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Absurd Theologians and Atheists
Posted: 27 February 2007 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Okay, I’m going to have to post three times to respond to the different comments from different people.  waltercat is right, I’m discussing different things with different atheists and I need to consider the unique claims of each.  Waltercat, my specific mea culpa which I believe I owe you will come when I post for you.  However, since Joad was first, and has yet to get a bite, I will direct this post to him.

I meant that the Theistic view is that man is INCAPABLE of morality. IE: No matter how obviously immoral an act might be, we can never understand why it is immoral. We must ask a non-human source.

This seems to be the essence of your response.  I don’t want to put words into your mouth, as the cliché goes, so I’m going to make some statements and ask you to confirm their accuracy.  Would you agree that any of these statements characterize your view?

1)  To be truly moral, the beliefs of good and evil must be decided upon by the individual.  Any morality given from outside is a form of oppression.

2)  Desire and delight are essential components of morality.  Any morality based upon duty and not delight is repugnant.

3)  To be truly moral, the moral code must be understood and only a morality internally defined fits this category.

If you want to completely destroy these statements and make your own, please feel that freedom.  I just want to make sure I understand your premise before I heave words that don’t fit your actual belief.


Thanks for your patience.

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Posted: 27 February 2007 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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Okay everyone I first want to apologize for my previous sidenote.  The conversation has been going well, that is the discussion on morality.  I don’t want the conversation to suffer for my little sidebar on how the idea of Social Darwinism kept slavery alive-Berlin Conference, showing the small impact the enlightenment had on ending slavery, again I apologize.  To everyone thanks for not using sarcasm and arrogance toward a simple Christian I have enjoyed most of the people and the reasons you are using.  About Rape and Christianity.  To make it quick, rape is sexual intercourse and according to Christianity sex should only be performed during marriage.  God uses typological examples to show his character and iin what he takes pleasure in.  Marriage is a typological image of Christ and the Church- just like Christ and the Church work together to become unity two different beings-a male and female-become united during marriage.  Just as Christ shows love to the Church a male should show this love to a woman.  Christ does not do such actions as ‘rapping’ the Church so man should not do such actions as ‘rapping’ a woman.  Rather, Christ gave himself up to the church and man should do like wise. 

-Just a rough view on why rape is wrong according to Christianity

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Posted: 27 February 2007 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Silenus,

I gree with statement 1 & 3. I disagree with #2. I see no reason why duty can’t be delightful smile

Now to clarify. Outside moralilty may or may not be oppression. It is either in conflict with internal morality, or irrelevant if in agreement.

If a morality is not understood, then it becomes obedience.
Obedience has no moral characteristics as far as the act is concerned.
Obedience may have some utilitarian value in its role of stabilizing a society.

It seems that I haven’t made my position clear on internal/external morality. Use color-blindness as an analogy. A color-blind person must rely on an external source to determine color. He never knows if an object is red or green. In fact, he cannot understand red/green except through an external source.

I see the Theistic view of morality as claiming that humans are morally ‘color-blind’. If that is true, it creates a series of problems. First of all, it is cruel to impose a standard of behavior which cannot be understood. Forcing amoral humans to act morally would seem to be arbitrary to them. Much like forcing a color-blind person to sort red and green widgets.

If any standard of behavior, no matter how well justified, does not conform with the characteristics of the entity, then it functions as oppression. Any external standard will conform to the external entity.
It may overlap, but it can never be as good an an internal standard.
You can never know what is best for me because you are not me.
The more different you are from me, the less you can know what is best for me. God, being as different from mankind as possible, has the least knowledge of what is best for us. (ie: you can’t know what is best for your dog)

There is no Universal or Absolute morality. There are only Ideologies of Morality which seek to make themselves the Absolute.

Morality only functions when it allows exceptions of conscience.

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Posted: 03 March 2007 02:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Divine Character Theory

Rape is wrong because it goes against his character.  Why does rape go against his character?  God receives no enjoyment or pleasure when his creation acts in a way that is not coherent with his attributes.  Can God’s character change?  No, therefore his enjoyment and pleasure in certain things cannot change.  So is rape wrong only because it goes against God’s character?  If anything goes against God’s character yet is okay the world as we no it would not exist so you therefore cannot take God out of one moral premise and keep all other factors involved when answering the question.  Therefore, the last question cannot be answered.  On another note, you don’t have to believe in God to view rape as wrong, yet where does one’s view of rape as being wrong come from?  It comes from God’s common grace in extracting his character on humans.  Our morality does not come from random atoms that are banging together giving us moral instructions, but rather from the non-material world.  So when one asks, is rape only wrong because it goes against his character?  One need’s to remember the person asking this question has God’s character instilled in him and therefore one can easily still feel the weight of right/wrong when taking God out of the perspective, yet one needs to go back and ask where did this weight come from?

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Posted: 03 March 2007 02:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Been a while, but I’m back.  I’m going to try to respond to waltercat’s comments in the order you gave them to keep my brain straight.  I apologize for the long absence.  I happened onto a block a free time when I started the forum that no longer exists.

Let’s start with the quote

There is not much useful to respond to here. What you need to do is educate yourself about the nature of atheism and about non-western religions. As has been pointed out in this forum, many Buddhists are atheists, they do not believe in an all-powerful, wholly good, creator being. Yet they definitely do believe in a spiritual realm. So there is indeed no reason that an atheist cannot believe in something non-material. You have not even begun to argue anything to the contrary.

Please do not resort to unfounded attacks on all atheists, not even all atheists on this forum. It will get you nowhere and it makes you look stupid.

Yes, I did a poor job here.  Although I don’t think that part of my post was an unfounded attack.  In fact, it wasn’t an attack at all.  I said that I don’t see how a non-material world flows from an atheist premise.  I didn’t at all consider this statement the coup de grace of an argument.  I was hoping that I could have your principles so I can respond to them.  You have mine.  You know where I think the non-material world has its grounding, I just wanted to know what your grounding for it is and how you define it.  Do you accept it as an axiom?  Is it the result of inductive or deductive reasoning?  You are right, thought, I completely discounted Buddhism and the eastern religions and that was poor judgment on my part.  I jumped into this, my first time on a forum, with assumptions that I should not have made.  In that respect you are correct to call me out.  Mea Culpa.

Now onto your second part . . .

Why is this God’s plan? Why is this His purpose? And of course there is no non-arbitrary answer to this question. Nothing necessitates this purpose. God could have had a different purpose. He could have created the universe to glorify his wife, or just on a whim, or because he lost a bet, or because he wanted to watch the evolution of e. coli.

No, he couldn’t have created it on a whim because the existence of God necessitates the existence of purpose.  And no, he couldn’t have created it because he lost a bet because he can’t lose bets.  The existence of God makes this an impossibility.  However, he did create the world to glorify His wife and to watch e coli because these things glorify His majesty.  So I’m to take it that any decision that any will makes in respect to setting a goal or purpose is arbitrary because it is not necessary casually.  Only decisions that are forced by either circumstance or laws of nature are not arbitrary.  This makes me think that you are a determinist at heart who has no firm belief on the interplay of desire, will, and personality.  I chose my job because it is my desire and my delight.  It is the reason I am willing to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and go to bed at midnight some nights of the week.  I would not call such a decision arbitrary.  That decision was based on my essence, my intrinsic nature, which, to deny, would be to compromise myself.  Yes, in one sense of the definition, that decision was arbitrary and, if you agree that it is, we can move on and I’ll live, in order to continue the discussion for the time being, with the premise that we are both operating out of arbitrary moralities.  However, you cannot connotation upon God a whimsical arbitrariness when only a purposeful one fits.  And a purpose makes a big difference. Why did God make rape wrong?  Because it goes against His character.  Why does it go against His character, why did He create this world?  Because it is for His glory.  Why did He create it for His glory?  Because it pleased Him, because it was his desire.  Arbitrary implies that God could just as well choose to make a pro rape, anti-gravity world.  But an infinite God cannot act contrary to Himself; it would belie his omniscience, His infinity.  Once infinity decides, we know His character and it cannot change.  We can play the “why” game ad nauseam, but eventually we get to axioms and starting points.  The problem is the plans of an infinite God are fixed and immovable.  Divine commands and morals do not change because the Giver does not.  If this still fits your sense of the word arbitrary, your connotations of the word are different than mine.  His commands fit the nature of the world he created.  The law he gives is also the natural law within.  This critique states that he has no reason to make rape wrong.  He has no outside reason prompting Him to make it wrong because He is the reason it is wrong.

Aquinas says it more elegant than I do.

From On truth

The will cannot be characterized as the first rule but as ruled, inasmuch as it is directed by reason and intelligence.  This is true not only of us but also of God as well, although the will is distinct from the intellect.  This is why the will and its rightness are not the same thing.  But in God the will is identified with the intellect so that the rightness of will is the same as the will itself.

From Summa Theologiae

Just as with every artist there pre-exists the idea of what he will create with his art, so with every ruler there pre-exists an ideal of order . . . And just as the ideal of those things that have yet to be produced by any art is called the art or exemplar of things to be made, so the ideal of the ruler for the actions of his subjects has the quality of law insofar as the conditions mentioned above with respect to the ideal of law are present.  Now, God by His wisdom is the creator of all things and may be compared to them as an artist is compared to the artifact . . . He is also the ruler of all actions and motions found in each creature . . . hence, just as the ideal of divine wisdom, as a source of creation, has the quality of art or exemplar or ideal, so also the ideal of the divine wisdom in moving all things to their proper end attains the quality of law.  And according to this, the eternal law is nothing else than the ideal of divine wisdom, which is directive of all actions and motions.

 


Quote three

Why should I care? Why should I care about glorifying someone so megalomaniacal that he creates an entire universe just to increase his own glory. Imagine a human being, a US President say, who says that we need to build the most magnificent monument the world has ever seen, all for the purpose of glorifying himself. Most Americans would correctly conclude that this President is no longer fit for office and begin talking about impeachment.

The problem with your example is that the president doesn’t deserve a big monument.  Megalomania is a delusional mental disorder that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur.  The problem with this statement is that God is omnipotent and full of grandeur.  There is no delusion involved.  He is not the second hander you find in an Ayn Rand novel, needing the approval or praise of others to feel important.  He is the creator who creates for the joy of it.  He is an artist who loves his craft and produces fantastic works of beauty.  A good work of art and the artist deserves the praise he gets and he creates art so that it can be enjoyed.  God does not need our praise, he deserves it.  It is owed Him.  If you don’t believe in God, then this all sounds absurd, but, if God exists, a world created for His glory fits logically and deductively with that reality.  Notice, my belief in an objective ethic stems from my metaphysical beliefs.

Quote four

You are correct to find the existence of objective moral rules mysterious. Many agree. However, the attempt to ground morality in God’s will is an abysmal failure. But the search continues. You can join in, all you need to do is let go of the excess theological baggage weighing you down.

But, without my excess theological baggage, what confidence do I have in my search. Isn’t my search without that baggage an act of faith?  Why should I assume the universe has an objective ethical reality binding to all man?  Do you accept this as axiomatic that a universal ethic encompasses all?  Even if you believe in a non-material realm, you are acting on faith that that realm is the same for all individuals.  Or do you believe ethics are like the laws of gravity, to be discovered from natural phanomina?  In that event, I ask again, How can I go from an is to an ought?  How do you deal with Kant’s Ding-an-sich “Thing in itself.”  Or, do you, as a Buddhist, believe in the primacy of consciousness metaphysically and, therefore, morality, as in all reality, is bound up with the ego and the key is to eliminate all desire and free yourself from all delusions of the existence of self.  I am made to kind of group blindly here because I don’t know your metaphysics or epistemology and so I have to talk in shot gun rather than to a specific point.  I didn’t ask for your premises without cause.  The moment the subject turned to the foundations of ethics, I asked for the thing needed to complete that discussion, metaphysics.  If you feel that going into metaphysics is too much, at least explain to me your conception of the non-material realm.

Thanks for the stimulating reply.

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Posted: 03 March 2007 02:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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I will deal with Occam’s response briefly and probably not again being that you commit the very fallacies you accuse me of.  In your response, you restate my premises, well, you only respond to one.  The rest of the time you spend engaging in ad hominem attacks.  The one thing you do respond to you restate as a straw man.  I want to note that so far, except from you, the conversation has been civil.  Walter gave me some little quips, but nothing mean or illogical.  Nothing I’d say is uncivil.  However, you come firing in with your sarcasm and, while claiming to be a spokesman for logic, use none.

Let’s start with the quotes . . .

I’d also like to comment on Silenus’ post about how morals/ethics are essentially meaningless without a deity to give them weight.

I never said that they are meaningless, refer to my posts.  I said that they were subjective.  You took the statement subjective and basically implied that all subjective ethics are meaningless.  There are a few people posting in this topic who are atheists who may have issue with that.  And, as a matter of fact, so do I.  I would never make a statement that subjective ethics are meaningless.  Many Christians (Aquinas for one) would not make this statement.  I said they are not universal.

How can you possibly have a ‘real’ moral code when all you have at your disposal is your pitiful human brain?  Clearly it’s impossible for us to think for (or govern) ourselves - everything’s far too complicated

Again, I have never made a statement that the human mind is incapable of grasping morality.  You have now assumed that subjective morality is meaningless and that to believe in a subjective ethics is to believe in the inferiority of the human mind.  Again, a point I never made.  The Bible speaks of the Prophet, the Priest, and the King.  All these are roles fulfilled by Christ and should be fulfilled by every man.  One of the aspects of the king’s role is to understand his world (the scientific task) and then to build upon this knowledge (His aesthetic task) while he rules and governs according to wisdom.  It is to name and discover the nature of things.  Proverbs says “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.”  God desires man to use wisdom to solve dilemmas, both moral and physical.  He does not give all the answers for this reason.  A Christian does not believe a man’s attempts to understand his world are meaningless, and neither are the subjective attempts of subjects to understand the objects around them.  Again, your words are your own, not mine.  I didn’t say it wasn’t meaningful, I said it wasn’t universal.

May I suggest to all those whose curiosity IS satisfied by the Bible that they kindly huddle back inside their churches, so as to not get in the way of those who are honestly and diligently working to expand humanity’s understanding of the Universe.

Well, I guess, if my misguided juvenile statements can get in the way of your great grandiose search, then either you have really bad multi-tasking skills, or your search is not the strong, air tight pilgrimage you would have me believe.  Either way, until you move away from straw men, misinterpretation, and arguments that appeal only to your vain ego and not to logic, experience, or some authority you think is valid, I will make this my last response to you.  I wouldn’t want to disrupt your search. 

Joad, i will respond to you when I next get a chance.  Thanks for the reply.

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Posted: 03 March 2007 05:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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[quote author=“silenus”]Divine commands and morals do not change because the Giver does not. If this still fits your sense of the word arbitrary, your connotations of the word are different than mine. His commands fit the nature of the world he created. The law he gives is also the natural law within.

I must say that you have some very strange views about the nature of God and of necessity and possibility.  I am tempted to move into a discussion about this, but that would really be beside the point.  Let’s get back to the topic at hand.

The issue is this: Can any moral theory that grounds moral laws in God’s Will or God’s nature succeed in explaining how moral laws are non-arbitrary.  And the unequivocal answer to that is “No.”  Here’s why:

Go back to Socrates’ question:  “Is the pious pious because it is loved by the gods, or do the gods love it because it is pious?” 

Translated into the current discussion, this question becomes:
“Is rape wrong because it goes against God’s character, or does rape go against God’s character because it is wrong.”

I believe that, if there is a God, He would not approve of rape and that it would violate His character.  In other words, rape violates God’s character (assuming He exists) because it is wrong.  But this means that rape is wrong independent of God’s character.  Independent in the sense that even if God does not exist, rape is still wrong.  In other words, God’s character has nothing to do with the ground of morality.  As far as the morality of rape goes, it is just an incidental fact that rape violates God’s character in the same way that it is just an incidental fact that it violates waltercat’s character.  I think that this account is the only way to make sense of the non-arbitrariness of morality, but also, and more importantly to you, Silenus, it is the only way to make sense of the claim that God is morally prasieworthy.  I’ll come back to this.

But, as I said in an earlier post (and countless times in this forum) this kind of answer is inconsistent with the Divine Command Theory and the Divine Character Theory (DCT).  On the DCT, rape is wrong just because it violates God’s character such that, if it did not violate His character, it would not be wrong.  This means that rape does not violate God’s character because it is wrong.  It just happens to violate God’s character.  Why?  Who knows.  I guess we should just be happy that it does, otherwise . . .

This leads back to the issue of God’s moral praiseworthiness. I assume, Silenus, that you want to say that God is good and that He has a good character.  But what does this mean on the DCT.  All that it can mean is that God’s character does not violate his character (or God’s character approves of God’s character).  But this is entirely empty.  God would approve of Himself regardless of what his character is.  On the DCT what “God is good” amounts to is “God doesn’t do anything that violates His own character.”  But this is trivial.  I don’t do anything that violates my character.  Nor do most.  Even a rapist might be such that he doesn’t do things that violates his character.  Big f’n deal, right? 

If God exists, He is morally praisworthy not because he doesn’t violate His own character, but because He is good, i.e., because He is compassionate and merciful and loving.  In short, if DCT is true, all content of “God is good” is lost.

I’ll try one more thing.  If you are correct, and the DCT is true, then how do we find out whether some action is right or wrong?  Well, we have to find out whether it violates God’s character.  So let’s take some uncommon action, say, skinning puppies alive.  Is this action right or wrong.  You say that in order to answer this question we have to consult God’s character.  So how do we go about this?  How do we know whether it violates God’s character?

My answer, of course, is that it is wrong to skin a puppy alive.  I know that this is true and it matters not in the least what God thinks.  If God does disapprove of it, great.  More power to him.  But I don’t need to wait around for the inquiry into God’s character to tell me that skinning puppies alive is wrong.  It’s just wrong.  Period.  Regardless of what God thinks.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 03 March 2007 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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[quote author=“silenus”]

Why should I care? Why should I care about glorifying someone so megalomaniacal that he creates an entire universe just to increase his own glory. Imagine a human being, a US President say, who says that we need to build the most magnificent monument the world has ever seen, all for the purpose of glorifying himself. Most Americans would correctly conclude that this President is no longer fit for office and begin talking about impeachment.

The problem with your example is that the president doesn’t deserve a big monument.  Megalomania is a delusional mental disorder that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur.  The problem with this statement is that God is omnipotent and full of grandeur.  There is no delusion involved.  He is not the second hander you find in an Ayn Rand novel, needing the approval or praise of others to feel important.  He is the creator who creates for the joy of it.  He is an artist who loves his craft and produces fantastic works of beauty.  A good work of art and the artist deserves the praise he gets and he creates art so that it can be enjoyed.  God does not need our praise, he deserves it.  It is owed Him.  If you don’t believe in God, then this all sounds absurd, but, if God exists, a world created for His glory fits logically and deductively with that reality.  Notice, my belief in an objective ethic stems from my metaphysical beliefs.

Right, the artist deserves the praise he gets BUT he creates so that it can be enjoyed, not to glorify himself.  If any artist created just to glorify himself, he would be a megalomaniac.  Right?

But God creates so as to glorify Himslef.  And you are saying that he deserves to be glorifed.  Why?  Unlike with the artist, it required no effort for God to create the world.  He can create and destory entire universes without even so much as lifting His divine finger.  Nor did he have to hone his craft over many years (again, unlike the artist).  He didn’t have to go to Universe Creation School, he didn’t work for years mastering the finer point of DNA sequencing.  He did it all in a nanosecond without the slightest bit of effort.

I’m sorry but this analogy with the artist just won’t fly.  So what we are left with is a God who,  by his very nature, finds it incredibly easy to create and who decided to create the universe just because he wasn’t getting the recognition that, for some obscure reason, you believe he so much deserves.  That is a megalomaniac.  That is someone who does NOT deserve the praise He is after.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 03 March 2007 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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“And you are saying that he deserves to be glorifed. Why? Unlike with the artist, it required no effort for God to create the world. He can create and destory entire universes without even so much as lifting His divine finger. Nor did he have to hone his craft over many years (again, unlike the artist). He didn’t have to go to Universe Creation School, he didn’t work for years mastering the finer point of DNA sequencing. He did it all in a nanosecond without the slightest bit of effort.”

This wants me to praise him all the more not less.

Did you read my reply to the idea of Divine Character Theory?

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Posted: 03 March 2007 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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Notice, my belief in an objective ethic stems from my metaphysical beliefs.

That is an amazing statement. You have a purely subjective standard of ethics, based on a diety you created to have those specific standards, then you claim they are objective.

I like to eat Pizza. I create the God of Pizza, who says that eating pizza is the highest moral act. Therefore, eating Pizza is an OBJECTIVELY ethical behavior.

That is why Christianity has endured. It has a diety which can be imagined to approve of anything you wish to do. At the same time, it can be imagined to disapprove of anything I wish to do.

When I complain of the unfairness, you tell me there can only be one OBJECTIVE standard. It MUST be yours, because it comes from a NEUTRAL source (which you just happened to imagine and which just happens to be in agreement with your subjective desires).

You and I disagree, so we have to consult your imaginary friend for a final decision. How very convenient.

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Posted: 03 March 2007 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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[quote author=“silenus”]Divine commands and morals do not change because the Giver does not. If this still fits your sense of the word arbitrary, your connotations of the word are different than mine. His commands fit the nature of the world he created. The law he gives is also the natural law within.

But how do you know just what those morals are?  You have to make a distinftion between this divinely established morality and our human morality.  And that latter certainly does change, even in a single life.  For example, the morality that we expect (and enforce) for out children is not the same as the morality that we expect them to follow as adults, any more than the injunction that they must not play with matches is expected to carry over into adulthood.  I would deny that you can appeal to the Bible, or any other sacred text because any text whatsoever, because it is expressed in human languages and uses humanly relevent analogies and examples, is of necessity humanly subjective—that is, relative to time, place, and circumstance.  So how do you come to know the divine, objective morality?

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Posted: 03 March 2007 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]Did you read my reply to the idea of Divine Character Theory?

Do you mean this:

If anything goes against God’s character yet is okay the world as we no it would not exist so you therefore cannot take God out of one moral premise and keep all other factors involved when answering the question. Therefore, the last question cannot be answered.

Yes I read it and my response is that it is incoherent.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 03 March 2007 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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[quote author=“silenus”]
Let’s start with the quotes . . .

I’d also like to comment on Silenus’ post about how morals/ethics are essentially meaningless without a deity to give them weight.

I never said that they are meaningless, refer to my posts.  I said that they were subjective.  You took the statement subjective and basically implied that all subjective ethics are meaningless.  There are a few people posting in this topic who are atheists who may have issue with that.  And, as a matter of fact, so do I.  I would never make a statement that subjective ethics are meaningless.  Many Christians (Aquinas for one) would not make this statement.  I said they are not universal.

 

Semantics, mate. Wouldn’t any comparison of God’s code of morality (which by definition would be perfect) with a man-made morality (which by definiton would not) be bound to conclude that the non-perfect (or ‘subjective’ if you insist) morality is inferior?

If subjective ethics are not meaningless when measured against universal ethics what are they? Quaint? Personally, if I knew of a universal truth, then any competing non-universal one would be pretty meaningless to me…

However, as someone who dismisses as risible the idea that a perfect god delivered a perfect set of rules to a particular group of people at some arbitrary time in history (and who finds, upon closer examination, the ‘perfection’ of said rules to be sadly lacking) I don’t in fact think man-made ethics are meaningless - quite the opposite, frankly. All we have are man-made ethics - the silly (and painful) ones fetishised by the followers of Yaweh and Allah et al and the sensible ones designed for grown ups.

[ Edited: 03 March 2007 06:03 PM by ]
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Posted: 03 March 2007 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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[quote author=“silenus”] ...The rest of the time you spend engaging in ad hominem attacks…. 

May I suggest to all those whose curiosity IS satisfied by the Bible that they kindly huddle back inside their churches, so as to not get in the way of those who are honestly and diligently working to expand humanity’s understanding of the Universe.

Well, I guess, if my misguided juvenile statements can get in the way of your great grandiose search, then either you have really bad multi-tasking skills, or your search is not the strong, air tight pilgrimage you would have me believe.  Either way, until you move away from straw men, misinterpretation, and arguments that appeal only to your vain ego and not to logic, experience, or some authority you think is valid, I will make this my last response to you.  I wouldn’t want to disrupt your search. 

 

Well firstly I wouldn’t presume to say I was one of those clever people who are ‘honestly and diligently working to expand humanity’s understanding of the Universe’. I do try not to hinder them in their work though - and it really pisses me off when they are hindered by people who are not only happily satisfied with the explanation of the Universe offered by their Iron Age pamphlet of choice but are adamant that everyone else be satisfied with it too.
Secondly, good to see you’re taking a stand against those nasty ol’ ad hominem attacks.

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Posted: 04 March 2007 04:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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[quote author=“fletch_F_Fletch”]God’s character never changes therefore morality cannot change, thus cannot be subjective.  I believe matter does not give us instruction on what is morally right/wrong.  I believe the fact that we view rape as wrong is God giving us a bit of his character.  I’m not going to answer the question, Is rape wrong because God says its wrong?  That is a loaded question.

Um.  God does not say rape is wrong.  I can give you several examples where your god condones rape.

1. Murder Rape and Pillage   (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

As you approach a town to attack it, ... if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town.  When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town.  But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunderYou may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

So here we see rather clearly how your God sees women as plunder and spoils that he gives to his people.

You mentioned that god does not change, Mr. Fletch.  If your god today no longer gives women to the successful warring christian, how is that not a change in your god’s behavior?

2. Rape and pillage of the Midianites   (Numbers 31:7-18 NLT)

They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. ...After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals, they brought them all to Moses…

But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle.  “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded.  “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor.  They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people.  Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man.  Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

Repeat my commentary from above.


3.  Rape, and pillage at Jabesh-gilead (Judges 21:10-24 NLT)

They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, “Go and hide in the vineyards.  When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife!... So the men of Benjamin did as they were told.  They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance.

Rinse and repeat.

4. Biblical Laws of Rape   (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT)

If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father.  Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

Nice.

5.  Death to the Rape Victim   (Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB)

If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

Basically, your God doesn’t care too terribly about the rape victim.  He is more concerned about the violation of another mans “property.

This disgusting view of women, as decreed from the supposed holiest, most benevolent, kind, all knowing, all compassionate being/entity in the universe is one reason I no longer am capable of pledging any ounce of fealty to it.

Noggin

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