Eternal Punishment: Is it EVER just?

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Eternal Punishment: Is it EVER just?

I was listening to another of Dan Barker's debates, and he discussed the idea of divine justice. I'd like to expound.

Is it EVER just to condemn someone to "hell" or even human prison for an eternity?

I would argue that it is NOT just to condemn someone for eternity, and I will use Hitler as an example, since he is considered the most evil person ever to exist.

1. REHABILITATION AND FAIR JUSTICE. The human justice system relies on rehabilitation. Granted there are some crimes for which we condemn people to death, but I would argue that only the most extreme cases, ie mass murderers like Saddam Hussein deserve such a fate. If God has the ultimate means by which to rehabilitate someone, his goal should be the same. I would contend that even though Hitler orchestrated the deaths of millions of people, and we sentenced him to 100 years in prison for each of the 6 million people that he killed, that would still be 600 million years. That is NOT eternity. And I am inclined to believe that after 600 million years, EVEN Hitler would be rehabilitated and will have served his time. Snuffing out his soul altogether or giving him "eternal" punishment is unjust, yes, even for Hitler. If he can be rehabilitated, there is no reason to banish him for eternity.

2. MENTAL PROBLEMS / BAD CHILDHOOD ENVIRONMENT. Many criminals, including Hitler, I will argue, are either mentally insane or mentally disturbed in some other way. Who is responsible for the mental derangement? Well, it could either be a genetic problem (which is God's fault), or it is an environmental problem (which is not out of God's grasp to change). Of course, some will argue that one can actually choose to commit a crime without any fault on anyone else. I accept that. But for those individuals, the rehabilitation point above applies. In any event, when a mentally insane person such as Charles Manson goes to the eternal realm, will they still be mentally insane? And is it just to punish someone for eternity for something that is not completely in their control? Why not fix their mental derangement (that relies on the physical structure of the brain) with magic wand or use a God-created rehabilitation program for those who owe their derangement to their environment?

-- And on a tangent, I have stated before that I do not believe in a soul, and only in the brain. I cannot understand how a "soul" could interact with a human brain. If you die and go to a spiritual realm, do you keep your brain? If you are an Alzheimer's patient, do you keep your Alzheimer's brain, or do you reclaim the pre-Alzheimer's brain that is "YOU"? If you're mentally insane, do you get a new non-insane brain? If you have a stroke and lose your ability to speak, do you regain speech in heaven? These are all serious problems for the theist.

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In conclusion, it is NEVER just for ANY human being to be tortured in "hell" for eternity; not even Hitler. This is because bad people either A) owe their "badness" to a poor environment or poor genetics or B) they can be rehabilitated in a finite period of time (even if it is hundreds of millions or even billions of years.

---

AND; even if one is not rehabilitated in 600 million years, the "parole board" can extend another 600 million years.

In any event, God ALREADY KNOWS whether the person will be rehabilitated or not. I have a hard time believing that all the people sent to hell, with God's forethought, deserve eternal punishment. God would have to already have known that NO ONE in hell could be rehabilitated, so they all will suffer for eternity.

Are we to believe that the short time, at most 100 years, on Earth is the ONLY time for which we will be judged? No chance for rehabilitation after life? How is that just?

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Finally, if you can conceive of eternity, EVEN a number as high as 1 trillion years is INFANTESSIMALY smaller than eternity. 1 trillion years will be like a POINT on an infinite timeline. The concept of eternal punishment is completely insane.

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As Dan Barker says, "If the Christian God exists, I will PROUDLY go to hell. The Christian God is morally bankrupt."


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Dan Barker, when discussing

Dan Barker, when discussing justice, stated that it would be unjust to send a child to prison for life for stealing a cookie.

 Although he does not go further and analogize, I will.  Sending a non-believer to hell for eternity is like sending a child to prison for life for stealing a cookie.


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Very good points. David

Very good points. David Mills has a chapter in "Atheist Universe" that is pretty similar.


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Eternal punishment is

Eternal punishment is justified, provided your sin was also eternal. Basically, you'd need to stab a guy or have premarital sex for all eternity and then when you're done with that you go to hell for all eternity. You crazy atheists, it's so simple!

Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.


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Additionally, consider

Additionally, consider this:

 If everyone's soul is eternal anyway, and all people killed by any individual on Earth will live eternally anyway, how is that worthy of eternal punishment?

 I actually think we punish people MORE effectively and more equitably if we DO NOT believe in eternal souls.  If you destroy someone's life, and there's nothing left of them, then that is much more offensive than "liberating" someone from his or her mortal coil.

Atheism is MORE just.

Furthermore, one could argue that killing someone is noble and moral in order to liberate them and send them to heaven.  HOW BARBARIC!

 In any event, if Christianity is true, murderers should definitely not be punished for eternity if they didn't REALLY kill anything!!!  Whatever they kill will live for eternity anyway, so what's the big deal?

 Atheism offers a vastly more moral justice system.


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doctoro

doctoro wrote:

Additionally, consider this:

If everyone's soul is eternal anyway, and all people killed by any individual on Earth will live eternally anyway, how is that worthy of eternal punishment?

I actually think we punish people MORE effectively and more equitably if we DO NOT believe in eternal souls. If you destroy someone's life, and there's nothing left of them, then that is much more offensive than "liberating" someone from his or her mortal coil.

Atheism is MORE just.

Furthermore, one could argue that killing someone is noble and moral in order to liberate them and send them to heaven. HOW BARBARIC!

In any event, if Christianity is true, murderers should definitely not be punished for eternity if they didn't REALLY kill anything!!! Whatever they kill will live for eternity anyway, so what's the big deal?

Atheism offers a vastly more moral justice system.

 

I was just about to say the same thing before I read your post. If the soul is eternal, and a killing a person only brings them to god sooner, murder is doing the victim a favor. Why would that be considered a sin? And suicide is just bringing yourself to god sooner.


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Hell, anything's just when

Hell, anything's just when you're a GOD!  Haven't you guys been paying attention?  You can do whatever you want and humans still have to worship you otherwise you'll go to HELL!  And you don't want to do that, do you?

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doctoro wrote: . Atheism

doctoro wrote:

.

Atheism is MORE just.


Atheism offers a vastly more moral justice system.

please who defines what is just or not, for you guys it can't be God obviously because that would totally contridict your "faith," it can't be humans cause according to another atheist user in a thread, moral laws are not absolute, but rather based off ones own emotions, and customs that were brought upon them when they were brought up by their parents

I just can't see how a flawed human moral justice system can be "vastly superior" to a supreme moral entity (that being the God of all)

AModestProposal wrote:

I was just about to say the same thing before I read your post. If the soul is eternal, and a killing a person only brings them to god sooner, murder is doing the victim a favor. Why would that be considered a sin? And suicide is just bringing yourself to god sooner.

You are indicating that something always good would happen to the murdered  

 


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Ah memories. This is the

Ah memories. This is the philosophical evidence against god that ran through my head before I was old enough to know enough science to disprove god that way.

If god exists, god is evil(a term I do not use lightly), and does not deserve my worship. The devil, being opposite, is actually good, and therefore a place in hell is to be desired. So even if I'm wrong about there being no god, I managed to set my so-called peaceful afterlife up ahead of time by disbelieving in it.

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Vastet wrote: Ah memories.

Vastet wrote:

Ah memories. This is the philosophical evidence against god that ran through my head before I was old enough to know enough science to disprove god that way.

If god exists, god is evil(a term I do not use lightly), and does not deserve my worship. The devil, being opposite, is actually good, and therefore a place in hell is to be desired. So even if I'm wrong about there being no god, I managed to set my so-called peaceful afterlife up ahead of time by disbelieving in it.

 

I'm not sure i'm understanding this but

"if God exists, God is evil" quotable fact? or opinion, opinions just show how our morals are flawed and incappable of creating a perfect moral justice system that can undermine the establishment of justice God has already created 


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It's a lot easier to say it

It's a lot easier to say it than explain it. But lets have a go.

Assumption: God exists and is the creator of all.

In order to create everything, one must know everything. Therefore god is omniscient.

If god is omniscient, then god knows everything that is going to happen. Choice is non-existant. It may seem that you have a choice, but god already knows what you're going to do, so you really don't. It's just an illusion.

So god created a species on a world that is less than perfect for it. God deliberately left very little evidence regarding it's existance. God then let his subjects wander for thousands of years before even laying down the ground rules through jesus(specifying christianty and related religions, but the argument can be adapted to suit the religion) that everyone was already subject to. God then deliberately chose to reveal his rules to a very select few in a relatively remote part of the world, ignoring the rest of the species. Yet god judges all humans by rules that the majority have never even been aware of, let alone knows. By default, non-belief sends one to eternal torment. Therefore, god deliberately created a species, set down ground rules without informing people of them, judges people on rules they don't know about, and sentences them to ETERNAL TORMENT just because he didn't feel like informing them.

If it isn't evil to create a species knowing that you are subjecting the majority of them to torture, I don't know what is.

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Vastet wrote: It's a lot

Vastet wrote:

It's a lot easier to say it than explain it. But lets have a go.

Assumption: God exists and is the creator of all.

In order to create everything, one must know everything. Therefore god is omniscient.

If god is omniscient, then god knows everything that is going to happen. Choice is non-existant. It may seem that you have a choice, but god already knows what you're going to do, so you really don't. It's just an illusion.

So god created a species on a world that is less than perfect for it. God deliberately left very little evidence regarding it's existance. God then let his subjects wander for thousands of years before even laying down the ground rules through jesus(specifying christianty and related religions, but the argument can be adapted to suit the religion) that everyone was already subject to. God then deliberately chose to reveal his rules to a very select few in a relatively remote part of the world, ignoring the rest of the species. Yet god judges all humans by rules that the majority have never even been aware of, let alone knows. By default, non-belief sends one to eternal torment. Therefore, god deliberately created a species, set down ground rules without informing people of them, judges people on rules they don't know about, and sentences them to ETERNAL TORMENT just because he didn't feel like informing them.

If it isn't evil to create a species knowing that you are subjecting the majority of them to torture, I don't know what is.

 

ok let me throw this

God = Absolute moral giver

Moral Laws= come from a creator/giver, in this case morals would have to be absolute, thus would have to come from God

Consciousness= Our moral guidelines, even those tribal people on scattered islands have some sort of definition of what is right and wrong in their eyes.

Btw, God laid down the rules with Adam and Eve (well sort of haha) then the commandments and so on

 


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Quote: in this case morals

Quote:
in this case morals would have to be absolute

 

So we can agree everything that a massmurderer thinks is moral is really moral? Everyone also agrees with the PETA? You agree with me on everything (Moral wise)? 

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Good post.This happens to be

Good post.
This happens to be my favourite angle when arguing against fundies.
One criticism I'd make to your post is that you prove it nicely on our terms but use 'premises' that fundies wouldn't accept.

The fundy audience might reject that rehabilitation is better than punishment. (some of them say that Jesus is your chance of rehabilitation, but that's missing the point - especially as they say he lets you off justice. We're saying rehab is the justice that all deserve.) Point one could use some supplimenting to bolster this point.
Point 2 could use some supplimentation to rebuke the old "don't use genetics/environment as an excuse - you have your own free will" argument, ask why they'd allow a child/mentally ill person do things that they wouldn't tolerate from a full adult if we all have 'free will' and are all fully responsible for our actions.

All in all, a very good argument.
I think the 'moral' arguments are the best ones to fight fundamentalism as they are ones that moderates will support as well.

doc101 wrote:
doctoro wrote:

Atheism is MORE just.


Atheism offers a vastly more moral justice system.


I just can't see how a flawed human moral justice system can be "vastly superior" to a supreme moral entity (that being the God of all)


The point is, our 'flawed human moral justice' is 'vastly superior' to the sort of justice that the Bible talks of. So a supreme moral entity would have a justice system closer to ours than the ones Christians preach.

Conclusion = Christian God sucks! Sticking out tongue


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doc101 wrote:defines what

doc101 wrote:
defines what is just or not, for you guys it can't be God obviously because that would totally contridict your "faith," it can't be humans cause according to another atheist user in a thread, moral laws are not absolute, but rather based off ones own emotions, and customs that were brought upon them when they were brought up by their parents

I just can't see how a flawed human moral justice system can be "vastly superior" to a supreme moral entity (that being the God of all)

Morals aren't absolute. Some are generally accepted as absolute across virtually all customs, religions, and systems of law since the dawn of man and well before Christianity or Judaism like murder, rape, and stealing are wrong. This would lead one to believe that they aren't based on any religion and can be explained as an evolutionary development of social creatures like humans, aka empathy (similar behavior is seen in other social animals BTW), as the most beneficial way of behaving to advance the herd and assure survival, ie. watch each others backs to ward off predators. Most other morals are very subjective and differ between every human on the planet, including amongst Christians. Some say drugs are wrong, some don't. Some say alcohol is wrong, some don't. Some say abortion, homosexuals, eating shell fish, cows, or pigs, masturbation, premarital sex (& pretty much any and all variations of sex), nudity, yada yada yada, <insert millions of other things some people think are bad> are wrong. Some don't.

All that aside, the atheist can be described as "more moral" because we come to our morals on our own and decide to be a good, moral person anyway regardless of imaginary afterlife consequences. A theist is moral only out of fear. Fear of hell or fear of losing out on heaven, basically out of fear of God. Theists long for a dictatorship while living here in a democracy and shouting "God Bless America." Strange.

It's a huge assumption to call God a supreme moral entity. Have you read the Bible? Check out skepticsannotatedbible.com sometime. You can get better morality out of the Harry Potter books than you can out of the Bible.

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
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Ophios wrote: Quote: in

Ophios wrote:

Quote:
in this case morals would have to be absolute

 

So we can agree everything that a massmurderer thinks is moral is really moral? Everyone also agrees with the PETA? You agree with me on everything (Moral wise)?

 

no no, you interrepreted that differently (sorry if i didn't clarify enough above) what i meant was that, in order to have a moral law (good and bad, you know nothing in between you have to have somesort of guidelines, i.e. absoulte guidelines that doesn't have any grey area's in between it

 excatly where do you find that each human thinks differently, we know a mass murderer would find pleasure in killing and such, but dont' you find it strange that there is no guilt in the murderer's heart? something speaking to him perhaps? couisnscness (sp? i'm terrible at spelling) If he doesn't, then please prove that, show me (as rook put at it) publications that can just prove what you are talking about

 

As for the rest of the posters in this thread, I hope to get some more information for this topic perhaps tomorrow?  


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doc101 wrote: Vastet

doc101 wrote:
Vastet wrote:

It's a lot easier to say it than explain it. But lets have a go.

Assumption: God exists and is the creator of all.

In order to create everything, one must know everything. Therefore god is omniscient.

If god is omniscient, then god knows everything that is going to happen. Choice is non-existant. It may seem that you have a choice, but god already knows what you're going to do, so you really don't. It's just an illusion.

So god created a species on a world that is less than perfect for it. God deliberately left very little evidence regarding it's existance. God then let his subjects wander for thousands of years before even laying down the ground rules through jesus(specifying christianty and related religions, but the argument can be adapted to suit the religion) that everyone was already subject to. God then deliberately chose to reveal his rules to a very select few in a relatively remote part of the world, ignoring the rest of the species. Yet god judges all humans by rules that the majority have never even been aware of, let alone knows. By default, non-belief sends one to eternal torment. Therefore, god deliberately created a species, set down ground rules without informing people of them, judges people on rules they don't know about, and sentences them to ETERNAL TORMENT just because he didn't feel like informing them.

If it isn't evil to create a species knowing that you are subjecting the majority of them to torture, I don't know what is.

 

ok let me throw this

God = Absolute moral giver

Moral Laws= come from a creator/giver, in this case morals would have to be absolute, thus would have to come from God

Consciousness= Our moral guidelines, even those tribal people on scattered islands have some sort of definition of what is right and wrong in their eyes.

Btw, God laid down the rules with Adam and Eve (well sort of haha) then the commandments and so on

 

You think for one second that people around the world are inclined through their conscience to follow the ten commandments? You're even more delusional than I thought. Take another look at them. If you still think the same, then you are a complete waste of flesh. Your brainwashing is complete.

And Adam and Eve are impossible. The genetic record alone proves it. Even if it were possible, that means every human that has had sexual relations with anyone has taken part in incest, condemning the whole species to hell.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Quote: no no, you

Quote:
no no, you interrepreted that differently (sorry if i didn't clarify enough above) what i meant was that, in order to have a moral law (good and bad, you know nothing in between) you have to have somesort of guidelines, i.e. absoulte guidelines that doesn't have any grey area's in between it

When you say good and bad, do you mean always good/bad, or can it have exeptions? And why is there no such things as neutral actions?

 

Quote:
excatly where do you find that each human thinks differently

If you mean morally, well, first I want you to answer some questions.

1. Is it morally OK, to cut down a christmas tree just so you can have it stand in your house for a couple of days, then have it disposed?

2.Is it okay to make veal?

3.Are seeing eye dogs morally acceptable?

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It appears that we have a

It appears that we have a new anonymous theist to debate.  Joy.  I like having a two sided debate rather than speaking to the choir.  Let’s do (friendly) battle, Doc101.  This is going to be a LONG, thought out post.  I consider it a culmination of 2 years studying ethics and the supposed moral dilemmas that are derived from atheism.

 

One note before I begin, I will provide links for evidence rather than book or publication sources en masse.  Quotes from books will be supplied by me typing them in manually.

 

1.  WHY I CARE ABOUT THEIST ETHICS:  Doc101 would suppose a claim that is popular in theist thought:  Atheists cannot be moral.

 

It is first important to establish why this issue is so crucial to the big picture, and why I care.  That some people believe Atheists cannot be moral troubles me, especially when politicians believe such things.

 

A)  http://bennyhills.fortunecity.com/hardy/203/nonbeliever/page50.html

 

In an interview between Robert Sherman and George HW Bush Sr., Bush Sr.’s comments exemplifies the reason that I care.

 

Sherman: “Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Atheists?”

Bush: “No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

 

This quote should be emblazoned in the minds of all Americans.  This is why I care.  I’m not considered an American citizen for my beliefs?  So I disagree with the “one nation under God” verse in the Pledge of Allegiance that WASN’T ADDED until the 1950s?

 

http://www.undergodprocon.org/pop/PledgeHistory.htm

 

Does that mean I’m not a citizen of this country?

 

B)  In a recent poll, atheists were considered the most “distrusted” group in America, surpassing all other minority and “outcast” groups.

 

http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheitsHated.htm

 

C)  In another poll, atheists garnered a 48% disapproval rating indicating that survey takers would NOT vote for an atheist in any circumstances.  No group had the same disapproval rating.

 

http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism9.htm

 

D)  I’ve got to ask, why the heck is this?  Why do people seem to distrust and HATE atheists so much?  Do many people who supposedly hate us even KNOW any openly real-life atheists?  While the percent of atheists in the US is estimated at 10-15%, it is certain that almost everyone knows an atheist.  Is the distrust due to lack of exposure to open atheists, or do they have real-world altercations with us on a daily basis?

 

This is certainly a broader question for the group.  But I would posit that at least ONE of the reason why we are distrusted and hated is because people like Doc101 think that morals come from God.

 

2.  CONCESSIONS:  I will concede that if morals come from God, atheists are profoundly mistaken on their moral underpinnings.  I will concede that atheists go to hell if the Christian God is real and morals come from God.


3.  MORAL EQUIVALENCY:  But the FATAL flaw in Doc101 and other theists’ thinking is this:  EVEN IF morals come from God, it is FALSE that atheists cannot at least obey SOME divinely ordained moral prescriptions, and henceforth be “moral” regarding those specific precepts.  I think the underlying theistic IMPLICATION of their argument is that atheists are not moral because we don’t believe in the same JUSTIFICATION for our morals.  NO. 

 

HENCE, even if atheists have a different justification for moral precepts, our moral precepts can overlap.  So if we do good deeds and treat other people kindly, even if we have another justification, claiming that atheists cannot be moral is blatantly false.  I do not define “being moral” as an all-encompassing term including ALL theist morals, but each theist moral individually.  So if theists think it’s wrong to kill people and atheists agree, atheists are acting morally according to theistic definitions with respect to not killing people.  If Doc101 is to argue that I must have the same justification for not killing people that he has in order to be moral about not killing people, he is wrong.  That would be a logically invalid argument.  If he would support such an argument, I have to ask him what rules of logic he is following.  The ones beamed to him from God that don’t exist in any logic textbooks?

 

Let’s look at the Commandments, which theists think are so important that they should be depicted in shrines in and on our government buildings.

 

At most, there are 2 and only 2 of the ten commandments that atheists do not obey at all:  1.  Believing in Yahweh, the Jewish war God.  Granted, atheists don’t believe in him.  2.  Keeping the Sabbath Day holy.  Granted, we don’t go to church.  (But in the context of that commandment, the Sabbath Day is Saturday, not Sunday.  So every Christian in the US is screwed because they don’t follow it either.)

 

Lets look at the others.  3.  Not cussing.  An atheist can choose not to cuss.  Granted, I choose to cuss like a sailor, but I assure you there are MANY atheists without a foul-mouth like I have.

 

4-8.  All of those commandments have to do with being nice to your fellow humans.  Don’t steal, murder, cheat on your wife, lie, rape, and respect your parents.  All atheists would agree it is good to follow those rules for the most part.

 

9-10.  Don’t covet your neighbor’s wife or stuff.  Well, the wife part I agree with, but No. 10 is crucial to American free enterprise.  Coveting your neighbor’s stuff is what keeps our economy going.

 

In any event, all but 2 of the 10 commandments that many if not most atheists can follow in principle, and thus be called “moral” for each of those points.  (I think the commandments are all fatally flawed, I don’t think they come from a divinity, and I would gladly pick apart the wording of each one to show the semantic problems.  This is not the place for such a discussion.)

 

4.  THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT ALL!  If you want to get into detail, Christians should follow the 613 Mitzvot laws as well.  Some them are so preposterous that believing in their divine origin is laughable.  I watched an episode of “trading spouses” in which a kosher Jewish woman was unable to eat any food from her plate if the serving spoon from one dish touched her plate.  Since when did God give a rip about serving spoons?  Doesn’t he have enough people to smite to keep him busy?

 

Don’t believe me?

 

A)  In the NEW FREAKING TESTAMENT, Jesus says to follow the Mitzvot.  Jesus didn’t come to undermine the Old Testament.

 

Jesus speaking:
Matthew 5:17-20

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Of course, go ahead, Doc101, read the passage and try to wretch some alternate interpretation.  It’s the Bible, so ANY interpretation will do, so long as it follows our own a priori reasoning that supercedes whatever is written in the text!  That will lead to my next argument, but first…

 

B)  Here’s a list of the Mitzvot:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/613_mitzvot

 

My favorite group of Mitzvot laws:

218. He must not cut his hair Num. 6:5

219. He must not drink wine, wine mixtures, or wine vinegar Num. 6:3

220. He must not eat fresh grapes Num. 6:3

221. He must not eat raisins Num. 6:3

222. He must not eat grape seeds Num. 6:4

223. He must not eat grape skins Num. 6:4

 5.  A PRIORI JUSTIFICATION:  So, my next argument.  I told you that there are many alternate interpretations for Biblical passages.  How do we settle on the right interpretation?  Why do we think that the Mitzvot are a stupid waste of time?  Did God not MEAN what he said in Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy?  The New Testament overturns all the supposed wicked acts committed by the Old Testament God that are actually righteous because we cannot possibly understand God’s actions due to our mortality and limited minds?  The reason why you have an inner drive to explain the Bible in a positive light and interpret the Bible positively is this:  You have your own “a priori” conceptions of ethics and logic that exist BEFORE you go to interpret the bible.  That is, you ALREADY know it’s bad to kill people when you read it in Exodus as one of the Ten Commandments.  So you say to yourself, “That passage in Exodus about not killing people is good stuff.  I agree with that.  God must mean, it’s bad to kill people.  I agree.” Now why when you go to Leviticus 3:11 do you say to yourself, “I can’t eat grapes or raisins, drink wine, or cut my hair?!?! Surely God doesn’t mean that!  I’m going to find other Biblical passages that overturn this ridiculous nonsense.”  You have an a priori sense of reason that tells you, “There is nothing wrong with eating grapes or drinking wine.  And cutting my hair is fine.” So if you ALREADY use your OWN moral intuitions to determine if the Bible “has it right” about morals, why do you even need the Bible?  You have your own moral intuitions that supercede anything GOOD or BAD given by the “moral law giver” in the Bible. 

6.  Let’s talk about the “We must need an absolute moral law giver” argument, since you brought it up.

 

A)  We NEED absolute morals?  We NEED a law giver to give them to us?  How is this logical?  What are the premises for such an argument?

 

Premise 1:  Without absolute morals, human life is in chaos because everyone can go about making their OWN subjective morals.

Conclusion 1:  WE NEED ABSOLUTE MORALS.

 

Premise 2:  Without an absolute moral law giver, we have no way of knowing what those morals are.

Conclusion 2:  We need an absolute moral law giver.

 

[And here is where, if you haven’t noticed the falsity of this chain of logic already, everything falls apart.  Unfortunately, Christian theologians never discuss or answer this one.]

 

Premise 3:  There must be a means for revelation or people communicating with God to receive these morals.

Premise 4:  The Bible offers the ONLY true revelations from God that are divine moral prescriptions.  [This has many other assumptions and premises about historicity and faith.]

Premise 5:  ALL other religious texts besides the Bible are NOT true revelations.

Conclusion 3:  Yahweh, the Judaic God of the Torah, and Jesus of the New Testament are the moral law givers.

 

First, do you agree that this is a correct depiction of your argument?  If you think this is a strawman or that I have intentionally created a weak argument, please explain.  Provide any premises or conclusions that strengthen your argument, so I can have the best you have to offer.

 

Since I can’t have your assent in real time, I’m just going to try refuting it anyway.  It may be a waste of time, but humor me.

 

I admit there’s some philosophical angst at looking yourself square in the face and realizing absolute morals are not logically necessary.  We have a lot more thinking to do about ethics once we get rid of the notion that they are absolute!  We’re going to have to put on our thinking caps and spend some time figuring this stuff out!  Unlike many theists, I find this exhilarating and fascinating!  I ENJOY reading about ethical philosophy.  I enjoy thinking about it and not simply assenting to the idea that we “need” absolute morals because it makes me queasy to think that they aren’t absolute.  You don’t get the same philosophical high as I do when posed this great challenge?

 

---

 

“Premise 1:  Without absolute morals, human life is in chaos because everyone can go about making their OWN subjective morals.

Conclusion 1:  WE NEED ABSOLUTE MORALS.”

 

This does not even satisfy the requirements for an argument.  So what if we NEED anything?  The use of “NEED” in this context is not a true logical necessity.  It seems to me that we “need” absolute morals because it is emotionally distressing to think that they are not absolute.  Emotional distress does not entail logical necessity.  Check it:

 

Premise:  It makes me sad, and it would drive me insane, if I did not believe that there is a diamond the size of a truck in my backyard.  I would really have to look myself in the mirror and do some thinking about my financial future if that diamond doesn’t exist.

Conclusion:  Therefore, there must be a diamond the size of a truck in my backyard.

Conclusion:  I am wealthy because of that diamond, and I don’t have to think about my financial future.  No angst for me!

 

The truth is more like this:

Premise 1:  Without absolute morals, we are going to have to put on our thinking caps.  The problem of ethics is going to be a tough one to tackle.  What can we do to prevent chaos cause by TOTAL moral subjectivity?

Conclusion 1:  Absolute morality is comforting, but it is only contingent, it is not logically necessary. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contingency  In philosophy and logic, contingency is the status of facts that are not logically necessary.”

 

Prove to me, Doc101, that absolute morality is TRULY logically NECESSARY and not merely CONTINGENT.  I have not seen any theist reasoning that has been able to do this to date.  If you can or know someone who has, I’d like to see it.

 

And finally, I feel that I have STILL given you too much.  I do not even grant the premise that “Moral subjectivity leads to total chaos.”

 

This ASSUMES that people who make their own morals will make bad ones.  NO!  And this may be at the very heart of the whole issue.  Maybe all morals ARE subjective!!!  But so what?  Maybe ALL or MOST humans will SUBJECTIVELY agree on a comprehensive set of morals.

 

Your belief that society will descend into total chaos if we have subjective morals is totally unsupported.

 

And now I must supply additional argumentative points before I go back to attacking the rest of my dissection of your argument…

 

6.  WHERE DO WE GET MORALS?

 

A)  Evolution.  There are many books about this.  It’s a relatively new field.

 

I don’t know if I can do this subject justice because it’s rather complicated.  I like the following books that I have read or I own but have not finished:  The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins; Good and Evil, by Michael Shermer; The Moral Animal, by Robert Wright; Breaking the Spell:  Religion as Natural Phenomenon, by Daniel Dennet; Religion Explained, by Pascal Boyer.  Those books have great stuff independent of just morality.

 

Allow me to supply some excerpts by manually typing them:

 

i)  “The Science of Good and Evil”  Michael Shermer

http://www.amazon.com/Science-Good-Evil-People-Gossip/dp/0805077693

 

“The historical trajectory makes good sense in an evolutionary model.  In bands and tribes the declaration of love for one’s neighbors means something rather different than it does in chiefdoms, states, and empires.  In the Paleolithic social environment in which our moral sentiments evolved, one’s neighbors were family, extended family, and community members who were well known to all.  To help others was to help oneself.  In chiefdoms, states, and empires the biblical admonition “love thy neighbor” meant only one’s immediate in-group.  Out-groups were not included…”  The whole chapter on evolutionary ethics in Shermer’s book is absolutely fascinating.

 

But consider this, Doc101:  look at your Old Testament.  What’s “love your neighbor” all about there?  Jews good.  All other tribes bad.  Disagree?  You need me to cite discussions about the ethics of taking slaves from other tribes or God’s moral sanctioning of war against other tribes?

 

The OT is just an evolution of ethics for a primitive tribe using “God” as a justification for their morals that they created themselves.  Granted, many of the Mitzvot were about hygiene, a necessary evolutionary jump.

 

The GREAT thing about perceiving morals as evolutionary is that our morals are never fixed by some dogmatic work of fiction!  We are never forced to ask, “What does the Bible have to say about that?”  We just use our own minds and evolve!

 

Slavery?  Endorsed by the Bible.

Racism?  Endorsed by the Bible.

Subjugation of women?  Endorsed by the Bible.

Thought crimes?  Endorsed by the Bible.

Killing homosexuals, atheists, and kids who disobey?  Endorsed by the Bible.

The list goes on and on.

 

All of these things are terrible problems in human history.  How did our morals evolve?  Because we don’t get them from a book.  We have the courage and insight to determine that some previously held beliefs about ethics are gravely mistaken in the context of rational thought.

 

Dogmatic belief in the Bible didn’t bring about the end of slavery or rights of women.  We may think that it had to do with scholastic quibbles about Biblical passages, but let’s get real.  It’s human reason and the progress of human culture.

 

ii) Dawkins, “The God Delusion”

 

“I am suggesting that the same is true of the urge to kindness -- to altruism, to generosity, to empathy, to pity.  In ancestral times, we had the opportunity to be altruistic only towards close kin and potential reciprocators.  Nowadays that restriction is no longer there, but the rule of thumb persists.  Why would it not?  It is just like sexual desire.  We can no more help ourselves feeling pity when we see a weeping unfortunate (who is unrelated and unable to reciprocate) than we can help ourselves feeling lust for a member of the opposite sex (who may be infertile or otherwise unable to reproduce).  Both are misfirings, Darwinian mistakes:  blessed, precious mistakes.”

 

The way Dawkins thinks about the universe and humanity, in my opinion, is beautiful.  His discussion of awe for the universe parallels that of Carl Sagan.  It’s all a matter of perception.

 

And although I had a tough time coming to terms with an atheist worldview, now that I accept it, it’s more wondrous and beautiful than I ever could have imagined.

 

I think I take each day as more sacred.  I value all other human lives much more.  We’re all in the same situation.  We’re all here for a finite period of time, painting the picture of our lives so that all remains of us is what we have left behind in the memory of others. 

 

Dennet discusses a passage from a William James book…  James tells a story about a minister clutching to the branch of a tree. When he finally lets go, he falls two feet and realizes the fall wasn’t as bad as he thought.  I would expand this.  I think that by letting go of the branch [branch = religion], rather than falling two feet, you float up in the clouds to see the world for what it is, not some religious delusion that’s obscured your view of the beauty in the world and muddled your life with confusion.  Do you ever hear about an atheist discussing what he would “LOSE” by giving up atheism?  We have the courage to see the world for what it is, accept it, and FIND the beauty in it, whether ugly or pleasing.

 

Based on Tao Te Ching:  Everything bad or good is made of the same “stuff.”  The trick is not viewing everything as opposites, but as the same.  Change your PERCEPTION of events in the face of adversity, for the judgments we make on things are under our own power to change.

 

This is possibly the greatest page of practical life-lesson text I have ever read:

Epictetus, “The Art of Living” [interp. Sharon Lebell]: 

 

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle:  Some things are within our control, and some things are not.  It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.

 

Within our control are our own opinions, aspirations, desires, and the things that repel us.  These areas are quite rightly our concern, because they are directly subject to our influence.  We always have a choice about the content and character of our inner lives.

 

Outside our control, however, are such things as what kind of body we have, whether we’re born into wealth or strike it rich, how we are regarded by others, and our status in society.  We must remember that those things are externals and are therefore not our concern.  Trying to control or to change what we can’t only results in torment…

 

What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them.  It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance. 

 

Stop Scaring yourself with impetuous notions, with your reactive impressions of the way things are! 

 

Things and people are not what we wish them to be nor what they seem to be.  They are what they are.”

 

Sounds a lot like accepting the world for what it is…  The atheist credo.

 

The problem with Christianity is that as Christian, reading the Tao Te Ching or Stoic philosophy is considered detrimental and even blasphemous.  Frankly, and forgive me for saying, but the Bible is riddled with filth and bullshit.  If I am not dogmatic, and I have no sacred text, I can cherry pick from all human literature the moral and practical knowledge that I can to help my life.  So the point I am driving at is that Christian morality is bankrupt because it annihilates the intellectual value of ALL other humans who do not use the Bible as a context for thought and experience.  I am not a unitarian universalist.  I do not believe all religions “are different paths to the same thing.”  But I DO think that many different people around the world in history have something to offer human knowledge.  Yes, even Christianity, and even Islam.  They are not “paths” to the same thing, but they do have some good things in them.  The thing with devout religious belief is that you CANNOT cherry pick.  You can’t sift the good from the bad, and you have to accept everything in your holy book.  Moreover, you have to exclude the entire sum of knowledge outside your holy book’s realm.

 

The burning of the Library of Alexandria?  Christians.  It makes me want to weep.  Seriously.

 

[Reminding you again WHERE DO WE GET MORALS?]

B)  Laws codified by humans who collectively agree on morals in a society or country via John Locke & Jean Jacques Rousseau’s social contract.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract

 

So freaking what if we have subjective morals that differ!  Let’s have natural human lawgivers who say, “You know what, I don’t care if Mr. Manson has subjectively determined that killing people is a good thing.  The rest of us decide it’s wrong and against the law.  So too bad for Mr. Manson’s subjective morals.”

 

C)  We get morals through reason by sane individuals.

 

---

 

Back to those arguments that I tangented off from:

 

Premise 2:  Without an absolute moral law giver, we have no way of knowing what those absolute morals are.

Conclusion 2:  We need an absolute moral law giver.

 

This is the same logical fallacy committed before.  It confuses contingency with necessity.  The existence of an absolute moral law giver is contingent, not logically necessary.  Is that clear to you?  You can’t just say it IS necessary.  Why?  In any event, it’s an inductive argument of VERY low probability; it certainly isn’t the deductive argument that you think it is.

 

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

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

 

---

 

Premise 3:  There must be a means for revelation or people communicating with God to receive these morals.

Premise 4:  The Bible offers the ONLY true revelations from God that are divine moral prescriptions.  [This has many other assumptions and premises about historicity and faith.]

Premise 5:  ALL other religious texts besides the Bible are NOT true revelations.

Conclusion 3:  Yahweh, the Judaic God of the Torah, and Jesus of the New Testament are the moral law givers.

 

Premise 3 is only contingent.  Premises 4 and 5 are blatantly absurd.  Thus, I cannot possibly see, Doc101, how Conclusion 3 could be accepted by any normal, sane, rational adult.

 

Can you see the dilemma in choosing between the tens of thousands of competing revelations across the globe?  You are an atheist just like me.  You don’t believe in Buddha as a prophet, Amenhotep, Edgar Cayce, the Oracle of Delphi, or the Baghavadad Gita.  I’m just an atheist with respect to one MORE book than you, the Bible.  What makes the Bible a true source of revelation and the Baghavadad Gita, The Book of Mormon, or Dyanetics all false?  Hell, if God EXISTS, I find it illogical that he would have hundreds of prophets over a 4000 year time span, and then simply stop from 30AD to present day.  Why no more books in the Bible?  If we are to believe that Revelations are real, than the Book of Mormon and Dyanetics have a very good probability of truth, since they were from modern day prophets.  This follows the logical principle that God would continue to communicate with humans.  You don’t believe the Book of Mormon or Dyanetics are the word of God?  Why?  Think about those reasons and ask yourself how the Bible is immune to the same arguments.

 

END OF MAIN BODY

-----

 

Specific answers:

 

Doc101:

please who defines what is just or not, for you guys it can't be God obviously because that would totally contradict your "faith," it can't be humans cause according to another atheist user in a thread, moral laws are not absolute, but rather based off ones own emotions, and customs that were brought upon them when they were brought up by their parents

I just can't see how a flawed human moral justice system can be "vastly superior" to a supreme moral entity (that being the God of all)

 

DoctorO:

Again confusing contingency and necessity.

 

Everything I said about accepting difficult philosophical problems applies here.

 

A “flawed” human justice system?  Compared to what?  The human justice system is the only one we’ve got, so let’s make the best of it.

 

The Biblical God is morally bankrupt.

 

See my 3 origins for morals:  evolution, social contract, and consensus of reason by sane individuals.

 

Doc101:

I'm not sure i'm understanding this but

"if God exists, God is evil" quotable fact? or opinion, opinions just show how our morals are flawed and incapable of creating a perfect moral justice system that can undermine the establishment of justice God has already created 

 

DoctorO:

Where do we get this perfect moral justice system?  The Bible?  EVEN IF you prove necessity of a perfect moral justice system, you have the MONUMENTAL task of proving that YOU have access to it and that it has been revealed to you or whoever wrote your holy book.  But you have not even established the necessity relationship between absolute morals and an absolute moral giver OR a necessity relationship between general morality and absolute morals.

 

Wanting something and LOGICALLY NEEDING something are different propositions.

 

Here is an example of a logical necessity:

Premise 1:  All horses are mammals.

Premise 2:  ‘Butterscotch’ is the name of a pet horse.

Conclusion 1:  Butterscotch is a mammal.

 

Conclusion 1 is logically necessary based on the above 2 premises.  You have not provided any arguments that fit this form, Doc101.  And you have also not provided premises that stand up to critical scrutiny that would lead to the truth of the conclusions about moral law givers or “needing” absolute morals.

 

Doc101 writes:

ok let me throw this

God = Absolute moral giver

Moral Laws= come from a creator/giver, in this case morals would have to be absolute, thus would have to come from God

Consciousness= Our moral guidelines, even those tribal people on scattered islands have some sort of definition of what is right and wrong in their eyes.

Btw, God laid down the rules with Adam and Eve (well sort of haha) then the commandments and so on

 

DoctorO:

The only new thing here is “Consciousness.”  I think you mean, “Conscience.”

 

There is NO reason why human “conscience” did not come from evolutionary means.  The Dawkins quote illustrates that point beautifully.

 

---

 

Done.

 

I have adopted a rather adversarial posture here, so forgive me.  I never intend to make personal attacks if they are considered as such.

 

In truth, Doc101, I hope you either A) come around to my way of thinking or B) convince me that I am wrong and your arguments are more rational.  I have changed my mind on MANY issues since I started debating on these forums.  Ethics are just one topic.  Determinism vs. Free Will was another issue that I was persuaded to change my mind on (was a determinist, now a free willist). 

 

Once again, a very long post.

Finally, one last reading recommendation:

"Ethics Without God," by Kai Nielsen

A Must Read.


Antiquehunter
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I'm not sure the original

I'm not sure the original question is really all that important.

If was assume that someone is a believer, are they at all concerned with the relative 'justness' of the question of damnation?  Its a FACT, nothing more.  Whether or not someone thinks its 'fair' is entirely irrelevant.

From a fundy believer perspective, wouldn't a (as logical as possible) position be:

- That atheist is going to rot in hell.

- They have researched my beliefs and rejected them.

- My beliefs state that denial = eternal damnation.

-  So, eyes wide open, they're gonna fry.

The question of fairness is moot.  I might think its 'unfair' or 'unjust' that I get a speeding ticket when I'm just following traffic.  But, I was speeding all the same.  And, its 'the Law'.

So -  sure, I agree.  The punishment of eternal damnation doesn't fit the crime - doesn't fit ANY crime.

But I don't believe, so I don't really care.  And, I'm willing, eyes wide open, in full understanding, to assume that risk. 


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I forgot something

I forgot something important from Kai Nielsen.

7.  Follow me:

Premise 1:  If there is an absolute moral giver, he must have some basis for his absolute morals.

Premise 2:  The basis for the absolute moral giver's absolute morals is moral reasoning and or logical thinking.

Premise 3:  Humans have the capacity to reason and think.

Conclusion 1:  Humans can ascertain absolute morals (if we grant that there are absolute morals) through moral reasoning and logical thinking.  This is a byproduct of evolutionary psychology.  Humans do not need God for morals because they can "figure them out" themselves.

Moreover...

 ALL morals must have reasons that they are moral.  God does NOT arbitrarily decide one day, "Killing is bad," and overturn it the next day.  Killing is bad because in snuffs out a human life and causes suffering of friends and family.  The REASON we do not kill is for those reasons I listed, NOT because God says, "Don't Kill."  God's reasons are the same reasons as OUR reasons.  That is total moral equivalency.  We need God for NOTHING when it comes to morals.

I find it EXTREMELY interesting, Doc101, that you have such big talk about a moral law giver -- which implies that you give authority to the Bible... THEN YOU CONTRADICT THIS by saying that humans have a God-given conscience.  Which is it?  Moral intuitions given to us by God or laws written in stone?  Both?  I don't get it.

 The problem with bringing up a human conscience and moral intuition is that you annihilate the need for any moral law giving through revelation.

And if you claim the existence of conscience and moral intuitions, there is nothing to distinguish evolutionary moral intuitions from God given ones.  Moreover, if both are equivalent in explanatory power, A)  God loses due to Occam's Razor and B) There is NO reason to suppose that we NEED God as an explanation if an evolutionary explanation will do.


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mods take this post out, it

mods take this post out, it was a double post, dunno what happened


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wow Doctoro i'm flattered

wow Doctoro i'm flattered that you took the time to type that out (lol i printed it out and it was 23 pages o.O) I ask that you give me time to respond to what you have said over a matter of days.

 I would take the time today to respond to it completley, its just that i have a ton of homework


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THIS DISCUSSION IS OUTSIDE

(This is my first post - I have no idea why the letters have black backgrounds :S)

THIS DISCUSSION IS OUTSIDE OF THE "GOD DOES OR DOESN'T EXIST" DEBATE - This is a discussion of theistic issues. Just clarifying that point. My argument exists within the theistic parameters of this thread - please don't bore me with "prove heaven exists". 

 The logic of the arguments against "hell" are flawed. In fact they are incredibly flawed and show a complete misunderstanding of (at least) Christian teaching.

The understanding that Hell can be summarised (get used to me using Australian/English English - lots of s's instead of American z's) simply as "punishment" is only a single tree in a large forest.

A definition

Consider this: The traditional or secular (read: "world" for secular) understanding of Heaven is a vision of getting everything you want, lots of food, family, friends etc etc. That is both unbiblical and incomplete. Heaven would be perfect unity with the God that can satisfy the hunger and thirst of the human heart (and so, in an around about way - there would be no more hunger etc). This state of union where God is glorified and we are satisfied in His glory is the biblical heaven.

Now the flipside: Hell is the absense of God. It's that simple. Hell is being invited to a party, deciding not to go and then having to stay outside in the rain.

Here's the catch. With this understanding of hell, it would imply that you place worth in God (whether you believe in Him or not). If He has no value to you, then you would say "well, that's not hell - that's just normal". In that way, for those who believe, they can say that they are already living in the kingdom of heaven because they are experiencing, at least in part, union with God. And in the same way, Atheists are experiencing hell - that is, separation from God.

Now that the definition is out of the way.

The Discussion:

As stated in the original post and echoed throughout a generation that takes no responsibility for their actions -

"In conclusion, it is NEVER just for ANY human being to be tortured in "hell" for eternity; not even Hitler. This is because bad people either A) owe their "badness" to a poor environment or poor genetics or B) they can be rehabilitated in a finite period of time (even if it is hundreds of millions or even billions of years."

At some point, people are responsible for their actions. Even the most criminally insane usually find the root point where they said "no" to decency and found themselves on a free-fall.

The irony of the situation is that eternal Hell is simply an extension of the decisions and choices we make in this life.

Lets consider the facts:

1. All "sinful" (read: sin being actions/thoughts/deeds where we say "God is not God" - By not following His rules/teaching/etc we are disputing His authority and therefore, through actions/thoughts/deeds, claiming He is not God) acts have been atoned, assuming that one accepts Jesus's Lordship. So therefore, no one need go to hell because there is an out available.

2. Heaven is relationship with God - if you don't want that, then whats the complaint with being deprived of it?

3. Those who have never heard about God are judged on the lives they lead BUT if they actively reject God, then they can't go to heaven (why would they want to go to place to have relationship with someone they don't like?)

The bottom line is thus: People claim that Heaven/Hell is unjust because it doesn't seem fair. How much fairer would you like it to be? We're given the opportunity to be completely satisified for eternity, the entry has been paid for and all are welcome.

I don't know how much more "just" God can get.

Semp.


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Semp2pts wrote: 1. All

Semp2pts wrote:
1. All "sinful" (read: sin being actions/thoughts/deeds where we say "God is not God" - By not following His rules/teaching/etc we are disputing His authority and therefore, through actions/thoughts/deeds, claiming He is not God) acts have been atoned, assuming that one accepts Jesus's Lordship. So therefore, no one need go to hell because there is an out available.

So once we've had enough of suffering in hell we can make the right choice and get out?

These arguments aren't based on a false idea of hell, they're based on the following propostions:

1) God decides everything that happens (being omnipotent)
2) Once people die, God has most of them suffer for eternity with no hope of relief. (i.e. no more 'choice' involved)

This means that God is dishing out punishments of eternal suffering.
That cannot be just.
The least (as in something even a human could do) would be to always leave the option available for them to change their ways when they were ready and 'accept' this relationship.

When you consider that God is supposed to be perfect then he should have a plan/system that works out for everybody (as that would be the perfect result!!)


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Point: This is still being

Point: This is still being argued in the confines of a theistic debate - I am not attempting to prove God exists...

Strafio wrote:

Semp2pts wrote:
1. All "sinful" (read: sin being actions/thoughts/deeds where we say "God is not God" - By not following His rules/teaching/etc we are disputing His authority and therefore, through actions/thoughts/deeds, claiming He is not God) acts have been atoned, assuming that one accepts Jesus's Lordship. So therefore, no one need go to hell because there is an out available.

So once we've had enough of suffering in hell we can make the right choice and get out?

Every day is another chance to turn things around you know.

Quote:
These arguments aren't based on a false idea of hell, they're based on the following propostions:

1) God decides everything that happens (being omnipotent)
2) Once people die, God has most of them suffer for eternity with no hope of relief. (i.e. no more 'choice' involved)

A life-time of choice isn't enough? You picked your clothes today didn't you? Decided to eat breakfast? Decided to brush your teeth?

Given that you are alive for roughly 75 years, that's 2365200000 chances to say yes to Him. Doesn't really seem fair.


Quote:
This means that God is dishing out punishments of eternal suffering.
That cannot be just.
The least (as in something even a human could do) would be to always leave the option available for them to change their ways when they were ready and 'accept' this relationship.

Do you know what really "cannot be just"? This is fluff compared to the real injustice.

The real injustice is this:

We've blown it time and time again. We've commited great offenses against God, others and ourselves (there is not one person who is reading this that hasn't comitted adultery or fornication - even if you only thought about it, that's the same thing). God provides a way. Instead of taking our lives - a debt which is rightfully His to claim - He takes His son's life as the perfect sacrifice in our place. Since that time, people continue on with their same old ways - offending God, others and their own dignity. Here's the kicker - We have the audacity, after all that has happened, to dispute God's right to not have a relationship with us?

If you had a friend that punched you in the face whenever you went to see them - would you want that person as a friend?

How many punches in the face would it take before you gave up on them? 1, 2, 5, 10, 1 year, 10 years, a lifetime?

People expect God to go the extra mile in forgiving them, which He does, but then complain when they don't meet the simple requirement of saying "yes".

Injustice? I don't think some people know the meaning of the word.

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When you consider that God is supposed to be perfect then he should have a plan/system that works out for everybody (as that would be the perfect result!!)

You have a part to play in this as well.


Strafio
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You brought up a lot of

You brought up a lot of points I can argue with, the ways we have supposedly 'wronged' God for example but lets stick to the topic of justice, as that is the topic at hand.
(We'll save morality and rejection of God for another topic.)

I guess we have to start being discussing what we mean by justice.
It can't be simply following someone's rules, after all, the Nazi's had laws that we'd call injust. Sometimes lawyers win court cases by following the law but we feel the outcome to be a great injustice.
Even if the rule-maker was your creator, if someone proved to you that they'd made you in a test-tube, would you then feel morally obliged to obey their every order?


So what is justice here for?
Why do we need justice?
As I understand it, it's a means to an end. (this is important)
We do what is necessary to protect our society.
We punish to deter people from harmful actions.
We lock people away to stop them being a danger to people.
We try to rehabilitate people to make the suitable for society.

Whatever we do it is a means to an end.
Whatever punishment we give it is designed for a greater good, otherwise we feel like our justice system has failed.
So punishment is given for practical reasons.
This means that the ideal of justice is that everyone who does wrong is rehabilitated so society is better for it and any punishment is for a greater good. (even for the punishee)

Eternal punishments go against this idea of justice.
If you disagree with my idea of justice then in what way?


Semp2pts
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Strafio wrote: You brought

Strafio wrote:
You brought up a lot of points I can argue with, the ways we have supposedly 'wronged' God for example but lets stick to the topic of justice, as that is the topic at hand.
(We'll save morality and rejection of God for another topic.)

That's hard to do in light of the topic, because they are intertwined, but I guess we move on...

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I guess we have to start being discussing what we mean by justice.

Sounds good

Quote:
It can't be simply following someone's rules, after all, the Nazi's had laws that we'd call injust. Sometimes lawyers win court cases by following the law but we feel the outcome to be a great injustice.
Even if the rule-maker was your creator, if someone proved to you that they'd made you in a test-tube, would you then feel morally obliged to obey their every order?


I am presuming here that God exists, yes? because otherwise this whole argument is null and void.

So, in light of the fact that He exists, therefore He is supreme etc etc. He sets the rules. He creates a universe where the properties of physics come into play (He could have easily done it without physics and gravity etc etc). In fact, there are many laws that He has created. Laws require results - there are two outcomes: if you follow them and if you don't.

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So what is justice here for?

Justice is, in it's simplest form, getting what you deserve.

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Why do we need justice?

Justice is an outcome of laws. It has to exist, otherwise the laws would not exist. If we had the law of gravity but it impacted nothing - the law would be useless. If you drop an orange - the law in question is gravity and the justice is the orange falling to the ground.

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As I understand it, it's a means to an end. (this is important)
We do what is necessary to protect our society.
We punish to deter people from harmful actions.
We lock people away to stop them being a danger to people.
We try to rehabilitate people to make the suitable for society.

Whatever we do it is a means to an end.
Whatever punishment we give it is designed for a greater good, otherwise we feel like our justice system has failed.
So punishment is given for practical reasons.
This means that the ideal of justice is that everyone who does wrong is rehabilitated so society is better for it and any punishment is for a greater good. (even for the punishee)

I can see what you are getting at.

Quote:
Eternal punishments go against this idea of justice.
If you disagree with my idea of justice then in what way?

The first problem here is that people don't get into heaven because of justice. They get into heaven because of mercy and grace. That's the key to understanding the whole thing. The mercy and grace is what catches the falling orange before it hits the ground.

I can see what you are saying by saying that eternal punishment goes against the idea of justice but in some respects the problem is with the naming - "eternal punishment". If you think of it as separation from God, I believe it becomes clearer. For those that are told about God and salvation etc (i.e. have a chance to actively reject God) if they willingly choose to reject God for their entire life, knowing the outcome - isn't justice just that: them getting what they deserve?

If they don't ask for the grace, why should it be given?

I'm not at all saying I would enjoy seeing people in eternal distress. It's a hard concept to fathom. In fact, these are all hard concepts to discuss and make sense of.

I hope you get what I mean.

Peace,

Semp.


doc101
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Although I said it would be

mods take this post out, i made a crucial quote area error that screws up the width thread, let me look into it


doc101
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 *Warning* something is

 *Warning* something is wrong in this forum, and will not display formatting correctly, if a mod wants to fix it they can, but i'm pretty sure that all the "quote" boxes are correctly placed, Doctoro, i hope you can bear with that, and just copy and paste into word,and just read (quotes are your statements, my replies are usually under that)

Although I said it would be a matter of days, turns out I did my homework rather quickly…

 

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It appears that we have a new anonymous theist to debate.  Joy.  I like having a two sided debate rather than speaking to the choir.  Let’s do (friendly) battle, Doc101.  This is going to be a LONG, thought out post.  I consider it a culmination of 2 years studying ethics and the supposed moral dilemmas that are derived from atheism.

A friendly debate is always good, I may or may not win, but whatever, may the best man uhhhh do the best? Haha lack of term there

 

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1.  WHY I CARE ABOUT THEIST ETHICS:  Doc101 would suppose a claim that is popular in theist thought:  Atheists cannot be moral.

 

It is first important to establish why this issue is so crucial to the big picture, and why I care.  That some people believe Atheists cannot be moral troubles me, especially when politicians believe such things.

 

A)  http://bennyhills.fortunecity.com/hardy/203/nonbeliever/page50.html

 

In an interview between Robert Sherman and George HW Bush Sr., Bush Sr.’s comments exemplifies the reason that I care.

 

Sherman: “Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Atheists?”

Bush: “No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

This quote should be emblazoned in the minds of all Americans.  This is why I care.  I’m not considered an American citizen for my beliefs?  So I disagree with the “one nation under God” verse in the Pledge of Allegiance that WASN’T ADDED until the 1950s?

 

http://www.undergodprocon.org/pop/PledgeHistory.htm

 

Does that mean I’m not a citizen of this country?

Ok according to wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance#Addition_of_the_words_.22under_God.22

(I’m assuming this is a credible source, considering you too used wikipedia in another thread) George Docherty created a sermon in the 1950’s regarding the Gettysburg address which quote “According to Docherty, what has made the United States both unique and strong was her sense of being the nation that Lincoln described: a nation "under God".” So in fact the words “under God” was branded upon the nation during Lincoln’s presidency, it was just that it wasn’t added to our pledge later on in the years. Also if you consider the history of our country, starting with the pilgrims and such, whom founded this country based off of religious freedom, a place where they can worship God freely, a la, a “nation under God”

[quote]B)  In a recent poll, atheists were considered the most “distrusted” group in America, surpassing all other minority and “outcast” groups.

 

http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheitsHated.htm                                     [/quote]

I mean if you seriously think about it, as I said above, this nation was founded with Christian principles; Atheists are becoming a hindrance in what the “fundy” Christian principles are. I’m trying to as best as I can at this young age to describe what I’m saying, but I don’t’ think I’m properly getting this point across to you, perhaps if I get a response regarding my reply, maybe I can talk more.

 

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C)  In another poll, atheists garnered a 48% disapproval rating indicating that survey takers would NOT vote for an atheist in any circumstances.  No group had the same disapproval rating.

http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism9.htm

Same as above

 

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D)  I’ve got to ask, why the heck is this?  Why do people seem to distrust and HATE atheists so much?  Do many people who supposedly hate us even KNOW any openly real-life atheists?  While the percent of atheists in the US is estimated at 10-15%, it is certain that almost everyone knows an atheist.  Is the distrust due to lack of exposure to open atheists, or do they have real-world altercations with us on a daily basis?[/quote]

 

Personally I think its possibly the reputation atheists have attained over the years, in all honesty I think my response is the same 2 response above.

 

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This is certainly a broader question for the group.  But I would posit that at least ONE of the reason why we are distrusted and hated is because people like Doc101 think that morals come from God.

 

Yes I kind of agree with this statement, absolute morals come from God, but it is Atheists (and not to mention other religions as well) that don’t’ advocate this.

 

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2.  CONCESSIONS:  I will concede that if morals come from God, atheists are profoundly mistaken on their moral underpinnings.  I will concede that atheists go to hell if the Christian God is real and morals come from God.[/quote]

God still loves you even for your misfallings, and I’m speaking to the rest of the “choir” too

 

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3.  MORAL EQUIVALENCY:  But the FATAL flaw in Doc101 and other theists’ thinking is this:  EVEN IF morals come from God, it is FALSE that atheists cannot at least obey SOME divinely ordained moral prescriptions, and henceforth be “moral” regarding those specific precepts.  I think the underlying theistic IMPLICATION of their argument is that atheists are not moral because we don’t believe in the same JUSTIFICATION for our morals.  NO.[/quote]

But do atheists obey all?  (And again, I do not think I’m understanding this statement above, so if you can elaborate, please do)

 

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HENCE, even if atheists have a different justification for moral precepts, our moral precepts can overlap.  So if we do good deeds and treat other people kindly, even if we have another justification, claiming that atheists cannot be moral is blatantly false.  I do not define “being moral” as an all-encompassing term including ALL theist morals, but each theist moral individually.  So if theists think it’s wrong to kill people and atheists agree, atheists are acting morally according to theistic definitions with respect to not killing people.  If Doc101 is to argue that I must have the same justification for not killing people that he has in order to be moral about not killing people, he is wrong.  That would be a logically invalid argument.  If he would support such an argument, I have to ask him what rules of logic he is following.  The ones beamed to him from God that don’t exist in any logic textbooks?

 

I think we are having the different rules of logic here, I think the justification of morals is as equally important as following the morals, lets say this

 

Mom told Linda not to eat the cookies, so Linda does not because that would be disobeying.

Mom told Bobby not to eat the cookies, Bobby in thought wants to eat the cookies, but fears the beatings from Daddy so he doesn’t.

 

Who is morally right in this situation?

 

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Let’s look at the Commandments, which theists think are so important that they should be depicted in shrines in and on our government buildings.

At most, there are 2 and only 2 of the ten commandments that atheists do not obey at all:  1.  Believing in Yahweh, the Jewish war God.[/quote]

 

Jewish war God isn’t the correct term for Yahweh, Yahweh is the distinictive personal name to God, Jewish war God implies that he is like Ares, for example.

 

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Granted, atheists don’t believe in him.  2.  Keeping the Sabbath Day holy.  Granted, we don’t go to church.  (But in the context of that commandment, the Sabbath Day is Saturday, not Sunday.  So every Christian in the US is screwed because they don’t follow it either.)[/quote]

 

Of course believing in God would make you Theists by default

Agreed, but allow me to look through that statement a bit more in a few days or so

 

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Lets look at the others.  3.  Not cussing.  An atheist can choose not to cuss.  Granted, I choose to cuss like a sailor, but I assure you there are MANY atheists without a foul-mouth like I have.[/quote]

 Agreed but same as above

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4-8.  All of those commandments have to do with being nice to your fellow humans.  Don’t steal, murder, cheat on your wife, lie, rape, and respect your parents.  All atheists would agree it is good to follow those rules for the most part.

 

Agreed

 

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9-10.  Don’t covet your neighbor’s wife or stuff.  Well, the wife part I agree with, but No. 10 is crucial to American free enterprise.  Coveting your neighbor’s stuff is what keeps our economy going.[/quote]

 

Agreed with the wife stuff, but you are interpreting the 10th one all wrong

 

Desire is good as it says in the Bible, what a man sows, he reaps

But Coveting is when Desire becomes unlawful, inordinate. i.e. Greed
but I found most of my information here

http://www.apostolic.edu/biblestudy/files/10th-com.htm

 

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In any event, all but 2 of the 10 commandments that many if not most atheists can follow in principle, and thus be called “moral” for each of those points.  (I think the commandments are all fatally flawed, I don’t think they come from a divinity, and I would gladly pick apart the wording of each one to show the semantic problems.  This is not the place for such a discussion.)

 

See what I wrote for the previous stuff, and by all means pick apart the wording, I’m all ears.

 

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4.  THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT ALL!  If you want to get into detail, Christians should follow the 613 Mitzvot laws as well.  Some them are so preposterous that believing in their divine origin is laughable.  I watched an episode of “trading spouses” in which a kosher Jewish woman was unable to eat any food from her plate if the serving spoon from one dish touched her plate.  Since when did God give a rip about serving spoons?  Doesn’t he have enough people to smite to keep him busy?[/quote]

 

 

See below for response on the Mitzvot

 

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Don’t believe me?

 

Not yet

 

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 A. In the NEW FREAKING TESTAMENT, Jesus says to follow the Mitzvot.  Jesus didn’t come to undermine the Old Testament.

 

Jesus speaking:
Matthew 5:17-20

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Of course, go ahead, Doc101, read the passage and try to wretch some alternate interpretation.  It’s the Bible, so ANY interpretation will do, so long as it follows our own a priori reasoning that supercedes whatever is written in the text!  That will lead to my next argument, but first…[/quote]

 

You are taking those verses out of context, Jesus came not to abolish the Commandments i.e. the Jewish law, the Mitzvot were a collection of little laws here and there, that were widely accepted by jews, most of them were taken out context, I’ll elaborate later in this.

 

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B)  Here’s a list of the Mitzvot:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/613_mitzvot

My favorite group of Mitzvot laws:

218. He must not cut his hair Num. 6:5

He was referring to Wedding Vows, the Nazerite, (this next response is my opinion, but I’ll try to gather some evidence later on) The Jews were slowly becoming like the Pagans, concentrating on their looks and such, with jewelery, makeup, and such; I think the context of this verse is saying that “Hey don’t concentrate on how you look i.e. your hair, rather affix your views upon me”

 

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219. He must not drink wine, wine mixtures, or wine vinegar Num. 6:3

If I recall correctly, drink back then was heavily intoxicated, The New Testament later says that you shouldn’t get “drunk” i.e. intoxicated (but Jews would not believe this because after all, their Bible is the old testament, as Jesus wasn’t the son of God to them)

 

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220. He must not eat fresh grapes Num. 6:3

221. He must not eat raisins Num. 6:3

222. He must not eat grape seeds Num. 6:4

223. He must not eat grape skins Num. 6:4

 

Referring to the abstinence of being intoxicated

[quote] 5.  A PRIORI JUSTIFICATION:  So, my next argument.  I told you that there are many alternate interpretations for Biblical passages.  How do we settle on the right interpretation?  Why do we think that the Mitzvot are a stupid waste of time?  Did God not MEAN what he said in Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy?  The New Testament overturns all the supposed wicked acts committed by the Old Testament God that are actually righteous because we cannot possibly understand God’s actions due to our mortality and limited minds?  The reason why you have an inner drive to explain the Bible in a positive light and interpret the Bible positively is this:  You have your own “a priori” conceptions of ethics and logic that exist BEFORE you go to interpret the bible.  That is, you ALREADY know it’s bad to kill people when you read it in Exodus as one of the Ten Commandments.  So you say to yourself, “That passage in Exodus about not killing people is good stuff.  I agree with that.  God must mean, it’s bad to kill people.  I agree.” Now why when you go to Leviticus 3:11 do you say to yourself, “I can’t eat grapes or raisins, drink wine, or cut my hair?!?! Surely God doesn’t mean that!  I’m going to find other Biblical passages that overturn this ridiculous nonsense.”  You have an a priori sense of reason that tells you, “There is nothing wrong with eating grapes or drinking wine.  And cutting my hair is fine.” So if you ALREADY use your OWN moral intuitions to determine if the Bible “has it right” about morals, why do you even need the Bible?  You have your own moral intuitions that supercede anything GOOD or BAD given by the “moral law giver” in the Bible.[/quote] 

Yes for me, it was based on prior deduction (that’s what priori means correct?) But where did the other people before me get their ethics and logics from? Another argument to this statement is our consciousness. (Give me time to explain that in a coming weeks or days, whenever, keep me reminded as I may forget)

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6.  Let’s talk about the “We must need an absolute moral law giver” argument, since you brought it up.

 

A)  We NEED absolute morals?  We NEED a law giver to give them to us?  How is this logical?  What are the premises for such an argument?[/quote]

 

My premises is this, Where do we get morals from? Morals that don’t’ have a grey area to anything, strictly black and white; good and bad; God is absolute; thus absolute morals is his thing; Morals had to have come from somewhere

 

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Premise 1:  Without absolute morals, human life is in chaos because everyone can go about making their OWN subjective morals.

Conclusion 1:  WE NEED ABSOLUTE MORALS.[/quote]

 

Agreed.

 

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Premise 2:  Without an absolute moral law giver, we have no way of knowing what those morals are.

Conclusion 2:  We need an absolute moral law giver.[/quote]

 

Agreed.

 

[And here is where, if you haven’t noticed the falsity of this chain of logic already, everything falls apart.  Unfortunately, Christian theologians never discuss or answer this one.]

 

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Premise 3:  There must be a means for revelation or people communicating with God to receive these morals.

 

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Premise 4:  The Bible offers the ONLY true revelations from God that are divine moral prescriptions.  [This has many other assumptions and premises about historicity and faith.][/quote]

 

You fail to realize the other kind of revelations, “Special Revelations” While General Revelations are revealed to man through the word of God i.e. the Bible, Special revelation is also a kind of communication from God a personal “revelation” from God himself, examples of this were God to Abraham when referring to the promise land and such and when God revealed to

John how the world will end at Patmos (or was that Malta? One of the two, I always get them mixed up).

 

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Premise 5:  ALL other religious texts besides the Bible are NOT true revelations.

Conclusion 3:  Yahweh, the Judaic God of the Torah, and Jesus of the New Testament are the moral law givers.[/quote]

“giver” would be the correct one, because of the Trinity and everything (3 in one) See the aspect about special revelation above

 

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First, do you agree that this is a correct depiction of your argument?  If you think this is a strawman or that I have intentionally created a weak argument, please explain.  Provide any premises or conclusions that strengthen your argument, so I can have the best you have to offer.[/quote]

 

See above. I don’t’ think that is a correct deception though (keep in mind, I’m responding to each statement one by one, instead of reading the entire thing in one flow, that way I can save my progress in MS word, and continue another time)

 

 

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Since I can’t have your assent in real time, I’m just going to try refuting it anyway.  It may be a waste of time, but humor me.[/quote]

 

I’ll try

 

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I admit there’s some philosophical angst at looking yourself square in the face and realizing absolute morals are not logically necessary.  We have a lot more thinking to do about ethics once we get rid of the notion that they are absolute!  We’re going to have to put on our thinking caps and spend some time figuring this stuff out!  Unlike many theists, I find this exhilarating and fascinating!  I ENJOY reading about ethical philosophy.  I enjoy thinking about it and not simply assenting to the idea that we “need” absolute morals because it makes me queasy to think that they aren’t absolute.  You don’t get the same philosophical high as I do when posed this great challenge?[/quote]

 

By all means, I think about this kind of stuff regarding my actions for the day

 

Its kind of cool responding to this, I for one haven’t actively debated for Christ (this is a fault I must fix)

 

---

 

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“Premise 1:  Without absolute morals, human life is in chaos because everyone can go about making their OWN subjective morals.

Conclusion 1:  WE NEED ABSOLUTE MORALS.”

 

This does not even satisfy the requirements for an argument.  So what if we NEED anything?  The use of “NEED” in this context is not a true logical necessity.  It seems to me that we “need” absolute morals because it is emotionally distressing to think that they are not absolute.  Emotional distress does not entail logical necessity.  Check it:

 Premise:  It makes me sad, and it would drive me insane, if I did not believe that there is a diamond the size of a truck in my backyard.  I would really have to look myself in the mirror and do some thinking about my financial future if that diamond doesn’t exist.

Conclusion:  Therefore, there must be a diamond the size of a truck in my backyard.

Conclusion:  I am wealthy because of that diamond, and I don’t have to think about my financial future.  No angst for me!

 

The truth is more like this:

Premise 1:  Without absolute morals, we are going to have to put on our thinking caps.  The problem of ethics is going to be a tough one to tackle.  What can we do to prevent chaos cause by TOTAL moral subjectivity?

Conclusion 1:  Absolute morality is comforting, but it is only contingent, it is not logically necessary. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contingency  “In philosophy and logic, contingency is the status of facts that are not logically necessary.”

 

Prove to me, Doc101, that absolute morality is TRULY logically NECESSARY and not merely CONTINGENT.  I have not seen any theist reasoning that has been able to do this to date.  If you can or know someone who has, I’d like to see it.

 

And finally, I feel that I have STILL given you too much.  I do not even grant the premise that “Moral subjectivity leads to total chaos.”

 

This ASSUMES that people who make their own morals will make bad ones.  NO!  And this may be at the very heart of the whole issue.  Maybe all morals ARE subjective!!!  But so what? 

 

Maybe ALL or MOST humans will SUBJECTIVELY agree on a comprehensive set of morals.

Your belief that society will descend into total chaos if we have subjective morals is totally unsupported.[/quote]

 

If I say something that doesn’t agree with your satisfaction of my argument in this statement, then please tell me, and I shall try to elaborate a bit more.

 Let me ask you this, do you think that it is right that I think killing people is good (and no I don’t’ think so haha) Cause I’m pretty sure the aztects (or was it the mayans.. hmmm) that fancied the cutting up of hearts for their gods. I say there needs to be a definite law of whats right and what is wrong none of this gray stuff, (like white lies for instance,) in order to have a society where we are gutting each other up.

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And now I must supply additional argumentative points before I go back to attacking the rest of my dissection of your argument…[/quote]

By all means go on

 

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6.  WHERE DO WE GET MORALS?   

A)  Evolution.  There are many books about this.  It’s a relatively new field.

I don’t know if I can do this subject justice because it’s rather complicated.  I like the following books that I have read or I own but have not finished:  The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins; Good and Evil, by Michael Shermer; The Moral Animal, by Robert Wright; Breaking the Spell:  Religion as Natural Phenomenon, by Daniel Dennet; Religion Explained, by Pascal Boyer.  Those books have great stuff independent of just morality.

 

Allow me to supply some excerpts by manually typing them:

 

i)  “The Science of Good and Evil”  Michael Shermer

http://www.amazon.com/Science-Good-Evil-People-Gossip/dp/0805077693

 

“The historical trajectory makes good sense in an evolutionary model.  In bands and tribes the declaration of love for one’s neighbors means something rather different than it does in chiefdoms, states, and empires.  In the Paleolithic social environment in which our moral sentiments evolved, one’s neighbors were family, extended family, and community members who were well known to all.  To help others was to help oneself.  In chiefdoms, states, and empires the biblical admonition “love thy neighbor” meant only one’s immediate in-group.  Out-groups were not included…”  The whole chapter on evolutionary ethics in Shermer’s book is absolutely fascinating.

 

But in all honesty creation of morals had to come somewhere it started somewhere, before “one’s neighbors” and their own family, WHERE did it originate?

 

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But consider this, Doc101:  look at your Old Testament.  What’s “love your neighbor” all about there?  Jews good.  All other tribes bad.  Disagree?  You need me to cite discussions about the ethics of taking slaves from other tribes or God’s moral sanctioning of war against other tribes?[/quote]

 

Although to my knowledge, I don’t know, but show me where God commanded the Jews to take slaves? The Jews themselves took slaves as spoils of war, even they had their setbacks, in which God punished them for that. God’s moral sanctioning of war? He even said the wages of sin is death, those other tribes were deliberately disobeying him (sexual actions, you know that stuff, polygods). War was a consequence of their sins.

 

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The OT is just an evolution of ethics for a primitive tribe using “God” as a justification for their morals that they created themselves.  Granted, many of the Mitzvot were about hygiene, a necessary evolutionary jump.

 

That you are wrong, the people made the decisions of their morals, thus disobeying God (we are humans, we make mistakes) God punished them for that.

 

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The GREAT thing about perceiving morals as evolutionary is that our morals are never fixed by some dogmatic work of fiction!  We are never forced to ask, “What does the Bible have to say about that?”  We just use our own minds and evolve![/quote]

 

Yes but not all minds evolve the same, the great thing about absolute morals, is that we have a fixation of morals that don’t sway to abide by.

 

Quote:
Slavery?  Endorsed by the Bible.[/quote]

Wrong, that was humanity’s fault, as shown by the Jews

 

Quote:
Racism?  Endorsed by the Bible.[/quote]

God show racism? Or did the people

Quote:
Subjugation of women?  Endorsed by the Bible.[/quote]

Prove it, God didn’t use this as a sexist tool, he just made it that man is suppose to be the dominant of the two, as he made Adam first

Quote:
Thought crimes?  Endorsed by the Bible.

 

Show me? (I personally don’t know what reference you are referring to, perhaps show me and I’ll elaborate on it)

 

Quote:
Killing homosexuals, atheists, and kids who disobey?  Endorsed by the Bible.

The wages of sin is death, THAT is however prior to Christ (also sacrifices atoned to this too) God hates the acts, not the person, we have forgiveness for a reason through Christ

 

Quote:
All of these things are terrible problems in human history.  How did our morals evolve?  Because we don’t get them from a book.  We have the courage and insight to determine that some previously held beliefs about ethics are gravely mistaken in the context of rational thought.

 

Morals don’t constantly evolve. As humanity itself didn’t come according to evolution a billion (give or take) years later after the earth was formed. They started somewhere, previously HELD beliefs had to come SOMEWHERE

 

Quote:
Dogmatic belief in the Bible didn’t bring about the end of slavery or rights of women.  We may think that it had to do with scholastic quibbles about Biblical passages, but let’s get real.  It’s human reason and the progress of human culture.

 

Actually it did bring the rights of both, the whole “Love your neighbor as yourself” perfectly illustrates that. The women’s rights is found in 1 Corinthians 11:9-13; they both influenced the end.

 

 

Quote:
ii) Dawkins, “The God Delusion”

“I am suggesting that the same is true of the urge to kindness -- to altruism, to generosity, to empathy, to pity.  In ancestral times, we had the opportunity to be altruistic only towards close kin and potential reciprocators.  Nowadays that restriction is no longer there, but the rule of thumb persists.  Why would it not?  It is just like sexual desire.  We can no more help ourselves feeling pity when we see a weeping unfortunate (who is unrelated and unable to reciprocate) than we can’t help ourselves feeling lust for a member of the opposite sex (who may be infertile or otherwise unable to reproduce).  Both are misfirings, Darwinian mistakes:  blessed, precious mistakes.”

The way Dawkins thinks about the universe and humanity, in my opinion, is beautiful.  His discussion of awe for the universe parallels that of Carl Sagan.  It’s all a matter of perception.

And although I had a tough time coming to terms with an atheist worldview, now that I accept it, it’s more wondrous and beautiful than I ever could have imagined. I think I take each day as more sacred.  I value all other human lives much more.  We’re all in the same situation.  We’re all here for a finite period of time, painting the picture of our lives so that all remains of us is what we have left behind in the memory of others.[/quote]

 

Show me how kindness isn’t shown in the Bible (at least that is what I’m interpreting, by all means I’ve I’m wrong, summarize that reading)

 

Quote:
Dennet discusses a passage from a William James book…  James tells a story about a minister clutching to the branch of a tree. When he finally lets go, he falls two feet and realizes the fall wasn’t as bad as he thought.  I would expand this.  I think that by letting go of the branch [branch = religion], rather than falling two feet, you float up in the clouds to see the world for what it is, not some religious delusion that’s obscured your view of the beauty in the world and muddled your life with confusion.  Do you ever hear about an atheist discussing what he would “LOSE” by giving up atheism?  We have the courage to see the world for what it is, accept it, and FIND the beauty in it, whether ugly or pleasing.[/quote]

 

My interpretation of that story is this

 

Minster is clutching to the tree, seeing more than he could have saw than he could have on the ground, like seeing over and beyond the fence (Branch=God’s love, the acceptance of Christ as his personal savior) when he drops, he only sees whats in front of him, everything in front of the fence, not beyond it. My question is, what do we have to “GAIN” by becoming an Atheist? By forgetting God, you’re losing everything.

 

Quote:
Based on Tao Te Ching:  Everything bad or good is made of the same “stuff.”  The trick is not viewing everything as opposites, but as the same.  Change your PERCEPTION of events in the face of adversity, for the judgments we make on things are under our own power to change.

 

That means we eventually could have a confliction/paradox of our perception of events

 

Quote:
This is possibly the greatest page of practical life-lesson text I have ever read:

Epictetus, “The Art of Living” [interp. Sharon Lebell]: 

 

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle:  Some things are within our control, and some things are not.  It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.”

 

Happiness comes from when I fundamentally understand that I will be a slave for life? Freedom comes from the understanding that I will be a slave for life? (speaking from a perspective of an African Slave)

 

Quote:
Within our control are our own opinions, aspirations, desires, and the things that repel us.  These areas are quite rightly our concern, because they are directly subject to our influence.  We always have a choice about the content and character of our inner lives.

 

Outside our control, however, are such things as what kind of body we have, whether we’re born into wealth or strike it rich, how we are regarded by others, and our status in society.  We must remember that those things are externals and are therefore not our concern.  Trying to control or to change what we can’t only results in torment…[/quote]

 

Yes you are right we control our opinions, aspirations, desires, and things that repel us. But where did that all (when you boil it down fundamentally) come from? If you are directing towards human nature and actions then what caused you to make those actions? Your Consciousness? And where did that come from…?

 

Quote:
What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them.  It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance. 

 Stop Scaring yourself with impetuous notions, with your reactive impressions of the way things are! 

Things and people are not what we wish them to be nor what they seem to be.  They are what they are.”

 

I really don’t know how to respond to this because of wording issues with myself but I will best try.

“They are what they are” And where do they get their judgement from? Their character? Their nature to deal with humans socially?

 

Sounds a lot like accepting the world for what it is…  The atheist credo.

 

Quote:
The problem with Christianity is that as Christian, reading the Tao Te Ching or Stoic philosophy is considered detrimental and even blasphemous.  Frankly, and forgive me for saying, but the Bible is riddled with filth and bullshit.  If I am not dogmatic, and I have no sacred text, I can cherry pick from all human literature the moral and practical knowledge that I can to help my life.  So the point I am driving at is that Christian morality is bankrupt because it annihilates the intellectual value of ALL other humans who do not use the Bible as a context for thought and experience.  I am not a unitarian universalist.  I do not believe all religions “are different paths to the same thing.”  But I DO think that many different people around the world in history have something to offer human knowledge.  Yes, even Christianity, and even Islam.  They are not “paths” to the same thing, but they do have some good things in them.  The thing with devout religious belief is that you CANNOT cherry pick.  You can’t sift the good from the bad, and you have to accept everything in your holy book.  Moreover, you have to exclude the entire sum of knowledge outside your holy book’s realm.[/quote]

 

“You can’t sift the good from the bad” you just proved my point about the human moral system, we want to get around these boundaries, so we do by creating a “superior” moral system not according to guidelines, but to our own errant(I think that is the right term? But I meant was our sinful, not perfect) nature

 

Quote:
The burning of the Library of Alexandria?  Christians.  It makes me want to weep.  Seriously.

 

Show me where it says that the burning of the Library of Alexandira was of the Christians, to this day there is no conclusive evidence that the Christians burnt the library

 

“Ancient and modern sources identify four possible occasions for the destruction of the Library.

  1. Caesar's conquest 48 BC;
  2. the attack of Aurelian in the 3rd century;
  3. the decree of Theophilus in 391;
  4. the Muslim conquest in 642 or thereafter.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria#Destruction_of_the_Library

 

 

Quote:
[Reminding you again WHERE DO WE GET MORALS?]

B)  Laws codified by humans who collectively agree on morals in a society or country via John Locke & Jean Jacques Rousseau’s social contract.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract[/quote]

 

Rousseau grew up on Calvinist sermons, so we don’t’ know if that could have influenced his part in the social contract, he even converted to Catholicism, so even he had to have believed in that God has absolute morals

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Jacques_Rousseau#Biography

 

Even James Locke had a Christian (i.e. Catholicism) background behind him

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Locke#Life

 

 

Quote:
So freaking what if we have subjective morals that differ!  Let’s have natural human lawgivers who say, “You know what, I don’t care if Mr. Manson has subjectively determined that killing people is a good thing.  The rest of us decide it’s wrong and against the law.  So too bad for Mr. Manson’s subjective morals.”[/quote]

 

How does that work? You are saying that human law givers have absolute morals? Where did they get that from? It doesn’t’ make sense that it can be reoccurring, rather guidelines were given unto them

 

Quote:
C)  We get morals through reason by sane individuals.[/quote]

 

Where did they get it from, they couldn’t have originated it themselves

 

---

 

Back to those arguments that I tangented off from:

 

Quote:
Premise 2:  Without an absolute moral law giver, we have no way of knowing what those absolute morals are.

Conclusion 2:  We need an absolute moral law giver.

 

This is the same logical fallacy committed before.  It confuses contingency with necessity.  The existence of an absolute moral law giver is contingent, not logically necessary.  Is that clear to you?  You can’t just say it IS necessary.  Why?  In any event, it’s an inductive argument of VERY low probability; it certainly isn’t the deductive argument that you think it is.

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning[/quote]

 

Like I said above, I’ll try to word this as best as possible as I don’t’ know exactly how to say it

 

According to your source about deductive reasoning

 

Deductive reasoning is the kind of reasoning in which the conclusion is necessitated by, or reached from, previously known facts (the premises). If the premises are true, the conclusion must be true”

 

Ok agreed?

 

 

Previous facts of morals ARE from God himself, otherwise, how the heck would we know what morals are? More or less where is the line drawn between good and bad? Who determines that? It can’t be imperfect humans that determine that

 

 

 

---

 

Quote:
Premise 3:  There must be a means for revelation or people communicating with God to receive these morals.

Premise 4:  The Bible offers the ONLY true revelations from God that are divine moral prescriptions.  [This has many other assumptions and premises about historicity and faith.]

Premise 5:  ALL other religious texts besides the Bible are NOT true revelations.

Conclusion 3:  Yahweh, the Judaic God of the Torah, and Jesus of the New Testament are the moral law givers.

Premise 3 is only contingent.  Premises 4 and 5 are blatantly absurd.  Thus, I cannot possibly see, Doc101, how Conclusion 3 could be accepted by any normal, sane, rational adult.[/quote]

 

You can read above what I said about p3, p4, and p5; for p5 though (I don’t’ think I talked about it at all above) is that the Bible isn’t the ONLY true revelation, (as I talked about above that the Bible is basically the general revelation from God)

 

Quote:
Can you see the dilemma in choosing between the tens of thousands of competing revelations across the globe?  You are an atheist just like me.  You don’t believe in Buddha as a prophet, Amenhotep, Edgar Cayce, the Oracle of Delphi, or the Baghavadad Gita.  I’m just an atheist with respect to one MORE book than you, the Bible.  What makes the Bible a true source of revelation and the Baghavadad Gita, The Book of Mormon, or Dyanetics all false?  Hell, if God EXISTS, I find it illogical that he would have hundreds of prophets over a 4000 year time span, and then simply stop from 30AD to present day.  Why no more books in the Bible?  If we are to believe that Revelations are real, than the Book of Mormon and Dyanetics have a very good probability of truth, since they were from modern day prophets.  This follows the logical principle that God would continue to communicate with humans.  You don’t believe the Book of Mormon or Dyanetics are the word of God?  Why?  Think about those reasons and ask yourself how the Bible is immune to the same arguments.[/quote]

 

Check it: Look for the consistency, historicity in the other books other than the Bible. Also remember that God uses special revelation to communicate with humans, not only general revelation when referring to the Bible

 

Quote:
END OF MAIN BODY

 

Haha I finished my homework really quick to type this up, 6 HOURS gah, but I admit, I did enjoy debating this

 

-----

 

Specific answers:

 

Quote:
Doc101:

please who defines what is just or not, for you guys it can't be God obviously because that would totally contradict your "faith," it can't be humans cause according to another atheist user in a thread, moral laws are not absolute, but rather based off ones own emotions, and customs that were brought upon them when they were brought up by their parents

I just can't see how a flawed human moral justice system can be "vastly superior" to a supreme moral entity (that being the God of all)

 

DoctorO:

Again confusing contingency and necessity.[/quote]

 

How is that confusing? I for one would follow one kind of moral system, then everyone else’s moral system if you suggest that every moral should be allowed to be subjective, not definite.

 

Quote:
Everything I said about accepting difficult philosophical problems applies here.

 A “flawed” human justice system?  Compared to what?  The human justice system is the only one we’ve got, so let’s make the best of it.

 

The justice system of the Bible, Our justice system in the USA is derived (if you really compare it to the justice system of the Bible) from it; while it may not be directly, the indirect influence is there

 

Quote:
The Biblical God is morally bankrupt.

 

Its we as humans who assume God is morally bankrupt, we assume that because of what he “allows” to influence is that God is bankrupt

 

See my 3 origins for morals:  evolution, social contract, and consensus of reason by sane individuals.

 

Quote:
Doc101:

I'm not sure i'm understanding this but

"if God exists, God is evil" quotable fact? or opinion, opinions just show how our morals are flawed and incapable of creating a perfect moral justice system that can undermine the establishment of justice God has already created 

 

DoctorO:

Where do we get this perfect moral justice system?  The Bible?  EVEN IF you prove necessity of a perfect moral justice system, you have the MONUMENTAL task of proving that YOU have access to it and that it has been revealed to you or whoever wrote your holy book.  But you have not even established the necessity relationship between absolute morals and an absolute moral giver OR a necessity relationship between general morality and absolute morals.[/quote]

 

Doctoro let me ask you a question, have you actually read the Bible? Studied it in depth perhaps? The system that God established is perfect, it has no faults in it; but you can’t see why its perfect unless you read it and study it yourself

 

Quote:
Wanting something and LOGICALLY NEEDING something are different propositions.

Here is an example of a logical necessity:

Premise 1:  All horses are mammals.

Premise 2:  ‘Butterscotch’ is the name of a pet horse.

Conclusion 1:  Butterscotch is a mammal.

Conclusion 1 is logically necessary based on the above 2 premises.  You have not provided any arguments that fit this form, Doc101.  And you have also not provided premises that stand up to critical scrutiny that would lead to the truth of the conclusions about moral law givers or “needing” absolute morals.[/quote]

 

Please elaborate this more, I’m not understanding this what so ever (must be cause I’m young L )

 This is what I’m interpreting based off that example

P1: The Bible defines good and bad, as shown by God (through inspired writings, as in he basically wrote it, but through writers)

P2: Jim follows the Bible (both old and new testament mind you) even to the smallest letter

C1: Jim is morally a good man (keep in mind that being morally good WILL not get you into Heaven, its accepting Christ as your personal savior that will)

Quote:
Doc101 writes:

ok let me throw this

God = Absolute moral giver

Moral Laws= come from a creator/giver, in this case morals would have to be absolute, thus would have to come from God

Consciousness= Our moral guidelines, even those tribal people on scattered islands have some sort of definition of what is right and wrong in their eyes.

Btw, God laid down the rules with Adam and Eve (well sort of haha) then the commandments and so on

DoctorO:

The only new thing here is “Consciousness.”  I think you mean, “Conscience.”

There is NO reason why human “conscience” did not come from evolutionary means.  The Dawkins quote illustrates that point beautifully.

 

Haha thanks for the spelling correction Laughing out loud

 

What I don’t’ understand from dawkins is that he doing that (for example the weeping) based off of human experiences in the past, if he never saw that the first time, how would he feel remorseful? It had to be introduced to him, i.e. “created”

 

(extra stuff I found after your original post)

Quote:
I forgot something important from Kai Nielsen.

7.  Follow me:

Premise 1:  If there is an absolute moral giver, he must have some basis for his absolute morals.

Agreed.

Quote:
Premise 2:  The basis for the absolute moral giver's absolute morals is moral reasoning and or logical thinking.

Premise 3:  Humans have the capacity to reason and think.[/quote]

I think that the basis for the absolute moral giver’s absolute morals is the character of the giver, and with the moral reasoning and logical thinking, but keep this in mind

God is perfect, humans aren’t, thus both have completely, (cannot stress that enough) different ways on how to think

Quote:
Conclusion 1:  Humans can ascertain absolute morals (if we grant that there are absolute morals) through moral reasoning and logical thinking.  This is a byproduct of evolutionary psychology.  Humans do not need God for morals because they can "figure them out" themselves.[/quote]

You proved another point, “if we grant that there are absolute morals” Humans can’t make absolute morals cause A. we have flawed imperfections which concludes that B. It had to come somewhere, i.e. God. How can they figure it out themselves? There is no foundation for them to figure upon, name one thing that human kind has created without somesort of foundation that God provided himself, whether through him, or through the Bible, or Jesus.

Quote:
Moreover...

 ALL morals must have reasons that they are moral.  God does NOT arbitrarily decide one day, "Killing is bad," and overturn it the next day.  Killing is bad because in snuffs out a human life and causes suffering of friends and family.  The REASON we do not kill is for those reasons I listed, NOT because God says, "Don't Kill."  God's reasons are the same reasons as OUR reasons.  That is total moral equivalency.  We need God for NOTHING when it comes to morals.[/quote]

What I’m about to say is from a creationist view, How do we know killing is bad? Heck in fact without God giving us morals to abide by, we could say that “love” is killing a person, and literally “killing” is loving a person, we wouldn’t’ know the difference between the two unless we had previously established guidelines that were set out before us (understand? If you don’t’ I’ll try to elaborate more, but seeing that you’re more of an intellectual then I am, then I’m pretty sure you’ll understand what I’m saying)

Quote:
I find it EXTREMELY interesting, Doc101, that you have such big talk about a moral law giver -- which implies that you give authority to the Bible... THEN YOU CONTRADICT THIS by saying that humans have a God-given conscience.  Which is it?  Moral intuitions given to us by God or laws written in stone?  Both?  I don't get it.

 

Yes we have a God-given conscience and moral authority is ascertained in the Bible, remember what I said about special revelation? What you suggested above suggests that God created us, thus giving us his moral laws… no?

 

Quote:
The problem with bringing up a human conscience and moral intuition is that you annihilate the need for any moral law giving through revelation.[/quote]

But my point is where did that all come from? Where did it originate?

Quote:
And if you claim the existence of conscience and moral intuitions, there is nothing to distinguish evolutionary moral intuitions from God given ones.  Moreover, if both are equivalent in explanatory power, A)  God loses due to Occam's Razor and B) There is NO reason to suppose that we NEED God as an explanation if an evolutionary explanation will do.[/quote]

Moral intuitions as I said above, came from where? The conscience? And where did that come from, what is there to distinguish evo. Moral intuitions and God given ones, if you suggested above that humans have a God given conscience, thus we already have those moral laws on us (ehhh don’t’ think I worded that right, I hope I did that they way I was thinking it)

 

 

Done.

 

Quote:
I have adopted a rather adversarial posture here, so forgive me.  I never intend to make personal attacks if they are considered as such.[/quote]

 

No offense here from you; I hope that I didn’t’ make any personal attacks either, if I did, I apologize

 

Quote:
In truth, Doc101, I hope you either A) come around to my way of thinking or B) convince me that I am wrong and your arguments are more rational.  I have changed my mind on MANY issues since I started debating on these forums.  Ethics are just one topic.  Determinism vs. Free Will was another issue that I was persuaded to change my mind on (was a determinist, now a free willist).[/quote]

 

I honestly hope that I convinced you, if not, we’ll start this up again

 

DoctorO, I’m glad that you typed up this rather long post defending your beliefs, after reading this I honestly wished Christianity had more kinds of people who defends our God with such fervor

 

I’m praying for you, not for you to immediately convert to Christianity (I’m not saying that in a bad sense, but you know flip over to Christianity in a heart beat), but for God to work through your life, and that you eventually come to know that God is truly out there

 

Done.


doc101
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Paste this into MS it makes

Paste this into Microsoft word, it makes a ton easier to read


doc101
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btw everyone, (sorry for

btw everyone, (sorry for tripple posting everyone) if you can't tell who's who in that post above, shoot me an email at

 

mafiaclown04@gmail.com

 

and i'll email it to you 


todangst
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"eternal punishment" is an

"eternal punishment" is an oxymoron. Punishment is any action that brings about behavioral change. For this reason, punishment is finite by definition.

 

Any eternal application of an aversive stimuli would be torture, not punishment.

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


doc101
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crap the post isn't showing

crap the post isn't showing up, doctorO send me an email, and i'll email the document to you

 

something is very screwed up with the forums (coding wise) the "quote" boxes aren't displaying correctly here for me at school, in fact the post itself isn't showing up at all, it did when I was at home, it was just... very wide


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I don't have Microsoft word.

I don't have Microsoft word.


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Semp2pts wrote: That's hard

Semp2pts wrote:
That's hard to do in light of the topic, because they are intertwined, but I guess we move on...

What I'll do is hypothetically accept your position on all these other points. I'll hypothetically accept that there is a God and that we have sinned. I'm arguing that even if these are all true then eternal damnation is injust.


Strafio wrote:
So what is justice here for?

Semp2pts wrote:
Justice is, in it's simplest form, getting what you deserve.

How do we judge what someone deserves?
I'm certain that no one deserves to suffer for eternity.
When I think of someone getting what they deserve (in a poetic justice/karma sort of way) I usually think of something they've done to someone else coming back at them. (be it good or bad)

Strafio wrote:
Why do we need justice?

Semp2pts wrote:
Justice is an outcome of laws. It has to exist, otherwise the laws would not exist. If we had the law of gravity but it impacted nothing - the law would be useless. If you drop an orange - the law in question is gravity and the justice is the orange falling to the ground.

So you only believe we need justice because laws are there to be followed. The thing is, don't we make laws to ensure justice? Don't we change laws when we think they are unjust. There must be more to justice than obedience to a set of rules.

Semp2pts wrote:
The first problem here is that people don't get into heaven because of justice. They get into heaven because of mercy and grace. That's the key to understanding the whole thing. The mercy and grace is what catches the falling orange before it hits the ground.

Such mercy and grace wouldn't be necessary if God's justice was trully just. That's most people's problem with the Christian God. His idea of justice makes him look like a sadistic oppressive dictator.

Quote:
I can see what you are saying by saying that eternal punishment goes against the idea of justice but in some respects the problem is with the naming - "eternal punishment". If you think of it as separation from God, I believe it becomes clearer. For those that are told about God and salvation etc (i.e. have a chance to actively reject God) if they willingly choose to reject God for their entire life, knowing the outcome - isn't justice just that: them getting what they deserve?

I'm going to lend you another hypothetical for a moment (and this is a biggie! Smiling) and that's that they believe and understand the Christian theology is true.
You say they choose to be separate from God and so are separated.
However, why should that choice have to last for ever?
It is an eternal punishment as God has condemned them to a result of a bad choice with no hope of redeeming themselves and changing their mind. How can such a punishment be just?
It applies as God has made a rule that means someone will suffer eternally, without hope for relief, for a mistaken choice they made.
This definately goes against justice.

Quote:
I'm not at all saying I would enjoy seeing people in eternal distress. It's a hard concept to fathom. In fact, these are all hard concepts to discuss and make sense of.

I hope you get what I mean.[/QUOTE}
I think I understand your angle. I think you're being waaaaay too generous to Christian theology here but it's a good thing that you're not just taking my word for it! Laters! Eye-wink


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Ok i'll copy that into an

Edited Version, I fixed it; mods please delete the other post that had that big fat wide version 

Although I said it would be a matter of days, turns out I did my homework rather quickly… 

It appears that we have a new anonymous theist to debate.  Joy.  I like having a two sided debate rather than speaking to the choir.  Let’s do (friendly) battle, Doc101.  This is going to be a LONG, thought out post.  I consider it a culmination of 2 years studying ethics and the supposed moral dilemmas that are derived from atheism.

A friendly debate is always good, I may or may not win, but whatever, may the best man uhhhh do the best? Haha lack of term there 

1.  WHY I CARE ABOUT THEIST ETHICS:  Doc101 would suppose a claim that is popular in theist thought:  Atheists cannot be moral. It is first important to establish why this issue is so crucial to the big picture, and why I care.  That some people believe Atheists cannot be moral troubles me, especially when politicians believe such things. 

A) http://bennyhills.fortunecity.com/hardy/203/nonbeliever/page50.html In an interview between Robert Sherman and George HW Bush Sr., Bush Sr.’s comments exemplifies the reason that I care. Sherman: “Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Atheists?”Bush: “No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”This quote should be emblazoned in the minds of all Americans.  This is why I care.  I’m not considered an American citizen for my beliefs?  So I disagree with the “one nation under God” verse in the Pledge of Allegiance that WASN’T ADDED until the 1950s? http://www.undergodprocon.org/pop/PledgeHistory.htm 

Does that mean I’m not a citizen of this country?

Ok according to wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance#Addition_of_the_words_.22under_God.22 (I’m assuming this is a credible source, considering you too used wikipedia in another thread) George Docherty created a sermon in the 1950’s regarding the Gettysburg address which quote “According to Docherty, what has made the United States both unique and strong was her sense of being the nation that Lincoln described: a nation "under God".” So in fact the words “under God” was branded upon the nation during Lincoln’s presidency, it was just that it wasn’t added to our pledge later on in the years. Also if you consider the history of our country, starting with the pilgrims and such, whom founded this country based off of religious freedom, a place where they can worship God freely, a la, a “nation under God.” So that means Americans even knew in the 1860's (and prior) that this nation was "under God"

B)  In a recent poll, atheists were considered the most “distrusted” group in America, surpassing all other minority and “outcast” groups. 

http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheitsHated.htm        

I mean if you seriously think about it, as I said above, this nation was founded with Christian principles; Atheists are becoming a hindrance in what the “fundy” Christian principles are. I’m trying to as best as I can at this young age to describe what I’m saying, but I don’t’ think I’m properly getting this point across to you, perhaps if I get a response regarding my reply, maybe I can talk more. 

C)  In another poll, atheists garnered a 48% disapproval rating indicating that survey takers would NOT vote for an atheist in any circumstances.  No group had the same disapproval rating.http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism9.htm 

Same as above 

D)  I’ve got to ask, why the heck is this?  Why do people seem to distrust and HATE atheists so much?  Do many people who supposedly hate us even KNOW any openly real-life atheists?  While the percent of atheists in the US is estimated at 10-15%, it is certain that almost everyone knows an atheist.  Is the distrust due to lack of exposure to open atheists, or do they have real-world altercations with us on a daily basis?

 Personally I think its possibly the reputation atheists have attained over the years, in all honesty I think my response is the same 2 response above.

 

This is certainly a broader question for the group.  But I would posit that at least ONE of the reason why we are distrusted and hated is because people like Doc101 think that morals come from God.

 Yes I kind of agree with this statement, absolute morals come from God, but it is Atheists (and not to mention other religions as well) that don’t’ advocate this.

 

2.  CONCESSIONS:  I will concede that if morals come from God, atheists are profoundly mistaken on their moral underpinnings.  I will concede that atheists go to hell if the Christian God is real and morals come from God.

God still loves you even for your misfallings, and I’m speaking to the rest of the “choir” too 

 

3.  MORAL EQUIVALENCY:  But the FATAL flaw in Doc101 and other theists’ thinking is this:  EVEN IF morals come from God, it is FALSE that atheists cannot at least obey SOME divinely ordained moral prescriptions, and henceforth be “moral” regarding those specific precepts.  I think the underlying theistic IMPLICATION of their argument is that atheists are not moral because we don’t believe in the same JUSTIFICATION for our morals.  NO.

But do atheists obey all? Or at least attempt to?  (And again, I do not think I’m understanding this statement above, so if you can elaborate, please do) 

 

HENCE, even if atheists have a different justification for moral precepts, our moral precepts can overlap.  So if we do good deeds and treat other people kindly, even if we have another justification, claiming that atheists cannot be moral is blatantly false.  I do not define “being moral” as an all-encompassing term including ALL theist morals, but each theist moral individually.  So if theists think it’s wrong to kill people and atheists agree, atheists are acting morally according to theistic definitions with respect to not killing people.  If Doc101 is to argue that I must have the same justification for not killing people that he has in order to be moral about not killing people, he is wrong.  That would be a logically invalid argument.  If he would support such an argument, I have to ask him what rules of logic he is following.  The ones beamed to him from God that don’t exist in any logic textbooks?

 I think we are having the different rules of logic here, I think the justification of morals is as equally important as following the morals, lets say this Mom told Linda not to eat the cookies, so Linda does not because that would be disobeying.Mom told Bobby not to eat the cookies, Bobby in thought wants to eat the cookies, but fears the beatings from Daddy so he doesn’t. It’s the rules of intent Who is morally right in this situation? 

Let’s look at the Commandments, which theists think are so important that they should be depicted in shrines in and on our government buildings.

At most, there are 2 and only 2 of the ten commandments that atheists do not obey at all:  1.  Believing in Yahweh, the Jewish war God.

 Jewish war God isn’t the correct term for Yahweh, Yahweh is the distinictive personal name to God, Jewish war God implies that he is like Ares, for example. 

 

Granted, atheists don’t believe in him.  2.  Keeping the Sabbath Day holy.  Granted, we don’t go to church.  (But in the context of that commandment, the Sabbath Day is Saturday, not Sunday.  So every Christian in the US is screwed because they don’t follow it either.)

 Of course believing in God would make you Theists by default. Agreed, but allow me to look through that statement a bit more in a few days or so 

Lets look at the others.  3.  Not cussing.  An atheist can choose not to cuss.  Granted, I choose to cuss like a sailor, but I assure you there are MANY atheists without a foul-mouth like I have.

 Agreed but same as above

4-8.  All of those commandments have to do with being nice to your fellow humans.  Don’t steal, murder, cheat on your wife, lie, rape, and respect your parents.  All atheists would agree it is good to follow those rules for the most part.

 Agreed

 

9-10.  Don’t covet your neighbor’s wife or stuff.  Well, the wife part I agree with, but No. 10 is crucial to American free enterprise.  Coveting your neighbor’s stuff is what keeps our economy going.

 Agreed with the wife stuff, but you are interpreting the 10th one all wrong Desire is good as it says in the Bible, what a man sows, he reapsBut Coveting is when Desire becomes unlawful, inordinate. i.e. Greed
but I found most of my information here
http://www.apostolic.edu/biblestudy/files/10th-com.htm

 

In any event, all but 2 of the 10 commandments that many if not most atheists can follow in principle, and thus be called “moral” for each of those points.  (I think the commandments are all fatally flawed, I don’t think they come from a divinity, and I would gladly pick apart the wording of each one to show the semantic problems.  This is not the place for such a discussion.)

 See what I wrote for the previous stuff, and by all means pick apart the wording, I’m all ears.

 

4.  THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT ALL!  If you want to get into detail, Christians should follow the 613 Mitzvot laws as well.  Some them are so preposterous that believing in their divine origin is laughable.  I watched an episode of “trading spouses” in which a kosher Jewish woman was unable to eat any food from her plate if the serving spoon from one dish touched her plate.  Since when did God give a rip about serving spoons?  Doesn’t he have enough people to smite to keep him busy?

  See below for response on the Mitzvot 

Don’t believe me?

 Not yet : )

 

  A. In the NEW FREAKING TESTAMENT, Jesus says to follow the Mitzvot.  Jesus didn’t come to undermine the Old Testament. Jesus speaking:
Matthew 5:17-20
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Of course, go ahead, Doc101, read the passage and try to wretch some alternate interpretation.  It’s the Bible, so ANY interpretation will do, so long as it follows our own a priori reasoning that supercedes whatever is written in the text!  That will lead to my next argument, but first…

 You are taking those verses out of context, Jesus came not to abolish the Commandments i.e. the Jewish law, the Mitzvot were a collection of little laws here and there, that were widely accepted by jews, most of them were taken out context, I’ll elaborate later in this.

 

B)  Here’s a list of the Mitzvot:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/613_mitzvot

My favorite group of Mitzvot laws:218. He must not cut his hair Num. 6:5 

He was referring to Wedding Vows, the Nazerite, (this next response is my opinion, but I’ll try to gather some evidence later on) The Jews were slowly becoming like the Pagans, concentrating on their looks and such, with jewelery, makeup, and such; I think the context of this verse is saying that “Hey don’t concentrate on how you look i.e. your hair, rather affix your views upon me”  

219. He must not drink wine, wine mixtures, or wine vinegar Num. 6:3

If I recall correctly, drink back then was heavily intoxicated, The New Testament later says that you shouldn’t get “drunk” i.e. intoxicated (but Jews would not believe this because after all, their Bible is the old testament, as Jesus wasn’t the son of God to them) 

 

220. He must not eat fresh grapes Num. 6:3

221. He must not eat raisins Num. 6:3

222. He must not eat grape seeds Num. 6:4

223. He must not eat grape skins Num. 6:4

 Referring to the abstinence of being intoxicated

 

 5.  A PRIORI JUSTIFICATION:  So, my next argument.  I told you that there are many alternate interpretations for Biblical passages.  How do we settle on the right interpretation?  Why do we think that the Mitzvot are a stupid waste of time?  Did God not MEAN what he said in Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy?  The New Testament overturns all the supposed wicked acts committed by the Old Testament God that are actually righteous because we cannot possibly understand God’s actions due to our mortality and limited minds?  The reason why you have an inner drive to explain the Bible in a positive light and interpret the Bible positively is this:  You have your own “a priori” conceptions of ethics and logic that exist BEFORE you go to interpret the bible.  That is, you ALREADY know it’s bad to kill people when you read it in Exodus as one of the Ten Commandments.  So you say to yourself, “That passage in Exodus about not killing people is good stuff.  I agree with that.  God must mean, it’s bad to kill people.  I agree.” Now why when you go to Leviticus 3:11 do you say to yourself, “I can’t eat grapes or raisins, drink wine, or cut my hair?!?! Surely God doesn’t mean that!  I’m going to find other Biblical passages that overturn this ridiculous nonsense.”  You have an a priori sense of reason that tells you, “There is nothing wrong with eating grapes or drinking wine.  And cutting my hair is fine.” So if you ALREADY use your OWN moral intuitions to determine if the Bible “has it right” about morals, why do you even need the Bible?  You have your own moral intuitions that supercede anything GOOD or BAD given by the “moral law giver” in the Bible. 

Yes for me, it was based on prior deduction (that’s what priori means correct?) But where did the other people before me get their ethics and logics from? Another argument to this statement is our consciousness. (Give me time to explain that in a coming weeks or days, whenever, keep me reminded as I may forget)

6.  Let’s talk about the “We must need an absolute moral law giver” argument, since you brought it up. 

A)  We NEED absolute morals?  We NEED a law giver to give them to us?  How is this logical?  What are the premises for such an argument?

 My premises is this, Where do we get morals from? Morals that don’t’ have a grey area to anything, strictly black and white; good and bad; God is absolute; thus absolute morals is his thing; Morals had to have come from somewhere, they couldn’t’ have just existed, its logically impossible, if it is, show me evidence

 

Premise 1:  Without absolute morals, human life is in chaos because everyone can go about making their OWN subjective morals.

Conclusion 1:  WE NEED ABSOLUTE MORALS.

 Agreed.

 

Premise 2:  Without an absolute moral law giver, we have no way of knowing what those morals are.

Conclusion 2:  We need an absolute moral law giver.

 Agreed.

 

[And here is where, if you haven’t noticed the falsity of this chain of logic already, everything falls apart.  Unfortunately, Christian theologians never discuss or answer this one.]

 

Premise 3:  There must be a means for revelation or people communicating with God to receive these morals.

 

Premise 4:  The Bible offers the ONLY true revelations from God that are divine moral prescriptions.  [This has many other assumptions and premises about historicity and faith.]

 You fail to realize the other kind of revelations, “Special Revelations” While General Revelations are revealed to man through the word of God i.e. the Bible, Special revelation is also a kind of communication from God a personal “revelation” from God himself, examples of this were God to Abraham when referring to the promise land and such and when God revealed to John how the world will end at Patmos (or was that Malta? One of the two, I always get them mixed up). 

Premise 5:  ALL other religious texts besides the Bible are NOT true revelations.

Conclusion 3:  Yahweh, the Judaic God of the Torah, and Jesus of the New Testament are the moral law givers.

“giver” would be the correct one, because of the Trinity and everything (3 in one) See the aspect about special revelation above

 

First, do you agree that this is a correct depiction of your argument?  If you think this is a strawman or that I have intentionally created a weak argument, please explain.  Provide any premises or conclusions that strengthen your argument, so I can have the best you have to offer.

 See above. I don’t’ think that is a correct deception though (keep in mind, I’m responding to each statement one by one, instead of reading the entire thing in one flow, that way I can save my progress in MS word, and continue another time)  

 

Since I can’t have your assent in real time, I’m just going to try refuting it anyway.  It may be a waste of time, but humor me.

 I’ll try

 

I admit there’s some philosophical angst at looking yourself square in the face and realizing absolute morals are not logically necessary.  We have a lot more thinking to do about ethics once we get rid of the notion that they are absolute!  We’re going to have to put on our thinking caps and spend some time figuring this stuff out!  Unlike many theists, I find this exhilarating and fascinating!  I ENJOY reading about ethical philosophy.  I enjoy thinking about it and not simply assenting to the idea that we “need” absolute morals because it makes me queasy to think that they aren’t absolute.  You don’t get the same philosophical high as I do when posed this great challenge?

 By all means, I think about this kind of stuff regarding my actions for the day  Its kind of cool responding to this, I for one haven’t actively debated for Christ (this is a fault I must fix)

 

---

 

“Premise 1:  Without absolute morals, human life is in chaos because everyone can go about making their OWN subjective morals.Conclusion 1:  WE NEED ABSOLUTE MORALS.” This does not even satisfy the requirements for an argument.  So what if we NEED anything?  The use of “NEED” in this context is not a true logical necessity.  It seems to me that we “need” absolute morals because it is emotionally distressing to think that they are not absolute.  Emotional distress does not entail logical necessity.  Check it: Premise:  It makes me sad, and it would drive me insane, if I did not believe that there is a diamond the size of a truck in my backyard.  I would really have to look myself in the mirror and do some thinking about my financial future if that diamond doesn’t exist.Conclusion:  Therefore, there must be a diamond the size of a truck in my backyard.Conclusion:  I am wealthy because of that diamond, and I don’t have to think about my financial future.  No angst for me! The truth is more like this:Premise 1:  Without absolute morals, we are going to have to put on our thinking caps.  The problem of ethics is going to be a tough one to tackle.  What can we do to prevent chaos cause by TOTAL moral subjectivity?Conclusion 1:  Absolute morality is comforting, but it is only contingent, it is not logically necessary.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contingency  “In philosophy and logic, contingency is the status of facts that are not logically necessary.” Prove to me, Doc101, that absolute morality is TRULY logically NECESSARY and not merely CONTINGENT.  I have not seen any theist reasoning that has been able to do this to date.  If you can or know someone who has, I’d like to see it. And finally, I feel that I have STILL given you too much.  I do not even grant the premise that “Moral subjectivity leads to total chaos.” This ASSUMES that people who make their own morals will make bad ones.  NO!  And this may be at the very heart of the whole issue.  Maybe all morals ARE subjective!!!  But so what?   Maybe ALL or MOST humans will SUBJECTIVELY agree on a comprehensive set of morals.

Your belief that society will descend into total chaos if we have subjective morals is totally unsupported.

 If I say something that doesn’t agree with your satisfaction of my argument in this statement, then please tell me, and I shall try to elaborate a bit more. Let me ask you this, do you think that it is right that I think killing people is good (and no I don’t’ think so haha) Cause I’m pretty sure the aztects (or was it the mayans.. hmmm) that fancied the cutting up of hearts for their gods. I say there needs to be a definite law of whats right and what is wrong none of this gray stuff, (like white lies for instance,) in order to have a society where we are gutting each other up.

 

And now I must supply additional argumentative points before I go back to attacking the rest of my dissection of your argument…

By all means go on

 

6.  WHERE DO WE GET MORALS?                 

A)  Evolution.  There are many books about this.  It’s a relatively new field.I don’t know if I can do this subject justice because it’s rather complicated.  I like the following books that I have read or I own but have not finished:  The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins; Good and Evil, by Michael Shermer; The Moral Animal, by Robert Wright; Breaking the Spell:  Religion as Natural Phenomenon, by Daniel Dennet; Religion Explained, by Pascal Boyer.  Those books have great stuff independent of just morality. Allow me to supply some excerpts by manually typing them: i)  “The Science of Good and Evil”  Michael Shermerhttp://www.amazon.com/Science-Good-Evil-People-Gossip/dp/0805077693 

“The historical trajectory makes good sense in an evolutionary model.  In bands and tribes the declaration of love for one’s neighbors means something rather different than it does in chiefdoms, states, and empires.  In the Paleolithic social environment in which our moral sentiments evolved, one’s neighbors were family, extended family, and community members who were well known to all.  To help others was to help oneself.  In chiefdoms, states, and empires the biblical admonition “love thy neighbor” meant only one’s immediate in-group.  Out-groups were not included…”  The whole chapter on evolutionary ethics in Shermer’s book is absolutely fascinating.

 But in all honesty creation of morals had to come somewhere it started somewhere, before “one’s neighbors” and their BEFORE own family where did the first person get their morals? WHERE did it originate? 

But consider this, Doc101:  look at your Old Testament.  What’s “love your neighbor” all about there?  Jews good.  All other tribes bad.  Disagree?  You need me to cite discussions about the ethics of taking slaves from other tribes or God’s moral sanctioning of war against other tribes?

 Although to my knowledge, I don’t know, but show me where God commanded the Jews to take slaves? The Jews themselves took slaves as spoils of war, even they had their setbacks, in which God punished them for that. God’s moral sanctioning of war? He even said the wages of sin is death, those other tribes were deliberately disobeying him (sexual actions, you know that stuff, polygods). War was a consequence of their sins. 

The OT is just an evolution of ethics for a primitive tribe using “God” as a justification for their morals that they created themselves.  Granted, many of the Mitzvot were about hygiene, a necessary evolutionary jump.

 That you are wrong, the people made the decisions of their morals, thus disobeying God (we are humans, we make mistakes) God punished them for that.

 

The GREAT thing about perceiving morals as evolutionary is that our morals are never fixed by some dogmatic work of fiction!  We are never forced to ask, “What does the Bible have to say about that?”  We just use our own minds and evolve!

 Yes but not all minds evolve the same, the great thing about absolute morals, is that we have a fixation of morals that don’t sway to abide by.

 

Slavery?  Endorsed by the Bible.

Wrong, that was humanity’s fault, as shown by the Jews 

Racism?  Endorsed by the Bible.

God show racism? Or did the people

Subjugation of women?  Endorsed by the Bible.

Prove it, God didn’t use this as a sexist tool, he just made it that man is suppose to be the dominant of the two, as he made Adam first

Thought crimes?  Endorsed by the Bible.

 Show me? (I personally don’t know what reference you are referring to, perhaps show me and I’ll elaborate on it) 

Killing homosexuals, atheists, and kids who disobey?  Endorsed by the Bible.

The wages of sin is death, THAT is however prior to Christ (also sacrifices atoned to this too) God hates the acts, not the person, we have forgiveness for a reason through Christ

 

All of these things are terrible problems in human history.  How did our morals evolve?  Because we don’t get them from a book.  We have the courage and insight to determine that some previously held beliefs about ethics are gravely mistaken in the context of rational thought.

 Morals don’t constantly evolve. As humanity itself didn’t come according to evolution a billion (give or take) years later after the earth was formed. They started somewhere, previously HELD beliefs had to come SOMEWHERE

 

Dogmatic belief in the Bible didn’t bring about the end of slavery or rights of women.  We may think that it had to do with scholastic quibbles about Biblical passages, but let’s get real.  It’s human reason and the progress of human culture.

 Actually it did bring the rights of both, the whole “Love your neighbor as yourself” perfectly illustrates that. The women’s rights is found in 1 Corinthians 11:9-13; they both influenced the end. 

 

ii) Dawkins, “The God Delusion”“I am suggesting that the same is true of the urge to kindness -- to altruism, to generosity, to empathy, to pity.  In ancestral times, we had the opportunity to be altruistic only towards close kin and potential reciprocators.  Nowadays that restriction is no longer there, but the rule of thumb persists.  Why would it not?  It is just like sexual desire.  We can no more help ourselves feeling pity when we see a weeping unfortunate (who is unrelated and unable to reciprocate) than we can’t help ourselves feeling lust for a member of the opposite sex (who may be infertile or otherwise unable to reproduce).  Both are misfirings, Darwinian mistakes:  blessed, precious mistakes.”The way Dawkins thinks about the universe and humanity, in my opinion, is beautiful.  His discussion of awe for the universe parallels that of Carl Sagan.  It’s all a matter of perception.

And although I had a tough time coming to terms with an atheist worldview, now that I accept it, it’s more wondrous and beautiful than I ever could have imagined. I think I take each day as more sacred.  I value all other human lives much more.  We’re all in the same situation.  We’re all here for a finite period of time, painting the picture of our lives so that all remains of us is what we have left behind in the memory of others.

 

Show me how kindness isn’t shown in the Bible (at least that is what I’m interpreting, by all means I’ve I’m wrong, summarize that reading) 

 

Dennet discusses a passage from a William James book…  James tells a story about a minister clutching to the branch of a tree. When he finally lets go, he falls two feet and realizes the fall wasn’t as bad as he thought.  I would expand this.  I think that by letting go of the branch [branch = religion], rather than falling two feet, you float up in the clouds to see the world for what it is, not some religious delusion that’s obscured your view of the beauty in the world and muddled your life with confusion.  Do you ever hear about an atheist discussing what he would “LOSE” by giving up atheism?  We have the courage to see the world for what it is, accept it, and FIND the beauty in it, whether ugly or pleasing.

 My interpretation of that story is this Minster is clutching to the tree, seeing more than he could have saw than he could have on the ground, like seeing over and beyond the fence (Branch=God’s love, the acceptance of Christ as his personal savior) when he drops, he only sees whats in front of him, everything in front of the fence, not beyond it. My question is, what do we have to “GAIN” by becoming an Atheist? By forgetting God, you’re losing everything. 

 

Based on Tao Te Ching:  Everything bad or good is made of the same “stuff.”  The trick is not viewing everything as opposites, but as the same.  Change your PERCEPTION of events in the face of adversity, for the judgments we make on things are under our own power to change.

 That means we eventually could have a confliction/paradox of our perception of events

 

This is possibly the greatest page of practical life-lesson text I have ever read:Epictetus, “The Art of Living” [interp. Sharon Lebell]:   

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle:  Some things are within our control, and some things are not.  It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.”

 Happiness comes from when I fundamentally understand that I will be a slave for life? Freedom comes from the understanding that I will be a slave for life? (speaking from a perspective of an African Slave)

 

Within our control are our own opinions, aspirations, desires, and the things that repel us.  These areas are quite rightly our concern, because they are directly subject to our influence.  We always have a choice about the content and character of our inner lives.

Outside our control, however, are such things as what kind of body we have, whether we’re born into wealth or strike it rich, how we are regarded by others, and our status in society.  We must remember that those things are externals and are therefore not our concern.  Trying to control or to change what we can’t only results in torment…

 Yes you are right we control our opinions, aspirations, desires, and things that repel us. But where did that all (when you boil it down fundamentally) come from? If you are directing towards human nature and actions then what caused you to make those actions? Your Consciousness? And where did that come from…?

 

What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them.  It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.  Stop Scaring yourself with impetuous notions, with your reactive impressions of the way things are! 

Things and people are not what we wish them to be nor what they seem to be.  They are what they are.”

 I really don’t know how to respond to this because of wording issues with myself but I will best try.“They are what they are” And where do they get their judgement from? Their character? Their nature to deal with humans socially?

 

Sounds a lot like accepting the world for what it is…  The atheist credo.

 

The problem with Christianity is that as Christian, reading the Tao Te Ching or Stoic philosophy is considered detrimental and even blasphemous.  Frankly, and forgive me for saying, but the Bible is riddled with filth and bullshit.  If I am not dogmatic, and I have no sacred text, I can cherry pick from all human literature the moral and practical knowledge that I can to help my life.  So the point I am driving at is that Christian morality is bankrupt because it annihilates the intellectual value of ALL other humans who do not use the Bible as a context for thought and experience.  I am not a unitarian universalist.  I do not believe all religions “are different paths to the same thing.”  But I DO think that many different people around the world in history have something to offer human knowledge.  Yes, even Christianity, and even Islam.  They are not “paths” to the same thing, but they do have some good things in them.  The thing with devout religious belief is that you CANNOT cherry pick.  You can’t sift the good from the bad, and you have to accept everything in your holy book.  Moreover, you have to exclude the entire sum of knowledge outside your holy book’s realm.

 “You can’t sift the good from the bad” you just proved my point about the human moral system, we want to get around these boundaries, so we do by creating a “superior” moral system not according to guidelines, but to our own errant(I think that is the right term? But I meant was our sinful, not perfect) nature

 

The burning of the Library of Alexandria?  Christians.  It makes me want to weep.  Seriously.

 Show me where it says that the burning of the Library of Alexandira was of the Christians, to this day there is no conclusive evidence that the Christians burnt the library “Ancient and modern sources identify four possible occasions for the destruction of the Library.
  1. Caesar's conquest 48 BC;
  2. the attack of Aurelian in the 3rd century;
  3. the decree of Theophilus in 391;
  4. the Muslim conquest in 642 or thereafter.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria#Destruction_of_the_Library 

 

[Reminding you again WHERE DO WE GET MORALS?]

B)  Laws codified by humans who collectively agree on morals in a society or country via John Locke & Jean Jacques Rousseau’s social contract.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract[/quote]

 Rousseau grew up on Calvinist sermons, so we don’t’ know if that could have influenced his part in the social contract, he even converted to Catholicism, so even he had to have believed in that God has absolute morals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Jacques_Rousseau#Biography Even James Locke had a Christian (i.e. Catholicism) background behind himhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Locke#Life 

 

So freaking what if we have subjective morals that differ!  Let’s have natural human lawgivers who say, “You know what, I don’t care if Mr. Manson has subjectively determined that killing people is a good thing.  The rest of us decide it’s wrong and against the law.  So too bad for Mr. Manson’s subjective morals.”

 How does that work? You are saying that human law givers have absolute morals? Where did they get that from? It doesn’t’ make sense that it can be reoccurring, rather guidelines were given unto them

 

C)  We get morals through reason by sane individuals.

 Where did they get it from, they couldn’t have originated it themselves

 

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Back to those arguments that I tangented off from:

 

Premise 2:  Without an absolute moral law giver, we have no way of knowing what those absolute morals are.Conclusion 2:  We need an absolute moral law giver. This is the same logical fallacy committed before.  It confuses contingency with necessity.  The existence of an absolute moral law giver is contingent, not logically necessary.  Is that clear to you?  You can’t just say it IS necessary.  Why?  In any event, it’s an inductive argument of VERY low probability; it certainly isn’t the deductive argument that you think it is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deductive

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning[/quote]

 Like I said above, I’ll try to word this as best as possible as I don’t’ know exactly how to say it According to your source about deductive reasoning Deductive reasoning is the kind of reasoning in which the conclusion is necessitated by, or reached from, previously known facts (the premises). If the premises are true, the conclusion must be true” Ok agreed?  Previous facts of morals ARE from God himself, otherwise, how the heck would we know what morals are? More or less where is the line drawn between good and bad? Who determines that? It can’t be imperfect humans that determine that  

 

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Premise 3:  There must be a means for revelation or people communicating with God to receive these morals.Premise 4:  The Bible offers the ONLY true revelations from God that are divine moral prescriptions.  [This has many other assumptions and premises about historicity and faith.]Premise 5:  ALL other religious texts besides the Bible are NOT true revelations.Conclusion 3:  Yahweh, the Judaic God of the Torah, and Jesus of the New Testament are the moral law givers.

Premise 3 is only contingent.  Premises 4 and 5 are blatantly absurd.  Thus, I cannot possibly see, Doc101, how Conclusion 3 could be accepted by any normal, sane, rational adult.

 You can read above what I said about p3, p4, and p5; for p5 though (I don’t’ think I talked about it at all above) is that the Bible isn’t the ONLY true revelation, (as I talked about above that the Bible is basically the general revelation from God)

 

Can you see the dilemma in choosing between the tens of thousands of competing revelations across the globe?  You are an atheist just like me.  You don’t believe in Buddha as a prophet, Amenhotep, Edgar Cayce, the Oracle of Delphi, or the Baghavadad Gita.  I’m just an atheist with respect to one MORE book than you, the Bible.  What makes the Bible a true source of revelation and the Baghavadad Gita, The Book of Mormon, or Dyanetics all false?  Hell, if God EXISTS, I find it illogical that he would have hundreds of prophets over a 4000 year time span, and then simply stop from 30AD to present day.  Why no more books in the Bible?  If we are to believe that Revelations are real, than the Book of Mormon and Dyanetics have a very good probability of truth, since they were from modern day prophets.  This follows the logical principle that God would continue to communicate with humans.  You don’t believe the Book of Mormon or Dyanetics are the word of God?  Why?  Think about those reasons and ask yourself how the Bible is immune to the same arguments.

 Check it: Look for the consistency, historicity in the other books other than the Bible. Also remember that God uses special revelation to communicate with humans, not only general revelation when referring to the Bible

 

END OF MAIN BODY

 Haha I finished my homework really quick to type this up, 6 HOURS gah, but I admit, I did enjoy debating this 

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Specific answers:

 

Doc101:please who defines what is just or not, for you guys it can't be God obviously because that would totally contradict your "faith," it can't be humans cause according to another atheist user in a thread, moral laws are not absolute, but rather based off ones own emotions, and customs that were brought upon them when they were brought up by their parentsI just can't see how a flawed human moral justice system can be "vastly superior" to a supreme moral entity (that being the God of all) DoctorO:

Again confusing contingency and necessity.

 How is that confusing? I for one would follow one kind of moral system, then everyone else’s moral system if you suggest that every moral should be allowed to be subjective, not definite.

 

Everything I said about accepting difficult philosophical problems applies here. A “flawed” human justice system?  Compared to what?  The human justice system is the only one we’ve got, so let’s make the best of it. 

The justice system of the Bible, Our justice system in the USA is derived (if you really compare it to the justice system of the Bible) from it; while it may not be directly, the indirect influence is there

 

The Biblical God is morally bankrupt.

 Its we as humans who assume God is morally bankrupt, we assume that because of what he “allows” to influence is that God is bankrupt

 

See my 3 origins for morals:  evolution, social contract, and consensus of reason by sane individuals.

 

Doc101:I'm not sure i'm understanding this but"if God exists, God is evil" quotable fact? or opinion, opinions just show how our morals are flawed and incapable of creating a perfect moral justice system that can undermine the establishment of justice God has already created  DoctorO:

Where do we get this perfect moral justice system?  The Bible?  EVEN IF you prove necessity of a perfect moral justice system, you have the MONUMENTAL task of proving that YOU have access to it and that it has been revealed to you or whoever wrote your holy book.  But you have not even established the necessity relationship between absolute morals and an absolute moral giver OR a necessity relationship between general morality and absolute morals.

 Doctoro let me ask you a question, have you actually read the Bible? Studied it in depth perhaps? The system that God established is perfect, it has no faults in it, show me where it does; but you can’t see why its perfect unless you read it and study it yourself

 

Wanting something and LOGICALLY NEEDING something are different propositions.Here is an example of a logical necessity:Premise 1:  All horses are mammals.Premise 2:  ‘Butterscotch’ is the name of a pet horse.Conclusion 1:  Butterscotch is a mammal.

Conclusion 1 is logically necessary based on the above 2 premises.  You have not provided any arguments that fit this form, Doc101.  And you have also not provided premises that stand up to critical scrutiny that would lead to the truth of the conclusions about moral law givers or “needing” absolute morals.

 Please elaborate this more, I’m not understanding this what so ever (must be cause I’m young  : ( ) This is what I’m interpreting based off that exampleP1: The Bible defines good and bad, as shown by God (through inspired writings, as in he basically wrote it, but through writers)P2: Jim follows the Bible (both old and new testament mind you) even to the smallest letterC1: Jim is morally a good man (keep in mind that being morally good WILL not get you into Heaven, its accepting Christ as your personal savior that will)

Doc101 writes:ok let me throw thisGod = Absolute moral giverMoral Laws= come from a creator/giver, in this case morals would have to be absolute, thus would have to come from GodConsciousness= Our moral guidelines, even those tribal people on scattered islands have some sort of definition of what is right and wrong in their eyes.Btw, God laid down the rules with Adam and Eve (well sort of haha) then the commandments and so onDoctorO:The only new thing here is “Consciousness.”  I think you mean, “Conscience.”

There is NO reason why human “conscience” did not come from evolutionary means.  The Dawkins quote illustrates that point beautifully.

 Haha thanks for the spelling correction Laughing out loud  What I don’t’ understand from dawkins is that he doing that (for example the weeping) based off of human experiences in the past, if he never saw that the first time, how would he feel remorseful? It had to be introduced to him, i.e. “created”

 

(extra stuff I found after your original post)I

 forgot something important from Kai Nielsen.7.  Follow me:

Premise 1:  If there is an absolute moral giver, he must have some basis for his absolute morals.

Agreed.

Premise 2:  The basis for the absolute moral giver's absolute morals is moral reasoning and or logical thinking.

Premise 3:  Humans have the capacity to reason and think.

I think that the basis for the absolute moral giver’s absolute morals is the character of the giver, and with the moral reasoning and logical thinking, but keep this in mindGod is perfect, humans aren’t, thus both have completely, (cannot stress that enough) different ways on how to think

Conclusion 1:  Humans can ascertain absolute morals (if we grant that there are absolute morals) through moral reasoning and logical thinking.  This is a byproduct of evolutionary psychology.  Humans do not need God for morals because they can "figure them out" themselves.

You proved another point, “if we grant that there are absolute morals” Humans can’t make absolute morals cause A. we have flawed imperfections which concludes that B. It had to come somewhere, i.e. God. How can they figure it out themselves? There is no foundation for them to figure upon, name one thing that human kind has created without somesort of foundation that God provided himself, whether through him, or through the Bible, or Jesus.Moreover...

 ALL morals must have reasons that they are moral.  God does NOT arbitrarily decide one day, "Killing is bad," and overturn it the next day.  Killing is bad because in snuffs out a human life and causes suffering of friends and family.  The REASON we do not kill is for those reasons I listed, NOT because God says, "Don't Kill."  God's reasons are the same reasons as OUR reasons.  That is total moral equivalency.  We need God for NOTHING when it comes to morals.

What I’m about to say is from a creationist view, How do we know killing is bad? Heck in fact without God giving us morals to abide by, we could say that “love” is killing a person, and literally “killing” is loving a person, we wouldn’t’ know the difference between the two unless we had previously established guidelines that were set out before us (understand? If you don’t’ I’ll try to elaborate more, but seeing that you’re more of an intellectual then I am, then I’m pretty sure you’ll understand what I’m saying)

I find it EXTREMELY interesting, Doc101, that you have such big talk about a moral law giver -- which implies that you give authority to the Bible... THEN YOU CONTRADICT THIS by saying that humans have a God-given conscience.  Which is it?  Moral intuitions given to us by God or laws written in stone?  Both?  I don't get it.

 Yes we have a God-given conscience and moral authority is ascertained in the Bible, remember what I said about special revelation? What you suggested above suggests that God created us, thus giving us his moral laws… no?

 The problem with bringing up a human conscience and moral intuition is that you annihilate the need for any moral law giving through revelation.

But my point is where did that all come from? Where did it originate?

And if you claim the existence of conscience and moral intuitions, there is nothing to distinguish evolutionary moral intuitions from God given ones.  Moreover, if both are equivalent in explanatory power, A)  God loses due to Occam's Razor and B) There is NO reason to suppose that we NEED God as an explanation if an evolutionary explanation will do.

Moral intuitions as I said above, came from where? The conscience? And where did that come from, what is there to distinguish evo. Moral intuitions and God given ones, if you suggested above that humans have a God given conscience, thus we already have those moral laws on us (ehhh don’t’ think I worded that right, I hope I did that they way I was thinking it) 

 

Done.

 

I have adopted a rather adversarial posture here, so forgive me.  I never intend to make personal attacks if they are considered as such.

 No offense here from you; I hope that I didn’t’ make any personal attacks either, if I did, I apologize

 

In truth, Doc101, I hope you either A) come around to my way of thinking or B) convince me that I am wrong and your arguments are more rational.  I have changed my mind on MANY issues since I started debating on these forums.  Ethics are just one topic.  Determinism vs. Free Will was another issue that I was persuaded to change my mind on (was a determinist, now a free willist).

 I honestly hope that I convinced you, if not, we’ll start this up again  DoctorO, I’m glad that you typed up this rather long post defending your beliefs, after reading this I honestly wished Christianity had more kinds of people who defends our God with such fervor I’m praying for you, not for you to immediately convert to Christianity (I’m not saying that in a bad sense, but you know flip over to Christianity in a heart beat), but for God to work through your life, and that you eventually come to know that God is truly out there 

Done.