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Archive for Monday, January 15, 2007

Moral logic

January 15, 2007

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To the editor:

In a recent letter, Bruce Springsteen said that in morality people make "two stupid mistakes." First, that of "an absolute cosmic force" (God). Second, thinking morality is "purely personal preference." His alternative is his personal preference of social constructs.

Where is the logical position between robust theism and utter nihilism? Not all who have held those views are stupid. Rather than a social construct being self-evident, social constructs for morality turn out to be a majority view of self-relativists. Taking his position to its logical end, there is nothing that Hitler did that was wrong. Societal standards do not lead us to morality, but legal immorality. This is so clear in America's fall today.

The only position that can answer the cry of the human heart and mind is that of theism. No other position tells us what morality is and provides an oughtness to them. Individual and societal relativism are the same thing and cannot provide any real standard or oughtness for morality. This is why the dogma of evolution will never satisfy the human soul. In terms of meaning and morality, it is logical nihilism.

All that reason can design against design will never convince a thinking human being against design. If our rationality had not been designed, then all we think and do is irrational. Morality cannot be designed by a nondesigned humanity. Professor Krishtalka teaches evolution and the morality of environmentalism at the same time. What teaches him what is immoral? It shows that God created him.

Richard Smith,

Lawrence

Comments

logicsound04 7 years, 3 months ago

"After all, many many folks at some point go through a crisis of faith in their lives. If belief in God is all we have to keep us acting good, then we should expect to see them commit terrible acts of barbarism."


Good point werekoala. I myself was raised First United Methodist. I didn't like going when I was little, but through my teenage years I was quite active in the church and very faithful--confirmation, praying, retreats, the works. For one reason or another I went through a "crisis of faith", first about my own, then about religion in general. To this day, I have a hard time believing in God (at least the way most religions think of it).

According to smith's logic, apart from the source of my moral compass I should have begun a downward spiral into moralessness--I think that's far from the case. You see, my moral values came from my life growing up, my experiences. I wasn't even paying attention in Church at the age my character would've been forming.

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logicsound04 7 years, 3 months ago

"Great question. God is vengeful and full of wrath in a perfectly just way. He is forgiving and compassionate only through Jesus Christ where His wrath was satisfied for all those that believe. In Christ the love of God and the wrath of God have kissed and in Christ the wrath of God is satisfied so that those who have Christ may have the love of God."

and...

"The moral compass comes from God. Both are true. The compass, however, is thrown out of balance or tuned depending on whether the heart is hardened or softened by following the compass (God) or not."


Smith,

These two statements are perfect examples of how it is pointless for anyone who is not a Christian or does not believe in God to debate with you. Your arguments are slippery, and when pointed out, you have a magical fix like "oh, it's both".

You remind me a bit of Descarte in your stringency for fact. Decartes spent so much time struggling with his perception of the universe. He was so disraught that he felt the only way to resolve his concerns was to go back to basics.

The short of it is that he decided that "Cogito Sum Ergo" (I think, therefore I am) is a reasonable statement, because no matter what deception his senses may percieve, if he is percieving it, there can be no denial that he exists.

Now here is where you begin to remind me of him:

After destroying every philosophical idea he had ever known in order to reduce his worldiew to only that which is true, he COMPLETELY abandoned his stringent requirements for knowledge. His very next postulation was that, "if I exist, then there must be a God.

Essentially, he flipped from being a disbelieving, knowledge-seeking philosopher to one who was willing to assume a certain outcome, based on no other information than a book written by humans.

Smith, no matter how much you ASSERT that the Bible was God-breathed, it remains a metaphor--NOT an actual explanation of events. A human hand actually wrote the Bible, plain and simple.

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logicsound04 7 years, 3 months ago

"Call it what you will, but so far you have not shown that the atheistic worldview can provide any basis or oughtness in morality. "


I am a moral person. I don't believe in God. THERE'S your proof Smith.

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" It appears that from your side the arguments have stopped and you are somewhat on the attack"


Smith, I DO have other things going on in my life besides trying to convince one with such an uncompromising worldview that there may be more to the world than they originally thought. I apologize that I was unable to respond to you in timely manner--it says an enormous amount about your position that you would use my temporary absence to declare yourself "victor".

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"Nada and no way. An atheist is a person that works to deny the existence of God and has to work very hard to do so. An atheist is one that has taken that position contrary to the way the universe is and the way that s/he has been made. An atheist is a very dogmatic person though s/he may try to present self as tolerant and open-minded. Inwardly, though, the atheist has a blind faith and is constantly having to adjust in order to keep the knowledge of God suppressed. I don't believe in atheist and believe that a professing atheist is a person that is just working hard at convincing him or herself for various reasons."


Smith, quite frankly, I don't care if you decide to open your mind or not.

Since I am apparently so dogmatic, would you care to list some of the "rules" by which I force myself to live. And just so you know, it is INCREDIBLY EASY to disbelieve in the existence of God--it requries no work on my part. In fact, the only work that I am doing is wasting my time trying to help you open your mind. Take note, that I am NOT trying to convert you, but rather, trying to show you that you may be mistaken on certain issues (namely that non-Christians are amoral people).

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"In fact, atheism is an intellectual cop out and has no way of proving itself."


Yes, you are correct that you can never prove a universal negative. But for some reason, the Christian crowd hasn't had any easier time PROVING God's existence than the aetheist crowd has had DISPROVING it.

For an analogous situation:

You can't PROVE that there were NO WMDs in Iraq, does that, therefore, mean that there definitely ARE WMDs in Iraq? By your logic, that would stand to reason--you tried to invalidate my position by saying I can't disprove God...

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

75x55: Yes, it's also true that I view it as largely a hypothetical argument. If I saw it as being more likely or realistic, if there was more visible evidence, in other words, my position would certainly be different.

I'll talk plenty, don't you worry!

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Kodiac 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith says "That may be what you have heard is the interpretation, but actually Scripture says this: It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, for God is a consuming fire. Then remember the rich man that went there and he was in such torment that he cried for one drop of water. You are quite wrong that hell is the absence of God, it is actually the presence of God in His eternal and almighty exercise of perfect justice on those that have violated the laws of the universe." -- Smith

I say hah!

The bible and ultimately what Smith is talking about is obedience not morality. Morality is defined by humans. Smith must steal from secular moral systems and then heap "god threats" on top of these systems which already include concepts of punishment. Think about this. Every society in existence has had some kind of moral code that has specific punishments associated with it. If society did not have such a code, there would be no society. The bible actually undermines morality. The bible says all sins are equivalent, your "works" cannot alone save you which would mean that moral behavior is irrelevant, there is an infinite reward for the person that is most obedient (meaning that there is no internal motivation), and there is infinite punishment for those who do not obey which is a mockery of justice. How does finite being do a finite act that incure an infinite injustice. He!! punishment itself is a finite concept.

The bible also says that no one is born innocent, meaning that they are by default born as evil beings. Yet the bible demands that they perform good works? How does one who is BORN evil become good. How can a human have "free will" he or she is already being judged as being evil without any proof. There is no justice in that whatsoever. In fact it is a mockery of reason to suggest that a person is guilty where no innocence could possibly exist.

Think about this Smith. Do you agree with the idea that humans have value onto themselves? Can a human be a moral agent? Are all sins equivalent? If you live in the United States and you follow their laws then you are living in a secularly moral system. Do you not see that we do not treat all sins the same? Do you not see that we as a society have an expectation that others will act responsibly? Do you not understand that we anticipate others will act morally? We do no hold humans who have not intent to do wrong to be morally culpable. Otherwise we would not be able to function as a society. This has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with God.

The bible is not about morality. The bible is about obedience. The bible is about coercion. One is forced to obey or be destroyed. There is no free will in that statement. There is nothing to choose here.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't know, Smith, I guess you could consider it brash and bold, but I just consider it honesty. I won't expect my children to do exactly what I want them to in their life, they aren't created for my purposes. I think it's insulting to dictate the purpose of a living thinking being, even if you did create them. At any rate, I am willing to face the consequences, whatever they are.

Afraid I can't really continue at this time. I have an MBA thing that will take all my time for the next 30 hours. I'll try and respond further then, if this is still kicking.

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werekoala 7 years, 3 months ago

smith:

"you have not shown that the atheistic worldview can provide any basis or oughtness in morality."

Can the Shinto worldview provide any basis or oughtness in morality for a Christian? Can a Christian worldview provide any basis or oughtness in morality for a !Kung shaman?

My point is, every moral worldview is colored by a person's beliefs to some extent. So hence, the morality can be effectively applied most universally is one that does not rely on the particular claims of a given religion out of the thousands of competing religions.

In simple form, my premise is that rather than basing our entire morality on the hope that God exists and is exactly as is described in the Bible (or Koran, or Baghavad Gita, or whatever) -- we should base our morality on principles that will apply whether or not God exists.

After all, many many folks at some point go through a crisis of faith in their lives. If belief in God is all we have to keep us acting good, then we should expect to see them commit terrible acts of barbarism.

I've offered up the Catagorical Imperative as a non-theistic basis for morality, and you've ignored it. But it really does provide a way to determine what to do without invoking Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu, or Thor. Simply act in the way you'd like others to act, and you are acting in an ethical manner.

To me, that seems superior to invoking God, since it will work for any group of different religions. "God says so!" fails to work if I: a)don't believe in God, or b) believe in a different God.

But the point really is, you simply cannot conceive of a morality without God - (that's why you keep harping on about a "true" basis for morality).

Which is fine by me, whatever you need to tell yourself keep you from killing and raping. But I don't find I need to share your beliefs to lead a moral life, which implies that while I encourage you to believe whatever you wish, your beliefs are not privileged, nor the only path to a moral life.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Your assertion that non-Christians' morals are based on nothing more than public opinions is an incredibly condescending view. At least YOU are secure in your secluded bunker of acknowledgement. logicsound04

Call it what you will, but so far you have not shown that the atheistic worldview can provide any basis or oughtness in morality. I am not in a secluded bunker, you are. I am willing to discuss this openly and without a bunker. It appears that from your side the arguments have stopped and you are somewhat on the attack. If you can give me a true basis for morality that is more than just a relativistic opinion, then you have the opportunity to do so. I am not attacking you, but I am challenging you.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

"No, I actually believe it is hard for narrow minds to escape the narrowness of their atheistic or pluralistic worldviews and the slavery to sin and public opinion to the freedom and broadness a love for God." logicsound quoting smith


How incredibly arrogant of you! So aetheism is close-minded, but Christianity is open? I think you are confused. logicsound04

So you call me incredibly arrogant and then proceed to take the same position with the parties reversed. That is most interesting and would appear to be something akin to self-condemnation. However, I do think that atheism is close-minded and very narrow with true Christianity being far broader in reality. I know that is not how it is presented at the popular level, but that is because atheism has taken on an intellecually popular position these days. In fact, atheism is an intellectual cop out and has no way of proving itself. An atheist has to say that he has universal knowledge in order to say that he knows that no God exists. The Christian simply has to know God in order to believe that God exists. Now which one is more arrogant?

As an aetheist, one's mind is receptive to a number of possible realities, evolving as I take in new information. I can accept that my perception about something may be wrong and can therfore, adapt. As a Christian, you must work to defend yourself from any new information that may contradict your faith. lgoicsound04

Nada and no way. An atheist is a person that works to deny the existence of God and has to work very hard to do so. An atheist is one that has taken that position contrary to the way the universe is and the way that s/he has been made. An atheist is a very dogmatic person though s/he may try to present self as tolerant and open-minded. Inwardly, though, the atheist has a blind faith and is constantly having to adjust in order to keep the knowledge of God suppressed. I don't believe in atheist and believe that a professing atheist is a person that is just working hard at convincing him or herself for various reasons. That is why atheists are so close-minded and dogmatic in their foundations.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Here's a question: Is God vengeful and full of wrath or forgiving and compassionate? logicsound04

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Great question. God is vengeful and full of wrath in a perfectly just way. He is forgiving and compassionate only through Jesus Christ where His wrath was satisfied for all those that believe. In Christ the love of God and the wrath of God have kissed and in Christ the wrath of God is satisfied so that those who have Christ may have the love of God.

"Human beings have a moral compass and all in the US have access to the Bible. We all have a conscience and we are all made in the image of God. No matter how selfish some people are, in any field, that does not make the whole field false." Quote from Smith's earlier post

How can you say that human beings have a moral compass and at the same time say that our morality comes from a higher source. It can't be both ways--we can't have an internal sense of moral right and wrong but still require a theistic moral guide. Logicsound04

The moral compass comes from God. Both are true. The compass, however, is thrown out of balance or tuned depending on whether the heart is hardened or softened by following the compass (God) or not.

I was not saying that a few decievers makes the whole field false--I asked how YOU were supposed to know which parts were 'God-breathed' and which parts came courtesy of the writers' editorial changes? Which is God's morality and which is that of the society at the time of the Bible's writing? logicsound04

That question is better asked for those that believe that sort of thing. I don't think that any part of the Bible was under the hand of man and all of it is the Word of God. "All Scripture is God-Breathed" (II Tim 3:16).

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't know, Calliope, that sounds a little harsh. There is a possibility that he is right. If he is, however, I'm going to tell God to his face when I get up there, right before he sentences me to hell, that just because he created me doesn't mean he gets to tell me how I should live my life. Jonas

Wow, that is rather brash and bold. He created you with His purposes, has kept you on His earth, has given you every breath by mercy, and yet you have lived in a way that is a constant violation of universal law. The Scripture speaks of every mouth being shut and every knee bowing. That is what will happen.

Of course, by a Biblical interpretation, Hell is nothing more than the absence of God, so if you don't think that's hell, then what the hell. Jonas

That may be what you have heard is the interpretation, but actually Scripture says this: It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, for God is a consuming fire. Then remember the rich man that went there and he was in such torment that he cried for one drop of water. You are quite wrong that hell is the absence of God, it is actually the presence of God in His eternal and almighty exercise of perfect justice on those that have violated the laws of the universe.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

People like you are a blasphemy: you are arrogant to preach down to people you think are on a lower moral level than you, and you claim your reasons are supported by God; you attempt to put yourself on a higher moral standard than everyone else by claiming to know the mind of God through scripture; and you're just plain ignorant about the fact that human morality didn't start with the Holy Bible. Calliope877

Call it what you will, but it sure appears that you are passing a moral judgment on me. Again I will ask you to set forth your basis for even having a morality and why do you try to force your morality on me? You see, folks like you cry foul in saying that I am trying to force my morality on them while they try to force their morality (baseless) on me. Notice that I have never asserted that I have a higher moral standard than others, but simply that the only morality acceptable to God is love for Him and that is a love that keeps His commandments out of love. I don't assert that morality starts with the Bible, but with God Himself.

The standards of right and wrong do not stem from the Bible, believe it or not, before the Bible people knew what was right and wrong. Calliope877

If those people knew what right and wrong were and you know that they knew, then I suppose that you can give me what is the standard and basis for right and wrong apart from the character of God. Remember, you will need to give the basis and reasons for right and wrong and not just state what you think is right and wrong.

There were many sophisticated societies in the world before the rise of Judaism and Christianity: they had many of the same "morals" and principles. The men who wrote your Bible borrowed from other religions, so morality didn't start with your God. Calliope877

I think you need to think through this post again. Remember that the God that the Bible speaks of is an eternal God. Nothing came before Him. The Ten Commandments, for example, were assumed in the book of Genesis and that was before the Ten Commandments were written down and before all of these other nations. Things like the Ten Commandments are part of the nature of humanity and all know that those things are wrong. So it is not surprising that other civilizations had those things. To assert that the men God worked through to write the Bible stole them is rather amusing. If morality can be found apart from God and is consistent with your worldview, I would be happy to read what you have to say. Otherwise I will continue to read people that say things are right or wrong and base it on their own opinion as you did in this post.

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logicsound04 7 years, 3 months ago

"No, I actually believe it is hard for narrow minds to escape the narrowness of their atheistic or pluralistic worldviews and the slavery to sin and public opinion to the freedom and broadness a love for God."


How incredibly arrogant of you! So aetheism is close-minded, but Christianity is open? I think you are confused. As an aetheist, one's mind is receptive to a number of possible realities, evolving as I take in new information. I can accept that my perception about something may be wrong and can therfore, adapt. As a Christian, you must work to defend yourself from any new information that may contradict your faith.

Your assertion that non-Christians' morals are based on nothing more than public opinions is an incredibly condescending view. At least YOU are secure in your secluded bunker of acknowledgement.

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logicsound04 7 years, 3 months ago

"I did not say that God may or may not exist. He exists as the most obvious Being in the universe and He is a necessary being for all things to be and for morality and meaning to have any basis for."


Wow, you are singleminded. I know you didn't say God may or may not exist--but the bottom line is that HE MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST. That is fact, it does not need to be stated explicitly by either of us to be true. Now be careful, I am not saying that it is fact that God doesn't exist (although I personally find that notion ridiculous), only that it is not fact that he does.

I understand that you believe God exists; I can even understand that belief in God is not irrational. However, your logical argument REQUIRES the premise that God exists. If I am right, and he does not exist, then your entire argument is worthless, as its foundation would be gone.

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"Apparently you have not. However, a simple survey of human beings, of creation, and a humble reading of the Bible will show the internal consistency of all the above. "


Just because I personally don't believe in God does not mean that I cannot put myself in the position of assuming he exists. I was raised Christian, after all. Apparently you have not read the Bible if you think it is consistent throughout (are you taking THAT on faith too?). Here's a question: Is God vengeful and full of wrath or forgiving and compassionate?

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"Human beings have a moral compass and all in the US have access to the Bible. We all have a conscience and we are all made in the image of God. No matter how selfish some people are, in any field, that does not make the whole field false."


How can you say that human beings have a moral compass and at the same time say that our morality comes from a higher source. It can't be both ways--we can't have an internal sense of moral right and wrong but still require a theistic moral guide.

I was not saying that a few decievers makes the whole field false--I asked how YOU were supposed to know which parts were 'God-breathed' and which parts came courtesy of the writers' editorial changes? Which is God's morality and which is that of the society at the time of the Bible's writing?

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75x55 7 years, 3 months ago

Oh, jonas - non, non.

Not the absence of God - the absence of God's love and grace and providence - while receiving the full measure of God's wrath and justice. And you won't get a chance to say anything.

But, not to worry - it's just hypothetical for you, right?

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

I don't know, Calliope, that sounds a little harsh. There is a possibility that he is right. If he is, however, I'm going to tell God to his face when I get up there, right before he sentences me to hell, that just because he created me doesn't mean he gets to tell me how I should live my life.

Of course, by a Biblical interpretation, Hell is nothing more than the absence of God, so if you don't think that's hell, then what the hell.

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Calliope877 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith,

People like you are a blasphemy: you are arrogant to preach down to people you think are on a lower moral level than you, and you claim your reasons are supported by God; you attempt to put yourself on a higher moral standard than everyone else by claiming to know the mind of God through scripture; and you're just plain ignorant about the fact that human morality didn't start with the Holy Bible.

The standards of right and wrong do not stem from the Bible, believe it or not, before the Bible people knew what was right and wrong. There were many sophisticated societies in the world before the rise of Judaism and Christianity: they had many of the same "morals" and principles. The men who wrote your Bible borrowed from other religions, so morality didn't start with your God.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

vii: (choice of companions) Morality is useful in the same way as other things are useful, to judge compatable similarities amongst people, and to know who to steer clear of. I suppose your argument of 'in darkness' is possible, but if you can't argue a non-faith based position, that has something tangible, I don't see why you expect me to give the idea much credence.

viii: Yes, that is my moral absolute. It is, of course, my opinion.

ix: This is the only part that is really laughably weak. My viewpoints are still expanding and incorporating new data, all the time, and I don't expect anyone to have to do anything I think is correct. I will, however, not socialize with certain people due to their beliefs on right and wrong, and I expect people to allow me to do what I feel is okay as long as I am not hurting anyone else.

Gotta go, have a meeting. Sorry if the last bit is hurried.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith: My very position is that it is incorrect to force viewpoints on other people. It's foolish to then claim that I am forcing that viewpoint on anyone, because I'm not. It's a defensive philosophy, not an offensive one. You have not adequately put forth, well, really, anything. You have been forced to go to almost Decartes levels of non-definition to poke holes in my logic.

I'll just go section for section and point out where you fail to make a good point. I'm going to insist, however, that you follow along, as I'm not going to waste space by referencing your quotes.

i: (people) I am certain that they are true for me, due to my life experiences, including my Christian upbringing which I examined, parsed, and filed down to my liking. Past my own experiences, I can't see how one can define truth save by the scientific method of repeated results and probabilities of occurance.

ii&iii: (Bible) True, but it's also true that even with inspiration, human creativity twists virtually everything into their own particular worldview, which would taint the divine message. A simple child's game of telephone shows how crummy humans are at non-interpretative relaying of word. At any rate, until God himself shows up and takes credit for the work, proving that he didn't write the Bible is the same as pointing at an empty stool and saying that there is no one there. You can believe that absense of evidence is not evidence of absence, but it's not very convincing to anyone not wanting to believe the same thing that you are.

iv: I think I've very adequately stated why my worldview shows that the Bible is not the work of God, and provided reasons that you have not addressed as to why I feel that way. You're going to have to do better than "You haven't shown this."

post break

v: (certainity) No one has been able to objectively prove this and repeat it using visible and emperical evidence, which is the only real Truth, I believe.

vi: (individual opinion) No, it does not require the belief that there is no God. At any rate, morality takes a second seat in my philosophy to my (and everyone else's) individual rights towards property, health, and liberty, which are empirically visible and enforceable. Morality comes from the negotions of people trying to protect themselves and protecting others at the same time from having any set of primary and secondary rights violated. This is very visible, testable and repeatable.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right. Calliope877

Fine, but where does a real standard for right come from? Can secular humanism provide any basis and oughtness for morality? Then why do it and why pretend that you have a standard for what is right?

Whatever you think religion is, true Christianity is not a matter of doing what you are told, it is a matter of sharing in the life and joy of God. It is to love and have joy in God and so a desire to be like Him.

Seems pretty simple and straight-forward to me.... Calliope877


It may seem that way, but it is not. If you wish to do what is really right, then you must find out what really right really is. Morality is about loving God and not about following a set of rules. There is no true morality apart from loving God. That is the internally consistent position which sets it far apart from all the rules given be atheists and pluralistic people.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith, I look forward to reading the next chapter of your fictional novel budwhysir

I will not be writing on atheism or pluralistic worldviews that have no basis for morality and meaning so I will not be writing fiction.

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budwhysir 7 years, 3 months ago

Thanks smith, You where quicker than I am. You must take a speed writting class. I need to learn to speed read.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

You see, based on one form of theism, most of the American population would be committing a grave moral faux pas EVERY DAY, as they eat cows. Or am I being to relativistic for you? It must be hard to wrap such a narrow mind around such a diverse and broad world.

No, I actually believe it is hard for narrow minds to escape the narrowness of their atheistic or pluralistic worldviews and the slavery to sin and public opinion to the freedom and broadness a love for God. Indeed the world is diverse, but that does not demand that it all tells the truth. The truth is the truth no matter how many voices are in union against it crying out for the sslavery of their own relativistic ways

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

So we are to base our morality on something from above that may or may not exist? That seems to be the first, and most glaring problem with your argument--that your proclaimed source may not even exist.
Logicsound04


I did not say that God may or may not exist. He exists as the most obvious Being in the universe and He is a necessary being for all things to be and for morality and meaning to have any basis for.

But okay, I'll use your premise--that G/god(s) DO/DOES exist--but I've got a question: how did WE come to understand it's morality? logicsound04

Apparently you have not. However, a simple survey of human beings, of creation, and a humble reading of the Bible will show the internal consistency of all the above.

Don't you ever worry, Mr. Smith, that as fallible humans, we may have gotten the message wrong, or taken it out of context, or ridiculously made it into a set of rules? logicsound04


Are you worried that maybe you depend on human fallibility as an excuse to keep from bowing to the Supreme Being? Why don't we use that argument against, say, science? Scientists are fallible beings as well. Could it be that the whole human enterprise is wrong? Christianity is not a set of rules though some have tried to distort it and set it out that way.

Or how about those humans that may not be so pure at heart that would claim to speak on God's behalf? How are we, as beings without a moral compass, supposed to tell who is truly channeling the word of god(s) and who is pretending for his own means? logicsound04

Human beings have a moral compass and all in the US have access to the Bible. We all have a conscience and we are all made in the image of God. No matter how selfish some people are, in any field, that does not make the whole field false.

And finally, if theistic-based morality is the guidline of choice, which set of morals do you use?

The character of God is the standard of morality and not a set of morals. That is a fundamental difference in the perception of many people about Christianity and what it really is. Morality is not just being good, it is to be like God in His moral nature out of a love for Him that is put in the hearts of human beings who come to Him in truth.

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budwhysir 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith, I look forward to reading the next chapter of your fictional novel

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Dambudzo 7 years, 3 months ago

Smiths posts remind of old AOL threads back in the early 90's

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith-- is it OK if I take a nap during your sermons? (nudge me if I start to snore.) bozo

No problem, take a nap and sleep within your worldview that is deceiving you about eternal reality.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Wow, smith likes the sound of his/her own voice.

Smith, I believe in meaning and morality, but not from a theist view. KSmoderate

Fine, but you need to show how you can have a basis for meaning and morality apart from a theist view. You say you have it, but then you need to show how that is consistent within your worldview. If not, then maybe you don't have a real view of morality and meaning. It would then be more of a blind faith view.

No matter how many words you use, nothing will change that for me. Murder is wrong because it's wrong. Stealing is wrong because it's wrong. Both of those (I believe you would call them "sins") are wrong because they cause an unsafe and unstable society. KSmoderate

But within the non-theistic worldview you have no real basis for believing that those things are really wrong. You will have to show why it is immoral to cause an unsafe and unstable society and not just because you would not like that. That is relativism and thenwanting all others to behave as you would like. Can you demonstrate why it is morally wrong to cause those things?

You may think that I'm denying god, and that's your perogative to do so, if that makes you feel better. ksmoderate


It is true that you are denying the true God and it has nothing to do with what makes me feel better or not. To deny that it is God that determines morality and meaning is to deny the true God. If I deny that very essence of a worldview then I deny the heart of that worldview. Your denial of certain views entail a denial of the God that makes those views necessary.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

You keep proving my point over and over again. There is no "true logic" about being a theist or an atheist. Kodiac

In terms of logic, all I am doing in that sense is testing a particular worldview for logical consistency. As for internal consistency, I am simply showing that the atheistic worldview as it tries to claim morality is inconsistent. That is logical. I am also, though not to the same degree because of the nature of this medium, trying to show the internal consistency of morality within the Christian worldview.

It is all about faith. Logic cannot and will not prove one way or another. Kodiac

It sure seems like you want to say that faith is nothing more than an irrational belief. That is not the biblical view of faith. Faith operates within the spiritual realm and is not just an irrational belief. God is not irrational, but more like suprarational. Faith just operates within a different realm and is not irrational in the slightest.

Also for the record I have neither said that I am an atheist nor a theist. All I am saying is that your position is no more defensible than that of an atheist. Kodiac


Anyone that is not a theist is a form of an atheist. If one does not believe in God, then to some degree one is an atheist. The Christian position is far more defensible than that of the atheist. The atheist position cannot account for the universal cry of the human for meaning and morality. Christianity not only accounts for it, it explains and demands it.

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Calliope877 7 years, 3 months ago

Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right.

Seems pretty simple and straight-forward to me....

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i_tching 7 years, 3 months ago

Christ on a stick. How does one argue things logically with people who are so proudly uninformed?

Perhaps I do not have time for this, as I must refute my cat's preferred variation of the Evan's Gambit, which she has obviously codged from Keres.

Good kitty.

Note to self: leave the rook on A-1. It's poison. Castle.

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logicsound04 7 years, 3 months ago

excerpt from the letter: "The only position that can answer the cry of the human heart and mind is that of theism. No other position tells us what morality is and provides an oughtness to them."


So we are to base our morality on something from above that may or may not exist? That seems to be the first, and most glaring problem with your argument--that your proclaimed source may not even exist.

But okay, I'll use your premise--that G/god(s) DO/DOES exist--but I've got a question: how did WE come to understand it's morality? Don't you ever worry, Mr. Smith, that as fallible humans, we may have gotten the message wrong, or taken it out of context, or ridiculously made it into a set of rules? Or how about those humans that may not be so pure at heart that would claim to speak on God's behalf? How are we, as beings without a moral compass, supposed to tell who is truly channeling the word of god(s) and who is pretending for his own means?

And finally, if theistic-based morality is the guidline of choice, which set of morals do you use?

You see, based on one form of theism, most of the American population would be committing a grave moral faux pas EVERY DAY, as they eat cows. Or am I being to relativistic for you? It must be hard to wrap such a narrow mind around such a diverse and broad world.

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Sasquatch34 7 years, 3 months ago

I DONT KNOW WHAT WE'RE YELLING ABOUT!!!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith-- is it OK if I take a nap during your sermons? (nudge me if I start to snore.)

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ksmoderate 7 years, 3 months ago

Wow, smith likes the sound of his/her own voice.

Smith, I believe in meaning and morality, but not from a theist view. No matter how many words you use, nothing will change that for me. Murder is wrong because it's wrong. Stealing is wrong because it's wrong. Both of those (I believe you would call them "sins") are wrong because they cause an unsafe and unstable society. You may think that I'm denying god, and that's your perogative to do so, if that makes you feel better.

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Kodiac 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith,

You keep proving my point over and over again. There is no "true logic" about being a theist or an atheist. It is all about faith. Logic cannot and will not prove one way or another. Also for the record I have neither said that I am an atheist nor a theist. All I am saying is that your position is no more defensible than that of an atheist.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

That is the best point Kodiac...Theists are "moral" only under the supposition that they will be rewarded for it. It that case it isn't altruistic, it's selfish. anxiousatheist

While it is a misunerstanding of Christianity, I will simply ask you again what moral basis do you have for saying that selfishness is wrong or immoral?

While the secularists are "moral" because being "moral" is itself the prize, in this case the secularist is acting out of altruistic thought, and proceeds into altruistic actions. anxiousatheist


Why do you think that altruism is a moral good? Again, do you have a true basis for saying that? Why do you think that just because someone is a secularist that this means that he is acting altruistically?

Altruistic actions are actually impossible to do if you're a theist. Altruism is the most obvious case of freedom, or of "being free" so to speak. anxiousatheist

Wow, you guys are really grasping at straws on this one. It is impossible to be less than selfish if you are not a Christian where the love of God is working in the person. It is impossible for a secularist to act altruistically as it is impossible to find a higher motive than self. If he argues that it is for humanity, that is still for selfish reasons since it is for humanity and he is part of humanity. For a person to be free, a person must be set free from the bondage of sin and selfishness by jesus Christ.

So as a theist (not being altruistic) you're not actually free, as you've given all cause for your actions over to an imaginary being, wow imagine that! anxiousatheist

True freedom is found in loving God as the highest motive. Altruism is simply a figment of the imagination, though it is interesting that you have found a moral standard that cannot be supported as moral within your worldview. Why is altruism moral at all? While you wish to deceive yourself into thinking that God is but an imaginary being, you have no support for that position either. Keep trying to find some reason and a basis for morality in a consistent way from your own worldview. You will find that there is none. Your cry for morality is more real evidence that you should ask yourself where it came from and how could all these billions of people have that same cry for morality if there is no morality to be found from your worldview. Your escape to altruism as morality shows that you recognize that there is a God that you must answer to.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

At any rate, I'm not even looking for proof. My position does not requre proof, which is why I have taken it. My position is that nobody is certain in any of this, jonas

How can you be so certain that nobody is certain in any of this?

we are all entitled to our own opinion of what morality is and where it comes from, jonas

It sounds like you are pretty much certain of this. However, for your statement to be true it would require the truth that there is no God and that He does not decide what morality is. Your position would also require that there be something that is moral and no one could really know what it really is. Seems inconsistent.

and that, thus, morality is a useful tool for personal preference and in choosing your companions and environment, jonas

What does it mean for morality to be useful? Again, how do you know that it is useful unless you know that it is true and corresponds to reality? What if, as Jesus taught, men are in darkness. Could it be that men are wondering about in the darkness and what they call morality is really highly immoral? Where did that standard of morality come from?

but it is utterly wrong to take one version and enshrine it as something that everybody has to follow, or to even expect it to be the standard by which other people live and think if, frankly, they don't want to. jonas

So now we have your moral absolute. Why are you setting this out as a moral absolute for all other people to go by? It is utterly wrong to have one version? So if God gives a version that all are to follow, He is wrong? The very fact that people don't want to follow the morality that God has set out demonstrates that man is at enmity with God.

Do you think that is defended logically enough? Feel free to dispute. jonas

So far your position is not consistent with itself. I am trying to show you that. Somewhere within your system you reject all other versions of morality and want to impose your own. Where do you have a basis for that?

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

You can feel sorry for me if you want to Smith, but I wouldn't waste your time on me. I certainly don't feel sorry for what I percieve to be your incorrect position regarding the Bible. I think the higher order/power's position is much better revealed in the voices and actions of people that I care about, the people I interact with, and how we fluctuate together than in any printed book. jonas

Fine, but how do you know that what the voices say are true? How do you know anything at all from that position and why should anyone care?

The proof, by the way, is simple. As the gospels were not written even by Jesus, but in scholars and disciples with names and histories, it is obvious that they were written by men, even if Jesus was the direct son of God himself, he is only paraphrased or distantly quoted in the Bible. jonas

The fact that men used pens is not an argument that they were not inspired by God. The argument you have presented here does not deal with the basic issue of the Bible that God wrote the Bible through men.

And even if the Torah was dictated by God, it was still written down by man, passed down by man, copied by man, translated by man, interpreted by man, and revised by man. jonas

But that is still no argument that has any basis that God could not write through men and watch over His Word to see that it is still true.

Nothing in the Bible suggests that God would make sure that his word remained consistent through the ages, and there are many things within that suggest that God, through his very nature, would do nothing at all to insure accuracy of translation. Save, perhaps, destroying a few cities with fire after they over-interpreted his word. Jonas


So far, however, you have not shown how you could have knowledge that the Bible is not the very words of God. I am still waiting on this. Remember, you have to show this from your worldview.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith, under your logic anything can exist, which is patently false, (AKA a round square cannot exist). But what is most dangerous with this thought process is that it is the first step down into the pit of nihilism. A most disgusting mindset that twists in the wind, virtue of it's own existence. anxiousatheist

I see you are not following true logic. My views are as opposite of nihilism as one can be. I am, however, trying to show you that the atheistic humanism view is logically nihilistic. Therefore, if you think that nihilism is disgusting, you are disgusted with your own view. Only the robust Christian view shows that there can be meaning to life. Only the robust Christian view demonstrates what true morality is. The fact that you have something within you that cries out for meaning and morality shows that you have been created by God and that you are deceiving yourself by talking yourself into being a professing atheist.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

because they appeal to exactly the same values, and a Christian has no better reason to commit to these values than a secular humanist. Kodiak

Your worldview cannot support these values as being values. You have no reason to be moral or want anyone else to be moral from your worldview. The Bible does not teach being good for the sake of being good, but out of love for God. So being good is not valuable in and of itself, but only out of love for God. All the outwardly good things that people do if not done out of love for God are actually sinful. They did not do them out of love for God and so they were done for the idol of self.

Self-interest is what drives the theist. He or she wants to enjoy an afterlife in heaven so fear of being in hell drives them to be good Kodiak

Here, is where your Christian knowledge is demonstrated to be manifestly false and the opposite of the truth. Christianity teaches that salvation is a free gift of grace and cannot be earned. It is the self-love that a person must deny in order to be a Christian. It is the love of God in a person that moves the Christian to do good works. Again, no one is saved by good works, but one is saved in order to do good works. Works do not and cannot contribute to salvation in the slightest. That is biblical Christianity. It exalts in the free grace of God in giving salvation, not in working for it. Sure there are many who try to work their way into heaven, but that just shows that they do not understand the Scriptures. Read Romans 3:23-32; Eph 2:1-10 and Titus 3:4-7 if you want some rather clear statements on that.

However someone who professes to be a secular humanist and follows a moral code because of their love for humankind is a much stronger person from a morality standpoint. They choose to be moral for the betterment of humankind.

What moral code can a secular humanists come up with that dan demontrate that it is really moral to do so? Why do you think love is a moral code at all and are you so sure that a secular humanists is really loving anybody in an effort to be moral? The whole issue of morality as you have presented is hideously selfish. It is just people wanting to show that they can be good or moral apart from God. Sorry, but a love for humanity apart from the love of God is not real love since God is the only source for love that there is. If a person does not love God, then a person cannot love human beings that are made in His image. You are still left without a standard or basis for morality. Stop stealing from a moral basis from Christianity (though not really Christian) in order to say that you can keep one.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Think about this. What if God does not exist. Kodiak

Then we have no meaning in life and there is nothing that is moral or immoral. The words we are typing mean nothing and we are in the exercise of utter futility. If at one point nothing ever existed there would still be nothing. You are exercising a hope that God does not exist in order to try to deny that you will face judgment at the end of your life.

Then the theist that are supposedly following a moral code based on some non-existent God could be perpertrating immoral acts on humankind. Consider the story of Abraham who was willing to kill his own son to demonstrate his love for God. A theist would consider Abraham to be moral because he is following God's command. A secular humanist would consider such an act against humanity to be immoral. Kodiak

I suppose you would not be interested in the rest of the story on Abraham, so I won't bother. However, you seem to want to assert that Abraham killing his son was immoral. You have yet to show that this act was or could even possibly be immoral. I am trying to drive you to the point where you see that murder is not wrong unless there is a God. So you cannot just assume that murder is wrong and try to prove there is no God from that basis. You have to show that murder is indeed wrong in a way that is consistent with the atheists worldview.

A christian theist might claim their motive for being moral should be because they love God, they recognize him as their creator, they want to do what is right for its own sake, and they desire their own welfare in this life and the life to come. But a secular humanist can make a similar declaration of equal merit. For example, a secular humanist could claim their motive for being moral should be because they love humankind, they recognize their debt to society, they want to do what is good for its own sake, and they desire their own welfare in this life as well as the welfare of generations to come. Kodiak

However, from your worldview, why is love any better than hate? What is love anyway? Where would a debt to society come from and how could anyone be in debt to society? In order for good to be good, you are going to have to demonstrate how your worldview can maintain that anything is good rather than evil. All the things you are talking about here are inconsistent with your worldview and consistent with Christianity. In other words, you have to assume that Christiantity is true in order to try to show that it is false. So far you have shown nothing that demonstrates that your worldview can provide any standard or basis for morality.

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Clint Gentry 7 years, 3 months ago

Smith, under your logic anything can exist, which is patently false, (AKA a round square cannot exist). But what is most dangerous with this thought process is that it is the first step down into the pit of nihilism. A most disgusting mindset that twists in the wind, virtue of it's own existence.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

"If He is not the moral authority, then there is no real moral authority. If morality is simply each person deciding how s/he acts, then whatever a person decides to do is moral." -- Smith

This is a false dichotomy that cannot be supported. Kodiak


Which is a statement of yours that cannot be supported especially from your empirical worldview. Please support how you can make such a universal statement based on the empirical worldview.

You are making 2 assumptions here. One is that there is an absolute moral code and two that God is responsible for that absolute moral code. These assumptions are groundless and have no more logic than saying humans created morality. Kodoak

Well, your assumptions are wrong and so you have not demonstrated your first statement I made a false dichotomy. God is not responsible for setting up some sort of moral code, He Himself is the moral code. These are not groundless assumptions at all, they are facts of the universe. Now, using your empirical presuppositions, show that those are false other than simply saying that you do not believe them.

The reasons cited by Smith are no more valid than the reasons cited by secular humanists. As far as I am concerned the christian theist and secular humansits are on equal footing when it comes to morality. In fact I would say that the secular humanist is on stronger moral grounds than the theist. kodiak

Wow, what an unsupportable statement. You have just asserted that a position that cannot provide any basis for morality has stronger moral grounds than the only moral basis possible. I see that you truly trust in yourself and have no real evidence for these assertions.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

"If science cannot demonstrate the existence or non-existence of invisible pink unicorns, then it also cannot demonstrate that what those pink unicorns telepathically is not the Word of the pink unicorns."

This sentance is just as semanticly true as yours. It only sounds silly because you weren't brought up to revere pink unicorns. The take-home lesson is just because there is no evidence for or against a claim is no reason to blindly believe it. In fact, it's usually a good idea to insist on sizeable amounts of evidence before believing in something. werekaola

Thanks for the laugh. You might want to think about something else that is going on, however. Rather than trying to prove Scripture by telling you that it cannot be disproven by science, I am trying to point out to those that disbelieve the Bible is the Word of God based on "scientific" grounds that it is impossible to do so. In other words, why do you disbelieve the Bible? If a person takes the empirical position, how can he or she say they believe something without empirical evidence?

Rather than your comments about the pink unicorn demonstrating your position, if you think about it they actually strengthen mine. You cannot demonstrate that pink unicorns do not exist. So why do you have a belief that they do not exist? You just assume that they don't exist and don't believe that based on any evidence at all. Your worldview is eroding.

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75x55 7 years, 3 months ago

"How about we just admit that we're making it all up."

That is the basic core of your atheist/secularist position on morality. That is essentially my point in my ramblings.

I don't hold to that belief, so "ne'er the twain to meet". Such is life :)

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Your contention that only theology can provide morality, and hence condemnation for murder, is easliy refuted: werekoala


From reading below, it is not easily refutable or you would have done so. My contention, however, is that without God there is no moral standard. So far no one in history (from what I can gather) has been able to refute that.

If I tell you that I'm missing my watch, and a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian and an Atheist all had an equal opportunity to steal it - would knowing their religion be a clue in determining who stole it? Of course not - you'd want to know the background, the financial status, and the reputations of these people to get an idea who took it. From this evidence, we can conclude that the deity a person worships (or fails to worship) has little to no effect on their practical morality. werekoala

If you think that this refutes the Christian position, then I would suggest that you have yet to understand the position at all. Your position provides no evidence for why stealing the watch is wrong. Your position provides no moral "oughtness" of why anyone should not steal. The Christian position does. The very fact that you think it is wrong to steal shows that you have been created by God.

Plus, I find Kant's Catagorical Imperative to be just fine in regards to a non-dogmatic approach to practical morality that most people can agree with. Look it up, you might learn something. werekoala

Kant actually gave about five versions to his Categorigal Imperative. Which version are you talking about? By the way, a lot of people agree (even philosophers) that Kant's Categorical Imperative is really just a restatement of the Golden Rule as found in Scripture. I am glad to read that you like what the Bible says even if it came to you through Kant.

=======================================

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Clint Gentry 7 years, 3 months ago

The emotional tone of my writing has little to do with it's validity. Please, look at my statements, and tell me what statement, (besides the conclusion that theists don't understand freedom), seems incorrect. If you can't find a problem with the premises, you can't simply discount the conclusion because it "repulses" you. Maybe it's your realization of the inanity of theist "thought" that "repulses" you?

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craigers 7 years, 3 months ago

I guess discussion without insult is out the window with you huh? And no you don't have to call me a name, but your overtone is really repulsing.

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Clint Gentry 7 years, 3 months ago

That is the best point Kodiac...Theists are "moral" only under the supposition that they will be rewarded for it. It that case it isn't altruistic, it's selfish. While the secularists are "moral" because being "moral" is itself the prize, in this case the secularist is acting out of altruistic thought, and proceeds into altruistic actions. Altruistic actions are actually impossible to do if you're a theist. Altruism is the most obvious case of freedom, or of "being free" so to speak. So as a theist (not being altruistic) you're not actually free, as you've given all cause for your actions over to an imaginary being, wow imagine that!

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Calliope877 7 years, 3 months ago

slams head repeatedly into keyboard dksajfkasjfiewjreko4538q388rfiawe

passes out

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

You can feel sorry for me if you want to Smith, but I wouldn't waste your time on me. I certainly don't feel sorry for what I percieve to be your incorrect position regarding the Bible. I think the higher order/power's position is much better revealed in the voices and actions of people that I care about, the people I interact with, and how we fluctuate together than in any printed book.

The proof, by the way, is simple. As the gospels were not written even by Jesus, but in scholars and disciples with names and histories, it is obvious that they were written by men, even if Jesus was the direct son of God himself, he is only paraphrased or distantly quoted in the Bible. And even if the Torah was dictated by God, it was still written down by man, passed down by man, copied by man, translated by man, interpreted by man, and revised by man. Nothing in the Bible suggests that God would make sure that his word remained consistent through the ages, and there are many things within that suggest that God, through his very nature, would do nothing at all to insure accuracy of translation. Save, perhaps, destroying a few cities with fire after they over-interpreted his word.

At any rate, I'm not even looking for proof. My position does not requre proof, which is why I have taken it. My position is that nobody is certain in any of this, we are all entitled to our own opinion of what morality is and where it comes from, and that, thus, morality is a useful tool for personal preference and in choosing your companions and environment, but it is utterly wrong to take one version and enshrine it as something that everybody has to follow, or to even expect it to be the standard by which other people live and think if, frankly, they don't want to.

Do you think that is defended logically enough? Feel free to dispute.

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werekoala 7 years, 3 months ago

75x55:

Eh? The catagorical imperative, basically, is when faced with a moral dilemma, imagine how the world would be if everyone made the same choice when faced with that dilemma. Then make the choice for yourself that leads to the best possible world when everyone does it.

It implies a very personal responsibility for the way the world is - every choice we make is, essentially, a vote on what type of world we'd like to live in. Maybe it's just the Golden Rule writ large, but it's a great way to disassociate yourself from the particulars of your own temptations and examine it from a more global perspective.

I just don't see how that's playing God any more than genetic engineering, or flying Congress and the President back from vacation to interfere with a husband's wishes toward his wife (a pity they couldn't show half the initiative to any of the other problems facing our country).

In summary: Eh?

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Dambudzo 7 years, 3 months ago

on this bus "It's not fact-- it's faith. I don't hate your faith-- I just don't want to be required to live by your faith-based moral code just because you insist that I do so, "

Ditto,

I don't hate your faith, just don't make me have to live by yours either.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

75x55: Actually, yes, I would agree with that. So, err, what are we talking about, then? If there is no absolute source, morality fails. If there is an absolute source, morality fails. So why do we care so much? How about we just admit that we're making it all up.

Have we had this exact conversation before? I'm having strange Deja Vu to the Reader's Reaction Forum.

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75x55 7 years, 3 months ago

"Self-interest is what drives the theist. " - Kodiac

Excellent!

However, I believe you limit your thesis - self-interest (aka, selfishness) is what drives ALL HUMANS. It is not an inherently BAD thing.

werek's Kant - yes, the ol' 'lets all pretend we're God' thing. Whatever.

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werekoala 7 years, 3 months ago

craigers -

Those are the kind of ridiculous extremes that you can come to believe in when all you listen to is demagauges. You do realize they are laughing all the way to the bank, right?

No one has ever proposed that we should let other people do ANYTHING they want to. I don't think that people should be allowed to kill, cheat each other, break contracts, steal, or any of the other crimes. But I don't think these are Bad Things just because the Man in the Sky told me so, I think they are Bad Things because permitting them interefers with the smooth functioning of society and causes innocents to suffer.

Some more gems:

"If morals were determined by us making our own decisions then we can't tell anybody that murder is wrong since for them it might not be."

--Implying that the only reason YOU aren't a serial killer is because God told you not to be. I'd feel much, much safer if you weren't a serial killer because YOU don't want to be, regardless of whether or not there is a God.

+++++++

"Our justice system is set-up believing that there are moral absolutes that should govern society."

--Um, no, it doesn't tell you to say five Hail Marys for speeding. It is set up believing that certain acts are dangerous to allow, and require deterrence/punishment/rehabillitation.

+++++++

"The notion of no moral absolute and morals being decided by each person unravels into a chaotic society."

--GOOD! I like people who are different from me, who see the world differently from me. And unlike you I DON'T want to banish people with different religions from myself. I just want to make sure that I and others are protected from harm.

But it sounds like you'd be happier living in a theocracy - might I suggest Iran, Vatican City, or Saudi Arabia?

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i_tching 7 years, 3 months ago

Christians kill anyone they want to, even people they don't want to, in the name of christ the redeemer. They have this magical way of discerning "murder" from "killing." It's all semantics. They do not know what they are thinking, nor what they even are required to think.... it's rather confusing.

Die on the cross like the saviour? Or kill indescriminately because god commands it? It's tough being xtian. You never know what the heck you're supposed to do.

Yet... morality is in scripture.

Well, no.

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Kodiac 7 years, 3 months ago

"If He is not the moral authority, then there is no real moral authority. If morality is simply each person deciding how s/he acts, then whatever a person decides to do is moral." -- Smith

This is a false dichotomy that cannot be supported. You are making 2 assumptions here. One is that there is an absolute moral code and two that God is responsible for that absolute moral code. These assumptions are groundless and have no more logic than saying humans created morality. The reasons cited by Smith are no more valid than the reasons cited by secular humanists. As far as I am concerned the christian theist and secular humansits are on equal footing when it comes to morality. In fact I would say that the secular humanist is on stronger moral grounds than the theist.

Think about this. What if God does not exist. Then the theist that are supposedly following a moral code based on some non-existent God could be perpertrating immoral acts on humankind. Consider the story of Abraham who was willing to kill his own son to demonstrate his love for God. A theist would consider Abraham to be moral because he is following God's command. A secular humanist would consider such an act against humanity to be immoral.

A christian theist might claim their motive for being moral should be because they love God, they recognize him as their creator, they want to do what is right for its own sake, and they desire their own welfare in this life and the life to come. But a secular humanist can make a similar declaration of equal merit. For example, a secular humanist could claim their motive for being moral should be because they love humankind, they recognize their debt to society, they want to do what is good for its own sake, and they desire their own welfare in this life as well as the welfare of generations to come. These statements provide equally good reasons for being moral, because they appeal to exactly the same values, and a Christian has no better reason to commit to these values than a secular humanist.

I also think that Christian theism idea of morality is selfish in of itself. Self-interest is what drives the theist. He or she wants to enjoy an afterlife in heaven so fear of being in hell drives them to be good (Think Santa Claus here). However someone who professes to be a secular humanist and follows a moral code because of their love for humankind is a much stronger person from a morality standpoint. They choose to be moral for the betterment of humankind.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"but rather that God Himself as revealed in the Bible is the moral authority whether you or anyone else hates that fact or not."

It's not fact-- it's faith. I don't hate your faith-- I just don't want to be required to live by your faith-based moral code just because you insist that I do so, especially when it's just plain devoid of logic, as many christian precepts often are.

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craigers 7 years, 3 months ago

werekoala, can you tell me a case in which murder is okay? And don't confuse murder with killing in self-defense or something else of that sort. If morals were determined by us making our own decisions then we can't tell anybody that murder is wrong since for them it might not be. Our justice system is set-up believing that there are moral absolutes that should govern society. Otherwise the judge wouldn't be able to judge or sentence a person for killing another or committing another crime, just as long as they said nothing was wrong with it. Who are we to judge them? The notion of no moral absolute and morals being decided by each person unravels into a chaotic society.

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werekoala 7 years, 3 months ago

smith:

Your contention that only theology can provide morality, and hence condemnation for murder, is easliy refuted:

If I tell you that I'm missing my watch, and a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian and an Atheist all had an equal opportunity to steal it - would knowing their religion be a clue in determining who stole it? Of course not - you'd want to know the background, the financial status, and the reputations of these people to get an idea who took it. From this evidence, we can conclude that the deity a person worships (or fails to worship) has little to no effect on their practical morality.

Plus, I find Kant's Catagorical Imperative to be just fine in regards to a non-dogmatic approach to practical morality that most people can agree with. Look it up, you might learn something.

"If science cannot demonstrate the existence or non-existence of invisible pink unicorns, then it also cannot demonstrate that what those pink unicorns telepathically is not the Word of the pink unicorns."

This sentance is just as semanticly true as yours. It only sounds silly because you weren't brought up to revere pink unicorns. The take-home lesson is just because there is no evidence for or against a claim is no reason to blindly believe it. In fact, it's usually a good idea to insist on sizeable amounts of evidence before believing in something.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Under the social construct of morality, what Hitler, and others, did led to the assumedly unwilling deaths of 50,000,000 people, which makes it wrong. jonas

You have not shown how the deaths of any person or any number of people would be wrong. The fact that it happened does not mean that it is wrong. Murder is not wrong unless you can demonstrate why it is wrong.

The only problem with theism, Richard, if you haven't figured it out, is that all of those edicts on morality and behavior were written by people, not god, to govern their societies, which were thousands of years ago. jonas


Sorry, but you can't prove that either. Remember, those who strictly follow empirical thinking must apply it across the board in their thinking. If science cannot demonstrate the existence or non-existence of God, then it also cannot demonstrate that the Word of God is not the Word of God. I am sorry that you seem to think that the Bible is nothing more than moral edicts rather than what it is which is the revelation of the glory of God and how He saves sinners to the glory of His name.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

Your arguments have been stated for centuries, yet people are still turning away from religion, (and rightly so), because it DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!

Sorry, my arguments have not been stated for centuries since I am not that old. The fact that something does not make sense to you is different than the fact of its making sense or not. The fact that people are turning away from religion demonstrates that truth of Christianity. It teaches that all men hate God apart from coming to Him through Jesus Christ. When people turn away from God, they are demonstrating its truthfulness. The fact that you try to deny the being of God does not demonstrate anything about God, it just demonstrates that you will not bow to Him and so try to deny Him out of existence so that you can sleep at night.

You can fool yourselves with all the rhetoric you want, but the truth stands on it's own, faith is the absence of truth... a very anxiousatheist

How very contrary to the truth. I am not fooled with your rhetoric and down deep you are not either. I don't believe in atheists in reality, they are just people that don't want to believe in the God they hate. Faith is a deep conviction in real reality which is truth. Atheism is the denial of real reality from an anxiousness to deny the reality of God.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

"the cry of the human heart"? Give me a break, this is irrational thought at it's finest. anxiousatheist

Well, at least it is at its finest. However, saying something is far different than proving it. The fact that there is the cry of the heart in all human beings about morality is far more than an irrational thought, it is rationality dealing with reality. Until you can demonstrate why the human heart desires and wants morality, you will continue to be anxious about your atheism which is really irrationality at its worst.

"If our rationality hadn't been designed, then all we think and do is irrational" What are you talking about? anxiousatheist


If you are nothing but a blob or collection of atoms that came together by irrational forces, then all that you do and think is a result of irrational forces. Can you try to tell me how that all that happens by irrational forces can be rational? It is rather hard (for anyone) to explain how rational beings can be produces by irrational matter.

Since we are using O'reilly's terms. you "traditionalists" are on a losing side that has never won or will win by virtue of it's definition. "Tradition is the ILLUSION of permanence." anxiousatheist

I didn't mean to use "O'reilly's terms." Atheism is what is an illusion, though admittedly it is not a permanent one. While tradition will never win, God has won and it will be demonstrated all through history and at the last day. You will figure it out some day and quit trying to convince yourself that you don't believe in God.

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75x55 7 years, 3 months ago

"If He is not the moral authority, then there is no real moral authority. If morality is simply each person deciding how s/he acts, then whatever a person decides to do is moral."

Bingo.

Hence, the intent of secular morality is primarily to deny God. However, in doing that, proponents of secular morality only reveal the inherent weakness of their position - that being they have no more authority than anyone else to determine a proper 'morality'. It all becomes a circular wasted exercise in relativism.

Without an absolute authority, morality is only a construct of mere human opinions.

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smith 7 years, 3 months ago

75x55, I disagree, an example...I shouldn't kill people because I don't want to put ones family or loved ones in distress. Now, tell me why I need an ancient text to back me up? anxiousatheist

But what would be moral about not putting families or loved ones in distress? Perhaps by killing some individuals relieve some stress on the families and loved ones. Or perhaps in the future it would be less stressful for them. Your position provides no real reason not to kill anyone. I would hope that no ancient text would back you up on this one. But if you are referring to the Bible, since it is God's Word it is God that backs up His own words.

I think that this itself is a good enough reason to not kill someone. My rational is a much more sound than saying a book told me so. And again to all you "traditionalists", there is no magic "moral authority", there is only you deciding how you should act. Anxiousatheist

Once examined, however, it is not a good reason at all and may be a good reason to kill people. I agree that there is no magic moral authority, but rather that God Himself as revealed in the Bible is the moral authority whether you or anyone else hates that fact or not. If He is not the moral authority, then there is no real moral authority. If morality is simply each person deciding how s/he acts, then whatever a person decides to do is moral. Following your logic, a person that decides to murder is actually commiting a moral action. I see why you are an anxious atheist.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

I guess if results don't matter, then the choice of a moral code really doesn't either.

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75x55 7 years, 3 months ago

Why doesn't that surprise me...

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75x55 7 years, 3 months ago

"So, is it your opinion, then, that theistic 'morality' has fared better? According to human history, there are some problems there, as well."

Has ANY 'morality' fared well, when measured against human society? I think even you would agree to a 'no' answer to that one.

If the only measure of any action's worth are the actual results, then any 'morality' is a complete failure, as the demonstrated human capability to be moral is a complete impossibility.

The confusion for most people is their perception of 'morality' in terms of results, rather than as a standard.

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i_tching 7 years, 3 months ago

There is no "absolute moral authority" anymore than there's an "absolute penguin." The terms are meaningless and refer to the unreal and therefore unuseful for human concerns, like behavior.

Morality derives from evolution. It is a scheme guided by genetics and natural selection; a provision for survival, not necessarily of our species, as you can readily see from the violent and narrow interpretation of morals as described by the theistic set here who often advocate random killing for political and theological reasons, but simply for the survival of our genes.

Morality cannot be understood in terms of theology. Who tells god what to do? It can only be understood in terms of evolutionary psychology.

To put it bluntly, bears do not crap in the woods because god tells them to. They do it because it is selectively advantageous for them not to use high school restrooms.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, Boldaq, it's good that we have such a paragon of moral action and respect such as yourself to tell us how respectful adults should act. I think I'm going to go out and make fun of fat people and people who have different ideologies than me today.

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Clint Gentry 7 years, 3 months ago

Someone's angry the Dixie Chicks were right about George Bush...

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boldaq 7 years, 3 months ago

Sec Prog Church

Bruce 'All Mighty' Springsteen, If HE says it, THEY believe it.

His 12 disciples - Oprah, Clooney, Penn, Baldwin, Robbins and The View crew with Rosie counting as four.

"All morality comes from entertainers", says Dem prez black hope contender, Ba-rock Orama

Hollywood = Left Wing Whacko Heaven "That's as high as you can go, baby" - Well known Bush-haters, The Chicksie Dicks

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

OK, we'll let God tell us how to live. But for this decade, it'll be my God. Your God can tell us how to live next decade.

That's fair and sensible, don't you think?

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

"Posted by 75x55 (anonymous) on January 15, 2007 at 7:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Given the record of human history, secular 'morality' isn't worth a pinch of dried monkey poo."

So, is it your opinion, then, that theistic 'morality' has fared better? According to human history, there are some problems there, as well.

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Clint Gentry 7 years, 3 months ago

75x55, if your answer consists simply of "that's your opinion", then you've succumb to the worst type of thought, nihilism. Plugging your ears and flippantly dismissing an argument as "opinion". O'Reilly tries to pass it off as rational argument, (hint, it isn't), but you've added it your arsenal and pull it out like a Cross when the vampires come knocking. But it doesn't kill the vampires, it tires them out...

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budwhysir 7 years, 3 months ago

This road has turned to gravel and now the dust is flying. I am having trouble seeing in front of me and determining where to turn.

Please everyone, turn on your headlights and only use your low beams. If you have fog lights use them. Thanks

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75x55 7 years, 3 months ago

That's just your opinion, anxious. And that's all it is - an opinion.

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Clint Gentry 7 years, 3 months ago

75x55, I disagree, an example...I shouldn't kill people because I don't want to put ones family or loved ones in distress. Now, tell me why I need an ancient text to back me up? I think that this itself is a good enough reason to not kill someone. My rational is a much more sound than saying a book told me so. And again to all you "traditionalists", there is no magic "moral authority", there is only you deciding how you should act.

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jonas 7 years, 3 months ago

Under the social construct of morality, what Hitler, and others, did led to the assumedly unwilling deaths of 50,000,000 people, which makes it wrong.

The only problem with theism, Richard, if you haven't figured it out, is that all of those edicts on morality and behavior were written by people, not god, to govern their societies, which were thousands of years ago.

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75x55 7 years, 3 months ago

So, when is morality valid in the absence of an absolute moral authority? Absence of an absolute moral authority reduces 'morality' to the fevered imaginings of human opinion.

Given the record of human history, secular 'morality' isn't worth a pinch of dried monkey poo.

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Clint Gentry 7 years, 3 months ago

When a person "talks to God" it is poetic, when someone says that "God talked to me", it's psychotic. Morality is an exercise, a constant judgment of forces by the human mind. It is not merely a list of things to do, or direct adherence to a supposed "leader", that is the way you control children and the simple minded...

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

From the letter:

"The only position that can answer the cry of the human heart and mind is that of theism. No other position tells us what morality is and provides an oughtness to them."

Seems to be exactly the rationale Bush uses when he tells us God told him to do it (whatever that is at any given moment.)

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gr 7 years, 3 months ago

"No, just saying that by the logic of this letter, Hitler's only mistake was not justifying the morality of his actions as being ordained by God."

I guess you are reading into the letter than I am. I see in the letter, "This is so clear in America's fall today", which doesn't seem to me being approval of Bush invoking God.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"Many people make the claim that God told them to. What is your point in comparing Hitler to Bush? You seem to be saying one is right and the other is wrong."

No, just saying that by the logic of this letter, Hitler's only mistake was not justifying the morality of his actions as being ordained by God.

Bush claims that God told him to do it, and for this letter writer, that seems to be enough justification for whatever he might do.

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Clint Gentry 7 years, 3 months ago

"the cry of the human heart"? Give me a break, this is irrational thought at it's finest. "If our rationality hadn't been designed, then all we think and do is irrational" What are you talking about? Since we are using O'reilly's terms. you "traditionalists" are on a losing side that has never won or will win by virtue of it's definition. "Tradition is the ILLUSION of permanence." Your arguments have been stated for centuries, yet people are still turning away from religion, (and rightly so), because it DOESN'T MAKE SENSE! You can fool yourselves with all the rhetoric you want, but the truth stands on it's own, faith is the absence of truth...

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budwhysir 7 years, 3 months ago

Ah yes my two favorite topics all in one letter.

First off lets start with morality: Moraly speaking on the politics of morality, I can say that research has lead me to believe that the morals and the morality of morals have become somewhat of a logical matter, this brings my next point.

logic: The most misplaced phenominon of the modern moral person. Logic is placed in the brain segment and is mostly in the off position during weekdays. However, when you combine logic with morals you get moral logic.

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gr 7 years, 3 months ago

"By your logic, if Hitler had claimed that God told him to do what he did, then he would have been just as justified as Bush saying that God told him to invade Iraq."

Many people make the claim that God told them to. What is your point in comparing Hitler to Bush? You seem to be saying one is right and the other is wrong.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 3 months ago

Good Morning!

Thank God, all though (as we surely do see on this forum) the bunch Brucey belongs to has a very loud voice, they are fortunately a small segment of society.

They are a sub-group of the far, far, far, far-left, secular progressive, Socialist crowd.

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Barclay 7 years, 3 months ago

Richard, you are right. Well done. No one enjoys having their inconsistencies pointed out.

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i_tching 7 years, 3 months ago

Morality does not come from god or scripture. Does the letter writer advocate the stoning of wayward children? I doubt it. But the god of the bible commands it.

Does the letter writer wish that no work be done on Sundays, perhaps closing hospital emergency rooms to observe the sabbath, on penalty of death? Probably not, but that's bible morality for you.

If the writer were to proclaim that it's immoral to stone children who don't finish their beans, then he is in fact undermining his own thesis. He would be asserting morality not just outside of theism, but in opposition to it.

There are many other examples throughout the holy books of many peoples, not just the bible. The whole point is that if you pick and choose from among the various odd and often violent moral principles offered by the bible, then you're getting your moral direction from something else.

The bible does not instruct you on which sections of it you may ignore, despite its contradictions.

Morality developed, as did much of human behavior, as evolutionary desirable traits, and it order to fully understand it only a Darwinian approach will offer scientifically satisfactory answers concerning it.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

By your logic, if Hitler had claimed that God told him to do what he did, then he would have been just as justified as Bush saying that God told him to invade Iraq.

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