An anonymous commenter has taken issue with my post about the disaster in Japan.
Thank you for your thoughts.
For some background, I encourage you to read this.
Now, let's imagine that we're turning this around a bit. Let's say I doubt that evidence exists, that our cognitive faculties are reliably tuned to produce true beliefs, and you say that evidence certainly does exist and that our faculties reliably do indeed.
You claim that there is evidence and that our cognitive faculties are reliably tuned to produce true beliefs. The burden of proof is on you.
Actually, it's more than that. You claim not only that evidence exists and the reliability of our cognitive faculties, but that there is a specific kind of evidence (and only one - the kind that is accessible by human minds), and that it comes with a back story (evolution) and a whole set of evolutionary instructions. So, the burden of proof is on you to not only convince others that a kind of evidence exists, but that your particular kind of evidence exists. It's a tall order. I'm receptive to your evidence, though, with the caveat that the contents of books of a particular sect of scientists cannot be considered to be proof of that sect's claims. That would be rather circular.
Or I could replace "evidence" with "other minds" - I'd be insisting that you provide evidence that other minds exist. And appealing to the conversation you had yesterday with your friend would not be admissible - it'd be circular.
The point is that the question of God's existence is not dealt with in this manner. See also on my sidebar the posts under "SOME GOOD ARGUMENTS FOR THEISM".
So... OK, you showed up here claiming that my view is "morally indefensible". I asked you for an argument to that effect. You responded that you doubt God exists. This is not a direct answer to my question, though.
You also replied with another question:
"Is it possible to make a morally-convincing argument for collective punishment?"
If atheism is true, I contend that there is no way to make an objective moral argument for anything.
I wouldn't use the term "convincing", for what is convincing to one person may not be for another. Proof is not the same as persuasion.
Let me ask you: is it objectively morally wrong for someone to send something like a powerful earthquake and tsunami on another people? How do you know that it is objective, and how do you know the factual nature of this judgment?
You ask also:
"Is it possible to make a morally-convincing argument that the mass slaughter of vast numbers of people is justifiable on grounds of religious or cultural differences or the actions of their ancestors?"
I would like to point out that this is not precisely my view, however. Yes, the event qualifies as a "mass slaughter of vast numbers of people", so that's not where I'm going. Where you set up a strawman was in the phrase "religious or cultural differences or the actions of their ancestors". The issue is not differences or the actions of ancestors. Every man, woman, and child is sinful and bears the guilt of the sin of Adam, all ratify the sin of Adam in their own sinful actions, all are subject to the death penalty. This includes every person that died in the quake and tsunami. This also includes Westerners like myself. This includes the millions of babies that die every year in the womb (re: Sam Harris' correct and yet wrongheaded and amazingly morally blind assertion that God is the greatest living abortionist). God is fully justified in putting anyone to death at any time thru any manner or agency He chooses. Why? B/c everyone has broken God's law, and penalty for such lawbreaking is death, physical and spiritual. The fact that most people live years on Earth, some even very long lives, is a testimony to God's mercy and patience, not to any intrinsic goodness or some kind of merit.
"Even if such a thing was sanctioned by an all-powerful being, would that make it just?"
That's a great question. I answered it here. The short answer is that anything God does is just, by definition. To deny this results in absurdity.
How precisely would you call God's moral compass into question? On what grounds? How do you even know what is morally right and wrong?
You finished with:
"I submit to you that your moral compass is broken."
I disagree. Now I'd like you to give me a reason to think you are right and I am wrong. Please be sure to include the necessary evidence to back up your assertion. Please also allow me to give you a little advice before you do, in the interest of advancing our conversation more efficiently - please ensure that your answer does not run afoul of Hume's Guillotine aka the naturalistic fallacy.
Nice talking to you!