[quote author=“dumanis”]But since you are so vehemently arguing that one’s integrity has no bearing on the truth of their arguments (which sentiment I opened my last post with!), why do you not think it pointless to impugn me on a very similar charge of the honesty of my intentions (“distraction,” “unbecoming”)? Isn’t this pretty much just a form of ad tuum?
Not especially. Not that I was impugning your integrity yet. I might be guided in an evaluation of the sincerity of your beliefs by many things. Referring me to what you have written as a form of argument is not a great start where I am concerned. Who has vetted your work?
Isn’t it also true that if there really are facts at issue, then personal integrity is irrelevant? If everyone knows the facts, then nobody’s lying makes one whit of difference. The fact is that it is Christianity which produces nothing that compels belief in its mythology or persuades anything but blind obedience to its instruction. The claims of any of thousands of other “belief” systems are no less persuasive, and that is what its critics are beginning to mention these days.
Perhaps you would care to list the compelling facts for us! An eternity in heaven or hell for sheep and goats respectively? I think somebody else thought of that one first. A “savior” that rescues us from original sin? How so? Persuade me that the concept is in any way unique. You may have to show me the money.
You are left attempting to hold the critique of Christianity to account armed with nothing but weak attempts to frame the debate as a discussion among equals.
[quote author=“dumanis”]But it is impossible to erase some element, so way, of fear from the moral equation. I have not completely worked this out, but someone will always be there to enforce the rules.
I am waiting with baited breath for you to work this one out. Any time. I am aware of the difference between a real cop armed with a truncheon and, say, an invisible sky god armed with an invisible sky truncheon.
To argue that lying is wrong “because we have the prima facie obligation to tell the truth to other rational agents,” is to argue that lying is wrong because lying is wrong.
Not my argument, but I’ll try to tweak it so it looks good to me: We do not “have” a prima facie obligation to tell (or believe) the truth. We ‘find’ it prudent to tell the truth (when facts are at hand, but are not available to all) since we understand the effect it might have on us were the situation to be reversed. I think that is what it means to be a “rational agent”. If we do not understand the reciprocity, one could make the case that we are not entirely rational. I think we do the best research we can and then rely on trusting others. Morality does not save us the obligation of due diligence and understanding the “doubt” part of “reasonable doubt”. Theistic morality looks like nothing so much as a way to wriggle out of living with the obligations of due diligence and reasonable doubt in order to get to the other side of the equation in what we believe.
I am satisfied with an evolutionary origin for “rationality”. We talk about it a lot, but nobody ever really compares it with anything that might serve as a standard of “rationality”. You can fool some of the people some of the time; we can fool ourselves some of the time. I think Freud said that.
To apply this to any examples in the discourse between theology and atheism, one must first presume that any “facts” are at hand. There is no such thing as lying when no facts are present. Making promises on which no one can deliver is another can of worms entirely, especially if the aim of the promise is to induce fear and obedience. Call it intimidation if you like, but I do not place it under the rubric of “lying”.