Who Says so? A difficult question for the Atheist

 

 

One of the most difficult questions for an atheist to answer is, “who says so?” When it comes to deciding morality atheism has no leg to stand on.  While most organized religions have a sacred book to guide them the atheist has no point of reference for right and wrong.

Lying, stealing, killing, cheating, covetousness and additional social “evils” are forbidden within the pages of scripture.  But what about an atheist?

The atheist can not appeal to a higher authority as a source for morality.  Steal from an atheist.  He will think it is wrong.  But ask him why stealing is wrong and you will have a problem.  His best answer will be because I said so.  The only appeal can be from within because there is no higher authority.  Atheistic reasoning has no concrete morality to appeal to.  It has no sacred book or deity.

The founding fathers understood that morality is a result of creation.  In the Declaration of Independence we find their admission that  “We are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights.”

Consider the social consequences of individual people deciding morality.  It would be impossible to function as a society.  This is why to progress as people Faith in God’s word is essential.  Who says so?  Certainly not me.  “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”  –God (Hebrews 11:6)

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63 Comments

  1. So, should we bring back slavery? Both your god and many of the founding fathers were OK with slavery.

    “The atheist can not appeal to a higher authority as a source for morality”

    You say this like it’s a bad thing.

    Group A says X is moral, because their god says so. Group B says X is immoral, because their god says so.

    How do you reconcile the two groups in a society? The short answer is, you don’t. They can never agree, because they aren’t using any brains for their positions, they are merely parroting their unchanging religious diktats.

    On the other hand, people who approach morality as something to be thought about instead of mindlessly obeyed at least has a chance of settling on mutually agreeable positions.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Brian. Here is my answer:

      1. Slavery, This is an old and overused argument that distracts us from any concrete discussion. Obviously we don’t agree with that cultural position. It does not negate the truth of what the founding fathers affirmed. Because a small minority of the founding fathers were slave owners should we reject the entire concept of a democratic republic?

      2. An atheist inability to appeal to a higher authority is an overwhelming obstacle. Your accusation of not “using any brains” is misplaced. I ask you to take a moment to “think” about what you have said. If morality is something to be thought about then it becomes subjective to each persons opinion. Whose opinion do we ultimately choose? If you thought it was difficult to reconcile two religions try getting billions of indepedant thinkers to agree. Any honest person would have to agree that you have problems with or without religions.

      3. There is no doubt that it is difficult to reconcile religious differences. But that is because each religion considers its way to be correct. If one particular religion is correct than the problem is not that there is a God the problem is that some people are following the wrong god. Imagine how peaceful a world would be if we all fell in love with the one true God and together we followed his command to love others better than ourselves?

      • “Slavery, This is an old and overused argument that distracts us from any concrete discussion. ”

        It’s also indefensible I can see how you’d like to handwaive it away. Your “Higher Authority” is remarkably silent about its wrongness.

        “If morality is something to be thought about then it becomes subjective to each persons opinion.”

        That’s the way it working right now. Sorry if you don’t like it.

        “If one particular religion is correct than the problem is not that there is a God the problem is that some people are following the wrong god. ”

        How do we determine that, let me guess, God is on the strongest side?

        “Imagine how peaceful a world would be if we all fell in love with the one true God and together we followed his command to love others better than ourselves?”

        Why do we have to imagine? We can look to the examples set by the theocratic countries in this world to show us what it would be like.

      • I am considering a post regarding these issues. But let’s stop with the smoke screens of slavery and polygamy and address the point of the post.

        I am saying that logically it would be superior to appeal to something or someone higher to prove a point rather than a peer. The problem atheist run into is if there ever is a disagreement in philosophy there is no concrete formula for determining who is right. Would you care to comment on the mass confusion that arises from not being able to appeal to the creator?

      • “I am saying that logically it would be superior to appeal to something or someone higher to prove a point rather than a peer.”

        If our understanding of the world and the people in it was static, an unchanging source of authority could actually be useful. But our knowledge isn’t static and neither are our morals.

        “Would you care to comment on the mass confusion that arises from not being able to appeal to the creator?”

        As opposed to the mass confusion that arises from various peoples trying to claim which X, Y, or Z creator if it exists is the correct one? Brian asked you earlier and all you did was hand waive it away and ignore his answer That’s not going to work here as my reply is not much different. At least two people have a chance to come to grips with some common issues where they feel the other has wronged them without the commandments of some bogey man getting in the way of things.

  2. “Obviously we don’t agree with that cultural position.”

    So, god was wrong, eh?

    So much for god-based morality.

    “An atheist inability to appeal to a higher authority is an overwhelming obstacle”

    No, that’s just a false argument from authority. It’s not only a fallacy, it isn’t even a proper execution of that fallacy. It would need improvement just to achieve fallaciousness.

    “If morality is something to be thought about then it becomes subjective to each persons opinion. Whose opinion do we ultimately choose?”

    We talk over our opinions, like any other human disagreements. We may or may not reach agreement.

    “If you thought it was difficult to reconcile two religions try getting billions of indepedant thinkers to agree.”

    So we should go with the irrational, easy way instead of the sensible, difficult way? I disagree.

    “There is no doubt that it is difficult to reconcile religious differences. But that is because each religion considers its way to be correct.”

    Exactly.

    “If one particular religion is correct than the problem is not that there is a God the problem is that some people are following the wrong god.”

    And this question hasn’t been settled for all of human history, so why use a method with centuries of failure to determine something as important as morality?

    “Imagine how peaceful a world would be if we all fell in love with the one true God and together we followed his command to love others better than ourselves?”

    Wake me when that happens. In the meantime, I have to live in the real world.

    Here’s a real-world question for you: is polygamy moral?

    • Mr. Westley,

      Quick question. Are certain things right and certain things wrong?

      Thanks,
      John

    • “So god was wrong eh?” I think it is unfair for someone who does not believe in my God to tell me what he says. The Bible is a large book written over thousands of years. The words of scripture must be interpreted with an understanding of the audience that was originally being spoken to and the context of the time.

      God does not teach the mistreatment of people in any kind of employer employee relationship. Understanding the cultural context of work with a modern mind is an unfair assessment.

      “no that’s a false argument from authority. It’s not only a fallacy…”

      You have basically attacked my argument by saying it’s wrong or stupid. That is not attacking the argument. It’s just saying your wrong.

      Those with narcissistic tendencies would appeal only to themselves as the final answer. But most people naturally turn to an authority on a subject and they are wise not stupid for doing so.

      We turn to financiers for banking to Scientist for research ect.

      If a higher authority does exist than appealing to Him/Her/It would be superior than appealing to ourselves. The atheist model can only deny that this higher power exists. It does not provide a superior alternative.

      Atheist are stuck having to figure out morality for themselves.

      Judging the two by their own rules on deciding morality a position of faith is far easier to accept.

      The point is that Faith in God provides a superior system of understanding morality. People of faith can appeal. People without faith have no basis for morality other than opinion.

      • “The words of scripture must be interpreted with an understanding of the audience that was originally being spoken to and the context of the time. ”

        With those words you just dismissed your source of higher authority. When you say it must be interpreted correctly, interpreted by who? People, that’s who. So now you have people trying to determine whats moral. How is this different to what you suppose atheists are doing?

  3. “Here’s a real-world question for you: is polygamy moral?”

    Good Question. I wonder what the source of Higher Authority thinks.

    • Looks like nobody was brave enough to pick up the polygamy gauntlet.

      Color me unsurprised.

  4. dsoat:
    “I am saying that logically it would be superior to appeal to something or someone higher to prove a point rather than a peer.”

    But what do you do when two people have different higher authorities, and these authorities are completely opposite on some moral question?

    Is homosexuality moral? If not, should they be executed like the bible commands?

    John:
    “Are certain things right and certain things wrong?”

    Not by the declaration of some supernatural being, no; however, among actual humans, some moral questions will be widely agreed upon. Even so, there are few moral questions that are absolute — for example, the bible punishes rape with a simple fine, or even forcing the victim to marry the rapist. Few people would agree today that such laws are moral, but some people seemed to think so back in the primitive iron age.

    House Hut:
    “I wonder what the source of Higher Authority thinks.”

    Depends which one you ask, of course. That’s why referring to gods’ opinions doesn’t help.

    • How can there be moral questions that are absolute?

      Thanks,
      John

      • Why ask me? I haven’t been advocating that.

    • Mr. Westley,

      I’m sorry I must have misunderstood your response: ” Even so, there are few moral questions that are absolute —…” I think I see what you were referring to now.

      Unfortunately you never answered my original question. :-D

      Are certain things right or wrong?

      Do you abide by an ethical standard?

      If so, on what non-theistic philosophical foundation do you base it?

      Thanks,
      John

      • “Unfortunately you never answered my original question.”

        Yes, I did. Right here:

        “Are certain things right and certain things wrong?”

        Not by the declaration of some supernatural being, no; however, among actual humans, some moral questions will be widely agreed upon. Even so, there are few moral questions that are absolute — for example, the bible punishes rape with a simple fine, or even forcing the victim to marry the rapist. Few people would agree today that such laws are moral, but some people seemed to think so back in the primitive iron age.

        Notice that I didn’t give a simple yes or no answer, because the answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

        “Do you abide by an ethical standard?
        If so, on what non-theistic philosophical foundation do you base it?”

        I use my own judgement, not a formal philosophy.

    • So the individual determines what is right or wrong…

      Or society as a whole determines ethics…

      I’m afraid either way you end up in quite a quandary.

      Permit me the use of extreme examples (such as you initially used) to illustrate my point.

      If the individual determines ethics (i.e. “I use my own judgement…”), what argument can be made to the pedophile?

      On the other hand, if the wider community determines ethical rightness/wrongness as you also seem to indicate at time, then what is your problem with slavery? It was obviously approved of for quite sometime by societies.

      By the way, thank you for your polite and insightful dialogue, Mr. Westley.

      • “So the individual determines what is right or wrong…
        Or society as a whole determines ethics…
        I’m afraid either way you end up in quite a quandary.”

        The same is true if you think gods determine morality, only it’s even worse.

        “If the individual determines ethics (i.e. “I use my own judgement…”), what argument can be made to the pedophile?”

        Oh, the threat of being killed or imprisoned.

        How do you explain to a Muslim that Mohammad was being immoral when he had sex with his forth, nine-year-old wife Aisha?

        “On the other hand, if the wider community determines ethical rightness/wrongness as you also seem to indicate at time, then what is your problem with slavery? It was obviously approved of for quite sometime by societies.”

        And by the Christian god too, don’t forget. Or is the Southern Baptist Convention founded on a lie?

        If god-based morals are superior, why can I easily find immoral god-based morals like the above?

      • “On the other hand, if the wider community determines ethical rightness/wrongness as you also seem to indicate at time, then what is your problem with slavery? It was obviously approved of for quite sometime by societies.”

        Slavery is not approved of in my society. If I was raised in a slave holding society I probably wouldn’t see much wrong with it.

        You also might want to pick better examples as Brian has shown, you keep shooting yourself in the foot with that whole slavery thing. :)

      • You fellas crack me up. :-D

        First, you probably have little understanding of the “slavery system” that was implemented in the Jewish context of the Old Testament. If so, drawing any connection to the slavery that existed within in the USA is inconsistent at best or fallacious at worst.

        Second, the heart of the issue is WHY is slavery (or for that matter, murder or theft or rape ad nauseam) wrong.

        I will not argue the fact that many Christians have poorly interpreted the Scriptures through the years to protect sins deeply rooted in their culture. Christian theistic morality insists that they will answer for those wrongs.

        Christian theistic moralistic is based on their being 1 God who is supreme and judge of all. It is not our interpretation of Him that dictates truth and morality, but He Himself.

        The philosophic problem that both Brian and House Hut have failed to address is what basis do you determine what is right and wrong.

        Mr. Westley asked me how I would explain to a Muslim that Mohammad was being immoral. To be perfectly honest, that isn’t going to be my first topic of conversation with a Muslim. His problem is not having a pedophile for a prophet, but that he rejects the revelation (revealing if you will) that Christ is God, Lord, and Saviour.

      • ‘First, you probably have little understanding of the “slavery system” that was implemented in the Jewish context of the Old Testament.”

        So slavery is moral as long as you practice it the same way ancient Jews did? I wonder how many more things are moral as long as you do it in the Jewish way. Looks like I can sell my daughters as long as I’m doing it to avoid bankruptcy. How much should I ask for her?

        “Second, the heart of the issue is WHY is slavery (or for that matter, murder or theft or rape ad nauseam) wrong.”

        What? We’ve already answered this question. I guess not wanting to be made a slave yourself isn’t a good enough reason for a theist.

        “Christian theistic morality insists that they will answer for those wrongs. ”

        No they won’t. They could kill and eat your children and if they believe in the magic jebus all sins are forgiven.

        “It is not our interpretation of Him that dictates truth and morality, but He Himself.”

        Perfect, if god then Cthullu. You’ve just said we can’t understand gods morality and have no basis to know what is good except by the whimsical commands of a deity. Evil becomes totally unconnected to suffering and simply acting against the prohibitions of the same creature.

        “The philosophic problem that both Brian and House Hut have failed to address is what basis do you determine what is right and wrong.”

        We’ve gone over this. If you insist on sticking your fingers in your ears we can’t stop you.

        “… but that he rejects the revelation (revealing if you will)…”

        Yeah that’s so much more productive.

        Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein

  5. “Do you abide by an ethical standard?
    If so, on what non-theistic philosophical foundation do you base it?”

    The golden rule with the modification. You need to watch out for Masochists, Sadists and Theists. Masochists like receiving pain too much. Sadists like inflicting pain too much. Theists will do anything if they believe their god commands it.

    • I find it interesting Mr. House Hut that you summarize your ethical standard with the statement of a man that claimed to be God. :-D

    • :-D

      Sorry, I had forgotten about the broad application of that appellation. Conversing primarily in my Christocentric circles, I sometimes forget that.

      I like you quick wit though. Kudos.

      In the end though, I still wonder as to what the philosophic basis for abiding by such a rule is. I accept the moral code presented in Scriptures, because I accept the Bible as divine revelation. Succinctly, God (using certain people, personalities, and styles) wrote the Bible. God has the right to make the rules. I broke the rules. I need forgiveness through Christ.

      I may interpret the Scriptures wrong, but that does not change objective truth.

      My question, Mr. Hut, is why should one follow the Golden rule?

      • “Sorry, I had forgotten about the broad application of that appellation.”

        There’s also something to be said for co-opting other peoples beliefs and then claiming that your deity did it. Christianity is a patchwork of other older religious beliefs. Sometimes you forget that too.

        “In the end though, I still wonder as to what the philosophic basis for abiding by such a rule is.”

        Thinking that, “Hey I don’t want to be Raped, or Murdered, or made into a Slave. I wonder if other people don’t want that to happen to them either?” isn’t enough for you? Seeing it happen to others, you form a group of people who don’t want to get raped and murdered or made into a slave. Then going around and hunting down the people who do those things to make yourself more secure doesn’t seem logical to you?

        “God (using certain people, personalities, and styles) wrote the Bible. ”
        Why change styles? Is it more believable that god has multiple personality disorder or that Multiple people claimed to be writing for god? Certainly an Omniscient person would have no difficulty to write in a clearly understood fashion, yet we have evidence of continual rewrites, and even squabbling over interpretation of what the bible is actually saying.

        “I broke the rules.”

        What rule did you break?

  6. • Slavery may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Demeaning women may be approved by the Bible…but it is morally wrong.
    • Killing of pregnant women, babies, and children may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Raping of women and children may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Telling lies to convert people to Christianity may be approved by churches…but it is morally wrong.
    • Killing people accused of witchcraft may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Committing genocide may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Religious intolerance may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Killing of children for childish behavior may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Keeping women from leadership may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Killing those who disagree with you may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Killing a man who takes a wife from another tribe may be approved by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Human sacrifice may be allowed by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Animal sacrifice may be enjoyable to God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Murdering people for taking a census ordered by Himself may be allowed by God…but it is morally wrong
    • Murder of those who do not follow Jesus is allowed by God…but it is morally wrong.
    • Murdering homosexuals is allowed by God…but it is morally wrong.
    “God is a being of terrific character…cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.” Thomas Jefferson

    • Hi word of me,

      Simply question. How have you decided those things are morally wrong? On what philosophic/intellectual basis.

      Thanks.

      • Golden Rule I suppose. I have a pretty good sense of empathy and just from living among people for over 60 years I understand what is right and wrong. Sometimes I may agree with the Biblical ways…sometimes not.

        I take my clues from humanity and what I perceive to be human rights.

        I’m an atheist, but that doesn’t give me leave to go out and rape and murder…that’s just stupid and the Christians that believe they would rape and kill except for their religiosity are veeeerrry stupid.

  7. God and Jesus were not Christians, but actually they do not exist so, you follow the logic.

    • Hi word of me,

      I will save arguing the existence of God for another day (I’m getting rather tired at the moment), but I will note that you are going to have quite a difficult time disproving the literal, historical reality of Christ. You may dispute or reject His claims, but I would challenge you to present a coherent, consistent argument for His lack of existence.

      Thanks,
      John

      • Not trying to start up that argument…maybe later. Actually Jesus is kind of easy. :-)

      • “I would challenge you to present a coherent, consistent argument for His lack of existence.”

        Russel’s Tea Pot much? Since you’ve presented no evidence for god I’ve already won.

      • Ah, Russel’s Teapot.

        Naturalists (or positivists or however exactly you define your philosophic foundation) probably aren’t the wisest to begin down a presuppositional argument based on falsability.

        Since you have presented no verifiable, observable evidence for genesis without a Cause, you have lost on your front as well.

        If Bertrand’s idea IS CONSISTENTLY applied, it becomes quite a double-edged sword.

      • “If Bertrand’s idea IS CONSISTENTLY applied, it becomes quite a double-edged sword.”

        Move the goalposts much? If you wish to hide under the rock of not believing the universe exists you’re not going to get anywhere.

      • Uniformitarianism?

        Abiogenesis?

      • No John,

        You are saying the God exists now. I’m asking you to prove it. Moving the goalposts to start talking about the beginning of the universe is a nice distraction but doesn’t work.

  8. I wonder if dsoat regrets drive by trolling atheist forums to drive up his site hits?

    • I am really glad you stopped by. I think a logical person would easily see a number of flaws in your arguments. I appreciate each of your comments very much. They have been helpful in understanding where you are coming from.

      John has made some really good points that have not been answered. You have been fixated on the slavery argument and have not addressed some of the points that have arisen. Others have had some good arguments but I am waiting to see a logical argument that answers the question of morality posed.

      Here we go I guess.

      • “I think a logical person would easily see a number of flaws in your arguments.”

        You could always name them.

        “John has made some really good points that have not been answered.”

        You could name those too.

        “You have been fixated on the slavery argument and have not addressed some of the points that have arisen. ”

        Again you could always name them.

        “I am waiting to see a logical argument that answers the question of morality posed. ”

        You could always present one. Goddidit is not a logical argument.

        We have. Society decides what is moral and they change over time. The morals you have now (for all I know) concerning your views on the Equality of Women, Slaves, and Race are not the same you would have 500 years ago. If you don’t follow the dictates of your own society’s morals, you are removed from society by prison or death or exile.

        Furthermore even if there was an absolute moral standard from which to hold people accountable It still doesn’t work as it’s undercut by the dogma of your own religion.

        On one hand you purport to hold an absolute moral standard from which to measure people against and hold them accountable and derive all of your supposed morality from, then tell them to forget all that noise as long as they believe a mythical Jew they will go live in a magical fantasy land. There is no reason for people to follow your morality if the end result is they end up in heaven.

  9. Hi House Hut,

    Yeah, I don’t see him answering very much of his replies.

  10. I may interpret the Scriptures wrong, but that does not change objective truth.

    As I pointed out earlier, the above is indistinguishable from there being no objective truth.

    The philosophic problem that both Brian and House Hut have failed to address is what basis do you determine what is right and wrong.

    I’d say we’ve both addressed it, and you simply fail to accept it. It’s humans all the way down. Right and wrong really are just opinions; if there is an objective right & wrong, there is no known method to determine what they are to everyone’s satisfaction, so we’re STILL back to people’s opinions on what is right and wrong. And that’s all the better it’s ever going to get.

    • Fair enough response. I think we have finally arrived at the crux.

      As I pointed out earlier, the above is indistinguishable from there being no objective truth.

      What you misunderstand is that within this system God is the arbiter of objective truth. Simply because I choose not to accept it does not mean it does not exist.

      As to your response, I will accept your conclusion that both you and House Hut have no basis for objective morality. Therefore it must be relative. I would argue then that relative morality is in essence no morality at all. (a la Michel Foucault). The difficulty in that position is that God has created within you a natural law that we would call conscience. You will instinctively be bother by ever monster you see paraded on the evening news, and yet your philosophic position only allows you to speak relatively rather than objectively.

      I can say that Hitler was evil–without doubt, equivocation, and with complete consistency in my metaphysics. I am afraid that you may not.

      Once again thank you for the respectful and thoughtful conversation. So often these devolve into a shouting match on both sides. :-D

    • “The difficulty in that position is that God has created within you a natural law that we would call conscience.”

      Fire is hot, & water is wet because god made it that way? WRONG. You don’t latch onto a physical property of existence and then claim that god put it there likewise for bio and neurological structures. We have a conscience because man has evolved as a cooperative social animal.

      “You will instinctively be bother by ever monster you see paraded on the evening news…”

      Yes and the fact that the monsters were acting against the golden rule and increasing the suffering of others. I don’t understand how you can’t grasp that.

      “I can say that Hitler was evil–without doubt, equivocation, and with complete consistency in my metaphysics.”

      Prove it. What divine scripture was Hitler acting against? He was ever proclaiming he was doing god’s work.

      “I am afraid that you may not.”

      If you cant understand through the simplistic rules that we’ve laid out for you that genocide and mass murder are bad, especially since it contradicts the teaching in your own holy books, there’s really no point in continuing this conversation.

      • “Yes and the fact that the monsters were acting against the golden rule and increasing the suffering of others. I don’t understand how you can’t grasp that.”

        I can’t grasp that, because I have yet to see a coherent explanation for the origin of ethics from a positivist’s perspective. Especially if you provide a sociological/neurological basis for a conscience (“We have a conscience because man has evolved as a cooperative social animal.”), you have undermined your ethic, because it then becomes an artificial construct.

        Have you read any post-modernist’s works? While in many ways they are quite looney (yes, that’s a technical term :-D ), they have provided an interesting critique of modernism. If conscience is but the evolutionary product of a cooperative social animal, then we are free from it’s bonds to do as we please…ergo relativism reigns supreme.

        “Prove it. What divine scripture was Hitler acting against? He was ever proclaiming he was doing god’s work.”

        Just because he was claiming to do God’s work doesn’t mean that he was. Beginning at the beginning of the NT, Hitler was acting clearly against the dictates of the Sermon on the Mount.

        If some other scripture claimed to be divine and justified his actions, then those truth-claims must be evaluated. Two opposite claims cannot both be true.

        “If you cant understand through the simplistic rules that we’ve laid out for you that genocide and mass murder are bad, especially since it contradicts the teaching in your own holy books, there’s really no point in continuing this conversation.”

        Hey House Hut, calm down a second. Apparently I’m not the brightest lightbulb in the box (no comments please), but I must have missed the non-theistic ethical basis that you are purporting to have disclosed. Simply stating “Golden Rule” is not sufficient. On what grounds is that based? If conscience is merely a random evolutionary result, why is it to be obeyed. Why may I not cheat on my wife, steal from my neighbor, and do whatever jolly well I please?

        Christian theism gives a clear answer. God declares truth, and I will be judged by that truth.

      • House Hut,

        I posted this in a reply to Mr. Westley but I thought I should give you the same direct courtesy.

        I feel that we have arrived at an impasse. Neither yourself nor Mr. Westley have been willing to provide a clear reasoning for having a system of ethics without a god. As such I had probably suspend my dialogue for now (I do have to get some other work done :-) ) I appreciate the conversation and I will pray that you accept the clear revelation that there is a God, and He is the God of the Bible.

        If at any point you would like to continue this conversation, I’ll make sure I stop back by.

        In Christ,
        John

      • In the Bill O’Reilly interview that I posted Dawkins admits that Hitler is an atheist. Survival of the fittest through natural selection is the conerstone to racism. One of the most decorated foreign flim’s of all time is Benini’s LIfe is Beautiful.

        A scene early in the film demonstrates the racial prejudice created by evolutionary theory. If man is evolving to a better form than it could be logical to conclude that a certain race is superior to another. Evolutionary atheism was the seed thought that grew the holocaust. It was Hitler’s intention to eradicate an inferior race.

        The Bible advocates an equality for all mankind. Both by God saying he loves the entire world and that we should love our fellow man.

      • “In the Bill O’Reilly interview that I posted Dawkins admits that Hitler is an atheist.”

        You must have watched a different interview than the one you posted. The closest you get is the mention of Stalin and Hitler having mustaches.

        The church still claims Hitler as a Christian as he still hasn’t been excommunicated. I guess he still gets his shot at the magical fantasyland no matter how monstrous he behaved in this world. I hope you realize this is an example of just how useless your idea of absolute morality actually is.

        Are you willing to say that someone is an Atheist nomatter their origins or baptism, or what they proclaim in their personal writings or speeches? If so you are one too. Welcome to the club!

        “Survival of the fittest through natural selection is the conerstone to…”
        You might want to educate yourself as to what the words mean, their origin and misuse, before trying to use them in a failed attempt to bolster the ground for your mythology and the supposed evils of evolution.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest

        “The Bible advocates an equality for all mankind. Both by God saying he loves the entire world and that we should love our fellow man.”
        You must be using a unique version of the bible, its missing a bunch of pages for all the times that god commands you to rip out the wombs of pregnant women, dash the little ones against the rocks and stoning people to death. Do you handwaive it all away as a metaphor if so which parts of the bible are hyperbole and which are to be believed? If instead you say it was the sayings and beliefs of a people in the past, you’ve just thrown away your sources of absolute morality.

  11. What you misunderstand is that within this system God is the arbiter of objective truth.

    What you misunderstand is that god is merely your opinion, nothing more.

    As to your response, I will accept your conclusion that both you and House Hut have no basis for objective morality.

    Neither do you. Or are you ready to accept and support the death penalty for homosexual acts, and mere fines for rape? Your god, you’re stuck with his “morals.”

    I would argue then that relative morality is in essence no morality at all. (a la Michel Foucault). ?

    And again, that’s just your opinion against mine. Sorry, no matter how hard you insist that your morality somehow “trumps” mine because you can create an imaginary god to enforce your views, it doesn’t change reality that it’s just your opinion against mine.

    • Mr. Westley,

      I am willing to consider your position carefully. If there is no god (as you say), then morality is a joke. I ought do as I please and think as I please, because there is no Judge and no self-consistent philosophy for establishing an ethical system. If a ethics/morality/conscience are merely constructs of an evolutionary process (be it sociological, neurological, biochemical, etc), the moment that I realize that it, I am free to act autonomously (see Michel Foucault).

      Be reminded, though, that each time you sense guilt or you witness an act and conclude it evil, it is but a vestige of the natural law that God created with in you.

      I feel that we have arrived at an impasse. Neither House Hut nor yourself have been willing to provide a clear reasoning for having a system of ethics without a god. As such I had probably suspend my dialogue for now (I do have to get some other work done :-) ) I appreciate the conversation and I will pray that you accept the clear revelation that there is a God, and He is the God of the Bible.

      If at any point you would like to continue this conversation, I’ll make sure I stop back by.

      In Christ,
      John

      • You keep asking “why should we act in a manner to facilitate societal function” and then answering yourself “because god says so.” So why don’t you ask yourself, “why should god say so?” and then answer “because it facilitates societal function!”

        Your logic is vastly circular and allows for atrocities not present in secular ethics. If it’s good because god says it, then anything god says is good, regardless of what it is. In this view (strongly strongly reinforced by the fable of Isaac) even if god orders atrocities the atrocities are inherently good. They have to be because god is good. And god is good because he is. End of story. Where any thinking person will say “Killing my son is definitely NOT good. Comitting genocide is definitely NOT good. Forcing a daughter who is raped to marry the rapist or be put to death is NOT good. Infinte suffering for finite sins is definitely NOT good.”

      • Ah Mr. Kirk…define for me secular ethics and give me a basis and I will address it. No one has yet explained why I should try to benefit society and not myself solely.

        You, however, do understand my point though you may reject it. God is good. Period. Full stop. Everything he does is right. If I think He is wrong, it is because I do not understand.

        Part of our problem comes from the modern epistemology (way of knowing truth) that stems from Descartes. I think therefore I am. I am autonomous and I am able to determine truth.

        The Bible presents a define view. The prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is desperately wicked, who can know it?” The apostle Paul declared, “There is none good no not one. There are none righteous no not one.” Elsewhere he says, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” God does not have to measure up to an external standard of truth/right/goodness. He is that standard.

        Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He was not proposing one solution among many. His use of the definitive article is, well, definitive.

      • So why is the bible better than the Talmud, Quran or Baghavad as far as where ultimate morality comes from? And, concerning the bible, why are you supportive of some parts of god’s word but not others? How do you decide what’s good and worth keeping and what’s not?

        I’m telling you that authoritarian morality is immoral on its face because it allows for immoral acts; and then you tell me that secular morality isn’t authoritarian enough. I tell you that proscriptive morality is immoral on its face because anything that separates everything in the world into right and wrong without allowing for context is going to inevitable condone immoral action; and you complain that secular morality isn’t proscriptive enough.

        Here’s a quick rundown of how secular ethics work. it’s the assertion that, in all decisions, we should attempt to increase both actual and potential happiness for the individual and society, and decrease both actual and potential suffering for the individual and society on the basis that happiness is something to be strived for and suffering is something to be avoided when possible. It also means that there are so many different answers to any decision that the only way to ensure actual happiness is to ensure the freedom to make a decision while not being adversely affected by the decisions of others.

        Secular ethics also holds one simple thought that i’m sure christians can get behind, every decision we make is immoral. Only instead of it being immoral because some guy who said he heard god wrote it down, it’s immoral because in order to make a perfectly moral decision would require infinite knowledge which is impossible. So the goal is for each subsequent decision, law, governing principle, etc. to be less immoral than the ones before it. It requires of each of us to question our assumptions and adjust our policies to accomodate the evdience. It’s not easy, and it’s not black and white. And you can’t bring up some situation and then decide whether or not it’s moral regardless of the instance.

        As an example, some people will say, is homosexuality moral? For christian ethics it’s easy, god said it isn’t therefore it isn’t. For secular ethics it’s almost a nonsensical question. You don’t ask if it’s moral, you ask if the restriction of it is moral. To that, you have to conclude that restricting sexuality greatly increases suffering on both an individual level for obvious reasons, and the societal level because restricting freedoms that do not harm other citizens is socially harmful. And it does it without increasing happiness except for the schadenfruede of bitter bigots quietly making love to their dancing boys in conservative closets. So secular ethics concludes the restriction of sexuality by a governing body is immoral. That the only moral recourse is to allow the citizens to decide for themselves what’s best for themselves as long as they aren’t doing anything that harms their fellow citizens.

        It’s a very simple and short explanation and there is actually quite a lot of disagreement about it. The other stance is called moral error theory, and that argues that morality can never be objective. The point, though, is that both camps have concluded for obvious reasons that religious morality is immoral.

  12. If there is no god (as you say), then morality is a joke.

    I disagree completely.

    I ought do as I please and think as I please, because there is no Judge

    Sorry, there are plenty of humans around to judge you, and they (and I) will be ready to lock you in a cage or even kill you if you don’t behave.

    and no self-consistent philosophy for establishing an ethical system.

    Wrong again. Gods are NOT the only self-consistent philosophies for establishing an ethical system. I’d says gods are about the WORST way to do so.

    If a ethics/morality/conscience are merely constructs of an evolutionary process (be it sociological, neurological, biochemical, etc), the moment that I realize that it, I am free to act autonomously (see Michel Foucault).

    You’re only “free” to do so until you get locked in a cage, or killed.

    Be reminded, though, that each time you sense guilt or you witness an act and conclude it evil, it is but a vestige of the natural law that God created with in you

    No, that’s human empathy, something we’ve evolved to cooperate as social animals. No gods involved.

    I feel that we have arrived at an impasse. Neither House Hut nor yourself have been willing to provide a clear reasoning for having a system of ethics without a god.

    Yes, we have. You keep refusing to see it, because you refuse to see any ethical system that doesn’t involve gods.

  13. By the way Mr Grasty, could you explain your position on these?

    1) is a system of slavery that follows the biblical model moral?
    2) is the death penalty for homosexual acts moral?
    3) is an imposed fine (or force marriage) a moral penalty for rape?

    Thanks. Please do answer the above.

  14. slavery fits in perfect with an atheist world view. evolution main principle is ‘survival of the fittest’. for those to dumb to understand let me translate. survival of the fittest means
    survival of the strongest need more translation , in essence, might makes right. if person a is stronger than person b. it is only logical to , coerce, or force them to do what you want them to , as you are superior .

    • “for those to dumb to understand let me translate. survival of the fittest means
      survival of the strongest”

      You have obviously never taken a high school science course… or if you did you took it and failed miserably. Survival of the fittest means the individuals of a population best adapted for their environment will live to adult-hood and thus be better positioned to increase the “fitness” of their species by progenating.

      For those too dumb to understand, survival of the fittest means the fittest members of a wild species are the ones who have the most successful off-spring.

  15. The moral argument from the very beginning shifts the burden from itself onto those not making outlandish claims about the nature of morality and ethics.

    If you are going to claim that you have an authority that gives you a special sense of morality, it automatically falls upon you to prove that claim. You must prove that your authority is also objective, because if your authority is simply giving you subjective edicts, you would be making a case not for superior morality but instead for authoritarianism. Your moral views would be on equal subjective footing with the rest of us.

    So go ahead. Instead of shifting the burden of proof onto those you disagree with, prove your assertions with logic.

    • The theory of Evolution asserts that because there are similarities between apes and people that people must have evolved from an ape like species. Let me take that argument to the realm of ethics. Because all of human kind has an innate understanding of fundamental right and wrong. Stealing is a universal wrong. No person would ever approve of stealing if the victim is themself.

      It is only logical to assume that a thread of morality so consistent is a result of a singular creator.

      • >>The theory of Evolution asserts that because there are similarities between apes and people that people must have evolved from an ape like species.

        Actually it was a Christian Creationist who insisted that we are a type of ape. Ever heard of Carl Linnaeus? He is the father of taxonomy, and just observing nature and trying to categorize “God’s creation” lead him to the startling conclusion that there is no categorical difference between apes and ourselves. In fact he pleaded that someone show him his error!

        Look at “Quadrupedia” and “Anthromorphia.” There we are under “Homo” right next to the other apes.

        http://linnaeus.c18.net/Letters/display_txt.php?id_letter=L0783

        A translation I found of the passage in question is:
        It does not please [you] that I’ve placed Man among the Antropomorpha, but man learns to know himself. Let’s not quibble over words. It will be the same to me whatever name we apply. But I seek from you and from the whole world a generic difference between man and simian that [follows] from the principles of Natural History. I absolutely know of none. If only someone might tell me a single one! If I would have called man a simian or vice versa, I would have brought together all the theologians against me. Perhaps I ought to have by virtue of the law of the discipline.

        >>Let me take that argument to the realm of ethics. Because all of human kind has an innate understanding of fundamental right and wrong. Stealing is a universal wrong. No person would ever approve of stealing if the victim is themself.

        Is it universal? In some cultures it could be considered stealing to have sex with a virgin without having first married her, because the carnal act makes her worthless as an offering to a prospective husband (who demands a virgin woman). In others it is stealing to take bread if you are starving to death. In America taxes are viewed as theft by some people, in Europe they are seen as a duty. Here is it is considered theft to listen to The Beatles on youtube or bittorrent, but in Russia it isn’t.

        >>It is only logical to assume that a thread of morality so consistent is a result of a singular creator.

        Except it isn’t consistent. Also, even if the moral sense of theft were absolutely consistent with humans, it is completely different in the animal kingdom, which should not be the case with a truly objective moral. An objective moral should be something like a natural law, binding to everyone regardless of race, or species.

        Also, this doesn’t even address your assumption that a common trait requires a creator. If morality were a purely genetic construct, then it could be an evolved system which is the same across a species because traits are inherited and thus pass into the population.

  16. I have so many things I want to say. So many things I disagree with, so many points I want to make on both sides just to make the two sides understand each other and stop trying to make the other agree. I’ll save you a lot of typing: YOU’RE NOT GOING TO AGREE. Both of you are going to have a comeback, both of you think you’re right, and there is simply no changing it. I know, we’re stubborn. Believe me, when someone tells me I’M wrong when I KNOW I’m right, it’s hard to let it go. But I can’t help make some points:
    a) I think it’s stupid to question God based on people’s wrong decisions.
    b) So, no matter what kind of person you are, if you don’t believe in God, you go to hell. Right.
    c) I think we are all hypocrites because, yes, those like Hitler who claim to serve God. But you criticize people for believing God is right and we are wrong, but who are you to say you are right?
    d) Everyone interprets things differently. Who are we to decide how we got here. I believe in some higher form of power (note ^ agnostic), but I’ll find out when I come to it.
    e) Actually… this list will continue on for a long time, and I’m being a bit hypocritical myself. I’m wasting my time trying to change people’s opinions, and I’m not trying to offend anyone in telling them they’re wrong, I’m just stating my opinions because I’m just so stubborn (again, note name^)
    So long

  17. I think this article sums up what happened here.

    http://www.blondenonbeliever.com/2011/07/rough-outline-for-all-theistatheist.html

  18. The often repeated theme that atheists have no reason to be moral without a god is probably the most popular and repeated myth made about atheism. The claims come in a variety of forms but they are all based on the assumption that the ONLY source of morality is from a God on high, a religion…and preferably only the Christian one. Therefore, without Christianity humans cannot live moral lives. This of course automatically deprecates all other religions on this planet.

    The thing I find most amazing is that Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindu’s, and the myriad other denominations, sects, and cults in the world have been trying for maybe three plus millennia to prove that there IS a God…and they have ALL totally, completely, entirely failed. They all have stories that depend on magic…that envisions demons, devils, ghosts, angels, etc., and they all were formed a few thousand years ago when mankind was going through a huge god-making period in our history…conveniently forgetting that humans have been roaming around the earth for 200,000 years or so without a need for really invasive gods.

    So anyway, there is no god or gods, therefore all this morality the Christians talk about is just made up by some goat herder desert dwellers a few thousand years ago. In other words morals come from mankind. Wars and kindness comes from man. Good and evil comes from man. We are ultimately responsible for ALL that goes on in our history, culture, and civilizations…a non-existent god cannot be blamed for our shortcomings or our triumphs.


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