Friday, July 18, 2008

A quick summation

This is for ease of reference.
In the contention between atheists and myself on the issue of morality and its bases, three options have come forth:

1) God is the ultimate good, the definition of good. That which is good is that which flows out of His character.

2) Alternatively, there is no God, and therefore no ultimate definition of good. Thus every person is forced to figure out what is good, all by themselves. Some choose empathy and altruism as a basis for their personal morality, others choose violence and strive to overpower others to subjugate them. Either of those people can rationally look at the other and say, "According to that which is moral, you are wrong," b/c "that which is moral" defines that to which that individual holds. It doesn't answer the question of "Who is right?" for any 3rd party, however, since this morality is based only in the individual. The only way it is extensible to others is for the individual human to attempt to ape God and force submission to his morality down others' throats, as it were, and squelch dissent thru (if necessary) violent means, for the greater "good" (in reality, for the imposition of his own moral system) thru gov't and police, etc.

3) Or, there is no God and there is no evidence that any moral system is right or wrong. Thus, there is no moral statement to make about anything at all.

24 comments:

Teresita said...

4) Or, notions of good and evil evolved after thousands of years. Societies which protected private property and punished murder, for example, displaced those which did not. We have an incset taboo because tribes which allowed it tended to have corrupted gene pools which did not allow them to compete effectively for the same nuts and berries and elk as the tribe which forbade it.

Rhology said...

Yeah, that's #2 restated, pretty much, with unjustifiable assumptions sandwiched in between. Still doesn't answer the "Why it's wrong" to the 3rd party, either.

Teresita said...

Still doesn't answer the "Why it's wrong" to the 3rd party, either.

Only if you accept intellectual reasons for right and wrong, and even then the definitions given by the bible are the final answer only because people stop looking once they arrive at the bible. With Moral Naturalism (or Social Darwinism, if you insist), things are right simply because they work. It's more practical. But if you trace, for instance, the penalty for rape (a fine of fifty shekels) to God, where did God get that idea, and why is it better than the human penalty of jail time for rape?

Rhology said...

Well, if I want to be richer, living a life of crime and simply being smarter than the police WORKS. So it must be morally right, no?

NAL said...

Rho:
1) God is the ultimate good, the definition of good. That which is good is that which flows out of His character.

Except for the problem of different interpretations of Scripture. These different interpretations of Scripture, to determine what is "good", amount to little more than personal preferences. A central authority could be in charge of determining the True Interpretation (TM). We've seen how well that's worked with Catholics. I vote for making Rho in charge of determining the True Interpretation (TM).

larryniven said...

"Well, if I want to be richer, living a life of crime and simply being smarter than the police WORKS. So it must be morally right, no?"

HAHA! It's funny because you put something in caps. No, not quite - for one thing, in the obvious reading of this, it doesn't work. You aren't smarter than the police, odds are, and you certainly aren't smarter enough to be a career criminal. But, all of that aside, the obvious reading of this is the wrong reading of this. teresita specifically contextualized her version of morality as working over "thousands of years," such that whether it works is not a question of whether it works for any individual person but rather for societies. As a social norm, "try to live a life of crime" will not work in this sense, and I think this is so obvious that even you will admit it.

Moreover, why didn't you respond to her other point? She asked you why "people stop looking once they arrive at the bible" and it looks like you pretty much decided to ignore her. You can choose to define "good" as "that which God wills, according to the Bible as I interpret it," as you apparently have done, but you do realize, don't you, that a definition like that would be agreed upon by only a vanishingly small minority of people? Don't you want your definition of "good" to be such that good actions are overall more helpful to people than harmful to them, or such that good actions are overall more in accord with human nature than not, or something? Because that's what most people mean when they talk about morality, and the Bible really doesn't provide this at all, even on what I'm sure are your overly generous interpretations.

Rhology said...

Hi larryniven,

If you weren't so quick to mock, you might have seen that the point is not whether I *am* smarter than the police. We're discussing the morality of the issue, right?


teresita specifically contextualized her version of morality as working over "thousands of years," such that whether it works is not a question of whether it works for any individual person but rather for societies.

Which simply begs the question. For what reason should anyone accept your definition of morality as "that which works over 1000s of yrs in many/most societies"?


As a social norm, "try to live a life of crime" will not work in this sense, and I think this is so obvious that even you will admit it.

Perhaps not, but I don't recall discussing any "social norms" in my post. Let's not move the goalposts. You've already gone off on tangents twice, and we're not even out of your 1st paragraph.


She asked you why "people stop looking once they arrive at the bible"

I don't see why I should be forced to repeat myself dozens of times. Read the linked-to article on the 1st point in my post and let's talk.

but you do realize, don't you, that a definition like that would be agreed upon by only a vanishingly small minority of people?

And why would I care about that? What is your argument for why that matters?

Don't you want your definition of "good" to be such that good actions are overall more helpful to people than harmful to them, or such that good actions are overall more in accord with human nature than not, or something?

Not necessarily. I'm after the truth, not necessarily what "works". This begs the question in favor of the quasi-pragmatism that you and teresita are espousing.


the Bible really doesn't provide this at all, even on what I'm sure are your overly generous interpretations.

Even on your own terms (that which "works"), the Bible DOES provide just that. Those who trust Christ as Savior will conquer with Him and reign with Him in joy and glory when He ends the world. I don't know when that will be, but again, I'm interested in truth, not necessarily only what I can see in the just over 3 decades of my life.

Peace,
Rhology

larryniven said...

"...the point is not whether I *am* smarter than the police"

No, but see, you can't claim to provide a counterexample and then have that counterexample be nonsense. Especially if, in addition to being nonsense, it's a straw man.

"[teresita's definition] simply begs the question. For what reason should anyone accept your definition of morality as "that which works over 1000s of yrs in many/most societies"?"

Slow down and maybe you'll start making sense. It doesn't beg the question in any sense - there wasn't an argument here, just a proposed alternative. Begging the question is something only an argument can do. And one good reason for accepting that definition - which, for the record, is not mine - is that it follows observable facts more closely than, say, yours does. Plus, again, it matches more people's moral intuitions than does yours.

"...I don't recall discussing any "social norms" in my post"

Are you thick? teresita was discussing morality as an evolving set of - wait for it - social norms. So to criticize her view in the way you were attempting to do, you have to talk about social norms. Or, maybe this is an admission on your part that your responses to her are intentionally irrelevant and meant only to distract from her point rather than rebut it?

"I'm after the truth"

??
But how do you determine what the truth of morality is? What attributes, for instance, do you attribute to good actions? It seems, so far, like you're willing to accept any kind of morality so long as your God endorses it: if it hurts people or helps them, if it hurts societies or helps them, if it hurts the human species or helps it, if it hurts the planet or helps it, if it saves souls or damns them - you apparently don't care (at least, so far as you've indicated) so long as God says to do it somewhere in the Bible. That seems like an awfully shoddy way to search for truth, especially given how unreliable the Bible is about, oh, everything else.

"Those who trust Christ as Savior will conquer with Him and reign with Him in joy and glory when He ends the world"

Uh...so by "works" you mean "will work at some point in the future." I encourage you to conjugate your verbs correctly, so as to avoid confusion in the future. And in the meantime - not just the present, but also the very, very long past of human history - you admit that following Biblical commandments doesn't, on the whole, work in this sense? I think this would be smart of you to admit, because not one country - I am not exaggerating this, not one - takes the Bible as seriously as you seem to, and things seem to be going along pretty well.

Rhology said...

No, but see, you can't claim to provide a counterexample and then have that counterexample be nonsense. Especially if, in addition to being nonsense, it's a straw man.

What's your argument that it's a strawman?

And work with me here - let's just say I *could* accomplish that. Thus, it works. Morally right, yes?
And let's just say that some person decided that they'd pay large sums of money to me, the criminal, to murder children. And I did so, eluded the police all my life, and lived it up on the proceeds from my murders. Morally right, yes? It works, after all.


Begging the question is something only an argument can do.

Ah, OK. So you weren't making an argument. I guess I was foolish to think that you actually thought that was a live option.
Point dismissed then, since neither of us believe it's a good idea.


is that it follows observable facts more closely than, say, yours does. Plus, again, it matches more people's moral intuitions than does yours.

Is this an argument, or are you just "proposing an alternative" here?
In what way does it follow observable facts better?
For one thing, it can't tell us why we should do what works. Let's move the question back one step.
And large #s of people can be wrong. The Roman church is 100s of millions strong. So is Islam. I don't think either of us think they're right. Why even bring it up?
Plus, I don't think most people would call my above criminal example "morally right".


So to criticize her view in the way you were attempting to do, you have to talk about social norms.

{shrug} OK, fair enough.


??

Um, are you not after the truth or something? Why even post here?


But how do you determine what the truth of morality is?

For the 2nd time, I've linked to it above.


It seems, so far, like you're willing to accept any kind of morality so long as your God endorses it

Strawman. Ignorance may be bliss, but it's also embarrassing for you.
Read the post.


if it hurts people or helps them, if it hurts societies or helps them, if it hurts the human species or helps it, if it hurts the planet or helps it, if it saves souls or damns them - you apparently don't care

Not until you answer quite a battery of questions about the assumptions that such "if" statements make.
Here's a good place to start - how do you know what "hurts"?
Next, how do you know we should do what avoids hurt?



That seems like an awfully shoddy way to search for truth

Since you apparently can't yet be bothered to know what my actual position is, it's pretty clear you're no authority on how to seek for truth.


Uh...so by "works" you mean "will work at some point in the future."

No. Ingeniously, God has made it so that "a man reaps what he sows" (Rom 2:6-8).

larryniven said...

"What's your argument that it's a strawman?"

Basically, this:

"And work with me here - let's just say I *could* accomplish that. Thus, it works. Morally right, yes?
And let's just say that some person decided that they'd pay large sums of money to me, the criminal, to murder children. And I did so, eluded the police all my life, and lived it up on the proceeds from my murders. Morally right, yes? It works, after all."

You already conceded that neither I nor teresita is talking about "working" in this sense, and yet you continue to attribute it to both of us so as to make your argumentation easier. Thus, straw man. (In fact, it'd be a straw man even if you hadn't conceded this - that just makes it easier to identify)

"In what way does it follow observable facts better?"

Well, because it, you know, works. Taking that model of morality will lead us to the conclusion that being good people will eventually lead to moral progress in one's society and world. Taking your model of morality will lead us to the conclusion that, despite the vast increases in prosperity and happiness caused by abandoning the Bible, actually everyone is flaunting morality in practically everything they do. Also, yours fails to take into account things like psychology and evolution, whereas hers incorporates them, thus making hers the more complete theory. I could go on, if you want.

"For one thing, it can't tell us why we should do what works."

See, to most people, this doesn't require any further explanation. If you don't think we should do what works, it follows either that you don't think we should do anything or that you think we should do what doesn't work. Care to specify which of these is your position?

"And large #s of people can be wrong. The Roman church is 100s of millions strong. So is Islam. I don't think either of us think they're right. Why even bring it up?"

Ah, but this view doesn't rely on the opinions of millions of people, but rather the actual mental, physical, and (if you insist) spiritual health of millions of people, which cannot be wrong. If an evolving set of social norms improves these attributes, then it helps them. This, I think, qualifies for the success of a moral view.

"Plus, I don't think most people would call my above criminal example "morally right"."

Yes, but it's also a straw man, so...

I could defend this view all day long - or not - but the point remains that it's a different view than the three you present in this post. Thus, just by presenting it - i.e., without any supporting argumentation - teresita has disproven the conclusion of this post, not to mention invalidated any other conclusions that you draw using said conclusion. So that's why it's important for you to realize that simply stating this view is sufficient to prove your relative blindness and lack of imagination in this matter.

Now then, having read that post, it accomplishes nothing. You do nothing to give a consistent, coherent account of morality. The closest you come is the same old argument from selective ignorance that has no philosophical weight and never has. For instance, you say that "wanton aggression against another" is prohibited "everywhere, for all people, at all times" and yet offer no explanation for why God then commands wanton aggression. Likewise, I assume you hold that rape, theft, murder, and so on are all wrong for everyone, always, no matter what, but all of these are things that God has commanded. So, ultimately, your morality - as it is expressed in that post - is a logical contradiction. If that's the best you can do, give up.

Rhology said...

neither I nor teresita is talking about "working" in this sense

OK. My apologies then - please describe what you DO mean by "working" and we'll see if it matches my example or not.


Taking that model of morality will lead us to the conclusion that being good people will eventually lead to moral progress in one's society and world.

Which begs the question as to what is moral and what is moral progress.
Not everyone agrees that more and better ways to kill and bomb people, to abort babies, and to cheat people is moral progress.


Taking your model of morality will lead us to the conclusion that, despite the vast increases in prosperity and happiness caused by abandoning the Bible, actually everyone is flaunting morality in practically everything they do.

Well, it's "flouting", not flaunting. Anyway...you're precisely right. Stating that "it can't be b/c it's unpleasant" is to emote, not make an argument.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. No one does good, not even one. We all need Jesus' mercy.


yours fails to take into account things like psychology and evolution, whereas hers incorporates them, thus making hers the more complete theory.

Evolution... of what?
And to introduce psychology does you little good since it's such a fragmented field and subjective study. And since I am personally highly well-adjusted and a psychologically stable and happy human, I'll be happy to propose myself as a counterexample much of the time, and it would be 100% valid to do so.
But please do go on, yes.


See, to most people, this doesn't require any further explanation.

The argument ad populum continues.
To most people, that a God exists doesn't require any further explanation either. I don't know if you're an atheist, but I wonder if you'd accept that as well for the same reason.


it follows either that you don't think we should do anything or that you think we should do what doesn't work. Care to specify which of these is your position?

Sure. We should do what is right.
What is right sometimes "works" and sometimes doesn't, but that doesn't matter.
I'll know how to respond better when you describe what you mean by "works" in more detail, since you claim I've misunderstood it.


the actual mental, physical, and (if you insist) spiritual health of millions of people, which cannot be wrong.

And what happens when millions of people on each side think both sides of the following?
-Evolution from a common ancestor by way of natural selection acting on selective mutations happened.
-Abortion is OK.
-The death penalty is OK.

There are millions on each side. Which is right? How do you know?


the point remains that it's a different view than the three you present in this post.

Since it's merely an extension of point #2, I don't see why.
But I don't think we've fleshed this out very much, so maybe you could elucidate thereupon. It's just point #2 b/c
1) that which "works" is malleable to fit whatever Joe Blow wants, and everyone is different
2) there's no mandate from anyone other than teresita or you or whomever to "do what works"
3) the very fact that teresita made this incoherent idea up shows what I was saying in #2, that "every person is forced to figure out what is good, all by themselves."




OK, so you read the post. Bravo. Hopefully other questions don't require the same amount of effort on my part to get you to give a meaningful answer.

For instance, you say that "wanton aggression against another" is prohibited "everywhere, for all people, at all times" and yet offer no explanation for why God then commands wanton aggression.

1) When? Let's get specific. Give me your best shot.
2) Define "wanton".
3) Then please explain how you know that it's not OK for the God of the universe, who gives life, to also take it away from guilty sinners who have committed, to a man, capital crimes against His law.
4) Also, please let me know whether you're performing an internal or external critique.



I assume you hold that rape, theft, murder, and so on are all wrong for everyone, always, no matter what, but all of these are things that God has commanded.

1) God never commanded rape. Strike one.
2) Murder is the unjustified taking of human life. All humans are capital criminals - we have sinned against God in Adam and our own actions. God is justified in taking any life whenever He wants. It's rather by His mercy that we take every breath.
3) Define "theft". Then describe how God, Who owns everything (since He created everything), could be guilty thereof.

So, yes, rape and murder and theft are always wrong for everyone everywhere under any circumstance.
Nice try, but I've been around the block a few times.

Peace,
Rhology

larryniven said...

"please describe what you DO mean by "working" and we'll see if it matches my example or not"

I already did, and teresita already did. Go back and read what we wrote.

"Which begs the question as to what is moral and what is moral progress."

Well, no - it matches the antecedent of my hypothetical. Go back and read what I wrote and it'll make more sense. I know you want to impress me with your encyclopedic knowledge of argumentative logic, but you have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of argumentative logic in order for that to work.

"Stating that "it can't be b/c it's unpleasant" is to emote, not make an argument. [That is, when you do it - when I do it, it's an argument. Observe:]
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. No one does good, not even one. We all need Jesus' mercy."

This speaks for itself.

"Evolution... of what?"

Of...people? Also, of animals? And I defy you to prove that psychology is subjective.

"To most people, that a God exists doesn't require any further explanation either."

Oh no? Then why all the defenses of God's existence? Howcome we don't see nearly as many arguments about why doing the right thing works?

"We should do what is right."

O RLY

"What is right sometimes "works" and sometimes doesn't, but that doesn't matter."

Ah! Here we come to the heart of the matter - you admit, then, that some of God's commands, if followed, will have no positive impact on anyone, ever, including God. Do you agree? If not, how else could this possibly be interpreted?

"And what happens when millions of people on each side think both sides of the following?
-Evolution from a common ancestor by way of natural selection acting on selective mutations happened.
-Abortion is OK.
-The death penalty is OK.

There are millions on each side. Which is right? How do you know? "

Uh...what? How do any of these reflect mental, spiritual, or physical health? Also, evolution can be demonstrated scientifically, so that doesn't really belong on your list.

Here's you, continuing to be an idiot:

"1) that which "works" is malleable to fit whatever Joe Blow wants, and everyone is different"

False. Go back and read what we wrote.

"2) there's no mandate from anyone other than teresita or you or whomever to "do what works""

False. Go back and read what we wrote.

"3) the very fact that teresita made this incoherent idea up shows what I was saying in #2, that "every person is forced to figure out what is good, all by themselves.""

Even if the Bible is right, people still have to figure out for themselves that the Bible is right. If this is what you mean by "forced to figure out morality for themselves," no view will escape it, including your own.

"1) God never commanded rape. Strike one."

False - you fail entirely to explain Deut. 21:11-14 in that link. In fact, you never even begin to explain it. I'll wait while you think of something.

"2) Murder is the unjustified taking of human life. All humans are capital criminals - we have sinned against God in Adam and our own actions. God is justified in taking any life whenever He wants. It's rather by His mercy that we take every breath."

But that's not what I said. I said, God commanded murder, not that God murdered (although we could go there, too, if you want). The same goes for your #3: there's a difference between doing something and commanding someone to do something. Try to read the actual words I actually wrote. I know that can be difficult for you Christians, because you're so accustomed to ignoring that which would otherwise bother you, but you're making yourself look like a dolt.

Rhology said...

I defy you to prove that psychology is subjective.

That's my favorite quote of the day.


Then why all the defenses of God's existence?

For the people that don't believe it. Still leaves most people who do.
Don't feel like answering the argument?


"We should do what is right."

O RLY


That says a lot.


some of God's commands, if followed, will have no positive impact on anyone, ever, including God.

Not at all. They don't "work" b/c they don't APPEAR to have TEMPORAL benefit to some, even many people. But in truth there is lasting and objective value to following these commands.


How do any of these reflect mental, spiritual, or physical health?

If you don't know how they reflect mental or spiritual health, I don't know what else to tell you.
You forgot to defend how you know that these criteria are the correct, meaningful criteria. How do you know it's not what reflects an increase in my bank balance? I'm 100% serious in asking that. You can mock, you can beg the question, or you can answer it.


evolution can be demonstrated scientifically

1) See the label "evolution" on this blog for plenty of evidence to the contrary.
2) But that doesn't get you out of the pickle. Your original assertion was:
the actual mental, physical, and (if you insist) spiritual health of millions of people, which cannot be wrong.

But one group of many millions is wrong, on each of these questions. I'm not asking you how you know which one is right. I'm pointing out that your statement can't be true.


Even if the Bible is right, people still have to figure out for themselves that the Bible is right.

Or they can listen to God, Who informs them.


you fail entirely to explain Deut. 21:11-14 in that link

OK.
Deu 21:11 and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself,
Deu 21:12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails.
Deu 21:13 "She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.
Deu 21:14 "It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.

Yes,
"If you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your ***wife***."
1) Arranged marriages were the norm back then.
2) The guy had to marry, care for, and protect the woman he had de facto married. But no sex before marriage.
3) and this redeems the woman from a bad situation. Specifically, she was a member and participant in pagan practices, which were very evil and would lead to her ending up eternally condemned. God is big on redemption and had mercy on these women to bring them into His community of covenant and grace.
4) and she still had legal protection from abuse in marriage. He did not have a carte blanche to do whatever he wanted.
5) And she wouldn't be a slave. she'd be a wife with a family, etc.

That's an epic fail on your part.

God commanded murder, not that God murdered (although we could go there, too, if you want).

I suppose you think the executioner for the state acts on his own, not on the authority of the state/gov't.
God has the right to use agents to carry out His will. Does so all the time, on a variety of topics.

I know that can be difficult for you Christians, because you're so accustomed to ignoring that which would otherwise bother you, but you're making yourself look like a dolt.

Here I hasten to echo the words of the Jolly Nihilist:

I always have found that, when personal insults are resorted to, it is a clear sign the debater is desperate...if not already thrashed.

If you were providing good answers to my arguments, this insult might have more meat on its bones.


Peace,
Rhology

larryniven said...

"That's my favorite quote of the day."

I note with interest that this does not constitute the proof I asked for.

"Still leaves most people who do."

Dance, Christian, dance - first you said people believe in God and need no other explanation. Now you say they just believe, and leave the part about explanations out. Furthermore, given that the arguments for God are all failures, both philosophically and historically, what compels you Christians to keep coming up with them? Are you really to stupid as to say that you believe they'll work when all the evidence says they won't?

"Not at all. They don't "work" b/c they don't APPEAR to have TEMPORAL benefit to some, even many people."

Believe it or not, if teresita or I had meant to say "appear to work," we would have said "appear to work." You may not be that smart, so I'll say again for the sake of clarity: when examining the Biblical commandments, history indicates unequivocally that they do not work and also, much less relevantly, that they do not appear to work. Do you admit only the latter, and thus deny history, or do you accept the former as well, and thus deny that God's commandments help people?

"See the label "evolution" on this blog for plenty of evidence to the contrary."

Yawn. Google "evolution" for overwhelmingly more evidence that I'm right.

"But one group of many millions is wrong, on each of these questions. I'm not asking you how you know which one is right. I'm pointing out that your statement can't be true."

No...no, you aren't. Unless those things are a matter of mental, physical, or spiritual health - which they are not - then you have not proved me wrong in any sense. So I'll ask again: how are any of these a question of mental, physical, or spiritual health?

Let me provide you with the actual translation of Deuteronomy 21:13: "and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife."

That is not a suggestion - that is a commandment to have sex with a woman who in all likelihood will not want this to happen. It is, in other words, a commandment to rape a woman. Your points 1-5 are desperate attempts to distract from this: it's irrelevant whether the rape would have been socially acceptable, or if the rape would come in the context of a larger good, or if the rape would be something the woman could prosecute the man for under the law of the land. It remains rape in all of those cases, and thus your position is contradicted. Epic fail indeed.

"God has the right to use agents to carry out His will. Does so all the time, on a variety of topics."

Can you manage to think straight for, oh, ten consecutive seconds? First you say that God always commands what's right, then you say that murder is always wrong, now you say that God rightly commands murder, which is wrong, but rightly commanded. Your failure above notwithstanding, this is an obvious contradiction. Care to try again?

Rhology said...

first you said people believe in God and need no other explanation

Answering you on your own grounds.



Do you admit only the latter, and thus deny history, or do you accept the former as well, and thus deny that God's commandments help people?

I deny the premise of the question, and I'm content to leave it where it is now.


Unless those things are a matter of mental, physical, or spiritual health - which they are no

So whether abortion is right is not a matter of mental or spiritual health?
What about the death penalty? Does it matter for ANYone? Like maybe the guy on death row? His family?


Let me provide you with the actual translation of Deuteronomy 21:13: "and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife."

Brilliant. I actually provided the actual translation before - that was the NASB.
You shall go into her and be her husband. That kind of thing can happen pretty much simultaneously, you know, especially in that culture when the wedding would happen and then the couple would go consummate their marriage right then and there while the wedding feast was going on right outside. At which point they'd re-emerge and join the feast.


that is a commandment to have sex with a woman who in all likelihood will not want this to happen.

Evidence that they will not want this to happen? Or just assumed?


it's irrelevant whether the rape would have been socially acceptable

Not the rape, the marriage.
You provide no other argument, so... again, I'm happy to leave it where it is.


you say that God rightly commands murder, which is wrong, but rightly commanded.

Quote me saying "God rightly commands murder."
You can't.
My point has always been that murder, which is unjustifiable taking of human life, does not apply to God, since any taking He does of human life is justified.


BTW, are you an atheist? Is there a brief statement you could make of your general philosophical/religious disposition? Like a word to a few sentences? I'm curious.
Thanks!


Peace,
Rhology

larryniven said...

"Answering you on your own grounds."

Bahahahaha! Haha! Ahh...yeah, that's what you've been doing.

"I deny the premise of the question, and I'm content to leave it where it is now."

...where it is now, I've proven that you're intellectually obtuse and willfully ignorant of the facts that oppose your case. Thanks? I guess?

"So whether abortion is right is not a matter of mental or spiritual health?"

Well, no - whether abortion is right is a metaphysical, presumably logically necessary fact about the universe as a whole. Mental or spiritual health is a contingent fact about an individual. So no, they're not really comparable.

"That kind of thing can happen pretty much simultaneously, you know, especially in that culture when the wedding would happen and then the couple would go consummate their marriage right then and there while the wedding feast was going on right outside. At which point they'd re-emerge and join the feast."

So...it's not rape, even though it's forced sex, because it happens (1) quickly and (2) after a marriage? Am I reading this right?

"Evidence that they will not want this to happen? Or just assumed?"

Well, my evidence is that the context of the verse is one in which the woman's people are under attack and she's essentially taken prisoner. If it were me, I would really not be turned on by that. I'll happily accept any evidence you can give, though, that every woman who was ever in this scenario really wanted to have sex with the guy, though. Have any of that? More importantly, though, it doesn't say in the verse "...but only if she's okay with it." That is, God doesn't care one whit whether it's rape or not.

"My point has always been that murder, which is unjustifiable taking of human life, does not apply to God, since any taking He does of human life is justified."

You must be retarded. I am not, nor have I ever been, talking about lives that God takes. I am talking about lives that humans take after having been commanded to do so by God. Stay on topic.

"BTW, are you an atheist? Is there a brief statement you could make of your general philosophical/religious disposition? Like a word to a few sentences?"

Sure: your position is moronic and I wouldn't be caught dead making arguments as short-sighted, arrogant, and intentionally misleading as yours have been. I would take atheism, agnosticism, Hinduism, Satanism, paganism, or Scientology, just as a partial list, over the things you say without a second thought.

Paul C said...

I'm loving this discussion, and I don't want to derail it, but I had to point out this presumably unintended irony in the original post:

The only way it is extendable to others is for the individual human to attempt to ape God and force submission to his morality down others' throats, as it were, and squelch dissent thru (if necessary) violent means, for the greater "good" (in reality, for the imposition of his own moral system) thru gov't and police, etc.

So if we try to force our morality down the throats of others for the greater good, we're just copying God.

Edward said...

Rhology,

You have stated the summation very well. Atheists will always try to say it isn't so, but it is exactly as you have stated it.

And it's just like with teresita, she acts like she's getting around it with evolution, but all she's doing is confirming it.

It would be interesting to see how people would behave, what the world would be like if there were pure anarchy and no possibility of anything else. What would emerge after all the killing was over. I assure you, it would be the teachings of Jesus Christ that would govern people individually. After everything was weeded out, that's what would remain.

Heaven and earth can pass away, but His words will never pass away.

By the way, I'm loving your blog. I'll probably rate it tomorrow. Check it out. It definitely wins the Plato Award.

NAL said...

Rho:
It doesn't answer the question of "Who is right?" for any 3rd party, however, since this morality is based only in the individual.

And I don't see that God answers this question. Because God is silent on this matter. All you have is the Bible. Since the Bible is open to different individualistic interpretations, you're right back to morality based only in the individual.

When it comes to different Biblical interpretations, who answers the question of "Who is right?" for any 3rd party?

This whole discussion misses the more important question regarding a set of moralistic principles: Why is it right?

Phinehas said...

Haha,

I just have to point out that posts from Nal and PaulC are strangely refreshing to see after reading some of the responses to the post above.

Anyway, I don't want to derail the discussion either. Just wanted to remark that I find it fascinating there has been no solid answer to the posed question "What is moral?" yet. Often just a bunch of question-avoiding diversions.

ttyl, Rho

Dr Funkenstein said...

Isn't 'good' with God just a coin flip, since he has commanded both an action and its polar opposite at various times?

eg the commandment thou shalt not kill/murder (either way, you can't murder without killing)

and eg commanding the Israelites to kill all the Hitiites, Canaanites etc

since god presumably doesnt have to face circumstances where he defends his person or a family member like humans do (where killing might not be unacceptable/mindless), he is never under any threat of harm and therefore his commands to kill/not kill are just subjective whims.


As for the 'what we ought to do' line, you say we 'ought' not to do X,Y,Z - to which a lot of people reply 'so what, I don't believe your God exists, so you when you tell me I ought to do it because you think your God says so, I say "who cares?"'

Rhology said...

eg the commandment thou shalt not kill/murder (either way, you can't murder without killing)

If you can't even correctly state the commandment, why would anyone put any stock in your objection?
It's "thou shalt not murder". God could conceivably commit murder if there were an extant being who had never committed a sin, but He never has done that since all humans have committed capital crimes. It's not like we haven't been over all that ground before, recently even. Try again.


and eg commanding the Israelites to kill all the Hitiites, Canaanites etc

Who were capital criminals.


he is never under any threat of harm and therefore his commands to kill/not kill are just subjective whims.

It's "not murder", just as a reminder.
What is your argument for that? And what's wrong with "subjective" if you're the Supreme Lawgiver? Also, please prove they're whims. That's certainly not the Christian position. Make sure you inform us how you know this, once you make the argument.


As for the 'what we ought to do' line, you say we 'ought' not to do X,Y,Z - to which a lot of people reply 'so what, I don't believe your God exists, so you when you tell me I ought to do it because you think your God says so, I say "who cares?"'

Wow. So, b/c someone refuses to follow the law, the law is somehow invalid, and the governing authority who issued it is also invalid. B/c someone breaks the law against first-degree murder, the law is invalid and so is the gov't. Great idea - are you an anarchist or something?

Peace,
Rhology

Dr Funkenstein said...

If you can't even correctly state the commandment, why would anyone put any stock in your objection?

It's "thou shalt not murder".

Not in the KJV it isn't. Anyway - the basic objection was that if God wants people killed, it's good. If not, it's bad. So, depending on his mood, some days killing people is bad some days it's good. Since this is just divine command theory (after all, how would people know what they were supposed to do if God didn't command them to do it/not do it?), it suffers from the problems that you are no doubt aware of.


God could conceivably commit murder if there were an extant being who had never committed a sin, but He never has done that since all humans have committed capital crimes.

Didn't he send his only Son to die, and as far as I know Jesus is/was without sin - since God deliberately and knowingly had a man without sin killed, wouldn't this make him a murderer?

Who were capital criminals.

As is everyone (including the OT Israelites) as you stated a few lines above: but He never has done that since all humans have committed capital crimes.

So again, since everyone is the worst kind of sinner purely by virtue of being alive, isn't it somewhat subjective to choose one group above any other for the chop?


It's "not murder", just as a reminder.
What is your argument for that? And what's wrong with "subjective" if you're the Supreme Lawgiver?


Quite a lot is wrong with subjective since you've expended a fair amount of energy stating how Christianity provides objective moral standards. If it's just a mental coin flip by the deity, it's hard to call that objective.


Wow. So, b/c someone refuses to follow the law, the law is somehow invalid, and the governing authority who issued it is also invalid. B/c someone breaks the law against first-degree murder, the law is invalid and so is the gov't. Great idea - are you an anarchist or something?

That wasn't my point - of course, if TGOTB exists then ignoring the law doesn't make it invalid. But the question is, for it to be valid, you have to convince people TGOTB exists. Since (for example):

1. I consider every pro-theistic argument no better than an argument for deism
2. some of the arguments such as TAG/'impossibility of the contrary' are no better than question begging assertions
3. the total lack of explanations as to how exactly God did most of the things he's purported to have done/is currently doing (see Frame quotes, ICR flood geology model, creation ex nihilo for examples)
4. The fact that biblical literalist Christians will indulge in phenomenal mental gymnastics to square away any possibility their beliefs could be wrong
5. The fact that miracles of biblical levels seem to have ceased completely in the modern age

and many other reasons, then myself and others see no convincing reason to believe in TGOTB and by extension any Christian laws as objective facts (not that some of them don't appeal to me personally of course), then when you say I 'ought' to do something, I just consider your moral views as subjective as mine.

Also, when you say someone 'ought' to do something because it's objective fact, how do you propose anyone implements it? After all, you and I both would have opposed Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot etc, but how exactly would we have been in a position to deter them from doing what they did (if we were alive during their reigns), were we in possession of some absolute standards of morality?

Rhology said...

Anyway - the basic objection was that if God wants people killed, it's good. If not, it's bad.

Correct.


Not in the KJV it isn't

And I should care...why?


So, depending on his mood, some days killing people is bad some days it's good.

On His mood? Strawman.


Since this is just divine command theory

You mean, since it's *not* divine command theory?
How many times do I have to tell you it's not before you actually engage my position.
I mean, after all, since you're a social Darwinist...


how would people know what they were supposed to do if God didn't command them to do it/not do it?

Which speaks to COMMUNICATION, not ORIGIN, of the moral law.


since God deliberately and knowingly had a man without sin killed, wouldn't this make him a murderer?

Jesus volunteered for His own death.


since everyone is the worst kind of sinner purely by virtue of being alive, isn't it somewhat subjective to choose one group above any other for the chop?

Very much so. You should thank God that He hasn't snuffed you yet (though, you will be snuffed, sooner or later).
Instead, you rail against Him and try to prove He doesn't exist rather than offering Him gratitude.


If it's just a mental coin flip by the deity, it's hard to call that objective.

Since it's not, since it's a matter of all humans having broken His law and He delaying carrying out judgment for a greater or lesser period of time, the question disappears.


if TGOTB exists then ignoring the law doesn't make it invalid.

OK, thank you.
Of course, TGOTB does exist, so...there you go.


some of the arguments such as TAG/'impossibility of the contrary' are no better than question begging assertions

And make sense.
And are logical.
And are coherent.
And are self-justifying.
As opposed to your worldview, but that's for other comboxes.


the total lack of explanations as to how exactly God did most of the things he's purported to have done

Thru His divine power.
Next?


The fact that miracles of biblical levels seem to have ceased completely in the modern age

Even if I granted that, so what?


others see no convincing reason to believe in TGOTB

If I don't believe in the oncoming truck, does that mean I won't be squashed flat?
No, it means I'm foolish.


how do you propose anyone implements it?

By reading the law and doing what it says.


how exactly would we have been in a position to deter them from doing what they did (if we were alive during their reigns), were we in possession of some absolute standards of morality?

1) You'd have no reason outside of "I don't like what they're doing; I also don't like broccoli" to oppose them at all.
2) Everyone can do SOMEthing.
3) And again, this is a question of OUGHT and you're turning it (true to form) into a question of IS.