Intelligent Design

Becky’s Lesson, a Viginette

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Friday, May 12, 2017
Hermann Göring High School
Brooklyn, New York

Wilhelm Johnson was at the top of his game.  He held a master’s degree in history from NYU and had spent over 35 years working hard to become a master teacher.  In all his decades in the classroom he had never stopped honing his skills.  Even now, at a time in his career when many of his colleagues had begun to coast toward retirement, Johnson worked into the evening every day, personally grading essays and polishing his lesson plans for the next day.  He loved his job and considered it a great honor and privilege that the Reich had bestowed on him the responsibility of molding young minds in the largest and most important city in the Bundesland of New York.

Johnson turned to the whiteboard at the front of his senior modern history class, wrote in large block letters “WATERSHED MOMENT,” and asked the class, “Who can tell me what a watershed moment is?”  As usual, Patricia Garland’s hand popped up as if it had a will of its own.  Garland was the highly-resented, curve-busting class gunner, but Johnson had to give her her due; she knew her stuff, and since hers was the only raised hand he said, “Miss Garland.”

“A watershed moment is a crucial dividing point in history where all subsequent events go one way or the other, a turning point.  It derives its name from a geographical watershed in which the water that falls on a particular side of a ridge drains to one river, and the water on the other side drains to a different river.”

“That is exactly correct, Miss Garland.  I see you have been reading ahead.”  Garland beamed; several of her classmates were unable to resist rolling their eyes.  Turning back to the whiteboard and tapping the phrase, Johnson said, “Today we are going to talk about the decision to replace Abraham Esau with Werner Heisenberg as the head of the German nuclear weapons program in 1940.  With the rather obvious exception of the Great Führer’s 1921 decision to assume his role in history by stepping up to lead the Party, the Heisenberg appointment was perhaps the most crucial moment of the 20th Century.”

From the back of the class, Brad Anderson piped up without raising his hand, “Surely Field Marshal Keitel’s decision to nuke London and Moscow in late 1943, causing England and the Soviet Union to surrender within days of one another, was more important to history than an obscure administrative shift in the German Army Ordnance Office.”

“Any fool can pull a trigger, Mr. Anderson.  Who is more crucial, the first user of a revolutionary new weapon, or the genius who invented it in the first place?  And in this case, timing was everything.  Under Esau, the German nuclear weapons program was at a standstill.  After the war we learned there was a competing program right here in the former United States called the ‘Manhattan Project.’  German scientists estimate the American research program was not that far behind and might have had an operational weapon as early as 1945.  That is why Heisenberg’s appointment was so crucial.  His combination of charisma, intelligence and hard work was just what the German program needed to get on track to beat the Americans.  He replaced Esau in February 1940 and began pushing for the Reich to throw its industrial might behind the project.  As a direct result of his efforts, Germany had an operational weapon by August 1943, and the rest, as they say, is history.  The weapon was literally unstoppable.  Within six months every one of Germany’s enemies had either surrendered outright or sued for peace, marking the beginning of Germany’s program for the unification of the world’s governments under Berlin’s leadership.  That obscure administrative shift, Mr. Anderson, was the very essence of a watershed moment.”

The bell rang; books began slamming shut a microsecond later, and students started shuffling toward the door.  Johnson called out to their retreating backs, “Don’t forget!  Quiz on Monday on the Great Führer’s 1947 decision to conquer Japan, his former ally.”

The next hour was Johnson’s planning period, and as the students made their way out of the room he walked over to his desk at the front of the room.  Before he sat down he heard someone clear their throat behind him.  He turned around to see Becky Schumann, perhaps his brightest student after Patty Garland, waiting to speak to him.

“Yes, Miss Schumann, how can I help you today?”

Becky looked up shyly and in a hesitant voice said, “Mr. Johnson, I have learned so much from you, and I wanted to take just a moment before the end of the year to thank you and tell you how much I have loved being in your class.”

“Why, thank you Becky.  That is a very nice thing to say and it warms the cockles of an old teacher’s heart to know he is appreciated.”

“Uh, you’re welcome.  I also hoped you could help me with a couple of questions I have been turning over in my mind as we studied the events of the last several decades this year.”

“I am happy to help if I can.  What’s on your mind?”

“Well,” Becky said so softly her voice was almost inaudible, “it’s about The Final Solution.”

“What about it?”

“Umm.  This year we learned that from its very beginning the Party opposed the Jewish-materialistic spirit, and when the Great Führer came to power in the 1930’s, one of the first things he did was start rooting the Jews out of positions of influence.  Then, early in the Great Unification War that began in September 1939, Reichsführer Himmler implemented The Final Solution to completely eliminate the world’s population of about 15 million Jews.  The Final Solution was deemed complete in July 1951 when the last known pockets of Jews were finally tracked down and eliminated.”

“Very impressive Becky.  With your grades I am not surprised, but it looks like you really have been absorbing history this year.”

“Thank you, Mr. Johnson.”

“So, what’s your question?”

“Well, um, I guess it is not so much a question as it is a doubt.”

“What are you doubting?”

Becky paused before answering.  She was obviously nervous, and Johnson was beginning to suspect why.  She took a deep breath and said, “Can I tell you something in confidence?”

“Of course, you can.”

“Well, um, you see,” Becky stammered in nervous agitation, “I know the Party requires Christians to adhere to Party-approved Positive Christianity.  But my parents adhere to Evangelical Christianity, and the other day we were talking about The Final Solution, because it was part of my lesson.  And . . . are you sure this is confidential?  I wouldn’t want my dad to get in trouble.”

“It’s OK Becky.  You can trust me.  This conversation is protected by student-teacher confidentiality.  Besides, you are one of my brightest students and I like you very much.  I would never do anything to hurt you or your family.”

“Oh, I’m so glad to hear that, because I really do need to talk this through with someone.”

“What is it you need to talk through, Becky?”

“Well, um, my dad, in this conversation, he said he thought The Final Solution was evil.”

There it was.  There was nothing for it now.  The cat was out of the bag.  Becky had implicated her father in sedition.  Johnson did not know the man, but he genuinely cared for his students, and he hoped he could take Becky by the metaphorical hand and lead her back to the true path.

“And what do you think Becky?”

“Well, I don’t know.  My dad and I talked about it a long time, and his arguments really has my head spinning.”

“Let’s talk about those arguments.  What does he say; why does he think The Final Solution was evil?”

“His argument is pretty simple really.  He says that killing a person for no other reason than that he has a different ethnic background than you is self-evidently evil.  It follows that killing 15 million innocent men, women and children for no other reason than that they were Jews is genocide, which is perhaps the greatest evil there is.”

Johnson was silent as he contemplated the radical extent of the anti-Party sedition that had just been revealed to him.  Becky’s father had as much as accused the Great Führer of committing “the greatest evil there is.”  It was breathtaking; he was momentarily stunned into silence.

“Did you remind him that no one at any level of government has raised the slightest question about The Final Solution for over 65 years, and I see no sign at all that is about to change?”

“Of course.  He said it doesn’t matter.”

“It doesn’t matter?  How in the world could that not matter?”

“He says that morality is not determined by headcount.  He says a moral choice either conforms to a transcendent objective moral standard or it does not.  And if it does not, even if every other person on the planet disagreed with him about whether The Final Solution was evil, he would be right, and they would be wrong.”

“Well, I hope you can see that it is pretty darned arrogant for him to set his own moral standard up as the only correct one.”

“He says it is not his standard, but God’s standard.  God commands us not to murder, and he says that every one of the 15 million Jews killed in the implementation of The Final Solution was murdered.”

Johnson’s head began to swim at the implications of what he was hearing, but with an effort of will he pushed that aside and said, “Murdered?  Really?  Murder is a legal conclusion.  Surely you know that The Final Solution was perfectly legal.  It was sanctioned by the duly-instituted governmental authorities everywhere it was implemented.  How could it have been immoral if it was perfectly legal?”

“That’s what I said, but dad said an action, even a legal action by a government official, that transgresses God’s law is still evil.”

“Well there you go; we finally get to the bottom of it.  If this God your dad talks about does not exist, then his law does not exist, right?”

“Sure, that seems obvious.”

“Beginning with Darwin in 1859 and continuing up to the present day, science has been advancing and religion has been retreating.  We have reached the point where science has displaced religion in every area of inquiry.  Science has finally proved that God does not exist.”

“Oh, I didn’t think about that.  But if God does not exist, where did the universe some from?  Why is there something instead of nothing?  I don’t see how the universe can account for its own existence.  Something creating itself from nothing does not make sense to me.”

“That’s a valid objection, but fortunately there is an answer.  Our greatest scientists tell us that because the laws of nature – like the law of gravity – exist, the universe can indeed create itself from nothing.”

“The laws of nature are something, not nothing.  Where did they came from?”

“Another good question.  And just this year one of our most famous physicists wrote a book answering it.  In a nutshell, he said the laws of physics are a brute fact that we simply must accept as a given.”

“OK.  So what you’re telling me is that science has proven God does not exist.”


“And a transcendent objective moral standard like the one my dad talks about can exist only if God created it.


“And since God does not exist, a transcendent objective moral standard does not exist.”

“Excellent.  You’ve got it.”

“But morality sure feels like a real thing.”

“Of course, morality is a real thing.  I never suggested otherwise.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.  I misunderstood.  If morality is real, where did it come from?”

“Here again, science has the answer.  Science has proved there is no God.  It follows there is nothing in the universe but particles in motion.  And from this it follows there is no objective morality.  Another of our greatest scientists says, the universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

“But, Mr. Johnson, that sounds like morality can’t exist.”

“You’re right if by ‘morality’ you mean the sort of ‘objective transcendent morality’ your dad talks about.  But that is not the only kind of morality there is.  You see, humans sit at the top of a grand evolutionary pyramid that has been built over billions of years.  And over the eons our ancestors developed by trial and error certain behaviors that helped them to survive.  Today, we call those survival-beneficial behaviors “morality.”

“And The Final Solution was one of those survival beneficial behaviors?”

“Well, it’s not quite that simple.  Science tells us that there are many kinds of good and evil, all determined by the norms in the society in which one happens to live.  In the case of The Final Solution, in a competition of war, German society prevailed over all other societies and therefore the moral prescriptions of German society are followed all over the world.  In other words – and listen very carefully to what I am about to say Becky – there is no place anyone can stand from which to judge the moral ideals of German society, because we are all in German society, and German society is where, by definition, all moral ideals come from.  In other words, The Final Solution was deemed good by German society, and it was therefore, by definition, good.”

“So it all turns on the fact that God does not exist.  Even if my dad feels very strongly that killing 15 million men, women and children for no reason other than that they were Jews is evil, he is wrong, because The Final Solution was good by definition, because it was accepted by society and there is no place outside of society to judge what it accepts as good.”

“Exactly.  I am glad you are getting it.”

“Thank you, Mr. Johnson.  It is such a relief to know that science has proved that the Party’s actions are always, by definition, moral, since the Party controls society.”

“Any time Becky.”

“And again, Mr. Johnson, I would hate for my dad to get in trouble.  This whole conversation is just between us, right?”

“Of course; set your mind at ease on that score.”

“Thank you again.  I will see you Monday.”  Becky smiled a little smile and seemed to heave a small sigh of relief as she turned and walked to the door.  Johnson watched her leave, and as the door closed behind her, he reached for his phone to call the Brooklyn division of the Gestapo.  “‘Greatest evil there is,’” Johnson murmured as he dialed.  “We’ll see what you think about that when your door is kicked down tonight.”

80 Replies to “Becky’s Lesson, a Viginette

  1. 1
    Querius says:

    Heh. An interesting story if somewhat terrifying. The ending should not require kicking down anyone’s door nowadays, but a genuine concern for the re-education of anti-social elements with the greatest compassion. Certain drugs can facilitate the re-socialization process of those who’ve found themselves alienated for some reason, likely of no fault of their own. Skilled social workers should be able to discover the source of the deviant memes.

    A key element in the Nazi racism is that the rationale that eliminating an ethnicity or “race” deemed less evolved is not only justified, but ethically mandated by the ability of society to direct the evolution of humanity.


  2. 2
    rvb8 says:

    If Barry is going to make forays into historical fiction, and before he so plainly muddles up, and bites of significantly more than he can chew, he should read the excellent books of fiction already written in this field.

    Len Deighton’s, “SS-GB”, is a great start.
    Robert Harris’s, “Fatherland”, is better.

    Historical fiction is a tough nut to crack and should only really be made by those that know their history.

    When Hillary Mantel wrote the incomparable, “Wolf Hall”, she knew every significant participant in the English Reformation, and guessed convincingly at motivations.

    Short, trite, self-serving, ideological, essays such as Barry’s, only reflect poorly upon the writer, and the cause he is trying to justify.

  3. 3
    critical rationalist says:

    This illustrates rather nicely the argument between two justificationists over which “final solution” is authoritative.

    From this essay

    The last two or three centuries have been widely regarded as the age of Science and Reason. This has been viewed with satisfaction or despair according to taste. The twentieth century has certainly been the age of Science par excellence but superstitions of many kinds have persisted, while new ones have flourished. These include the mysticism of the ‘mind of God’ variety springing from popular interpretations of quantum physics, the myth of racial superiority and the smorgasbord of cults and sects on the fringe of organized religion.
    This coexistence of superstition with science and reason suggests that there is something wrong with science and reason, as they have been generally understood. Karl Popper explored this possibility and identified some major structural problems in the dominant schools of Western thought. William W. Bartley followed Popper to show that we tend to be hostages to a dogmatic framework of thought in which knowledge and rationality depend on “true belief”. This is essentially a religious framework but it is still being promulgated in the mainstream of academic philosophy and it tends to persist even when people turn away from conscious adherence to religious beliefs. The true belief framework, not surprisingly, generates true believers who do not accept the challenge of creative self-criticism that is required to eliminate error and generate fresh problems and insights.

    Many problems are illuminated by the discovery of the dogmatic framework of thought.

    * The dogmatic framework can be seen at work in all fanatics.

    * It partly accounts for the suspicion or even hatred of novelty which creates so many problems for innovators and those who explore new worlds of thought. (The situation has been reversed in some fields of art and literature where shocks and novelties are pursued for their own sake).

    * Philosophers have largely rejected Popper’s ideas because his theory of tentative (conjectural) objective knowledge rejects both the quest for foundations and the concept of “knowledge as belief” which is generally assumed in philosophical circles.

    * Self-improvement methods from Dale Carnegie to the modern ‘consciousness-raising’ movement have not helped people as much as they might because their positive elements are undermined by rigid adherence to the bad habits of a lifetime (I know that’s silly but that’s just me.)

    The Dogmatic Structure

    Popper identified an authoritarian strand at the heart of Western epistemology in a paper delivered to the Royal Society in 1960 and reprinted as the Introduction to Conjectures and Refutations. In this paper he set out to resolve some aspects of the dispute between the British and the Continental schools of philosophy. The British school insisted that the source of all genuine knowledge was observation; in contrast the Continental school promoted intellectual intuition, the perception of clear and distinct ideas, as the basis of true beliefs.
    Popper pressed two claims:

    1.Both sides were wrong.
    2.Each had more in common than they realised.

    As to each side being wrong, he argued that observation and reason each have roles to play in the growth of knowledge, but neither can be described as authoritative sources of knowledge.

    As to their common features, they share a certain religious tone in their authoritarian attitude to the alleged sources of knowledge. They also share the naively optimistic view that the truth is clearly visible to all those who are willing to see it, meaning those who employ the right method and the right source of knowledge.

    Popper showed how overly optimistic theories of knowledge, combined with a strong element of moralism about being right, produce a very nasty downside – the conspiracy theory of ignorance. George Orwell described this as applied by Catholics and Communists: “Each of them tacitly claims that ‘the truth’ has already been revealed, and that the heretic if he is not simply a fool, is secretly aware of ‘the truth’ and merely resists it out of selfish motives”.
    Popper explained that the traditional theories of knowledge are essentially concerned with authoritative sources of belief. Consequently no amount of debate between rival schools does anything to challenge the authoritarian framework assumptions that they all share.
    In contrast, he argues that no ideal sources exist and all “sources” are capable of leading us in the wrong direction. He proposed to replace the question of sources by very different questions: “How can we generate better ideas to promote the growth of knowledge?” and “How can we hope to detect and eliminate error?”‘ For new ideas we have to make use of our imagination. For error-elimination we have to use all forms of criticism to the best of our ability (see the four forms of criticism described in my previous article on Popper).
    The question of the sources of our knowledge, like so many authoritarian questions, is a genetic one. It asks for the origin of our knowledge, in the belief that knowledge may legitimate itself by its pedigree…if possible from God.

    His own approach derives from the view that pure and certain sources do not exist, and that questions of origin or of purity should not be confounded with questions of validity, or of truth.
    This insight into the authoritarian tradition inspired Bartley to pursue a fundamental critique of the quest for positively justified beliefs, an error, which he labeled “justificationism”. The target of Bartley’s critique is the dogmatic or ‘true belief’ theory of rationality which demands positive justification as the criterion of rationality. This demand is summed up in the formula:
    Beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind, generally the source of the belief in question, and this justification makes the belief either rational, or if not rational at least valid for the person who holds it.

  4. 4
    News says:

    Querius at 1: Read ‘I Thought It Was a Home Invasion’ if you think that can’t happen in a Western country. It depends on the toxicity of the deep state.

    Which said, I tend to agree with you that in many places, people wouldn’t have their door kicked down. They would suddenly find themselves failing courses, dropped from medical clinic rolls, getting doxed about basically stupid by-law stuff ($5000 fine for illegally feeding squirrels…?) In many places, that stuff would start before the muscle moves in because the victim may have a hard time proving that it is motivated. By the time the muscle does move in, the victim is exhausted and drained of resources – and bystanders conclude that some offense must have been committed, if this is even happening…

  5. 5
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8 @ 2:

    Short, trite, self-serving, ideological

    Ouch. I might cry. Oh, by the way, I assume you have nothing of substance to say about the points made. It’s OK; you need not feel ashamed. Not everyone has the intellectual heft necessary to comment lucidly on matters of substance.

    CR @ 3:

    Throw us a bone here CR. Can you give us a Cliff’s Notes version of the logorrhea in your comment.

  6. 6
    RodW says:

    Johnson thought for a moment about he could persuade Becky she was wrong. He didnt want to her die in the bowels of the Flatbush detention center along with her father.

    “Becky, have you read your Old Testament?”
    “Yes Mr. Johnson”

    “Do you know what God commanded the Jews to do in Samuel and Number?”
    “No, Mr Johnson”

    “He commanded them to kill every last Canaanite man woman and child. They obeyed him of course because to do so was righteous.”

    “Why would he command that Mr Johnson?” asked Becky. The thought that God would command the murder babies and children clearly upset her.
    “It doesnt matter why he commanded this. We dont need to know. When your leader commands you to do something you do it without question. The important point is that God has nothing against genocide when he commands it. God had a plan for the Jews and so the Canaanites had to be eliminated. But the Jews displeased God and after 2000 years he settled on their fate just as he did with the Canaanites. Why does this upset you?”

    “But how do we know he wanted the Jews eliminated?”

    “C’mon Becky. You’re smarted than that. Do you really think one little country in the corner of Europe would have been able to conquer the world if God didnt want it?
    And consider that our glorious Fuhrer survived 27 separate assassination attempts. Do you really think he could have survived without Divine help? von Stauffenbergs attempt was the most famous. A large bomb detonated 2 feet from the Fuhrer. A man who was farther away was blown to pieces but the Fuhrer didnt suffer a scratch. You dont see the hand of God in this?”

    “You’re right Mr Johnson. I dont know what I could have been thinking”

    As Becky walked home she could see clearly that God was behind the Fuhrer, and she had the unmistakable feeling that God was guiding her to do the right thing at that moment. She turned a corner on 9th ave, which she had never done before. She was going to stop by the Gestapo substation in Park Slope and let them know about the unGodly man in her own home.

  7. 7
    LocalMinimum says:

    rvb8 @ 2:

    While I greatly appreciate and am recording the literature references, your criticism of the work at hand is more heat than light, and more than a little snobbish.

  8. 8
    LocalMinimum says:

    RodW @ 6: The reason given was because of idolatry. A fuller context was probably available at the time. These were also people who had been lead through a parted sea and by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

    And even that wasn’t sufficient to keep them from making an idol of their own when Moses left them for a time. The Almighty freshly out of your presence and you start worshiping a statue. Sounds about like people. I think that makes a pretty good point about the need to remove the practice. Especially when it could include child sacrifice.

    As Christians, we have not been commanded to do such things, or anything that we’d need God to establish His presence to justify.

    The Nazis were clearly operating outside of Jesus’ commission.

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    RodW @ 6 gives us the inevitable “I know you are but what am I” response we have come to expect every time from materialists. When confronted with the incoherence of their moral views, they are always desperate to change the subject.

    Rod, I assume that when it comes to refuting the main point of the story, you’ve got nothing. I understand. The thrust of the argument is pretty much irrefutable. Thanks for affirming that by trying to change the subject.

  10. 10
    RodW says:

    Local @ #8: The reason for the elimination of the Canaanites was that God had promised the land to the Jews and the Canaanites were living there. They were squatters.

    If the Nazis had won Christianity would have probably incorporated the idea that the Jews were punished because after 2000 years they still hadn’t accepted Jesus Christ. Why let generation after generation of Jews be born into the world only to be doomed to hell? Killing them all would have clearly been the more humane, and the more Christian thing to do.

  11. 11
    RodW says:

    Barry. So is the main point that atheists can’t be moral? I know that the debate here on that topic has advanced a bit from that point but I’d have to hear a summary.

    Of course even BundesReich Propaganda Minister Wilhelm Lane Craig admits that atheists can be moral!

  12. 12

    LM @ 7 to rvb8: “…and more than a little snobbish.”

    I find that to be the case with most a/mats. There is no shortage of arrogance and snobbery among those who embrace the a/mat faith.

  13. 13
    Orloog says:

    Bundesland? Didn’t know that the nazis were into federalism….

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    Rod at 11

    Barry. So is the main point that atheists can’t be moral?

    Another attempt to change the subject.

    Rod, do you have anything to say about the point made in the story? Or is throwing rhetorical dust up in the air all you’ve got?

  15. 15
    Barry Arrington says:

    Orloog, anything of substance?

    So far we’ve had four A-Mats respond. None of them have even addressed, far less attempted to refute, the substance of the points made.

    Are there any A-Mats willing to address substance?

    Bueller? Bueller?

    Are you all Simpering Cowards?

  16. 16
    RodW says:

    Please summarize the main point of the story. I’m at work now and cant’ take too much time but I’ll try to keep the conversation going

  17. 17
    Barry Arrington says:

    Rod @ 16.

    Your request demonstrates that one of two things is true:

    1. You are a hopeless idiot and cannot understand the point of the story.

    2. You do understand the point of the story and are continuing your distraction antics.

    Either way, responding to you would be counterproductive.

    If you decide you have something to add to the discussion, please feel free to jump back in. Otherwise, move along while the grownups talk.

  18. 18
    DATCG says:

    #8 LM, yep, Child Sacrifice to false gods gets the Creator upset.

    Several reasons God commanded the Israelites to take back the land.

    First, it was theirs to begin with. He gave the land to the tribes of Jacob prior to them going into Egypt. The land of Abraham was their inheritance.

    Second, as you state LM, the tribes God commanded Joshua to kill were sacrificing their babies, burning them alive live in fires to their false idols, for fertility rituals, etc.

    God did not command Israel to attack territories other than their own, or to attack other kingdoms or tribe outside that area unless they attacked Israel.

    re: Hitler…
    Besides Hitler’s wars on other nations and the Holocaust of 6 million Jewish people, women and children. Hitler also used abortion to kill off ethnic groups not of the “super race”

    Margaret Sanger targeted ethnic minorities as well in America, going to the KKK women to speak at one time as well.

    Over 50 million American babies murdered as a result. God only knows how many in Europe, Russia, and China. Chinese targeted baby girls for death because of their sex. Millions gone. This does not include the 100 millon dead under Stalin and Mao, starved to death or murdered.

    Not because the people of Russia or China were murdering innocent babies by throwing them into the fire like the tribes of Canaan.

    But because Mao and Stalin murdered anyone who would not succumb to their communist doctrine.

    God’s command was to kill cold-blooded murderers who sacrifice live babies to being burned to death.

    “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead” (Deut 18:10-11).

    These tribes were not innocent victims.

    Finally, the tribal wars during that time period demanded retribution by any tribe attacked. Any survivors were to take retribution against their enemy. Wars fought during this period were often like that. Wiping out entire tribes so retribution would not take place. Blood Retribution was part of ancient tribal culture. And survivors were bound by these tribal laws to seek retribution against the other.

    They were not practicing the laws of God, but their own.

    The wars between Israel and these tribes would’ve gone on for hundreds of years.

    Or thousands, like the Islamic wars upon Christians, or Soviet Union invading Crimea again. Wars usually do not stop unless there is an overwhelming victor.

    Put this in modern times with WWII and Japan. Japan refused to surrender. Truman had before him tens of thousands of more American deaths, or unleash an atomic bomb.

    He chose the latter to save American lives. The Emperor still refused to surrender after the first bomb was dropped.

    Was Truman evil for saving American lives using the bomb?

    War is not played by releasing your enemy to come back and kill you the next day. You either kill or be killed.

    We released multiple Al Qaeda and terrorist operatives only to see them become terrorist leaders and kill many more people, including attacks on our troops.

    You take out the enemy, or you live with years of pain and suffering, and death of your own people.

    The reason the final solution was evil is because it was against innocent people based upon ethnicity. The Jewish people in Germany, long having gone through thousands of years of atrocities against them from nation to nation were once against targeted.

    But this was not because they were sacrificing babies into a fire.

    But simply because they were Jews.

  19. 19
    john_a_designer says:

    If the Nazis had won Christianity would have probably incorporated the idea that the Jews were punished because after 2000 years they still hadn’t accepted Jesus Christ.

    Let’s focus on the premise, “If the Nazis had won.”

    That is basically saying the winners make the rules. Not only the so-called legal rules but also the moral rules. That’s where the logic of moral relativism leads us.

    Is RodW willing to say that if Nazis had won genocide would be morally justifiable?

  20. 20
    RodW says:


    Is RodW willing to say that if Nazis had won genocide would be morally justifiable?

    No I think genocide is immoral. But I think its immoral even when God commands it.

  21. 21
    Barry Arrington says:

    RodW @ 20:

    Is RodW willing to say that if Nazis had won genocide would be morally justifiable?

    No I think genocide is immoral.

    And now after all of your attempted distractions and efforts to change the subject, we get to the point of the story (which you knew all along including when you lied and said you did not).

    If you lived in a world in which everyone else celebrated The Final Solution, two questions follow:

    1. On what ground would you justify the statement “I think it is immoral”?

    2. Would you be right and everyone else wrong?

    Prediction: Rod will turn tail and run away from these questions. Very few A-Mats have sufficient courage to answer them.

  22. 22
    RodW says:

    Well if I lived in a world where everyone thought it genocide was ok I assume I’d think it was ok too. But I cant help but to think that in the back of my mind I’d know it was wrong, and I suspect Nazis knew it was wrong. Its wrong because of the basic logic of the golden rule. We can imagine ourselves in the position and we recoil from it. We can also see that that adds misery to the world and our goal should be the opposite.

  23. 23
    Barry Arrington says:


    Well if I lived in a world where everyone thought it genocide was ok I assume I’d think it was ok too.

    Kudos to you Rod. At least you have the courage to take your logic to its ultimate conclusion.

  24. 24
    reductio says:

    Barry’s story is crystaline in it’s clarity. Without God, morality is an illusion – an opinion – nothing more. Of course an atheist can “be” moral; more accurately – an atheist can conform to an understanding of certain moral principles but if those principles have any intrinsic meanging, they must have been at least distantly derived from a theistic source. This is what WLC means when he says an atheist can be moral – he can, by borrowing from the theists (however unwittingly).

    Atheism always ends in Nihilism. No God = No Meaning. No Meaning = No Morality.

    I know that such a forumulation will be loudly denied by the Naturalists but it is unavoidable. That this is not seen and understood by those who hold to a god-less position is baffling to me. Tell me your anti-theistic life has “meaning” and I’ll ask you from whence it comes and if it ultimately ends in “nothing” then your “meaning” is an illusion and Nihilism is your creed whether you recognize it or not.

    Edit: I would go to say the following to any atheists who find this kind of thinking simplistic or flawed: I have spoken with many atheists who are desperately searching for meaning; some who have even expressed a form of envy that the Christian so easily finds it in a belief system that the atheist cannot (or will not) subscribe to. I submit that your hunger is evidence that there is indeed an answer; a grail for your quest. If you still seek – take an honest look at Christianity from a source with intellectual rigor and philosophical training. Read WLC, or Plantinga, C.S. Lewis, or the Gospel of John. Don’t let a straw-man, unschooled, watered-down version of Christianity that you may have encountered (or imagined) be the windmill that you tilt against. Your quest has a reason – ultimately to be found in God alone. /end sermon

  25. 25
    LocalMinimum says:

    DATCG @ 18: Good summary.

  26. 26
    Seversky says:

    RodW @ 10

    If the Nazis had won Christianity would have probably incorporated the idea that the Jews were punished because after 2000 years they still hadn’t accepted Jesus Christ.

    European Christianity need not have waited until the Nazis appeared on the scene. Martin Luther published On The Jews And Their Lies in 1543. Anti-Semitism was well-established in Christian Europe long before the Nazis or Charles Darwin appeared on the scene.

  27. 27
    Seversky says:

    RodW @ 22

    Well if I lived in a world where everyone thought it genocide was ok I assume I’d think it was ok too.

    Unless you were one of the potential victims of genocide. Then you probably wouldn’t have thought it was okay.

  28. 28
    Seversky says:

    reductio @ 24

    Barry’s story is crystaline in it’s clarity. Without God, morality is an illusion – an opinion – nothing more.

    If morality is an illusion without God, how is it any the less an illusion with God?

    If human moral beliefs are just opinion, how are God’s moral prescriptions anything other than His opinions? Where does He set out a detailed explanation or rationale for His pronouncements?

    If we can’t ground ‘ought’ in ‘is’ then how can He and if He can’t then how is His morality on any firmer ground than ours?

  29. 29
    Origenes says:

    Sev: If morality is an illusion without God, how is it any the less an illusion with God?

    For one thing, without God in a purely physical world, there is no free will. No free will, no choice, no responsibility, no morality.

  30. 30
    EricMH says:

    To avoid the Judeo-Christian apologetics, you can use Islam. With their understanding of God, the present day terror attacks and the medieval mass killings in Arabia were lawful. Those actions we have no problem condemning as immoral from our Christian perspective, yet were carried out in the context of theism. So belief in God alone is insufficient.

    Per the Euthyphro dilemma, the notion of objective morality is independent of whether it is enforced by a God. If God told us to carry out the Islamic terror attacks or Luther’s progroms, we would rightly rebel against Him.

    There is a perception of objective right and wrong that transcends our philosophies and religions and gods by which we judge them.

  31. 31
    rvb8 says:

    I see I have been accused of ‘intellectual arrogance’ TWSYF@12, and an ammount of ‘snobbery’ by LM@7.

    My crime? Having read some books on a theme Barry is attempting (the victory of the Reich in WWII, and its consequences.)

    Not much of a crime is it? Enjoying good historical fiction I mean?

    And pointing out Barry’s attempt at a short essay, or story, on the same theme was extremely poor, verging on irritating, is not ‘snobbery’, it is criticism.

    (Solzhenitsyn’s, ‘August 14’, and ‘Lenin in Zurich’, are also superb. Does reading and enjoying these make me a snob? If you believe so, I genuinely feel sorry for you.)

    I simply noted that historical fiction requires an intimate knowledge of the subject, and participants, and of possible consequences, the history; Barry’s is laughable.

    Take this example from T. LeHaye’s, and J.B. Jenkins, odious attempt at writing in the ‘Left Behind’ series of books. Not historical fiction sure, but similar in that it is trying to anticipate how real events might have run their course, and their consequences;

    “The blood continued to rise. Millions of birds flocked into the area and feasted on the remains…and the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses bridle, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.”

    Indeed! Barry’s attempt is certainly not as Old Testamentest as this woeful effort, but I believe he’s aiming for th same sour effect.

    And what’s truly amazing is that some of you applaud; weird.

  32. 32

    rvb8 @ 31: No way you have read anything by Solzhenitsyn. If you did you could never continue to be a leftist a/mat.

    I am actually just having a little bit of fun with you, rvb8.

  33. 33
    critical rationalist says:


    Not sure what else I can add that wasn’t in the excerpt or essay itself. Did you read it?

    The teacher and student are justificationists. They are both arguing over which “final solution” is authoritative: God’s or the Führer’s. They share the same flawed quest for justification of their beliefs.

    Example? Apparently, genocide is OK if it comes from the right source. God supposedly wiped out the entire world with a flood, then asked his own people to kill the current inhabitants of the land he promised them. And, apparently, to punish them for him.

    However, we now know that war can cause great trauma to solders – especially when civilians are targeted – as It desensitizes them to violence against woman and children. And this in turn can impact their interactions with their own people and families. So, why didn’t God just wipe them from the earth?

    Apparently we have more moral knowledge that God? Or was Yahweh just a tribal “god” that “told people” to wage war against another people for their land?

  34. 34
    critical rationalist says:

    For one thing, without God in a purely physical world, there is no free will. No free will, no choice, no responsibility, no morality.

    Let me help you with that…

    For one thing, without God in the current conception of a purely physical world, there is no free will. No free will, no choice, no responsibility, no morality.

    IOW, underlying your claim is the idea that the initial conditions are somehow fundamental to physics. And that’s parochial (uncessarlly narrow in scope.)

    2.5 What is the initial state?
    The prevailing conception regards the initial state of the physical world as a fundamental part of its constitution, and we therefore hope and expect that state to be specified by some fundamental, elegant law of physics. But at present there are no exact theories of what the initial state was. Thermodynamics suggests that it was a ‘zero-entropy state’, but as I said, we have no exact theory of what that means. Cosmology suggests that it was homogeneous and isotropic, but whether the observed inhomogeneities (such as galaxies) could have evolved from quantum fluctuations in a homogeneous initial state is controversial.
    In the constructor-theoretic conception, the initial state is not fundamental. It is an emergent consequence of the fundamental truths that laws of physics specify, namely which tasks are or are not possible. For example, given a set of laws of motion, what exactly is implied about the initial state by the practical feasibility of building (good approximations to) a universal computer several billion years later may be inelegant and intractably complex to state explicitly, yet may follow logically from elegant constructor-theoretic laws about information and computation (see Sections 2.6 and 2.8 below).
    The intuitive appeal of the prevailing conception may be nothing more than a legacy from an earlier era of philosophy: First, the idea that the initial state is fundamental corresponds to the ancient idea of divine creation happening at the beginning of time. And second, the idea that the initial state might be a logical consequence of anything deeper raises a spectre of teleological explanation, which is anathema because it resembles explanation through divine intentions. But neither of those (somewhat contradictory) considerations could be a substantive objection to a fruitful constructor theory, if one could be developed.

  35. 35
    rvb8 says:


    actually I’ve read almost everything he’s written, from “One Day…”, to “Cancer Ward”, up to and including “Gulag 1,2,and3”, his Harvard Commencement Address, and his Nobel acceptance speech, “One Word of Truth”. (In the Harvard speech he drags Kissinger across the coals for, ‘Detente’.)

    I’ve always admired the great man, up until his return to Russia, and his support of, Russian Nationalism, and a rather beefed up (by Putin), Russian Orthodoxy.

    I’m glad you like Solzhinitsyn, it means we could indeed have a beer together, without it being reduced to a shouting match, Heh:)

  36. 36
    EDTA says:

    RodW @ 10,

    >If the Nazis had won Christianity would have probably incorporated the idea …

    I think Barry has the more realistic take on how things would have gone. Hitler planned to eliminate/eviscerate Christianity, and Martin Bormann was strongly anti-Christian, stating that Nazism was not compatible with any other system. There wouldn’t have been any sort of Christianity left to do the “incorporating”.

  37. 37
    JVL says:

    First, it was theirs to begin with. He gave the land to the tribes of Jacob prior to them going into Egypt. The land of Abraham was their inheritance.

    THEY LEFT! But they had the right to come back anytime and slaughter all and sundry who occupied empty land?


  38. 38
    DATCG says:

    Seversky, re: Luther, he was wrong.

    It only takes a small amount of reading to know at that point, he failed to follow Yeshua’s teachings in the New Testament.

    Luther did not follow Christ in his declarations towards the Jewish people.

    This is fundamentally why you cannot put Communism/Materialsim and Islam in the same basket as Christ teachings.

    And why a Reform could take place over the failures of leaders through the centuries. The issue so many conflate and often forget is that fallen men, in this case Luther often fall.

    In his arrogance, he disregarded well known teachings of the apostle Paul and the words of Christ himself.

    While Luther did much to correct at that time corruption in the church, he too made mistakes and showed bias and bigotry.

    Yet that is not what Christ taught. So, you’re actually showing once again, it is people who fail.

    Again, was Truman evil for dropping the bomb in your estimation on Japan, twice? Or, should he allowed tens of thousands of more Americans die?

    Communist in Soviet Union practiced pograms against the Jews and there’s nothing in Communist Manifesto to stop them. Anti-Semitism ran rampant in Soviet Union.

    Approximately 2 million Jewish people left after the Berlin wall fell and moved to Israel, escaped to Europe or America as soon as they possibly could.

    Islam’s leader preached hatred of Jews and Christians, changed historical and biblical narrations about Christ. He was illiterate and commanded his followers to kill, destroy and take slaves, including women as sex slaves. As well as one of his first acts was to chop off the heads of Jewish tribe.

    To this day, the fundamentalist – ISIS for example follow the commands of Mohammed.

    While there are peaceful Muslims across the globe, there can be no reformation based upon Mohammed’s teachings. Refrom in Islam must come despite his teachings.

    Whereas the teachings of Christ led people to reformation within themselves and the church over the centuries after removing corrupt leaders in each successive generation.

    Today, a large part of the church today in America as a result backs Israel and the Jewish people. And they show it in their support to the people directly either with health care and donations to the poor, or in defense of their right to exist as a nation.

    Morality in a fallen world means you will continue to see great evil, either from Russia and Syria, today, or other nations in the future. China is closing itself up again, taking away citizens rights to freedom in the press and social media. Christians still suffer there.

    Question Seversky,

    Does it bother you over 500,000 people, women and children died as a result of OBama’s toppling of nations in the Middle East? He created it, instigated it and then walked away from it allowing ISIS to grow, women and girls to die or be traded as sex slaves. Over 500,000 people in the last 8 years in Syria and Iraq.

    It was his direct actions that led to the fall of Libya and overthrow of Egypt, then to Syria, where he created a disaster still ongoing today where many are dying as the hands of Putin, Iran and Syria.

    So even well meaning people or those not so, still kill today or allow great numbers of people to die as a result of foreign policy.

  39. 39
    DATCG says:


    It’s only one issue listed in the Old Testament. I listed the others as well including burning children as sacrifices in fire.

    You don’t have to like the decision to wipe out tribes that murdered innocent babies by burning them to death. Many don’t.

    You most likely will not like the future either about this world according to God.

    He also flooded the entire world according to scripture. So you can get mad at him for that as well.

  40. 40
    DATCG says:

    The history is long and complex in that region between warring tribes.

    There were wars going on between the tribes as well. Skirmishes between them and Israeli tribes at the time.

    Not all were wiped out, many were allowed to stay. Some moved on. But, they were not living in peace together at the time it was ordered for that specific tribe.


  41. 41
    DATCG says:

    From 2016, Putin killing innocent children…

    This is our day. Anyone doing anything to stop it? Did Obama or German’s Chancellor? England? France?

    More dead, Feb 2018…

    and today, no one is stopping it including Trump.

    Why not? Because they all fear a larger war. So more innocents die.

  42. 42
    critical rationalist says:


    You don’t have to like the decision to wipe out tribes that murdered innocent babies by burning them to death. Many don’t.

    You most likely will not like the future either about this world according to God.

    But God could have simply wiped them out himself. Is commanding the Israelites to personally kill woman and children with a sword “the world according to God?”

    Again, we now know this is highly traumatic experience and can cause severe problems integrating back into society and even one’s own family. Yet, God supposedly demanded the Israelites personally do so, despite his ability to just make them disappear from the face of the earth.

    Assuming Yahweh was actually the same “God” that supposedly made the universes appear of out nothing, making the Canaanites disappear would be child’s play, right? So, even if we assume they deserved it, why make the Israelites do it?

    From 2016, Putin killing innocent children…

    And, I’ve completely ignored the question of why God demanded them to kill innocent children as well.

    You find Putin killing children troubling but not God demanding it of the Israelites?

  43. 43
    Barry Arrington says:

    I see the A-Mats still want to talk about Canaan 3,000 years ago instead of Europe within living memory. Telling.

    A-Mat: “Maybe if we just ignore that 500 pound gorilla he will go away.”

  44. 44
    RodW says:


    He also flooded the entire world according to scripture. So you can get mad at him for that as well

    I think you’ve missed the point of the argument. JVC is no more angry at God for flooding the earth than he is at Governor Tarkin for blowing up Alderan.

  45. 45
    RodW says:

    Morality certainly exists without God. I’d suggest that if there was an all powerful God that would actually make it harder for us to be moral.

    The disagreement here concerns the definition of morality. The religious volk think that morals must be rigid laws passed down from an authority figure. I think that morals cant be that or they cease to me morals and become meme rules. Morals transcend any individual. They are the collective morals of a large group of people. They are the rules that those people inherit. They are rooted in our fundamental human nature but are informed by culture, individual psychology etc. When times are good we move in the direction of our better angels. When times are bad we more in the opposite direction. I will grant that in bad times the morals of a minority of religious people is a buffer against slipping too far backwards.
    There cannot be a God, King or Emperor who bestows morality on people. At best a ruler can punish people for being bad (according to the rulers definition) but that doesnt create morality and probably doesn’t create an overall more moral society.

  46. 46
    RodW says:

    Imagine a society with a law that required wives to love their husbands on pain of torture and death. You meet a man from that country who comments to you ( or another man if you dont have a wife) that your wife certainly seemed to love you but she couldnt really love you since there was no possibility of torture and execution hanging over her head. At least she couldn’t possibly love you as much as his wife loved him since his wife was back in his country where that law applied.

    Do you see where I’m going with this?

  47. 47
    Barry Arrington says:

    Atheist RodW at 22: “I would be OK with genocide if everyone else was.”

    RodW at 45: “Morality certainly exists without God.”

  48. 48
    Barry Arrington says:

    Rod is on a roll:

    Morals transcend any individual. They are the collective morals of a large group of people.

    It follows that Rod would believe that Becky’s teacher, Mr.Johnson, is the hero of my story and Becky’s dad is the villain. Well, at least you are being consistent with your comment at 22.

  49. 49
    LocalMinimum says:

    Seversky @ 28:

    If we can’t ground ‘ought’ in ‘is’ then how can He and if He can’t then how is His morality on any firmer ground than ours?

    If we take God to be more fundamental than gravity, then we take God’s morality to be more fundamental than physical law. Thus, it’s His show.

    But, if God created all that we know, then surely He has a much larger perspective on what “is”, one that’s impossible to share with us, especially if we consider ourselves naught but clever monkeys. Thus, it’s fallacious to conflate His “is” with our “is”.

  50. 50
    LocalMinimum says:

    RodW @ 46:

    If we removed prison time for all crimes (but maintained a police force), would people be no more likely to do illegal things?

    You’re also assuming that the only motivation is fear and torture. A genuine love of God can inspire one to further develop their morality to a higher standard, as well. Some people just need a nudge to say “hey, this is wrong”, one the world may not be offering.

    Especially if we reduce the brain to a stochastic process, introducing such a concept will most definitely push the mean towards morality.

  51. 51
    News says:

    The most significant thing about the Holocaust, from the perspective of human history, is that the largely Christian-dominated powers in the mid-twentieth century thought it wrong and tried to prevent its recurrence. I know of no reason to think that cultures dominated by anyone with a good TV face will do better.

  52. 52
    asauber says:

    collective morals of a large group of people

    This is textbook/blog page appeal to size.

    or could be the Bandwagon Fallacy.

    RodW, you are sliding right into Might Makes Right.

    Which is no kind of morality.


  53. 53
    RodW says:


    I think its the opposite. When God or a King decides whats moral thats “might makes right”. I think morals come from the society as a whole based on our nature- both the good parts and the bad parts- and our culture including religion

    The important point is that morals cant come from a God. Morals simply cant exist as arbitrary rules. They have to result from collective interaction, no matter how flawed you think that is. Morals cant be imposed on people anymore than love can

  54. 54
    RodW says:

    Local @50

    I’d break with my fellow atheists and agree with you that in some cases belief in God can inspire someone to be more moral. I think that believing that the creator of the universe loves you unconditionally helps you to rise above the crap and gives you a solid foundation for treating other people better even in adverse conditions. I’ve known people like this and Karen Armstrong describes them well in History of God. I think society becomes more moral when people such as this are given a voice and become moral leaders of a sort. I think this has generally been happening in the West for the past few centuries.
    But people such as this are rare. For most religious people their beliefs are a weapon to hit other people over the head with. They think we should follow the moral code of the Hebrews from ~700 BC.

  55. 55
    DATCG says:


    He’s ignoring reality around him today while being angry about the past, like Barry stated 3,000 years ago.

    Plus, he misrepresented my comments as being a single statement in justifying God’s command. It was not a single statement, nor was I justifying it.

    I was detailing information as they were written at the time, much of it biblical, including a quote about the fact the tribe was murdering innocent babies by sacrificing them to false gods by burning them to death.

    He seemed to missed that detail.

    And what amazes me is how so many people who do not believe there’s a Creator can be mad at him if he does not exist to them.

    While simultaneously justifying the deaths of millions of innocent, defenseless babies in the womb in America today.

    It’s a bit hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?

    To kill a beating heart of a defenseless baby, that feels pain in the womb?

    To surgically stick a suction needle into a brain of a living baby and suck it out?

    No one wants to address that elephant in the room. Nor the fact that Margaret Sanger practiced the very same beliefs and eugenics as Hitler. Yet people award her.

    She targeted blacks, she spoke to the women of the KKK.

    Yet that is dismissed today by most who look the other way.

  56. 56
    RodW says:


    He’s ignoring reality around him today while being angry about the past, like Barry stated 3,000 years ago

    Barry is old but hes not that old

    I’m not sure who you’re talking about but I can give you my take: Its irrelevant that the genocide of the Canaanites happened thousands of years ago. Whats important is that some religious people claim that it was ok to murder men women and children if god commands it. Its not. Its immoral to murder children and babies even if God does command you to do it. Now he can send you to hell for not obeying him but that doesnt make it moral to kill them. Its not.

    I think the morality of abortion is a very complex issue, especially when it comes to late term abortions. But it shouldn’t be for religious people such as yourself. Abortion is moral if God is ok with it. How will we know if hes ok with it? We cant ask people because some will say he is ok with it and others will say he isnt’ We have to look in the Bible and see if it says we cant do medical procedures to end pregnancies.

  57. 57
    RodW says:


    I’m curious about something. You say that that murder of the Canaanites was moral because God commanded it and -just as important- we know his reasons. They were killing babies and worshiping false gods.

    In the West abortion, which you consider murder is legal, and there are many non-christians and atheists who worship false gods or no god. The 2 conditions that justified the killings in the OT are present. Do you think killing every atheist would be justified as moral? If God wanted this how would you know? If a very charismatic preacher came along and said God spoke to him and commanded this would you be open to the possibility?
    Please answer truthfully. No one knows your name. Besides, we’re all friends here.

  58. 58
    ET says:

    What? Not worshipping or accepting God is very different from worshipping false gods.

    Its immoral to murder children and babies even if God does command you to do it.

    Except for the fact that it isn’t murder if God commanded it.

    Morality certainly exists without God.

    It can’t.

  59. 59
    Barry Arrington says:

    RodW, are you still here? Having admitted that under certain circumstances you would be OK with genocide, I would have thought you would understand you no longer have any authority to speak on morality.

  60. 60
    john_a_designer says:

    Why are our interlocutors so reluctant to lay all their cards on the table? Atheistic naturalism/ materialism has no transcendent basis for morals or meaning. So what you are left with is either personal or cultural (group think) relativism. The best an atheist can do is co-opt morality from some other traditional kind of morality.

    But how can moral relativism carry any kind of real interpersonal moral obligation? Only if morality has a transcendent basis can there be any kind of real interpersonal obligation. Can atheist live moral lives? Sure, but only in the conventional sense– only if they co-opt morality from a non-naturalistic world view.

    Internet atheists will often use Christianity to attack Christians by saying, “That’s not very Christian of you.” Or, “what would Jesus do?” But you never hear anyone counter atheists by saying to them, “That’s not very atheistic of you.” Why? Because, atheism doesn’t have a basis for morality. We know that and so do they. So why all the pretension and posturing?

  61. 61
    asauber says:

    They have to result from collective interaction, no matter how flawed you think that is.

    But RodW, if collective interactions produce something like a genocidal state, or animal-worship, or a suicidal drug culture, or blah blah blah, how is collective interaction any better than anything else?

    We both know collective interactions aren’t endowed with any special insight into anything.

    That you appeal to them just means you don’t really have an answer to some difficult questions, and you are just abdicating your judgement- to people who might be more clueless than you are.


  62. 62
    RodW says:

    Andrew and John

    But RodW, if collective interactions produce something like a genocidal state, or animal-worship, or a suicidal drug culture, or blah blah blah, how is collective interaction any better than anything else?

    I’m not really comparing that to any other type of morality. This is where morality comes from and this includes societies that try to run thing based on a holy book. Religious morals are part of that collective effort more or less…and John, I’d agree that atheists in the West pretty much piggyback their morality from Christianity…or at least from more ‘progressive Christians’ such as I described above to LocalMin

  63. 63
    LocalMinimum says:

    RodW: People seek means to justify their desires and actions. Nazis used the Bible where they could, but they also used The State, science, ethnicity, and Hitler’s dapper face to do the worst things they could think of. They didn’t need anything most A/Mats would refer to as “religion”.

    We have secular law. Surely it contributes to order. But even the best laws can be buried under perverse case law or reinterpreted by a high court to serve evil means. Does that reflect upon the law itself, or upon its subjects and keepers?

    The Israelites suffered their enemies for years, decades even before they paid their debts, often as an existential necessity. It’s a rough neighborhood, look at it now!

  64. 64
    critical rationalist says:


    I see the A-Mats still want to talk about Canaan 3,000 years ago instead of Europe within living memory. Telling.

    Oh, I see. If everyone who when though it has died, it’s no longer relevant? Is there some statue of limitations on genocide?

    Again, the story illustrates two justificationists arguing over which “final solution” is authoritative: the Christian God’s or the Führer’s. They both include genocide.

    Apparently, Barry isn’t against genocide, per-se, as long as it comes from the right authoritative source, as he hasn’t condoned Yahweh’s commands to commit it.

    So, it’s not about the act itself, but the source.

    I guess you have to give it to him for being consistent justificationist.

  65. 65
    Querius says:


    Consider this. Have you ever played a computer game such as an MMORP game? Have you ever killed a character in a computer game? If so, why wouldn’t you be tried for murder?

    You say, “Well, that’s stupid. The person really didn’t die. It was just the person’s avatar and the game was a simulation.”

    Ok, fine.

    Do you know that many researchers in the field of quantum mechanics see strong scientific evidence that what we consider material reality isn’t reality at all? Apparently, it’s very likely that we’re living our lives in a simulation according to Science. You believe in Science, right?

    If we’re living in a simulation, there’s a very, very intelligent maker and controller of the simulation with a specific purpose.

    The purpose could very rationally be to demonstrate conclusively what kind of person you are. And I am. All of the people in the simulation die. Men, women, mothers, fathers, children, even baby ducks and trees. We all die. Some sooner some later. The simulation ends.

    Then, God judges people with absolute fairness. Canaanites and their children. Judged with fairness. White supremacists. Judged with fairness. Hitler, the Pope, and Jimmy Carter. Fairness.

    God also demonstrated mercy by suffering the most excruciating death by crucifixion (note the word derivative) in payment for the punishment you and I deserve–to provide mercy to those who ask for forgiveness, and justice to those who demand it.

    After God destroys the undeniable, heinous evil that’s infected the human race, he will dry the tears of those who had to suffer and who asked for forgiveness. Those who hate God will not be forced to live in his loving presence. They will suffer the second death. The real one.


  66. 66
    rvb8 says:

    Wow Q,

    CR comes up with a logical argument, and you come back with computer games and Quantum Mech?

    And as for the, ‘once you’re in heaven God will reward just behaviour to all? No He won’t!

    In which holy text? All assume exclusivity to their adherants only, reaching heaven; there is no room in Protestant heaven for Papists/Jews/Muslims/Budhists/Hindus/Canaanites(??), and vice,vice/vice/vice/vice/vice/versa.

    I’m really looking forward ‘Q’ to you showing these ‘Humanist’ passages of the Bible/Koran/Talmud.

  67. 67
    es58 says:

    rvb8 @ 66:

    In which holy text? All assume exclusivity to their adherants only, reaching heaven; there is no room in Protestant heaven for Papists/Jews/Muslims/Budhists/Hindus/Canaanites(??), and vice,vice/vice/vice/vice/vice/versa.

    How do you know this?

  68. 68
    Barry Arrington says:

    CR @ 64

    And CR thinks morality is only about solving moral problems. And if you are morally outraged by the existence of 13 million Jews, he cannot, for the life of him, come up with a justification for why you shouldn’t round them up and kill them. Because he is against justificationism.

    That is why he he is desperate to change the subject and talk about Canaan 3,000 years ago. His position on Europe within living memory is embarrassing to say the least.

  69. 69
    asauber says:

    I love it when an Atheist resorts to theological arguments.

    It’s not that they really disbelieve in God. They just don’t like Him.

    And where did the science go? Isn’t that what Atheists stand on? Why has it been thrown under the bus in favor of arguing about heaven?


  70. 70
    DATCG says:


    “like Barry stated, was 3,000 years ago”

    Barry should be glad to to have lived so long a life 😉

    I understand your take and it might surprise you I’m not defending God. He does not need defending by me.

    But you presume to know what you do not know in judgment of what you cannot comprehend. Thinking yourself higher than the Creator, your thoughts higher than He who created you.

    Least you think I’m judging you. I’m not. I once stood in your shoes and know these type of arguments intimately as I use to make same ones you are now making. They’re not new, not more reasonable or logical and not true.

    And timing is very relevant. Or your own statements about
    society and culture have no meaning. You base your own morals: on this day, this time, and this society you live in to a “collective” group think.

    But if you lived then, using your own convoluted logic. You must admit you might have been one of the tribal members sacrificing babies to burn to death by fire.

    All because society commands you, not logic, not morals, but societal norms that change from generation to generation over time.

    Yet you ignore a central truth. That Christ changed all of this group think. He went against society morals, not with it. He was a revolutionary, not a group think follower.

    You think you can take these issues out of context and bring
    them forth to the 21st century you live in.

    OK, Question again, was President Truman justified to use atomic weapons against Japan?

    As a result of his command, many women and children died. Upwards to 129,000 people by estimates on Wiki not including radiation fallout.

    Or should President Truman have allowed tens of thousands of Americans die in endless war on islands fighting the Japanese? Who refused to stop?

    How many Americans would you be willing to let die? To an enemy avowed to kill you? Knowing you had a way to end it?

    As to abortion, will address it later. Tonight if time permits. One method to murder a baby is to burn them in the womb alive by saline solution, that burns tissue and skin. As the baby dies.

    I am glad you have some reservations.

    Gianna Jessen – Saline Abortion Survivor, Pro-Life Advocate, Singer, God’s girl, Living the Impossible

  71. 71
    mikeenders says:

    Still it might be time to put this canaanite alleged genocide claim to bed by citing key facts .

    I’ve yet to meet an atheist that had an above sunday school understanding of the Bible so some of these facts will probably be quite surprising.

    A) no genocide was ever committed. Canaanites continued to survive and some by DIVINE decree and acceptance (more on that later). Yes ones still in cities as Israel advanced upon them were to be killed as happened in war but all the cities of canaan knew they were coming and those who didn’t trust their gods against the true one could and probably did leave (with children in tow).

    There was no subsequent command throughout the Bible to kill any and all canaanites wherever and whenever you saw them. This ignorance of materialists was recently exposed
    when it was all over the news how canaanite ancestry discovered by genetic research disproved the Bible (oops the Bible makes references to several canaanites after Joshua but no one bothered to read it.)

    B) Atheists seldom ever look at the contexts of the passages they use to make their argument. They love to quote Exodus 20:16-18 but they skip over the first part where God tells the Jews to extend peace to any city they come upon ( a positively new testament kind of command). Its under the clause of those who reject their offer of life that the
    command to kill canaanites comes (no doubt God knowing their heart and that they would not accept such an offer.)

    C) just as in our laws a universal law never forbad special circumstances on merit. We see that right out the gate when the very first Battle in canaan takes place. First things first? – saving canaanites. God commands the saving of a set of canaanites in the city. Men women and children – old and young – Thats right he commands it!! Rahab and all her extended family are spared and assimilated into Israel and she marries and likely had the distinction of being a great forebore of Guess who? Jesus the Christ (who also chose an apostle with the name Simon the canaanite).

    So at the end of the day God knew no such command would be universally obeyed, makes exceptions in the very first battle and sanctions and seemingly approves canaanites being in his son’s ancestry and blesses a number of cananites thereafter. In providence and foreknowledge it allowed for canaanites to escape death, grow up to be apostles and particpate in his plan of redemption. One even listed in a hall of fame for faith in Hebrews 11

    that would have to be the weirdest non genocide genocie ever. Of course atheist will still whine about the inclusion of children as if God should forego his knowledge of what he knew they would do (as is clear from all the passages was his concern – among the abominations? child sacrifice). However anyone trasported back in time to 1894 with a gun in his hand and a five year old hitler in front of him would have to think through some hard issues before walking away. Me? upon careful consideration I am quite sure I would pull the trigger for all the other five year old Jews in the 1940s. Its easy for men to whine on their ignorance of divine knowledge but its not a compelling argument against divinity. Especially when the best they can do is go back 3,000 years ago to find a (to them) questionable event because they have such a great continuity of love and compassion to overcome.

  72. 72
    critical rationalist says:


    So, not only is there a statue of if limitation on genicide but it depends on how many were killed and the Israelites didn’t kill enough

    That’s arbitrary since, if it had happened 3000 years ago and there were no living survivors, that wouldn’t change a thing for you. It’s hand waving.

    Oh that’s right, you’re a justificationist and the slaughter of Cannonite women and childen by the sword was justified because the command was part of the Christian God’s “final solution”, which includes the Israelites taking the land he gave them by force.

  73. 73
    ET says:

    Well the Canaanites should have better armed and prepared themselves. Or even better they should never have pissed off the Israelis.

  74. 74
    Querius says:

    CR and rvb8,

    Yes, I have strong scriptural, historical, and scientific evidence to back up my post.

    But as I just demonstrated, you’re not interested in enlightenment, only pointless argument and infinite skepticism.

    It’s your funeral. And then you can try arguing with a loving entity who knows you inside and out.


  75. 75
    Querius says:

    mikeenders @ 71,

    Nicely summarized!


  76. 76
    critical rationalist says:


    Yes, I have strong scriptural, historical, and scientific evidence to back up my post.

    Of course Mike. It’s a fact that God knew the order wouldn’t be followed because it’s a fact that what happens is what God intends to happen? You could pretty much come up with a rationalization like that for virtually anything.

    However anyone trasported back in time to 1894 with a gun in his hand and a five year old hitler in front of him would have to think through some hard issues before walking away.

    Except, you’re not God, who would have other options. Even then, If you were just a finite human with a time travel device, you could probably prevent the holocaust via some other means, without resorting to killing Hitler. This is because Hitler’s decisions are comprehendible and therefore avoidable. Racists are made, not born.

    Of course, you probably think Hitler is just plain Evil and your only option is killing him. I guess that’s yet another example of how the idea of Evil, with a capital “E” leads to bad explanations that represent a failure of moral knowledge.

  77. 77
    DATCG says:

    #71 MikeEnders,

    A) no genocide was ever committed. Canaanites continued to survive and some by DIVINE decree and acceptance (more on that later). Yes ones still in cities as Israel advanced upon them were to be killed as happened in war but all the cities of canaan knew they were coming and those who didn’t trust their gods against the true one could and probably did leave (with children in tow).

    Correct, thanks for mentioning this. Tribes were not wiped out. Biblically across several books this is mentioned in different verses. It was not genocide. It was a use of figurative speech.

    It’s war, it’s descriptive and it can be figurative.

    As to stating God “knew no such command would be obeyed…” I’m not sure i’d come to same conclusion. It could be a figure of speech. Yes, they had those in hebrew language as well. And would explain the rest of the historic insight you share with Rahab and her family, etc.

    Meanwhile no one takes on the case of bombing Japan and President Truman.

  78. 78
    Querius says:


    You misattributed your quote in 76 to @mikeenders rather than Querius in 74.

    But this again just demonstrates what I’ve been saying about the “critics” here. They’re not actually reading the posts here, but rather just picking out fragments to argue about.



  79. 79
    mikeenders says:

    CR @76

    “Of course Mike. It’s a fact that God knew the order wouldn’t be followed because it’s a fact that what happens is what God intends to happen? You could pretty much come up with a rationalization like that for virtually anything.”

    Strawman. I made no such argument based on result. You rather desperately ignored the context of the answer. It wasn’t that what happened was what God intended to happen but that God himself in the Bible makes it clear by his saving Rahab and including canaanites in his plan of redemption what he intended to happen – NOT a universal destruction. You are merely ignoring the incovenient facts of the narrative to get where you want to go. Standard materialist ploy.

    “you could probably prevent the holocaust via some other means, without resorting to killing Hitler. This is because Hitler’s decisions are comprehendible and therefore avoidable. Racists are made, not born.”

    This is why I say atheists are such poor scholars in theology yet pretend to be well versed. To you sinners are not born but made and God must then intervene in the ways that you see fit. So every murder, rape, theft and atrocity is God’s fault for not stopping it. He also cannot ever command his servants ever to administer jsutice. IOW Humanity has no moral responsibility to be involved.

    If I were sent back gun in hand with little Hitler in my gun’s cross hair I suspect it would be because God felt that I should as a human have a vested interest in stopping the holocaust. As a human I think I would with perfect knowledge.

    Your beg that God must never ever use the natural means of a war to rectify evil is just that – a beg – not even close to a solid ratioanl argument. I suppose you would have to make the same argument for the death penalty. God should kill all murders on his own but why stop at killing? . Since its confining then it should be God that spares us the “pain” of locking people up for any crime. Lets throw away the whole judicial system because its “painful” to be involved in punishment. Yet it is our involvement in the implementation of our justice system that brings us to the acute understanding of both justice and evil and the nuances of the job that God has in having to deal with evil. Its our front row seat to learning at least one part of God’s point of view.

    So to summarize – You object that at one time three thousands plus years ago men and women who took babies and killed them with their own human hands should have themselves (and the children they were training to do the same) killed by human hands. Its your view but given they got what they were guilty of its not a compelling argument against what in fact wasn’t even close to genocide.

    “Of course, you probably think Hitler is just plain Evil”

    I do fine at expressing my own views . You do poorly with a cryustal ball trying to guess at my beliefs. Hitler was evil because he had the capacity to do good and chose not to do it – thats harldy “plain” evil. As for the whole Evil capitalization canard. Evil is either good or bad. Thats its own capitalization. Its people arguing for it to be grey that infested Germany in the 1930s and 40s. Their idea of good was pretty close to your own – no absolute capital E so why not bend it when necessary to suit your own race.

  80. 80
    mikeenders says:

    Hey DATCG @77

    I didn’t say “God “knew no such command would be obeyed…”
    I said “So at the end of the day God knew no such command would be UNIVERSALLY obeyed”

    Thats not an unreasonable claim since

    A) The Bible itself states and approves the saving of Canaanites in Jericho
    B) There have been almost no commands ever given by God in the Bible that were universally obeyed.

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