Let’s just point out that one of the statistics indicates that US divorce lawyers say that over half of divorces there are influenced by porn.
LouFCD (one of those associated with a certain other site or two that shall be nameless) posted his attempted comment in an Anti Evo thread (I won’t link that, you can find it for yourself if you want to wade through the mess), and lo and behold, a word that didn’t mean much way back — COFFERS — suddenly takes on a huge and telling significance:
L — and FCD means “friend of Charles D”: >> If more people spent their Sundays at home watching porn, there’d be less money in the coffers of those houses of hate and ignorance called churches. That could only be
good for the world . . . >>
Yup, exactly the sentiments and a key term from the Aiden song.
The hostile sentiment addressed to the Christian church is an interesting turnabout projection, but it is exactly what the song puts up by using the vampire clergy image, and projecting blood mongering accusations.
In short, the point I raised is here substantiated from teh mouth of one of those influenced by it. One who played a role in the cyberstalking and outing attempts made against me, and who was closely involved with the one who outright threatened my family.
And, here is the tickler, no 1: following up, he runs a site with “NSFW” photos, including having had at the time a gallery of images of a young miss in a tub of water that raised serious questions, as her apparent age was like 14 – 16, from the cluster of those I asked. L claimed she was 23, but up to a police dep comm did not believe that. (And yes, you are on notice L et al.)
Tickler no 2: L is a senior party at one of the penumbra of hostile sites we are dealing with.
In short, the concerns about Aiden’s message are very much on target, and are directly related tot he sort of attitudes and behaviour we have been seeing in the penumbra of attack sites.
Worth noting for record.
GEM of TKI
F/N: I just put up a comment on a data point on the impact of the Aiden song, in a case with LouFCD of Anti Evo etc; it is as I warned. On p 2 of this thread here. KF