Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why does that scare you so much?

Paul C has unwittingly graced us with a further clarification of the horror of atheism's logical conclusions that I've been exploring.

My words are in green, his in purple.

So, raping and murdering little girls is only wrong for a person b/c he doesn't like it, not b/c it's Wrong with a capital W.
Why does that scare you so much?

And, on atheism, there's no point to life. At all.
Why does that scare you so much?

And as an added demerit, you can't say that raping little girls is objectively wrong, and that's just straight up horrible.
Why does that scare you so much?

I guess the source of all your attacks on atheism is fear, isn't it? Not fear of atheism, obviously - that would be silly - but fear of the world. Why do all these things scare you so much?


If you have to ask, my friend, I don't know what I can say to help you understand. But at least the clarification of the difference between our two worldviews is proceeding on schedule.

48 comments:

Paul C said...

I have to ask because it's clear that you're absolutely terrified of these possibilities, and I'm not. Therefore I'm interested to understand why you're so scared, and how I might be able to help you to leave your fear behind and live a more fulfilled life. I apologise if that sounds patronising, but it's meant sincerely.

Rhology said...

Maybe the first step is to assign a purpose for my life, so that it will have value.

OK - my choice is: Raping little girls will fulfill my life and is a valid purpose/point for my existence.

OK/not OK? Why or why not?

Paul C said...

Don't avoid the question, Rhology. Why are you so scared?

Rhology said...

No, I was taking you up on your offer. Have you rescinded it in 20 minutes?

Paul C said...

No, but first I need to understand what you're so terrified of, and why.

Rhology said...

Maybe we could start with the fact that you've conceded that you don't know
1) whether it's OK
2) how anyone would know whether it's OK
to rape and murder little children.
Does that really, seriously not horrify you, that thought?

Paul C said...

Don't avoid the question, Rhology. Why are you so scared?

Ken said...

Paul C, let's imagine for a minute that you truly believe that raping and killing little girls is OK as long as the person who does it thinks it is OK. If you really do believe that, then I am fearful for those who would be unfortunate enough to be near you when you are having a bad day. I am scared for the obvious reason that there is no telling what else you might believe, because your stated belief is proof that you cannot govern your behavior. You are Chip on Shoulder times one million. If you ever decide to act it out you will make Harris and Klebold look like Goldilocks and Cinderella. I don't know anyone who would not be scared to live near you or associate with you.

However, I am wise to your ploy. You are trapped because you know that treating little girls that way is wrong, but you still refuse to give way even one little bit. Your approach is not believable.

Is honest behavior in your bag of tricks? It must be extremely unsatifying to argue when you cannot use honest arguments, and even in your lies you still cannot make any headway.

So, I admitted to my fear and told you why: real monsters are scary.

So, in all honesty now, please tell me that in fact it is not OK for anyone, any time, under any circumstance to rape and kill little girls. I know that is what you believe, so admit it. Then you and Rhoblogy can get on with the debate.

Rhology said...

And make sure to let us know why it's wrong too.

John Morales said...

Rhology seems stuck on a loop, and after numerous references about the morality of "raping little girls" I'm beginning to be a little creeped out.

He just seems obsessive on the subject, which was discussed ad-nauseam here and here, to name just two threads. And here it is again!

Various non-believers, myself included, have explained our reasons for why we think it's wron.

His quibble is that we think it's wrong for visceral, ethical or societal reasons - he apparently thinks the only valid reason is if it's written in his holy book.

Rhology said...

I pick this example b/c it's the worst thing I can think of, the most disgusting, the vilest. It's sthg that no moral loophole springs to mind about (as opposed to killing someone, etc).

And for the purposes of the reductio ad absurdum that I am employing, it is the most striking IMO.

Yes, it should disturb you, especially the implications about your worldview.

Paul C said...

Don't avoid the question, Rhology. Why are you so scared?

And on top of that, why are you so scared to answer this very simple question?

Paul C said...

Ken - my apologies for not answering your question. This thread is not about what I believe, but about why Rhology is so scared. Let's hope he can answer that question - perhaps then I can answer yours.

Rintintin said...

I pick this example b/c it's the worst thing I can think of, the most disgusting, the vilest. It's sthg

that no moral loophole springs to mind about (as opposed to killing someone, etc).


the worst thing you can think of - but surely in your worldview it doesn't matter what you think is the worst, it matters what God thinks is the worst?

So, out of interest, what if a true believer has a lapse of judgment, or an eventual convert does this - Will they still be saved as long as they still sincerely believe (We've established on the other thread killing people for the purpose of eating them is still savable, so I don't see any obvious reason this wouldn't be too)? So in fact, while in an atheist worldview the offender may unfortunately (in my opinion) never face any eternal punishment, the true believer can do the thing you consider is so horrific and actually be eternally rewarded!

Finally, as a thought experiment, if this happened to a family member or a child you knew, and the offender said he was a true believer (we'll assume he was sincere and his act was a moment of madness, or it was prior to his conversion), would you gladly accept that he would also be treated favourably by God just as you will be for not doing any of this stuff?

The Jolly Nihilist said...

Although I find Rhology's example to be effectively repellent, I can think of things yet more repellent.

For example, annihilating an entire tribe of people and claiming the annihilated tribe's territories.

Paul C said...

Ken - I now realise that you misunderstood my question. I am not asking why Rhology should be scared of me, but why he is so scared of the possibility that the world is without meaning and there is no such thing as an objective morality. So far he hasn't been able to answer this question, which is unfortunate as it really is central to his entire argument. You are welcome to provide an answer to this question as well, of course.

So, Rhology - why are you so scared?

Rhology said...

Sigh. Paul C, what I'm scared of has been made clear more than once, especially in the last post, and Ken has explored another aspect of it. Keep repeating yourself if you like; you're on the disgusting end of this question so far.

Paul C said...

Rhology, you have not made clear exactly what you are scared of, or why. As far as I can tell, this is the first time that anybody has asked you the question.

As I have said to Ken, I am not asking why you should be scared of somebody who doesn't believe in an objective morality. I am asking why you are scared of the possibility that there isn't an objective morality.

You can choose not to answer the question, of course; but all that will do is demonstrate that you are so paralyzed with fear that you can't answer a simple question.

So Rhology, why are you so scared?

John Morales said...

Q: why are you so scared?
A: what I'm scared of has been made clear more than once [...]

That's evasive.

Rintintin said...

I was just curious to know what your thoughts were on the previous post I made Rho as regards believers (apparently) being able to be eternally rewarded despite doing the worst thing you can possibly imagine?

Is it in your view genuinely possible for a child rapist to be rewarded by God (bear in mind you've already said a serial killing cannibal rapist has a fairly decent chance)?

Phinehas said...

"You can choose not to answer the question, of course; but all that will do is demonstrate that you are so paralyzed with fear that you can't answer a simple question."

That would be the only *possibe* explanation?

Whether the question has been answered or not, I'm not going to debate - it's just that the way you're asking these questions seems like an attempt to paint rhology as a cowering little boy, frightened in a corner, driven to his point of view because he just can't handle the possibility of no absolute truth, especially in the realm of mankinds most disgusting acts. At least, that's what it smacks of.

I think your posts do a wonderful job at highlighting the difference between the two worldviews being played out here, though.

In an atheist's worldview, where there is no absolute truth (at least not one that's objective for everyone and binding on all people at all times), resignation to one's fate with the cosmos seems to be a sign of intellectual maturity and fearlessness. From a believer's point of view, someone with the inability to look at a horrible act and say beyond the shadow of a doubt "That is wrong," is a complete fool, walking through life blinded.

I won't ask it as persistently as you are, but I think just as applicable of a question for you or others would be, "Why doesn't that scare you?"

Paul C said...

That would be the only *possible* explanation?

To be fair, no it wouldn't. I regretted writing that as soon as I'd pressed the publish button. There are of course other explanations; however Rhology has so far provided no explanation, so all I can do is speculate.

it's just that the way you're asking these questions seems like an attempt to paint rhology as a cowering little boy, frightened in a corner, driven to his point of view because he just can't handle the possibility of no absolute truth

Yes, that's exactly what it looks like from my perspective, and he has essentially admitted to that fear in this post. That's why I would like him to explain why he is so scared, which is so far refusing to do - for whatever reason.

I think just as applicable of a question for you or others would be, "Why doesn't that scare you?"

I promise that I will answer that question fully as soon as Rhology answers my question satisfactorily. He's the one that made it the subject of this post, after all.

Ken said...

Phinehas, I wish I could have said it that way. Sigh.

Paul c, I told you what I am scared of. Why won't you answer my question: Is that horrible act OK for anybody, anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance? Why won't you answer MY question?

Rintintin said...

From a believer's point of view, someone with the inability to look at a horrible act and say beyond the shadow of a doubt "That is wrong," is a complete fool, walking through life blinded.

It's all very well being able to say 'that's wrong for everyone at all times', but:

a) it doesn't stop the things in question happening. I dont think atheists (generally) are claiming to be fearless - they just realise that the world is how it is, not how they want it to be. As a wise man once said 'reality is that thing that doesn't go away when you stop accepting it'.

b) as Rho admitted on the other thread, even if atheism is true, he feels it still makes sense to be a Christian purely to make oneself feel better, so you can say 'that's bad for everyone everywhere'. Again, what's more foolish - accepting reality as it is and trying to deal with that, or simply making baseless pronouncements because it makes you feel better?

c) in the absence of any response thus far, I'll have to go with the one I got for asking virtually the same question re: Jeffrey Dahmer - behaving in any manner you like, as long as you genuinely believe prior to death, will be rewarded by the Christian God. The worst behaviours under the Christian worldview that you can think of are no barrier whatsoever to reward - does that not strike you as more disturbing than a lack of eternal punishment?

d) In some of the previous posts on here, we've had assertions that God finds the time to do things like play around putting fossils in rocks, stretch out beams of light from distant stars and play with radioactive decay rates, amongst other things, purely to keep things in line with the world being 6000 years old and so on. Yet for some reason intervening to stop things such as the acts in question in this post, which he himself has deemed to be wrong, seems to be low on his list of priorities but making scientist get it all wrong seems to be quite high. I mean, why make such a bizarre effort on one hand but not the other?

Phinehas said...

Hey, RTT. I don't have the time that some others do to put into stuff like this usually, but since your last post was directed at me and had some honest insights/questions, I wanted to respond.

a) I don't think many atheists would outright claim that they're being "fearless", but I do think that they often see religion as a weakness because people are unwilling to accept that there is nothing greater than themselves. And if I was an atheist, I'd probably feel that way about other people too - but two things come to mind when I think about that:

1) the reality of it is that neither atheism nor theism has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt (by evidence' sake). Therefore, "reality" is not as cut and dry as atheists "just realis[ing] that the world is how it is." Atheists can feel comfortable in their position, but from my point of view, they're exercising a different type of faith in their worldview.

and 2) Christianity is an everyday process that takes work, causes turmoil, and brings humility. Frankly, it's tiring - but those of us who have seen the world's "truth", who have sought the answers, and who have been moved by the Spirit know that nothing compares to faith in God. Personally, I don't see any of that as weakness.

b) I'm not going to speak for Rho about what his words were on the other thread - personally, I would rather accept the truth than to follow something blindly as well. But it is interesting that most atheists fail to see the predicament they're in with moral absolutes (ie, they don't have any). I think, whether one accepts the conclusion he comes to or not, this point still rings loud and clear.

To answer your question, I would say "accepting reality as it is". But, the problem is, you inherently seem to think that "reality as it is" is what it is in your point of view. A wise man once said "reality is the thing that doesn't go away when you stop accepting it" - is it possible that the reality he was talking about was of a creator God who made the heavens and the earth?

c) One thing I'll say before answering this question is this: believers have, and never will, be able to condemn someone to hell. That is God's job entirely. With that in mind, I can't claim to tell you that I know who IS and who ISN'T going to Hell, as I haven't seen the Book of Life.

Now, the key word you use in your quote is "genuinely". That would imply 1) it wasn't premeditated that one would sin and then accept God on his/her deathbed - it just happened, and 2) that the person understands the situation they're in, and feel complete and utter remorse for their state in life, knowing that they are undeserving of any type of gift from God whatsoever.

Looking at the picture from a different angle, we are all that person. According to the Bible, it might as well be as if we committed murder, genocide, showed general hatred and contempt for people, and lived selfishly. There is no "good person, bad person" - we are all condemned.

And that is what makes the sacrifice of Jesus Christ such an amazing thing. He offers life to all who will accept and GENUINELY believe.

So, is it possible a child rapist could find himself in heaven? I'm sure it is. But it would mean he came to terms with his moral bankruptcy and his disgusting self and came to God as any underserving person would (which we all are). Does this disturb me? What disturbs me is how anyone thinks they're any good at all.

d) The whole origin of life debate is something that is, in general, out of my league. I wasn't there, so I can't say much for certain. I believe what the Bible says, though whether a literal 7 days or not, I'm not sure. There is also no telling how much time passed after Adam and Eve were created.

I just fail to believe that scientists are as certain as they make things seem to be. And many become skeptics in the process - that as they see more and more of the wonders of this world, they begin to say "if God is real, why didn't he...", etc., while they still have gaping holes in their own books to fill in (ie, how it all came from nothing).

For some reason, God has given humanity its salvation and left us with his Holy Spirit - but he doesn't intervene to the point of stopping all these horrible acts. This is something that even believers have a hard time coming to terms with. It doesn't however, prove or disprove his existence. I think it DOES prove that he doesn't work the way we think or want him to.

Anyway, thanks for giving me time to think through these. As I continue to explore the depths of my own faith, I have to ask the same questions you are. Seek and you will find - love that promise.

Paul C said...

Paul c, I told you what I am scared of. Why won't you answer my question: Is that horrible act OK for anybody, anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance? Why won't you answer MY question?

Ken: Just to remind you of three things.

First, my question was directed at Rhology, and you're not Rhology.

Second, my question was not "what are you scared of?" I know what Rhology is scared of, he's made it clear - he's scared of the possibility that there is no objective morality and that the world has no meaning. My question is - why is he scared of that possibility?

Third, I have already promised to you and Phinehas that I will answer your questions as soon as Rhology answers mine. So far he has failed to provide any answer at all, but I think it's only fair to give him another chance.

So Rhology, why are you so scared?

Rhology said...

RTT said:
Rho admitted on the other thread, even if atheism is true, he feels it still makes sense to be a Christian purely to make oneself feel better

That is not what I said. I'll just have to refer any reader to the previous post's thread. I'm more or less 100% confident that RTT didn't understand my point in it. I'm not trying to be a jerk here; it's just that all his critiques in that thread were misfires b/c they didn't aim at the actual question. No biggie - I know how it is in these Internet scuffles; sometimes one just doesn't put the necessary time and concentration into reading the text and then once you're called out on a mistake, sometimes you feel like it'd too much drudgery to go back and get it right.

what's more foolish - accepting reality as it is and trying to deal with that, or simply making baseless pronouncements because it makes you feel better?

I dealt with a similar question in that thread, so RTT is close.
And I argued it's no better and very probably worse to be sthg other than an atheist, given the premises I laid out.

the same question re: Jeffrey Dahmer - behaving in any manner you like, as long as you genuinely believe prior to death, will be rewarded by the Christian God.

Not rewarded for their behavior, as you are apparently implying. Not at all!
Rather we receive the reward of Christ from Christ that Christ alone deserves - which is Christ Himself. We deserve it not at all. RTT deserves it as much as I deserve it as much as Dahmer did - none at all. But who is forgiven?

Anonymous said...

If I could answer on Rhology's behalf, I would say that the thing which is scary about relativistic morality is that you never know when it can turn against you. Since self-preservation is a deep-seated human need and therefore source of fear, the possibility that society could turn against you in the ever-shifting world of relativistic morality is certainly a legitimate source of fear. In a society with fixed morality, this is not a fear.

The classic case which we can keep coming back to is Nazi Germany. Suddenly society was prepared to accept that being Jewish was bad and that genocide was justified. I might add that this worldview was fueled by Darwinist thinking and morality. As they say, first they came for the communists, but I said nothing. Then they came for the trade unionists, but I said nothing. Then they came for the Jews, but I said nothing.

Paul C said...

If I could answer on Rhology's behalf, I would say that the thing which is scary about relativistic morality is that you never know when it can turn against you.

Well, you can't really answer on his behalf. So we're still waiting for Rhology to provide an answer to the question of why he's so scared.

Since self-preservation is a deep-seated human need and therefore source of fear, the possibility that society could turn against you in the ever-shifting world of relativistic morality is certainly a legitimate source of fear. In a society with fixed morality, this is not a fear.

This actually makes sense as an answer. I can understand why you'd be scared in a situation like that. Of course, just because it's scary doesn't mean that there actually is a fixed morality. So if you're relying on a fixed morality for your defense, and other people don't share that morality, then it's functionally no different than not having a fixed morality.

The classic case which we can keep coming back to is Nazi Germany. Suddenly society was prepared to accept that being Jewish was bad and that genocide was justified.

Except that wasn't how it worked. People already distrusted and in some cases hated Jews prior to the rise of the Nazis, largely as a result of several hundred years of European history, including prejudice supported by Christian institutions. After the war, one man who admitted to his earlier anti-semitism was Pastor Martin Niemoller, who then wrote a poem that you appear to have heard of.

As they say, first they came for the communists, but I said nothing. Then they came for the trade unionists, but I said nothing. Then they came for the Jews, but I said nothing.

Niemoller was initially a supporter of Hitler, but changed his mind early on. The point of his poem was that the church (and other members of the intellectual class) did nothing for those groups, which after the war lead to the Stuttgart Declaration.

So much for your fixed morality, which apparently was nowhere to be found in Nazi Germany, where the churches and their congregations were largely complicit in the destruction of the Jews.

So, Rhology - why so scared?

Rintintin said...

I might add that this worldview was fueled by Darwinist thinking and morality.

I think that this is incorrect for a variety of reasons. First, scientific theories don't advocate moral actions (good or bad), they simply describe and explain natural phenomena. As another example - the work of guys like Einstein gave us the science that later allowed the development of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. However, I've never heard anyone complain that acknowledging Einstein leads to nuclear bombing or that accepting nuclear physics is the fuel for genocidal behaviour.

Second, anti-Jewish persecution has been going on for a very long time, long before Darwin was even born. If this sort of behaviour requires ideas such as Darwin's, what made it happen before he came along? As far as I know genocide and anti-semitism didn't just start in 1859. Additionally, most of Hitler's pronouncements on the matter seem to be his own (mis)use of Christian theology as opposed to anything to do with evolution. The Nazis also had OOS on a list of banned books (see#2.6 item 6) - seems odd they would do that if they were basing their motives around Darwin's ideas.

Rintintin said...

Not rewarded for their behavior, as you are apparently implying. Not at all!

Sure - I'm not saying rewarded for that behaviour, rather that behaviour is largely irrelevant in obtaining the reward, since belief is the only criterion that needs to be met for salvation and behaviour appears to be present no real barrier to obtaining it.

Rhology said...

That's correct, RTT. It is faith that obtains the grace. The action that WILL NECESSARILY follow from the grace is indicative of the transformed heart that accompanies the unmerited salvation.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, just because it's scary doesn't mean that there actually is a fixed morality. So if you're relying on a fixed morality for your defense, and other people don't share that morality, then it's functionally no different than not having a fixed morality."

But it gives me a basis for saying that your worldview doesn't work. If a lot of people realise this fact we will move back to the days when morality was more fixed, which even you now apparently admit had benefits.

"Except that wasn't how it worked. People already distrusted and in some cases hated Jews prior to the rise of the Nazis"

The point is not to blame Nazis, the point is to show that the current world view of a particular society about morality is not a firm basis for morality. In any case, you cannot blame hundreds of years of history for every sub-group that the Nazis tortured.

" largely as a result of several hundred years of European history, including prejudice supported by Christian institutions."

Mere "predudice" is not the same as rounding people up and killing them. In any case, the point is not that every moral view that is "religious" trumps every view that is non-religious. The point is that the ever changing views of morality in societies is no morality at all.

"So much for your fixed morality, which apparently was nowhere to be found in Nazi Germany, where the churches and their congregations were largely complicit in the destruction of the Jews."

Again, whether such and such a church enforced its morality (if it indeed had one) on Nazi Germany, does not avoid the fact that there is no morality without a firmer foundation than current popular opinion. A fixed morality from God, if it is true, remains true whether or not people are following it. People who don't believe in such a thing are in fact dangerous.

Anonymous said...

"First, scientific theories don't advocate moral actions (good or bad), they simply describe and explain natural phenomena."

Again, in your worldview there is no morality, so obviously nothing fuels moral actions.

In our world view, the Darwinist idea that life evolves according to a naturalistic process of environment and random mutation inevitably puts man in no different position than any other living creature. So if you'd kill a rat, morally it is no different to killing a person.

In Nazi germany this led to the theory of superior races and planned evolution. If Arians are superior then evolution is served by eliminating everyone is non-Arian from the gene pool. Even if Arians aren't superior they would be fulfilling the evolutionary directive of one set of life (Germans) improving the survivability of their Genes viz a viz other gene pools.

None of this thinking can exist in a Christian world view. It is the product of the Darwinist world view.

"However, I've never heard anyone complain that acknowledging Einstein leads to nuclear bombing or that accepting nuclear physics is the fuel for genocidal behaviour."

That's because Darwinism is an idea that competes with religion concerning the meaning of life, whereas nuclear physics does not. Darwinism addresses who we are, and who we are is intimately connected to morality.

"Second, anti-Jewish persecution has been going on for a very long time, long before Darwin was even born. If this sort of behaviour requires ideas such as Darwin's, what made it happen before he came along?"

Other wrong-headed ideas besides Darwin have resulted in other wrong-headed outcomes. Darwin doesn't have a monopoly on immoral world views. He is merely now king of amoral world views.

"Additionally, most of Hitler's pronouncements on the matter seem to be his own (mis)use of Christian theology as opposed to anything to do with evolution."

I haven't heard that, and it would be irrelevant if true. Anyway, clearly the idea of a master race is related to genetics and Darwinist evolutionary thinking. Any previous predudice against Jews would have been a religious complaint. You might not like that source of predudice, but then again, you don't have any leg to stand on as has been demonstrated.

"The Nazis also had OOS on a list of banned books (see#2.6 item 6) - seems odd they would do that if they were basing their motives around Darwin's ideas."

Rome had the bible banned at points too. It doesn't mean that the Church doesn't owe its foundation to it.

Paul C said...

But it gives me a basis for saying that your worldview doesn't work.

No, it doesn't. The fact that you're afraid of a world without a fixed morality gives you no basis for saying that my worldview doesn't work; it just means that you're afraid.

If a lot of people realise this fact we will move back to the days when morality was more fixed, which even you now apparently admit had benefits.

I have not admitted that it had benefits; please stop lying. I do not believe there has ever been a time when morality was "more fixed", since there's no evidence for any such thing as a fixed morality or a time when it applied.

In any case, you cannot blame hundreds of years of history for every sub-group that the Nazis tortured.

Actually, yes I can. Catholics - hundreds of years of religious animosity. Trades unionists / communists - decades of antipathy towards left-wing movements. Homosexuals - hundreds of years of animosity based on biblical injunctions. The disabled - hundreds of years of religious justification of physical and mental disability as punishments from God. Every single group targeted by the Nazis had been the victim of historical prejudice prior to the rise of the Nazis themselves.

Mere "predudice" is not the same as rounding people up and killing them.

There were many examples of rounding up and killing Jews in Germany (and other Christian countries) prior to the Nazi regime, but I'm not going to force you to learn about history if you don't want to. If you think that anti-semitism - including massacres and mass expulsions of Jews - didn't exist in Europe before the Nazis came to power, then there's probably little point in trying to get through to you.

Again, whether such and such a church enforced its morality (if it indeed had one) on Nazi Germany, does not avoid the fact that there is no morality without a firmer foundation than current popular opinion.

That's not my point. My point is that the Churches and their congregations in Germnay failed to provide anything resembling the fixed morality you keep fantasizing about. In fact, Christians have consistently failed to provide a coherent moral view of the world, frequently changing their minds about key issues and arguing to this day about which Christian views are right. Why should anybody listen to you, when you can't even agree internally you believe?

Anyway, back to the important questions - Rhology, why are you so scared?

Kyle said...

Paul C,

"No, it doesn't. The fact that you're afraid of a world without a fixed morality gives you no basis for saying that my worldview doesn't work; it just means that you're afraid."

I am a former atheist who now believes in Jesus. I was not afraid to live in a world without God given what that world entailed. I even preferred that world at the time because it gave me cause to engage in the activities I wanted to do without a God watching and judging me. Of course what I wanted didn't make it true. Surely, TGOTB is much more frightening for an atheist than a meaningless universe is to a Christian.

"It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heb. 10:31

Atheism in a Christian world is a frightening thing because it removes restraint from the wicked and encourages men to act out on their sinful impulses which they might otherwise have suppressed. Atheism in an Atheist world is unfulfilling, and not frightening, at least not so much in the safety of America. If I was in a communist country, I might not agree.

In an Atheism Man is not inherently sinful and he might be rehabilitated from child rape through education. In Christianity, such a man has to die vicariously on the cross with Jesus and be born again before he can enter Heaven. Paul c, I am hoping for you to die to yourself so that you may truly live. God help you.

Paul C said...

Before responding to Kyle's point, I'd like to make a quick announcement. On his latest post, Rhology has announced that he will not in fact be answering my question, about why he is so scared. As I have pointed out to him, this implies that he does not actually have an answer to the question, nor is he interested in honest debate. I leave it to others to make of that what they will.

Paul C said...

Kyle:

I was not afraid to live in a world without God given what that world entailed. I even preferred that world at the time because it gave me cause to engage in the activities I wanted to do without a God watching and judging me.

To be completely accurate, the world didn't give you cause to engage in the activities you wanted to do - you gave yourself cause to engage in them. What happened is that in the process of growing up, you had a minor life crisis and a drug-related ecstatic experience and went from one extreme (being anti-Christian, according to your blog) to another (being very Christian, again according to your blog). Not to demean those experiences, but your description of them on your blog doesn't really tally with what you're saying here.

Surely, TGOTB is much more frightening for an atheist than a meaningless universe is to a Christian.

Not really, no. I can't be afraid of something that I don't believe exists.

Atheism in a Christian world is a frightening thing because it removes restraint from the wicked and encourages men to act out on their sinful impulses which they might otherwise have suppressed.

This is demonstrably untrue. There are many atheists who live entirely acceptable lives, free from any "restraint"; there are many non-Christians who do exactly the same. Meanwhile there are many Christians who act out on their "sinful" impulses, and then just feel really guilty about it afterwards. Your view of the world simply does not fit the way the world actually is.

Paul c, I am hoping for you to die to yourself so that you may truly live.

Thanks very much, but I'm hoping for annihilation as the only thing that can give life true meaning.

Paul C said...

Despite Rhology's failure to answer my question, I feel that I should demonstrate my good faith in this debate by answering the questions posed to me by Ken and Phinehas. Ken asked:

So, in all honesty now, please tell me that in fact it is not OK for anyone, any time, under any circumstance to rape and kill little girls.

In fact it is not OK for anyone, any time, under any circumstance to rape and kill little girls. (I'm not sure why you thought this was a difficult one - at no point have I argued or implied that I thought it was OK.)

Phinehas asked:

I won't ask it as persistently as you are, but I think just as applicable of a question for you or others would be, "Why doesn't that scare you?"

It doesn't scare me for the same reason that it doesn't scare me that the sky is blue. (I realise that this is more than a bit glib, but I thought that it would be best to keep my answer simple.)

Rintintin said...

In Nazi germany this led to the theory of superior races and planned evolution. If Arians are superior then evolution is served by eliminating everyone is non-Arian from the gene pool. Even if Arians aren't superior they would be fulfilling the evolutionary directive of one set of life (Germans) improving the survivability of their Genes viz a viz other gene pools.

In your world view, the Darwinist idea that life evolves according to a naturalistic process of environment and random mutation inevitably puts man in no different position than any other living creature. So if you'd kill a rat, morally it is no different to killing a person.

These 2 paragraphs contradict each other - on one hand you state that under evolutionary terms everything is equal (since killing a mouse is the same as killing a human, and every living thing evolved in the same manner), then on the other suggest that some organisms can be superior to others. It can't work both ways - either everything is equal, or everything is not. Which is it and why?

It's also wrong that there's an evolutionary directive, since this assumes organisms are actively approaching some goal - but Darwinian evolution does not have an end goal. In Darwinian evolution 'better' is only relative to the environment, plus not all evolution is Darwinian. Additionally, there are examples of eg symbiosis and cooperative behaviour being important in evolution also.

None of this thinking can exist in a Christian world view. It is the product of the Darwinist world view.

Any previous predjudice against Jews would have been a religious complaint. You might not like that source of predjudice, but then again, you don't have any leg to stand on as has been demonstrated.

Again, two contradictions there. Either violent thought and prejudice can exist because of or in spite of a Christian worldview (and history would show that it clearly can), or it can't. Which is it? Examples exist where people have used the bible to support diametrically opposing viewpoints such as pro and anti slavery movements. We've also discussed that Christians can sin and still be rewarded, although a sign of accepting Christ is behaving more Christ-like. Key word there - Christ-like. Rho has posted in the past providing examples where he fails to live up to the behaviour of Christ although he desires to. This means that there's no guarantee there won't be any lapses along the way for a convert or that it's an instantaneous change. Obviously the bible says words to the effect of 'this is how you should behave at all times'. It's not a guarantee that anyone/everyone actually will, even if they believe it to be true.

That's because Darwinism is an idea that competes with religion concerning the meaning of life, whereas nuclear physics does not. Darwinism addresses who we are, and who we are is intimately connected to morality.

It competes with some religious creation stories, not the existence of God. Some people think God used evolution to create life and think that an all powerful creator would be more likely to have a system that creates itself rather than one he needs to continually tinker with. Plus, evolution only concerns biological life - it doesn't touch on how the universe came to exist etc. Evolution and god are not incompatible. Evolution and biblical creationism are.

Either way, it still doesn't advocate any behaviour. Scientific theories describe and explain what is, not what should be or what we would like to be - they are completely amoral. You can say evolution involves death - but death is a very real part of existence whether evolution is true or not. Your position is not consistent, since if you state one amoral scientific theory advocates a particular mode of behaviour, there's no reason you shouldn't say the same of another since both are held to the same standards by the scientific method. Like with nuclear physics, where we can use it in a power plant or make a bomb. Similarly with evolution. If you state we can use it for social exclusion or genocide programmes, why not also state that we can use it to help discover the genetic code or develop cancer drugs such as Taxol for example?

Other wrong-headed ideas besides Darwin have resulted in other wrong-headed outcomes. Darwin doesn't have a monopoly on immoral world views. He is merely now king of amoral world views.

On one hand you are calling it amoral, on the other immoral. It can't be both. Which one is it? Additionally if other worldviews can fuel immoral behaviour, why do you assume the Nazis must have used Darwin as their guide? After all the Soviets were into Lysenkoism not evolution and produced much the same results as the Nazis. It's pretty easy to drag up genocidal regimes that were religious, atheistic, evolution-denying and evolution accepting - I don't think any of these things on their own make people genocidal.

I haven't heard that, and it would be irrelevant if true.

Why is it irrelevant? If Hitler felt he was doing his duty to God, that puts a totally different slant on your entire argument. After all the OT God wasn't shy about encouraging genocide, which I am assuming you are not complaining about? It wouldn't take much for someone to assume what they were doing was what God would want based on reading that kind of thing. So on one hand you can complain about it, yet on the other the God you worship has at various times in history seen fit to endorse it (and many other behaviours you would no doubt complain about were an 'evolutionary' or atheist worldview to do the same. I'm guessing the reply will be 'it's OK, because it was God doing it'). Furthermore, Martin Luther was a major player in the Protestant reformation and was quite a popular source of inspiration for the Nazis (they used his book at Nuremberg rallies for example), since he had written a book called On the Jews and their Lies. Furthermore, if we look at the list of what the Nazis did or didn't like, they were actually quite protective (Scroll down to section c) of the idea of Christianity.

Hitler, as with many people in the past, had some pretty weird ideas about Christianity. A lot of people might say the same about the teachings of the Catholic church, but I don't think anyone considers them atheists. Similarly, there isn't anything to indicate he was an atheist and plenty to believe that he believed in some variant of God, and saw it at least as a means to further his ideas. And if you hadn't heard any of this then why are you assuming what did or did not fuel Hitler's behaviour?

Anyway, clearly the idea of a master race is related to genetics and Darwinist evolutionary thinking.

The ideas of human master races or ethnic groups have been around for a long, long time as well - seriously, the idea that any of this stuff required or originated with Darwin's thoughts is just pure fantasy. Dog and plant breeders predate Darwin by thousands of years and provided Darwin with the idea that the environment might be capabale of shaping a population. So do you think dog breeding leads to genocide? If it's related to genetics, why not complain about Gregor Mendel as the source of the world's ills? Plus the idea that genetic variablity between organisms in a species exists is simply factual - I'm not sure what complaint anyone can have about that.

Rome had the bible banned at points too. It doesn't mean that the Church doesn't owe its foundation to it.

Even if it were the case that the Nazis loved Darwin, do you not even entertain the possibility that the Nazis may have had a preconceived agenda that they fitted things around as and when it suited them, as opposed to something like the ToE inspiring them in the first place? Besides, if anti-Semitic and master race concepts and thought existed well before both Darwin and the Nazis, how could Darwin be the foundation for either?

Your view of Hitler, evolution and history seems overly simplistic in my opinion.

Rhology said...

Paul C,

My answer to you is the last two sentences of this blogpost. You might have forgotten it in the course of this long combox, but I just wanted to point it out again.

Rhology said...

RTT said:

then on the other suggest that some organisms can be superior to others. It can't work both ways - either everything is equal, or everything is not.

It's very telling that you say this, actually. Anon's 1st statement was clearly unrelated to morality, yet you just assumed it was, b/c that's the way you think.
And THAT, sir, is the kind of thinking that, taken to its logical conclusion, leads to Nazi genocide.

Darwinian evolution does not have an end goal.

Yes it does. It's UNDIRECTED, but the end goal is producing viable lines of organisms. There are infinite ways to produce a nonviable organism, very few that produce a viable one.

Either violent thought and prejudice can exist because of or in spite of a Christian worldview (and history would show that it clearly can), or it can't.

It's in spite of, you had it right. And that can't be blamed on the Christian worldview any more than a fundy telling every passerby he's going to hell (in spite of atheism) can be blamed on the atheist worldview.

Examples exist where people have used the bible to support diametrically opposing viewpoints such as pro and anti slavery movements.

In spite of, yes.
You'd have to make a case that such were justified, not just tell us that people thumped the Bible for emphasis in those situations. What do I care when people got it wrong?


We've also discussed that Christians can sin and still be rewarded

Strawman. You are displaying a poor grasp of Christian theology here.
What I've told you multiple times is that EVERYONE sins and SOME are saved, SOME receive a reward. The reward is from Christ, on the basis of what Christ has done, not what the sinner has done, in fact directly contrary to what the sinner has done. And the reward is Christ Himself.

Rho has posted in the past providing examples where he fails to live up to the behaviour of Christ although he desires to.

Stated more eloquently and completely in Romans 7.

This means that there's no guarantee there won't be any lapses along the way for a convert or that it's an instantaneous change

Wrong again. The lapses are expected - see Romans 7 and 1 John 1-2. They are not unavoidable on the singular, but everyone sins.
And such lapses are not a complete falling away from the faith in its entirety.
And the change is instantaneous w/o being fully sanctifying for all the whole future. In this life, we still struggle with sin despite the change wrought in us.

It's not a guarantee that anyone/everyone actually will, even if they believe it to be true.

That's correct, but I really don't see where you were going with this.

Evolution and biblical creationism are.

IOW, evolution and the Bible are incompatible. Couldn't've said it better.

Either way, it still doesn't advocate any behaviour

EXACTLY. Which is one reason this 'scares' me. And why I make the arguments I do about atheistic morality.

but death is a very real part of existence whether evolution is true or not.

As is murder, pain, torment, etc. It just doesn't matter - it's the way it IS. Get used to it.

why not also state that we can use it to help discover the genetic code or develop cancer drugs such as Taxol for example?

I don't see any reason to believe that it "help(s) develop" these useful drugs.

why do you assume the Nazis must have used Darwin as their guide?

B/c they said so, didn't they? All that ridding themselves of the weaker races to create a better one thru pure breeding.
That must have been sheer coincidence, no doubt.

It's pretty easy to drag up genocidal regimes that were religious, atheistic, evolution-denying and evolution accepting

It's far easier to drag up genocidal regimes that were atheistic and evolution accepting than the converse. Let's not play revisionist games here. And these are all in the last 150 years. I wonder why that is?

If Hitler felt he was doing his duty to God, that puts a totally different slant on your entire argument.

What one "feels" doesn't matter. And as you said, Darwinism is not totally incompatible with the idea of God.


After all the OT God wasn't shy about encouraging genocide

For one thing, you can't make any moral judgment on that one way or th'other.
For another, the OT examples are totally different. Hitler had a standing command from TGOTB **NOT** to murder people and the OT Israelites had a standing command TO kill those Canaanites. (Note: not to murder them, to kill them. Not the same thing.)

they were actually quite protective (Scroll down to section c) of the idea of Christianity.

Hitler desired to destroy the Christian church - more revisionist implications from RTT.
Clearly he said these things to mollify the rebellion-prone Christians to consolidate his power.

there isn't anything to indicate he was an atheist and plenty to believe that he believed in some variant of God

No one's saying he was. He was a pagan.

the idea that any of this stuff required or originated with Darwin's thoughts is just pure fantasy.

And it's just coincidence that Darwinian theory supports this idea to a T.

if anti-Semitic and master race concepts and thought existed well before both Darwin and the Nazis, how could Darwin be the foundation for either?

It's not the anti-Semitism, but the way they expressed it that is what we point to.

Peace,
Rhology

Paul C said...

It goes without saying, of course, that those two lines were not an answer, but an attempt to avoid having to give an answer. That's why I have continued to ask the question, but at least you have now admitted on the other thread that you do not intend to answer me. I understand that you're afraid; I'm just trying to show you that there's nothing to be afraid of.

Rintintin said...

It's very telling that you say this, actually. Anon's 1st statement was clearly unrelated to morality, yet you just assumed it was, b/c that's the way you think.
And THAT, sir, is the kind of thinking that, taken to its logical conclusion, leads to Nazi genocide.


yawn - naturalistic fallacy for starters by stating that evolution theory has a logical conclusion in terms of promoting behaviour. second all I did was point out a contradiction and a factual error, where was the moral judgement?


Yes it does. It's UNDIRECTED, but the end goal is producing viable lines of organisms. There are infinite ways to produce a nonviable organism, very few that produce a viable one.

So it's undirected, yet people are choosing an arbitrary character and directing it towards that even if that character may not actually be better suited to the environment - how is this Darwinian? I also thought human actions were intelligent design in your view, not evolution?

second your benchmark is totally arbitrary - compared to an infinite amount of money Bill Gates is poverty stricken. Compared to no life, there are an astronomical number of ways to generate a viable organism.

In spite of, yes.
You'd have to make a case that such were justified, not just tell us that people thumped the Bible for emphasis in those situations. What do I care when people got it wrong?



Since we've spent centuries having theolgians and philosophers stating different Christian interpretations, something which seems to show no sign of stopping any time soon, can you wake the rest of us up once they finally come to some kind of agreement of what it is you all actually believe?

It's not a guarantee that anyone/everyone actually will, even if they believe it to be true.

That's correct, but I really don't see where you were going with this.


right - so even if we have some invisible magic man dishing out moral 'facts' to us, and everyone believes in the source of them it doesn't really change anything about what happens in the world in terms of behaviour, as history clearly shows.


IOW, evolution and the Bible are incompatible. Couldn't've said it better.

there are quite a lot of things that are incompatible with the bible - evolution is but one. Nuclear physics is another...

you also accept microevolution, so in your view God must have invented it. Therefore Darwin just noticed what your God had created - so the blame ultimately lies at God's door.

EXACTLY. Which is one reason this 'scares' me. And why I make the arguments I do about atheistic morality.

So if evolution and/or atheism aren't telling anyone to do anything bad, what's the problem?


As is murder, pain, torment, etc. It just doesn't matter - it's the way it IS. Get used to it.

Even when huge parts of the world were essentially Christian theocracies, these things still happened. Changing back is not going to make any difference.


I don't see any reason to believe that it "help(s) develop" these useful drugs.

that's because any time I present pro-evolutionary evidence, or examples of what it has been used for to help us, your commitment to being anti-evolution at all costs filters it out. Like on the ID thread where I presented multiple evidences and all you did was offer childish sarcasm in place of an argument.

why do you assume the Nazis must have used Darwin as their guide?

B/c they said so, didn't they? All that ridding themselves of the weaker races to create a better one thru pure breeding.
That must have been sheer coincidence, no doubt.


First, show me some evidence that they explicitly reference Darwin. there aren't weaker human races genetically - there's more genetic similarity between races than there are between any two individuals. Humanity also constitutes one species, we all have common ancestry and there's no good evidence for any differences in mental capability based on race. Hitler also killed homosexuals - they weren't exactly likely to breed were they?

I also thought you took the tack that anything humans got involved in was intelligent design and not evolution? you seem to have changed your tune on this one. any reason why? a few paragraphs above you are also agreeing Darwinian evolution is unguided - now apparently it is not.


It's far easier to drag up genocidal regimes that were atheistic and evolution accepting than the converse. Let's not play revisionist games here. And these are all in the last 150 years. I wonder why that is?

Absolute rot as usual - it's just baffling that you think this is all some new mode of human behaviour, where in 1859 everyone went 'oh yeah, we were waiting for this, now we have an excuse to discriminate against/kill loads of people'.

Pre darwin

take your pick and there are far more examples from other regions of genocidal behaviour as well


the most (in)famous off the top of my head are the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the witch hunts


Post Darwin

just a few examples


Stalin - an atheist but rejected evolution. was also a communist, so in theory should have treated his fellow men as he wanted to be treated

Mao - an atheist and like Stalin a communist

Pol-Pot - did the opposite of Hitler by killing the people he regarded as most intelligent/sophisticated, didn't believe in God, but did believe in some kind of destiny for himself based on a variant of Buddhism

Hitler - some kind of pagan/Christian-based beliefs, no evidence of direct influence of Darwin (feel free to provide evidence where the Nazis actually cite OOS or Darwin). He used things like On the Jews and their lies by Luther, as well as slectively edited versions of Arthur de Gobineau's and Friedrich Nietzsche's work for example. Darwin didn't even coin the terms evolution or survival of the fittest, Herbert Spencer did. Darwin also got ideas from plant/animal breeders - why don't you blame them for their part in the Holocaust? Germany was also one of the most Christianised countries in the world at the time - any reason why they didn't stick to what they were actually supposed to believe ie not murdering if having these objective morals is supposed to make so much difference?

South African apartheid regime - banned teaching of evolution and promoted Christian based education

Papa Doc Duvalier - thought he was in direct contact with Jesus/God, killed 30,000 people

You also have the problem if you are basing the above on evolution that there are a few diametrically opposed worldviews in there. How exactly can evolution be the basis for all of them?

Interestingly, in 1863 slavery was abolished in the US by Lincoln, 4 years post Darwin.


For one thing, you can't make any moral judgment on that one way or th'other.
For another, the OT examples are totally different. Hitler had a standing command from TGOTB **NOT** to murder people and the OT Israelites had a standing command TO kill those Canaanites. (Note: not to murder them, to kill them. Not the same thing.)


I think you might be missing my point - the two cases (and many others like them) are essentially identical modes of thinking ie the people involved claim to have been commanded by God to go and kill a particular group that has been identified as somehow inferior (incidentally, since they killed all the children too, what was their particular crime? Any reason why God demanded infanticide?). Now of all the cases throughout all of history where people have done this, you are banking on the ones in the OT being the only ones where this was actually true as opposed to just imagination/lies.

Furthermore, what about examples of God's moral relativism? He wiped out the population of the world in the flood for being sinners, before he'd even handed out any laws for their moral behaviour. he rewards Abraham who has multiple sexual partners and commits incest, yet wipes out the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah for their behaviour (all of which later becomes immoral) - again both prior to any moral laws being handed out. why the moral relativism on God's part?


Hitler desired to destroy the Christian church - more revisionist implications from RTT.
Clearly he said these things to mollify the rebellion-prone Christians to consolidate his power.


Mein Kampf was written in 1924 when Hitler was in jail, he didn't become chancellor til 1933. how exactly was he going to consolidate power if he didn't have it yet and was in jail? is it not more likely they were his actual opinions?

And it's just coincidence that Darwinian theory supports this idea to a T.

If you mean supports as in 'encourages' then no, you're committing the naturalistic fallacy (yet again). No scientific theory tells people how to behave. After all, nuclear physics goes against your religion as much as evolution does, since it's the basis for radioisochron dating which refutes a young earth. So in that case if evolution tells me to go kill people, nuclear physics must also. Why not blame Einstein the way you blame Darwin?

Additionally, death, genetic variability and differential reproductive success are all facts - ToE just describes/explains these facts. If you have issue with it, take it up with the man who created those things.

It's not the anti-Semitism, but the way they expressed it that is what we point to.


See the blog I linked to above for examples of why you are simply ignoring huge amounts of history. And, like I say, selective breeding existed long before Darwin did.

Rintintin said...

Here's a pretty sizeable list of many events of Jewish persecution and anti-semitic massacres throughout history. Notice how many are pre 1859 (the source is at the bottom of the page)

Rhology said...

RTT said:
naturalistic fallacy for starters by stating that evolution theory has a logical conclusion in terms of promoting behaviour.

I invite anyone to see the statement that led me to say that:
then on the other suggest that some organisms can be superior to others. It can't work both ways - either everything is equal, or everything is not.

Make your own judgment on this.

when huge parts of the world were essentially Christian theocracies, these things still happened. Changing back is not going to make any difference.

???
I can't think of very many régimes I would term "Christian", but maybe we have different ideas of what that means.
This is irrelevant anyway.

I presented multiple evidences

And I asked HOW. You didn't answer the question.

there aren't weaker human races genetically - there's more genetic similarity between races than there are between any two individuals

And there are great genetic similarities between humans and chimps and humans and porpoises. So what? What does that have to do with whether Darwinian ideas lead to thinking a human ethnicity could be inferior?

Hitler also killed homosexuals - they weren't exactly likely to breed were they?

No one's claiming he was 100% consistent in his beliefs.

humans got involved in was intelligent design and not evolution?

Yes, but this is a category error.

Pre darwin take your pick and there are far more examples from other regions of genocidal behaviour as well

True to an extent, but when Nazis make explicit references to following these Darwinian ideas, well, it sticks in the honest man's craw.

You also have the problem if you are basing the above on evolution that there are a few diametrically opposed worldviews in there. How exactly can evolution be the basis for all of them?

Where did I claim that Darwinian ideas were the basis for them? For all of the bad things that have ever happened in the world, as you'd have me saying?



commanded by God to go and kill a particular group that has been identified as somehow inferior

100% wrong. Why do you feel the need to misrepresent the Christian position so badly?

Any reason why God demanded infanticide?

Yes, there were reasons. Until you get the situation at least close to correctly thought out, I don't see a big reason to get into it.

what about examples of God's moral relativism? He wiped out the population of the world in the flood for being sinners, before he'd even handed out any laws for their moral behaviour.

Wrong again.
Somehow Adam knew it was wrong to eat the apple.
Cain knew it was wrong to kill Abel. God told him too: "Sin is crouching at your door..."
Noah knew it was wrong to act unrighteously like the other people on the world.
Why is God obligated to punish all sin on the exact time frame? What is your moral argument for that?
"Moral relativism" implies that a given action is wrong or right depending on the situation. Which one do you refer to?

Abraham who has multiple sexual partners and commits incest

Multiple sexual partners, yes. No one says that was commendable, neither does the Bible.
Incest? Define "incest" (be sure not to be anachronistic) and then make your argument.

yet wipes out the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah for their behaviour (all of which later becomes immoral)

ALL of which? I'm sure Sodomites were nice to their dogs once in a while. The Bible never says that. Strawman. Again. You really are fond of strawmen, aren't you?
He wipes them out for their exceeding immoralities.

how exactly was he going to consolidate power if he didn't have it yet and was in jail?

Ah yes, I'm sure EVERYONE had read MK by that time. Please.

Why not blame Einstein the way you blame Darwin?

B/c Einsteinian theory has nothing to do with superiority/inferiority of HUMAN BEINGS.
I can only conclude you're willfully blind on this question.


Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

Another composition of snippets and snipes.

I note that to the question that is the eponymous title of this thread, the most apposite answer yet is:

If you have to ask, my friend, I don't know what I can say to help you understand.

Paul has it.

John Morales said...

Erm, Paul has it.